Documenting Italy’s Refugees

On March 30th from 12:00pm – 1:00pm, storytellers and visual journalists Gabriela Arp and Andrea Patiño Contreras will share their experiences documenting the flood of refugees entering Europe through Italy during the Wednesdays at the Center series. Their most recently project, Divided by the Sea, outlines the African and Middle Eastern refugees crossing the Mediterranean to enter the EU through the small southern Italian town of Reggio Calabria.

On June 22nd, a Singaporean ship managed by the Danish shipping company TORM A/S, rescued two boats off the Libyan coast with 221 refugees mostly from West Africa and took them to the port of Reggio Calabria.

On June 22nd, a Singaporean ship managed by the Danish shipping company TORM A/S, rescued two boats off the Libyan coast with 221 refugees mostly from West Africa and took them to the port of Reggio Calabria.

Arp and Patiño Contreras are currently master’s students in the University of North Carolina’s School of Media and Journalism. Patiño Contreras graduated from Duke’s Trinity College in 2012 and studied Cultural Anthopology. A photo from the Dvided by the Sea project won Patiño Contreras the 2015 Duke Sanford School of Public Policy #PolicyinAction photo contest.

Watch “The Story Behind the Photo: Andrea Pantiño Contreras” produced by Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy:

 

China’s Innovation Challenge: Overcoming the Middle-Income Trap

Professor Emeritus Arie Lewin will present his theories on China’s innovation challenge during the Wednesdays at the Center series on February 24, 2016 from 12:00pm – 1:00pm. The lecture will focus on the work of Lewin forthcoming edited volume, “China’s Innovation Challenge: Overcoming the Middle-Income Trap” (Cambridge University Press, 2016)

Professor Lewin taught in Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. Lewin’s research interests include firm wealth creation in chaotic environments through strategies of exploitation and exploration, coevolution of organizations and their environments,  and designing the super adaptive firm.

 

Watch Lewin’s introduction video to China’s Innovation Challenge:

Refugee Lives

Gulwali Passarlay

Gulwali Passarlay speaks to Duke undergrads.

On January 21, the Duke University undergraduate students in the Refugee Lives: Violence, Culture and Identity class, co-taught by miriam cooke, Maha Houssami, and Nancy Kalow, welcomed special guest Gulwali Passerlay via Skype from the United Kingdom (UK). Passerlay recently co-author The Lightless Sky (Harper Collins Publishers, 2016) which tells his harrowing one-year journey as a refugee from Afghanistan to the UK when he was just 12 years old. The now 21 year old Passerlay studies at the University of Manchester, and shared stories with the class about his travels through Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and France, including the smugglers good and bad, safe-houses, prison, refugee camps, and the friends he made along the way.

Refugee Lives: Violence, Culture and Identity examines how writers, artists, and filmmakers represent the ways in which Afghans, Palestinians, Syrians, Iraqis, Sudanese and Egyptians become refugees and their adaptation strategies to new, harsh circumstances both in and outside the Arab world. The course discusses government and non-governmental organizations that have worked with Arab refugees since 1948 and explores the role played by refugees in constructing national identity and consciousness. Refugee Lives is cross listed in the department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies and the Center for Documentary Studies.

Making Freedom

Anne-Maria Makhulu latest work Making Freedom: Apartheid, Squatter Politics and the Struggle for Home (Duke University Press, 2015) investigates squatter settlements on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa during the time period surrounding the end of apartheid. Makhulu’s work sets a landscape of urban militants actively engaged in what she coins a “politics of presence”.  Making Freedom shows how the defiant domestication of space had reshaped Cape Town’s map and redirected history.

Makhulu is an Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology and African and African American Studies at Duke University. She also sits on the steering committee for the Franklin Center’s Concilium of Southern Africa (COSA).

Left of Black host Mark Anthony Neal recently interviewed Makhulu about Making Freedom.

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship

The U.S Department of Education designed the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship to provide students the opportunity for intense language study in a modern foreign language, and international and area studies .

