Category Archives: Human Rights Archive

Announcing our 2023-2024 Travel Grant Recipients

The Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023-2024 travel grants. Our research centers annually award travel grants to students, scholars, and independent researchers through a competitive application process. We extend a warm congratulations to this year’s awardees. We look forward to meeting and working with you!

Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture (Mary Lily Research Grants)

Ola Aboukhsaiwan, Ph.D. candidate, London School of Economics and Political Science, “Surviving Abortion: Clinics, Competition, and Connections.”

Sophie Abramowitz, Independent Researcher, “Rosetta Records Creative Reissue Project.”

Anne Gray Fischer, Faculty, University of Texas at Dallas, “Women Killers: Murder in the Era of Feminist Liberation.”

Wendy Rouse, Faculty, San Jose State University, “The Feminist Self-Defense Movement in the Era of Women’s Liberation.”

Rachel Tang, Ph.D. candidate, Harvard University; Department of History of Art and Architecture, “Lessons in Repair: History, Materials, and Processes of Pedagogy in American Art.”

Tessel Veneboer, Ph.D. candidate, Ghent University, “Negativity, sexuality, and formal innovation Kathy Acker’s literary experiments.”

John Hope Franklin Center for African and African American History and Culture

Anna Duensing, Postdoctoral fellow, Carter G. Woodson Institute, University of Virginia, “Fascism Is Already Here: Civil Rights and the Making of a Black Antifascist Tradition”

Monique Hayes, Writer, “Sally Forth,” a historical novel based on African-American experiences during the American Revolution, 1771-1785.

Marie Hubbard, Ph.D. candidate, Department of English and Comparative Literature, “‘Ivy and Cane’: New and Old Forms of Trans-Atlantic Exchange in the Literature of Ayi Kwei Armah.”

Breanna Moore,  Ph.D. candidate, University of Pennsylvania, “‘Whose Loss?’: Reparations, Indemnities, and Sovereignty During the Era of Slave Trade Abolition in the Atlantic World.”

Elizabeth Schlabach, Faculty, Department of History, Lawrence University, “Segregated and in the Shadows: Black Women’s Off the Books Labor in Jim Crow Southern Cities.”

Katharina Weygold,  Ph.D. candidate, Brown University, “African American Women and Haiti During the U.S. Occupation, 1915 – 1934.”

Harry H. Harkins T’73 Travel Grants for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History

Courtney Block, Faculty, Indiana University Southeast Library, “Rhea White & Margaret Anderson Letters.”

Adam Kocurek, Ph.D. candidate, CUNY Graduate Center, “Academic Closets and Labor Trials: LGBTQ+ Academics and Activism in the Industry from 1960-Present.”

Suisui (Sway) Wang, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Gender Studies, Indiana University Bloomington, “Answering the Call(s): Sexual Politics of Hotlines and Technopolitics of Sexuality.”

John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History

John Furr Fellowship for J. Walter Thompson Archives Research

Cara Fallon, Faculty, Jackson School of Global Affairs, Yale University, “Ageism in twentieth and twenty-first century United States as it permeated American culture, medicine, and society.”

Susana Sosenski, Faculty, Instituto de Investigaciones Historicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, “The arrival of Kellogg’s breakfasts in Mexico: a history of the advertising campaign 1940-1970.”

FOARE Fellowship for Outdoor Advertising Research

Jacob Saindon, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Geography, University of Kentucky, “The Production of Commercial Attention: Advertising, Space, and ‘New’ Media in the Contemporary U.S.”

Alvin Achenbaum Travel Grants

Maria Elena Aramendia-Muneta, Faculty, Universidad Pública de Navarra, “The use of new energies and technologies for advertising purposes in the atomic age (50s and 60s).”

Aimée Plukker, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, Cornell University, “Europe Calling: The Marshall Plan, U.S. Tourism to Europe, and the Making of “the West.””

Pierre-Yves Donzé, Faculty, Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University, “Making Swiss watches and luxury good: the cooperation between J. Walter Thompson and Rolex, 1960-1990.”

Keely Mruk, Ph.D. candidate, Departments of History and History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “A Taste for Existential Threat: Women, Food, and Technologies of Preservation in Cold War America.”

Dael Norwood, Faculty, Department of History, University of Delaware, “The Beginnings of the Businessman:  How Exclusion, Education, and Globalization Shaped an American Identity.”

Stephanie Vincent, Faculty, Department of History, Kent State University, “From Luxury to Defense: Glass, Silver, and China During World War II.”

History of Medicine Collections

Christopher Blakley, Faculty, Core Program, Occidental College, “”Race Science and the Senses in the US Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842.”

Austin Bryan, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University, “‘It’s Our Aid’: Liberation Through Disease in Uganda.”

Sarah Parker, Faculty, School of Humanities, Jacksonville University, “Science as Spectacle:  Satirizing Scientific Discourse in Shadwell’s The Virtuoso (1676).”

