Community & National Outreach

Our department, and our individual faculty members, are not only active in the local community, but have a major voice on the national stage. We regularly engage in speeches and interviews, host distinguished lecturers at our conferences, and challenge the community to discuss current events and their impact. Our faculty voices are also loud on social media with more than 150,000 followers on Twitter alone.

2020-21 Speaker Series

Coinciding during the COVID-19 pandemic and the political movements that emerged following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, our annual speaker series featured leaders addressing the health crisis and the resurgence of Black activism globally.

They spoke of Black feminism, Afropessimism, radical intersectionality, and decolonial theory dovetailing with both extant curricular offerings in the department and a broader call to adapt and reinvigorate Black theory. That call to an adaptation of the Black Radical Tradition served to expand its scope in order to think through the problem of Black vulnerability and the political implications of Black thought on a global scale. Indeed, the pandemic continues to affect those on the margins—in the Global South, in communities lacking basic resources, without access to vaccines, and those made most vulnerable by migration, movement, and hyper-mobility on a planetary scale.

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Featured Speakers

Barbara Ransby
Frank B. Wilderson III
Moya Bailey
Neil Roberts
Claire Kim
... and More!

Left of Black

"Left of Black" is a regular webcast hosted by Duke University Professor Mark Anthony Neal and produced by the John Hope Franklin Center of International and Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke University.

To view the most recent episode, click on the video player to the right. To see a scrollable listing of past episodes, click the Playlist icon in the upper right corner of the player. You can then click any of these episodes to view. Follow Professor Neal on Tumblr at

AAAS 50th Anniversary Speaker Series

Speakers Alexander, Baker, Crawley, Nishikawa and Smith

The department marked its 50th anniversary during 2019-20 with a speaker series featuring Duke alums who have been trained in and pursued careers in black studies. 

Speakers included Patrick Alexander (Associate Professor, English and African American Studies, University of Mississippi), Courtney R. Baker (Associate Professor, Department of English, University of California, Riverside), Ashon Crawley (Associate Professor of Religious Studies and African American and African Studies, University of Virginia), Kinohi Nishikawa (Assistant Professor of English and African American Studies, Princeton University), and Candis Watts Smith (Associate Professor, Political Science and African American Studies, Penn State).

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Commemorating the Allen Building Takeover: 50 Years Later

Our commemoration honors the courage of Duke alumni who challenged discriminatory policies as undergraduates by “taking over” the university’s main administrative building fifty years ago. The Feb. 13, 1969 "Allen Building Takeover," as it is known, changed the university for the better, creating a more just and equitable campus. But there is still work to be done. Here, panelists discuss their experiences as black students at Duke and how activism has impacted the university.

AAAS Voices on Twitter


Michaeline Crichlow


Samuel Fury Childs Daly


Sandy Darity


Karla Holloway


Thomas DeFrantz


Wahneema H. Lubiano


Anne-Maria B. Makhulu


Mark Anthony Neal


Joseph Richard Winters