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Zoom screenshot of Fall 2020 Capstone Seminar students with CDS Lecturing Fellow Nancy Kalow (top left) The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) is proud to recognize thirteen Duke University undergraduates from the 2020–2021 academic year who have earned a Certificate in Documentary Studies. Working in one or more documentary mediums—photography, filmmaking, writing, audio, performance, among others—students complete a program of study involving community-based research and fieldwork. Certificate students… read more about CDS Celebrates Certificate in Documentary Studies Graduates »

The Office for Faculty Advancement has awarded seed grants to 14 faculty-led projects exploring new ideas and expanding existing initiatives to promote an equitable and inclusive academic environment at Duke. The theme for this cycle was "Confronting Racism and Bias: Fostering an Inclusive Community." Faculty Advancement Seed Grants provide a financial head start for novel faculty development initiatives within academic units. 2021-22 Faculty Advancement Seed Grants Art, Art History and Visual Studies Anti-Racist Pedagogy… read more about Seed Grants Help Faculty Lead the Way in Confronting Racism and Bias »

Part of our “Art and Artists are Essential” collection and invitation. “I started writing music over winter break from home. I met Robbie Rosen, a producer and American Idol finalist, who helped me write original songs for the first time! This is a song about being stuck between two places, and I think every Duke student has felt this in some capacity, especially during the pandemic. We were back in our hometowns for longer than we are used to, and many of us are questioning where we feel most at home. I feel really… read more about Sophia Roth ‘22: “Between Two Worlds” »

How many people have seen their cervix? Obscured from view and stigmatized socially, the cervix is critical to women’s, transgender-men’s, and non-binary folks’ health — and potential reproductive health issues. A team formed through Duke’s Center for Global Women’s Health Technologies (GWHT) has created a device that not only holds immense medical potential but the potential to empower people with cervixes across the globe: It makes visible a previously invisible organ.  Nimmi Ramanujam (Ph.D.), founder of GWHT and… read more about Invisible No More, the Cervix »

In 2021, the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) will embark on a new collaboration with three Charlotte, North Carolina–based partners to gather, preserve, and share local histories—stories, documents, visual imagery, and memories—about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities in Mecklenburg County. CDS, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Johnson C. Smith University, and the Levine Museum of the New South will map out and implement the three-year… read more about CDS Partners on “Living Archive” Project to Document Impact of COVID-19 on Charlotte Communities »

Deirdre Haj, director of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival since January 2010, is stepping down from her position, effective March 15, 2021. Full Frame is a program of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Over the past eleven years, Deirdre has led the festival to numerous achievements, including the creation of the signature festival Speakeasy conversation series, the School of Doc filmmaking course for teens, and the Teach the Teachers documentary literacy… read more about Festival Director Deirdre Haj Stepping Down in March »

This month, we present a collection of 10 Duke-authored books detailing the history of Black life in America. While this is not a comprehensive list of all Duke scholarship on Black history, it is intended to be an introduction to the multifaceted work of Duke scholars in public policy, history, documentary studies, religious studies, African and African-American studies, cultural anthropology, sociology, art, art history, and visual studies.  These books, along with many others, are available at Duke… read more about 10 Duke-Authored Books on Black History »

Courtney Liu '13, MFA in Dance '21, shares "Blurring the Lines" created with undergraduate students in Intermediate Ballet. "Creative projects are still being made and it is more important than ever to share, engage with, and celebrate each other's work," shares Emma Geiger, MFA EDA '22, who collaborated on filming and editing. Part of our “Art and Artists are Essential” collection and invitation. Intermediate Ballet (Dance 122) completed the Fall 2020 semester by producing “Blurring the Lines.”  This short dance… read more about Blurring the Lines: Collective Resonance During COVID-19 »

Last year, five Duke University faculty members set out to build skills and add new dimensions to their work. In these excerpts from their Faculty Teaching/Research Enhancement Grants (FTREG) reports, they share what they undertook and how these experiences will help them and their students. Improvisation Jody McAuliffe, Theater Studies and Slavic & Eurasian Studies, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences I took the Summer Intensive in improvisation offered at the iO Theater in Chicago. Widely considered the premier… read more about Five Scholars Find Creative Ways to Strengthen Their Research and Teaching »

“We wanted a senior year for the record books, and we got it! … Just not for the reason we expected. COVID-19 threw a curve ball at us, but we’ve made it our mission to find happiness in different places.” With these words, Duke student Nneka Nwabueze begins a photo essay of student life during the pandemic. It’s part of a class project Digital Documentary Photography: Education, Childhood, and Growth (DOCTST 209S / FS), a Center for Documentary Studies course taught by Susie Post-Rust. Students created essays showcasing… read more about 'COVID-19 Threw a Curve Ball at Us': Student Photo Essays Document Life During a Pandemic »

