Category Archives: Human Rights Archive

Announcing our 2024-2025 Travel Grant Recipients

The Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2024-2025 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

Elizabeth Barahona, Ph.D. candidate, Northwestern University, “Black and Latino Coalition Building in Durham, North Carolina 1980-2010.” (Joint award with the Human Rights Archive)

Diana Ruiz, Faculty, University of Washington, Seattle, “Apprehension through Representation: Image Capture of the US-Mexico Border.” (Joint award with the Human Rights Archive)

Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture

Mary Lily Research Travel Grants

Taylor Doherty, Ph.D. candidate, University of Arizona, Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, “Minnie Bruce Pratt’s Anti-Imperialist Lesbian Feminist ‘Longed-for but Unrealized World.’”

Thalia Ertman, Ph.D. candidate, University of California, Los Angeles Department of History, “U.S. Feminist Anti-Nuclear Activism and Women’s Bodies, 1970s-1990s.”

Samuel Huber, Faculty, Yale University, Department of English. “A World We Can Bear: Kate Millett’s Life in Feminism.”

Alan Mitchell, Ph.D. candidate, Cambridge University, Faculty of Art History and Architecture, “Redefining Phoebe Anna Traquair through the lenses of historicism and intersectionality.”

Emily Nelms Chastain, Ph.D. candidate, Boston University, School of Theology, “The Clergywoman Question: The International Association of Women Preachers and Ecclesial Suffrage in American Methodism.”

Ana Parejo Vadillo, Faculty, School of Creative Arts, Cultures and Communications, Birkbeck, University of London, “Bound: The Queer Poetry of Michael Field.”

Carol Quirke, Faculty, American Studies, SUNY Old Westbury, “Feminism’s ‘Official Photographer:’ Bettye Lane, News Photography and Contemporary Feminism, 1969-2000.”

Paula Ramos, Independent Researcher, “Spatiality and gender: spatial circumstances of the creative process of feminist artists in the 1970s and 1980s.”

Dartricia Rollins, Graduate Student, University of Alabama, School of Library and Information Studies, “‘You Had to Be There:’ Charis’ 50-Year History as the South’s Oldest Independent Feminist Bookstore.”

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Research Travel Grants

Ipek Sahinler, Ph.D. candidate, University of Texas Austin, “A Portrait of Young Women as Proto-Queer Thinkers: Eve Sedgwick vis-à-vis Gloria Anzaldúa.”

David Seitz, Faculty, Harvey Mudd College, “‘No Less Realistic’ but with ‘Different Ambitions’: Reparative Reading, Human Geography, and a Return to Sedgwick.

Doris Duke Foundation Travel Grants

Olivia Armandroff, Ph.D. candidate, University of Southern California, “Volcanic Matter: Land Formation and Artistic Creation.”

Cameron Bushnell, Faculty, Clemson University, Department of English. “‘The Invisible Orient’ in Orientalism Otherwise: Women Write the Orient.”

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

Thomas Blakeslee, Ph.D. candidate, Harvard University, History Department, “Domestic Disturbances: The Resistant Masculinity of Black Fatherhood from Anti-Slavery to Civil Rights.”

Mara Curechian , Ph.D. candidate, School of English, University of St Andrews, “Acting Like Family: Performing Kinship in the Literature of the Civil War and Reconstruction.”

Michelle Decker, Faculty, Scripps College, English Department, George Washington Williams’s and Amanda B. Smith’s Appalachian Origins and African Explorations.”

Timothy Kumfer, Postdoctoral Fellow, Georgetown University, 2023-2024 Mellon Sawyer Seminar, “Counter-Capital: Grassroots Black Power and Urban Struggles in Washington, D.C.”

Hunter Moskowitz, Ph.D. candidate, Northeastern University, “Race and Labor in the Global Textile Industry: Lowell, Concord, and Monterrey in the Early 19th Century.”

