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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.

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.

The Anthropology of “Porkopolis”

As America’s pork industry is continually pushed to ever greater production, so are the human beings who labor to breed, care for, and slaughter these animals.

Alex Blanchette, cultural anthropologist and lecturer in anthropology and environmental studies at Tufts University, is a scholar of pork production. In a talk hosted by the Ethnography Workshop at Duke on November 4th, Blanchette said there is an intimate relationship between pig and person. The quality of the factory farm worker’s life is tied to that of the porcine species.

Latina Voices / Voces de mujeres latinas [in English]

The book Latina Voices/Voces de mujeres latinas (2019) emerged as an idea to compile short biographies of Latina women in the United States and, particularly, to share their stories, their work, and their struggles to create a more fair and equitable world.

Latina Voices / Voces de mujeres latinas [en español]

El libro Latina Voices/Voces de mujeres latinas (2019) surgió desde la idea de realizar un trabajo que recopilara una serie breve de biografías de mujeres latinas en Estados Unidos y compartir con el lector general, pero en particular con el más joven, sus historias y la labor que realizan cada una de ellas en su lucha para lograr, en definitiva, un mundo más justo e igualitario.

La colección reúne 14 historias bilingües (inglés-español) de mujeres conocidas y de otras no tan conocidas: Emily Chávez, Alexa Mieses, Roselia Flores, Areli Barrera de Grodski, Javiera Caballero, María Morales Levy, Juliana Cabrales, Cathy Quiroz Moore, Laurie Hernández, Emma González, Lupe Gonzalo, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Gina Rodríguez y Sonia Sotomayor.

Titus Brooks Heagins Visits DSA

As part of the current exhibition, Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South, Durham-based photographer Titus Brooks Heagins, MFA, visited Durham School of the Arts to conduct a series of workshops with Amber Santibañez’s visual art high school students.

Heagins, a Duke alumnus (T ’89), is among the more than 50 photographers featured in Southbound, now on view at Duke’s Power Plant Gallery in Durham and the Gregg Museum of Art & Design at NC State. Heagins’ three photos selected for inclusion in the exhibition can be viewed at the Power Plant Gallery.

Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South

The Power Plant Gallery and the Forum for Scholars and Publics, in collaboration with the Gregg Museum of Art & Design at NC State University, present Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South.

The exhibition was curated by Mark Sloan and Mark Long of the College of Charleston School of the Arts and debuted in Charleston in the Spring of 2019. In North Carolina, you can catch the exhibit at the Power Plant Gallery from September 6 through December 21 and at the Gregg Museum from December 5 through December 29. Check out the full schedule of events.


Singer-songwriter Kamara Thomas reflects on a photograph by Southbound artist Eliot Dudik.

As part of the exhibition, Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South, we’ve asked artists, writers, and poets to respond to a photograph of their choice in the form of short written pieces.