Faculty-Student Task Force on the Study and Teaching of Race

Mission Statement

The Duke History Department Faculty-Student Task Force on the Study and Teaching of Race sees its mandate as follows:
First and foremost, to base all our activities on a genuine commitment by the department to curricular and structural innovation.  With this commitment as a platform we will start to educate ourselves collectively in anti-racism work, while recognizing the broad importance of race, ethnicity and their global analogs as a basis of historical analysis and the teaching of history. In broadest terms, the aim is to foster an intellectual and social environment conducive to the discussion of race, ethnicity, anti-racist work and critical race theory.
To make more prominent extant curricular initiatives on the history of race and racial justice while increasing departmental offerings on the same, beginning at the graduate level and then at the undergraduate level.  This includes but is not limited to a revised and regularly offered 790S course, as well as workshops that bolster this course and the professionalization seminars. 
To ensure that this 790S course is taught ever year, and that it takes a global perspective on the history of racial formation and structural racism, engages with epistemologies of race making in the US as well as elsewhere in the world, and confronts pressing regional and transregional issues of race as they manifest in the lived experience people.  The revised course should serve as a model and springboard for further graduate classes, e.g. on global critical race theory. 
To embed the study and teaching of race more firmly and consistently in graduate professionalization seminars, especially 701 (theory) and 703 (pedagogy).  This requires changes in structure and format, not simply the inclusion on particular weeks on race.

To continue our conversations on this curricular enhancement with various scholarly and social groups within and outside the department.  Based on these conversations, we will compile a library of resources on the history and teaching of race and ethnicity, as well as race theory and anti-racism work.  These resources will be available to all instructors for use in shaping their syllabi.


Duke Alumnus on Challenges of Anti-Racism at Duke



Events of Interest

This is a bulletin board to help circulate campus-wide events on the study and teaching of race.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020 - 5:30pm to 6:45pm

Remembering a 1979 Moral Moment: Medical Activists, Racial Justice, and Confronting the KKK

  • Endowed Lectureships 
Boyarsky Series on Race & Health - Panel Discussion 
National Newspaper Headlines Nov 7, 1979 crop2.jpg


Register here for Zoom webinar

On November 3, 1979, members of the Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party drove into an African-American neighborhood in Greensboro, North Carolina to disrupt an anti-klan march planned by the Communist Workers Party. The KKK and Nazis opened fire on the demonstrators, killing five labor and civil rights activists, three of whom - Dr. Mike Nathan, Dr. Jim Waller, and Cesar Cauce - had ties to Duke University. Sandy Smith and Bill Sampson were also killed on that day. Two all-white juries subsequently found the shooters not guilty of state and federal criminal charges. Later in a civil suit for wrongful death, the KKK, Nazis, and City of Greensboro were found liable.    

Following a segment from a recent film about what became known as the 1979 Greensboro Massacre, survivors will share why this story is worth remembering, and why it remains relevant to health and racial justice activism today.

Panelists include:

Dr. Marty Nathan, Physician, widow of Mike Nathan, and Duke University Medical School graduate

Dr. Paul Bermanzohn, Psychiatrist, wounded survivor of the Massacre, and Duke University Medical School graduate

Joyce Johnson, Co-Executive Director of the Beloved Community Center of Greensboro, Massacre survivor and Duke University graduate

The panel will be facilitated by Rosalyn Pelles, Massacre survivor and strategic advisor to the Poor People's Campaign.

Faculty Curriculum on Anti-Racism

Sherilynn Black Charmaine Royal

Opening Short Course: Monday, January 11 – Thursday, January 14, 2021
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


Lead Course Facilitators

SHERILYNN BLACK, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement
CHARMAINE ROYAL, Professor of African and African American Studies 
As faculty work to deepen their knowledge of historical, structural and systemic racism and its implications, we have developed a curriculum to combine practical skills, tangible actions and historical contexts to inform faculty and build personal capacity to promote equitable academic environments. The curriculum will start by guiding faculty through intensive sessions in the form of a ‘practical skills’ short course, including topics such as:
  • How to hold constructive conversations about race
  • How to move your local environments toward equity
  • How to navigate interactions contradicting and undermining your equity goals
  • Lasting practices to promote anti-racism and equity in your research, mentoring and learning environments
The opening short course will run for four consecutive days from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. each day. These sessions will be followed by additional curricular sessions focused on the histories of race and racism, and the impact of structural inequities in America. Faculty participants will receive a certificate at the completion of the course. More information will follow in the coming weeks.