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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.

The Borders Beyond the Border Experience

The class began with a question: how can we understand the voices we are exposed to at Duke, as well as the surrounding community in Durham?

More importantly, how can we better understand and respectfully represent the voices of Latinx individuals and groups we interact with?

How Jonathan Demme Walked the Walk in Haiti

Jonathan Demme, who died last week at age 73, was best known to American audiences as the Academy Award-winning director of The Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia.

But to those who knew him in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora, Demme was an ardent and unwavering advocate of human rights and democracy in Haiti.

The Possibility of a Public

On March 3, 2017, the Forum for Scholars and Publics hosted a conversation between Corey Robin and Jed Purdy about the purpose and promise of public intellectuals in the United States today.

Scholar/activist Peter Pihos reflects on the discussion and its intersection with his own recent experiences.

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.