Archives Alive Courses

Archives Alive creates courses that enable students to develop innovative and significant projects based on original materials held in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library. These courses are open to first-year and upper-class students and range from the arts and humanities to the socials sciences. Scholar-teachers guide students’ explorations, providing first-hand exposure to advanced research practices and immersive learning that goes beyond traditional coursework. Students produce signature products that demonstrate their capabilities for in-depth investigation, team collaboration and communicating the significance of their work to others.

Fall 2017 Offering

Scientists, Magicians and Engineers in the Renaissance

MEDREN 190FS.03/ HISTORY 190FS
Curriculum Codes: CZ, CCI, EI, W
Mon/Weds 1:25PM - 2:40PM, Rubenstein Library 350
Instructor: Thomas Robisheaux

This course explores the making of modern science and medicine at the time of the “Scientific Revolution.” It begins with an examination of the concept of “revolutions” in science and medicine, the historical significance of Renaissance approaches to nature and technology, and whether “revolution” adequately describes the changes of this period. We then look for answers to this question through close study of the works of four Renaissance natural philosophers. Our first section examines the fascinating Leonardo da Vinci, his work as a brilliant engineer, designer, and artist. We then turn our attention to a Renaissance physician, Paracelsus, known as the “founder of modern pharmaceutical medicine.” Through his first hand observation of nature, Paracelsus developed extraordinary approaches to medicine, including the incorporation of chemicals into medical therapies, distilling medicines from plants, and tapping the magical influences of the stars. We then turn to Galileo, his support for the New Copernican world-system and his trial. Was his trial the great conflict between the Church and Science that we have come to think? Finally, we are introduced to Maria Sibylla Meriam, artist and naturalist, and her study of the mysteries of metamorphosis in nature. How was she able to overcome the limitations society set for women to become a pioneer in the study of entomology and ecology? Readings include Renaissance notebooks, correspondence, excerpts from published treaties, trial records, drawings and paintings. Students will conduct team-based research projects using early printed books from Duke’s Rubenstein Library.

Spring 2017 Offerings

NC Jukebox

Historical image of music makersHISTORY 390S-1/ISS 390S/MUSIC 290S-1
Curriculum Codes: ALP, CZ, R
Thursday 10:05-12:30
Instructors: Trudi Abel/Victoria Szabo

The NC Jukebox course blends technology, cultural history, and music. Students in NC Jukebox will transform an inaccessible audio archive of historic North Carolina folk and popular music into a vital, publicly-accessible digital archive and museum exhibition. Course participants will build a proof-of-concept NC Jukebox from the Frank C. Brown collection of 400 digitized audio tracks in the Rubenstein Library. They will also use Brown’s handwritten field notes and his manuscript letters to research the history of music making in early twentieth-century North Carolina. Additionally, students will use vintage audio recordings and field notes to create a digital NC Jukebox, and accompanying print or multimedia material, for use by a mountain music museum in western North Carolina. Support for the NC Jukebox initiative comes from Bass Connections and the Franklin Humanities Institute.

Trudi Abel (Rubenstein Library/History) and Victoria Szabo (AAHVS/ISS) will offer NC Jukebox in Rubenstein Library. The faculty invite students with interests in music, folklore, cultural history, computer science, information studies, multimedia production, museum exhibitions, documentary arts and the North Carolina experience to participate. The NC Jukebox project welcomes first-year students, non-musicians and digital neophytes as well as students with strong technology and music backgrounds. For more information see: https://bassconnections.duke.edu/project-teams/nc-jukebox-2016-2017.

History of the Book

CLST 360/MEDREN 346/ISS 360/HISTORY 367
Curriculum Codes: ALP
MW 3:05-4:20, Rubenstein Library 150
Instructor: Clare Woods

This course investigates the history of the “book” as physical object from its earliest forms (clay, bone or bamboo tablets, papyrus scrolls) through to texts in the digital age. Throughout the course, we will use materials from the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library to explore forms of written media at first hand. Although we will consider the "book" in its many forms, as well as book technologies developed first in the East (paper, printing) the course will largely focus on the book in the West. We'll explore manuscript and early print culture from ancient Greece and Rome through medieval Europe to the present day, investigating how texts were copied and where, how and why scripts and decoration/illustration developed, and changes in book production from monastic centers to the printing presses of the Renaissance and later. In the final part of the course, we'll look at book forms and reading practices now, and discuss possibilities for the future of the book.

