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Race, Place and Community

#Oscars(Not?)SoWhite: The State of Black Hollywood

Record-Setting Year For Black Actors/Films Nominated for the 2017 Academy Awards


Setting a new record this year, the Academy Awards announced the nomination of six black actors with diverse films such as Moonlight, Fences and Hidden Figures in the running for best picture. The nominations may, at least partially, be in response to protests in recent years that the Oscars routinely snub black talent, sparking the hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite.

Stephane Dunn, Morehouse College

“I want to know whether it’s a moment, or a real transformation of Hollywood,” said Stephane Dunn, an associate professor and director of the Cinema, Television and Emerging Media Studies program (CTEMS) at Morehouse College. “These are really great films. In another year, several of them would be all but ignored.”

Dunn will join Natalie Bullock Brown, a professor of film and broadcast media at Saint Augustine’s University, and Mark Anthony Neal, a professor of African and African American Studies at Duke, for a talk, “#OscarsBlackAF?: The State of Black Hollywood.”

The event, free and open to the public, will be a live taping of Neal’s weekly webcast, Left of Black. It will be held at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 9, in the Ahmadieh Family Conference Hall (Room 240) at the John Hope Franklin Center (2204 Erwin Road).

Dunn said she has a love/hate relationship with the Oscars which will be televised on Feb. 26.

Natalie Bullock Brown, Saint Augustine’s University

“I have never watched [the Academy Awards] from beginning to end because it’s been such a white space,” Dunn said. “If this is truly a transformative moment, how do we support and sustain so that nominations of talented black actors and great black films become normal and not an anomaly?”

“I’m honestly very excited to see all the blackness and I think absolutely very single nomination is deserved,” Bullock Brown said. “When I saw Fences and Moonlight, I thought, if they don’t get nominated, I don’t even know what to say.”

Bullock Brown remains skeptical that the online hashtag protests and criticism by the Rev. Al Sharpton about the lack of diversity in Hollywood had any effect on the record setting nominations this year.

“I don’t think Hollywood is paying us one bit of attention. I don’t think they care about a hashtag,” she said. Yet, she added, Hollywood likes to see itself as very progressive.

“I wonder whether these types of nominations would have happened in the numbers that they did this year if it weren’t for the fact of our new administration. Trump has made white people a lot more conscious of some of their choices,” Bullock Brown said. “I refuse to believe that suddenly our work is of a caliber that deserves recognition.”

Policing Color: Black, Brown, and Blue

The Provost Forum on Race, Community and the Pursuit of Justice

The Forum will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Penn Pavilion, Friday March 3, 2017. The event is free and open to the public. Duke students and Duke staff are especially encouraged to attend. 

View updated conference schedule.

Register here by 3 p.m.,Tuesday, February 28 (or until the event is full)https://bit.ly/2k4XkiS

We are living in a moment in which significant tensions exist between law enforcement and communities of color. Of course, these tensions are not simply a product of our time. There is a history of racism in policing; and as a consequence of that history and based on the lived experiences of people of color, many communities of color bear a deep distrust of the police.

At the same time, law enforcement personnel sometimes feel besieged and isolated as police officers attempt to meet their duty to protect and serve many different communities. The issue has taken on added urgency most recently with the deaths of a long list of people of color following interactions with the police, as well as the deaths of police officers in Dallas and other cities this past year.

This year’s Forum will bring together participants coming from multiple vantage points, activists, scholars, and police officers to help us better understand the problem in its full complexity; provide insights on the nature of police and civilian interactions; help us appreciate the impact on marginalized communities that are experiencing racial violence through the media; offer us a process for achieving justice between sometimes oppositional communities; and point us toward potential solutions.

Sessions include:

9-10:30 a.m. Understanding the Problem

10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Dissecting Police/Civilian Interactions

1:30-3 p.m. Visualizing the Impact of Racial Violence

3:15-4:45 p.m. Obtaining Justice and Balancing Power

5-6:30 p.m. Constructing Solutions

For more information on the conference, visit https://provost.duke.edu/provost-forum-on-race-community-and-the-pursuit-of-justice.

