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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 »

The Julia Harper Day Award was created by the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) in 1992 in memory of the young woman who was CDS’s first staff member, a writer and photographer of real accomplishment. This $500 award goes to a graduating Duke University senior who has demonstrated excellence in documentary studies and contributed significantly to CDS programs. This year’s Julia Harper Day Award goes to Portland, Maine, native James Robinson, an environmental sciences & policy major graduating with a… read more about Recent Duke Graduate James Robinson Wins 2020 Julia Harper Day Award »

  The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) is proud to recognize sixteen undergraduates from the 2019–2020 academic year—fifteen from Duke University, one from UNC–Chapel Hill—who graduated or will graduate with 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 completed their final documentary projects in… read more about CDS Celebrates Certificate in Documentary Studies Graduates »

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… read more about Student Honors and Laurels for 2020 »

Kim says she learned most of what she uses today in her career by leaving school for almost a year before coming back to graduate. She received a psychology degree, but halfway through college, she left and spent most of her time at the Center for Advanced Hindsight, a behavioral science lab at Duke.  Read more.  read more about Duke/CDS Certificate in Doc Studies Alum Elizabeth Kim (’17), a Behavioral Scientist, Profiled in “Seventeen” Story About STEM Careers »

Today the National Endowment for the Humanities announced a grant of $350,000 to the Oxford American, a nonprofit arts organization primarily known for the publication of the Oxford American magazine. The Oxford American is published in partnership with the University of Central Arkansas. Read more. read more about Producer of CDS Podcast "Scene on Radio," John Biewen, to Executive Produce "Points South" Podcast from the "Oxford American" »

Please join us in congratulating the 2020 South Arts State Fellowship recipients. Each of these artists were selected by a national panel of jurors to receive their respective state fellowships, including an award of $5,000.  Read more. read more about National Panel Selects 2018–19 CDS Post-MFA Fellow Sherrill Roland for Prestigious 2020 South Arts State Fellowship  »

UPDATE, June 2021: Marie Cochran has been reappointed the Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor for the 2021–22 academic year. In Fall 2021, she will again teach Black Spaces Matter: Race, Place, and Resilience at CDS/Duke and UNC; the course is open to undergraduate and graduate students. As part of her 2020–21 professorship, she held a virtual event, Black Diaspora: Reclaiming Our Voice, Celebrating Our Vision. The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke… read more about CDS Names Artist Marie Cochran as 2020–21 Lehman Brady Professor »

A new exhibit in the Divinity School underscores that sometimes the most powerful messages of peace come from the people most involved in fighting wars. The Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School, in collaboration with the Center for Documentary Studies, the Human Rights Center, the History Department, and the Graduate Liberal Studies Program, all at Duke University, is hosting an exhibit titled “Waging Peace in Vietnam: US Soldiers and Veterans Who Opposed the War.” The exhibit website provides additional… read more about Setting the Record Straight About Vietnam Protest Movements »

John Cohen (center) onstage at Owen Theatre, Mars Hill, North Carolina, 2004. Photograph by Tom Rankin. Tom Rankin, Professor of the Practice of Art and Documentary and Director of the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program at Duke, remembers “a singular documentary artist.” When John Cohen died on September 16 at his home in Putnam Valley, New York, we lost a part of our collective soundtrack, our visual chronicle of the new and the old, the avant-… read more about The Lonesome Sound of John Cohen's Passing »

Next summer, 30 middle- and high-school teachers from across the US will spend three weeks at Duke learning how to better teach the civil rights movement by exploring it in more depth and revealing more about the critical figures than is often covered. The residency is produced by Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies and its two partners, the SNCC Legacy Project and Teaching for Change. Participants will receive a bottom-up history of the civil rights movement along with resources to teach it at a far broader and deeper… read more about More Than Just 9 Words: How Duke Is Improving Civil Rights Movement Education »

The Center for Documentary Studies is pleased to introduce the 2019–2020 Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows, all of whom will be working with community-based organizations in New York City; scroll down for more information on Mariana Calvo, Alex Cunningham, Katie King, and Azzan Quick. Founded on the spirit, values, and actions of social documentary photographer Lewis Hine, CDS’s Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows Program connects documentary artists with community organizations to generate… read more about CDS Announces 2019–2020 Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows »

Participants at the first NEH-funded summer institute in 2018 toured the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice in Durham, North Carolina. NOTE: Due to safety concerns related to COVID-19, and in accordance with the NEH and Duke University, the institute originally scheduled for July 2020 has been rescheduled and will be held online July 6–23, 2021. Applications are due March 1, 2021; institute information and application instructions are posted on… read more about "The Civil Rights Movement: Grassroots Perspectives (1940—1980)" Summer Institute Receives NEH Grant »

Delhi-based photographer Chandan Gomes will be in residence at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) September 24–28, 2019. Public events with Gomes will be at the Rubenstein Arts Center. The residency is part of a programming and curricular initiative, "Imaginary Landscapes: Teacher-Students-Artists,” by Center for Documentary Studies undergraduate education director Christopher Sims and Literacy Through Photography director Katie Hyde and is funded by the Duke India Initiative. Sims and Hyde… read more about CDS Artist’s Residency with Photographer Chandan Gomes »