Summer Sloane-Britt, Ph.D. candidate, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, “Visions of Liberation: Gender and Photography in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, 1960-1970.”

Mila Turner, Faculty, Clark Atlanta University, “Bridging Histories: Connecting the Atlanta Student Movement with College Student Activism throughout the Southeast”

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

Kadin Henningsen, Ph.D. candidate, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “Walt’s Companions.”

Julie Kliegman, Author, book-length exploration of transgender pioneers.

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

John Furr Fellowship

Hannah Pivo, Ph.D. candidate, Columbia University, Department of Art History and Archaeology, “Charting the Future: Graphic Methods and Planning in the United States, c. 1910-60.”

Lewis Smith, Faculty, Brunel University London, Brunel Business School, Division of Marketing, “Marketing the State”: J. Walter Thompson Company and the Marketing of the Public Sector in Britain.”

Alvin Achenbaum Travel Grants

Warren Dennis, Ph.D. candidate, Boston University, “Hard Power Paths: Gender and American Energy Policy, 1960-2000.” (Joint award with History of Medicine with support from the Louis H. Roddis Endowment)

Dan Du, Faculty, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Department of History, “U.S. Tea Trade and Consumption after the American Revolution.”

Will Mari, Faculty, Louisiana State University, Manship School of Mass Communication, “Selling the computer to women media workers: gendered ads during the Cold War.”

Janine Rogers, Ph.D. candidate, University of California Los Angeles, Theater Department, “Performance, Militarization, and Materialisms: Canned Goods in Asian America”.

Foare

Jonathan MacDonald, Ph.D. candidate, Brown University, Department of American Studies, “Psychology Hits the Road: Driving Simulators, Billboards, and Hypnosis on the Highway.”

History of Medicine Collections

Warren Dennis, Ph.D. candidate, Boston University, “Hard Power Paths: Gender and American Energy Policy, 1960-2000.” (With support from the Louis H. Roddis Endowment; Joint award with the Hartman Center)

Ava Purkiss, Faculty, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, “After Anarcha: Black Women and Gynecological Medicine in the Twentieth Century.”

Baylee Staufenbiel, Ph.D. candidate, Florida State University, Department of History, “The Seven-Cell Uterus: De Spermate and the Anatomization of Cosmology.”

Brian Martin, Ph.D. candidate, University of Alabama, History Department, “Racial Theory and African American Medical Care in the U.S. Civil War.”

Human Rights Archive

“Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride” flyer, September 30, 2003, illustrates one area of coalition building in Durham, NC, as described in Elizabeth Barahona’s dissertation research proposal. From the Joan Preiss Papers, Box 27.

Elizabeth Barahona, Ph.D. candidate, Northwestern University, “Black and Latino Coalition Building in Durham, North Carolina 1980-2010.” (Joint award with the Archive of Documentary Arts)

Diana Ruiz, Faculty, University of Washington, Seattle, “Apprehension through Representation: Image Capture of the US-Mexico Border.” (Joint award with the Archive of Documentary Arts)

Kylie Smith, Faculty, Emory University. School of Nursing, Department of History, “No Place for Children: Disability, Civil Rights, and Juvenile Detention in North Carolina.”

Harrison Wick, Faculty, Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) Special Collections and University Archives, “Examination of Primary Sources related to Social Justice and Latin American Immigration in the Human Rights Archive.”

Roderico Yool Díaz Wins Rubenstein Library Digital Storytelling Award

Photojournalist and documentarian Roderico “Rode” Yool Díaz is the winner of this year’s Digital Storytelling Award presented by the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University.

An older man in a suit and glasses, is in the foreground, facing the camera. He is in a large room with auditorium style seating. The room is crowded with people. Directly behind him are a number of people with cameras and video cameras, seemingly trying to take his picture.
Ríos Montt durante lectura de la sentencia por Genocidio, 2013.

