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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.

The Pleasures of Perseverance

Anthropologist Kelly Alexander remembers “Making Music With Refugees,” a public conversation with Emmanuel Hondré of the Paris Philharmonic, in this latest addition to our Gratitude Journal.

Remembering War During a Pandemic

“One day I woke up and could no longer wear my uniform. And then I could no longer go to the movies. And then I could no longer live in America.” Robert Densmore remembers “Witnessing War,” featuring Matt Gallagher.

In Gratitude: Bits of Borno

Nigerian photojournalist Fati Abubakar has made it her goal to document how lives lived under the sign of conflict are not fully determined by it. Samuel Fury Childs Daly remembers her 2017 campus visit.

In Gratitude: The Artist as Researcher

In our Gratitude Journal, Power Plant Gallery director Caitlin Margaret Kelly looks back on “The Artist As Researcher,” a conversation from 2017.

The FSP@PPG lunchtime event featured Julia Gartrell, Howard Craft, M.C. Taylor, and Aya Shabu.

Statement on Black Lives Matter

We at the Forum for Scholars and Publics stand in solidarity with those protesting the deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, Adama Traoré in France, and so many others.

Read our full statement in support of protesters demanding justice for those killed by police.

In Gratitude: On Photography and Social Advocacy

The room was bubbling with emotion. Anger. Fear. Frustration. Anxiety. The images were often hard to look at, but we knew they were made with purpose. Lou Brown remembers “Photography and Social Advocacy,” a program from 2016.

In Gratitude: A Conversation with SNCC Veterans

In this contribution to our Gratitude Journal, Lou Brown reflects on “The Struggle Continues: A Dialogue with SNCC Veterans,” a program at the Forum from September 2016.

The discussion featured Maria Varela, Charles Cobb, and Judy Richardson in an exploration of the enduring lessons of their SNCC experiences.

A Note on Our New Website

May 2020 will see the launch of a new website for the Forum for Scholars and Publics. Developed in close collaboration with the award-winning design agency Kompleks Creative, our new website updates our logo, streamlines our event calendar, and showcases our digital work and community projects.

Bold layouts and pops of Caribbean color reflect the vibrant energy that our guest speakers, partners and organizers, and participants bring into our spaces. Photos and retrospectives tell the story of the Forum at Duke as well — how we got started, who we’ve had the pleasure of meeting along the way, what we’ve accomplished, and what’s on the horizon.

Photography as Choreography: Confessions for a Son

In November 2019, nationally acclaimed photographer McNair Evans spoke with Duke undergraduates about his beginnings as a student of cultural anthropology and his career as a visual artist. The conversation centered around one of his most famous projects, Confessions for a Son.

Evans’ project was a quest to understand his late father, his family’s narrative and himself following the death of his father. When he discovered that the family business was millions of dollars in debt, Evans relied on the tool he most frequently turns to for understanding and insight: photography.