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The Unknown Soldier by David Jay



The Unknown Soldier by David Jay

The Unknown Soldier by David Jay

Fredric Jameson Gallery, Duke's East Campus
 November 7 - 17, 2017

Gallery Hours:
MON - FRI, 9 am - 6 pm
~ Open as well for scheduled talks and events ~

From November 7 – 17, 2017, Duke University’s Forum for Scholars and Publics will host THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER, the groundbreaking photography exhibit created by award-winning photographer David Jay. The exhibit will be held in the Fredric Jameson Gallery on the first floor of the Friedl Building on Duke’s East Campus.

I hope the images transcend the narrow and simplistic confines of “war” and encourage us to examine the way we engage each other – both friend and stranger – at its most basic, day-to-day level. —David Jay

THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER is a series of large-scale photographs of young and severely wounded soldiers returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Jay photographed his subjects in military hospitals, in their homes, and with their families, in an attempt to capture their lives following their injuries. “Ultimately,” writes Jay, THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER “is not about war. It presents an opportunity to open a dialogue about issues we are not necessarily comfortable with … and also issues that we are responsible for. The images can be uncomfortable for the viewer. It forces us to confront our fears and inhibitions about life, death, sexuality, sickness, relationships, etc. Reality is not always pretty. This is reality. Let’s address it.”

Find more information at

The 'Free' Market, Public Goods, and the Making and Unmaking of Black Lives


Banner image credit: "Private Property" by Nathan O'nions, licensed uncer CC by 2.0

FSP | The 'Free' Market, Public Goods, and the Making and Unmaking of Black LivesFriday, October 13, 2017

Full Frame Theater (American Tobacco Campus)

Noon - 1:00 pm

Light refreshments served after the discussion

For this event, we are requesting registration (still free, still open to everyone until all the spots are filled). Please register here.

Join us for a discussion with Johns Hopkins University Professor Lester Spence about the ways inequality, government, entrepreneurship, and private investment impact black communities. This discussion will be moderated by Duke University Professor Adriane Lentz-Smith.

Over the past decade Professor Spence has published articles on American institutional legitimacy in the wake of the contentious 2000 Presidential election, the effects of long-term black political empowerment on black participation, the role of media narratives on black attitudes about HIV/AIDS, and the determinants of support for black nationalism. But with his first and second books (2011 W.E.B. DuBois Distinguished Book Award Winner Stare in the Darkness: The Limits of Hip-hop and Black Politics and Knocking the Hustle: Against the Neoliberal Turn in Black Politics) he’s become particularly interested in studying the causes and consequences of growing inequality within black communities.

Copies of Knocking the Hustle will be for sale at the event by The Regulator Bookshop.

Cosponsored by the Forum for Scholars and Publics; the Department of African & African American Studies; the Center for Arts, Digital Culture, and Entrepreneurship; the Duke Council on Race and Ethnicity; Black Wall Street Homecoming; and Scalawag.

The Women's March: The Long View


Monday, February 6, 2017

Forum for Scholars and Publics (Old Chemistry Building 011)

12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Light lunch served

On Saturday, January 21st, massive demonstrations took place in 660 cities in the United States and throughout the world in one of the largest days of global protest in modern history. Join us for a wide-ranging panel discussion with Duke University scholars Laura Micham, Jocelyn Olcott, Deondra Rose, and Ara Wilson on the Women's March. We will discuss the place of the event within longer histories of feminist organizing, the cultural and symbolic politics at play in the march, its broader political and policy implications, and the possible futures of the movement. The event will be moderated by Laurent Dubois.

The event will take place at the Forum for Scholars & Publics, 011 Old Chemistry Building on Duke's West Campus.

For information on how to find us and where to park visit this page.

A light lunch will be available for all participants starting at 11:45. No registration is required.

Co-sponsored by the Forum for Scholars & Publics, the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, and the Program in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies at Duke University.

Satire Under Siege





We apologize for the inconvenience, but the heavy rains on Sunday and Monday caused damage to our seminar room, and we're working to repair this as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

12:00 pm - 1:15 pm

Forum for Scholars and Publics (Old Chemistry Building Room 011)

Light lunch served at 11:45 am

Cartoonists are on the front line of freedom of expression around the world today. They employ a very potent tool - ridicule -  to puncture the pomposity of the powerful. But the powerful don’t often appreciate the joke. We will talk today with two of the globe’s most effective cartoonists and discuss the challenges of being a satirist battling repressive political regimes. Kevin "Kal" Kallaugher will moderate this discussion with Godfrey Mwampembwa "Gado" of Kenya and Rayma Suprani of Venezuela.

