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VP Sharpley Whiting

Left of Black

Dr. Tracy Denean Sharpley-Whiting on the Importance of Libraries

For academics and scholars, the library is the source and life's blood to do the important work of research. What does it mean when state legislatures try to dictate what libraries can offer to the public at large? Vice Provost of Arts and Libraries and celebrated scholar Dr. Tracy Denean Sharpley-Whiting joined Left of Black host Dr. Mark Anthony Neal to discuss the role of the librarian along with reflecting on highlights of her illustrious career. Dr. Sharpley-Whiting came to Duke to conduct a masterclass at the From Slavery to Freedom Lab at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute on the historic librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black mixed-race woman who developed the Morgan Library & Museum in New York.

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Art of Interference

Art of Interference

Art of Interference: A Podcast on Art and Climate Change is now out

Art of Interference explores creative responses to climate change. It features artists whose images, sounds, and performances encourage us to retune the relations of nature and technology, the human and the non-human. The podcast interviews climate scientists about their research and how it chimes with the interventions of contemporary artists. Additionally, activists, cultural critics, and policymakers speak about the need to develop a new ethics appropriate to our twenty-first century of planetary crises. In each episode, the podcast discusses timely and untimely perspectives on how we, amid our human-made emergencies, may act in the world and allow this changing world to act on us.

Art of Interference is produced at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. It has been made possible with the generous support of the Climate Studies Fund of the College of Arts & Science.

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Kashif Graham


Divinity Librarian Kashif Graham awarded inaugural Humanities Tennessee Fellowship

Kashif Graham has been awarded the Humanities Tennessee Fellowship in Criticism for 2023. Humanities Tennessee is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The six-month fellowship is offered to emerging writers with an interest in writing criticism and journalism about the world of books and publishing. As part of this opportunity, Graham will also write for Chapter 16, the official publication of Humanities Tennessee.

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Nashville Scene

Winter Arts Guide 2023: Triennial Confidential

One of the most eagerly anticipated art events of 2023 is the long-awaited Tennessee Triennial. The triennial is a statewide art event organized by Tri-Star Arts that was originally slated for 2020. The delay — and all that’s happened in the time between — only makes it more exciting. From Jan. 27 through May 7, Tennessee’s four largest cities — Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga — will host contemporary art events organized around the theme “Re-Pair.” Tri-Star tapped artist and Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair of Fine Arts María Magdalena Campos-Pons as the triennial’s consulting curator.

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Designing a New Tradition: Rebecca VanDiver & Her Monograph of Loïs Mailou Jones

Spring 2023 Faculty Spotlight: Conversations with Rebecca VanDiver.

Art historian and associate professor Rebecca VanDiver met with us to discuss her book Designing a New Tradition: Loïs Mailou Jones and the Aesthetics of Blackness (Pennsylvania State University Press 2020), which provides a critical analysis of the art and career of African American painter Loïs Mailou Jones (1905-1998). VanDiver examines Jones’s engagement with African and Afrodiasporic themes, the influence of travel on her art, and the larger shifting conceptions of blackness, with which the changes in her art styles and subject matter coincide. Designing a New Tradition is a finalist for the 2023 James A. Porter Book Award.

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