Ellen Handler Spitz, Honors College, on CBC Radio

Illuminating Childhood Ellen Handler SpitzOn December 19, Honors College Professor Ellen Handler Spitz participated in a discussion on CBC Radio on “The Secret Lives of Children.” The segment centered around the idea that advances in technology combined with a strong focus on achievement can often suppress creativity, and children’s imagination can be a strong shield against cultural confinements.

During the segment, Spitz says that high tech toys should be traded in favor of letting children explore their inner worlds: “I think that children, when we allow them to make believe, this kind of vision and this kind of connecting…we should treasure it and not stamp it out.”

Spitz’s most recent research focuses on children’s aesthetic lives, and she has authored six books on the arts and psychology: “Art and Psyche” (Yale); “Image and Insight” (Columbia); “Museums of the Mind” (Yale); “Inside Picture Books” (Yale); “The Brightening Glance” (Pantheon); and “Illuminating Childhood” (Michigan). She most recently published “Magritte’s Labyrinth,” a new e-book which analyzes the artwork of Belgian Surrealist artist René Magritte.

To listen to the full segment on CBC Radio, click here.

Roy Meyers, Political Science, on MarylandReporter.com

Roy Meyers (UMBC)In a December 15 column published on MarylandReporter.com, Political Science Professor Roy Meyers shared his thoughts on why there are no easy budget fixes in Maryland. He responded to an earlier column written by Barry Rascovar which outlined potential solutions to solving state budget deficits.

Meyers addressed state revenue estimates, adjusting the start time of the fiscal year, and sweeping under-projected revenues into the state’s surplus, all of which were discussed in Rascovar’s column.

“It’s important to remember that just as with budgets, for the budget process there is no such thing as an ‘easy fix,'” Meyers wrote in his column.

To read the full article titled “No easy budget fixes; Rascovar’s proposals to change the fiscal year are way off base,” click here.

Donald Norris, Public Policy, in National Journal and the Baltimore Sun

Donald Norris UMBCIn a recent National Journal article on a potential bid for the White House by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Public Policy Professor and Chair Donald Norris was interviewed for the story and discussed how O’Malley’s relationship with the Clintons could affect the 2016 campaign.

“The Clintons and he are close,” said Norris. “He endorsed her the first time. I don’t know he could run against her without burning a lot of bridges he just doesn’t want to burn.”

Norris was also interviewed for a Baltimore Sun article about the future of the Republican Party in Maryland. “They’ve gone through this ‘pull to the right and then re-center’ dance before,” Norris said. “The tea party right and the fringe Republicans could continue what they’ve done: eating their young, going after each other in primaries to make the party even more conservative and, in turn, more marginal in the rest of the state.”

Thomas Schaller, Political Science, in Bloomberg and the Daily Beast, Op-Ed in the Baltimore Sun

Political Science Professor and Chair Thomas Schaller has been in the news recently analyzing the future of the Democratic Party in the South. In a Bloomberg Politics article examining how Democrats will rebuild after the recent midterm elections, Schaller discussed what could be next for party.

Tom Schaller

“The irony for me is that even I would say, at this point, there’s no place to go but up for the Democrats,” Schaller said. “There’ve been five federal cycles, and in every single count there’re fewer Democratic officials from the South in almost all of those elections.”

“Look at the Republicans,” Schaller added. “At one point they had three of 53 house seats in New York and New England. They got to near zero. And they’ve clawed back in Maine, New Hampshire, and New York. If Democrats have a landslide cycle, that might mean three new senators from the entire South. That would mean they doubled their Southern numbers in the Senate!”

Schaller was also mentioned in a Daily Beast article which discussed a similar topic, and his most recent column in the Baltimore Sun builds off of what he discussed in his first book Whistling Past Dixie in the context of the most recent midterm elections. To read full versions of the three articles, click below:

Can Democrats Ever Compete for the Deep South? Should They Even Bother? (Bloomberg)
Dems, It’s Time to Dump Dixie (Daily Beast)
Nowhere to go but up for Southern Democrats (Baltimore Sun column)

John Rennie Short, Public Policy, in New York Observer

On December 10, New York Observer published an article on the “Second Gilded Age” in New York City, in which it describes recent increases in spending among the wealthiest New Yorkers. Research by Public Policy Professor John Rennie Short is extensively quoted in the article. The full excerpt is below:

John Rennie Short“In the collection of essays, Geographies of the Super-Rich, published last year, John Rennie Short, a professor of public policy at the University Maryland Baltimore County, refers to this period as the ‘Second Gilded Age.’ Mr. Short estimates that 103,000 people worldwide have a net worth in excess of $30 million, and this upper, upper class owns about 40 percent of global assets. The holdings of the 66 New Yorkers on the most recent Forbes 400 list (led by David Koch with $42.9 billion) adds up to an astounding $390.67 billion dollars—more than the gross domestic product of Thailand, a nation with 67 million people.

Mr. Short detects similarities between the two eras. Striking inequality was seen as evidence of Social Darwinism. And it is again, he suggests. ‘Wealth is justified not simply as a result of luck or connections,’ he writes, ‘but as a ‘natural’ phenomenon and hence immune to political change and social debate.’

He also notices contrasts. It was de rigueur for elites in the late 19th century to live a life of leisure, but today’s captains of industry flaunt their industriousness. ‘The hardworking rich replace the idle rich,’ as Mr. Short puts it.”

To read the full article titled “Gilded Age 2.0: New York’s Richest CEOs, Artists, and Pro Athletes,” click here.

Piotr Gwiazda, English, Participates in Ars Cameralis Festival, Poland

Piotr GwiazdaIn November, Piotr Gwiazda, Associate Professor of English, participated in the 23rd Ars Cameralis Festival in Katowice, one of Poland’s most prestigious arts and literary festivals. On November 15, he gave a reading from his poetry in Polish translation at Kinoteatr Rialto. On November 17, he presented a lecture “Dreams of a Common Language: On Contemporary U.S. Poetry” at the English Language Institute of the University of Silesia in Sosnowiec.

In a video interview (interview in Polish), Gwiazda described his critical and creative projects. He also commented on the Ars Cameralis Festival.

Anne Rubin, History, on Journal of American History Podcast

Through the Heart of DixieThe Journal of American History (JAH) produces a monthly podcast interview with an author of a JAH article or author of a book on a historical topic. Anne Rubin, an associate professor of history and author of Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman’s March and American Memory (UNC Press 2014), was the guest on JAH’s November podcast. She was interviewed about her book and discussed how she first became interested in researching Sherman’s March in graduate school.

“The endurance of it is the power of Sherman’s March as a metaphor,” Rubin said. “In the South, people feel it very viscerally obviously in Georgia and the Carolinas. But elsewhere it has come to be this symbol of devastation, and destruction, and fire.”

Rubin’s book analyzes stories and myths about Sherman’s March, one of the most symbolically potent events of the Civil War, as a lens for examining how Americans’ ways of thinking about the Civil War have changed over time. She analyzes stories from travel accounts, memoirs, literature, films, and newspapers to highlight the metaphorical importance of Sherman’s March in American memory.

To listen to the complete podcast interview conducted by JAH editor Edward Linenthal, click here.