A prelude to the Duke-AAEC Political Cartoon & Satire Festival being held at Duke Sept. 22-24. More info about the festival can be found here.





Thursday, October 6, 2016

12:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Lunch served after talk

Full Frame Theater [Orange Power Plant Gallery icon] | Parking Info

FB RSVP (optional)

Join us at the Full Frame Theater for a conversation on activism and spoken word with Saul Williams, moderated by Mark Anthony Neal. Lunch will be provided after the conversation in the Power Plant Gallery. This conversation is followed by Saul Williams' performance with the Mivos Quartet on Friday, October 7 at 8:00 p.m. in the Nelson Music Room on East Campus. 

A part of the Talking Music: Conversations with Scholars, Writers, Archivists, and Artists series, co-sponsored by Duke Performances and the Forum for Scholars and Publics. This installment in the series is also co-sponsored by Left of Black: A Black Studies for a Mobile Digital Network, the Center for Arts, Digital Culture & Entrepreneurship (CADCE), and The Power Plant Gallery. (The Power Plant Gallery is an initiative of the Center for Documentary Studies and the Master of Fine Arts in Experimental and Documentary Arts at Duke University.)  

Presented as part of Duke Performances’ Hip-Hop Initiative, made possible, in part, with support from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation. 

Musical Passage


In 1688 a British naturalist and physician, Hans Sloane, visited the Caribbean colonies, spending the majority of his time in Jamaica, where he practiced medicine and collected cultural and ecological artifacts. Years later, in 1707, he published a narrative of his travels titled Voyage to the Islands. The book includes of the earliest and most substantial records of early African diasporic music in the Americas, including several pieces of musical notation, and the earliest known image of a banjo.

Over the centuries, African-descended performers would revolutionize music the world over, but few records exist of their earliest performances under bondage. The musical notation in Sloane’s book, and the accompanying descriptive passages lend insight into the complex world of music in Jamaican slave society.

In Musical Passage: Voyage to 1688 Jamaica, historian Laurent Dubois, composer David K. Garner, and literary scholar Mary Caton Lingold tell the story of this rare document alongside recordings that interpret the fascinating music. They highlight role of “Mr. Baptiste,” the unknown musician tasked with the writing of the notation, arguing that he may have been a freed black performer native to the colonies, and a composer. The website makes it possible to engage with the music of New World Africans whose enduring legacy fell silent in the historical record for far too long.

To access the site, visit The creators welcome feedback, questions, and musical interpretations of the pieces via Twitter @musical_passage or email.

Read more from Duke Today and from project co-creator Mary Caton Lingold in her blog post for FSP.

Read more about the project in an essay written for Duke Magazine by FSP director and Musical Passage co-creator Laurent Dubois. 

Update January 2017: Musical Passage was selected for Slate's list of 5 great digital history projects of 2016.

Published by SX Archipelagos: A Small Axe Journal of Digital Practice, the project was funded by the Forum for Scholars and Publics and the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University.


Musical Passage Jamaica Workshop 

On March 17, 2017, a group of musicians gathered at the Institute of Jamaica in Kingston. They were invited by Matthew Smith, Chair of the Department of History and Archaeology at UWI-Mona, and Herbie Miller, Director of the Jamaica Music Museum. The goal of the gathering was to have the musicians interpret songs from Seventeenth Century Jamaica that are presented and interpreted at the site Each video in these series shows them listening to and then interpreting one of these songs. 

Musicians: Earl “Chinna” Smith and Inna de Yard, with special guests Anthony “Sangie” Davis, Maroghini, Vivian “Scotty” Scott, and Samuel “Time” Williams.

Radio Haiti Lives Web Project


A selection of recordings from the archives of Radio Haiti have been released as part of the newly-launched website, The site currently features over 50 digitized audio recordings from the Radio Haiti Archives, a brief history of Radio Haïti-Inter, and historical background on the major themes covered in the recording. More recordings will continue to be added, as well as interactive content, such as timelines and maps, which will contextualize the recordings in the larger picture of 20th century Haitian history. 

The clips have been selected and digitized from the Radio Haiti Archives, donated to Duke University's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library by Michéle Montas in April 2013. Over the course of several years, the entire donation will be digitized. The project will result in the preservation of the comprehensive archives of Radio Haïti-Inter, the voice of Haitian democracy from the station’s genesis in the 1960s to its closure in 2003.

