Television isn’t a standard jumping-off point for an academic course. But The Wire, the acclaimed HBO series that ran from 2002 through 2008 and that Entertainment Weekly ranked as the best-ever TV show, isn’t standard television. Its layered, engrossing depiction of Baltimore—informed by creator and writer David Simon’s work as a police reporter for The Baltimore Sun—appealed to Anne-Maria Makhulu, an associate professor of cultural anthropology and African & African American studies. After… read more about Bookbag: AAAS/CULANTH 333S The Wire »

“Do you lock your house at night?” That was how Luke, a 19-year-old community college student I’d hired to work with me on a home improvement project, responded when he heard that I wrote a book about the U.S.-Mexico border. His point was that a border without a wall is akin to an unlocked home. Luke, a white Christian from a rural area and likely the most polite young man I’ve ever met, had me pegged me as a liberal weak on security. I know the argument well. Luke’s question may just have summed up the entire debate.… read more about Security comes from strong communities, not border walls »

By Duke Today Staff The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded two grant fellowships to Duke University faculty members for their respective work in humanities-based advanced research programs —one focusing on post-apartheid mobility, while the other is digital catalog connected to an upcoming Duke exhibit. Anne-Maria Makhulu, associate professor in the Department of Cultural Anthropology and African and African American Studies, and Kristin Huffman Lanzoni, instructor in the Department of Art, Art… read more about Two Trinity Faculty Members Receive NEH Grant »

Cultural anthropology major Cole Wicker has editorial in The News and Observer newspaper.      read more about With HB2, what it's like to be gender-fluid me in NC »

After decades of seeing close-up the desultory record of Western technology-based development projects in West Africa, cultural anthropologist Charles Piot tells his students to take a different approach: Start by exploring the culture and be prepared to fail at first. Now after several years of creative Duke Engage projects in a rural area of Togo, his students are writing about their experiences, successes and setbacks in a new Duke University Press book, “Doing Development in West Africa.” The lessons, Piot said, may… read more about A Togo Model for Student-Led Development Projects: Duke Engage students tackle development in West Africa in new Duke Press book »

This Trinity College Distinguished Teaching Award is one of four that recognizes truly outstanding teaching in the College. Recipients are selected on the basis of their ability to encourage intellectual excitement and curiosity in students, knowledge of a field and ability to communicate it, organizational skills, mentorship of students, and commitment to excellent teaching over time. The award is in the amount of $5,000.” Congratulations Harris!!! read more about Harris Solomon is the recipient of the Robert Cox teaching award, the highest award Duke offers for teaching »

For the 12th straight year, Duke University is one of the top producers of U.S. Fulbright Scholars, with 12 students awarded the latest scholarships, the U.S. Department of State announced Monday. The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Read more about the Fulbright Scholars in the following Duke Today article.   read more about Cultural Anthropology major Carlton Lawrence T'15 has been named a Fulbright Scholar »

Eric Oberstein is back in the Grammy News.  The Duke alumnus and associate director of Duke Performances, who doubles as a music producer, received two nominations this week for his work with Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and their album “Cuba: The Conversation Continues.”  Read more about the nominations in Duke Today.   read more about Duke's Eric Oberstein Picks Up Two Grammy Nominations »

"Left of Black" host Mark Anthony Neal is joined by Anne-Maria Makhulu to discuss her latest book, “Making Freedom: Apartheid, Squatter Politics, and the Struggle for Home”.  Makhulu is an Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology and African and African American Studies at Duke University.  Watch the interview: Squatter Politics in Post-Apartheid Africa.   read more about Anne-Maria Makhulu Discusses New Book on "Left of Black"  »

Duke Cultural Anthropology Professor Orin Starn’s new on-line course, “Sports and Society,” has just gone live through Coursera.  The original version of the course drew more than 45,000 students, and this is a new version with more lectures.   The lectures and readings are free at: read more about Professor Starn's new on-line course available »

