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Thomas S. Rankin, Professor of the Practice and Director of Center for Documentary Studies

Thomas S. RankinSpecialization:

    Photography, Filmaking & Folklore

Research Interests:

A photographer, filmmaker, and folklorist, Tom Rankin has been documenting and interpreting American culture for nearly twenty years. His books include Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta (1993), which received the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Photography, 'Deaf Maggie Lee Sayre': Photographs of a River Life(1995), Faulkner's World: The Photographs of Martin J. Dain (1997), and Local Heroes Changing America: Indivisible (2000).


  • M.F.A. Georgia State University 1987
  • M.A. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1983
  • B.A. Tufts University 1980
  • Other School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA 1978

Contact Info:

Office Location:  1317 W Pettigrew St, Durham, NC 27705
Office Phone:   (919) 660-3613
Email Address:   tsr2@duke.edu
Web Page:   http://cds.aas.duke.edu/

Teaching (Fall 2016):

  • Ami 205k.01, Contemporary documentary film Synopsis
    Dkua 3109, TuTh 10:00 AM-12:30 PM

Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Rankin, T. Truths of the Matter: Traditions in Documentary Studies. (2012).
  2. Rankin, T. A Place of Tender Images: Paul Kwilecki’s Four Decades of Photography of Decatur County, GA. (2012).
  3.  Colors of Confinement: Color Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II.  edited by Rankin, T; Hill, ITUniversity of North Carolina Press, (2012).
  4. Jackson, B; Christian, D. In This Timeless Time.  edited by Hill, IT; Rankin, TSUniversity of North Carolina Press, (2011).
  5. Rankin, T. "The Cruel Radiance of the Obvious." Southern CulturesSouthern Cultures  (2011).