Abstract

Duke University was founded on tobacco wealth, and now it has a tobacco-free campus. How should we understand this change? How can communities around this university, and higher education broadly, reckon with our historical and ongoing complicities with tobacco capitalism? This article examines how the individualized subject has been historically constructed, in response to resistances, through supplementary relations between the university and tobacco industries. With abolitionist university studies, the authors focus on the postslavery university as a key site for these individualizing processes. They situate Duke as a nexus of new means of capitalist accumulation, including, on the one hand, the postslavery university as an institution for disciplining, individualizing, and differentiating wage laborers and, on the other, the tobacco industry's shift to monopolization and mass consumption of tobacco commodities. The long Black freedom movement continues in the post-WWII era with resistances that push capitalism into crisis, while simultaneously, capitalism's coping mechanism of tobacco use has the unintended consequence of mass death. This article explores how, at the site of Duke, part of capitalism's response to resistance movements has been to deepen the individualization processes, charging individuals with taking on responsibility for the costs of both tobacco use and higher education. The authors ask how narratives of smoke-free and tobacco-free campuses could interlink with postracial narratives to obscure how the tobacco companies and universities have accumulated capital through racism, deception, dispossession, and exploitation.

Our university was founded on tobacco wealth, and now it has a tobacco-free campus. Trinity College was renamed as Duke University in 1924 to honor the tobacco magnate Washington Duke, who along with his sons devoted much of their fortune to building the college into an elite university. Almost a hundred years later, on July 1, 2020, Duke University adopted a tobacco-free campus policy. How should we understand this change? Is banning tobacco use on campus sufficient atonement for the university's long entanglements with an industry that killed 100 million people in the twentieth century and could kill one billion in the twenty-first? How can communities around this university, and higher education broadly, reckon with our historical and ongoing complicities with tobacco capitalism?

In initial discussions from 2018 to 2019 around making a new tobacco-use policy for Duke's campus, Duke administrators were leaning toward a smoke-free campus with the continued allowance of e-cigarettes. This was despite the recent explosion of nicotine addiction from e-cigarette use among young people; the majority of campuses going smoke-free (banning combustible tobacco products) also became completely tobacco-free (banning e-cigarettes and other smokeless tobacco products as well).1 But in fall 2019, with a spike in lung injury syndrome caused by e-cigarette use, a leader of the smoke-free initiative, James Davis, announced that Duke would be moving toward an e-cigarette ban as well.2 The debate around the policy has also highlighted controversies about Duke's ongoing entanglements with the tobacco industry. A journalist for the Duke student newspaper, the Duke Chronicle, asked questions about the industry relationships of a Duke researcher, Jed Rose, who has publicly defended e-cigarettes as “harm reduction” and argued for continuing to allow them on campus, while simultaneously receiving funding from e-cigarette companies.3 Questions were raised about how tobacco researchers at Duke have claimed to serve the public good through science while they produced “innovative” technologies that distracted attention from the negative health effects of tobacco products. In light of the increasing public debate, the leaders of the smoke-free initiative decided to shift to a tobacco-free approach.

In such controversies around smoke-free and tobacco-free campus policies, we see a core tension. On the one hand, approaches that argue for a smoke-free policy are relatively safe for the tobacco industry, and for capitalism more broadly, because the industry can continue to profit by shifting its investments from combustible cigarettes to e-cigarettes. This is seen, for example, in Philip Morris International's use of the “smoke-free” discourse in its Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, for which the company has committed $1 billion over twelve years, while it has simultaneously invested heavily in the growing market for electronic nicotine delivery systems.4 On the other hand, approaches that argue for a tobacco-free policy, which bans e-cigarettes, could be threatening to the tobacco industry. These approaches tend to be aligned with principles of social justice, broadly conceived.5 For example, on Duke's campus, the leaders of the tobacco-free initiative have demonstrated their commitments to social justice through their concern for preventing a new generation from becoming addicted to nicotine and through their aim to provide smoking cessation resources for all members of the campus community, especially the workers who are both the most marginalized and the most likely to smoke, particularly those in custodial, maintenance, and food service positions.6

In this article, we take inspiration from the social justice ambitions of the tobacco-free campus movement. We seek to contribute to its goals through analyzing the limits of the movement's approach and offering guidance for how to overcome them. The industry-aligned approach to the controversy around tobacco use on campus frames it as a managerial problem that can be solved through innovative solutions (e.g., promoting e-cigarettes as harm reduction), applied in the present by managers who position themselves as outside of history. By contrast, a social justice approach to tobacco use on campus implies some kind of acknowledgment of, and reckoning with, the historical and ongoing inequalities and harms of the tobacco industry. Yet, the leaders of tobacco-free campus initiatives face an obstacle in how deeply they can engage in this reckoning: their expert-led orientation to public health, an orientation shared with the industry-aligned approach. In valuing the knowledge of expert academics, these approaches conversely devalue the agency of students and campus workers as knowledge producers. This epistemological hierarchy limits how far leaders of tobacco-free initiatives can push their engagement with inequalities. The expert-led public health framing treats workers’ and students’ knowledge of their experiences that motivate them to smoke—their feelings of anxiety and stress—as merely instrumental for implementing solutions that the experts have already developed, particularly tobacco cessation treatment through a combination of behavioral therapy and prescription drugs. This approach forecloses the possibility of engaging workers and students as agents who can deploy their knowledge of their own experiences in studying the problem and possible solutions. Thereby, the expert-led approach diagnoses the source of the problem as circumscribed within the bounds of the individual, focusing on the individual's motivations for smoking, and accordingly offers solutions that seek to alleviate individualized symptoms.

Left outside of this frame are the contextual conditions—cultural, economic, political, social—that shape workers’ and students’ embodied, affective experiences of their places of work, study, home, neighborhood, commute, and so forth. We could ask, for example, how the exploitative work conditions on campus and precarious living conditions in racially isolated, impoverished, gentrifying neighborhoods—with tobacco shops on every other corner—for Duke's custodial and service workers (a majority of whom are Black) contribute to their disproportionately higher smoking rate (30 percent compared with 1 percent for faculty).7 Exploring such connections could be the basis for diagnosing these working and living conditions as part of the problem of tobacco use on campus, and then for prescribing solutions that seek to transform these conditions. This would require examining the history of how these conditions have been created, including the coconstitutive roles of two of the most dominant political-economic forces in Durham: the tobacco industry and Duke University. By distracting public attention from these sociohistorical questions, the tobacco-free initiative could absolve Duke University of complicity with creating the contemporary tobacco-use problem. People affiliated with “tobacco-free Duke” could present themselves as heroes, on the side of social justice, in a melodramatic battle with the villains of the tobacco industry.

