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Adriane D. Lentz-Smith, Associate Professor of History and Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies and Associate Chair

Adriane D. Lentz-Smith

Adriane Lentz-Smith is Associate Professor and Associate Chair in Duke's department of History where she teaches courses on the Civil Rights Movement, Black Lives, Modern America, and History in Fact and Fiction. A scholar of African American history as well as the histories of the twentieth-century United States and the US & the World, Lentz Smith is author of Freedom Struggles: African Americans and World War I (Harvard University Press, 2009). The book explores how African Americans worked through ideas of manhood, citizenship, and global encounter to pursue the black freedom struggle during World War I and build the civil rights movement that followed. Her article, “The Unbearable Whiteness of Grand Strategy,” can be found in the forthcoming volume, Rethinking Grand Strategy(Oxford University Press, 2021).

More recently, she has been at work on a new book, "The Slow Death of Sagon Penn: State Violence, and the Twilight of Civil Rights." Spinning its tale from the long aftermath of one man’s devastating encounter with the police in 1985, the book explores how state violence and white supremacy remade and sustained themselves in the twilight of the civil rights era. She also has published in American Quarterly and the upcoming women’s issue of Southern Cultures(Fall 2020); and served as a consultant to the PBS documentary, “The Jazz Ambassadors” as well as the Library of Congress exhibit, “Echoes of the Great War.” She can be seen on the American Experience documentary, “The Great War.”

A senior fellow in Duke’s Kenan Institute for Ethics, Lentz-Smith hosts Kenan’s community conversations series, “The Ethics of Now.” She serves on the advisory board for Duke University Press as well as for the journals Modern American History and Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  Dept of History, Classroom Bldg, Box 90719, Durham, NC 27708-0719
Office Phone:  (919) 684-2837
Email Address: send me a message

Office Hours:

By appointment

Ph.D.Yale University2005
BAHarvard University1996

African Diaspora
United States and Canada
Race and Ethnicity
Human Rights and Social Movements
Women, Gender and Sexuality
War, Military and Society
Cultural History
Research Interests: United States History, African American History, African Americans and the World

My interests lie in African American history and the history of the US & the World. My 2009 book, Freedom Struggles: African Americans and World War I, looks at the black freedom struggle in the World War I years, with a particular focus on manhood, citizenship claims, and the international experience. My recent research explores how African Americans engaged the world in the age of Cold War civil rights, and how their participation in US state and empire set the horizons of their freedom struggles.

Current Ph.D. Students  

Representative Publications   (More Publications)   (search)

  1. Lentz-Smith, A, Freedom Struggles: African Americans & World War I (2009), Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass [catalog.php]
  2. Lentz-Smith, A, Reid’s Obama Blunder and What it Means, History News Network (January, 2010) [html]

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