Workshops listed below are open to all members of the Duke community.  Visitors from off-campus are welcome at all Public Events listed below.  Please check back regularly for updates.

All lab events are free and take place in 101 Classroom Building
unless otherwise noted.

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Fall Events 2019

October – 10th, 2019, 12:00pm – 1:30pm (Workshop) -“Forming Intimate Communities in Modern China,” Book Discussion with Nicole Barnes. Join us for a book discussion of Nicole Barnes’s recent book, Intimate Communities: Wartime Healthcare and the Birth of Modern China, 1937-1945. In this book, Professor Barnes examines how the women who worked as nurses, doctors, and midwives during China’s War of Resistance created emotional bonds that brought the nation together. Participants should expect an open-ended discussion focusing on how her book approaches emotions as part of larger historical questions. Together, we will think about how analyzing emotions enables us to better understand the history of medicine and the formation of a modern nation. ***Lunch will be served.***

Intimate Communities is available to download for free from the University of California Press.

 

Previous Fall Events 2019

September – 9th, 2019, 5:00pm – 6:00pm (Workshop) – Turning Trial Records into History. Trial records can be rich sources for researching and writing history. They point us to tensions and conflicts that often lie below the surface – in any society, at any time. So join us in exploring how trial records can open up new understandings of problems that engage us all. This workshop opens up fascinating new views of sexuality, for example. Join Anderson Hagler as he examines a sodomy case that took place in Sante Fe, New Mexico in 1731. A Spanish man accused two indigenous Pueblo men of committing sodomy in the countryside. Workshop participants will interrogate the document and propose multiple interpretations about its formulaic structure and attempt to connect this case to a broader historical trend about colonization in the Americas.

Previous Summer Events 2019

June 14th – 28th, 2019, 8:00am – 5:00pm (Summer Camp) – Drone Innovation Camp. Drones have become more than just toys. Drones are tools that are being used in medicine, research, investigations, consumer use, and in so many other ways. Drone technology is revolutionizing everyday life and projected to be a multibillion-dollar industry over the next ten years. Participants in the Drone Innovation Camp @ Duke will learn problem-solving skills using the engineering design process by custom designing their own drone on CAD, 3D printing their creation, building, & testing their drones.

Previous Events in Spring 2019

April 3, 2019, 12:00-1:00pm (Public Event)“Diversity in Romance Publishing: An insider’s perspective” with Latoya Smith.  What does the world of romance fiction publishing look like from the perspective of an agent? Or an editor? Or an agent and editor whose goal is to help authors of color and stories that celebrate diversity succeed in this competitive industry? With thirteen years of experience as both an editor and agent, Latoya Smith of LCS Literary Services will share her stories, including a day-in-the-life snapshot of working in today’s publishing industry.  This is an UNSUITABLE Series event.

March 27, 2019, 6:30-7:30pm (Workshop) – “From Persecution to Revolution: A Jewish-Gentile Local Community in Budapest from 1938 to 1956,” with Erika Szívós, (Eötvös Loránd University, ELTE), Budapest. How does one use the craft of microhistory to understand the dynamics of a big city local community? Join Erika Szívós and the students of the Microhistory Seminar in a workshop discussing the sources, methods and interpretive challenges of reconstructing the history of an urban neighborhood that passed through the traumas of the Nazi era and early Communism. This workshop is for all faculty, graduate students and undergraduates interested in learning the tools of microhistory as they might be used in modern urban history.

March 26, 2019, 6:00-7:30pm (Public Lecture) – “Exploring the Jewish Life Worlds of Historic Budapest: Jewish Heritage and the Greater Public since 1990” with Erika Szívós, (Eötvös Loránd University, ELTE), Budapest, Rubenstein Library 249. In recent decades, the revival of distinct quarters of Budapest has been intertwined with the rediscovery of the city’s Jewish heritage. Jewish cultural and religious traditions, which had existed only in latent or strongly limited forms prior to 1990, became explicit and visible after the fall of Communism and began to shape the identities of certain Budapest neighborhoods in quite overt ways. The remembrance of collective traumas has finally become possible to express in the public sphere, and, as a result, Jewish places of memory have multiplied in the city’s urban space since 1990. Remembering the Jewish past of Budapest, however, has several dimensions today which are not at all related to persecution, World War II, and the Holocaust. Initiatives which aim to present former Jewish life worlds to a broader audience, in fact, challenge the earlier dominance of the Holocaust in public memory. This lecture aims to explore recent practices of remembrance, stressing the diverse and creative ways the city’s Jewish history is remembered and exploited today (e. g. city walks, educational and museum projects, commemorations, festivals, theatre performances, book publishing, oral history archives, and local community initiatives.) Refreshments will be served following the talk.

