You are viewing 19 posts in the category Students

ICS Student Spotlight: Diana Dai '17

    • dianadai

November 29, 2016

Hello everyone! My name is Diana and I’m currently a senior majoring in ICS and Public Policy. I was born in the U.S. but moved to Hong Kong when I was 13. Life has been a whirlwind of traveling, different languages, and different cultural settings. One of the reasons why I love being an ICS major is because I feel like the major intellectualizes my personal life experiences. It has helped put a name to some of the feelings I have as a daughter of Chinese immigrants who splits her time between the “West” and the “East”, and who is interested in engaging deeply with issues of transnationalism.

Although it might seem intuitive to study East Asia, my region of concentration is the Middle East. I made the decision to go out of my comfort zone and study a history and language that I was not familiar with and that I did not have personal ties to. The experience so far has been incredibly challenging, but also rewarding. Throughout my three years at Duke I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Jordan three times for service, research, and educational opportunities. The summer after my sophomore year I worked at a local NGO with DukeEngage Jordan. Then, during my study abroad program junior fall, I went to Jordan for a month to study human rights. Finally, this past summer, I returned to Jordan on my own to work as a research assistant at the Center for Strategic Studies and also conducted independent fieldwork for my senior honors thesis.

I would describe my ICS experience as interdisciplinary and multicultural. On the first point, ICS has given me the flexibility to experiment with different intellectual traditions and research methods. I have taken classes in policy, politics, history, anthropology, language, and Middle East studies – and all of them have counted towards my ICS major! On the point about multicultural experiences, what I mean is that I have had the chance to take classes that have a global focus, studying how different regions and histories are related to each other. This kind of comparative analysis, gives one a richer insight on what’s happening in the world.

My study abroad experience supplemented my experiences as an ICS major. I participated in the SIT IHP Human Rights program my junior year. I traveled to New York City, Kathmandu, Amman, and Santiago all in the course of one semester, and studied human rights issues in a comparative context. The credits I earned on this program count towards my ICS major, while I was able to get off Duke’s campus to see the world. In each of these cities, I met everyone from grassroots activists, to government officials, to NGO employees. I studied an incredibly diverse range of issues: housing rights and gentrification, indigenous rights and neoliberalism, refugee rights and war, transitional justice, post-natural disaster politics, LGBTQ+ issues in non-U.S. contexts, and much more. Although it was a physically and emotionally taxing semester, it was very formative in the sense that it solidified my academic interest in the critical study of human rights.

This semester, I am working on my ICS senior honors project. I have been studying migrant domestic workers in Jordan, which is an issue I became interested in while I was abroad. ICS has been incredibly supportive in my research process and I have received advice from many different professors, making me confident that I can produce quality work. The honors experience has pushed me to apply the knowledge I have learned these past three years into my own project, which is harder than it seems! I hope that after I leave Duke I will be able to continue my passion for research and intellectual inquiry, while I continue to travel, learn, and question. 

View Diana's blog she maintained while doing her ICS thesis research in Amman, Jordan.

View Diana's Intagram accout documenting her DukeEngage and study abroad experience.

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ICS Student Spotlight: Ezgi Ustundag '16

    • ezgiustundagbannerfinal

February 18, 2016

Background info: From Ames, IA (Ames High School), International Comparative Studies major (T’16) concentrating on the Middle East, Markets & Management Studies certificate, University Scholars Program merit scholarship recipient.

After finishing high school, I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do during my undergraduate career but I was certain that I wanted to experience and learn as much as possible. While my primary academic interests lay in studying the Middle East and particularly Turkey, I did not want to limit my studies to a single discipline; I wanted to take classes in literature, history, economics, computer science, public policy, and other departments. Fortunately, I found a home base in the ICS department very early in my career, as I took the gateway the second semester of my freshman year. The program proved to be exactly what I was looking for: the curricular requirements were stringent enough to narrow my path of study but still encompassed enough departments and disciplines to allow me to explore different areas of the university throughout my four years. The major also fit very well with my certificate in Markets and Management Studies and a study abroad experience with Duke in Istanbul at Boğaziçi University.

Jeopardy! also fits into my ICS story, as my interest in various subjects began when I was an avid Jeopardy! viewer and quiz bowl player throughout high school. I was fascinated by the amount of knowledge in the world and loved the thrill of learning something new, as well as the thrill of recalling a fact under pressure. Like ICS, the culture of Jeopardy! emphasizes the joy of learning and understanding the world (of course, in the case of a TV game show, some money is at stake!). I appeared on the show on October 1, 2015, after taking the online test and going through the audition process on a whim. From preparing to actually stepping behind the podium on Stage 10, the whole process was easily the most fun I had in my college career, and I documented both the experience and the outcome in this post for DukeToday (Spoiler: I placed second and walked away with $2,000 against Matt Jackson, a thirteen-time champion and one of the best contestants in the show's recent history).

