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The Past, Present, & Future of the Electoral College


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

12:00 - 1:15 pm

Forum for Scholars and Publics (Old Chem Room 011)

Light lunch served starting at 11:45

Join us for a discussion with political scientist John Aldrich and historian Reeve Huston about the role of the electoral college in US politics. Why and how was it created? What have been the justifications for it and arguments against it? What is its role in contemporary politics? Are there feasible alternatives for the future? 


Gallery Talk: Artist Mel Chin and Author Roy Scranton


Banner image: Mel Chin, Terrapine Carolina (Hillbilly Armor), 2005. Photo by John Lucas.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Nasher Museum of Art

2:00 - 3:00 pm

Join us for a discussion about climate change, war, and questions of responsibilty and sustainability, with artist Mel Chin and author Roy Scranton.

This discussion is presented in collaboration with the Nasher Museum of Art.

Both Chin and Scranton are participating in other related programs at Duke:

Mel Chin's work, Terrapene Carolina (Hillbilly Armor), is included in the Nasher's current exhibit, Southern Accent: Seeking the American South in Contemporary Art. An interview with him can be heard in their podcast.

Roy Scranton will discuss his recently released novel, War Porn, at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham at 7:00 pm on November 18. He first visited the Forum for Scholars and Publics in March 2016 and talked with Jennifer Ahern-Dodson about his writing. He also recently published an essay in the New York Times about the future implications of America's failure to prepare for catastrophic storms along the Gulf Coast.

Admission to the Nasher Museum is free to all active duty military personnel and military veterans with I.D. 


The Jemima Code


Thursday, October 20, 2016

6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Location: Kreps and Lyndhurst Galleries, Center for Documentary Studies


Join us for a reception, artist's talk, and book signing with Toni Tipton-Martin and the Jemima Code exhibit. 

Women of African descent have contributed to America’s food culture for centuries, but their rich and varied involvement and expertise is still overshadowed by the demeaning stereotype of an illiterate “Aunt Jemima” who cooked mostly by natural instinct. Culinary journalist Toni Tipton-Martin spent years amassing one of the world’s largest private collections of cookbooks published by African American authors, seeking to discover the true role of black women in the creation of American, and especially southern, cuisine, and to reclaim their skills and knowledge from this culinary caricature.

Tipton-Martin’s Jemima Code exhibition at the Center for Documentary Studies (September 22–November 5, 2016) features the first known photographs of African American cooks along with interactive installments, cookbooks, and other related ephemera. The exhibit builds upon her award-winning book, The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbookswhich offers firsthand evidence of African American cooks’ impact on American food, families, and communities.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Documentary Studies and the Forum for Scholars and Publics. 

Words and Music: A Conversation about "Project Orfeo"


Friday, September 23, 2016

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

LUNCH & DISCUSSION: Old Chemistry Building Room 116 *NOTE NEW LOCATION*

Lunch available beginning at 11:45 a.m.

Join us for a casual discussion with novelist Richard Powers, violist Jonathan Bagg, and composer Scott Lindroth about collaborations between musicians and writers, and these artists' experience working together on "Project Orfeo", a mixed-media concert that combines readings by Powers from his 2014 novel, Orfeo, with music composed by Lindroth and performed by musicians including Bagg, the Horszowski Piano Trio, clarinetist Benjamin Fingland, and flutist Laura Gilbert.

Read the Boston Globe's coverage of "Project Orfeo".

A performance of Project Orfeo will take place on Sunday, September 25, at 4 pm in Baldwin Auditorium. More information may be found here. Powers' visit and the performance of Project Orfeo are co-sponsored by Duke University's Department of Music and the Humanities Futures Initiative at the Franklin Humanities Institute. Development of the Orfeo Project was supported by Electric Earth Concerts in Peterborough, NH, Avaloch Farm Music Institute in Boscawen, NH, and the Office of the Vice Provost for the Arts.

Witnessing War


Monday, April 11, 2016

noon - 1:15 pm

Forum for Scholars and Publics (Old Chem 011)

Light lunch served at 11:45

Join us for a discussion about "boots on the ground" in contemporary American military conflict. Duke Divinity School student and veteran Naval Officer Giovanna Meek moderates this conversation with acclaimed author and Army veteran Matt Gallagher about his experiences being a soldier and a writer. As an officer in the Army, Gallagher served in Iraq from 2007 to 2009. During six months of that time, he also maintained, under a pseudonym, a popular blog, "Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal", which was ultimately shut down by his superiors. Gallagher later published his blog as a memoir, and has continued to write about war in the form of newspaper commentaries, short stories, and his recently-published novel, Youngblood.

In this conversation, Meek will talk with Gallagher about the moral and ethical dilemmas faced by soldiers on the ground, the military/civilian divide in the United States, and the reasons for using different genres to write about war.

Copies of Youngblood are available for purchase at The Regulator Bookshop, 720 Ninth Street, Durham. On Monday evening, April 11 at 7 pm, Matt Gallagher and writer, Iraq war veteran, & active-duty Army officer Jessica Scott will be at The Regulator talking about how they write about war. More information here.


Border Story Fest: The Dominican Republic and Haiti


Header image: 2014 Border of Lights Art Installation by Johannil Napoleon, Previous Artist-in-Residence for Mariposa Foundation
Photo by Edison Suero, Director of MOSCTHA (Movimiento Socio Cultural para los Trabajadores Haitianos)

Update: Read our blog post about this event!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Forum for Scholars and Publics 

12:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Light lunch served at 11:45 a.m.

