Wednesdays at the Center

Wednesdays at the Center (W@TC) is a topical weekly series in which scholars, artists, journalists, and others speak informally about their work in conversation with the audience. The series is jointly organized and presented by the John Hope Franklin Center, OASIS, and Duke Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and coordinated by Miguel Rojas-Sotelo.
All events in the series are free and open to the public. A light lunch is served – no reservations are necessary


W@TC |  FALL 2014

SEP. 3 | Sub-nature and Culinary Culture: A fall series

Thomas Parker, Assistant Professor of French, Vassar College; Saskia Cornes, Program Coordinator, Duke Campus Farm, Duke University; Luciana Fellin, Associate Professor of Italian, Duke University; Marianne Krasny, Professor of Natural Science, Cornell University; Gabe Rosenberg, Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies, Duke University; Jennifer Stratton, MFA in Documentary Studies, Duke University


Subnature and Culinary Culture “Writ Large” | “Subnature” is a term coined by David Gissen to categorize what architects have historically referred to as marginalized spaces in buildings and landscapes (e.g. darkness, dankness, weeds, mud, smoke, dust, etc.). At certain times, in certain places, these “othered” spaces have been reframed, reappropriated, and transformed to become aesthetically pleasurable places.  Professors Parker, Fellin, Krasny, Rosenberg, documentary artist Stratton, and Duke Campus Farm coordinator Cornes will engage in a transdisciplinary round-table discussion applying this architectural concept to cuisine, querying how the meaning of subnature can lend perspective to the philosophy of food and be useful in thinking (or rethinking) about food politics in the present moment. Over a lunch (of subnatural specialties), they will expose the potential of subnature through transdisciplinary optics and provide an introduction to five other unique culinary intellectual events, brought together by Humanities Writ Large to be held in Durham and on the Duke campus this September.


Presented by Humanities Writ Large | Catered by Maggie Radzwiller


SEP.10 | Migration Stories: The US Visa Lottery and Global Citizenship

Charlie Piot, Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Duke University.

Presented by the Duke University Center for International Studies


SEP.17 | Catholic Politics & the Future of Europe

Helmut Wohnout, Karl von Wogelsand Institute and James G. Chappel, Assistant Professor of History, Duke University.

Dr. Wonhout will provide an overview of the history of Catholic politics in Europe with a focus on Austria. He will highlight the changes of party politics within the member states of the European Union during the last decades. Finally, Dr. Wohnout will point out the possible future developments concerning Catholic politics within the framework of the European development. Professor Chappel will explore the “special relationship” between Catholicism and federalism that dates back nearly a century, explaining why Catholics, specifically, have been among the most robust and reliable defenders of the European project.

Presented by the Duke Council for European Studies


SEP. 24 | Special LEFT OF BLACK (live broadcast)

With Marc Antony Neal, Duke University.

Presented by the John Hope Franklin Center for International and Interdisciplinary Studies


OCT. 1 | The History of the Contested Map of Israel and Palestine

Rachel Havrelock, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and English at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Presented by the Duke Center for Jewish Studies | Catered by Med Deli


OCT. 8 | Faces of Time |Rostros del Tiempo: the untold story of Braceros by Braceros themselves

Luis Herrera Robles, Professor Universidad Autonoma of Juarez, Mexico; Don Modesto Zurita, former Bracero; Charles D. Thompson,  Cultural Anthropology, Duke University.

Presented by the Duke Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Program of Latino/a Studies in the Global South, CDS, and the Cultural Anthropology Department | Catered by Cosmic Cantina

*In conjunction with the exhibit: Faces of Time |Rostros del Tiempo. Sep. 30 Dicember 19, 2014 . Presented by the John Hope Franklin Center


OCT. 29 | Singing Archaeology: Akhnaten Lives

Shalom Goldman, Professor of Religious Studies and Middle Eastern Studies and Richard Riddell, Professor of Theater Studies, Vice President and University Secretary, Duke University.

Presented by the Duke Middle East Studies Center


NOV. 5 | Socio-Cultural Continuity and Language Shift Among Sindhis in India   

Matthew A. Cook, Professor of Postcolonial and South Asian Studies
Department of Language and Literature, Department of History NCCU.

In addition to a general focus on the relationship between language shift and identity among diaspora Sindhis in India, this presentation examines post-Partition debates within this community about what script was best for writing their mother tongue.  It addresses debates in the 1950s and 1960s about whether or not the Sindhi language should be written in naskh or nagri (i.e., Arabic or a Sanskrit-based script), and describes how diaspora Sindhis perpetuate certain key socio-cultural modalities within their community when they advocate for changing their mother tongue and its script.

Presented by the History Department and Duke Asian and Middle Eastern Studies


November 12 | What Counts as Learning? Open Digital Badges in Higher Ed

Sheryl Grant, Director of Social Networking for the HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning

initiative and Lucas Blair, founder of Little Bird Games LLC.

What are open digital badges? They are portable, transferable, information-rich credentials that bundle learning into one click, and can be issued by traditional and non-traditional institutions of learning alike. In this presentation, we’ll describe what open digital badges are, how they connect curricular and non-curricular learning, and how they can be implemented in higher education. We will also discuss real world examples that touch on the institutional, technical, cultural, social, and economic obstacles, opportunities, imperatives, and liabilities of an openly networked and alternative credentialing system.

Sheryl Grant is Director of Social Networking for the HASTAC/MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning initiative, and a Phd student at UNC-Chapel Hill where she is studying value-driven digital badge system design. She is author of book, What Counts as Learning: Open Digital Badges for New Opportunities, based on lessons learned from the 30 Badges for Lifelong Learning projects during their first year of design.

Lucas Blair is the founder of Little Bird Games LLC, a serious game development company, which specializes in educational and therapeutic games.  He received a M.S. in Instructional Technology from Bloomsburg University and a PhD in Modeling and Simulation from the University of Central Florida.  His doctoral research explored the use of video game achievements to enhance player performance, self-efficacy, and motivation.

Presented by HASTAC | Catered by Saladelia


NOV. 19 | The Losers: Austria, Hungary, World War I, and the Central European Legacy

Helmut Konrad, Vice-Rector University of Graz.

Austria and Hungary, considered the “losers” of World War I, show divergent patterns of managing the imperial legacy and exploring paths to “national identity.” The lecture will compare the losers’ divergent war memories and political paths and elucidate their significance for twentieth-century Central Europe.

Presented by the Duke Council for European Studies


W@TC is broadcast live on
Archives of the series are available for free on the Franklin Center’s iTunes U store.
Subscribe to the series by searching: “Wednesdays at the Center” on the iTunes Store.




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