As an antidote to expert-led approaches, we present an invitation and argument for engaging in a collective process of historical reckoning. To offer a more robust imaginary for a social justice approach to the problem of tobacco use on campus, we present key questions for a collective inquiry that intertwines practices of studying, relationship building, and organizing. Taking up these questions, we give provisional engagements of historical inquiry. We contend that we can properly address the contextual, historical forms of inequality that produce the problem only if we look back to earlier struggles at and around the university. In this article, we examine how the dominant powers at the university and beyond have responded to resistances in recuperative ways that served historically to construct and reinforce the individualized subject, that is, the subject that is presumed and reproduced in expert-led approaches to public health.

In the first section, analyzing a photograph from a key historical event in Duke's history, the Black student movement's occupation of an administrative building, we elaborate how the tension in the tobacco-free policy debate can be better understood through a historical lens on struggles at Duke. We highlight the tension between the students’ social justice approach (studying and organizing in solidarity with workers on campus, nonstudents who had been pushed out, and the wider community) and the expert, problem-managing administrators who use individualizing discourses to devalue the agency of the students and workers as knowledge producers. Highlighting the presence of cigarettes in the photo, we ask about the ambivalent relations of tobacco with the students’ practices of studying and organizing.

In the article's second and third sections, we inquire how the individualized subject has been historically constructed through supplementary relations between the university and tobacco industries, as coconstitutive parts of racial-colonial (bio)capitalism. We look at the emergence of the figure of the individualized subject at two key moments in the history of higher education and the tobacco industry. In the second section, with abolitionist university studies, we focus on the postslavery university as a key site for these individualizing processes.8 Most critical research on universities today starts after World War II, taking on such issues as the rise of corporatization, student debt, and the contingentization of faculty. This framing often results in romanticized narratives about a past ideal of the university seen as in crisis, often depicted as subject to a broader neoliberal attack on public institutions.9 Such narratives stage the call for the defense and revitalization of the postwar liberal university. This work tends to be disconnected from another current in university studies: histories of the foundational ties of universities with slavery and settler colonialism, as well as many universities’ historical self-reckonings, such as the over fifty institutions involved in the Universities Studying Slavery consortium.10 These histories create an impasse for those of us studying the present conditions and future possibilities of the university, pushing us to reckon with these foundations and trace their continuities in the present. We take on the challenge of grappling with this impasse. We highlight how the resistance of enslaved people and other abolitionists led to the post–Civil War era, when capitalism needed new means of accumulation to replace the loss of productivity with the end of slavery. Seeing biocapitalism (the capitalist extraction of value from living things) as coconstituted with racial capitalism, we examine how racism in the postslavery university has shaped the selective valuation and knowledge of different forms of life. We situate Duke as a key site of these new means of racial-biocapitalist accumulation, including, on the one hand, the postslavery university and education system as institutions for disciplining, individualizing, and differentiating people and, on the other, the tobacco industry's shift to monopolization and mass consumption of tobacco commodities.

In the third section, the long Black freedom movement continues in the post-WWII era with resistances that push capitalism into crisis, while simultaneously capitalism's coping mechanism of tobacco use has the unintended consequence of mass death. We explore how, at the site of Duke, part of capitalism's response to resistance movements is to deepen the individualization processes, forming individuals who take on responsibility for the costs of both tobacco use and higher education. Across the second and third sections, we highlight a central theme of a discursive binary of framing this individual as independent in contrast with stigmatized figures of dependency, framed with racist, colonial, heteropatriarchal narratives, while simultaneously disavowing and obscuring relations of interdependence. In the conclusion, we ask how narratives of smoke-free and tobacco-free campuses interlink with postracial narratives to obscure how the tobacco companies and universities have accumulated capital through racism, deception, dispossession, and exploitation.

For a New World in the Cigarette Ashes of the Old

At first glance, the photograph in figure 1 captures a seemingly banal and careless arrangement of items, ranging from everyday staples such as coffee, milk, and crackers to cigarette cartons, paper bags, and cardboard boxes strewn across the floor, all composed against the backdrop of an office setting that usually demands meticulous organization. There are no people in the photograph, but their presence is confirmed by the half-consumed foodstuffs, the trace of their movements outlined by the sprawl of objects. The relationships constituted by the scattered objects evoke a world struggling to come into being, messiness as possibility, the ceaseless conflict between modes of ordering the world and forms of protest. And yet, while this photograph registers the contingent, messy, and unstructured desires of an alternative world-making project, it is also an image of defeat, the moment before the restoration of order.

The event, not figured yet present in the photograph, is the occupation of the Allen Building at Duke University on February 13, 1969. After nearly two years of protracted negotiations, exhausting “all the so-called proper channels,” approximately seventy-five Black students moved to take over the administrative building, threatening to “set fire to files that contained nearly all student records of the University if the police were sent in.”11 This demonstration erupted in response to the failure of the administration to act on a series of student demands, which included the formation of an autonomous African American studies department, the reinstatement of Black students who had recently been pushed out, and an end to racist policies and police harassment on campus. In an attempt to imagine an alternative world-making project, the students renamed the space they had successfully occupied the “Malcolm X School of Liberation,” a site in which they intertwined their radical organizing with collective studying. The photograph contains the residue of this struggle.

The takeover was part of a broader series of struggles on college campuses across the nation, calling into question the dominant role of the university in shaping the politics of knowledge and transforming the material conditions of African Americans. Beyond the establishment of a new curriculum, Black students on campus forged solidarity with Black food service workers, hospital workers, and cleaning staff seeking to unionize, as well as community activists in order to imagine a new kind of university. Students sought, for example, a committee composed of students, faculty, and workers that would make much needed recommendations about unionization, collective bargaining, and an increased minimum wage.12 When their demands were not agreed to by the administration, they organized a two-week strike that included both workers and students. This sense of political urgency, which animated student protests at Duke, was intensified in reaction to the slow and ineffective response of the administration. Chuck Hopkins, a prominent student activist, remarked, “If Black people in Durham, North Carolina, wanted a relevant educational institution they would have to build it themselves.”13

Shortly after the occupation was under way, Provost Marcus Hobbs read aloud an ultimatum ordering the students to voluntarily leave the building within an hour. In response to the demands made by a coalition of students and service workers on Duke's campus—demands that would eventually form the basis of the Malcolm X Liberation University, which opened its doors in downtown Durham only eight months later—Hobbs, in a display of racial paternalism, communicated Duke's commitment to “the establishment of a Summer program to reinforce various areas of the curriculum where students may be deficient,” as well as “a Black advisor who will be acceptable to you in helping students adjust to the campus environment.” The rest of the demands, Hobbs assured the students, would go before a faculty committee that would “consider seriously the merits of proposals that have been or may be made.”14

The confrontation between the Black students and Hobbs in many ways stands in for a broader set of social, economic, and political relations that informed this moment. For example, three of the cigarette brands found among the discarded cartons shown in figure 1—Kool, Tareyton, and Winston—explicitly targeted ads to African American populations, which appropriated the symbolic potency of the Black power aesthetic through marketing campaigns aimed at aligning smoking with countercultural movements.15 On the day of the occupation, however, the cigarettes functioned as more than a consumerist imperative as students stuffed their noses with filters, using them as a form of protection against tear gas when the national guard was called in to put down the uprising.16 Here the humble cigarette, which had served as the foundation of the region's as well as the university's wealth, was being used as a means of resistance.