Yool Díaz received the award for his digital project documenting the 2012-2015 genocide trials against former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. The project includes photos, video, and audio recordings of the trial proceedings, the reading of the verdict, and Ríos-Montt and his legal team reacting to the verdict.

“Time and again documentarians such as Rode remind us that impactful storytelling is contingent on being present,” said Caitlin Kelly, curator for the Rubenstein’s Archive of Documentary Arts, which co-sponsors the award. “Not just to get the shot and leave, but to hold a story with care such that one cannot put it down so easily. Rode’s work isn’t just coverage of a trial, but an unmasking of a legal performance with consequences far beyond the courtroom.”

Born and raised among Guatemala’s indigenous Maya Kaqchikel community, Roderico Yool Díaz has worked as a photojournalist for over 15 years. In Guatemala, he covers issues related to the aftermath of the internal armed conflict (1960-1996) and current economic and political pressures affecting rural campesino and indigenous communities.

A woman standing outside, holding a handwritten sign that reads "Urge gobernabilidad en Nebaj." She is wearing a woven headscarf and her mouth is open like she is yelling. Further behind her is a crowd of people, some of whom are also holding signs.

As Yool Díaz notes, “This collection is part of a larger archive of five years of hearings from the genocide trial against former dictators Efraín Ríos Montt and Romeo Lucas García. While most of my photojournalistic work has focused on the survivors of the genocide, in this collection I wanted to highlight the defendants as a way of unmasking the leaders responsible for the violence suffered by hundreds of thousands during the war and genocide against the Mayan people in the 1980s.”

The project is divided into four sections: Ríos Montt appears in court for the first time (2012); Intermediate phase hearings, when the case is sent to trial (2012-2013); Genocide trial (March-May 2013); Annulment of the sentence and the second trial (2013-2018).

“Trials are such an important and integral element of the human rights movement going back to Nuremberg,” said Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist at the Rubenstein Library. “The Human Rights Archive has extensive documentation on trials from around the world, but Rode’s project reminds us that trials are not just procedural. His images capture an insurgent, emotional, historical event, one that is simultaneously public yet intimate and affectively human through and through.”

A survivor of the genocide himself, Yool Díaz was born in 1975 on a Dutch-owned coffee plantation where his family had lived and worked as sharecroppers for generations. As a small child, Yool Díaz worked picking coffee and cardamom. He and his family were forced to flee in the early 1980s due to repression by the Guatemalan military. Like thousands of others, his family suffered forced disappearances and recruitment by the Guatemalan military and paramilitary forces.

Yool Díaz spent the rest of his childhood separated from his nuclear family. He worked agricultural jobs and attended night classes. He was the first in his family to attend college, where he studied anthropology, supporting forensic teams in exhumations of mass graves from the internal armed conflict.

After the peace accords in 1996, Yool Díaz witnessed continued violence by police and military against rural indigenous communities, acts that many believed to be a thing of the past. He realized he needed to document the violence to prove that it was still happening.

“I think it is important to understand a story is not just a collection of facts or the narrative of a specific event,” said Yool Díaz. “It is a human experience and has to be treated with care. It is essential not to reproduce the extractivist cycle that for so long has been applied to indigenous people and our communities.”

Since moving to North Carolina, Yool Díaz also documents resilience through culture and activism in Latin American immigrant and indigenous communities of the South.

The Rubenstein Library Digital Storytelling Award is co-sponsored by the Human Rights Archive and the Archive of Documentary Arts at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The award seeks to support outstanding documentary artists/activists exploring human rights and social justice, while expanding the digital documentary holdings in the archive and ensuring long-term preservation and access to their work. The award seeks to encourage artists/activists that pull from the strengths of multi-modal documentary and digital deployment. Going beyond the core mission of transmitting information, these digital storytellers create deeply contextualized, multi-sensory projects that may include still image, moving image, oral histories, soundscapes, and documentary writing. Winners receive $2,500 and are invited to present their work at Duke University, where they collaborate with a team of archivists to preserve their work.

