Visualizing the Muslim Gandhi

by Kelley Reardon

As part of the Wednesdays at the Center series, the John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies welcomed Tim Dobe, Th.D. and Sumathi Ramaswamy, Ph.D. for a conversation on “Visualizing the Muslim Gandhi.”

 

The John Hope Franklin Center, Duke India Initiative, and Duke Islamic Center hosted the event, which discussed the connection of Gandhi to Islamic culture. Dr. Dobe is an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Grinnell College and a current visiting fellow at the Duke Islamic Studies Center. Dr. Ramaswamy is a James B. Duke Professor of History and International Comparative Studies at Duke, Co-Director of Duke’s India Initiative, and President of the American Institute of Indian Studies.

 

 

Dr. Dobe discussed how there is often a focus on Gandhi’s Hinduism and western influence, but less attention on his ties to Muslim culture. In his earlier years, Gandhi was often depicted in art as “a man of the people,” and he was known to put immense effort into dressing appropriately to fit in with his surroundings. For instance, there are images of Gandhi in a suit while he was training to be a lawyer, and images of him in traditional Indian dress when he returned to India.

 

Furthermore, Dr. Dobe shared many works of Khwaja Hsan Nizami, who studied Gandhi and is known for his literary pieces. Nizami even predicted that Gandhi’s legacy would extent to the year 2050, when there would be a landscape of ethics and non-violence and nearly all Muslims would be vegetarian.

 

Dr. Ramaswamy shared artistic depictions of Gandhi later in life, when he would go without clothes and present himself nothing but a loin cloth. Artists depict this stage of Gandhi’s life in different ways—for instance, the modern Indian painter Maqbool Fida Husain did not shy away from painting Gandhi’s unclothed body. Meanwhile, Sayed Haidar Raza, who was also a modern Indian painter, rarely showed Gandhi in his paintings. Yet Raza’s work is still a reflection of his perspective on Gandhi.

 

As Ramaswamy explained, “there is no single way in which Muslim artists respond to Gandhi’s barely clothed body.” There was also the potential that artists were worried about allowing their faith to stand in the way of their art. However, the limitations that faith may have had on an artist’s work can be difficult to determine.

Deconstructing American Theater’s Great White Way

 

by Kelley Reardon

As part of the Wednesdays at the Center series, the John Hope Franklin Center welcomed a panel of theater experts to speak about incorporating minorities into American theater. The guests included Sophie Caplin, Onastasia Ebright, JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell, Lulla Kiwinda, Monét Marshall, Dr. Jules Odendahl-James, Maria Zurita Ontiveros, and Casey Pettiford.

 

The John Hope Franklin Center hosted the event, which focused on Black and Latinx spaces in theater. The panelists discussed what it is like to be a minority in theater and the challenges and hopes that they have for the field.

 

Lulla Kiwinda, Sophie Caplin, Jules Odendahl-James

Lulla Kiwinda, Sophie Caplin, Jules Odendahl-James

 

Panelists explained that when they direct a play, it is not simply a play— it is a message to the world. These artists want everyone to exist as more creative citizens. Monét Marshall said that if an audience member leaves the theater without a new “nugget” of perspective— such as a provoking idea, an interesting encounter with a new person, or meeting themselves in a new way— then she feels like her plays are not giving back to the community in the right way.

 

Onastasia Ebright stated that she has learned “not to wait for permission,” even on the Duke campus. She explained that she has to go out and work on her ideas if she wants to make them happen, by forming and maintaining committed relationships. The fact that Duke is a predominantly white campus can make it more challenging for diverse theater to emerge. When the play with an all-black cast called Once on This Island was first proposed, some people said that there were not enough talented people of color. However, a play like Once on This Island had never been done before and there was no prior experience to back up excuses like not enough talent.

 

 

Even all-black casts can be controversial. By separating out black shows from “everybody else” (white shows), black shows become a scarcity and black actors feel like it’s their only opportunity to be in a show. The panelists also warned about “token-ize”ing people- for instance, highlighting the one Black, Latinx, or woman actor in a show. Marshall recommended leaving behind this scarcity mindset and instead “leaning into abundance.”

 

Marshall said that she creates work for her future self. People from other backgrounds can come, but they don’t have to come. She sticks to what brings her joy, and encourages younger artists to not carry the emotional work of catering to a white audience. Bridging the gap between black and white audiences will require hard work and a commitment to relationships of value and acceptance from both sides.

Dancing from the Inside/Out

by Kelley Reardon

As part of the Wednesday at the Center series, the John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies welcomed internationally acclaimed Canadian dancer and choreographer Margie Gillis to give a lecture called “Dancing from the Inside/Out”.

