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Who We Are


A hub for public scholarship

The Forum extends into communities around the world, thanks to the broad reach of our advisors, partners, collaborators, fellows, and participants.

About Us

Founded in 2013 by Laurent Dubois, professor of History and Romance Studies at Duke University until 2021, the Forum for Scholars and Publics continues its long-standing commitment to public scholarship, the arts, and community collaborations under the leadership of Lou Brown, the Forum’s Director of Programs and a Senior Research Scholar. In 2021, the Forum became an affiliate of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University. Since June 2022, our office is based in Smith Warehouse. We continue to host and sponsor events in various locations at Duke and in the Durham region, as well as online.

Margaret L. "Lou" Brown, Ph.D.

A sociocultural anthropologist by training, I have worked in Madagascar, Nepal, and the United States conducting original research and facilitating multidisciplinary public engagement. My public engagement activities, teaching, and research have increasingly explored the relationship between place, sensory experience, archives, and the creation of individual and collective meaning. I'm currently involved in work exploring memory and memorialization of segregated mental institutions in North Carolina with the Hungry River Collective, a circle that includes archivists, genealogists, artists/musicians, cultural memory workers, and digital humanities specialists working with community members and descendants to develop appropriate pathways to engage with archival materials and sacred sites. I'm also a lead researcher on “Rosetta Reitz’s Musical Archive of Care,” a project at Duke University that convenes a multidisciplinary group to find and tell the stories of the women whose music was produced and distributed through Rosetta Records. My recent publications draw on research conducted as part of a multi-sited collective of researchers exploring the everyday material manifestations of COVID-19.

Our Fellows


Our Former Advisory Board Members

2020-2021 Members
Members Prior to 2020