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“Do I really want to be integrated into a burning house? -James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time The fires James Baldwin predicted in his letter to his nephew are burning now.  At this writing, the fires of love, which inspire protesters to march for lynched neighbors, still burn brighter than literal fires kindled in anger when property receives more protection than black and brown lives.  We cannot say how this will end.   But we can say when these… read more about The Fires Burning Now »

Cultural Anthropology major Carter Teng was featured in Sunday’s Modern Love short blurbs about togetherness during coronavirus. Read the full article on The New York Times, including Carter's section below: ‘My brother and I had a bare-bones relationship’ Carter Teng, 20 Raleigh, N.C. Living with her parents and 10-year-old brother, River. Before Covid-19, my brother and I had a bare-bones relationship. With a 10-year age difference, there’s not much we can talk about. But after seeing his… read more about Modern Love Together »

The connections between research and teaching, advocacy and activism in Cultural Anthropology date back to the early days of our discipline and remain a critical aspect of what many of us work on, write about, and teach. At its heart, a discipline committed to anti-racism, social justice, and equality, we find ourselves both moved by the courage of a multitude in struggle and outraged by police brutality, right wing agitation, and the defense of both at the highest levels of the state. It is striking to note the timing of… read more about Duke’s Cultural Anthropology Department Stands in Solidarity with Black Lives »

Congratulations to the following student award winners from Duke University units in 2020.   African & African American Studies   John Hope Franklin Award for Academic Excellence: Elizabeth DuBard Grantland Karla FC Holloway Award for University Service: Beza Gebremariam Mary McLeod Bethune Writing Award: Jenna Clayborn Walter C. Burford Award for Community Service: Kayla Lynn Corredera-Wells   Art, Art History & Visual Studies        Mary Duke… read more about Student Honors and Laurels for 2020 »

Duke faculty members throw themselves into remote and unfamiliar environments for their research.  From exploring villages in West Africa to traveling by train in the far corners of Siberia, remote research has taught faculty valuable lessons about working and living.  Eve Duffy, associate vice provost for Duke Global Affairs, said traveling teaches vital traits to help during this time: flexibility, patience and forming a positive outlook. “Our faculty know everything isn’t going to work out how they anticipated when they… read more about Distancing Lessons from Faculty Who Travel to Remote Places »

Society for East Asian Anthropology Jieun Cho April 29, 2020 This piece is part of the SEAA series “An Anthropology of Ethics in East Asia.” The articles highlight different aspects of moral values and ethical practices in a range of Asian regions. They examine how individuals cope with societal changes such as environmental crises, nationalism, economic development, and mobility through lens of everyday ethics. “I chose to not worry about radiation anymore, for as long as I stay living here; to… read more about Family in the Ruins of Nuclear Risk »

In the twelve years I have taught the documentary studies and cultural anthropology seminar “Our Culinary Cultures” (DocSt 344S/CulAnth 285S), the course has morphed from focusing on the ways in which food holds and sustains communities throughout history and across the globe into a class that dwells on the ways in which food can be an incredibly divisive material, as the role of restaurants in the #MeToo movement recently showed us all. However, I have never taught in a semester like this one—including the one in which I… read more about Food in the Time of Covid-19 »

Cultural Anthropology   Celebrating 2020 Graduates AWARDS Judith McDade Prize in Cultural AnthropologyAwarded to the graduating senior(s) majoring in cultural anthropology judged to have the most distinguished record in the major. Isabel Panno Shepard Paul Farmer Award for Justice and Social ResponsibilityTo recognize commitment to academic excellence and social justice in cultural anthropology. Kayla Corredera-Wells… read more about Congratulations! »

Various members of Duke's Department of Cultural Anthropology reflect on the current COVID-19 situation and provide some insights and opinions. Life as Otherwise In the compound disaster of 3/11 in northeastern Japan—earthquake, tsunami, nuclear meltdown—time literally stopped for 16,000 Japanese. Keep reading Anne Allison Professor Cultural Anthropology   COVID-19 and Climate Change Many have remarked on the striking parallels between COVID-19… read more about COVID-19 Cultural Anthropology Faculty and Graduate Thought Pieces »