Matthew Soleiman, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, University of California San Diego, “The Person in Pain: A Genealogy of Bodily Experience.”

Human Rights Archive

Amy Kerner, Faculty, Department of History, University of Texas at Dallas, “Human Rights Activism and Forced Disappearance from the 1976 Coup to the Rome Statute.”

Claudia Monterroza Rivera, Ph.D. candidate, Vanderbilt University, “‘Defender Nuestros Derechos:’ Catholic Women and Transnational Human Rights Activism in Central America and the United States, 1970s-1980s.”

Carolyn Robbins, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Communication, University of Maryland, “Riot Rhetorics: The Language of the Unheard.”

Debbie Sharnak, Faculty, Department of History, Rowan University, “Jewish Internationalism and the Southern Cone Dictatorships.”

Brigitte Stepanov, Faculty, George Institute of Technology, “Cruelty, War, Fiction: Redefining the In-Human.”

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Research Travel Grants

Matilde Manara, Postdoctoral Fellow, Collège de France, “Proustmania! Reading, writing, sewing Proust today.”

Christina Olivares, Ph.D. candidate, Department of English Education, Teachers College at Columbia University, “Reparative Gestures/Queering Education: Eve Kosofsky Sedwick’s pedagogical practices and James Sears’ research in adolescent education.”

Evan Pavka, Faculty, Department of Art & Art History, Wayne State University, “Reconstructing ‘Queer Space’.”

Contaminated Swims and Condemnations of Franco Spain: Remembering, Forgetting, and Diplomacy of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and Franco Dictatorship (1939-1975) in the United States

Post contributed by Tyler J. Goldberger, Human Rights Archive Travel Grant Awardee

“Diplomatic Dip,” reports the Staten Island Advance on March 9, 1966, covering the remarkable story of United States Ambassador to Spain Angier Biddle Duke swimming alongside Manuel Fraga, Spanish Minister of Information and Tourism, in hydrogen bomb-contaminated water. “Envoy Swims to Prove No Radiation,” states the Chicago Defender to describe the same event. Clippings within the Angier Biddle Duke Papers as well as a Palomares, Spain scrapbook, part of the Angier Biddle Duke collection, illustrate the national and international coverage, consciousness, and attention garnered by the accidental dropping of four American hydrogen bombs during a routine fly off the coast of Spain, where the bombs were held, in January 1966. To minimize the political, economic, and diplomatic disruptions caused by dropping potentially hazardous and radioactive bombs on another nation’s coastline amid the Cold War, Biddle Duke and Fraga participated in a brief swim to showcase to the world that the United States did not corrupt the Palomares ecosystem. This public relations stunt sought to protect the image of strong ties between these two nations and support Spain’s tourism economy. This American faux pau serves as an exemplar of the contradiction between warming United States-Spain relations during the second half of the twentieth century and private citizens and organizations bringing awareness to Francisco Franco’s dictatorial, repressive regime in Spain from 1939-1975.

Angel Biddle Duke Papers, Box 66, “Clippings.” These are two examples of the news coverage of Biddle Duke and Fraga’s swim following the dropping of four American hydrogen bombs on the Palomares coast.

Due to the generosity of the Human Rights Archive Grant within the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, I had the opportunity to explore various manuscripts and rare books to support my dissertation. My project, tentatively entitled, “‘Spain in Chains’: Transnational Human Rights, Remembering, and Forgetting of the Spanish Civil War and Francisco Franco Dictatorship within the United States in the Twentieth Century” argues that American individuals and organizations outside of the diplomatic sphere promoted human rights activism and humanitarianism in regards to the terror, repression, exiles, and murders perpetrated by Franco Spain. While historiography traditionally ends dialogue of United States-Spain relations in 1898, when the United States defeated the Spanish Empire in the Spanish-American War, my project, supported by many resources at the Rubenstein Library, asserts that we have much to learn from how Americans fought against fascism through war, suffering, fundraising, attention-raising, consciousness-building, and caring, even despite the budding diplomacy between these two nations.

United States-Spain relations showcase how the priorities of Cold War anti-communism quickly and continually subsumed notions of human rights over the course of the Spanish Civil War and Franco dictatorship. While the civil war pitted leftist, anti-fascist Republicans against a conservative Nationalist coup d’état spearheaded by Franco, the outcry from the world resulted in sending approximately 40,000 volunteers from over 50 countries to fight against fascism, including around 2,800 volunteers from the United States in a battalion eventually known as the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. The American Rescue Ship Mission within the J.B. Matthews Papers and various rare books published by the Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, including, They did their part; let’s do ours! Rehabilitate the veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, illustrate not only that many within the United States knew the stakes of the Spanish Civil War, but also that there were large humanitarian currents during and following the war to support suffering Republicans within dictatorial Spain. Activities such as fundraising to secure clothes and food for ailing victims and exiles of the brutal war and post-war conditions, as well as organizing rescue ships to safely export Spanish Republican refugees out of Spain, highlight the space that Spain’s civil war occupied in American and global consciousness.

