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Forum Online


New work & commentary

Our guest writers — scholars, poets, essayists, novelists, students, educators — engage with the programming at the Forum and contribute to timely topics and conversations.

Ecologies of Song

In this essay, doctoral candidate Thea Ballard takes up the mission of the Forum to bring programs at Duke into conversation with programs in the surrounding community, exploring the Nasher’s recent exhibit, “Spirit in the Land,” and Black Belt Eagle Scout’s performance at the Pinhook in downtown Durham.

Exit Interview with Elizabeth Schrader Polczer

I would say to other PhD students who hold this fellowship: Maximize the opportunity! Be creative and think big. Make it into something that pushes your boundaries as a scholar and as a contributor to the public conversation. Because once you go into the academic world and become a professor, you might not have this kind of safe training space again, where you have the room to do what you want to do.

Abbas Benmamoun on his writing practice

Phrases and sentences and how they work, how children acquire knowledge of linguistic structures, the nature of linguistic variation, and the core that languages share—these are some of the themes that fascinate Abbas Benmamoun as he studies classical and spoken varieties of Arabic and compares them to other languages.

“No story is told alone.” Professor Eileen Chow on writing in community

Poetry Twitter. Academic writing about traditional and contemporary literature. Translations. Popular articles. All of these genres flow from the fertile mind of Eileen Chow, Associate Professor of the Practice in Chinese and Japanese Cultural Studies at Duke.

Welcome to Our 2021-2022 Public Scholarship Fellow!

Throughout my academic journey, my focus has remained very rooted in the relationships between people and our natural world, with care given towards protecting both ecological and social systems and a growing recognition that these systems are intertwined with each other.

In Memoriam: Randall Kenan

August 2020 saw the passing of writer, professor, and Southbound guest organizer Randall Kenan. Celebrated as a Southern writer and as a writer of the South, Kenan was also an extraordinary mentor and teacher to a generation of students, most recently at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Forum’s Lou Brown remembers.

Global Stories, Local Issues: Beading a Belt

For research, Scarlett Guy recreates her first ever loom piece, made in the Evening Star or Noonday Sun Cherokee basket pattern. Through beading, she attempts to understand the relationship between her cultural identity and craft practices as a Tsalagi, and how that relationship relates to broader Native American/Indigenous crafter experience.

Global Stories, Local Issues: Maybelline Ephemera

In this audio story, Sophia Ramirez traces the history behind a piece of buried treasure unearthed in her grandparents’ attic: a 70-year-old tube of metallic green Maybelline eye shadow that once belonged to her great-aunt Isabelle. Listen as three generations of women remember the life of a fashionable, whisky-drinking divorcée living out loud in 1950s Miami.

Global Stories, Local Issues: Storytelling Through Music

This piece tells a story of Appalachian musical culture through the medium of the bluegrass guitar. As Charlie Keziah explores his own musical heritage, he also validates the action of making — in this case, music — as an essential knowledge-building technique. Follow along as he journeys through the history of bluegrass not with a pen or keyboard, but with his guitar and a pick.