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Southbound: War and the Recreation of Culture

An FSP@PPG Lunchtime Conversation
November 7th, 2019
12:00 PM


Thursday, November 7, 2019
12 pm - 1 pm

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

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How do we understand those who have been displaced by war? In this FSP@PPG panel discussion, we explore the roles that anthropological research, community-engaged language learning, and documentary photography play in how we view displaced persons and the new communities that they create. Cultural anthropologist Nadia El-Shaarawi will discuss the everyday lives of refugees in the Middle East, Europe, and Durham. Duke Asian and Middle Eastern Studies professor Maha Houssami will share her work connecting Duke students with resettled Arabic-speaking refugees in Durham. Documentary photographer and Southbound artist Christopher Sims will discuss his “Theater of War” project, which looks at the simulated Iraqi and Afghan villages used by the U.S. military to prepare for deployment. The conversation will examine the different ways we understand “culture” and how we come to know the foundational beliefs and practices of people from different backgrounds.

About the Event Series

Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South is presented by the Power Plant Gallery in collaboration with Duke’s Forum for Scholars and Publics and the Gregg Museum of Art & Design at North Carolina State University. In this iteration, guest curator Randall Kenan, author and NC native, organizes the many framed photographs of the exhibition around the twin themes of Flux, on display at the Power Plant Gallery, and Home, on display at the Gregg Museum. The full program of events includes slow tours, film screenings, “Sit + Chat” sessions, and FSP@PPG panel discussions that engage with the issues in and around the works of art and explore the topics, places, and styles of Southbound. Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South was organized by the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston School of the Arts in Charleston, South Carolina, and curated by Mark Long and Mark Sloan. Visit the exhibit online at


Southbound Flyer

Christopher Sims

Duke University

Christopher Sims is the undergraduate educator director at the Center for Documentary Studies and a Lecturing Fellow in Documentary Arts. He has worked as a photo archivist at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and has coordinated the exhibition, awards, ...

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Nadia El-Shaarawi

Colby College

Nadia El-Shaarawi is an Assistant Professor of Global Studies at Colby College and currently a visiting scholar at the Global Mental Health Program in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University. She is a cultural and medical anthropologist who specializes in transnational forced migration, ...

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Maha Houssami

Duke University

Maha Houssami has been an advanced Arabic language instructor for the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies department at Duke University since October 2011. She launched a Community-Based Language Initiative in an effort to increase community engagement in Duke’s academic language programs and to allow ...

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