March 26, 2019, 12:00-1:30pm (Workshop) – “Emotions, Religious Experience, & the Emergence of Psychiatric Medicine: Exploring the Case of the Seeress of Prevorst.” Facilitated by Tom Robisheaux & Meghan Woolley. The Emotions Research Group invites you to join Tom Robisheaux in a collaborative exploration of one of the sensational cases from the beginning of modern psychiatric medicine. When Friedericke Hauffe, the young peasant woman later known as the seeress, fell ill and lapsed into a somnambulic state, physicians from across Germany came to study her illness and the uncanny experiences of the spirit world that she and others reported. How might one understand such an account about illness, emotional experience, and spirits? What challenges do the source and Hauffe’s case present the historian and the social science researcher? What theories of emotions might help make sense of the experience of a female somnambulist and those fascinated by her case? Participants in this workshop will read and discuss the evidence from the provocative medical case history written about her: The Seeress of Prevorst (1845). The excerpts from The Seeress of Prevorst (1845) will be sent to all participants, who should come ready for an open-ended discussion about it and what it might suggest about the history of emotions. RSVP to microworlds-lab@duke.edu.

March 22, 2019, 12:00pm-1:00pm (Public Event) – “Making Love out of History: 19th-century pleasure gardens and modern romance fiction” with Theresa Romain.  Question: How does an author of novels that require both historical accuracy and romance that resonates with 21st-century readers maintain the balance between authenticity and pleasurable fantasy? Answer: She plucks from actual history truly astonishing stories and then drops her vibrant, unique characters right into the middle of them. In this workshop, consummate storyteller Theresa Romain will share her experiences using research into real history to craft moving love stories for modern readers.  Romain is the author of The Prodigal Duke and more than a dozen acclaimed works of historical fiction.  This is an UNSUITABLE Series event.

March 7, 2019, 12:00-1:00pm (Public Event) – “Microhistory and The Revolt of Snowballs luncheon with Professor Claire Judde de Larivière (Université Toulouse II, Département d’histoire, Toulouse, France). Join Claire Judde de Larivière for a casual conversation about her new book, The Revolt of Snowballs, microhistory, and Venetian history today. Graduate students especially welcome. RSVP to microworlds-lab@duke.edu.

March 6, 2019, 6:30-9:00pm (Public Event/Workshop) – “Microhistory and The Revolt of Snowballs with Professor Claire Judde de Larivière (Université Toulouse II, Département d’histoire, Toulouse, France). How did Claire Judde de Larivière’s new microhistory, The Revolt of Snowballs, come about? What methods and sources brought her study of the “people’s” rebellion of 1511 in Venice to life? In this workshop Larivière discusses the sources and methods that made this riveting history possible.

March 5, 2019, 4:30-6:00pm  (Public Event) “Everyday Politics of the ‘People’ in Venice” with Professor Claire Judde de Larivière (Université Toulouse II, Département d’histoire, Toulouse, France), 240 Classroom BuildingVenice is widely known as one of the great republics of Renaissance Europe. In an age when monarchies and empires concentrated power in the hands of princes and kings, the “people” (popolo) of Venice continued to play a dynamic role in shaping the city-state’s history and empire. But who exactly were the popolo by the time of the Renaissance? Claire Judde de Larivière sketches out approaches to understanding this omnipresent, but often invisible, segment of the Venetian republic.

March 1, 2019, 1:30pm-3:30pm (Special Student Event) – STORYTELLING FRIDAY.  Research can lead to moving, unexpected, and funny untold moments from history.  We want to hear about them!  At this informal gathering, in a 3-5-minute story show off your favorite tidbit from history that you’ve uncovered in research.  Make it mysterious; make it romantic or harrowing; make it insightful or funny or tragic; make it a story you can tell at a party or an interview. Whatever way you can, make it memorable. Food and drinks will be provided. All students welcome! RSVP microworlds-lab@duke.edu.

February 28, 2019, 12:00-1:30pm (Workshop) – “Graduate Students Building Professional Networks.” Come and join the Conversation with Maria LaMonaca Wisdom (Director of Graduate Student Advising and Engagement for the Humanities), Sheila Dillon (Chair of Art, Art History& Visual Studies), and Ashton Merck (Ph.D. candidate in History) about thinking imaginatively about professional networks for humanities graduate students. Lunch provided. RSVP to microworlds-lab@duke.edu.