J.B. Matthews, Box 43, Folder: American Rescue Ship Mission, 1940-1941. This advertisement sought to recruit sponsors to bring Spanish Republican refugees to countries such as Mexico after the Spanish Civil War to escape the repression of Franco Spain.

While incorporating humanitarian work during the Spanish Civil War and World War II, my project also seeks to expand this timeline by following United States-Spain relations over the course of the Franco dictatorship. I will contrast the ways in which the United States government intentionally forgot about Spanish human rights violations while private citizens continued to fight to support Spanish Republican victims and their families. Thus, newsletters from the Committee for a Democratic Spain ranging from 1961-1970 provide crucial information on the continued American attention given to human rights violations perpetrated by Franco Spain despite diplomatic allyship. These newsletters shed light on the continued crimes, atrocities, and imprisonment enacted by the regime, educating American readers on the “Unfinished Fight” that more should be aware of between the Spanish people and their own government.

The gaffe of United States hydrogen bombs dropping in Palomares tells just one side of the story of United States-Spain relations over the course of the twentieth century. My project utilizes the contradictory narratives of contaminated swims and condemnation of Franco Spain to contextualize individuals and organizations in the United States supporting and providing resources to suffering Republican Spaniards amidst improved diplomatic relations. The Spanish Civil War was global in its fighting, legacies, and consequences, illustrated by the many Americans advocating for increased aid to and awareness of Spanish Republican victims far past 1939.

Resistance through Community: Prison Zines in the Twenty-First Century

Post Contributed by – Molly Carlin, Ph.D. candidate, School of Media, Arts and Humanities, University of Sussex, 2022 Marshall Meyer Human Rights Travel Grant Recipient

My research centers around the suppression of political voices in US prisons. Through archival research I am identifying the principal mechanisms employed by prison officials to prevent political organization and expression within institutions from 1964 onwards. Much of the earlier period looked at in my work has been focused on the Black Power movement, and the use of solitary confinement, tactical transfers and censorship to prevent key political activists in the movement from organizing within prisons. Many of these practices can be seen to continue throughout the period into the twenty-first century, and have been used, albeit less explicitly, to separate politically outspoken prisoners and establish obstacles to their activism.

Tenacious Zine, Issue 29, 2013

The Rubenstein Human Rights Archive’s collection of incarceration zines elucidates varied prison experiences, and in particular the institutional responses to political writing. The recently acquired Tenacious Zine collection has provided an invaluable insight into the experiences and writing of incarcerated women and non-binary people. Commonalities in incarcerated experiences of ableism, discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people, and the difficulties of parenthood are evident across the country. These collections have been pivotal to my research on two counts: firstly, in exposing shared contemporary experiences of prisoners over the past twenty years, and secondly, in prioritizing the voices of marginalized identities within prison activism.

Primarily, what can be drawn from the hundreds of experiences recounted in the Tenacious Zine Collection, the Inside-Outside Alliance Records, and the Incarceration Zine Collection at the Rubenstein, is a resounding and unrelenting commitment to fight back against the systemic oppression seen in the carceral state. These sources come from prisons across the country, and from the 1960s right through to the 2020s, yet exhibit similarly oppressive experiences despite continued efforts to organize. Incarcerated activists have started writing campaigns, hunger strikes, work stoppages, and collaborated with ‘outside’ protesters to form a robust prisoners’ rights movement over the years. This chain of personal knowledge exchange moving within and stemming from prisons combines political theory and understanding of systemic oppression with communication of everyday lived experience.

Tenacious Zine, Issue 3, Winter 2002

Rachel Galindo wrote in Tenacious Zine in 2011: ‘Over these years of incarceration, I have realized the value in writing with the purpose of sharing with others my experiences in a women’s prison. I hope my stories stand as examples that can be applied to a broader consideration of the role of prisons—locally, nationally, and globally—and their collective effort.’ She continued ‘This is the importance of writing. It is neither static nor a one-sided activity. It lends a forceful hand of connection through reaching out and receiving. In reading others’ writing, I am provoked, informed and inspired. This dynamic exchange is a part of our ongoing exploration and forward movement as a people… When we write we are participants engaged in change and building something better together.’[i]

 

Galindo’s perception of writing as a valuable tool to engage activists outside and build community amongst prisoners with shared experiences reflects long-standing approaches to prison protest from decades prior. Another Tenacious Zine writer recalled realizing that ‘just because we are in prison doesn’t mean that we don’t have a voice,’ when formerly incarcerated poet and writer Jimmy Santiago Baca came to visit at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center.[ii] Baca’s influence here exhibits the vital impact of activist networks and writerly collaboration, and the importance of words as a tool for organization, community, and resistance within the constraints of the penal system.