Listen to Michéle Montas, Laurent Dubois, and Laura Wagner discuss the project on The State of Things

FSP@PPG: Creative Responses to Nuclear War


February 15, 2018
12 pm - 1:30 pm

Power Plant Gallery
American Tobacco Campus
320 Blackwell Street
Durham, NC 27701

View Map | Parking Info

This discussion will focus on the intersection of activism and art in response to the threat of nuclear war. Held in conjunction with the Power Plant Gallery's exhibit of artist Erin Johnson’s The Way Things Can Happen, which revisits the 1983 made-for-tv movie The Day After, the discussion will include Erin Johnson, UNC-Chapel Hill artist and professor elin O’Hara slavick, Durham-based freelance photographer and activist Jenny Warburg, and self-described "southern out black lesbian social justice activist" Mandy Carter. In addition to looking back to reactions to nuclear proliferation in the 1980s, we'll talk about the role of documentary and experimental arts in activism, connections and disjunctions among anti-war activism of the past and today's local social movements, and the role of women in documenting and resisting state-sponsored violence.

Photo credit: Erin Johnson, The Way Things Can Happen.

Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom

Photo credit: Visionary Aponte installation view by Yolanda Navas.

Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom focuses on an extraordinary - and now lost - historical artifact: a "Book of Paintings" created by José Antonio Aponte, a free black carpenter, artist, and former soldier who was also the leader of an ambitious antislavery movement in Cuba during the Age of Revolution. During his trial, Aponte was forced to provide testimony describing each of the pictures in his book, which portrayed a wide array of subjects, from Biblical scenes to landscapes to episodes in the history of Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Using those descriptions, 15 contemporary artists working in painting, drawing, sculpture, video, mixed media, and textile have reimagined Aponte's book for our present, inviting us to thinnk about the role of art and history in shaping social and political change.

José Bedia, Leonardo Benzant, Sanford Biggers, Juan Roberto Diago, Edouard Duval Carrié, Alexis Esquivel, Teresita Fernández, Fabiola Jean-Louis, Nina Angela Mercer, Clara Morera, Glexis Novoa, Marielle Plaisir, Asser Saint-Val, Jean-Marcel St. Jacques, and Renée Stout.

Curated by:
Édouard Duval Carrié, Tosha Grantham, Marie Vickles, Ada Ferrer, Linda Rodríguez, and Laurent Dubois.

Exhibit Schedule

Little Haiti Cultural Center, Miami, FL
December 8, 2017 - January 20, 2018

New York University, King Juan Carlos of Spain Center
February 21, 2018 - May 22, 2018

Duke University
Fall 2018

Recent Press

BOMB  |  Monica Uszerowicz  |  Jan 15, 2018

Reanimating History: Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom

It was a warm spring day in Havana when Spanish authorities recklessly searched the home of José Antonio Aponte, eager to implicate his role in a slave uprising. In what became known as the "Aponte Conspiracy" of 1812, a group of assembled slaves and free people of color set fire to several sugar mills, the first step in their plan to overthrow the plantation system. The government swiftly ended it. Aponte, who reportedly organized the rebellion, was a free black carpenter, military activist, and—it was soon discovered—an artist continue reading >>

The ABCs of Medical Translation


Thursday, March 1, 2018
10:15 am - 11:15 am

Forum for Scholars and Publics
Duke's West Campus Quad
011 Old Chem
Map & Directions

The translation of medical documents is a highly complex, demanding, and regulated endeavor. Medical translators must have excellent knowledge of their working language pairs and should continuously cultivate an in-depth understanding of the cultural differences of various countries. They must also achieve mastery of medical terms and their meaning, and must possess first-rate writing skills in their working languages.

Medical translators must have strong research, analysis, and reading skills and a profound knowledge of the range of medical terminology for translators and medical concepts. In addition, medical translators must be able to access appropriate reference materials and resources. Finally, they must fully understand the ethical issues and key concerns of health care.

Erin Lyons will speak on the basics of medical translation, in an interactive presentation designed for non-experts. She will share some of the challenges she has faced, and will incorporate examples from several languages.

This event is organized by Joan Munné and Melissa Simmermeyer, Lecturers in the Department of Romance Studies, and has been made possible with the support of the Forum for Scholars and Publics, the Mary D.B.T. and J.H. Semans International Exchange Fund, the Trinity Language Committee, Duke Service-Learning, the Spanish Language Program, and Romance Studies at Duke University.

Visit for more information.


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