Team KenaN`S - The Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University


Team KenaN`S - The Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University
Team KenaN’S
Spring 2016 Volume I
“The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned from Crete
had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the
time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old
planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger
timber in their places, in so much that this ship became a
standing example among the philosophers,
for the logical question of
things that grow; one side
holding that the ship
remained the same, and the
other contending that it was
not the same.”
Letter from the Editor:
You’ve just picked up Team Kenan’s first zine.
Understandably, you have a few questions right
now. Let’s knock ‘em out of the way and get into it.
Who/What/When/Where is Team
Right Flap
What is TK?
We’re a bunch of kids (like you!)
that work over at
the Kenan Institute for Ethics in West Duke (on East)
to instigate conversation around ethics on campus.
What am I holding right now?
Well, a zine—a little something we put together,
complete with a bunch of short articles and graphics to float your boat.
Ok, what’s it about?
Ah, finally. So each month, we pick a new topic and
explore the vast unchartered lands with opinion
pieces and personal anecdotes. For this month, we’ll
be taking you aboard the Ship of Theseus.
We include stories on how the identities of individuals, groups, and institutions are evolving, so keep flipping!
And follow us on Twitter, or sign away
your email to our listserv for the rest of
your life so you can keep up with
Team Kenan’s goings on. Forever.
Check us out at:
@teamkenan on Twitter
Left Flap
That’s a cool story
and all...
Our man Theseus is sailing his ship from
Crete back home to Athens—but wood rots
in water, and must be replaced.
There’s not too much debate that it’s still the
same ship after the first few planks have
been replaced. But give it a few years and
just about every single plank has been
replaced. Is it still the same ship? Here’s
another wrench in the gears: What if all the
original planks were saved and another
ship constructed from them? Which one is
the original ship?
That’s what we’re hoping you’ll try
to figure out after our journey
through the next flip of the page.
The Ugly Cry
A month ago, I did something that is rare for a Duke
student: I read a novel.
For pleasure.
On a Saturday night, I opened up my Kindle, sat
down with some cheese and wine and read an ugly
cry book. I haven’t cried like that since reading The
Fault in Our Stars over sophomore winter break.
There is something about a love story that always
gets me. It doesn’t matter if it’s Romeo and Juliet, The
Fault in Our Stars, A Farewell to Arms, The Great
Gatsby, Titanic… I’ll spend the entire story hoping
for the couple’s relationship to prevail against
everything, only to be crying when (inevitably)
someone dies.
This novel was one of those stories. (I am purposefully not stating the title so when I discuss the plot, I
don’t spoil the book, but nonetheless SPOILERS.)
My sorority is not what it used to be.
Two years ago, I joined the charter class of a sorority.
We were a group of women with a wide range of
passions and backgrounds united by a certain
defiance—for the Greek system, for the school’s
system, for all those who had judged us as individuals or as a group—but also by a giddiness at the
prospect of being a part of those same institutions.
We were naïve and too cool, making fun of rituals
and referring to each other as “sisters” unironically.
Friends and strangers alike questioned me about our
group, looking for gossip about the newest sorority,
which they undoubtedly expected to fail.
Less than two semesters after I joined, I felt comfortable having a conversation
with nearly every woman in
Will is our hero, a man who becomes a paraplegic
when the book begins, and decides that his life is
no longer worth living. He decides to commit
physician-assisted suicide at a future date. In the
meantime he falls in love with our heroine, and
she with him. But it doesn’t change his mind.
Love doesn’t prevail. Hence the ugly cry.
The fact Will decided to die made it worse than
those other ugly cry books. He decided to die
rather than live with a love I spent the
entire book being convinced was real.
But I wasn’t mad at him. This character consciously told the
Disney-Happily-Ever-After to f*** off, but I forgave him.
His life was no longer his. It wasn’t even a shell of what it was. It
was still his body and his mind, but not his life. And he decided
it wasn’t worth living and killed himself.
But did that make it okay?
It’s one thing for life to get in the way
of love—feuding parents and
miscommunication, cancer, a car
crash, a piece of wood that could
definitely have fit two people—but it
was another matter for the hero to be
the ruin of a happy ending.
A Certain Defiance
the group. The juniors and seniors became the role
models and older sisters that I looked to for cues despite
the unmistakable separation that exists between mentor
and mentee. These women had created a Program II
curriculum in art and biology, or joined the FBI
post-graduation, or got hired a startup in Boston, or
went on to travel the world. These were the kind of
unapologetically unique and driven people I wanted to
be like.
Only two years later, we are a different organization.
Two classes of seniors have graduated and been
replaced by new pledge classes that mostly joined
through the formal recruitment process. This, I think, is
what has changed us.
Was it okay for him to make a decision? Was it okay for
him to throw away this potential life with someone he
loved? Just because his life wasn’t what it used to be?
Before I read this book, I would have said no. It’s
wrong. But this author and this character made me
at least understand why the character ended his
life and not hate the character for doing so.
Isn’t that why we read? To experience a
new perspective that may even change
what we thought before?
When I joined, I joined almost by accident and found a
community of outsiders. These younger women joined
intentionally. It’s cliché to say, but I never saw myself in
a sorority. These women obviously did.
It’s not my intention to delegitimize their membership,
nor do I believe they are in any way responsible for
what I see as the dilution of the original spunk of my
sorority. I mean to point out that what began as a haven
for those who fell through the cracks created by the
flaws of the Greek system can no longer be that way,
because it’s been absorbed into that system.
A little more than a year from now, I’ll graduate and
none of the original charter class will remain at my
school. Is my sorority the same organization? By name,
certainly. By any other
I’m not so sure.
Have you seen the glory of the new Ghostbusters movie trailer? Or heard the magnificent
Hamilton soundtrack?
Women are the funny scientists kicking ghost
butt. People of color are the intelligent and
eloquent Founding Fathers. The stories haven’t
changed, but the gender and race of the characters have changed.
In changing those defining aspects of the
character, the stories feel fundamentally
different. These new actors revolutionize the
narratives but have not changed the content.
The original Ghostbusters was amazing, but I’m
more excited to see this new one. It’s with
women! Women in STEM! Funny women! Kate
Hamilton is simply revolutionary (pun intended). Its commitment to diversity gave people of
color an unprecedented claim to our Founding
Fathers’ stories. It didn’t change the history but
infused the story with new perspectives and
new voices. This doesn’t look or sound like an
American Revolution musical and that makes is
all the more exciting.
The stories are inherently amazing. The diversity adds a new level of social and political
awareness. This new diversity makes the
stories accessible to the people who were
originally excluded: people of color with
history and women with comedy and science.
Even if the story is the same, there’s this new
perspective and voice for the audience to
experience. The story feels special and new.

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