News

Few college students would volunteer to spend a Sunday afternoon in a graveyard, but members of the Fieldwork Methods class in the Department of Cultural Anthropology arranged this trip themselves. They are in Wilmington, North Carolina, visiting the sites of one of the darkest events in the state’s history: the white supremacist coup that destroyed the city’s prosperous Black community in 1898. Their class is part of America’s Hallowed Ground, a multi-year project developed by professor Charlie Thompson and actor and… read more about Cultural Anthropology Students Learn From a Buried Past »

Throughout their learning, children are taught a lot about their rights, but they often don’t hear about the stories behind how these rights that benefit all of us, were established. In a new book, “Righting Wrongs,” Robin Kirk goes a step further and tells the stories about the people who helped make those rights established part of our lives. Kirk, faculty co-chair of the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, introduces young readers to 20 activists from around the world. Few of them are well-… read more about The People Behind the Rights We Cherish »

Associate Professor Courtney Lewis (Ph.D., UNC Chapel Hill, 2012) is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation, who has established herself as a rising star in Native American Studies as well as a dynamic program builder.  Her research explores the themes of native sovereignty, economic justice, and the ethnography of tribal capitalism, focusing on small businesses in the Cherokee Qualla Boundary in the North Carolina mountains. By contrast to the feathers-and-beads mythologies of native peoples as stuck in a buffalo… read more about Meet Our New Faculty: Associate Professor Courtney Lewis »

Assistant Professor Tracie Canada (Ph.D., University of Virginia, 2020) is a cultural anthropologist with research and teaching interests in race, sport, kinship, and the performing body. Her dissertation and in-progress book manuscript, Tackling the Everyday: Race, Family, and Nation in Big-Time College Football, describes and theorizes the lived experiences of Black college football players. She moves off the gridiron into the daily lives of the young Black athletes who sustain this American sport.… read more about Meet Our New Faculty: Assistant Professor Tracie Canada »

“May’s issue opens with #CiteBlackWomen, a searing colloquy in which Anne-Maria B. Makhulu, Christen A. Smith, Faye V. Harrison, Savannah Shange, and Bianca C. Williams analyze the race and gender politics of citation, and further spell out what our discipline stands to gain by correcting the ongoing, systemic invisibilization of Black women anthropologists’ enduring contributions to it.” Read more.    read more about #CiteBlackWomen :: Anne-Maria B. Makhulu, Christen A. Smith, Faye V. Harrison, Savannah Shange, and Bianca C. Williams  »

Four faculty members have been named 2022 Bass Chairs and inducted into the Bass Society of Fellows in recognition of their demonstrated excellence in both teaching and research. President Vincent Price and Provost Sally Kornbluth recognized the 2022 Bass Chairs, as well as those named in 2021 and 2020, during a reception at the J.B. Duke Hotel Tuesday evening. The chairs were created in 1996 when Anne T. and Robert Bass gave $10 million as a matching gift to encourage Duke alumni, parents and friends to endow the… read more about Two Trinity Faculty Named 2022 Bass Chairs »

The last few years have been tough for everyone, but among the groups who’ve had it the toughest are teachers. A growing number of educators are overwhelmed, overworked, underpaid and their discontent is visible in the labor force. They’ve been forced to drastically pivot their classroom structure to accommodate shelter-in-place mandates, but the administrative expectations have held steady. For example, a survey of U.S. public sector workers released in October found that K-12 and some professors were the most likely… read more about Professor Anne-Maria Makhulu featured in Essence "Let Me Teach You: 4 Black Women Professors To Watch" »

Avery Lythcott-Haims (B.A. Dance and Cultural Anthropology ’23) is no stranger to dance. Dancing for 18 years, the rising senior has performed in, choreographed or managed nearly 10 productions at Duke — and shows no signs of stopping.  Her dedication and talents haven’t been lost on audiences or faculty, either. Recently, the Dance Program unanimously named her the recipient of the Clay Taliaferro Dance Award in recognition of her artistic and technical growth, and potential to become a professional dancer, teacher… read more about Summer Internship Reveals What's Behind the Curtain »

We write to let you know that our beloved colleague, teacher, and friend, Diane M. Nelson, died last night. We mourn her passing with love, and with admiration for her way of living and scholarship. After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this year, she entered hospice last week surrounded by her family. A member of our department for twenty-one years, she showed us how to hold onto our commitments to social justice as much as she did how to play. She taught theatrically and wrote poetically, and she… read more about In Memoriam of Diane Nelson (1963-2022) »

The School for Advanced Research (SAR) Winner of the J. I. Staley Prize, 2022 J. Lorand Matory, The Fetish Revisited; Marx, Freud, and the Gods Black People Make (Duke University Press, 2018) In a work of considerable ambition and insight, J. Lorand Matory challenges the traditional Eurocentric view of the "fetish" by showing how it is not only a distorted concept but an implicit accusation that peoples who believe in the power of symbolic objects are irrational and unsophisticated.  In so… read more about J. Lorand Matory - Winner of the J. I. Staley Prize 2022 »

Anne-Maria B. Makhulu completed a master’s and a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree at Columbia University before that. She is currently an associate professor of cultural anthropology and African & African American studies at Duke. Makhulu is the author of Making Freedom: Apartheid, Squatter Politics, and The Struggle for Home and co-editor of Hard Work, Hard Times: Global Volatility and African Subjectivities. She has several journal special… read more about Anne-Maria Makhulu wins 2022 Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentoring »

Fifty years separate the days when Claudius “C.B.” Claiborne and Michelle Staggers completed their undergraduate degrees at Duke. But a conversation held February 28 made clear that the former student-athletes had plenty of shared experiences, along with a few key differences. Now a professor of business and marketing in the Jesse H. Jones School of Business at Texas Southern University, Claiborne was the first African American basketball player at Duke and earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Staggers was a member of… read more about Two Former Student-Athletes Discuss Duke History and Hope for the Future »

The Department of Cultural Anthropology mourns the loss of Dr. Paul Farmer, who died today in Rwanda. A 1982 graduate of our program, Dr. Farmer generated a vision for bridging anthropology, social justice, and global health that has inspired our students and our discipline. His is a model for how scholars can make the world a more just and equitable place. We join others in expressing our profound condolences to his family. read more about Dr Paul Farmer, a renowned American physician and co-founder of Partners in Health @PIH, has died aged 62. »