Thomas S. Rankin

Thomas S. Rankin

Director of Graduate Studies for the Masters of Fine Arts in Experimental & Documentary Arts

External Address: 
1317 W Pettigrew St, Durham, NC 27705
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90802, Durham, NC 27708-0802
(919) 660-3613


A photographer, filmmaker, and folklorist, Tom Rankin
has been documenting and interpreting American
culture for nearly twenty years. His books include
Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi
(1993), which received the Mississippi
Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Photography,
'Deaf Maggie Lee Sayre': Photographs of a River Life
(1995), Faulkner's World: The Photographs of
Martin J. Dain
(1997), and Local Heroes
Changing America: Indivisible

Education & Training

  • M.F.A., Georgia State University 1987

  • M.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1983

  • B.A., Tufts University 1980

Selected Grants

Graduate Film Scholarship awarded by Princess Grace Foundation-USA (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2019

Film Fellowship awarded by Princess Grace Foundation-USA (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2016

UndraBorn: Extraordinary Children awarded by Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2009 to 2010

Face Up: Telling Stories of Community Life awarded by Mary Duke Biddle Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2007 to 2008

Nuestras Historias/Nuestros Suenos: Our History/Our Dreams - Latino Immigrants in North Carolina awarded by Mary Duke Biddle Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2006 to 2007

Gallery in the Classroom awarded by National Endowment for the Arts (Principal Investigator). 1999 to 2002

Colors of Confinement: Color Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II. Ed. T Rankin and IT Hill. University of North Carolina Press, 2012.

Jackson, B, and Christian, D. In This Timeless Time. Ed. IT Hill and TS Rankin. University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

Rankin, TS. Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound. Ed. T Rankin, IT Hill, J Biewen, and A Dilworth. 2010.

Rankin, T. Beyond Beauty: The Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University. Duke University, Durham: The Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, 2009.

Rankin, T. Local Heroes Changing America: Indivisible. W.W. Norton and Company/Lyndhurst Books, 2000. (Collection)

Rankin, T. "Judgment and Grace in Dixie." Judgment and Grace in Dixie. Ed. CR Wilson. The University of Georgia Press, 2007. (Essay)

Rankin, T. "Careful Tending." Last Harvest: Truck Farmers in the Deep South. Ed. P Dilbeck. University of Georgia Press, 2006. (Afterword)

Rankin, T. "Home and Away at 25." 25 Under 25: Up-and-Coming American Phogtographers. Powerhouse Books, 2003.

Rankin, T. "The Cruel Radiance of the Obvious." Southern Cultures (2011).

Rankin, T. "Maasai Community of Lakipia." (September 2009). (Essay)

Rankin, T. "Mike Seeger Remembered." Porch Gallery (2009). (Essay)

Rankin, T. "Paul Kwilecki Remembered." Porch Gallery (2009). (Essay)

Rankin, T. "Visualizing the World of William Faulkner." Ed. PJ Brownlee. American Studies International, Oct. 1998 XXXVI (2007).

Rankin, T. "Seeing What We Need To See." The Light Factory (2007).

Rankin, T. "Share a Table, Make a Friend." Appalachian Heritage (2007).

Rankin, T. "The Injuries of Time and Weather." Southern Cultures 13.2 (2007): 3-28.

Rankin, T. "Putting a Bottom Under It." Oxford American 49 (2005).

Rankin, T. "In Wildness (photo essay)." Daylight Magazine 1 (2004). (Essay)


Rankin, T. "The Last Days of Kitty Shenay." American Radio Works (2004).