Category Archives: Human Rights Archive

The Farmer in the RBMSCL

Student Action with Farmworkers Protest FlyerWe’ve passed the summer equinox and farmer’s markets across the country are in full swing. Over the past few years Durham has become the center of a vibrant local food movement in North Carolina due to its proximity to rich agricultural lands.  But those lands also come with a long history of agricultural labor and struggle: from plantation economies that depended on slaves, to share croppers, to today’s immigrant labor camps.

As I browsed the Duke Farmers Market‘s selections of tomatoes, greens, squash, and other locally grown produce (mmm, golden beets!) I reflected on the Archive for Human Rights‘ own farm labor related collections: The Student Action with Farmworkers Records. SAF, as they are called, works to improve the working conditions for farmworkers across the Southeast, the laborers who are the backbone of our agricultural industries.  SAF documents and advocates for improved conditions for farmworkers and a more just agricultural system.  Part of their work includes labor organizing and activism.  These guys in the photos are among the protest ephemera in the SAF collection.

Student Action with Farmworkers Protest Signs

Post contributed by Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist.

Instruction is Sweet!

Bill Fick's "Art of the Comic Book and Zines" Class
Photo by Bill Fick.

85 classes! The RBMSCL had another packed semester of instruction, as our librarians welcomed a group of fledgling Walt Whitman scholars from North Carolina State University, two classes from the Trinity School, and even a local Girl Scout troop—in addition to scores of Duke undergraduate and graduate students. We couldn’t have been more pleased when a student from Bill Fick’s “Art of the Comic Book and Zines” class (pictured at right) observed, “this place is like a candy shop—only it’s free!”

Here’s a goodie grab bag of some of the classes we taught this past semester:

  • Architectural Theory from Antiquity to the Renaissance
  • Art of the Comic Book and Zines
  • Cannibalism to Anorexia:  Embodying Social Meaning (Writing 20)
  • Digital Durham
  • Documenting the South
  • The Family in Documentary Photography
  • From Huck Finn to Miley Cyrus: Children’s History Through Popular Culture (Writing 20)
  • History of Punk
  • Introduction to Contemporary Latin America
  • Introduction to Oral History
  • Language in Immigrant America
  • Legal Documents: Yesterday & Today (Writing 20)
  • Looking In, Looking Out: The Language of Photographic Texts (Writing 20)
  • Major Italian Authors
  • Maps, Exploration, and Empire
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Photographing South Africa
  • Play, Games, and Culture (Writing 20)
  • Reading the Qur’an
  • Religion and Politics
  • Russian Art and Politics
  • Staging Sexualities
  • Suburbs, Malls, Office Buildings
  • Weimar and Nazi Germany
  • Women as Leaders

Wondering if the RBMSCL could support your Fall 2011 course? Send us an e-mail at special-collections(at)duke.edu!

Daughters of the American Revolution

Date: Thursday, 3 March 2011
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: Richard White Lecture Hall
Contact Information: Laura Micham, 919-660-5828 or laura.m(at)duke.edu

Dorothy Q. ThomasDorothy Q. Thomas will speak about recovering  a legacy of progressive Americanism for contemporary women’s rights activists, drawing on her on-going research for a book that chronicles the lives of some of her female ancestors, including descendants of former presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams and mother of the American Revolution Dorothy Quincy Hancock. Thomas is currently a research associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She was previously a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and was founding director for the Human Rights Watch Women’s Division.

The lecture is cosponsored by the Archive for Human Rights, the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, the Duke Human Rights Center, Women’s Studies, the Program in the Study of Sexualities, and the Franklin Humanities Institute. Generous support was also provided by the Trent Foundation.

Opening Reception for “al margen”

Date: 24 Feburary 2011
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: Frederic Jameson Gallery, Friedl Building
Contact Information: Karen Glynn, 919-660-5968 or karen.glynn(at)duke.edu, or Patrick Stawski, 919-660-5823 or patrick.stawski(at)duke.edu

Patagonia, Argentina, April 2010
Patagonia, Argentina, April 2010

Join photographer Petra Barth, the Archive of Documentary Arts, and the Archive for Human Rights for an opening reception celebrating “al margen.”

The reception will include a panel discussion on issues of poverty, marginalization, environmental degradation, and responses to disaster and crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean. Panelists will include Dennis Clements, Erika Weinthal, and Sandy Smith-Nonini.

Following the discussion, Barth will lead a gallery tour.

“al margen” was organized by the Archive of Documentary Arts and the Archive for Human Rights. The exhibit is sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Program in Latino/a Studies in the Global South, the Department of Cultural Anthropology, International Comparative Studies, and the Duke Human Rights Center.