The John Hope Franklin Center and the Duke Dance Department co-hosted the event, in which Gillis discussed her experiences with dance throughout her life, including her career as a dancer and her role as a teacher of conflict resolution through movement. Gillis also talked about her dance company, the Margie Gillis Foundation.

Gillis grew up in an extraordinarily athletic family with two Olympic skiers as parents and a brother in the National Hockey League (NHL). At age 8, she experienced a nervous breakdown due to multiple unexpected changes in her personal life. To overcome this challenging time, Gillis learned to reintegrate herself from the inside, out. She turned to dance as a form of expression. Dance taught Gillis to move “through” life’s obstacles with both physical and emotional dexterity.

 

Margie Gillis quote

 

 

 

From being the first artist to bring modern dance to China in 1979 after the Cultural Revolution to performing in tours all over the globe, Gillis has gained a unique perspective of the world. She sees dance as a universal form of communication, and is fascinated by the “limits of language,” yet the “clarity of physicality”. Gillis said, “I’m not really precious about [my identity], including my name,” and emphasized that she cares more about fluidity, community, and understanding.

 

 

All of Gillis’ work is “based on notions of health,” including both physical and mental health. Gillis’ mentorship in conflict resolution has changed many lives for the better. Gillis believes that “dance is devalued in many of the cultures of our society,” and she has experienced the strong transformative power of movement first-hand. Gillis has seen dance used as a method to bridge communities, heal trauma, and embrace character. She encourages others to interpret dance in a way that works best for them, and stated, “I find people miraculous, absolutely miraculous in their strategies… their challenges become their areas of strength.”

Geopolitics of Feminisms in Afghanistan

by Kelley Reardon

As part of the Wednesday at the Center series, the John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies welcomed Jennifer Fluri, Ph.D. to give a lecture called “The Geopolitics of Feminisms in Afghanistan”.

The John Hope Franklin Center and the Duke University Middle East Studies Center co-hosted the packed event, which discussed the complexities of women’s rights in the Middle East. Fluri explored the differences and similarities between the three groups of government in Afghanistan- socialist/leftist, Islamic, and capitalist groups. 

Since the 1970’s, Afghanistan has gone through a tumultuous timeline of geopolitical events. Fluri explained that all of the groups that have come to power, from the Taliban to the U.S.-led invasion, have said that they want to “save Afghan women”. However, Fluri believes that the category called “Afghan women” is meaningless. Fluri believes it is meaningless due to the complexities and diversity of women in Afghanistan, from their religion, socioeconomic class, ethnicity, geographic location, and relationships with people in positions of power.

Fluri explained the cultural complexities of the burqa and that social pressures affect both men and women in Afghanistan. She said that there was an attempt to “re-train” Afghan women to think of beauty and lifestyle from a western perspective, led by Laura Bush. 

https://youtu.be/qHn2vxRw8nQ

Fluri also shed light on the Islamic groups of the Middle East, which take two approaches to women’s rights. First, they often focus on the teachings of the Quran, which says that men and women are equal in the eyes of God. Second, they focus the Prophet’s first wife, with whom the Prophet had a monogamous relationship with before he was widowed. 

Although the public discourse about Islam in the U.S. is often a negative dialogue, Fluri advocates for using local religious values as an approach to support women’s rights. In this way, less foreign intervention is necessary. Foreign organizations have a history of exploiting Afghanistan women, despite claims that they want to “save” them. Therefore, working with current religious values gives Afghan women the opportunity to cultivate power in their homes and communities. This power at a local level is foundational for further progress of women’s rights and feminism.

Double Bind: Women of Color in STEM

by Kelley Reardon

Duke University’s Center for International and Global Studies welcomed Ruthie Lyle, Ph.D. on February 6th, 2019 to discuss the challenges faced by minority women in the science, technolog, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields in a Wednesdays at the Center lecture. Lyle focused on the advantages, challenges, and future outlook for minority women in STEM.

Lyle is an engineer, innovator, and entrepreneur who has had to overcome a double bind while navigating her career. Lyle defines the double bind as the unique challenges minority women face as they simultaneously experience sexism and racism in their STEM experience.

Scientists and engineers working in S&E: 2015

Lyle shared her experiences as a doctoral student and a professional. She cited statistics from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to relay her message. Graphs revealed extremely low numbers of minorities and women in science and engineering, where (according to NSF) white men make up 49% of the professionals.