February 27, 2019, 6:30pm – 7:30pm (Workshop) – “Thick Description” with Nick Smolenski. Thick description, first used by anthropologist Clifford Geertz, incorporates context to better understand a person, a community, or a place. Students will use diary entries, court records, and maps to create their own thick description in a first-person narrative, contextualizing the execution of King Charles I on 30 January, 1649 in London. Particular focus on the senses, on sounds of the early modern city, and on political frameworks will enable students of any academic focus to construct an impactful narrative.

February 20, 2019, 6:30-7:30pm (Workshop)Finding Women’s Voices in the Archive” with Jacqueline Allain. This workshop will introduce students to methods of reading male-authored historical documents for women’s voices. Analyzing letters from the 19th-century Caribbean concerning the treatment of incarcerated women, we will learn how to read between the lines of white male-authored texts to gauge the political subjectivities of female prisoners. The methods we will use are useful not only for the reading of women’s voices, but those of all marginalized historical subjects.

February 15, 2019, 12:00-1:00pm (Public Event/Workshop) Cruise Ships, Cops, and the Black-Market Organ Trade: Researching real microworlds to write fiction” with Sonali Dev.  Authors of fiction often begin their novels with inspiration from real events or people, bending and blending those through the art of storytelling to create entertainment. Navigating those pathways between reality and fiction without sacrificing detail or authenticity can be a thrilling, albeit delicate and sometimes complex, dance. In this workshop, award-winning author Sonali Dev will share the joys and challenges of researching real-life worlds to create larger-than-life fictional love stories.  Dev is the author of A Distant Heart and three other award-winning novels.  This is an UNSUITABLE Series event.

February 14, 2019, 5:30-7:00 pm (Public Event/Workshop) – “Working on Women’s Life Stories” with Professor Laura Nenzi (University of Tennessee, Knoxville), 225 Friedl Building. This workshop, part of Professor Simon Partner’s HST550S course (Life Stories), will explore the challenges of writing the life stories of women. Professor Nenzi is the author of The Chaos and Cosmos of Kurosawa Tokiko: One Woman’s Transit from Tokugawa to Meiji Japan. After a brief presentation of Professor Nenzi’s book project and the challenges it involved, the workshop will explore selected archival sources and discuss their implications for developing narratives of women’s lives. The workshop is open to all, and should be of particular interest to graduate students and faculty in the humanities. Contact spartner@duke.edu for an extract from the book.

February 13, 2019, 6:30-7:30pm (Workshop) – “Turning Trial Records into History” with Anderson Hagler. This workshop will examine an excerpt from a sodomy case that took place in Sante Fe, New Mexico in 1731. A Spanish man accused two indigenous Pueblo men of committing sodomy in the countryside. Participants will interrogate the document and propose multiple interpretations about its formulaic structure and attempt to connect this case to a broader historical trend about colonization in the Americas.

February 6, 2019, 6:30-7:30pm (Workshop) – “Ephemera as Historical Objects” with Katarzyna Stempniak and Nicholas Smolenski, 150 Rubenstein Library. This workshop will introduce students to the importance of critical research in historical ephemera, or transitory documents created for a specific purpose and intended to be thrown away. Application of this methodology will focus on local signage, political endorsements, and business advertisements in America, c. 1860–70. Absence and redaction, as it relates to ephemera, will also be studied within these documents, particularly within the methodologies of social networks, scale, and thick description.

February 1, 2019, 12:30-1:00pm (Workshop) – “From Idea to Research with Jordan Sjol.  Sjol reprises his workshop for undergraduate students on making your way from the initial brilliant idea for a term or year-length project through the steps of doing the actual research.

January 31, 2019, 4:40-5:30pm (Workshop) – “Finding Women’s Voices in the Archive” with Jacqueline Allain, 241 Classroom Building. This workshop will introduce students to methods of reading male-authored historical documents for women’s voices. Analyzing letters from the 19th-century Caribbean concerning the treatment of incarcerated women, we will learn how to read between the lines of white male-authored texts to gauge the political subjectivities of female prisoners. The methods we will use are useful not only for the reading of women’s voices, but those of all marginalized historical subjects.

January 30, 2019, 6:30-7:30pm (Workshop) – “Narrative” with Nicholas Huber. This workshop primes students to think about the pervasiveness of narrative and its affordances and limitations for microhistorical work. Through a series of exercises, we touch on questions of narrative construction, form, contests over (mis)representation and “truth,” and making compositional choices about inclusion and exclusion.