Duke University, in this instance, stood as the terrain of struggle for students attempting to remake the university, turning away from a model in which the institution served as a corporate funnel within a racial-liberal paradigm and instead striving toward an emancipatory horizon. Additionally, Hobbs, a professor in the chemistry department as well as provost, was the recipient of hundreds of thousands of dollars in research funding between 1953 and 1969 from the American Tobacco Company (ATC) and the Damon Runyon Fund, a front organization for the tobacco industry to fund research that distracted attention from the public health crisis around tobacco.17 The students’ vision for a radically democratic, student- and worker-run university stands in dramatic contrast to the liberal corporate university (of which Duke is just one instantiation). Each world-making project presumes a particular kind of social subject, mode of study, and way of organizing the world.18 The confrontation between dominant and alternative world-making projects—specifically, the way their struggles consolidate around education, the university, and the historical development of the tobacco industry—continues to animate campus politics. Thinking them together in a wider historical frame, we can more readily understand the fortification of what contemporary theorists have called human capital or entrepreneur of the self, over and against desires for collectivity that have animated radical social movements.

Racial Biocapitalism: The Postslavery University and the Tobacco Industry

What are the historical roots of the self-entrepreneur? We explore the historical construction of this subject form in one particular site, Duke University, as a key nexus of the tobacco and higher education industries, particularly highlighting the coconstitutive roles of these industries in settler-colonial, racial capitalism. Native American world-making projects are antithetical to capitalism. The persistence of Native Americans’ modes of life on their land presents a threat to the settler-colonial capitalist project's need to expand through dispossession of Native lands. Settlers’ multiple forms of violence against Natives are the outcome of a “logic of elimination,” an ongoing process that continues today, as settler colonialism is “a structure not an event.”19 In response to Native peoples’ resistance, colonists developed racist and modernist/colonial ideologies to legitimate their violence against Native peoples, including narratives of manifest destiny, with the rugged individual as a pioneer conquering the frontier. Part of the colonists’ strategy for taking over Native peoples’ land was to use education, including Native boarding schools, for pacification and assimilation. The Native students often resisted, and in response the colonists developed more effective educational techniques. This was seen with Richard Henry Pratt's Carlisle Indian Industrial School, which had the mission of turning “tribal Indians” into “individuals.”20 The industrial school approach was also instituted at Trinity College's Cherokee Indian Industrial School, located at the college but segregated from the white students. Cherokee students started attending the school in 1880, one year after the opening of the one in Carlisle. Twelve students attended the first year, and twenty students attended in each of the next three years.21 Trinity College accumulated money from the US government's Office of Indian Affairs to take on these students ($150–167 per year per student), to educate them for assimilation. At one point in the early 1880s, the Cherokee students made up almost 20 percent of the student body at Trinity College. The money that Trinity earned from boarding them allowed the college to weather a financial crisis until it started attracting more philanthropic investments from tobacco moguls, particularly Julian Carr and the Dukes.22

Trinity College's Cherokee Indian School exemplifies the collaborative relations among settler colonialism, white supremacy, capitalism, and education. The preconditions for capitalist relations entail the creation of new separations between individualized producers and means of production. A key part of this accumulation happens through the dispossession of Indigenous peoples’ land.23 This is seen with Trinity College and Duke, both directly through using the land to build campuses and indirectly through using profits from the tobacco industry that grew tobacco on dispossessed land. Other key elements of primitive accumulation happen through the boarding school, which is interrelated with land dispossession, as education could make Natives accept allotment, an individualized form of land ownership in opposition to Native peoples’ collective modes of interrelating with the land.24 Education was used to try to make the Cherokee students stop seeing themselves as members of a Native tribe and instead see themselves as independent “individuals.” Conversely, the white students were instructed to see themselves more as individuals in contrast with the degraded identity of Indian students. Education, such as training in “improved” agricultural techniques, was meant to prepare Native people for participation in governance within the settler state and capitalist property regime. According to Brenda Toineeta Pipestem, the descendant of a student at Trinity College's Cherokee Indian Industrial School, her great-grandfather Nick Toineeta had resisted this assimilative process, as evidenced by his efforts to carry on his Cherokee language and traditions, which he passed on to his children, who carried them on to their descendants.25

The origin of the Trinity school's industrial education approach reveals intersections between capitalism's recuperative responses to Native and African American peoples’ resistances. Prior to the Civil War, Trinity College was dependent on slavery. Its president, Braxton Craven, owned and rented slaves, forcing them to work for him at the college. Some of its teachers and administrators and many of its students’ families owned slaves as well, as did some of the residents of the surrounding town who boarded students and made enslaved people prepare food and clean for the students.26 Enslaved African people resisted slavery through running away and more organized forms of resistance. The abolitionist movement assisted enslaved peoples’ resistance, leading to the Civil War. During the war, Trinity College supported the Confederacy and organized the Trinity Guard to defend the Confederacy. After the formal abolition of slavery, African Americans led the efforts of Reconstruction in the South, attempting to create conditions of equality and freedom. In response, the Southern plantation class joined with property-hungry Northern industrialists for what W. E. B. Du Bois called “the counter-revolution of property,” to fight the Reconstruction projects with overt violence, such as the Ku Klux Klan, racist police, and convict leasing, as well as with theft, corruption, monopolization of industries, dispossessing land from newly emancipated African Americans, and more recuperative tactics.27 Reconstruction's radical visions for democracy and collective studying were limited and channeled into reformist avenues with liberal democracy and “industrial education” for reproducing gendered and racialized class hierarchies. Pratt had developed his understanding of education for the Carlisle Indian Industrial School from his earlier work at the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, an organization initially created from a community of people who had escaped from slavery and collectively organized their resources for studying together.28 Hampton became a site of education for assimilation into capitalism, with education as a tool to make African Americans “accept the world the way it was.”29

Abolition resulted in the capitalist economy losing productive capacities from formerly enslaved labor. In response, the capitalist class sought new means of accumulation, such as through racist policing, prisons, convict leasing, and segregated workplaces, but also through increased investment in institutions of higher education, such as with the Morrill Land Grant Acts.30 One purpose was for a settler-colonial land grab, as nearly 11 million acres of Indigenous peoples’ land was appropriated and “turned into capital for constructing universities for the principal goal of growing industry.”31 For understanding the multiple, interrelated accumulative purposes of the postslavery university, we must understand the intertwining of racial capitalism with biocapitalism.