Yet this political writing, and activists’ repeated demands for core rights and respect have been met consistently with resistance and suppression from prison authorities. Vocal dissenters have been repeatedly placed in extensive periods of solitary confinement, hunger strikers force fed, labour strikers inadequately fed, visitations stopped, activists transferred, letters withheld and reading censored. Patterns in prison responses focus on blocking political activism and knowledge exchange through physical barriers and manipulation. The zine collections at the Rubenstein have unveiled these barriers, with writers exposing the ‘immediate surveillance,’ interception and censorship of prison writing.

One account in Tenacious Zine exposed escalating responses from prison officials to their writing on prison abuse. Beginning with interception of mail containing a drawing for a manuscript on sexual assault in prison, Barrilee Bannister recounted continued efforts by prison staff to prevent their writing from leaving the prison. Officers filed misconduct reports, searched Bannister’s bunk to find the manuscript, faked allegations of violent threats, removed privileges and transferred Bannister to an increased security wing.[iii]  Bannister’s experience marks just one in a sustained effort to inhibit political expression and freedom in writing from prison, with many other instances recounted in the Rubenstein’s collections and beyond. On 26th September 2022, thousands of Alabama prisoners began a labor strike to protest understaffing, violence, sexual assault and unpaid labor within the carceral system.[iv] Prison authorities responded with withheld meals and visitation stoppages, and prisoners were forced to mobilize outside communities to help fundraise for commissary supplies to ensure protesters were fed.

Prisons continue to remove all but the most basic of rights and necessities from those within, and so the need for adequate avenues for political expression remains pivotal. Yet what has been seen in varied forms throughout this period is a system which functions to prevent this and which ignores or prohibits prisoners’ voices from being heard. The rise of mass incarceration coupled with the growth of supermax prisons has vastly increased the scale of this issue, to the point where this can now be seen as widespread political suppression. As prisoners across the country continue to take action against these injustices, it is important to identify the mechanisms that have long been employed to silence incarcerated political voices and how these have shifted.

*Molly Carlin’s grant project for the 2022 Marshall Meyer Human Rights Travel Grant  is entitled, “How to Jail a Revolution: Theorising the Penal Suppression of American Political Voices, 1964-2022.”

[i] Tenacious Zine, Issue 23, Summer 2011

[ii] Tenacious Zine, Issue 23, Summer 2011

[iii] Tenacious Zine, Issue 11, Spring 2007

[iv] Blakinger, K., ‘Alabama Said Prison Strike Was ‘Under Control.’ Footage Shows System in Deadly Disarray’, The Marshall Project, October 2022

2023-2024 Research Travel Grants Open

The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library is now accepting applications for our 2023-2024 research travel grant program. Our program is open to all kinds of researchers– artists, activists, students, and scholars—whose work would be supported by sources from the Rubenstein Library’s research centers.

Research travel grants of up to $1500 are offered by the following Centers and research areas:

Archive of Documentary Arts
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Travel Grants
Harry H. Harkins T’73 Travel Grants for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History
History of Medicine Collections
Human Rights Archive
John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture
John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History
Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture (Mary Lily Research Grants)

Each grant offering is specific to the associated subject area and collection holdings, and our archivists can help you determine eligibility for your project. We encourage applications from students at any level of education; faculty and teachers; visual and performing artists; writers; filmmakers; public historians; and independent researchers. Applicants must reside beyond a 100-mile radius of Durham, N.C., and may not be current Duke students or employees. Awards are paid as reimbursement after completion of the research visit(s). The deadline for applications will be Friday, February 24, 2023, at 6:00 pm EST. Recipients should be announced by the end of April 2023, and grants will be for travel during May 2023-June 2024.

An online information session will be held Thursday, January 19, 2023, 1-2 EST.  This program will review application requirements, offer tips for creating a successful application, and include an opportunity for attendees to ask questions. This program will be recorded, and posted online afterwards.  Register for the session here. Further questions may be directed to AskRL@duke.edu with the subject line “Travel Grants.”

[An earlier version of this post had the incorrect date for the info session. It will be held Thursday, January 19.]

Witness to Guantanamo

The data from detainees in Guantanamo was adapted from the ACLU website “Guantanamo by the Numbers”. In an attempt to humanize the information, the graphic was hand painted on the wall of the gallery by local artist Renzo Ortega.

Post by Caitlin Margaret Kelly, Curator of the Documentary Arts & Director of the Power Plant Gallery, and Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist

On January 11, 2002, the first prisoners in America’s War on Terror arrived at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Roughly seven hundred and eighty detainees have been housed at the prison thus far. Most of the men were never charged with a crime, yet many were imprisoned for more than a decade. Over the past twenty years many other lives were drawn into Guantanamo: families of the detained, defense lawyers, prosecutors, doctors, interrogators, military personnel, journalists, and diplomats.

Peter Honigsberg has recorded the stories of the people who lived and worked at the naval base, voices that speak truth to power. He founded the Witness to Guantanamo (WtG) Video Collection to draw the history of Guantanamo out of the shadows and reveal its impact on the lives of individuals as well as our nation. He donated the collection to the Human Rights Archive at the Rubenstein Library in 2018.