January 29, 2019, 1:25-2:40pm (Workshop) – “Close Reading Primary Sources” with Thomas Robisheaux workshop for Professor Nicole Barnes’ HST 220 History of Global Health Class. The cornerstone of microhistorical research, indeed historical research in general, is the work with primary sources. Primary sources are usually texts, documents, records, printed books or written manuscripts from the historical time that is the object of a research project. Using a primary source we discuss – then practice – the three steps in reading a primary source carefully in order to develop an historical interpretation. The aim of the workshop is helping develop critical ability to engage a source, assess its usefulness and credibility, identify questions that need to be answered in order to understand the source in its historical context, and then practice developing an historical interpretation using a source.

January 25, 2019, 3:30-5:00pm (Workshop) – “Close Reading Primary Sources” with Thomas Robisheaux. The cornerstone of microhistorical research, indeed historical research in general, is the work with primary sources. Primary sources are usually texts, documents, records, printed books or written manuscripts from the historical time that is the object of a research project. Using a primary source we discuss – then practice – the three steps in reading a primary source carefully in order to develop an historical interpretation. The aim of the workshop is helping develop critical ability to engage a source, assess its usefulness and credibility, identify questions that need to be answered in order to understand the source in its historical context, and then practice developing an historical interpretation using a source.

January 23, 2019, 6:30-7:30pm (Workshop) – “From Topic to Archive” with Jordan Sjol. This workshop will focus on the rather daunting and somewhat obscure phase of work that happens between choosing an archival research topic and setting foot in an archive.  In general, it will cover:

  • Refining a research idea into a specific archive-researchable topic(s)
  • Building a list of potential archives (including options less obvious than the usual suspects)
  • Triaging potential archives to create a short-list worth pursuing
  • Contacting archivists
  • Planning a research trip
  • Keeping track of your work every step of the way.

It will also attend to the iterative nature of this phase of work, with each subsequent step likely to lead a researcher back to a previous step.

January 23, 2019, 12:00-1:00pm (Public Event) From Biology to Books: An Unexpected Journey” with Stephanie Stegemoller & Caitlynne Garland, Founders of Dog-Eared Books. The founders of Dog-Eared Books met while getting their Bachelor’s degrees in Biology, of all things. Caitlynne, a shy, reticent person, picked an empty table in Genetics lab. Stephanie, gregarious and outgoing, picked the same table, began talking, and the two have been fast friends ever since. Stephanie and Caitlynne will share the story of their journey from school to bookstores, how they created a mission to ensure that every person who wants to read has the ability to do so, and what they’ve learned about the big business of bookselling along the way.

January 14, 2019, 12:00-1:30pm (Workshop) Emotions Research Group Discussion” with Bill Reddy, one of the field’s leaders in the history of emotions, will lead us in a discussion of how to approach researching emotions. A pre-circulated paper, using examples of emotions within the intellectual history of Early Modern Europe, will help to launch our conversation.

Previous Events in Fall 2018

December 6, 2018, 12:00-1:30pm (Workshop) – “Social Network Analysis for Humanists, Part II: Digital Visualization of Social Networks” with Professors Jim Moody and Craig Rawlings of Sociology and the Duke Network Analysis Center.

November 16, 2018, 12:00-1:30pm (Workshop)  “Social Network Analysis for Humanists, Part I: Social Networks Analysis” with Professor Jim Moody and Professor Craig Rawlings, both of the Sociology Department and the Duke Network Analysis Center.

September 21, 2018, 2:00-3:00pm (Workshop)  “Finding Stories in the Archives” with Amy McDonald and Katie L.B. Henningsen.  It’s easy to spot stories in letters and diaries, but what about other documents?  How can ledgers and account books reveal stories?  Using examples from the Rubenstein Library’s University Archives, we’ll explore how different types of primary sources can be put into conversation with one another to uncover stories in the archive.  McDonald is Assistant University Archivist and Henningsen is Head of Research Services at David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.  Read more about the Rubenstein here.  This workshop is suitable for undergraduate students and also more advanced scholars.

What is a MicroWorlds Lab workshop?

A lab workshop is a 20 to 40-minute presentation on a microhistorical topic or method, or a related topic.  Presenters include Duke faculty members, students and staff, as well as guests from outside the university.  A Q&A rounds out the hour.  Attendees are encouraged to bring examples and questions from their own research projects to discuss.  All workshops take place in 101 Classroom Building and are open to everyone in the Duke community.  Course-specific Workshops (not listed above) are open only to students enrolled in the specific course.  Any Duke student or faculty member can propose a workshop.  Contact the lab conveners Tom Robisheaux (trobish@duke.edu) or Katharine Brophy Dubois (kbd6@duke.edu).

What is an Event of Interest?

An Event of Interest is any event on campus or in the area that showcases projects based in microhistorical methods.  These events are not sponsored or organized by the MicroWorlds Lab.  Event organizers are welcome to send us information about your event to add to our calendar.