Inspired by the events on Duke’s campus, and Rae Paris’ “An Open Letter of Love to Black Students,” the Department of Cultural Anthropoloy collectively authored an open letter to mark its solidarity with calls for fuller accountability on matters of social justice at Duke.  "We're writing to tell you we see you and hear you."  Read the full letter on The Chronicle.   read more about "An Open Letter of Love" to Our Students »

Stephanie Friede, a PhD Candidate in the department of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University, wrote the following article that appeared in EnviroSociety.   read more about Weather, Ritual, and Dia de Los Muertos in Jachitan »

There are varying explanations for the uptick in violence in Israel-Palestine over the past few days, but one explanation that appears to have caught on with the Israeli government and much Western media, according to Duke University cultural anthropologist Rebecca Stein, is incitement through social media. As she notes, the word occupation is nowhere to be found in this new narrative.  Read more read more about Interview with Rebecca Stein: The Intifada, Viral Death, and the Facebook Fallacy »

Professor Ralph Litzinger was instrumental in bringing My Tibetan Childhood (Duke Press, 2015) to print.  He writes the Preface to the book.  In My Tibetan Chldhood, Naktsang Nulo recalls his life in Tibet's Amdo region during the 1950s. From the perspective of himself at age ten, he describes his upbringing as a nomad on Tibet's eastern plateau. He depicts pilgrimages to monasteries, including a 1500-mile horseback expedition his family made to and from Lhasa. A year or so later, they attempted that same journey… read more about My Tibetan Childhood »

Yasmin Cho wins the Parson Prize for best graduate student paper. 2015 winner: The Ontology of Improvisation: Hut/Tent-Building Practices of Tibetan Buddhist Nuns in Post-Mao China read more about Yasmin Cho wins 2015 Elsie Clews Parson Prize »

Carl is one of only two Duke undergraduates to be awarded a Fulbright undergraduate student research grant his year.  His project "Engaging Alternatives in South African Medical Education: A Study of the Hidden Curriculum" will examine the informal messages conveyed at South African medical schools surrounding traditional, complementary, and alternative medicines. Stigmatization of these alternatives has been shown to have negative consequences on patient care, and it is thus essential we explore both formal and informal… read more about Carl Lawrence, a Cultural Anthropology major, was awarded a Fulbright Student Research Grant »

Instruments of destiny can take many forms. For Eric Oberstein, it was an audience-response card filled out at a concert. In the fall of 2007, Oberstein was in New York as a Columbia University graduate student after earning his undergraduate degree at Duke. He went to a show by the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, an 18-piece band playing the sort of Latin jazz Oberstein had grown up hearing and playing himself.  Read more      read more about Eric Oberstein is a star behind the scenes »

Orin Starn is the editor of a new book from Duke University Press, Writing Culture and the Life of Anthropology, which features essays by Duke professors Anne Allison and Charles Piot.  The book grew out of a Duke Cultural Anthropology-sponsored conference several years ago; its others contributors are James Clifford, George Marcus, Kim Fortun, Michael Taussig, Danilyn Rutherford, Kathleen Stewart, Hugh Raffles, John Jackson Jr., Kamala Visweswaran, Michael Fischer, Richard Handler, and Hugh Raffles:   Starn also… read more about Writing Culture and the Life of Anthropology »

Global Health and Cultural Anthropology faculty member Brandon Kohrt has published an article in the American Journal of Public Health, about a successful collaboration between law enforcement and mental health workers in Liberia. A news story on Duke Global Health Institute's web site discusses the research behind the article. read more about Law Enforcement and Mental Health Collaboration Shows Promise in Liberia »

Duke redshirt junior goalkeeper Lauren Blazing has been named the 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Field Hockey Scholar-Athlete of the Year and leads the sport’s All-ACC Academic Team, as announced Wednesday by Commissioner John Swofford. Blazing, a cultural anthropology and political science major from Durham, North Carolina, has been named to the Dean’s List every semester during her career at Duke.  Read more read more about Cultural Anthropology major Lauren Blazing named ACC Field Hockey Scholar Athlete of the Year »

