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Robin Kirk

Professor of the Practice of Cultural Anthropology
Cultural Anthropology
Box 90403, Durham, NC 27708
114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Smith Warehouse B183, Durham, NC 27708


The core of my work is to understand and communicate new ideas of human rights, including young people in that conversation. In addition to founding Duke's Human Rights Certificate program for undergraduates, I explore human rights themes in my writing for adults and children. One of my goals for teaching is to ensure that students see human rights in what Eleanor Roosevelt once described as the "small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world ... Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere." One of my proudest achievements is to have worked in community to help launch the Pauli Murray Center, which seeks to use the legacy of this Durham daughter to examine the region’s past of slavery, segregation, and continuing economic inequality. My book, Righting Wrongs: 20 Human Rights Heroes from around the World, introduces young readers to some of the people who helped create modern human rights. I also write fantasy and science fiction as a way of exploring human rights themes in story.  "The Bond" fantasy trilogy imagines a female-led society determined to win peace though at the cost of the genocide of men. 

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Professor of the Practice of Cultural Anthropology · 2021 - Present Cultural Anthropology, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Co-Director of the Duke Human Rights Center at FHI · 2018 - Present John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, University Institutes and Centers

Education, Training & Certifications

Vermont College · 2014 M.F.A.
The University of Chicago · 1982 B.A.