Ideas and Conversations: Evenings with Graduate Liberal Studies

Graduate Liberal Studies continues its events program, Ideas and Conversations, showcasing the achievements of GLS students, alumni and faculty and brings special events to the GLS community.

2013-2014 Calendar (scroll down for details):

  • Thursday, September 26: Dr. Martin Miller on his new book The Foundations of Modern Terrorism: State, Society and the Dynamics of Political Violence
  • Thursday, October 24: Ken Ilgunas on his new book Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom
  • Thursday, November 14: Doris Duke's Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art at the Nasher Museum
  • Thursday, February 20: Dr. Steve Vogel on his new book The Life of a Leaf
  • Thursday, March 20: Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist at the Nasher Museum

Please join us (rsvp

Spring 2014

Watch this space for additional events.

Thursday, February 20, 2014Dr. Steven Vogel
Dr. Steven Vogel reading from The Life of a Leaf (University of Chicago Press, 2012)
Reading at 6:00 pm. Reception follows.
Books will be available for purchase.

McClendon Commons (behind Undergraduate Admissions)*

In its essence, science is a way of looking at and thinking about the world. In The Life of a Leaf, Dr. Steven Vogel illuminates this approach, using the humble leaf as a model. Whether plant or person, every organism must contend with its immediate physical environment, a world that both limits what organisms can do and offers innumerable opportunities for evolving fascinating ways of challenging those limits. Here, Dr. Vogel explains these interactions, examining through the example of the leaf the extraordinary designs that enable life to adapt to its physical world.

In his account, the leaf serves as a biological everyman, an ordinary and ubiquitous living thing that nonetheless speaks volumes about our environment as well as its own. (

Dr. Vogel is Research Professor in Duke’s Department of Biology. He has served on the GLS Advisory Committee and taught GLS seminars.

Let us know you are coming – RSVP

Thursday, March 20, 2014
Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist
Tour with exhibit curator
Meet in the Terrace Alcove at 5:15 pm for 5:30 pm tour. Reception follows.

Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Drive, Durham, NC, 27705

The Nasher Museum presents the first sustained examination of the remarkable paintings of Archibald John Motley, Jr. (1891-1981), a master colorist and radical interpreter of urban culture. Motley has captured worldwide attention with his brilliant yet idiosyncratic paintings known for rainbow-hued, syncopated composition. For the first time, this exhibition introduces his work within an international context. Archibald Motley includes 45 works from each period of Motley’s long career, depicting modern African American life in Chicago, portraits and archetypes, Jazz Age Paris, and 1950s Mexico.

Join us on a private tour with the exhibit curator. The tour includes free admission to the exhibit. This event is restricted to Duke Graduate Liberal Studies students and alumni and limited to 20 participants.

We will be accepting reservations as of January 1, 2014.

* McClendon Commons – Parking

McClendon Commons is the Visitors’ Center for Undergraduate Admissions, which is located at the corner of Campus Drive, Chapel Drive, and Flowers Drive. McClendon Commons is behind the main UG Admissions Gothic stone building.


  • Spaces in front of UG Admissions, on their circular driveway. Access is on Campus Drive, just before the Chapel Drive circle.
  • Parking circle behind McClendon Commons. Access is from Campus Drive, on the driveway to the right of Trinity Technology Services (white house), and to the left of the GLS house.
  • For those with a Duke Card, you can use the gated Campus Drive lot (access on Anderson Street). Just be sure to park at the very end, which abuts the parking circle behind McClendon Commons.