Rights & Identities

“Duke Immerse has significantly impacted my life. Learning about the professional work my professors have done inspired me to pursue a career in one of their professions, journalism,”

-Isabella Szabolcs, Rights & Identities in the Americas, 2013

“At Duke, we studied the human rights work in the United States and Latin America.  In Chile, our coursework came to life as we met with individuals who personally experienced horrendous torture during the Pinochet regime and relatives of the disappeared.  We were inspired by the painstaking efforts of a variety of stakeholders, including student activists, to achieve systematic social change and ensure the wrongs of the past will not be repeated.”

-Nicole Daniels, Rights & Identities in the Americas, 2013

Rights & Identities in the Americas: Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples,

Spring 2013 student cohort, Chile

Spring 2013 student cohort, Chile

and Contemporary Challenges – Fall 2014, 2013 (CA290S, by permission only)

Lead Faculty: Robin Kirk, Faculty Co-Chair of the Duke Human Rights Center @ the Franklin Humanities Institute; Robert Korstad, Professor of Public Policy and  History; Liliana Paredes, Associate Professor of the Practice of Spanish and Director of the Spanish Language Program 

View the DukeImmerse: Rights & Identities video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pVFciFEUbE

The program is no longer accepting applications.

Note:  Students are required to pay a $800 program fee and participants must pay for roundtrip airfare between RDU and Santiago, Chile. Financial aid packages may be used to cover these costs.

DukeImmerse programs are comprised of four integrated courses centered on one theme. All interested Duke undergraduates who have completed Writing 101 are encouraged to apply.  The program includes a field-based study in Chile.

cherokee-nation-mainRights and Identities in the Americas is an intensive examination of rights history, thinking and action in the Americas (North and South), with a focus on indigenous peoples, minority communities and contemporary rights struggles. Our sites of study include North Carolina and Chile, including the Mapuche areas south of the capital, Santiago. Place is a key element of our inquiry (reservation vs. private land, museums, community centers and churches) and we will also incorporate indigenous leaders, activists, community leaders and artists and teachers into interactions with students. Indigenous rights claims have historically been powerfully centered on place, and we want students to have a tactile experience with the locations and histories that animate them. We will also be looking at how rights questions enter into issues around prisons, immigration and how minority communities are creatively working to express identity and strategies for social justice.

UnknownOur central research questions include how historic claims for rights, especially from indigenous peoples, have shaped contemporary Latin America and its relationship to the United States; how contemporary indigenous communities, including North Carolina’s Lumbee, use rights language as a way of forwarding their claims for federal recognition and their aspirations for continued cultural and social uniqueness; the differences between how North and South American minority communities approach rights language and a legacy of abuses and their quest for accountability; and how these communities have created ways of commemorating past abuses as a way of forwarding claims for social justice.

embera stinkfishStudents will complete public arts projects in Durham as a part of this suite of classes, including an individual and collective project (a photo mural, collective performance, dramatic reading, short documentary).

Participants will take a two-week long field work trip to Chile and engage in documentary and arts-related engagements in Durham during the semester.



  • zapatistas001History & Contemporary Policy Analysis of Human Rights in the United States & Canada – Robert Korstad (PubPol – CCI, EI, CZ, SS)
  • Human Rights in Latin America – Robin Kirk (CulAnth, PubPol, Hist – CCI, EI, W, SS)
  • Identity & Linguistic Rights – Liliana Paredes (Romance Studies, Linguistics – CCI, EI, SS, CZ)
  • Research in Human Rights – Robert Korstad & Robin Kirk (PubPol – CCI, EI, R, SS)

Public Policy will give major credit for one or more of these courses.

Contact Emily Stewart for more information: emily.stewart@duke.edu.

Chile, Spring 2013

Chile, Spring 2013

Chile, Spring 2013

Chile, Spring 2013