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Jesse Dukes

Jesse Dukes is an independent writer and documentary maker. He studied radio at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, worked for With Good Reason at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and is a principal at Big Shed. His VQR essay “Babu on the Bad Road” was included in The Best American Travel Writing 2013. He is a VQR Contributing Editor.

Author

Confederate  reenactor with straps.  Gettysburg,  PA, 2011.

Lost Causes

Summer 2014 | Reporting

Confederate reenactors take pride in their Southern heritage, but struggle with the centrality of slavery and racism to the Confederacy.

The Growing Evangelical Population in Latin America

March 19, 2013 | Reporting

I have been living in a small town in Guatemala’s Highlands for the last few months, and fireworks at night are common. Yet around noon last Wednesday, I heard loud explosions and saw the tell-tale hanging smoke cloud indicating somebody was setting off rockets. As I walked to the center of town for lunch, I could hear the church bells ringing, and I wondered if there was some kind of emergency. Finally, the local family with whom I eat lunch told me we have a new Pope. My friend, Maria, beamed at the news. She told me all the Catholics were happy.

Mark Hamill Remembers Tunisia

Winter 2013 | Interviews

Twenty-four-year-old Mark Hamill auditioned for the role of “Luke Starkiller” on December 30, 1975. Two and a half months later, he landed in Djerba, Tunisia, took a harrowing taxi ride to Tozeur, and began playing the role that would define his early career. 

Star Wars sandcrawler set at Chott Al Jerrid, Tunisia, 1976. Courtesy of Lucas Film Ltd.

Soundstage Tunisia

Winter 2013 | Essays

The future of Tunisia’s film industry—like that of the country itself—is uncertain. Filmmakers prefer stability in their working conditions, and the instability triggered by the revolution has threatened a once reliable industry, which over a generation has evolved its own cultural significance.

Consider the Lobstermen

December 31, 2011 | Photography

The Maine lobster industry has a reputation as one of the best managed fisheries in the world—but few have considered how this ethic is enforced.

Consider the Lobstermen

Summer 2011 | Reporting

Rick Trundy does not like staying ashore, even when the wind is blowing twenty knots. It's 4:30 in the morning in mid-April, early in the lobster season, and while most of the lobstermen in Stonington, Maine, are someplace warm, drinking coffee, he's steaming his forty-foot boat, the Crossfire, southward down the east side of Isle Au Haut, already pitching over five-foot swells that grow in size the closer he gets to open water.

Lions of the Deep

Winter 2011 | Essays

The shot took years to set up. He had seen it in his mind's eye and sketched it with pen and pad dozens of times: a bronze whaler shark charging upward into a tight school of sardines, jaws open improbably wide, a regal predator frozen in an instant of total ascendancy. Most winters, a tongue of cold water licks the South African coast, bringing millions of sardines and thousands of sharks in an eastward migration, but the swift moving sardine runs and trailing sharks are hard to intercept.