Cook Center to Launch Global Inequalities Program in Spring 2020

This spring, the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity will launch a Global Inequalities program through Duke Immerse, a semester-long cluster of four undergraduate courses that focuses on inequality in the U.S. and China. The interdisciplinary program, one of five offered through the Duke Immerse education initiative, just wrapped up its application period on October 15 with a waitlist of interested students.

Across four seminar courses and individual research projects, Global Inequalities students will explore questions of social mobility and public policy in a wide range of topics, including employment, education, wealth, health, political participation, and legal treatment. Acceptance emails went out last week, and participating students range from first-year to senior. Total enrollment is expected to be around 14 students.

“We are thrilled to have such tremendous interest in the program. A concentrated four-course cluster can be challenging for students’ schedules, amid academic requirements and their individual areas of study,” said Adam Hollowell, senior research associate at the Cook Center. “Having such a strong cohort of students indicates the rising undergraduate investment in the study of social inequality.”

Global Inequalities will feature four courses: Two are Global Inequalities Research Initiative (or GIRI) seminars, on the Racial and Ethnic Wealth Gap and Global Domestic Policy, to be taught by Cook Center director William A. Darity Jr., the Samuel DuBois Cook professor of public policy, African and African American studies, and economics at Duke. Hollowell will teach the third course, Ethics in an Unjust World.

The final course, titled China and Higher Education Access, will be taught by Kunfeng Pan, associate professor at the school of education at Renmin University in Beijing, China, and visiting scholar at the Cook Center in 2019-2020. Notably, the Global Inequalities program will include a ten-day research trip to China in February, during which students will visit Renmin University and have the chance to collaborate with scholars there.

As the global economy grows to become both more intertwined and more unequal, addressing these questions with an international lens will be increasingly important. Understanding inequality in the US and China is one piece of the Cook Center’s growing research into the context and scope of inequality around the world. This inaugural semester will engage students in first-hand experience with inequality research in the two countries that boast the largest economies in the world.

“This offering through Duke Immerse extends the Cook Center’s ongoing relationship with Renmin University and grows our commitment to researching inequality in a global context,” said Hollowell. “It is a remarkable opportunity for students and faculty, and we trust that it will generate exciting research to push public policy forward in the years to come.”