Current GIRI Seminar

Spring 2021: Athletes and Activism

Global Inequality Research Initiative: Athletes and Activism will explore inequalities through study of the history of social protest in athletics and current protest movements in amateur and professional sports around the world. The lead instructor for the course is Solomon Hughes, PhD, and former men’s basketball player for the University of California, Berkeley. Through a series of virtual (remote) lectures, undergraduate and graduate students will engage with instructors and guest speakers in discussions surrounding the structural inequities that arise in amateur and professional athletics, recent disruptions to sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic and political resistance to anti-Black violence. Students will complete a semester-long research project of their choosing as part of the course.

Instructors: Solomon Hughes, Adam Hollowell, William “Sandy” Darity

Additional details: For the first time in Spring 2021, the Global Inequality Research course begins its service as the required capstone course for the newly launched Inequality Studies Minor at Duke. Now jointly listed as Public Policy 435S and Public Policy 645S, the course has increased capacity for students to expand their study of social inequality.

Program Description

The Global Inequality Research Initiative (GIRI) seminar is an interdisciplinary, vertically integrated research course that emphasizes a judicious application of mixed methods from the social sciences and humanities, including quantitative, qualitative, and archival research.

Cross-listed in multiple departments, GIRI facilitates integrated study and research across fields of social, historical, and political inequality. The course, typically offered once each semester, invites students to produce a major paper that will qualify for submission to a refereed journal in the area relevant to the focus of the study. Past GIRI seminar themes have included reparations, genetics and neuroscience, racism in Europe, and social determinants of health.

Program Goals

  • The goal of the class is to navigate the students through a rigorous process that introduces them to the research process. This includes some exposure to qualitative and quantitative methodology.  It introduces students to data gathering, cleaning, analysis, and presentation.  When students complete the course, they should have a better understanding of inequalities and its connection to the course’s topic.  An advanced undergraduate student or graduate student should gain value from this course.
  • In all Global Inequality Research Institute courses, the goal is to immerse students in open-ended research, only with the guidelines of exploring a component of the semester’s theme.
  • Students should not only be able to conduct research, but also share it. GIRI courses always conclude with a capstone conference, where students present their research in a poster or presentation format. The final component of sharing is the goal of having the research paper published in a Social Science journal.