By biocapitalism we broadly mean commercial ventures focused on the production and sale of living things.32 Biocapitalist enterprises include activities as varied as tobacco, swine, and chicken farming; pharmaceutical research and manufacture; and biomedical research and treatment. We also include the economic enterprises composing slavery, as well as its afterlives in the continuation of racialized exploitation through waged racial capitalism. Most recent scholarship has charted the emergence of biocapitalist logics in the 1970s,33 but we think that periodizing biocapitalism as rooted in the recent past can distract from its usefulness as an analytic framework for understanding the deeper history of capitalism. The work of historians of chattel slavery, livestock breeding, and agriculture shows that many of the most lucrative forms of capitalist enterprise in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries also treated living things as dynamic, value-producing, vital processes.34 We contend that contemporary biocapitalist enterprises have direct relationships to these historical ones, relationships often mediated by institutions of higher education. With abolitionist university studies’ rejection of nostalgia for an earlier university prior to the 1970s, we inquire into how biocapitalism has long been coconstituted with racial capitalism. In both the slavery and postslavery eras of racial capitalism, white people have denigrated and obscured Black people's knowledge of tobacco agriculture while simultaneously elevating white knowledge. In the postslavery era, these practices served as new means of capital accumulation. The postslavery university has played key roles in these practices, four of which we illustrate here through the case of Duke's predecessor, Trinity College.

One purpose was for research in scientific agriculture, which promised to increase productivity through applying intellectual labor to agriculture.35 By researching, publishing, and teaching scientific agricultural techniques, college faculty gave a further air of legitimacy to white farmers’ knowledge as part of their claims to epistemological superiority over Black people who toiled in wage labor on their farms and who sharecropped as tenant farmers on white-owned land. Although Trinity College did not receive land-grant funding, it adopted a similar purpose of promoting agricultural research in the 1880s when it faced competition for students from a new kind of institution that had an emphasis on practical research, such as the Agricultural and Mechanical College in Raleigh. A new president, John Crowell, who had been trained at Yale, implemented a new emphasis on research in line with the developing German university model of learning.

Second, colleges offered education that was segregated, exclusionary, and unequal, particularly in favor of white men who were trained to become more scientific planters, managers, and industrialists. For example, the Northern land-grant universities heavily discriminated against Black people, and the initial Southern land-grant universities excluded Black people all together. Even when land-grant funding did go to historically Black Southern universities, such as the Hampton Institute in 1870 and the second Morrill Act's (1890) creation of Black land-grant institutions, it was far less than the historically white universities received.36

Third, colleges supported historians who wrote histories of agriculture framed through the lenses of settler memory and white ignorance. The latter is seen with the creation myth that gave an enslaved person, Stephen Slade, credit for discovering bright tobacco but was narrated in a way that highlights Black “laziness” and “carelessness” in contrast with white expertise so as to minimize Black experience and expertise.37 Settler memory is seen, for example, in how the Duke tobacco companies often narrated their industry as originating in a friendship between Chief Powhatan and a white settler, John Rolfe, who married Powhatan's daughter, Pocahontas, and more generally in a friendly relationship between Native people and white settlers (see, e.g., the narrative in fig. 2, right).38

Narratives of settler memory draw on memories in a particularly selective and distorted way, accruing legitimacy over time: remembering friendship while forgetting settlers’ dispossession of Native peoples’ land, genocide of Native peoples, and attempts to assimilate Native people. In addition to dispossessing Native land to grow tobacco on it, the tobacco industry also appropriated technologies and knowledge about tobacco cultivation and use that Native peoples had developed over many centuries. In the settler-memory-shaped narrative, the appropriation is framed as the Natives giving the settlers tobacco, but then the settlers are framed as improving on Native farming with their European knowledge. Settlers’ narratives of their historical relations to Native Americans constitute and stabilize their identities, especially the idea of the individual framed in contrast to the tribe-based Indian. These narratives also give settlers a sense that they belong legitimately on the land. The settler-memory mode of narration is also seen in the Duke tobacco companies’ use of Native American imagery for logos. Lone Native American figures are individualized, abstracted from their context of communal life and collective, ceremonial uses of tobacco. The settler-memory narrative of Europeans improving on Natives’ farming is seen in the description of the right-hand image in figure 2: the white man is framed as being able to commercialize the tobacco. The dominant narrative about the Dukes frames their success in this evolutionary line through claiming that they revolutionized tobacco production with the “bold entrepreneurship” of finding new markets and using innovative technologies.39 Their claim to contributing to progress for American society was symbolized both in the name of Duke's first smoking tobacco brand, Pro Bono Publico (For the Public Good), and in dubbing their later American Tobacco Company with the name of the nation. When this settler-memory narrative is interwoven with the abstraction of the market as a free site of exchange, this presumes, naturalizes, and retrospectively justifies a violent historical process of creating the preconditions for capitalist relations, that is, of “so-called primitive accumulation”: land dispossession, appropriation, assimilation, genocide, and slavery.40 Historians have narrated the Dukes as bold entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills necessary to revolutionize the commercialization and marketization of tobacco. In contrast with Native Americans, the entrepreneurs are framed as having gained their knowledge and skills through education, becoming modern, educated individuals.

These settler-memory-shaped narratives have the effect, for those who subscribe to them, of producing certain kinds of subjectivity. They give a sense of legitimate belonging on the land for people who subscribe to the identity of American citizen, and more specifically for those who associate with the identity of Duke University, whether through graduating with a Duke degree, working at Duke, rooting for Duke teams, or living in the surrounding Duke community. The settler-colonial features of the Duke identity have been seen in self-conceptions of people who worked for Duke, such as corporate officers in the bright-leaf tobacco network who saw themselves as pioneers pushing their corporations’ brands beyond the frontiers of new markets in China and other countries.41 A blatant example of settler memory shaping Duke University's narratives is seen in a student-made yearbook from 1935 (fig. 3). This narrative erases violence while romanticizing friendship between Natives and settlers. A description accompanying an illustration of tobacco leaves claims “evolutionary development of America” occurred with “the ‘Romance of Tobacco,’ ” which implies a progressive view of colonization and the replacement of Native peoples.42

