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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.

Forces of Change against Forces of Death: The Jean Rabel Massacre in the Radio Haiti Archives

Laura Wagner draws on documents and recordings from the Radio Haiti Archive to guide us through the tragic story of the Jean Rabel Massacre in northwest Haiti, which began on July 23, 1987.

Wagner, a scholar of Haitian history and culture, demonstrates how the materials in these archives can give us, nearly 30 years later, insights into how events were being experienced and analyzed in real time.

Crossing Borders: Experience, Scholarship, and Art

On March 30, 2016, the Forum for Scholars and Publics was privileged to host a discussion about the Dominican Republic and Haiti, featuring Évelyne Trouillot, Edward Paulino, and Samantha Galarza, and moderated by Duke doctoral student Nehanda Loiseau.

The 90-minute discussion covered a broad range of topics including history, language, travel, research, representation, family, identity, politics, literature, and translation.

Talking About War, Veterans, and Society’s Responsibility

On March 8, 2016, the Forum for Scholars and Publics hosted a panel discussion entitled, “Veterans Observed/Veterans Observing,” featuring veterans, scholars, writers, and artists.

The panelists brought different frameworks and experiences to a conversation about war and storytelling.

What is Brussels? Laurent Dubois Puts Terror Attack in Context

What Is Brussels?

A crossroads of history, a city of immigrants, an unfinished but essential project to end the cataclysmic conflicts on the European continent.

Hip-Hop as a Diplomatic Mission: Blitz the Ambassador Shares Music of the African Diaspora

Ghanaian-American Hip-Hop artist, visual artist, and filmmaker Blitz the Ambassador spent three days in residence at Duke in February 2016.

Blitz’s residency included public conversations at Beyù Caffè in downtown Durham and the Forum for Scholars and Publics.

Marco Werman and Alex Harris in Conversation

It had been more than 30 years since they last sat together.

Then, it had also been in a seminar room at Duke, Marco Werman in his last semester of college, Alex Harris a young professor teaching the unexpected combination of public policy and documentary photography.

PRACTICE: Listening to Nathaniel Mackey and Abdullah Ibrahim

A few weeks ago I started writing a series of commentaries on contemporary African poetry for the online poetry journal, Jacket2.

I am always terrified of the blank page, and so I scrolled through my iPod for some sonic courage. When Abdullah Ibrahim’s 1974 album, Good News from Africa, appeared I knew I’d found what I needed.

Ana Tijoux’s Passion and Creativity: An Educator Reflects on Music and Empowerment

The Forum for Scholars and Publics and Duke Performances welcomed French-Chilean musician/activist Ana Tijoux and UNC-Chapel Hill professor David Garcia to campus for a conversation about music, politics, and family.

Barbie Garayúa Tudryn remembers in this interview with Forum staff.

How Do We Make Sense of a Place?

How do we make sense of place, and particularly old/abandoned places?

Five artists explored this question through photography and documentary film. Their very different projects found common ground in representations of trauma and redemption, absence and companionship, solitude and engagement, fragility and resilience.