CANCELED:  Wednesday, April 1, 2020 - 5:00pm Speaker(s):  Irma Alicia Velasquez Nimatuj This talk will address the theme of migration from an indigenous perspective within a larger context of racial oppression. Dr. Velasquez states: "My argument stems from a recognition of the need to reflect on issues of migration, race and indigenous peoples simultaneously. This approach turns out to be a complex task, since these are topics that the media, everyday life, institutions and even in academia addressed separately. In addition… read more about CANCELED: Trade, Improvement, Survival  »

Monday, March 2, 2020 - 1:30pm How can we reimagine the impact of immigrants in the new Millennium? This paper foregrounds the concept of generation to look at the emergent characteristics of Generation Z (1997-2012). Drawing on ethnographic research conducted at the National Spelling Bee, it explores this concept as a site of epistemological contention and investigates its racialized presuppositions. Shalini Shankar is Professor of Anthropology and Asian American Studies at Northwestern University. She is the author of… read more about Today - Rethinking Immigration and Generation Z Futures: Competitive Childhood in the 21st Century »

Music Provides Instrumental Twist for Ph.D. Candidate's Research After spending nearly a decade studying post-conflict life in northern Uganda, Matthew Sebastian was looking for an NGO that would be comfortable working with him while he studied the effects of humanitarian action on young people and how they navigate the limits and possibilities that intervention creates. While sitting in the meeting room of an NGO in Kampala, he noticed the many guitars, drums, and other instruments lining the walls and asked about them. He… read more about Music Provides Instrumental Twist for Ph.D. Candidate's Research  »

Join us Thursday February 20th for a panel discussion on documenting the Anthropocene. The panel, which will feature Duke Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology Ralph Litzinger along with artists Allison Cekala and Acacia Johnson, will focus on how artists and documentarians work to capture the current geological age. The panel will be moderated by 2019-2020 Graduate Arts Fellow Cassandra Klos. Reception to follow in the Keohane-Kenan Gallery.     read more about Existence on the Periphery Opening Panel & Reception  »

Join the Franklin Humanities Institute for its Friday morning series, tgiFHI! tgiFHI gives Duke faculty in the humanities, interpretative social sciences and arts the opportunity to present on their current research to interlocutors in their fields. Breakfast is served at 9am. About the presentation: We have much excited talk about experimental ethnography and new genres of writing. Much of what one reads and hears acknowledges the difficulties of putting words to page. But none of the many reflections and meditations about… read more about Anthropology and the Misery of Writing »

Duke Faculty Books: What Inspired "Going Over Home" - Youtube  Charlie Thompson, a professor of the practice of cultural anthropology and documentary studies, shares the inspiration behind his book “Going Over Home: A Search for Rural Justice in an Unsettled Land.” The book is Thompson’s intimate portrait of the joys and hardships of rural life in Appalachia.         read more about Charlie Thompson "Going Over Home" »

Global experts gathered at Duke University to examine today’s border policies and the movement of migrants between Africa and Europe. Although borders are often considered fixed and rigid boundaries, the definitions of who can cross and who cannot are constantly changing, Duke professor Charlie Piot told attendees at the “Challenging Borders” conference held on Nov. 18 at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute. “Many borders are decided in places that aren’t at the edges of nations or represented by a fence,”… read more about How Migration Scholars Interpret Borders »

FOR DUKE SCHOLAR, SOUTH AMERICAN DAM IS A WINDOW INTO POLITICS, ENERGY AND ECONOMICS Christine Folch, a cultural anthropologist, has studied how a South American dam project bridging Paraguay and Brazil has affected cross-nation relations and the environment. Read more.       read more about Christine Folch: “Hydropolitics: The Itaipu Dam, Sovereignty, and the Engineering of Modern South America” (Princeton University Press) »