Although Jeopardy! was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I find my time as an ICS major to have been even more valuable. This program has taught me how to read, integrate, and evaluate different sources of information effective essentially, my love of learning has been heightened and deepened during my studies. So while pulling out random facts at pub trivia nights is still a lot of fun for me, I know I will use the skills I picked up as an ICS major every day after I graduate from Duke.

    • jeopardy ezgi tek 1
    • ezgi ustundag ad 10 01 15 sn7139
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ICS Annual Lecture: Sanjeev Khagram

From the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street to Greece:

The Transnational Political Economy of Government Accountability

The  International Comparative Studies Annual Lecture by Sanjeev Khagram

Thursday, April 12th, 4:30 PM in Social Sciences 136

A reception follows.

Parking is available to Duke employees in the Allen lot after 4 pm (swipe your ID card to enter).

Co-sponsored by African & African American Studies, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies, Cultural Anthropology, Dean of Humanities, Dean of Social Sciences, Economics, Literature, Office of Global Strategies and Programs, Office of the Provost, Sociology, South Asian Studies and Women's Studies.

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"Illness and the Flow of Life: Notes on the Urban Poor in Delhi"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Veena Das, Johns Hopkins University

"Illness and the Flow of Life: Notes on the Urban Poor in Delhi"

3.00 pm, Friedl 225, Duke East Campus

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Ragtime, Featuring ICS Major Robert Francis

    • Ragtime

Presenter: Theater Studies
Sponsors: Theater Studies, Dance Program, Music, and Hoof 'n' Horn (HnH)
Location: Bryan Center Reynolds Industries Theater
Cost: $10/general, $5 students and sr. citizens,, 919-684-4444 or at the door
When: Thursday April 5th, 7:30 p.m.Friday April 6th, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 7th, 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 12, 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 13, 7:30 p.m. , Saturday, April 14, 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. , Sunday, April 15, 2 p.m.

The Duke University Departments of Theater, Music and Dance in collaboration with Hoof 'n' Horn proudly present the Tony Award-winning musical Ragtime. Based on the 1975 novel by E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime offers a unique combination of modern musical theater with a classic American music. Ragtime follows three groups in collision at the dawn of 20th Century America. The lives of a family of upper-class WASPs in suburban New York, an African-American couple in Harlem, and a small immigrant family in the Lower East Side all intersect as they all search for success in America. Exhilarating and exciting, Ragtime offers a story for the whole family. Please join us in celebrating this unprecedented partnership as Duke students and faculty pay homage to a fusion of marches, cakewalks, gospel and of course, ragtime.

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Regions and Regionalism Conference

    • APSI

Regions and Regionalism: (East) Asia in a Global World
Sponsors: Asian Pacific Studies Institute (APSI) and Provost's Office
When: Monday, March 12, 2012: 9:30 am - 6:00 pm and Tuesday, March 13, 2012: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Location: Rubenstein Hall 200 - Map
Cost: Free and open to public
Contact: Registration requested to Debbie Hunt:
Phone: 684-2604

The two day international workshop will bring together members of a long-term faculty network between Duke and several universities in Germany, Korea, and Singapore. The network investigates regions and regionalism as key topics of academic research which have emerged during the past decade. The conference investigates the regional configurations of "East Asia" on three levels. Firstly, regional ties: after all, processes of interaction and exchange - of goods, people, and ideas - were not confined to nation-states or other political realms, and at the same time they did not necessarily extend across the globe. Secondly, regionalist projects: reaching back into the early modern period, various kinds of historical actors have pursued larger regionalist visions, for example ideas of an East Asian cultural unity. Thirdly, it investigates modern processes of regionalization, at least to some extent, as the products of larger processes of global integration.Organized by Professor Dominic Sachsenmaier.

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"Clinical Encounters and Citizenship Projects in South India"

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lucinda Ramberg, Cornell University

"Clinical Encounters and Citizenship Projects in South India"

3.00 pm, Friedl 225, Duke East Campus
    • states of survival
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Reel Revolutions

AMES Presents 2012  REEL REVOLUTIONS Film Series

The series is offered in collaboration with the Centers of Middle East & Islamic Studiesas part of Duke’s 2012 programming about the Arab Spring

All films screened in Griffith Theater, Bryan Center, Duke at 7:30P

    • Reel Revolutions
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Arab Springs: Revolution and Repression

Annual Duke-UNC Middle East Studies Conference

16-18 February 2012  

Duke University

Free and open to the public.