Lyle also emphasized the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley, one of the largest incubators for new technology businesses today. “This is not a women’s issue or a minority women’s issue in isolation, nor will it command a solution exclusively presented by said groups alone,” said Lyle. She knows that there are minority women with excellent STEM skills, and that those women need access to more opportunities.

Lyle recommends various strategies for retention and success in supporting minority women in STEM. These strategies include academic preparation, successful role models, supportive and diverse environments, satisfying work, social and community engagement, and diversified faculty in academia. Lyle emphasized the most important strategy: to “reach back and pull up,” to help younger generations.

Spring 2019 – 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. This semester the John Hope Franklin Center is proud to collaborate with partners across Duke and throughout the larger academic community to present a discipline diverse series.

Join us on Wednesdays throughout the semester from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm in the Franklin Center’s Ahmadiah Family Conference Hall, room 240. A light lunch is served at each event.

January 23rd – 
The Economic History of the Rise of Trumpism
with John Komlos, Ph.D. 

January 30th-
Research Africa Network:  Opportunities and Challenges
with John Bartlett, M.D., Madison Cullinan, Mbaye Lo, Ph.D.

February 6th-
Double Bind: Women of Color in STEM
The Social, Ethical and Economic Impact
with Ruthie D. Lyle, Ph.D.

February 13th-
Geopolitics of Feminisms in Afghanistan
with Jennifer Fluri, Ph.D.

February 20th-
Deconstructing American Theater’s Great White Way
with Sophie Caplin, Onastasia Ebright, JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell, Lulla Kiwinda, Monét Marshall, Jules Odendahl-James, Ph.D., Casey Pettiford, Maria Zurita Ontiveros

February 27th-
Dancing from the Inside/Out
with Margie Gillis

March 6th-
Crisis in the Andes: Why Venezuela is Different
with Keith W. Mines

March 20th-
Visualizing the Muslim Gandhi
with Tim Dobe, Ph.D., & Sumathi Ramaswamy, Ph.D.

March 27th-
Common Interests – Diverse Perspectives: 2018-19 Graduate Working Groups on Global Issues
with members of the Global Graduate Working Groups

April 3rd-
Is That All Your Hair?
with Bibi Gnagno, J.D.

April 10th-
Political Islam, Justice and Governance
with Mbaye Lo, Ph.D.

April 17th-
Shakespeare in the Arab World
with Abdul Sattar Jawad, Ph.D.

Millennial Capitalism: Global Perspectives – Spring 2019

Course Number: CULANTH 530S

Course Attributes: CCI, CZ, R, SS

Course Description:

This course historicizes the conditions under which a specific form of capitalism emerges; one primarily focused on financialization and debt. Students begin by looking to the inception of market capitalism in the Atlantic world accounting for its cultural logics: How race and racism operate in tandem with capital; the significance of the slave trade and the institution of slavery; the fact of empires and peripheries; and the centrality of gender to private property relations. The course concludes with an inquiry into those new forms of work and corollary forms of alienation that define the digital age.

Anne-Maria MakhuluFaculty Biography:

Anne-Maria Makhulu is an Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology and African and African American Studies and Core Faculty in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Duke University. Her research interests cover: Africa and more specifically South Africa, cities, space, globalization, political economy, neoliberalism, the anthropology of finance and corporations, as well as questions of aesthetics, including the literature of South Africa. Makhulu is co-editor of Hard Work, Hard Times: Global Volatility and African Subjectivities (2010) and the author of Making Freedom: Apartheid, Squatter Politics, and the Struggle for Home (2015). She is a contributor to Producing African Futures: Ritual and Reproduction in a Neoliberal Age (2004), New Ethnographies of Neoliberalism(2010), author of articles in Anthropological Quarterly and PMLA, special issue guest editor for South Atlantic Quarterly (115(1)) and special theme section guest editor for Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (36(2)). A new project, South Africa After the Rainbow (in preparation), examines the relationship between race and mobility in postapartheid South Africa.

CULANTH_530_Poster

 

Introduction to African Studies – Spring 2019

Course Number: AAAS 103, CULANTH 105, HIST 129, POLSCI 108, ICS 110

Course Attributes: ALP, CCI, CZ

Course Description:

This course offers a broad introduction to the archaeology, history, politics, language, culture, aesthetics, and religion of African peoples. With the help of a variety of sources—scholarly works by historians, anthropologists, literary figures, filmmakers, and journalist—we will explore the ways in which Africans, across a massive and incredibly diverse continent, have responded to and engaged with the slave trade, colonial overrule, transnational markets, and to other more recent experiences and challenges after political independence.