From Protest to (PRODUCT)RED

From Protest to (PRODUCT) RED: Generational Shift in U.S. Human Rights Activism

Date: Thursday, 10 February 2011
Time: 5:00 PM
Location: Rare Book Room
Contact Information: Patrick Stawski, 919-660-5823 or patrick.stawski(at)duke.edu

WOLA Logo

The Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies conference kicks off with a celebration of anniversaries: 30 years of human rights activism by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA); the 50th anniversary of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission; and the 100th anniversary of the Organization of American States.

Since WOLA’s founding in 1974, both the human rights community and the community of nongovernmental organizations working on Latin American issues have grown and evolved. Joe Eldridge, Alex Wilde, George Vickers, and Joy Olson—all current and former Executive Directors of WOLA—will discuss how the organization rethinks its position within these overlapping sectors to determine the best contribution it can bring to their collective work. The panel, moderated by Robin Kirk, Director of the Duke Human Rights Center, will explore how human rights challenges and the activism(s) that address them have changed and adapted to the shifting currents of national and international policy and history.

WOLA is the premier U.S.-based human rights organization working on Latin America. The Archive for Human Rights is the repository for the WOLA archives. Since 2008, WOLA and Duke University have co-sponsored the WOLA-Duke Book Award for the best non-fiction work on human rights and social justice in Latin America.

This event is presented by the Archive for Human Rights and co-sponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center and the Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Post contributed by Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist.

“al margen: Photographs from Latin America and the Caribbean, 2004-2010”

Date: 17 January-1 May 2011
Location and Time: Special Collections Gallery during library hours and Frederic Jameson Gallery, Friedl Building
Contact Information: Karen Glynn, 919-660-5968 or karen.glynn(at)duke.edu, or Patrick Stawski, 919-660-5823 or patrick.stawski(at)duke.edu

al margen (“living on the margin”) is the result of seven years of photography by Petra Barth in fourteen countries of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. 70 gelatin silver prints are on display in two campus venues: 40 prints at the Frederic Jameson Gallery in Friedl Building on East Campus and 30 prints in the Special Collections Gallery.

Patagonia, Argentina, April 2010
Patagonia, Argentina, April 2010

Barth’s photography aims “to tell stories about the everyday lives of people living on the margin—their struggles and their dreams.” In her own words,

I use a spontaneous, intimate approach to photograph the daily life of individuals. I look for quiet, reflective moments when people are unaware of the camera and my presence, and genuine feeling is conveyed. Pieced together, these moments describe, with extraordinary clarity, the living conditions all across Latin America and the Caribbean, from Haiti’s streets to the suburbs of Nicaragua and El Salvador, and from the favelas of Rio to the victims of the recent tsunami in Concepcíon, Chile.

My photographs reveal moments that are not often depicted because they happen every day. My camera simultaneously captures the unusual in the ordinary and the ordinariness of the unusual. We often see images of devastated landscapes and human suffering in the wake of disastrous events, but that is only one part of life. What happens before, after, and in between these times? Despite struggle, there is also happiness and the ability to move on and create new narratives every day.

al margen is a candid photographic work that attempts to establish documentary photography as an art form as well as a method of communication. I would like to raise awareness about the living conditions of those who are marginalized, but I am also interested in people and the beauty of ordinary life.

Petra Barth’s photographs are part of the Archive of Documentary Arts.

al margen was organized by the Archive of Documentary Arts and the Archive for Human Rights. The exhibit is sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Program in Latino/a Studies in the Global South, the Department of Cultural Anthropology, International Comparative Studies, and the Duke Human Rights Center.

Join us for an opening reception and panel discussion, as well as a gallery tour led by Petra Barth, on Thursday, Feburary 24th from 4:00-6:00 PM in the Frederic Jameson Gallery. Stay tuned to The Devil’s Tale for more details about this event!

Rights! Camera! Action! Spring 2011 Season

The third season of the popular Rights! Camera! Action! film series begins tomorrow evening with Citizen King, which traces the final five years of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s life, starting with his momentous 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech.

Citizen King

We’ll provide free drinks and popcorn, as well as a panel discussion following the film!

The Rights! Camera! Action! film series, which is sponsored by the Archive for Human Rights, the Archive of Documentary Arts, the Duke Human Rights Center, the Franklin Humanities Institute, and Screen/Society at Duke’s Arts of the Moving Image Program, features documentaries on human rights themes that were award winners at the annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. The films are archived at the RBMSCL, where they form part of a rich and expanding collection of human rights materials.

For more about Rights! Camera! Action!’s Spring 2011 season, as well as details about tomorrow’s screening, click below.

Continue reading Rights! Camera! Action! Spring 2011 Season

Instruction-a-Go-Go

Instruction Session in the Rare Book RoomThis past semester, RBMSCL librarians led over 90 instruction sessions with students from Duke University and beyond—including students taking courses on advertising history at Elon University and Johnson & Wales University. We’ve pulled together a mere sampling of the courses we’ve supported over the past few months. We think you’ll see that the RBMSCL has something for every research interest!

