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‘Hyphenated American’ Exhibit and Event at Duke Oct. 1

New exhibit by Duke alum focuses on the immigrant experience

Photographer and Duke alumna Angela Zhang ’15 will lead a panel discussion about her exhibition “The Hyphenated American” on October 1 at 5:30 p.m. in Rubenstein Hall 153 at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy. Zhang created the exhibit featuring Duke students who are recent immigrants or who grew up in immigrant families as a project for her self-designed major in mass media and cross-cultural perception. On display on the first floor of Rubenstein Hall, the exhibit includes 36x24-inch photographs and artifacts with quotes representing each individual’s story. The exhibit also includes small passport-style portraits of the participants.“I chose to collaborate only with minorities because of our inability to truly blend in as simply American, sans qualifier,” Zhang said. “It’s taking pride in both identifiers, joined at the hyphen.” Rather than emphasizing portraits, Zhang photographed poses or presented items that evoke experiences the participants wrote about in short personal statements. Each image or object is paired with one quote from the statements, which can be read in their entirety in the exhibit booklet. Panelists are Zhang, Gunther Peck, associate professor of history and public policy, and Brooks Sime ’16, one of the participants, whose family emigrated from Ethiopia. Zhang’s project was inspired by Peck’s class on immigrant history and policy. Zhang works as a clinical research assistant at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Her family emigrated from China to Seattle, Washington. Sime is a Duke senior, majoring in computer science with a minor in global health. Ken Rogerson, associate professor of public policy and Zhang’s faculty advisor for the project, will moderate the panel.“Angela spent the bulk of her time at Duke asking difficult and probing questions about identity. She wanted to understand how students understand themselves and she was able to place this work in a scholarly context. The combination of her thoughtfulness and rigorous analysis puts this project at the top of what learning should be: brain mixed with heart,” said Rogerson. The exhibit and the panel discussion are supported by the Sanford School of Public Policy. Parking for the event is available in the Science Drive visitors’ lot. The exhibit is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and will run through December 31.