Rights & Identities in the Americas: Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples, and Contemporary Challenges (Fall 2019)

Exploring human rights principles within the context of migration and identity. 

The Americas are a historic crucible for the development of human rights principles. The region has witnessed devastating abuses; it has also given rise to compelling ideas about protection of rights, including the rights of indigenous communities, women, and families.

Rights & Identities in the Americas takes an interdisciplinary, integrated look at the history of human rights in the Americas, indigenous rights through the lens of language and culture, and connections between the state, family, gender and immigration. The program examines these issues on the ground in Durham and Mexico, where Dr. Liliana Paredes is conducting on-going research.  Students meet with and interview indigenous immigrant families who have settled in Durham, then visit the “feeder towns” in Mexico where these families came from and still maintain close ties. This paired focus will allow students to see rights questions “at home” while at the same time linking them to transnational issues and processes that are reshaping the relationship between North and South America.

Rights & Identities in the Americas
draws on the expertise of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), the Duke Human Rights Archive in the Rubenstein Library and the Duke Human Rights Center @the Franklin Humanities Institute.

Read the reflections of Spring 2016 students, as they studied indigenous rights, immigration policy and globalism with a peer cohort from la Universidad de las Americas Puebla (Mexico).

Prerequisites: Writing 101

Application: Applications are currently being accepted for Fall 2019! Download the application and submit the completed application to Robin Kirk (rights@duke.edu). Students are accepted on a rolling basis until 5pm on Thursday, March 21st, or until the Fall 2019 cohort is full. Contact Robin Kirk (rights@duke.edu) for more information. 

Course fee: $1,000; Duke provides additional grant aid to cover the cost of any course fee for all students receiving financial aid. The course fee is in addition to tuition, room and board. Contact Duke’s Karsh Office to Undergraduate Financial Support (finaid@duke.edu) for more information.

Lead Faculty

Robin Kirk
Faculty Co-Chair of the Duke Human Rights Center @ the Franklin Humanities Institute; Lecturer in Cultural Anthropology and International Comparative Studies

Liliana Paredes
Professor of the Practice, Romance Studies

Sarah Deutsch
Professor of History and Women’s Studies

Melissa A. Simmermeyer
Senior Lecturer of Romance Studies

Contact Robin Kirk (rights@duke.edu) or Emily Stewart (emily.stewart@duke.edu) to learn more.


Courses include:

  • Human Rights in the Americas CULANTH 245S-01 SEM (CCI, CZ, W); LATAMER 246S-01 SEM, HISTORY 242S-01 SEM
  • Family Rights/Human Rights HISTORY 389S-01 SEM (CCI, CZ, EI, SS); PUBPOL 346S-01 SEM
  • Special Topics: Research in Human Rights HISTORY 390S-01 SEM (CCI, CZ, R, W;) CULANTH 290S, PUBPOL 290S, ROMST 390S
  • Linguistic Rights in the Americas ROMST 389S-01 SEM (CCI, EI, SS); LINGUIST 389S-01 SEM

“DukeImmerse was one of the best decisions I made in my undergraduate education because it allowed me to create strong relationships with my professors and peers, explore a topic in depth and improve my research skills.” Elizabeth Barahona ’18

“DukeImmerse helped me grow not only as a student but as a person. It was the most rewarding educational experience I’ve ever had.” Lauren Kelly ’16

Meet the students from Spring 2016, Fall 2014, and Fall 2013.

Read an op-ed by 2016 participant Cole Wicker: With HB2, what it’s like to be gender fluid me in NC, and paper on The Human Rights Impacts of VAWA 2013 by Lauren Kelly.

Learn more about DukeImmerse.