Duke University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and the Middle East Studies Center are both offering FLAS fellowships this summer and next academic year. Both centers are hosting a FLAS information session on January 21, 2016 from 5:00pm – 6:30pm at the John Hope Franklin Center’s Ahmadieh Family Conference Hall, room 240.

More information and deadline information:
Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Middle East Studies Center

 

Watch former Duke FLAS fellows discuss their fellowships:

Venezuela: New Political Realities, Continuing Challenges

Ambassador Patrick Duddy will present his thoughts on the 2015 Venezuela parliamentary elections during the Wednesdays at the Center series on February 10, 2016 from 12:00pm – 1:00pm.

On December 6, 2015, Venezuela held its first parliamentary elections since the death of President Hugo Chávez. The incumbent party, The United Socialist Party of Venezuela, was voted out of power as the Democratic Unity Roundtable took the majority of seats and over 56% of the popular vote.

Duddy served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela from 2007-2010 under both President Bush and President Obama. At his retirement Ambassador Duddy was one of the Department of State’s most senior Latin American specialists with exceptionally broad experience in trade, energy, public affairs and crisis management.

 

Memonèt: Teaching Creole on YouTube

This past year Duke University lecture Jacques Pierre and his students collaborated with the John Hope Franklin Center to develop online video teaching tools for Haitian Creole. Pierre’s series of memonèt (Creole for riddles) feature Haitian culture, history, geography, proverbs, and food.

Pierre has been teaching Haitian Creole in Duke University’s Romance Studies Department since 2010. In 2014, Duke expanded its Creole offering through Cisco’s Telepresence virtual classroom. With the help of the virtual classroom, Pierre teaches students both Duke University students and students from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, the University of Virginia, and Vanderbilt University. Now with the creation of his YouTube videos, Pierre is teaching students around the world.

 

photo by Michelle Walz. Creative Commons license

Supported by the Power – Lonnie Holley

Exhibiting in the John Hope Franklin Gallery from December 15, 2015 – February 26, 2016.

 

Lonnie Holley is the artist working today who can best eliminate the barrier between taught and untaught art. This collapse of dividers, not unlike racial ones, represents a declassification or deconstruction of a deeply troubling history in order to create a more communitarian future.

Holley is a peerless artist who we best label contemporary, not folk. His sense of contemporary is more closely aligned with current social and political events than most contemporary artists who seem to have only evolved their use of materials.

In Lonnie Holley: Supported by the Power, sculptures emerge from Alabama yards and Atlanta corners. Holley’s themes in his art and music run concurrent to contemporary actualities: post-Jim Crow race pathologies or a recycling of consumer goods towards a more sustainable future.   His story is a southern tale. The history of the South conjures the most American of stories: a story of oppression from tilled fields and small yards to urban corners of southern and northern cities.

Holley, when compared to an exemplary artist like Robert Rauschenberg, creates works which are more zen-like, less neurotic and contradictory and more future-predictive in terms of 1/ connecting to tradition 2/ a recycling of materials to make a more sustainable art 3/ creating works with fewer conservation problems as they are already time-rendered 4/ its connection to music 5/ creating a language of liberation 6/ the connection to nature and local specificities.

On the main wall we see four totemic, cruciform-like works which convey the African-American exigency of forced labor, suffering and the genesis of religious sanctuary.   On the end wall, Never to be Opened Again, made by Holley in post-Katrina New Orleans, depicts a local history in ruins, a result of the baneful mix of a corrupted nature and politics.   In the two remaining works, Supported by the Power and The Catholic Ladies’ Picture, Holley creates a personal history (auto-portraiture as empowerment) and a conceptual nod to art history (art objects as carriers of power). Supported by the Power, consisting solely of 7 sculptures, we can still grasp the sum power of Lonnie Holley’s work.

Special thanks are due to: the artist, Matt and William Arnett, Bradford Cox, Rodney and Nancy Gould, MA, Joan and Michael Salke, MA, Jason Doty, Giovanni Zanalda and Lauren Feilich.