  • Advertising in Society
  • The Age of Jim Crow: Racial Segregation from Plessy to Brown
  • African American Women and History
  • American Business History
  • Animals and Ethics: Welfare, Rights, Utilitarianism, and Beyond
  • Book Art: Text as Image (videos produced by students in the class)
  • Citizen Organizing, 1776-Present
  • Classics of American Literature, 1860 to1915
  • Consumerism in Great Britain and the U.S.
  • Documenting Race, Class, and Gender (Writing 20)
  • Enlightenment Orientalism
  • Globalization in Writing (Writing 20)
  • Hidden Children: Children and Childhood in U.S. History and Across Cultures Cultures (Writing 20)
  • History of Photography, 1839 to the Present
  • Human Rights Activism
  • Intermediate German Conversation
  • Introduction to German Literature
  • Introduction to Old English
  • Methods of Social Research
  • Native American History through Autobiography
  • New Media, Memory, and the Visual Archive
  • New Testament Greek Reading
  • Photography in Context: Photographic Meaning and the Archive of Documentary Arts
  • The Politics and Obligations of Memory
  • Reading Gender, Writing Technoscience (Writing 20)
  • Southern History
  • Witchcraft in Comparative Perspective
  • Writing Sound and Sound Writing: Hearing Race (Writing 20)
  • Writing the Self (Writing 20)

Wondering if the RBMSCL could support your Spring 2011 course? Send us an e-mail at special-collections(at)duke.edu!

Human Rights Records, Electronically

I’m a history Ph.D. candidate, so I knew something about working in archives when I started my internship with Technical Services at Duke’s Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library (RBMSCL), but not a lot about processing paper records, never mind electronic ones. However, as I started processing several collections acquired through the Archive for Human Rights, I discovered that electronic files were often just as important to the collection as paper ones. When I started working on the Common Sense Foundation Papers, I faced over 16,000 electronic files in addition to 34 boxes of paper records! A North Carolina think-tank active from 1994 to 2008, the Common Sense Foundation (CSF) worked on initiatives such as the death penalty, testing in public schools, and LGBTQ rights.

When I met with Paula Jeannet Mangiafico (Senior Processing Archivist), Seth Shaw (Electronic Records Archivist), and Patrick Stawski (Human Rights Archivist) to discuss the collection, we decided to integrate the electronic and paper files in the finding aid since the content overlapped and the volume was about equal. A researcher interested in the death penalty will thus find both electronic and paper records described in the Criminal Justice Subseries, which contains letters written by incarcerated people, a survey of capital defense lawyers, research on specific death-row inmates, and documents reflecting the daily work that occurred in CSF’s office surrounding this policy initiative.

Just as when working with paper documents, I screened the electronic files for sensitive information, such as personal, financial, and medical records. I then used the original path of the networked drive to describe the electronic files in the finding aid and used both the number of files and the megabyte size to indicate the physical extent. That way, researchers interested in a particular aspect of CSF’s work will know which electronic folders to request from RBMSCL staff, just as they would request a physical box by its number.

The RBMSCL has acquired almost 200 collections with electronic records in the past few years. Hopefully, my work with the CSF Papers will serve as model for processing future collections with strong electronic components.

Post contributed by Liz Shesko, Technical Services Processing Intern.

The Common Sense Foundation Papers are currently being processed. The finding aid will be published and the collection will be available for use in January 2011. For more information, contact the RBMSCL at special-collections(at)duke.edu.

Rights! Camera! Action!: Rain in a Dry Land

Date: Tuesday, 16 November 2010
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Rare Book Room
Contact Information: Patrick Stawski, 919-660-5823 or patrick.stawski(at)duke.edu, or Kirston Johnson, 919-681-7963 or kirston.johnson(at)duke.edu

Rain in a Dry Land (82 min.) chronicles the first 18 months of the new American lives of two families finally allowed to immigrate to the United States after over a decade in a Kenyan refugee camp. Beginning with “cultural orientation” classes in Kenya, where they are introduced to such novelties as electric appliances and the prospect of living in high-rise apartment buildings, the film follows the families as they learn that the streets in America are definitely not paved with gold. The families’ sponsors—Jewish Family Services in Springfield, Massachusetts, and World Relief in Atlanta—have pledged six months of support, which makes for a daunting learning curve as the families settle into their new homes.

A discussion with director Anne Makepeace and Suzanne Shanahan, Associate Director of Duke’s Kenan Institute for Ethics, will follow.

The Rights! Camera! Action! film series, which is sponsored by the Archive for Human Rights, the Archive of Documentary Arts, the Duke Human Rights Center, the Franklin Humanities Institute, and Screen/Society at Duke’s Arts of the Moving Image Program, features documentaries on human rights themes that were award winners at the annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. The films are archived at the RBMSCL, where they form part of a rich and expanding collection of human rights materials.