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June 23 & 24: “Border Odyssey” Book Events With Duke/CDS Scholar Charlie Thompson

Book cover for Charlie Thompson's "Border Odyssey"

Book cover for Charlie Thompson’s “Border Odyssey”

A new book by Center for Documentary Studies faculty member Charles D. (Charlie) Thompson is attracting widespread notice for Thompson’s photographs and prose, which combine in Border Odyssey: Travels Along the U.S.–Mexico Divide to create a “potent cri de coeur for a more compassionate, sane, and humane border policy” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), a publication that Publisher’s Weekly called “one of the most interesting titles this spring.”

Thompson will give a reading from and discuss Border Odyssey at two local events:

+ Tuesday, June 23, 7 p.m., at the main branch of the Durham County Library, Durham, North Carolina; more information
+ Wednesday June 24, 7 p.m., Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; more information

Thompson, a Professor of the Practive of Cultural Anthropology and Documentary Studies at Duke University, followed the path of the entire border from the Texas Gulf Coast to the Pacific Ocean, all 1,969 miles, traveling “sometimes with awe and wide-eyed students, sometimes with comedy, misadventure, and, for much of the trip, with Hope, his wife and main interlocutor,” in order to explore the literal and metaphoric divide and the challenges it presents for people of both nations. Avoiding highways and employing “the useful fiction of a map,” Thompson visited towns and villages on both sides of the border, all the while chronicling discussions with “ordinary folks, activists, border officials, and just about anyone who would answer [my] questions,” and capturing extraordinary images—many of which are on a companion website.

*Enjoy the book and visit borderodyssey.com for more information on the project, including an interactive map that allows you to travel town by town through photographs, text, and audio, from Boca Chica, Texas, to Tijuana, California, listening to Charlie’s stories along the way.

*Watch Charlie’s Faces of Time video below, about some of the people he met in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and a series of photographs he took there, which later became the traveling exhibit Rostros del Tiempo | Faces of Time.

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