Oral histories are displayed on televisions throughout the gallery during the Witness to Guantanamo exhibition at the Power Plant Gallery.

In January 2022, the Human Rights Archive and Archive of Documentary Arts collaborated to mount an exhibition drawn from the collection in the Power Plant Gallery in downtown Durham. The first-hand testimonies were paired with photographs by Duke professor Christopher Sims and drawings by court artist Janet Hamlin, in addition to psyops flyers, infographics and maps locating Guantanamo within both the visual and historical record.

Reflecting on his experience visiting the exhibition with his class, Zac Johnson T’22 writes, “Both pain and perseverance were noticeable in the voices of detainees. They spoke about hunger strikes, learning to build relationships with others, and losing hours of sleep every night. They spoke about being physically weak, but never losing hope for the future, even if they believed the U.S. would never hand it to them. Their voices switched back and forth across languages as they sought the right words to explain the torturous circumstances that surrounded them at Guantanamo.”

Photographs of the day to day landscapes of Guantanamo Navel Base by Christopher Sims, Associate Professor, Sanford School of Public Policy, and Undergraduate Education Director, Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University.

Another Duke student explained, “This exhibit was a great opportunity to immerse myself in a project that uses storytelling in such a unique and impactful way… the portrayal of these stories forces the viewer to confront the speaker face to face in a way that felt remarkably similar to a personal conversation. I found myself avoiding the speakers’ eyes when they shared particularly tragic or humiliating details, and I somehow felt rude removing my headphones and leaving the station while the speaker was in the middle of telling their story.”

The exhibit was accompanied by a number of virtual and in-person events, including talks by Christopher Sims and Uyghur American activist and WtG interviewee Rushan Abbas and a panel discussion with Peter Honigsberg; Cahalm MacLaughlin, Director of the Prison Memory Archive; and Duke professor Leela Prasad.

Videos and transcripts from the Witness to Guantanamo Collection are available for public viewing through the Duke Digital Repository.

Announcing our 2022-2023 Travel Grant Recipients

The Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022-2023 travel grants. Our research centers annually award travel grants to students, scholars, and independent researchers through a competitive application process. We extend a warm congratulations to this year’s awardees. We look forward to meeting and working with you!

Archive of Documentary Arts

Rebecca Bengal, Independent Researcher, “‘Bad Roads Ruin Even the Best of Cars’: William Gedney’s Kentucky.”

Alexandra Le Faou, Independent Researcher, “James H. Karales European Exhibition.”

Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture (Mary Lily Research Grants)

Brianna Anderson, Ph.D. candidate, Department of English, University of Florida, “‘A Smidgeon of Ecofeminism’: Envisioning Environmental Issues and Activism in Women’s Zines.”

Rachel Corbman, Faculty, Mount Holyoke College, “Conferencing on the Edge: A Queer History of Feminist Field Formation, 1969-1989.”

Benjamin Holtzman, Faculty, Lehman College, “’Smash the Klan’: Fighting the White Power Movement in the Late Twentieth Century.”

Cindy Lima, Ph.D. candidate, Northwestern University, “Transnational Latinas: A Twentieth Century History of Latina Politics.”

Molli Spalter, Ph.D. candidate, Department of English, Wayne State University, “”Feeling Wrong and Feeling Wronged: Radical Feminism and ‘Feeling Work’.”

Emily Hunt, Ph.D. candidate, Emily Hunt, Georgia State University, “‘We are a Gentle Angry People and We are Singing for Our Lives’: A Story of Women’s Music, 1975-1995.”

Felicity Palma, Faculty, Department of Film and Media Studies, University of Pittsburgh, “of flesh and feelings and light and shadows.” (Grant sponsored jointly with the Archive of Documentary Arts.)

Lara Vapnek, Faculty, Department of History, St. John’s University, “Mothers, Milk, and Money: A History of Infant Feeding in the United States.” (Grant sponsored jointly with the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History.)

John Hope Franklin Center for African and African American History and Culture

William Billups, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, Emory University, “”Reign of Terror”: Anti-Civil Rights Terrorism in the United States, 1955-1976.”

Thomas Cryer, Ph.D. candidate, Institute of the Americas, University College London, “’Walking the Tightrope’: John Hope Franklin and the Dilemmas of African American History in Action.”

Mikayla Harden, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, University of Delaware, “Remnants: Captive African Children in the Black Atlantic World.”

Frances O’Shaughnessy, Ph.D. candidate, University of Washington, “Black Revolution on the Sea Islands: Empire, Property, and the Emancipation of Humanity.”

Emily Tran, Ph.D. candidate, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “American Reckonings: Confronting and Repressing the Racist Past and Present, 1968-1998.”

Evan Wade, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, University of Connecticut,” Henrietta Vinton Davis: From Teacher to Black Nationalist– an examination of a Black Woman’s Politics.”

Elizabeth Patton, Faculty, Department of Media and Communication Studies, University of Maryland Baltimore County, “Representation as a Form of Resistance: Documenting African American Spaces of Leisure during the Jim Crow Era.” (Grant sponsored jointly with the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History.)

