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Public Intellectuals: Bringing a Public into Being


Banner image: © Copyright Albert Bridge and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Friday, March 3, 2017

Noon - 1:00 pm

Forum for Scholars and Publics (Old Chemistry Building 011)

Light lunch served beginning at 11:45

Free and open to the public

Join us for a discussion with professors Jedediah Purdy and Corey Robin, two scholars who write frequently for non-academic publications. What does it mean to write to "bring a public into being"? Why do this sort of writing? How does the practice of writing for a public affect other, more academic-focused forms of scholarly writing?

Read some of Corey Robin's public writing:

How Intellectuals Create a Public.” The Chronicle Review (January 22, 2016), B10-14.

"Judith Butler as a Public Intellectual." (June 29, 2016),

"From the Talmud to Judith Butler: Audiences as Co-Creators with -- and of -- the Public Intellectual." (July 2, 2016),

Read some of Jed Purdy's public writing:

"Environmentalism Was Once a Social-Justice Movement." The Atlantic (December 7, 2016).

"What I Had Lost Was a Country". n+1 Magazine (December 20, 2016).

"America's New Opposition". The New Republic (February 1, 2017).

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.

Talking Music: Talib Kweli & 9th Wonder in Conversation


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Forum for Scholars & Publics (Old Chemistry Building 011)

12:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Light lunch served


GRAMMY-winning producer, DJ, and Duke professor 9th Wonder leads this discussion with acclaimed Brooklyn-based hip-hop artist Talib Kweli, which will explore Kweli’s career and wide-ranging artistic collaborations. Free & open to the public.

Kweli will perform a two-night stand on February 16 & 17 at Motorco in downtown Durham, accompanied by opening act Actual Proof. Info and tickets available HERE.

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

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.

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


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