Faculty Biographies:

Samuel Fury DalySamuel Fury Childs Daly specializes in the history of twentieth-century Africa. His research bridges West and East Africa, and it combines legal, military, and social historical approaches to the study of the past. His current project considers the history of the Biafra War (1967-1970). This book manuscript entitled Sworn on the Gun: Law and Crime in the Nigerian Civil War draws a connection between the crisis conditions of the war and the forms of crime that came to be associated with Nigeria in its wake. Using an original body of legal records from the secessionist Republic of Biafra, it traces how technologies, survival practices, and moral ideologies that emerged in the context of the fighting shaped the practice and perception of crime after Biafra’s defeat. Connecting the violence of the battlefield to violent crime, it provides a new perspective on the discursive relationship between law and disorder in the African postcolony. His other areas of interest include customary law in the British Empire, the history of vigilantism in Tanzania, and the methodologies of postcolonial African history.
 
Anne-Maria MakhuluAnne-Maria Makhulu is an Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology and African and African American Studies and Core Faculty in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Duke University. Her research interests cover: Africa and more specifically South Africa, cities, space, globalization, political economy, neoliberalism, the anthropology of finance and corporations, as well as questions of aesthetics, including the literature of South Africa. Makhulu is co-editor of Hard Work, Hard Times: Global Volatility and African Subjectivities (2010) and the author of Making Freedom: Apartheid, Squatter Politics, and the Struggle for Home (2015). She is a contributor to Producing African Futures: Ritual and Reproduction in a Neoliberal Age (2004), New Ethnographies of Neoliberalism(2010), author of articles in Anthropological Quarterly and PMLA, special issue guest editor for South Atlantic Quarterly (115(1)) and special theme section guest editor for Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (36(2)). A new project, South Africa After the Rainbow (in preparation), examines the relationship between race and mobility in postapartheid South Africa.

S19_AAAS_103

Development and Africa – Spring 2019

Course Number: AAAS 307, CULANTH 307, PUBPOL 207, ICS 308

Course Attribute: CCI, CZ, SS

Course Description:

This course addresses the vexed issue of economic development in Africa with its many failures and occasional successes from the early colonial period to the present. Course materials focus especially on the transition from the 1960s “modernizing” moment to the millennium projects and humanitarian aid of the present. Students will read the works of development experts, World Bank executives, anthropologists, and historians, asking why this massively financed project has experienced such failure and exploring what can be done.

Charles PiotFaculty Biography:

Charlie Piot, Ph.D. University of Virginia 1986, Chair and Professor of Cultural Anthropology and African and African American Studies, does research on the political economy and history of rural West Africa. His first book, Remotely Global: Village Modernity in West Africa (1999), attempted to retheorize a classic out-of-the-way place as within the modern and the global. His recent book, Nostalgia for the Future: West Africa after the Cold War (2010), explores shifts in Togolese political culture during the 1990s, a time when the NGOs and charismatic churches take over the biopolitical, reorganizing social and political life in the absence of the state.  His current project is on Togolese who apply for and attempt to game the US Diversity Visa Lottery. 

 

Development and Africa

U.S. Policy in Latin America – Spring 2019

Course Number: PUBPOL 590-04, LATAMER 590-04, POLSCI 690-2-04

Course Time: Tuesdays 4:40 p.m. – 7:10 p.m.

Course Description: 

To the extent possible, this course will examine the major elements of U.S. policy toward the hemisphere as expressed in the planning documents, policy pronouncements and legislation of the U.S. government.  We will attempt to answer the question: what were U.S. policymakers hoping to accomplish in the region and what did they, in fact, achieve? The course will also introduce students to the interagency process and the range of departments, agencies, and offices with an influence on policy formulation and implementation in the Western Hemisphere.  Finally, the course will examine in some detail key policy prescriptions: the formula for economic modernization know as “the Washington Consensus,” Plan Colombia and the War on Drugs, the Summit of the Americas process, and efforts to achieve hemispheric free trade, including the Trump administration’s decision to force a renegotiation of NAFTA.  The course will also consider the significance of the Obama Administration’s decision to restore relations with Cuba and the much-discussed “pivot to Asia.”

Patrick DuddyFaculty Biography:

Patrick Duddy, a Visiting Senior Lecturer at Duke University, 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. From 2007 to 2010 he served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for both President Bush and President Obama. Prior to this, Ambassador Duddy served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (DAS) for the Western Hemisphere, responsible for the Office of Economic Policy and Summit Coordination, which included the hemispheric energy portfolio, as well for the Offices of Brazil/ Southern Cone Affairs and of Caribbean Affairs. During his tenure as DAS, he played a lead role in coordinating U.S. support for the restoration of democracy in Haiti.

 

U.S. Policy Poster