‘Keep Going’

Karla FC Holloway Retires from Duke University with a Public Conversation on Race and the Academy — and a Message to Those Following in her Footsteps
Retirement celebration for Karla Holloway held in Penn Pavilion on Thursday, December 8, 2016.

After years of visionary contributions to Duke University and the academy at large, Karla FC Holloway, retired this month with public announcement of both an annual mentorship award and a fellowship named in her honor.

The Dec. 8, event, “Word Work: Race and the Academy,” featured Holloway, the James B. Duke Professor of English, professor of law and African and African American studies, in curated conversation with former student and TV personality Melissa Harris-Perry, the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair and Director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center at Wake Forest University.

Kerry Haynie, a professor of political science and co-director of the Duke Council on Race and Ethnicity moderated the conversation along with Blair LM Kelley, an assistant dean and associate professor of history at North Carolina State University.

Members of the Duke administration, faculty, students, friends and family members gathered in Penn Pavilion for the intimate conversation that touched on higher education, leadership, writing and lessons Holloway learned during her distinguished career at the university.


“I’ve appreciated every opportunity I’ve had at Duke to be responsible. I’ve called it a position of authority,” said Holloway, noting that the word ‘leadership’, softens the act of leading. “To claim that language back, gives you the stature you need to be the decision-maker.”

She added: “With whatever grace there is in the universe, I’ve also been surrounded with people who will pick me up, give me books, say a good word, remind me that there’s another step,” Holloway said. “You just keep going. … I want all of you, especially in these times that we’ve left you, to keep going.”

At the end of the program, Harris-Perry who was mentored by Holloway as a graduate student at Duke, announced the creation of an endowment in Holloway’s name. The endowment will fund an annual award, the Karla Holloway Mentoring Award, for a nominated individual who has displayed excellence in mentoring young women and girls. It will be administered by the national Collaborative to Advance Equity Through Research on Women and Girls of Color, currently being led by Harris-Perry and the Anna Julia Cooper Center. Read more about the award and eligibility requirements here.

As a founding member of DCORE, she led the university’s participation in the Collaborative, an initiative emanating from the White House Council on Women and Girls.

The event also served as a fundraiser for Holloway’s alma mater, Talladega College, an historically black college in Alabama.

Kristina Johnson, a former dean of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke, followed Harris-Perry’s announcement, announcing an endowment and fellowship in Holloway’s honor, the Professor Karla Holloway Scholarship.

Walvid King, an Associate Vice-President at Talladega and Duke Provost Sally Kornbluth also provided remarks.

In addition to serving as mentor to innumerable students, Holloway has held several highly influential barrier-breaking roles at the university. She was the first African-American Dean of the Humanities and Dean of Social Sciences, the first African American female chair of Duke’s Appointment, Promotion and Tenure (APT) committee, and an elected member of the Academic Council and its Executive Committee (ECAC). She was co-founder of the John Hope Franklin Center and the Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI). As chair of the Department of African and African American Studies she guided it from a program to full department status.

She is also an affiliated faculty member with the Duke Institute on Care at the End of Life and the Trent Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities

Holloway is the author of eight books, including the most recent “Legal Fictions: Constituting Race, Composing Literature.” Her research interests include African American cultural studies, biocultural studies, gender, ethics and law. She earned a Master’s of Legal Studies from Duke Law School in 2005. She serves on several boards including Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, and the Princeton University Council on the Study of Women and Gender.

The event was sponsored by the Duke Council on Race and Ethnicity (DCORE), the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Dean, Duke Law School, the Department of African and African American Studies, the Duke English Department and the Franklin Humanities Institute.

Thank you all. You offered generous sites for sanctuary, words that were wanted, gentle urges, quiet nudges, and certain spirits. You have assured that I have had a life in letters – a collection of hours finding their rhythm in words. All of which I would have wanted. Had I only known.