Harry H. Harkins T’73 Travel Grants for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History

Mori Reithmayr, Ph.D. candidate, University of Oxford, “Community Before Liberation: Theorizing Gay Resistance in San Francisco, 1953-1969.”

Cathleen Rhodes, Faculty, Department of Women’s Studies, Old Dominion University, “Touring Tidewater: An Immersive Virtual Walking Tour of Southeastern Virginia’s Queer History.”

John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History (John Furr Fellowship)

Jennifer Hessler, Faculty, Department of Media, Journalism, and Film, University of Huddersfield, “Television Ratings: From Audimeter to Big Data.”

Conrad Jacober, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University, “Debt Prophets: American Bankers and the Origins of Financialization.”

Jeannette Strickland, Independent Researcher, “Lever Brothers Advertising and Marketing, 1900-1930, in the J. Walter Thompson Archives.”

John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing History (Alvin Achenbaum Travel Grants)

Anne Garner, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History and Culture, Drew University, “Recovering Throwaway Histories: Patent Medicine, Black Americans and the Blues in the Postbellum Piedmont.”

Rachel Plotnick, Faculty, Department of Cinema & Media Studies, Indiana University Bloomington, “License to Spill: Where Dry Devices Meet Liquid Lives.”

Elizabeth Patton, Faculty, Department of Media and Communication Studies, University of Maryland Baltimore County, “Representation as a Form of Resistance: Documenting African American Spaces of Leisure during the Jim Crow Era.” (Grant sponsored jointly with the John Hope Franklin Center for African and African American History and Culture.)

Lara Vapnek, Faculty, Department of History, St. John’s University, “Mothers, Milk, and Money: A History of Infant Feeding in the United States.” (Grant sponsored jointly with the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture.)

History of Medicine Collections

Jessica Dandona, Faculty, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, “Skeletons in the Drawing Room: Popular Consumption of Flap Anatomies, 1880-1900.”

Jeremy Montgomery, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, Mississippi State University, “‘Look To Your Map’: Medical Distinctiveness and the United States, 1800-1860.”

Haleigh Yaspan, Master’s candidate, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester, “Forceps, Women’s Rights, and Professional Turf War: Pregnancy and Childbirth in the United States, 1914-1962.”

Human Rights Archive

Molly Carlin, Ph.D. candidate, School of Media, Arts and Humanities, University of Sussex, “How to Jail a Revolution: Theorising the Penal Suppression of American Political Voices, 1964-2022.”

Tyler Goldberger, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, College of William & Mary, “”Generalísimo Franco is Still Alive!”: Transnational Human Rights and the Anti-Fascist Narrativization of the Spanish Civil War and Francisco Franco Dictatorship within the United States, 1936-Present.”

Thomas Maggiola, Master’s candidate, Department of Latin American Studies and History, University of California San Diego, “Guatemala’s Transnational Civil War, 1970-1996.”

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Research Travel Grants

Jennifer Doyle, Faculty, University of California Riverside, “Alethurgy’s Shadows: Harassment, Paranoia, and Grief.”

Annie Sansonetti, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Performance Studies, New York University, “Reapproaching Feminine Boys and Transgender Girls in Queer and Trans Theory and Art.”

Post compiled by Roshan Panjwani, Staff Assistant, Rubenstein Library

Applications Open for 2022-2023 Research Travel Grants

The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library is now accepting applications for our 2022-2023 research travel grants. If you are a researcher, artist, or activist who would like to use sources from the Rubenstein Library’s research centers for your work, this means you!

Research travel grants of up to $1500 are offered by the following Centers and research areas:

  • Archive of Documentary Arts
  • Harry H. Harkins T’73 Travel Grants for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History
  • History of Medicine Collections
  • Human Rights Archive
  • John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture
  • John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History
  • Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture (Mary Lily Research Grants)
  • Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Papers

We encourage applications from students at any level of education; faculty members; visual and performing artists; writers; filmmakers; public historians; and independent researchers. (Must reside beyond a 100-mile radius of Durham, N.C., and may not be current Duke students or employees.) These grants are offered as reimbursement based on receipt documentation after completion of the research visit(s). The deadline for applications will be Saturday, April 30, 2022, at 6:00 pm EST. Grants will be awarded for travel during June 2022-June 2023.

An information session will be held Wednesday, March 23rd at 2PM EST.  This program will review application requirements, offer tips for creating a successful application, and include an opportunity for attendees to ask questions.  Register for the session here. Further questions may be directed to AskRL@duke.edu.

Image citation: Cover detail from African American soldier’s Vietnam War photograph album https://idn.duke.edu/ark:/87924/r4319wn3g

Contextualizing Insurrection in the Archival Far Right

Post contributed by Richard Branscomb, PhD Candidate at Carnegie Mellon University and a recent Duke Human Rights Archive Travel Grant Recipient.

