Thomas Schaller, Political Science, in The Hill

An article published October 19 in The Hill examines several elections in the South where Democratic candidates have close ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton in states such as Arkansas and Kentucky. The article mentions how it may be difficult for Democratic candidates in those states to distance themselves from an unpopular current president.

Tom Schaller

Thomas Schaller, professor and chair of political science, was interviewed for the article and said, “I’m constantly puzzled when other people are surprised that there hasn’t been this Democratic revival in the South.” Schaller has argued that Democrats should make the South less of a priority in winning elections, adding, “my feeling is that the underlying fundamentals in the region work against the Democrats.”

Schaller said Hillary Clinton is the Democrats’ best chance to win in the South in 2016, but even if she’s successful, it wouldn’t necessarily mean significant changes for Democratic strategy in the South.

“I think she’s a good test case for how competitive the Democrats can be in the South, because she can pair her husband’s appeal in the more rural South and presumably draw support in the places where Obama did well,” Schaller said. “If she can’t start flipping states, then who is?”

To read the full article in The Hill, click here.

George Derek Musgrove, History, in the Washington Post

Derek MusgroveAn article published October 18 in the Washington Post analyzed the Washington, D.C. mayoral election and the state of the race leading up to Election Day on November 4. Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) is running against council member David Catania (I-At Large) and early voting is underway.

George Derek Musgrove ’97, history, associate professor of history, is writing a book about race and democracy in the District and was interviewed for the article.

“There is not a great deal of policy difference between them,” said Musgrove when describing the two mayoral candidates. “They are, quite frankly, running on style,” Musgrove said. “Bowser is trying to portray Catania as a hothead, and Catania is trying to portray Bowser as a lightweight.”

To read the full article titled, “D.C. mayoral choice: Muriel Bowser’s caution or David Catania’s combativeness?” click here.

Kimberly Moffitt, American Studies, on The Marc Steiner Show

On October 8,  WEAA’s The Marc Steiner Show hosted a segment discussing the challenges, complexities and joys of raising and educating boys. Kimberly Moffitt, an associate professor of American studies, was a guest on the program and discussed her experience as a founding parent and trustee of Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys – a charter school opening in Baltimore City next year to serve boys in grades 4 through 12.

In a discussion about improving high school graduation rates among boys, Moffitt said: “This is a movement that is happening from the ground up.” Adding, “it’s about folks in the community who recognize something that’s happening with our children and want to do something about it instead of waiting for someone else within the federal government, or higher ups, or individuals who have their philanthropic ability to contribute. This is now very much about folks who are part of the community who see something real that needs to change because this is an epidemic for our boys and we want to see a shift in change.”

Moffitt appeared on the program with Jack Pannell, founder of Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys, and David Banks, President and CEO of the Eagle Academy Foundation and founding principal of the Eagle Academy for Young Men in the Bronx. To listen to the full segment, click here.

Moffitt also recently returned from Vienna, Austria where she gave two presentations based on her research. The University of Vienna and the American Embassy hosted “Transgressive Television: Politics, Crime, and Citizenship in 21st Century American TV Series,” where Moffitt gave a presentation on “Black Motherhood as Victimhood in The Wire.” Also, at the University of Graz (Austria), Department of American Studies “When I Talk about American Studies, I Talk about… Lecture,” Moffitt presented a talk entitled, “(In)visibility in Black and White: The Case of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog.”

Thomas Schaller, Political Science, Op-Ed in the Baltimore Sun

Tom SchallerIn his latest column in the Baltimore Sun, Political Science Professor and Chair Thomas Schaller writes about the increasingly competitive Maryland gubernatorial election. He compares the campaign strategy of Connie Morella, a former moderate Republican congresswoman from Maryland’s 8th District, to Republican candidate Larry Hogan, stating that Hogan needs to focus on certain issues to have a chance at winning the election.

“The Sun’s new poll shows Mr. Brown leading Mr. Hogan statewide by 7 points, a margin similar to the average yielded by the three previous statewide polls. Among men, Mr. Hogan leads by 8 points, 43 percent to 35 percent,” Schaller writes. “But Mr. Brown’s lead among women — 49 percent to 33 percent — is twice that. Mr. Hogan is within striking distance, but he can win only if he keeps the focus exclusively on topics related to job growth, the economy, state spending and fiscal management.”

To read Schaller’s full column in the Baltimore Sun titled, “The Connie Morella effect,” click here.

Eric Ford, Shriver Center, Advises Prospective College Students on Paths to Success in College Express

First-generation and underrepresented minority students can face unique challenges in applying to college and completing their degrees. In an article in College Express, Eric Ford, director of operations for the Shriver Center’s Choice Program, writes about his conversations with four college graduates about the support systems that helped them succeed.

Ford identifies several common factors that helped the students graduate, including high parental expectations, dedicated guidance counselors, and supportive university programs. Ford also discussed UMBC’s Choice Program as providing new opportunities for students who might not otherwise see college as a realistic possibility. He shared, “The Choice Program is just one component of a multifaceted partnership seeking to remove some of the many barriers faced by first-generation college students, and it has shown positive outcomes…exemplifying the shared responsibility between universities, public [K-12] schools, and individuals in breaking down barriers to higher education.”

Click here to read “Common Denominators: College Success Factors Among Minority and First-Generation Students” in College Express.

Preminda Jacob, Visual Arts, Examines Visual Culture and Indian Politics in Scroll

When J Jayalalithaa, a film star turned prominent politician, was convicted of charges involving financial assets, her supporters in the state of Tamil Nadu responded to the verdict by creating billboards and posters representing their feelings of anger and loss. Preminda Jacob, visual arts, spoke to Scroll about the historic connections between cinema and state politics in Tamil Nadu. 

Jacob focused on how Jayalalithaa used images to promote her political career and connect with supporters. “Over the space of half century the population has been very adept on how to read these images,” she said.

Jacob is the author of Celluloid Deities: The Visual Culture of Cinema and Politics in South India.

Click here to read “How Jayalalithaa used posters to transform herself from a film star into the Amma of Tamil Nadu” in Scroll.

Scott Casper, CAHSS Dean, in Talking Points Memo

On October 9, Talking Points Memo (TPM) published a story analyzing the recent controversial College Board decision to release a revised framework on the way AP U.S. history is taught. Since the decision was released two years ago, it has drawn backlash from many who call the new framework unpatriotic and revisionist.

Scott Casper

Scott Casper, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of History, was quoted extensively in the story and commented on recent shifts in American history education. Casper, who edits the “Textbooks and Teaching” section of the Journal of American History, said the debate isn’t exactly new. He said the new framework reflects a shift in teaching history in that more colleges and high schools are emphasizing “historical thinking skills.” He also noted there’s been a shift in topics covered, including incorporating the stories of women, African-Americans and immigrants to a greater extent.

Commenting on the concept of revisionist history, Casper said: “Those who criticize the teaching of what they call revisionist history are certainly part of a long tradition because every time we learn more about the past, we are revising our understanding of the past,” he said. “So in a sense, history is always revisionist.”

To read the full article, click here.