A fourth purpose for investment in higher education was for research on the sciences of racial and gender differences.43 After the formal abolition of slavery, racial capitalism shifted from slavery to wage labor contracts. No longer able to rely on the distinction between enslaved and free, to enable arbitrage of humans as capital, capitalists needed to create distinctions in the category of the human. The new sciences of race, sex, and eugenics offered naturalized explanations for why some racialized and gendered forms of human capital were less valuable and thus should always receive lower payment. These discourses were used to legitimate racialized and gendered segregation, discrimination, hierarchies, and inequalities, including in education institutions, with the Jim Crow laws, and in workplaces, including in the tobacco industry, such as through what Du Bois called a “public and psychological wage,” which David Roediger called “the wages of whiteness.”44

Organized labor resistance was interrelated with Native American and African American resistances. The capitalist class responded with the repression of unions and at least two other recuperative strategies. First, capitalists augmented corporate power by combining corporations. For example, Duke bought up other companies, leading to the epic merger of the largest five tobacco companies in the ATC monopoly. To enable this monopoly, as Nan Enstad reveals, the ATC's leaders used corporate-friendly laws, particularly by moving to New Jersey, the state with the most permissive regulations, allowing the ATC to win a corporate charter in 1890 with many entitlements and few limits on monopolistic practices.45 In response to antimonopoly agitation and court challenges, the ATC fought in court to win an interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment that twisted its meaning away from its Reconstruction-forged purpose of empowering formerly enslaved African Americans and toward empowering corporations as “legal persons” with new protections and rights.46 The ATC continued to prosper until finally being disbanded by the Supreme Court in 1911, but twenty-one years of profiting from a monopoly had made J. B. Duke into one of America's wealthiest men.

A second corporate counterstrategy was adopting new technologies. For example, J. B. Duke's adoption of the Bonsack cigarette-making machine, along with a secret contract with the Bonsack Machine Company, greatly increased his corporation's power. But this also led to a problem of overproduction. In response, Duke constructed new markets for his cigarettes by innovating new techniques of mass advertising and promotions.47 This marketing pushed consumers increasingly to subscribe to the identities of modern individuals portrayed through such ads, framed with idealized representations of masculinity, femininity, whiteness, and Americanness (e.g., baseball players, models, military men, and nuclear families). Cigarettes reproduced desires for a fantasy of self-control, thereby serving as a coping mechanism for the anxiety and stress of increasingly sedentary work in modern workplaces.48 Because the experiences of this self-control were always temporary and fleeting, they further motivated cigarette users to subscribe to reified images of the individualized, modern self.

Educational institutions, including Trinity College, participated in this production of an individualized self. Schools and universities make young people subscribe to an imagined life trajectory as an individualized self who rises up the levels of education, through the K–12 grades and up to higher education. At each educational level, through the mechanisms of exams graded by expert teachers, students participate in an affective economy of shame, honor, and anxiety.49 Through investing in education institutions, the Dukes constructed an expanding market for their cigarettes, shaping subjects who would desire to smoke. Students on Trinity College's (and, after 1924, Duke University's) campus were bombarded with cigarette advertising that portrayed images of a modern, individualized self.50 Students were seduced with a fantasy of stability for the self in association with the claimed pleasure and satisfaction of smoking. The student newspapers were suffused with such advertisements, and students reflected their desires for smoking by writing stories with main characters who smoked. Education's anxiety production and the fleeting anxiety relief from smoking complemented each other, constructing the individualized, modern, anxious subject—the very self who would later be called on to become responsible through quitting smoking.

As an antidote to this fantasy of the self-responsible individual, the framing of racial biocapitalism offers one demystifying route. The latter framing invites us to examine the more-than-human relations involved in the production and consumption of tobacco.51 From the production angle, tobacco corporations have relied on universities for scientific research to make their tobacco crops more profitable and for training, disciplining, and differentiating labor. Conversely, universities have relied on funding from those tobacco corporations. Both of these institutions are in some way accumulating capital in the form of biocapital, that is, deriving value from tobacco as a form of nonhuman life, but in ways that blur any boundaries with human life. From the consumption angle, tobacco corporations have relied on universities as markets for their tobacco products, and conversely, universities have relied on those tobacco products to help their students and other workers cope with their anxiety and stress from studying and working on campus. Across all of these situations, both the tobacco industry and the university are extracting value from an assemblage of human and nonhuman, or more-than-human, actors. Taking a more intimate view on how people's bodies relate with tobacco use and nicotine addiction, we can highlight the role of gut bacteria as key collaborative actors in the gut-neural axis that produces people's affective desires for cigarettes.52 Movements of association across a complex more-than-human assemblage—the tobacco plant, nicotine, cigarettes, ads showing modern individuals, money, tobacco smoke, lungs, gut bacteria, the brain—coproduce the tobacco consumer's desire to smoke. Consumers’ unwaged labor of smoking allows them to cope with anxiety and stress from work and thereby is part of the labor of social reproduction for racial capitalism. Individualizing discourses, especially in the university's education-based mode of study, are bound up with the modernist/colonial dichotomy of society (made up of individuals) versus nature (as nonhuman entities). This more-than-humanist perspective offers an antidote, showing how the fantasy of the individualized self is continually produced and reproduced in inextricable association with other-than-human agencies.

Rule of Experts: Postwar Crises of Liberal-Capitalist Modernity

After the subject of the modern, self-controlled individual was produced in the prewar era, this figure was not only continually and more intensively produced but also became an object for populating a new kind of narrative. Tobacco companies deployed narratives about the responsibly choosing individual to divert attention away from their accountability for the public health catastrophe they had caused. In this section, we explore how these narratives had surprising overlaps with the dominant narratives of universities in response to social movements after World War II.

The hegemonic narrative about Duke University in the mid-twentieth century is one of reform and modernization. At the same time that Duke was moving away from its Jim Crow roots through accepting desegregation, some Duke administrators aspired to make Duke into an elite, world-renowned university. In the early 1960s, Vice President Paul Gross convinced the Duke Board of Trustees to invest vastly increased funding into research to make Duke competitive with the universities considered the most elite in the United States.53 A key aspect of this plan for development was to increase Duke's collaboration with corporations, opening the university to market forces. This economic development was framed as complementary to Duke's social progress, as the market, according to economists such as Milton Friedman and Gary Becker, would alleviate the problem of race relations by disincentivizing racism—the market, Friedman claimed, “is the most effective system we have discovered to enable people who hate one another to deal with one another and help one another.”54

Duke's narrative of elite ascendance dovetailed with its narrative of moving away from its connections to the tobacco industry and toward a new image as a key part of Durham as the City of Medicine and the broader region as the Research Triangle. The narrative of delinking from tobacco—scrubbing away Duke's earlier association as “the tobacco college”55—occurred both in this era and in later official histories. The latter have kept certain romanticized elements of their narrative connection with the tobacco industry while burying other, more violent elements of that history. Duke's dominant narrative includes its claim to being an engine of development by facilitating corporate investment in Research Triangle Park (RTP), seven thousand acres of land between the region's three major research universities where many technology corporations have located their headquarters, from 1959 and on. In addition to directly funding research and educating researchers, Duke built infrastructure for others to fund research in the region, particularly through its real estate investments in Durham and through developing RTP, in which Paul Gross and Marcus Hobbs played leading roles. Duke supported urban renewal in Durham as modernization, such as with the plan to build the Durham Freeway (planned and built between 1962 and 1970), which became the main transportation corridor for RTP. The freeway destroyed historically Black neighborhoods, including Hayti, Brookstown, and Hickstown. Tropes of dependency, such as “culture of poverty,” were used to stigmatize Black communities that were dispossessed of their land. The leaders of these modernizing projects proclaimed themselves experts for resolving society's crises, delaying democracy for a later time, only to have the effects of reproducing inequalities and dispossessing people.