Benjamin N. Duke Scholar Zack Fowler '16 has devoted his time at Duke to improving educational access, both in Durham through Duke SPLASH and in Muhuru Bay, Kenya through WISER.   read more about Scholar Spotlight: Zack Fowler »

Cultural Anthropology Professor Anne Allison's book "Precarious Japan" has received honorable mention honors in the annual American Ethnological Society's (AES) Senior Book Prize. Published by Duke University Press, the book explores Japanese experiences of job insecurity and isolation amid a nagging recession, nuclear contamination and a population that is both aging and shrinking.  Read more about the recognition on Duke Today. read more about Allison Book Honored by American Ethnological Society »

A small group of Duke students enrolled in PhD programs, including Cultural Anthropology graduate students, are on a hunger strike, hoping to raise awareness about Kobani—an area at the border of Turkey and Syria—that is currently being targeted by ISIS rebels. The students deplore the lack of awareness about this issue in the U.S and wish to inform the student population about the matter. On a flyer they are handing to passers-by, the students declare that they “support Kobani’s spirit of self-defense and call on the… read more about Cultural Anthropology students participate in Hunger Strike »

“[All] I want to eat is a rice ball.” This was the last entry in the diary of a 52-year-old man who starved to death in an apartment he had occupied for 20 years. His is just one of many voices of the precarity of everyday life and death that populate Anne Allison’s new ethnography of pain, struggle, and hope in modern Japan. Precarious Japan (Duke University Press, 2013) considers the transformations of the relationship between work and life in Japan that followed its social and economic fall after the financial… read more about Anne Allison Precarious Japan »

In late April, an amateur video of Israeli army aggression in the occupied West Bank began to circulate online. The content was neither new nor surprising: a soldier shoving, kicking and pointing his gun at unarmed Palestinian teenagers in Hebron’s old city. What was new, however, was the form and scale of the public response.  Read more read more about Selfie Militarism »

Duke graduating senior Jennifer Sherman delivered the following talk at Duke's 2014 commencement ceremony May 11 in Wallace Wade Stadium: "I'm going to trust you with the truth today. I'm afraid. There's the small fear I feel standing up in front of you. And then there's the fear of leaving, of not knowing what this next chapter is going to look like. In case anyone else was a little afraid, I just wanted you to know you're not alone." Read more read more about Cultural Anthropology Major Jennifer Sherman Gives Commencement Address »

In the course of our conversation about institutional and technological obstacles to digital multimedia and multilingual publishing, I mentioned that a Duke Department of Cultural Anthropology doctoral student, Dwayne Dixon, had just defended a dissertation primarily using the Scalar platform.  Diana (Taylor,  University Professor of Performance Studies and Spanish and Director, Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, at New York University) asked to be in touch with him.  Read more read more about Writing and Defending Your Digital Dissertation: Join the Conversation! »

Five Duke faculty members - including Cultural Anthropoloy's Rebecca Stein - have been appointed to endowed chairs as part of the Bass Program for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, which recognizes professors who have achieved distinction both in undergraduate teaching and  scholarly research. Read more on Duke Today. read more about Rebecca Stein Named to Endowed Chair »

Duke Today reported that the Cultural Anthropology department received an award for "Inclusive Excellence" meant to honor departments that "create an inclusive environment that engages all of its diversity in the intellectual development of students and faculty."  The award goes beyond rewarding demographics, but will judge departments on "climate, curriculum, intellectual discourse and recruitment, retention and graduation of individuals underrepresented in the discipline, field or area."  Read more read more about Nine Individuals, Two Departments Receive Graduate Dean’s Awards »

Two beautiful and provocative quilts by Duke anthropologist Marcia Rego are now hanging in the department office.   Come by and see them, and put your comments in the comment notebook!  For more information about the project, visit   read more about Word Quilts on Exhibit in Cultural Anthropology Department »