Prisha Gupta (T'26)
My interest in pursuing English and Asian & Middle Eastern Studies stems from my ongoing journey in exploring my own identities. Never would I have considered being a Duke student part of my core identity until after curating this exhibit. As a sophomore, I have only been here for a year, but Duke's impact on my life has stretched far beyond that. I like to say that it unknowingly started with my childhood love for Martin Kratt's (T'89) Zoboomafoo and Wild Kratts, and it will continue through the life-long relationships I have made at Duke. Through my classes, I have also learned about the structural issues perpetuated by this university and its complicated relationship with Durham. I will forever be grateful to Ani Karagianis, who allowed me to hold the Board of Trustees pens during my second semester, piquing my interest in this project and in the power of archives to speak to a place and its people. During my time at Duke, I have found that my personal identities both isolate and ground me here, and I hope that through this exhibit, you, too, can explore what your Duke identity means to you.
Top Six Items
Duke University Chorale Record
I was close to quitting choral singing before I joined the Duke Chorale. Chorale ended up being one of the best parts of my Duke experience. The group has been some of the most welcoming people I have ever met, and Chorale has taught me about placing myself in a community beyond Duke. Music has a strong history here in Duke and Durham, and I hope that you can seek to support or participate in it.
The Trinity Archive
As an editor for the Archive myself and having done a research project on the history of the Archive, I wish more people knew about the value collegiate literary magazines have to provide voices for students outside of a journalistic format. The diversity of publications on campus allows space for creative expression and the discussion of niche topics, contributing to students' development and a more colorful campus culture. I hope that the publications in this exhibit inspire you to check out current issues!
After Ani showed our team the Blue Devil Doll, it quickly became one of our favorites. We are convinced that it's haunted, and it's only made more mysterious by its lack of context. Regardless, as we researched the evolution of the Blue Devil, we realized how all forms of the mascot reflect Duke's state as a developing university. It's also a reminder of the power students have to shape the university, as the mascot was chosen by the students themselves.
Board of Trustees Pens
The Board of Trustees pens became one of our favorite objects because of its tangibility and significance to such a monumental event: the day the name changed from Trinity College to Duke University! We highly suggest checking these out in the University Archives to get the chance to hold them yourself!
I had to read about 40 pages of Duke historian Robert F. Durden's work to uncover the details of the Gross-Edens Affair, although it was fun because of how petty and messy the affair was. While it's hard to tell who was in the right, as a resident of Edens Quad, I of course, had to side with President A. Hollis Edens. Through researching this event, I learned more about the humanistic side of Duke's administration and its structure, and I encourage everyone to educate themselves on Duke's inner workings at some point during their time here.
Lemur skull and Zoboomafoo VHS
I personally think that the lemurs are secretly the reason why people want to study at Duke. At least, it was one of my reasons to come here, even though I would obviously not be seeing them every day. They're just so cute, and I can always gush about how Zoboomafoo's star lemur Jovian is from the Lemur Center! The Lemur Center is one of Duke's truly unique institutions, and the work that they do for the lemurs and the environment is incredible!