Laurent Dubois Romance Studies faculty studio headshotLaurent Dubois specializes in the history and culture of the Atlantic world. His original goal was to create a book about the history of the banjo. Dubois received the New Directions Fellowship in 2010 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation so he could get training in music and ethnomusicology. He ended up learning a lot about the background of instruments and music became the focal point of his book rather than the disciplines around music. He took music theory classes and learned to play the mbira! Dubois earned and interdisciplinary doctorate in history and anthropology and says “the fellowship more deeply anchored his sense of what it means to work across disciplines.”

Photo showing mbiras (aka thumb pianos).

Dubois also states, “I think my book took longer to write because of the fellowship, and as a result it is a lot better in the end,” he adds.” This shows how interdisciplinary studies affected his success. The book ultimately turned out better because he took the time to learn across multiple disciplines. Broadening his knowledge change the focus of his book to make it more informative and interesting.

Read more about Dubois here!

Works Cited

Bongolnc. Mbiras. 2011. N.p.

“Interdisciplinary Studies at Duke.” Transcending the Limits of Language. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.

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