Memory Bandits

CulAnth 347T/History 340T/PubPol 340T
Curriculum codes: CCI, EI, R, SS, ALS
Wednesdays 3:05-5:35 pm, Smith Warehouse, C106
Instructor: Robin Kirk

This research class takes on the societal and cultural challenge of memory, social justice and memorialization at Duke. We mine memory studies to ask how, why and where people use the past for contemporary meaning and how we can change our campus to incorporate difficult stories of slavery, segregation and inequality through new memory sites and interpretive plans. Digital mapping, a story bank and advocacy are among our projects.

 

Fall 2016 Offerings

The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow

Writing 101-22
TTh 10:05-11:20, Rubenstein Library 350
Instructor: Peter Pihos

The Jim Crow era, historian Leslie Brown argues, “was not just a somnolent interval between emancipation and the civil rights movement.” Drawing upon the extraordinary collections in the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, students in this course will explore the epoch of racial segregation in the South (roughly the 1890s to the 1960s) as a period of dynamic historical change. Over the semester, we will read selections from classic African-American texts (such as W.E.B. DuBois’s The Souls of Black Folk, Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery, and Ida B. Wells’s Southern Horrors) and contemporary historical writing while also examining unique materials from the John Hope Franklin Research Center including photos, personal papers, letters, speeches, institutional records, ephemera, and oral histories. First-year students will study the rise and fall of biracial politics in North Carolina and the role of political violence in formalizing and sustaining the system of white domination. Through these explorations and close reading of primary sources, students will create new meaning out of the real materials of history.

Spring 2016 Offerings

History of the Book

Image of papyrusCLST 360/MEDREN 346/ISIS 360/HISTORY 367. Curriculum Codes: ALP
TTh 3:05-4:20, Rubenstein Library 150
Instructor: Clare Woods

This course investigates the history of the “book” as physical object from its earliest forms (clay, bone or bamboo tablets, papyrus scrolls) through to texts in the digital age. Throughout the course, we will use materials from the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library to explore forms of written media at first hand. Although we will consider the "book" in its many forms, as well as book technologies developed first in the East (paper, printing) the course will largely focus on the book in the West. We'll explore manuscript and early print culture from ancient Greece and Rome through medieval Europe to the present day, investigating how texts were copied and where, how and why scripts and decoration/illustration developed, and changes in book production from monastic centers to the printing presses of the Renaissance and later. In the final part of the course, we'll look at book forms and reading practices now, and discuss possibilities for the future of the book.

The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow

Writing 101-22
WF 1:25-2:40, Rubenstein Library 350
Instructor: Peter Pihos

The Jim Crow era, historian Leslie Brown argues, “was not just a somnolent interval between emancipation and the civil rights movement.” Drawing upon the extraordinary collections in the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, students in this course will explore the epoch of racial segregation in the South (roughly the 1890s to the 1960s) as a period of dynamic historical change. Over the semester, we will read selections from classic African-American texts (such as W.E.B. DuBois’s The Souls of Black Folk, Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery, and Ida B. Wells’s Southern Horrors) and contemporary historical writing while also examining unique materials from the John Hope Franklin Research Center including photos, personal papers, letters, speeches, institutional records, ephemera, and oral histories. First-year students will study the rise and fall of biracial politics in North Carolina and the role of political violence in formalizing and sustaining the system of white domination. Through these explorations and close reading of primary sources, students will create new meaning out of the real materials of history.