Aiding Durham's shift from City of Tobacco to City of Medicine, Duke presented itself as aligned with the wider public health movement for regulating the tobacco industry and preventing and treating tobacco-related illnesses. A key example of this was the creation and funding of the Duke Cancer Institute in 1973, which has become one of the leading institutes for cancer research, treatment, and education. The public health movement's narrative about the tobacco industry, and Duke's version of it in particular, depoliticizes the causes of the epidemic of tobacco-related illnesses and deaths. They frame the problem with a securitizing narrative of a crisis that must be managed by experts. Further, their prescribed solutions involve modernizing, technocratic, policy-based, and medicalizing responses that divert attention from the political controversies involved in how the problem is framed. They bury controversies about the racial-colonial capitalist sources and effects of these problems, thereby reproducing racialized and class-based inequalities in the prescribed solutions, including in the prevention and treatment of tobacco-related illnesses. Class and race are strong indicators of whether someone is likely to smoke and to suffer a smoking-related death.56 With the tobacco industry's global expansion in reaction to increased regulation in the United States, as rates of smoking have gradually fallen in the United States they have risen vastly in so-called developing countries, such as China's over 300 million smokers and one million tobacco-related deaths every year.57

Through narrating themselves as experts who can resolve a crisis, modernizers obscure their own implication in causing the problem they claim to be able to solve. This self-immunization to critique includes Duke's leaders purposefully obscuring their university's ties with the tobacco industry during this time. Conversely, modernization narratives suppress alternative imaginaries for making the world that were promoted by the Black student movement and other radical student groups, such as the Student Liberation Front and the Duke Abortion Fund, as well as wider social movements like the labor unions and Black liberation groups. These movements were calling for radical democracy as a precondition of any modernization, in contrast with the modernizers, who saw democracy as an effect of modernization.

When the public health advocacy movement narrated a crisis around cigarette smoking in the early 1950s, this threatened to reduce the tobacco companies’ consumer base. The tobacco companies enacted a multipronged response. First and foremost, they tried to distract from and deny the devastating health effects of smoking, using multiple countertactics. They lobbied the government against regulations, in collaboration with proindustry politicians and trade groups.58 They spread propaganda through the mass media, deploying misinformation about the science on smoking and emphasizing smokers’ individual choice. Discourses of the independent smoker obscure both smokers’ dependency on the addictive drug of nicotine and the tobacco corporations’ dependency on those smokers for their accumulation of capital. For this misinformation campaign, they recruited academics to act as merchants of doubt—that is, scientists who constructed an appearance of controversy about the negative health effects of cigarettes, a miniscule minority at odds with the dozens of statements of consensus about the science by organizations of academics and public health officials during the 1950s.59

Among the dozens of universities that harbored these merchants of doubt, Duke University was a key site, because of its prestige and the willingness of some of its professors to accept large amounts of funding from the tobacco industry. For decades Duke professors in chemistry, biology, and medicine conducted research for the tobacco industry, from improving tobacco crops and cigarette production to studies that distracted attention from the dangers of smoking, to construct an appearance of controversy. These were not marginal researchers but, rather, included powerful figures, such as Marcus Hobbs and Paul Gross, who shaped the direction of the university for decades. In some cases, there was a revolving door between Duke and the industry, such as with Frederick Darkis, a professor of chemistry who became a vice president of Liggett and Myers Tobacco Company. Figure 4 shows a social network map of the relationships between Duke and the tobacco industry in the 1950s and 1960s. Focusing on Hobbs, his research was funded by the Damon Runyon Fund, Liggett and Myers, and ATC, and he developed lifelong relationships with tobacco industry employees, such as E. S. Harlow, a managing director of research for ATC who once wrote to Hobbs, “It is still very nice to realize you are looking out for our interests.”60 In the early 1980s, Hobbs led a Duke committee that wrote the university's conflict of interest guidelines for its relationships with corporations.61 Considering Hobbs’ decades of industry ties, the abnormal situation of a conflict of interest defined in those guidelines had the background of a normal situation of, what Robert Proctor describes as, “a confluence of interests, and sometimes even a virtual identity of interests,” in collaborative relationships between the university and industries.62

In response to the public health crisis, the tobacco industry also increased its strategy of seeking markets with less regulation, both globally and domestically. Globally, they created new markets in developing countries with less public health regulation. Thereby, they came closer to realizing J. B. Duke's vision of a global market, a mode of imagining the world that would become hegemonic in the 1980s with narratives of economic globalization.63 Along with its expanding of markets, the industry also expanded its production and supply chains globally to take advantage of cheaper labor costs, which had the converse side of disinvesting from industry in the United States, contributing to a broader trend of deindustrialization. Locally in Duke's region of Durham and central North Carolina, the tobacco industry gradually reduced its footprint.64 Domestically, the industry increased its marketing to minoritized populations, who were relatively less shielded by regulations from the federal and state governments.

To understand these responses of the tobacco industry, we need to situate them in the context of the broader responses of the capitalist world-making project to radical movements. During and after World War II, anticolonial movements overthrew colonial regimes around the world, replacing them with alternative world-making projects, such as independent nations in alliance via the Third World movement.65 In response, the capitalist nation-states attempted to influence these independent nations toward capitalism with both imperialist counterinsurgency and national development models guided by modernization theory, particularly from economist Walt Rostow.66 They gave funding for education for the purpose of developing manpower and human capital as means toward national development, but funding was stratified, with far more funding given to primary education and far less to higher education. The funders’ aim for the latter was to produce modernizing experts as future leaders of the new nations.