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 support action that will transform the world.

Roderico Yool Díaz papers: https://archives.lib.duke.edu/catalog/yooldiazroderico

Roderico Yool Díaz website: https://rodediaz.com/

 

2024-2025 Research Travel Grant Program

The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library is now accepting applications for the 2024-2025 Research Travel Grant Program, offering awards of up to $1500 to support research projects associated with the following Centers, subject areas, and collection holdings:

  • Archive of Documentary Arts
  • Doris Duke Foundation Research Travel Grants
  • 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)

Anyone whose research would be supported by sources from the Rubenstein Library’s research centers is eligible to apply. We encourage applications from students at any level of education; faculty and teachers; visual and performing artists; writers; filmmakers; public historians; and independent researchers. For assistance determining the eligibility of your project, please contact AskRL@duke.edu with the subject line “Travel Grants.”

Eligibility

Applicants must reside beyond a 100-mile radius of Durham, N.C., and may not be current Duke students or employees.

Information Session

An online information session will be held Thursday, January 11, 2024, 2-3 pm 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.

Timeline

The deadline for applications will be Thursday, February 29, 2024, at 6:00 pm EST.

Decisions will be announced by the end of April 2024 for travel during May 2024-June 2025. Awards are paid as reimbursement after completion of the research visit(s).

Humanizing History, Complicating Memory: A Trip into the Past

Post contributed by  Carolyn Robbins, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Communication, University of Maryland; recipient of a Marshall T. Meyer Research Travel Grant.

On a warm Monday morning in June, I caught an Uber to Union Station in Washington D.C. and boarded a train to Durham, North Carolina. I was on my way to the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University. As a recipient of the Marshall T. Meyer Research Travel Grant, I had the opportunity to conduct archival research in Duke’s Human Rights Archive. It was a week of firsts for me – first Amtrak ride, first funded research trip, first time doing research in a physical archive, and even my first time discussing my dissertation in-depth with people outside of my university community. I was so excited to take this huge step forward in my scholarly journey.

Before my archival research, I had a very general idea for my dissertation. I knew that I wanted to write an abolitionist dissertation that tackles the ways we understand, remember, and therefore create and uphold systems to respond to those deemed “criminal.” My argument wasn’t fully formed, but I knew it would be something about interrogating and complicating the hegemonic stories U.S. American society tells us about the prison-industrial complex. In order to make this argument, I planned to use the Attica Prison riot of 1971 as a case study. I don’t have the space here to do the story of Attica justice, but I will try to describe the riot in a nutshell. In 1971, prisoners at Attica had repeatedly brought their complaints about things like overcrowding, water shutoffs, and rotten food to prison officials. Despite the prisoners’ rights to adequate space, water, and food, nobody in power responded to these complaints. Eventually, the human rights violations, egregious human rights violations, and a string of violent treatment of incarcerated people across the country inspired the Attica prisoners to band together and take over Attica. They took guards and prison staff hostage and cut the phone lines as they ransacked the prison.

This got the attention of prison officials, and they entered into several days of negotiations with the prisoners. The progress was slow and tedious as tensions mounted between the prisoners, the hostages, and the state officials. Eventually, one hostage died in a scuffle with the prisoners, and the negotiations immediately shifted from improving prison conditions to seeking amnesty and freedom from reprisals for the riot. Eventually, the negotiating committee left the prison and the government sent in state troopers. The prisoners and hostages were in D-Yard of the prison, a courtyard surrounded by high walls. The state troopers marched onto the catwalk atop the walls surrounding D-Yard on a rainy Monday morning. As the troopers donned gas masks, a helicopter flew over the yard dropping tear gas onto the prisoners and hostages, bringing all of them to the ground. The troopers, their vision impeded by the haze of the tear gas, the fog of the drizzly morning, and the thick eye protection of their gas masks, then fired thousands of rounds from their rifles indiscriminately into the crowd of prisoners and hostages. After this initial siege, state agents retook the prison. The guards ordered the surviving prisoners to strip, beat them, burned them with cigarettes, and sexually violated them with sharp objects. The state agents even forced them through a torturous obstacle course including a gauntlet of guards beating them with clubs while running up and down the stairs and crawling naked over broken glass. By the end of this so-called “prison riot,” 43 people, including both prisoners and hostages, had died violent and gruesome deaths.