By many accounts, the riot on January 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol building was an unprecedented day of violent, far-right insurrection. Indeed, an attack of that magnitude on the nation’s capital has not occurred since this country’s Civil War. The events of that day drew together various far-right factions with a propensity for antidemocratic violence, including QAnon conspiracy adherents, so-called militia or patriot groups like the Oath Keepers, and the “western chauvinist” group the Proud Boys.[1] While the unfolding violence on January 6 may have been unprecedented, the “revolutionary” narratives undergirding those events are not. And the ultimate incapacity of those rioters to overturn national election results will not preclude others from trying again through other violent means.

My research uses digital and historical archives to trace the sort of conspiratorial narratives that resulted in the January 6 riot. The Rubenstein Library’s exceptional special collections have contributed to the goals of my larger dissertation project, in which I examine particular tropes in the history of firearms advocacy in the U.S. as that history is inflected by ideologies of far-right vigilantism and white supremacist subtext. As a scholar of rhetoric, I’m particularly interested in the ways social movements build and circulate narratives that establish certain senses of identity, urgency, or, in extreme cases, justifications for terroristic violence.

In the Rubenstein Library’s collections, I was primarily examining the periodicals circulated by the civilian militia movement that rose to prominence in the U.S. in the early 1990s. These materials include newsletters and propaganda that these militia groups circulated for recruitment and political antagonism. Overall, what these archival materials help illustrate is that the sort of antidemocratic violence seen on January 6 is neither a new phenomenon of far-right sedition, nor will it be the last. Though hundreds of rioters have now been criminally charged,[2] little accountability appears on the immediate horizon for the sitting members of Congress who refuse to condemn the participants or the election falsehoods that precipitated the riot.[3]

The civilian militia movement has been characterized by a deeply libertarian suspicion (and/or paranoia) of the federal government, and a stalwart dedication to the Second Amendment as a means to reclaim “liberty” for the militias’ overwhelmingly white and male members. This is despite the fact that militias were and are extrajudicial in all 50 states, and that judicial precedent on the Second Amendment does not support private militia formation.[4] The civilian militia movement originated amid a longer history of racist backlash to the incremental victories of the civil rights movement of the twentieth century, which were (and still are) framed on the political right as encroachments of federal government power on everyday American lives. Then, a series of lethal blunders by federal agencies in the early 1990s accelerated militia mobilization across the country: First, in the deadly standoff with a white separatist family at Ruby Ridge, Idaho in 1992, and second, the 51-day explosive siege of the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas in 1993. This movement initially peaked in 1996,[5] but it declined amid the fallout from the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building by white supremacist, anti-government extremists that killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.

Drawing of a large boot about to step down onto a foothold trap. The boot has written on the bottom "Federal Tyranny" and the trap says "Citizen Militias." To the left of the illustration is text "It ain't no fun, when the rabbit's got the gun!!"
Cartoon from the Gadsden Minutemen Newsletter (1995) illustrating the purported function of citizen militias in combatting militarized federal tyranny.

As evidenced by archived materials of far-right groups, Ruby Ridge and Waco inspired militia mobilization for years afterward. For instance, the Missouri 51st militia was named for the length of the Waco siege. These events also inspired varying degrees of exhortative rhetoric in militia group publications, up to and including insurrectionary violence.  In a March 1995 periodical for the Alabama-based Gadsden Minutemen Unorganized Militia, one writer reflected on how the movement ought to respond to government overreach, particularly incidents like Ruby Ridge and Waco. The writer concludes by emphasizing the “divine” spirit of the movement, even drawing a timeline from the American Revolution to the 1995 anniversary of the Waco siege’s disastrous end—the date that would in fact coincide with the Oklahoma City bombing:

“As on April 18, 1775, on July 4, 1776, on April 19, 1995, we are ‘ … endowed by our Creator … ’ Not endowed by government. I, we are free, independent and sovereign, with full authority over our lives, our bodies,  and our property. We are rightly answerable to outside authority only for direct infringement of the rights of others. Otherwise only divine authority will obtain. It is our duty, laid on us by God and the generations, to defend our, our children’s, and our neighbors’ liberty. In extremis, to kill; if necessary to die. We, I, individuals, each alone, are individually responsible.”

Masthead and headline for "Taking Aim" newsletter. Headline reads, "Closure or Coverup? Does the FBI really believe McVeigh acted alone?"
Heading for a 1997 issue of Taking Aim, the Militia of Montana’s newsletter, highlighting the persistence of “false flag” and coverup conspiracies centered on federal agencies.