In the context of the Cold War and international competition for influencing postcolonial nations, the demands of the US civil rights movement challenged the racism of liberal-capitalist modernity. In response, capitalist ideologues repackaged liberal capitalism as antiracist in order to secure its viability as a world-making project.67 They created an officially antiracist ideology: racial liberalism. Despite its veneer, racial liberalism maintained both structural racism and a kind of cultural racism with an ideology of cultural hierarchy, such as with modernization theory, which implies an end point of modernist development as the white, European, capitalist culture of developed nations.68 Racial liberalism aims to use institutions to reform individual behavior, as a substitute for and diversion from movements to dismantle institutional and structural forms of racism, such as racially unequal distributions of land and wealth created through centuries of racial-colonial capitalism.

Racial liberalism's individualizing focus shaped how tobacco companies responded to the public health crisis by calling for individual choice and responsibility. In racial liberalism, institutions are supposed to reform themselves through modernization led by experts. Through the lens of modernization, tobacco companies portrayed themselves as antiracist, such as by marketing their products to people of all races, according to a Philip Morris ad: “As part of a strategy that pursued the total consumer market, minorities included.”69 The tobacco industry claimed to be able to reform itself in collaboration with its academic accomplices, while the leaders of Duke University, including Gross and Hobbs, portrayed themselves as guiding modernizing reforms of Duke and the region with RTP.

Liberal-capitalist leaders in higher education also took on this ideology of racial liberalism. This was seen with the desegregation of historically white campuses, including Duke's campus in 1963, with the aim of modernizing their institutions. The civil rights movement forced the university to reckon with the problem of segregation. Duke's primary way of fixing it was through institutional reform, which corresponds with liberal faith in the power of institutions to organize society and inculcate proper values in individuals. Some Latinx students had been admitted to Duke's campus as early as 1926, but they were white-passing and the children of wealthy Latin American families, and it took the force of Black student activism in the 1960s and 1970s to make the university open up admissions to increasing numbers of Latinx students from working-class backgrounds.70 Black students had been at Duke for only six years when the Allen Building takeover occurred, led by students who brought the Black Power movement onto campus. In response to racial liberalism's maintenance of cultural racism and structural racism, the Black Power movement organized to dismantle these forms of racism and to reveal their ties with capitalism. The response of Duke to the Black student occupiers, as with a broad tendency of administrative responses across the United States, was a shift from racial liberalism to liberal multiculturalism.71 This move reworked liberal-capitalist modernity into a new form with a new official antiracist ideology, ostensibly dropping cultural racism while allowing the perpetuation of structural racism. University administrators’ responses to admitting increased numbers of students of color included increasing tuition, which led to increased student debt burdens that have disproportionately impacted Black, Latinx, and Native American students.72

The turn to multiculturalism as a strategy of legitimation can be observed both in higher education and in the tobacco industry. As the radical freedom movements of the 1960s eventually took the form of ethnic studies departments and increased diversity on college campuses, the current neoliberal university seems unimaginable without multiculturalism, even in an era of widening economic inequality in which the university is openly understood as an engine of class reproduction in a world of dwindling prospects. Multiculturalism, however, has also been an effective vehicle for cigarette manufacturers to market their products to minoritized populations, including African Americans, LGBT communities, women, and young people, rendering them as merely “alternative lifestyles.”

Clearing the Smoke: Beyond the Neoliberal University

Duke's campus became tobacco-free in July 2020. We believe that this event serves as an occasion for reckoning with the intricate and indispensable role that the tobacco industry has played in the historical development of Duke University. While some might view the policy as a step forward, perhaps even a break from the entrenched legacy of the tobacco industry, Duke's ascension to the status of a global, elite university would not have been possible without its close ties to big tobacco. In this respect, there appear to be crucial similarities between a tobacco-free campus and a postracial politics, both of which seek to imagine a new historical phase that breaks free from the sedimented histories of oppression, dispossession, and exploitation that constitute the university's conditions of possibility.

Public debate around Duke's smoke-free, and now tobacco-free, policy has opened up controversies about Duke's relationship with the tobacco industry, creating an opportunity to reckon with this historical and ongoing entanglement. We can raise and address such questions as, Could the tobacco-free policy serve as a form of reparative justice in relation to Duke's complicity with the harms caused by the tobacco industry? What are the limiting and enabling conditions for such reparative effects? Beyond a tobacco-free policy, what else should be required to achieve reparative justice? What about the possibilities of transformative justice, for transforming the broader conditions of the racial-colonial capitalist society that has been coconstituted with the tobacco industry? How should the Duke community reckon with the historical conditions that contributed to the development of the university itself in the form of wealth accumulated from the tobacco industry? Could the tobacco-free policy actually hinder possibilities for reparative and transformative justice through depoliticizing the issue, in the sense of individualizing responsibility for the harms of nicotine use onto consumers and diverting responsibility away from Duke and the tobacco industry?

Duke's global profile, which includes a campus in Kunshan, China, is largely based on its role in producing leaders in industry and politics, which in recent years include Apple CEO Tim Cook and NBA commissioner Adam Silver, among others. The idea that universities have increasingly become sites for the accumulation of capital and the shaping of individuals as human capital is treated as axiomatic in a number of recent critical studies, perhaps most prominently Wendy Brown's Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution. But our article has shown that this has been a function of universities since at least the nineteenth century. This assertion complicates commonly accepted periodizations that romanticize the postwar liberal university as an institution that stood as a repository of civic virtue and vehicle for economic mobility. The university, we argue, has never stood apart from the needs of capital, and the current crisis consensus around higher education and financialization demands to be read in continuity with the forms of dispossession and exploitation that formed the preconditions not only for the university's founding but also for its continued existence.73

What both the debt-bearing student and the smoker share in the dominant narratives is the assumption of risk and responsibility, which is central to the production of subjectivity broadly and the possessive individual specifically. The consolidation of both the higher education industry and the tobacco industry around the construction of the individualized subject, as we have shown, is not a distinctive feature of neoliberalism; rather, neoliberalism is the latest episode in a much longer historical process. Duke's tobacco-free policy therefore offers a way of disavowing the relationship between Duke and the tobacco industry without having to confront how the foundational conditions of the university were created through this relationship—that is, narratives around the policy efface historical forms of accumulation that were essential in the initial development of the university and its expansion into an elite global institution. These narratives also obscure how this wealth accumulated through the racialized, gendered exploitation of labor in the tobacco industry and land dispossession that reproduced inequalities and segregations.

We began this article with a photograph that registered the struggle for a radically different university, attempting to reimagine the relationship of Duke not only with its students but also with the wider community. Rejecting a return to the fantasy of the midcentury university shielded from economic and political exigencies, recent social movements such as Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, the Indigenous water protectors at Standing Rock, MeToo, and the Women's Strike have insisted on the links among education, citizenship, debt, colonialism, racism, patriarchy, prisons, the military-industrial complex, police violence, borders, environmental degradation, and climate change. What this accumulation of demands makes possible, we contend, is a reimagining of the university for making a new world beyond capitalist modernity.