Fall 2015 Offerings

Modern & Contemporary African American Art

ARTHIST 283/AAAS 227. Curriculum Codes: CCI, ALP, CZ
WF 10:05-11:20
Instructor: Richard J. Powell

The African diaspora – a direct result of the transatlantic slave trade and Western colonialism – has generated a wide array of artistic achievements. This course concentrates on how works of art from the African diaspora, created during a time of major social upheaval and transformation, use black culture as both a subject and artistic context. From musings on "the souls of black folk" in late 19th century art and material culture, to questions of racial and cultural identities in performance, media, and computer-assisted arts in the 21st century, this course examines the philosophical and social forces that have shaped a black diasporic presence in modern and contemporary visual culture.  Participating students will acquire the skills to recognize and identify important artworks, as well as gain a better understanding of African American art’s aesthetic parameters.  In addition, students will develop skills of visual analysis, improve visual literacy, conduct humanities research, and place artistic production within a larger social and/or cultural context.

The culminating assignments for Modern & Contemporary African American Art will be: 1) a précis of selected archival materials from the Richard J. Powell Papers in the David M. Rubinstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke; and 2) an analysis of works from the Camille O. and William H. Cosby Jr. art collection, on view in Washington, D.C. in the Smithsonian Institution’s exhibition Conversations: African and African American Artworks in Dialogue. The Richard J. Powell Papers document Powell's career as a prominent scholar and include 30,000 items (40.0 linear feet) pertaining to African American art, artists, and visual culture, notably original correspondence, newspaper articles, exhibition materials, book manuscripts, flyers, booklets, postcards, pamphlets, posters, periodicals, catalogues, and photographs.  Students will also travel to Washington, D.C. to personally experience the Cosby collection: paintings, sculptures, and works on paper from a virtual Who’s Who of African American art, including Jean Michel Basquiat, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron Douglas, Loïs Mailou Jones, Jacob Lawrence, Archibald J. Motley, Jr., Faith Ringgold, Augusta Savage, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Alma Thomas, and Kara Walker, among many others.

Gender and Philosophy

PHIL 222/WOMENST 222. Curriculum codes: CZ, EI
Monday 3:20-5:50
Instructor: Andrew Janiak

“Gender and Philosophy” (PHIL 222) will connect with Project Vox, a growing international effort centered at Duke and aimed at uncovering forgotten figures from the modern history of philosophy. Students will become experts in reading Enlightenment philosophy and in navigating the vast trove of historical misinformation on the web. They will acquire both archival research skills and simultaneously become savvy consumers of digital information. Student research projects on Enlightenment materials in the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library will enrich the Project Vox website, which is a major online resource for students and scholars around the world.

Topics in Digital History & Humanities: NC Jukebox

HISTORY 390S-1/ISIS 390S/MUSIC 290S-1. Curriculum Codes: ALP, CZ, R
Thursday 10:05-12:30
Instructors: Trudi Abel/Victoria Szabo

The NC Jukebox course blends technology, cultural history, and music. Students in NC Jukebox will transform an inaccessible audio archive of historic North Carolina folk and popular music into a vital, publicly-accessible digital archive and museum exhibition. Course participants will build a proof-of-concept NC Jukebox from the Frank C. Brown collection of 400 digitized audio tracks in the Rubenstein Library. They will also use Brown’s handwritten field notes and his manuscript letters to research the history of music making in early twentieth-century North Carolina. Additionally, students will use vintage audio recordings and field notes to create a digital NC Jukebox, and accompanying print or multimedia material, for use by a mountain music museum in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. Support for the NC Jukebox initiative comes from Bass Connections and the Franklin Humanities Institute.

Trudi Abel (Rubenstein Library/History) and Victoria Szabo (AAHVS/ISIS) will offer NC Jukebox in Rubenstein Library. The faculty invite students with interests in music, folklore, cultural history, computer science, information studies, multimedia production, museum exhibitions, documentary arts and the North Carolina experience to participate. The NC Jukebox project welcomes first-year students, non-musicians and digital neophytes as well as students with strong technology and music backgrounds. For more information see: https://bassconnections.duke.edu/project-teams/nc-jukebox.