Join for a conversation about the history of the border between the Domincian Republic and Haiti.

How is it that borders perform? Two scholars who have written works of theatre about the Dominican and Haitian border will be joining us in a conversation. Novelist and playwright Évelyne Trouillot (Université d'Etat d'Haïti) and historian Edward Paulino (CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice) will discuss why they chose the form of theatre to write about this topic. Through characters and the personification of the border itself, Professor Trouillot's play, The Blue of the Island, and Professor Paulino's one-man show, Eddie's Perejil, explore the shared history and present-day tension between both countries. These theatre practitioners will also reflect on a series of monologues about the 1937 Parsley Massacre that will be performed at Duke the evening prior to this panel. (Performance March 29 @ 6:30pm, Smith Warehouse, FHI Garage). The event will be moderated by Duke PhD student, Nehanda Loiseau (Romance Studies, Francophone Theatre). We look forward to an enriching conversation.

Co-sponsored by Duke University's Department of Romance Studies, the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute, Haiti Lab, the Forum for Scholars and Publics, Duke's Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill “Telling Our Stories of Home” conference.

Additionally, Nehanda Loiseau directed and produced a series of monologues centered about the DR-Haitian Border:

Talking Music: A Conversation with Blitz the Ambassador and Yaba Blay


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Forum for Scholars and Publics (Old Chem 011)

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

Light lunch served.

Ghanaian-born, Brooklyn-based rapper Blitz the Ambassador spoke with Dr. Yaba Blay, Visiting Professor at North Carolina Central University, about his career and hip-hop culture today. The two covered Afropolitanism, urban hip-hop, and Blitz’s unique trajectory born in Ghana, raised in Brooklyn. The conversation preceded Blitz the Ambassador's concert at 8:00 p.m. at Motorco Music Hall, organized by Duke Performances.
Blitz just completed his film project 'diasporadical trilogy' and is excited to discuss the themes in the films. Here are links to the three videos shot in Accra, Brooklyn, and Bahia exploring magical realism in the African diaspora:

Blitz’s ‘Native Sun’ film

Native Sun • A short film by Blitz the Ambassador & Terence Nance from Friends of MVMT on Vimeo.

A part of Talking Music: Conversations with Scholars, Writers, Archivists, and Artists, co-sponsored by Duke Performances and the Forum for Scholars and Publics. This installment in the series is also co-sponsored by the Duke Africa Initiative. Made possible, in part, with a grant from The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation.

The Beast: A Conversation with Óscar Martínez


The Duke Forum for Scholars and Publics and Frank Stasio from WUNC’s The State of Things participated in a discussion on Central American migration to North Carolina with author and journalist Óscar Martínez.

Every year, tens of thousands of Central Americans — from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador — make a perilous overland journey to the United States. They travel north through Mexico to the US border, riding on top of cargo trains known as “La Bestia” or “the Beast.”

Read the first chapter of The Beast here at Dazed: “Riding the Beast to El Norte”

English-language media coverage of The Beast:

NPR: “Riding ‘The Beast': Alt.Latino Interviews Salvadoran Journalist Óscar Martínez”

New York Times, December 17, 2013: “Clinging to a Monster in a Desperate Gambit.”

The Guardian, December 28, 2013: The Beast by Óscar Martínez; Midnight in Mexico by Alfredo Corchado”

The Los Angeles Review of Books, December 28, 2013: “Aaron Shulman on The Beast”

The Economist, October 26, 2013: “Beastly Business: Cruelty and Injustice on the Immigrant Trail”

Appropriate? Or Appropriation? Native American Fashion and Identity – Fashion Show and Panel


What makes some uses and representations of Native American cultural symbols appropriate, and others inappropriate? How should consumers evaluate the appropriateness of a garment or accessory they’re considering purchasing? What factors should non-Native American designers consider before incorporating Native American symbols and materials in their designs? How do intellectual and cultural property law affect the marketing of cultural symbols?

These issues – and more – were explored during an evening discussion in November 2014. Beautiful fashions designed by Native American designers were also on display.

Media coverage:

“Our Ancestors Were Stylish” in by  Miranda Goodwin-Raab in The Standard, November 27, 2014.

Runway Ripoffs: How Native American Fashion is Misused, Misinterpreted by Ezgi Ustundag, in Duke Today, November 20, 2014

Reflection on “Appropriate or Appropriation: Native American fashion show by Stephanie Wu, in The Duke Chronicle, November 20, 2014, pp 8 & 10

Jim Crow Wisdom: A Conversation with Jonathan Scott Holloway and Mark Anthony Neal


What do we let ourselves remember of the past? How do our memories and forgettings reflect who we want to be and shape who we can become? In Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory & Identity in Black America since 1940, Yale University historian Jonathan Scott Holloway weaves intimate personal and family memories into his analysis of broad social, cultural, and political phenomena, bringing readers along with him to explore race memory from the beginning of the modern civil rights era to the present. Watch a discussion of this exciting new book with Professor Holloway and Duke Professor of African & African American Studies Mark Anthony Neal.

Sponsored by Duke University’s Forum for Scholars and Publics and the Durham County Library.


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