We acknowledge our collaborators on the Stained University Story+ Project: Erick Aguilar, Caroline Petronis, and Zhengtao Qu, as well as support from the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University. We thank Amy McDonald and Valerie Gillispie for their guidance and wisdom in the Duke University Archives. We thank Jessica Shillingsford, Jennifer Melton, and Khadija Brandon for their insights at the Duke Homestead and Tobacco Museum. We also appreciate much invaluable feedback from the editors of this special issue, Julietta Singh and Nathan Snaza, as well as from Kai Bosworth, Mauro Caraccioli, Jesse Goldstein, Jessica Namakkal, Audrey Reeves, Gabriel Rosenberg, Patrick Salmons, and the many participants in an ASPECT workshop at Virginia Tech, a Political Ecology talk at Virginia Commonwealth University, and the Piedmont Biocapitalism workshop at Duke.

Notes

1.

E-cigarette use among high schoolers increased by 78 percent nationally between 2017 and 2018 (US Food and Drug Administration, “2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey Data”). As of July 1, 2019, out of the 2,375 campuses that have gone smoke-free, 1,986 also prohibit e-cigarette use (American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, “Smokefree and Tobacco-Free U.S. and Tribal Colleges and Universities”).

3.

Caracta, “JUUL-Funded Duke Researcher Pushes Pro-Vaping Stance.” In 2018, Jed Rose's private research company performed clinical trials sponsored by the largest e-cigarette maker, Juul Labs. See US National Library of Medicine, “A Study to Characterize Puff Topography.” Also in 2018, the Duke Chronicle published an article with interviews of students and professors about the e-cigarette controversy, including remarks from Jed Rose in which he defended e-cigarettes as “one of the most promising developments in the field of smoking cessation,” claiming that “the ‘epidemic’ of youth addiction [to e-cigarettes] is greatly exaggerated” and “restricting e-cigarettes may incentivize youth to try combustible cigarettes instead” (Dasgupta, “Inventor of Nicotine Patches Questions FDA's Claims”). In both this article and a more recent op-ed (Concerned Tobacco Addiction Treatment and Policy Experts, “Letter”), Rose failed to disclose his ties with tobacco corporations.

5.

We focus here on the example of Duke's tobacco-free initiative, but we see this as representative of a broad trend in many other cases of tobacco-free campus movements that exhibit social justice principles, such as the Tobacco-free Generation Campus Initiative, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the California Youth Advocacy Network, and the Foundation for a Tobacco Free World.

15.

For examples of ads targeting African Americans from these brands during the 1960s, see Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising, “Cigarette Advertising Themes.” 

16.

Xu and Rubin, “ ‘Too Young to Be Afraid.’ ”

17.

On the Damon Runyon Fund, see Proctor, Golden Holocaust, 200–209. On Hobbs's relationships with the Damon Runyon Fund and ATC, see many documents in the Thomas Hobbs Papers, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University, Durham, NC; and online at the University of California, San Francisco's Industry Documents Library (www.industrydocuments.ucsf.edu), e.g., “Chronology of Events.” 

18.

On the intertwining of different world-making projects with particular modes of study, such as liberal-capitalist modernity with education, see Meyerhoff, Beyond Education.

21.

Based on documents from Duke University Archives, Trinity College (Randolph County) catalogs, 1880–86, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University, Durham, NC.

22.

In September 2018, a committee was formed to study the contributions of Julian Carr, who was found to be “an active proponent of white supremacy throughout his adult life.” Historical records also show that “Carr's donation of 62 acres of land in 1890, along with Washington Duke's gift of $85,000, ensured that Trinity College would relocate to Durham. That land is part of present-day East Campus.” See Committee on the Carr Building, “Report of the Committee on the Carr Building.” 

25.

Brenda Toineeta Pipestem, conversation with the author, October 31, 2018.

31.

la paperson, A Third University Is Possible, 26. For details on which Indigenous peoples’ land was stolen by the fifty-two land-grant universities to fund their endowments, see Lee and Ahtone, “Land-Grab Universities.” 

32.

This paragraph's discussion of biocapitalism and the postslavery university draws on Eli's collaborative writing with Gabriel Rosenberg for a new research project called “Piedmont Biocapitalism.”

38.

We draw this concept of settler memory from Bruyneel, “Race, Colonialism, and the Politics of Indian Sports Names and Mascots”’; and Bruyneel, “Creolizing Collective Memory.” Both of the images in figure 2 are from an anonymously authored history of the ATC, self-published in 1954 (American Tobacco Company, Sold American!, 4, 18). Variations of this story are repeated in later advertising associated with the company's brands, such as in this press release for Lucky Strike cigarettes in 1997: “Hidden in Lucky Strike's pack are subtle clues to our history and character. Noticed the Red Indian sitting on the side? That's Powhatan, red emperor of Virginia and father of the famous Princess Pocahontas. His portrait commemorates Pocahontas's marriage to John Rolfe, sender of the first shipment of tobacco in 1613” (British American Tobacco, “Lucky Strike Press Releases”).

40.

On “so-called primitive accumulation,” see Marx, Capital, 1: chap. 26. On its foundations in colonial land dispossession, see Coulthard, Red Skin, White Masks.

41.

For example, British American Tobacco executive James A. Thomas described himself in one of his memoirs as a “pioneer.” See Thomas, Pioneer Tobacco Merchant in the Orient.

43.

Watkins, White Architects of Black Education, 24–40. On the interrelation of these “sciences,” see Stein, Measuring Manhood.

49.

For a critical history of education's ascending life trajectories, affective economy, and production of individualized subjects, see Meyerhoff, Beyond Education.

50.

Searching for the brand names of different cigarettes on the Duke Chronicle 's digitized collection from 1905 to the 1970s returned thousands of different ads.

51.

On “more-than-human” politics, see Braun and Whatmore, Political Matter.

52.

On the role of gut bacteria in coproducing “more-than-human” emotions, see Hird, Origins of Sociable Life.

55.

On narratives of Trinity College as the “tobacco college” in the early twentieth century, see Enstad, Cigarettes, Inc., 103.

59.

Oreskes and Conway, Merchants of Doubt. For a list of many of these consensus statements, see Proctor, Golden Holocaust, 232–38.

60.

Letter from Harlow to Hobbs, December 17, 1954, American Tobacco Company Correspondence folder, box 2, Marcus Hobbs Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Duke University, Durham, NC.

61.

“Original Letter of Appointment,” June 30, 1981, Conflict of Interest Policy Working Papers, box 2, Marcus Hobbs Papers.

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