Though this militia group was not responsible for the terrorism in Oklahoma City, these bald exhortations resonate —in extremis—with the broader rhetorical strategies of these civilian militias then and now. Groups like the Gadsden Minutemen and the Missouri 51st militia publicly decried the horrendous violence in Oklahoma City, while asserting that their mission was not to overthrow the federal government but instead to compel the government to “return” to a nostalgic constitutional past. Still other groups like the influential Militia of Montana circulated “false flag” conspiracies about the bombing, claiming it to be yet another federal ruse to dismantle their movement.  After the failed insurrection on January 6, 2021, some on the far-right recapitulated this storyline by claiming that the Capitol riot was itself yet another “false flag.” Still others, including members of Congress, have extended that “revolutionary” timeline to include January 6, 2021.[6]

In all, my research is concerned with critically contextualizing the prominence of heavily-armed vigilante groups in the American political system, particularly their violent vision of enforcing governmental accountability. To be sure, the government and our elected leaders must be held to account for their travesties and abject failures. However, civilian militias and their allies rely on armed intimidation and blatantly antidemocratic terrorism, methods that must be situated in the longer history of racist exclusion and silencing that paints a narrow view of just who “we the people” are.[7] This is why archives like the Rubenstein Library’s collections are particularly valuable for reminding us how we got to where we are now, including the far-right normalization of extremist words and deeds.

[1] https://apnews.com/article/capitol-insurrection-charges-roil-far-right-groups-1e0560dbd5572944e3435e225f8be616

[2] https://www.npr.org/2021/02/09/965472049/the-capitol-siege-the-arrested-and-their-stories

[3] https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/01/more-dangerous-capitol-riot/617655/

[4] https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/2021-06/McCord_final_0.pdf

[5] https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/antigovernment

[6] https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/01/25/among-the-insurrectionists

[7] Carol Anderson, 2021, The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America, Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

Call for Submissions: 2021 Human Rights Audio Documentary Award

Post Contributed by Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist

Annoncement Date: June 1st, 2021

What is audio documentary? How do recording technologies, sonic vernaculars, activism, and dissent come together in a documentary art form that engages with our ears?

This new award, sponsored by the Human Rights Archive and the Archive of Documentary Arts at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, seeks to support outstanding documentary artists exploring human rights and social justice and expand the audio holdings in the Archive for long-term preservation and access. The awardee will receive a $2,500 honorarium and be invited to give a talk at Duke.

In our inaugural year we will focus on works that explore language. Books are burned, buildings are bull-dozed, bodies are buried…and people escape with only their language and the memory work it will enable. How can spoken language serve as a form of sonic resistance to colonialism and cultural genocide? How does language persevere even when individuals and entire communities are disappeared? How do the language practices of the indigenous, the displaced, the incarcerated, and the oppressed buttress memory, build community and identity, and demand social justice and human rights?

Why should I apply?
The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Library has a strong commitment to human rights and the documentary arts through collecting and making available works by creators from around the world. Our collections document the impact that organizations and individuals have, and the role documentary plays, to motivate the thinking of others, and the influence that has on private and government policies.

We encourage submissions from individuals or groups from across the globe, whose work is not already in the collections of the Rubenstein Library. Documentarians working in their own communities are encouraged to apply, and we are particularly interested in submissions from communities underrepresented in the archives. We are not accepting submissions from employees of Duke University, or those currently enrolled in a degree-granting program.

For more information on the award and how to apply please visit: https://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/human-rights/audio-award

This award is an initiative of the Human Rights Archive and the Archive of Documentary Arts at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Learn more about Special Collections at Duke…

Contacts:

Patrick A. Stawski, Human Rights Archivist, patrick.stawski@duke.edu, and Caitlin Margaret Kelly, Curator, Archive of Documentary Arts & Director Power Plant Gallery, caitlin.kelly@duke.edu

Library Internship Open House – April 7

Date: April 7, 2021
Time: 3:00 pm ET
Location: Zoom
Register Here

Interested in archival and library work? Come learn about the internships being offered at the Rubenstein Library in Fall of 2021!

On April 7th at 3:00pm Rubenstein Library staff will be hosting an information session and open house where you can learn about the Rubenstein Library, meet the intern supervisors, get details on the internship projects, and ask questions.

The following internships available at the Rubenstein Library in the coming academic year:

  • Consumer Reports Processing Intern: The Consumer Reports Processing Intern will primarily arrange and describe archival materials held in the Consumer Reports Archives collections, part of the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising, and Marketing in the Rubenstein Library. The intern may also participate in outreach, programming, and instruction activities, depending on opportunities and the intern’s abilities and interests.
  • Josiah Charles Trent Internship: Working closely with the History of Medicine Collections, this position will provide support for public services and collection development activities of the History of Medicine.
  • Human Rights Archive, Marshall T. Meyer Intern: Working with RL Technical Services and Research Services staff, you will primarily provide support for research services, technical services, and collection development activities of the Human Rights Archive.
  • John Hope Franklin Research Center Internship: The John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture seeks a reliable candidate to fill the position of Franklin Research Center intern. Working closely with the center’s director, you will provide support for public services and collection development activities. This internship provides an opportunity to work closely with the center’s collections which include rare books, personal papers and manuscripts, oral histories, audiovisual, and ephemeral materials that document the African and African Diaspora experience from the 16th century to present day.