Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

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.

Generous Listening

“You know how you’re not supposed to be thinking while the other person is talking, right? You’re supposed to be listening.” Julia Roxanne Wallace, a participant in our discussion about archiving LGBTQ+ lives, laughed as she acknowledged the challenge of being a good panelist.

By prefacing her remarks with this comment, she shared openly something most of us struggle with internally – how to be attentive listeners AND be prepared to contribute an insightful comment when our turn comes.

A Musical Passage Across Time and Place

In Musical Passage: Voyage to 1688 Jamaica, historian Laurent Dubois, composer David K. Garner, and literary scholar Mary Caton Lingold tell the story of a travel document and provide recordings that interpret the fascinating music unexpectedly found within its pages.

They highlight the role of “Mr. Baptiste,” the unknown musician tasked with the writing of the notation, arguing that he may have been a freed black performer native to the colonies, and a composer.

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.