The 2016 Election in Black and Brown

The Duke Council on Race and Ethnicity (DCORE)


The 2016 Election in Black and Brown
5:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 13
Perkins 217, West Campus


A moderated discussion of the role of race and ethnicity in the U.S. presidential election. Free and open to the public.





Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Ph.D. ‘07

MSNBC, NBCNews.com, and Telemundo contributor
Director of Community Outreach, Center for Mexican-American Studies, University of Texas




Dorian T. Warren
Fellow, Roosevelt Institute
Former host of MSNBC’s “Nerding Out”






Kerry Haynie
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Co-Director, Duke Council on Race and Ethnicity








Moderated by

Mark Anthony Neal
Professor, African and African American Studies, Duke University
Co-Director, Duke Council on Race and Ethnicity


Topics include:

• the importance of the black and brown vote
• racism and xenophobia in a presidential campaign
• the consequences for people of color under a Clinton or Trump administration
• the future of black and Latino politics and race relations in the U.S.

Q & A to follow.

Co-sponsored by The Graduate School.


Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Ph.D. ‘07
MSNBC, NBCNews.com, and Telemundo contributor
Director of Community Outreach, Center for Mexican-American Studies, University of Texas

DeFrancesco Soto received her Ph.D. in political science from Duke University during which time she was a National Science Foundation Fellow. She is currently a Professor at the University of Texas where she was selected as one of the university’s “Game Changing” faculty. DeFrancesco Soto teaches in the Department of Mexican-American and Latino Studies and is a Fellow at the Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Named one of the top 12 scholars in the country by Diverse magazine DeFrancesco Soto previously taught at Northwestern University and Rutgers.

DeFrancesco Soto translates social science research into a more relatable form of information for a wide variety of audiences. She is a contributor to MSNBC and NBCNews.com as well as a regular political analyst for Telemundo. She is also widely published in both academic and popular outlets such as POLITICO and Talking Points Memo.


Dorian Warren
Fellow, Roosevelt Institute
Former host of MSNBC’s “Nerding Out”

Warren is a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and Board Chair of the Center for Community Change. A scholar of inequality and American politics, he taught for over a decade at the University of Chicago and Columbia University, where he was co-director of the Columbia University Program on Labor Law and Policy. He is a former MSNBC Contributor and was host and executive producer of “Nerding Out” on MSNBC’s digital platform.

Warren has worked to advance racial, economic and social justice campaigns for over two decades with many progressive national and local organizations including the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, American Rights at Work/Jobs with Justice, and the AFL-CIO, among others. He is also co-chair of the AFL-CIO’s Commission on Racial and Economic Justice Advisory Council. He currently serves on several boards including Alliance for a Greater New York, Working Partnerships USA, and The Nation Magazine Editorial Board.

As a commentator on public affairs, Warren has appeared regularly on television and radio including NBC Nightly News, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, BET, BBC, NPR, Bloomberg, & NY1, among other outlets. He has also written for The Nation, Huffington Post, Newsweek, Salon, Washington Post, New York Times, Ebony.com, and Boston Review.

In 2013, he was included on the list of NBC’s theGrio’s 100 people making history today. After growing up on the South Side of Chicago, Warren received his B.A. from the University of Illinois and his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Yale University.


Kerry Haynie
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Co-Director, Duke Council on Race and Ethnicity
Duke University

Haynie’s research and teaching interests are in race and ethnic politics, intersections of race and gender, legislative processes, state-level politics, southern politics, and comparative urban politics. He is one of the editors of the journal, Politics, Groups, and Identities. He has been published in numerous journals including The Journal of PoliticsLegislative Studies QuarterlyPolitics, Groups, and Identities; and the International Journal of Africana Studies.

His publications include New Race Politics in America: Understanding Minority and Immigrant Voting (co-edited with Jane Junn), and African American Legislators in the American States, among others.

Haynie has traveled widely speaking on race and politics, including invited talks in France, Germany, and South Africa. He is the co-winner of the American Political Science Association’s Women and Politics Research Section’s Best Paper Award for 2012. He was recently elected co-president of the American Political Science Association’s section on Race and Ethnic Politics.