Salt water flows in my veins, and I can recall my first taste of the Atlantic Ocean at two years old. I grew up hearing stories of how a six-year-old boy and girl, my maternal grandparents, met on a sandy South Carolina road and first experienced the spark that created my extended family.  Read more. read more about Story by CDS Instructor Michelle Lanier, “Rooted: Black Women, Southern Memory, and Womanist Cartographies,” Featured in Southern Cultures »

This conversation between Krista and John starts simply — tracing the racial story of our time through the story of a single life. It’s an exercise each of us can do. And it is a step toward a more whole and humane world, starting with ourselves. Listen here. read more about CDS Podcast Producer John Biewen Featured on Krista Tippett’s Award-Winning Public Radio Show/Podcast, “On Being” »

Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) director Wesley Hogan has announced that she will be stepping away from her position as the organization’s director, effective June 30, 2021. In an October 2 letter to CDS staff, faculty, and board members and to Duke administrators, she wrote that due to a chronic medical issue, she would need to leave the directorship, which she has held since July 2013. “Due to a congenital heart condition, I am now experiencing a worsening of… read more about CDS Director Wesley Hogan to Step Down »

By Tom Rankin, director of Duke University's MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program Randall Kenan, former Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor of Documentary and American Studies at Duke and UNC as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke since 2005, died suddenly and unexpectedly in late August. Randall and I were close friends for many years, and it’s a true struggle to find the appropriate combination of words to express all he meant to so many of us, to… read more about Remembering Randall Kenan »

Recent Duke graduate James Robinson (Trinity ’20), who received a Certificate in Documentary Studies from CDS, has been named a finalist in the 2020 Student Academy Awards for his film, Louisiana’s Missing Coast. He was one of seven finalists—and the only undergraduate—in the Documentary / Domestic Film Schools category. The project received funding support from CDS’s John Hope Franklin Student Documentary Award, and James was also the recipient… read more about CDS Grad James Robinson Named Student Academy Awards Finalist »

Host John Biewen begins this episode with excerpts of a talk by Suzanne Plihcik of the Racial Equity Institute. She says, “We need to know how we got this thing called 'race' if we’re gonna understand racism.” Where did the idea of “race” come from? What is it based on? Biewen reports on the history of how “race” became a construct. Read more. read more about CDS Podcast, Scene on Radio, Makes Today Show List: “8 Podcasts You Should Listen to About Race and Racial Injustice in the U.S.”  »

Earlier this year, UNC-Chapel Hill revamped a commission charged with recommending how it can reckon with its involvement in racism and slavery. As a member of the History, Race and a Way Forward Commission, Mason-Hogans will present her proposal for change Friday. Read more. read more about Reparations Proposal by CDS’s Danita Mason-Hogans Adopted on July 10 by UNC-Chapel Hill Commission; Will Go to School’s Board of Trustees  »

 The Southern Documentary Fund  (SDF), a nonprofit arts organization that cultivates and provides support to documentary projects made in or about the American South, today announced the award of 15 SDF Emergency Research and Development Grants. These Grants, enabled by the generous support of the MacArthur Foundation, provide $5000 each to filmmakers ... Read more. read more about Full Frame’s Chris Everett Receives Southern Documentary Fund Grant for “Wilmington on Fire: Chapter II”  »

As director of the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS), I am committed to transforming this historically white institution into an antiracist organization. In response to the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks—and the police lynching of George Floyd and the last several weeks of national reckoning—we are holding up a mirror, engaging in an internal reckoning. I am asking myself and other white people in the organization to look openly and honestly at the ways white cultural… read more about Letter from CDS Director Wesley Hogan »

Artist Sherrill Roland, a Post-MFA Fellow in the Documentary Arts at the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) in 2018–19, was awarded the 2020 Southern Prize by South Arts on May 18. Winning a South Arts State Fellowship put Roland in competition for the prestigious $25,000 prize, which includes a residency at the Hambidge Center. The prize and fellowships are selected by national juries and “acknowledge, support, and celebrate the highest quality artistic work being created in the American South;” see the South Arts… read more about CDS Post-MFA Fellow Sherrill Roland Wins Southern Prize »

With travel restrictions in place worldwide, we’ve launched a new series — The World Through a Lens — in which photojournalists transport you, virtually, to some of our planet’s most beautiful and intriguing places. This week, Benjamin Lowy shares a collection of photographs from Easter Island. Read more. read more about In the New York Times: Stunning Easter Island Photos by 2010 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography Winner Ben Lowy  »

In Durham, N.C., Xaris Martínez, 37, a historian at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, used tinfoil and toilet paper rolls to fabricate a “true-to-life” coronavirus piñata for the lonely 33rd birthday of her friend Haley Schomburg. “She’s an extrovert — if this wasn’t happening, it would’ve been an event,” Ms. Martínez said. Read more. read more about “Smash a Coronavirus Piñata. You’ll Feel Better.” A Creation by CDS Staff Member Xaris Martinez Featured in the New York Times.  »

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 Our Culinary Cultures: Food in the Time of COVID-19 »