Duke History Revisited is a six-week immersive research experience for undergraduate students to explore previously under-researched or unexplored areas of Duke history.

Recent events at Duke and on campuses around the United States have highlighted students’ concern about understanding our own institutional history.  Campus conversations about the culture and values of Duke University have referenced the Allen Building Takeover, the Duke family, and the past work of many student groups.

Some of the sources for this information come from the University Archives, the official repository of campus history. Yet, we find troubling lacunae in our collections. The voices of many members of the campus community are not well known, difficult to find, or unrecorded.

Students selected to participate in this program will research Duke University history focusing on people and stories traditionally underrepresented in the Duke University Archives. Underrepresented groups may include (but are not limited to):

  • students, faculty, and staff of color on campus
  • international students
  • women
  • nonacademic staff
  • religious minorities
  • LGBTQ populations
  • veterans
  • people with disabilities

Undergraduate student researchers will work closely with a graduate student mentor, as well as the staff of the University Archives, to produce a final project that can be shared with the campus. These projects will become part of the University Archives.

Funding for the program is provided by Humanities Writ Large, the Dean of Arts and Sciences, and the University Archives.

Program Commitments

Undergraduate Students

Eight undergraduate students selected to participate in the program will receive a $3,000 stipend and be expected to spend at least 25 hours per week working on their own research project.

Students will have the opportunity to suggest their own areas of research interest. Based on those suggestions University Archives staff will help steer students to relevant collections and materials, offer an orientation to conducting research at the University Archives and the Rubenstein Library, and provide ongoing mentorship throughout the process. Along the way, students will have the opportunity to follow other leads to locate primary and secondary sources at Duke, or even to pursue other avenues of research, such as visiting other archival repositories or conducting interviews.

During the six week period, students will meet for regular meetings twice a week. At these meetings, invited guests—faculty, staff, and local experts—will share their experiences, thoughts, and responses to the student work. Students in the Duke History Revisited group will also share their work with one another and provide constructive criticism.

Graduate Students

Graduate student mentors will work with undergraduate researchers to guide them as they conduct research, evaluate sources, and synthesize information into a final project. Graduate students will attend the twice weekly group meetings in addition to scheduling one-on-one time with undergraduate students. Graduate students are expected to spend 15 hours per week during the 6 week summer period, and to spend a modest amount of time in the spring working with the University Archives staff in preparing for the Duke History Revisited program. Graduate students will receive a $3,000 stipend for this work.

Research Project

The final projects—which may take the form of a paper, article, recording, website, or other format—will help provide important context and historical background for today’s Duke students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The final projects, as well as any historical documentation generated by the projects, will be deposited in the University Archives.

In Fall 2017, the 2017 students will present on their research and projects at a public event in the library.

2017 Duke History Revisited Students and Projects

Maram Elnagheeb "Claiming Spaces: A History of African American Students at Duke" (website)
Kyle Francis "Native American Education at Trinity College" (website and timeline)
Michael Overton "Duke at War" (video)
Peyton Schafer Herstory Revisited (zine; link opens PDF file)
Andy Tan-Delli Cicchi "Neighbors: A Narrative and Visual History of Duke's Influence on Durham's Low-Income Housing" (StoryMap)
Sofiya Volobuyeva "Love Thy Neighbor: Quandaries of the Edgemont Living-Learning Experiment" (online exhibit)
Heather Zhou "Now You See Me, Now You Don't: A Brief History of Duke International Students" (online exhibit)

2016 Duke History Revisited Students and Projects

Sini (Nina) Chen "Finding a Home for Tricky Dicky: The Nixon-Duke Presidential Library Controversy" (online exhibit)
Hayley Farless "Right to Access: A History of the Duke University Abortion Loan Fund" (presentation; link to PDF)
Elizabeth George "Success of the Second Sex: Duke University’s Demonstrated Efforts to Empower Women" (research paper; link to PDF)
Lara Haft "(we know) (we've been here): uncovering a legacy of student & employee solidarity" (online exhibit)
Alan Ko "'Cherry Blossoms Among Magnolias?': A History of the Asian Experience at Duke" (online exhibit)
Paul Popa "A Leap of Faith: Documenting the First-Generation Undergraduate Experience" (online exhibit)
Victoria Prince "Town and Gown Relations vs. Power Struggles: An Overview of How the Durham Freeway Controversy Affected Relations Between Durham, NC and Duke University"
Jesse Remedios "The Politics of Identity [Establishment of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda fraternity] (podcast)