The Rubenstein Library is home to several collections related to this riot: the Elizabeth Fink Papers, the Malcolm Bell Papers, and the Jomo Joka Omowale Papers. Elizabeth Fink was the lead attorney in the decades-long effort to seek justice for the Attica Brothers, the men who were incarcerated at Attica Prison and mercilessly tortured by state agents. The legal proceedings didn’t end until 2001, at which time the Attica Brothers were forced to settle the case for much less than they sued the state for. Elizabeth Fink kept many letters, documents, and news clippings related to the cases that gave an inside view into the struggle that continued so long after the initial riot. She also kept many documentaries, news clips, interviews, and other audiovisual materials that allowed me to experience this story from decades before my own birth in an immersive way. These files will elevate my podcast chapter by sharing the stories of what happened to the men at Attica in their own voices.

Malcolm Bell was the New York State prosecutor on the Attica case, When he saw the injustices of the Attica trial and the massive coverup the state attempted to create, he resigned in disgust and became a whistleblower and activist on behalf of the Attica Brothers. His correspondence, meticulous notes on legal documents, and copious writings on the coverup provide invaluable insight into the ongoing injustice of the Attica case. Bell’s advocacy is the reason that the public has access to much of the legal documentation about Attica, though a good portion of it remains sealed to this day.

Jomo Joka Omowale was one of the Attica Brothers who survived the siege. His papers include a wide variety of documents including personal correspondence, newsletters, newspaper clippings, and several handwritten and illustrated books. Within these papers, I also came across a prison pay stub that showed Jomo earned $1.60 for 8 days of work ($11.55 in today’s money) along with some mysterious objects that Academic Twitter helped me identify as pipe filters. This collection allowed me to gain a better understanding of the connections and divisions between the Attica brothers and other movements across the nation and the world, along with Jomo’s specific role in forming the Attica Brothers’ identity.

As I boarded my train home to D.C., I thought about all I learned from these artifacts I had spent the week examining. Spending time with Elizabeth, Malcolm, and Jomo helped me crystallize my  understanding of what really happened at Attica and what my argument is going to be for my dissertation. I am going to talk about the connections between riot rhetorics and rhetorics of civility as demonstrated at Attica. I am also going to demonstrate the relationships between identity, identification, agency, and power as exemplified through the relationships between the prisoners, state agents, hostages, and public throughout the riot. Finally, I will talk about the impact of public memory on current systems of oppression. I am so grateful to all of the staff at Rubenstein Library. Every answered question, scanned document, removed staple, and shared audiovisual file allows me to create a dissertation that adds another perspective to the important and ongoing conversation about the Attica Prison riot.

Carolyn Robbins (she/her) is a doctoral candidate in Rhetoric and Political Culture at the University of Maryland. She has forthcoming episodes about her archival research and the Attica riot on her podcast, Getting Critical with Carolyn.

The Carolina Justice Policy Center

Post contributed by Laura Daly, Marshall T. Meyer Human Rights Archive Intern, 2022-2023

Hi there! My name is Laura Daly and I’m the Marshall T. Meyer Human Rights archive intern at Duke and recent MLIS graduate of the University of Alabama. I’m excited to share with you my experience processing the Carolina Justice Policy Center (CJPC) records, a criminal justice organization which existed in Durham from 1975-2019.

This collection is a treasure trove of information for those interested in criminal justice and human rights. With only a small staff, CJPC accomplished significant change in North Carolina by improving prison conditions, sentencing for juveniles and people with mental disabilities, alternatives to incarceration, substance abuse rehabilitation, violence prevention, racial injustice, and bringing about a moratorium on the death penalty.

