Duke Immerse: 

A signature education initiative of Duke University

GPS 2015 Cabbagetown

Governance, Policy & Society: Urban Affairs and Urban Politics in the American South and South Africa

Fall 2021

Researching urban life, governance, and policy-making in the American South and South Africa. There is space for one more student in this student cohort;  Duke Immerse will consider late applications on a case by case basis. Please contact Morgan Barlow (morgan.barlow@duke.edu) for more information and to apply.

By the year 2050, approximately 7 billion people will be living in cities worldwide. This makes it imperative that we not only think about how best to plan and build urban centers in terms of physical features and infrastructure, but that we also pay attention to how inhabitants interact and coexist in these environments, and how politics and public policy can significantly affect these human interactions.

The Governance, Policy, and Society (GPS) Duke Immerse theme is a research-intensive semester-long examination of politics, policymaking, and social interactions in urban settings. GPS uses three U.S. cities,  Atlanta, New Orleans, and Durham, and two cities in South Africa, Durban and Pietermaritzburg, as case studies and sites for student fieldwork. In both the U.S. and South Africa, racial and class divisions and group-based disparities remain prominent features of the urban landscape, despite the formal barriers of segregation having come down, 60 years ago in the U.S., and two-and-a-half decades ago in South Africa. The persistence of these various divisions and disparities has serious implications for community cohesion, race relations, public health, education, and general economic and social development. 

Along with these topics, GPS Duke Immerse participants examine issues such as gentrification, urban redevelopment, economic mobility, zoning, public safety enforcement, public-private initiatives, tourism and leisure, and political decision-making. An underlying premise of GPS is that comparative analyses provide an opportunity for expanding knowledge and understanding of patterns of social and economic deprivation. Such analyses also have the potential of suggesting policy reforms and prescriptions that could contribute to more cooperative group relations and enhance opportunities for all to have a fair chance at significant positive economic mobility.

This Duke Immerse has been offered since Fall 2013. A quarter of GPS students have gone on to write honors theses in public policy, political science and cultural anthropology.

Travel & Timeline: We don't yet know if any travel will be permitted this fall. If domestic travel is permitted and international travel is not, we will replace the South African cities with a third U.S. city.

Prerequisite: Writing 101

To apply: Duke Immerse will consider late applications on a case by case basis. Please contact Morgan Barlow (morgan.barlow@duke.edu) for more information and to apply. All students who are interested, no matter their documentation or citizenship status, are encouraged to apply; accommodations and opportunities will be made for students who are unable to travel internationally due to visa issues. 

Program Fee: $1,500; Duke provides additional grant aid to cover the cost of any program fee for all students receiving financial aid. The program fee offsets the cost of all curricular and co-curricular experiences in this Duke Immerse and is in addition to tuition, room, and board. Contact Duke's Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support (finaid@duke.edu) for more information.

Lead Faculty

Kerry L. Haynie
Associate Professor, Political Science & African and African American Studies; Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, Gender in the Social Sciences
Ralph B. Lawrence
Professor Emeritus of Government and Public Policy at the University of Kwazulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, & Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Duke University

Contact Kerry L. Haynie (klhaynie@duke.edu) or Duke Immerse (immerse@duke.edu) for more information.


Number Title Crosslistings Notes
AAAS 290-01 Special Topics: Developmental State/South Africa CCI, CZ, SS POLSCI 390-2-01 LEC, PUBPOL 290-02 Fall 2021
POLSCI 235S-01 SEM Comparative Urban Politics CCI, EI, SS PUBPOL 285S-01 SEM, ICS 213S-01 SEM, RIGHTS 235S-01, AAAS 234S-01 Fall 2021
POLSCI 236S-01 SEM Research Seminar in Urban Politics CCI, R, SS, W RIGHTS 236S-01, AAAS 237S-01 Fall 2021
POLSCI 319S-01 SEM US Comparative State Politics CCI, SS RIGHTS 319S-01 Fall 2021