Conference Program Overview
    • arab spring 2 240 301 s
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“Racializing Area Studies, Defetishizing China”

“Racializing Area Studies, Defetishizing China”

Shu-mei Shih, Professor of Comparative Literature, Asian Languages and Cultures, and Asian American Studies, 
University of California-Los Angeles

Thursday, January 26, 2012, from 3:00–4:30 
Franklin Center, 240
2204 Erwin Road, Duke University  
    • shu mei shih
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"Property, Rights, and the Constitution of Indian Biomedicine: Notes from the Gleevec Case"Title

Friday, January 27, 2012

Kaushik Sunder Rajan, University of Chicago

"Property, Rights, and the Constitution of Indian Biomedicine: Notes from the Gleevec Case"

3.00 pm, Friedl 225, Duke East Campus
    • states of survival
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Quebec Film Series

Incendies | 130 minutes
Denis Villeneuve (2010)
January 23 | 7:00pm
Griffith Theater | Bryan Center
Les Amours Imaginaires
(Heartbeats) | 95 mins
Xavier Dolan (2010)
January 30 | 7:00pm
Griffith Theater | Bryan Center
Route 132 | 113 mins
Louis Bélanger (2010)
January 31 | 7:00pm
Griffith Theater | Bryan Center
    • quebec film series
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Screening and Talk, Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary

Wetback follows undocumented migrant workers from their home in Nicaragua across Central America and Mexico to the U.S.-Mexican border, meeting many other migrants along the way. They encounter gangs, vigilantes, corrupt law enforcement, physical danger, and safe havens in their attempt to be among the 10% of migrants who actually make it all the way into North America. The migrants, those who aid them, and those who turn them back all give their own perspectives on how this vast, illegal system trafficking in cheap labor and dreams actually functions, and what its terrible costs and perils are.

Immediately following the screening join us for a panel discussion including North Carolina Rep. Paul Luebke (D), 2011 SAF Fellow Nandini Kumar, and SAF Advocacy and Organizing Director, Nadeen Bir.

Cosponsored by Student Action with Farmworkers and BorderWork(s).

January 24, 2012 7:00 pm

Free and open to the public, with free drinks and popcorn and free parking
The Garage, Smith Warehouse, 114 S. Buchanan St. (map)
92 minutes
In Spanish and English with English subtitles

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Screening of "Marx Reloaded"

In association with the Marxism & New Media Conference (Jan 20-21, 2012): Marx Reloaded

January 19th, 6 PM, Richard White Lecture Hall

  • Introduced by Duke PhD candidate Abraham Geil!
  • Skype discussion to follow with director Jason Barker,moderated by Shilyh Warren, PhD!
    Reception to follow!

Sponsored by the Program in Literature and the Program in the Arts of the Moving Image (AMI)

    • marxreloaded flyer sm
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Screening of "18 Days"


January 18th, 7:30 PM, Griffith Film Theater

18 days. That is what it took for Egyptians to change the course of
history. It is also the title of a collective work on the revolution of
January 25th in Egypt. A group of ten directors, including two
women, and their crews agreed to act fast and shoot ten short films
about the revolution. Ten stories they have experienced, heard or
imagined. With the participation of wellknown
filmmakers such as Yousri Nasrallah, and the new generation of Egyptian filmmakers
like Kamla Abu Zikr, and Ahmad Abdalla, 18 DAYS includes films
about kidnapped revolutionaries, love torn apart and brought
together by the action, citizens motivated to participate and others
frightened enough to lock themselves inside and listen.

Sponsored by AMES and AMI

Free and Open to the Public

    • 18days flyer sm
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ICS as a "Real" Major

    • ics program

In his Chronicle column Musings on majors, Scott Briggs relates how an ICS student changed his perception of "real" and "fake" majors at Duke.

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Duke Internships in India: Summer 2012

ICS Logo Contest $250 for Winner

Final Entries due January 20, 2012

email to:

    • ics logo contest
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Opportunity for ICS Students:BorderWorks

    • haiti original

New Opportunity for ICS Students:  BorderWork(s)

The new Humanities Lab BorderWork(s) draws together critical perspectives from the humanities, social sciences, and policy studies to explore the acts of division and demarcation — representational and material, symbolic, political-economic and cultural — that have parceled up the inhabited world into bounded communities that arrest, interrupt and/or redirect the free flow of humanity, goods, ideas, images, indeed imagination itself. Investigators in the Lab will study the human consequences of cartographic divisions (broadly conceived) and the materialization of these divisions in wall- building, both literal and virtual.

ICS students can sign up for independent/group study with Robin Kirk, ICS Associate Director and Director of the Duke Human Rights Center.  The course (CulAnth 186B.18) can be used to fulfill ICS requirements.

To find out more about participating in this intiative, email

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