The exploration the public lives of the “first ladies” of America’s Christian evangelical megachurches and an intimate portrait of the joys and hardships of rural life in Appalachia are among the new noteworthy books by Duke authors this fall. Many of the books, including new editions of previous titles, can be found on the "Duke Authors" display shelves near the circulation desk in Perkins Library. Some are available as e-books for quick download. Most can also be purchased through the Gothic Bookshop. [Duke Today will… read more about Fall Books: Clean Hands, Aging Brains, Evangelical Women and Other Great Reads »

This talk examines shifting meanings of human life and labor in an agribusiness company region where seven million pigs are born, raised, and killed each year. It rethinks the state of American industrial capitalism through these animals’ biological condition.  Alex Blanchette is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies at Tufts University. In addition to a forthcoming book with the same title as this talk, he is the co-editor of How Nature Works: Rethinking Labor on a Troubled Planet. read more about Porkopolis: American Animality, Standardized Life, and the Factory Farm »

The racial divisions that so permeate American society are not rooted in biology, a group of scholars agreed Wednesday at a public forum on race. The event, “RACE: Past, Present and Future,” featured scholars from Duke and N.C. A&T State University along with Kenyan paleoanthropologist and conservationist Richard Leakey, known for fossil discoveries that shed light on early human evolution. Humans are “genetically remarkably uniform,” Leakey said. “Race and color are totally different things. “It is uniquely American to… read more about Shaking Off Outmoded Ideas On Race  »

Living with Grace Alexis Ligon Cultural Anthropology graduate student 2019 | 24 min | USADirector in Attendance Can exercise be a kind of medicine? Grace, the filmmaker’s mother, has been living with various cancers for 19 years. During that time, as a way of mastering her illnesses, she competed in countless road races and Ironman competitions. The more she pushes the limits of her body, the more the illness pushes back. Plays in Emerging Visual Anthropologists Showcase Part of … read more about "Living with Grace" a film by Alexis Ligon »

Fall 2020 Update: New sessions in this Mellon Seminar Series will occur October 8, 15 and 19. Details and links to register are included below. A seminar series focused on language discrimination in fragile and precarious communities proposed by faculty in the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke has attracted key funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The project has been designated a Sawyer Seminar Series and awarded a grant of $225,000 over two years. Institutions must be… read more about Seminar Series to Raise Awareness of Language Discrimination »

The event will be a conversation exploring the ways in which, over time, different fields conceptualize, interpret, and utilize the race concept.  read more about Race: Past, Present, and Future »

Senior Lecturer of Cultural Anthropology Robin Kirk discusses the aftermath when a Confederate statue was toppled in Durham, N.C. Read her full article in the American Scholar. read more about Reflections on a Silent Soldier »

In support of Ayse Gul Altinay. Turkey’s Crackdown on Academics Represses History Once Again A campaign of silencing and prosecution is creating a vacuum at a pivotal moment. By Brennan Cusack Ms. Cusack, a journalist, was based in Cairo and Istanbul from 2017 to 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/08/opinion/turkey-crackdown-academics.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage       read more about Turkey’s Crackdown on Academics Represses History Once Again »

The Turkish government is prosecuting hundreds of academics who signed a petition by a group called "Academics for Peace" advocating a peaceful solution to the Kurdish conflict. It is part of the on-going crackdown on free expression and speech in the country. A beloved academic and renowned scholar, Ayse Gul Altinay, was last week sentenced to 25 months in prison by the Istanbul 25th Heavy Penal Court. Dr. Altinay is noted for her commitment to a peaceful future for her country shaped by nonviolence, democracy, and a… read more about Statement of Support for Ayşe Gül Altinay »

Senior Seminar Thesis Presentations Room 225  Friedl Building, East Campus 1:30-3:00PM Lunch will be provided  Please join us to celebrate our senior thesis writers! Erick Daniel Aguilar: A Home of Our Own: Social Reproduction of a Precarious, Migrant Class Margaret Darko: Theatre of Health: Exploring Female Physician Well-being in Accra, Ghana Using Theatre-Based Interventions… read more about Senior Seminar Presentations »