A photo taken in the 1980s by the Carolina Justice Policy Center Staff for a holiday greeting card which would be sent to people in prison as part of the Prisons and Jails Project.

CJPC also maintained personal correspondence with incarcerated people on death row and their attorneys to advocate for commutation of their sentences, including Velma Barfield who was the first woman executed in North Carolina since 1944.

Rally of the North Carolinians Against the Death Penalty—an organization which worked closely with and was administrated by the Carolina Justice Policy center for a period of time.
Large cardboard box with a mix of slightly messy manila folders inside
An unprocessed shipping box containing the files of the Carolina Justice Policy Center.

On my first day at Smith Warehouse, I was welcomed by my wonderful supervisors, Paula Jeannet and Patrick Stawski, followed by the paralyzing sight of the 112 shipping boxes stuffed full of folders, papers, and binders of the Carolina Justice Policy Center records. With limited background information about the collection, I began by taking an inventory of all the materials and coming up with a topical roadmap.

Taking note of things like formats, inscriptions on boxes, and the types of filing systems that were used helped me to get a sense of their original function and organization so that I could maintain the integrity of the collection as much as possible. Some aspects of the physical processing included stamping folders, pulling materials out of binders, removing rusty paperclips, unfolding and rehousing oversized and brittle materials, and making copies of fading documents printed on thermal paper. We finally entered all the folder titles into a spreadsheet and included descriptions of the series’ for the finding aid that would enable researchers to browse the collection in the catalog.

As is often the case with archival work, you never know what you will find hidden in boxes. Possibly the most memorable artifact I uncovered was a square cloth napkin which had been beautifully painted by someone in prison and sent to the director of CJPC, Lao Rubert. For me, this token of gratitude encapsulates the work of CJPC, whose mission was to advocate for those who were regarded as less than human by society to ensure that they received every legal affordance and resource they were entitled to.

White handkerchief that has been hand-decorated with flowers and butterflies. In the middle there is musical notation with the words "Sweet Music" written above
Artwork painted on a cloth napkin was sent as a gift by an incarcerated person to the Carolina Justice Policy Center as an expression of appreciation and friendship.

Another significant item was a statement of solidarity written and signed by incarcerated people on death row which denounces the hypocrisy of capital punishment and pleads for the human right to exist.

Handwritten letter with "Letter of Solidarity" at the top condemning capital punishment.
Letter of Solidarity written by incarcerated people on death row in the early 1980s.

While I knew that a significant portion of the collection would deal with crime and violence, I was somewhat unprepared for the challenge of becoming so intimately acquainted with these types of materials over a long period of time. I feel it’s important to note that a collection whose materials revolve around experiences of imprisonment, human rights abuse, trauma, and violence can be emotionally challenging to engage with for both archivists and researchers. Taking breaks when feeling overwhelmed, sharing with a trusted person or supervisor thoughts or feelings about difficult material you have encountered, or even listening to uplifting music can help. The exceptional staff I worked with at Duke were careful to periodically check in to make sure my needs were being met and that I felt okay handling the materials.

In retrospect, I learned many skills from this experience that I believe will be important for my future career in archives. For example, I had to consider the ethical ramifications of including materials about people in the archive while still protecting sensitive information–particularly for incarcerated people who are still living. Another important lesson I learned is that processing a collection requires you to continually make decisions about how to allocate time efficiently and devise workflows that will enable you to complete a project in the agreed upon timeframe. There is no one-size-fits-all approach and creating a unique processing plan is essential for each collection to maximize its accessibility for research, maintain its integrity, and respect the voices and perspectives of those being represented in the record.

In addition to processing the collection, I also gained a greater appreciation for the tireless work of the individuals who advocate for positive change in the criminal justice system and within our communities.

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.