Kimberly Moffitt, American Studies, on The Marc Steiner Show

Kimberly Moffitt, an assistant professor of American studies, participated in a panel discussion on The Marc Steiner Show on April 10 that focused on what the true meaning of “happiness” is in the context of WEAA’s Happiness Spring Membership Drive.

The panelists discussed the pursuit of happiness and what it meant to the founders of the United States, what it means to Americans today and how it’s possible to create a world where everyone has the right to happiness. During the program, Moffitt weighed in on her view of the definition of happiness.

“I think it does mean freedom, and I think that’s what our founders wanted it to mean. I think where we are now is that we see freedom in very different ways,” Moffitt said.

“In some respects I think we’ve moved away from what the original founders wanted to see in terms of this idea of freedom. At the same time of encouraging freedom, we’ve created so many social hierarchies that make it difficult to actually have the freedom to do much of what we’d like to do,” she added.

Other panelists in the discussion included Jeff Singer, Founder and former Executive Director of Health Care for the Homeless and instructor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and Alex Bostonformer director of Homeless Services in Baltimore City and Country Director for the Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan and Jordan. To listen to the full segment on The Marc Steiner Show, click here.

Remembering Sparrows Point (4/10)

The Creative Alliance is hosting “Remembering Sparrows Point” on April 10, an event that features film screenings and discussions exploring the importance of the Sparrows Point Steel Mill. Recently closed, the mill played a vital role in the lives of hundreds of thousands steelworkers and personnel for more than 125 years.

To keep the mill’s memory alive, Creative Alliance will screen Mill Stories and Life After Steel, presented by Bill Shewbridge, media and communication studies professor of the practice, and Michelle Stefano, folklorist in residence. Deborah Rudacille, author of Roots of Steel: Boom and Bust in an American Mill Town and English professor of the practice, will present a reading followed by a discussion with former Sparrows Point workers.

The event takes place Thursday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Creative Alliance and is sponsored by the BreakingGround initiative. For more information and a complete list of speakers and presentations, click here.

Nicole King and Michelle Stefano, American Studies, in City Paper

In their second article in a series of essays for the “City Folk” section in City Paper, American Studies Assistant Professor Nicole King and Folklorist in Residence Michelle Stefano profile Courtney Speed, a cosmetologist and community leader. The essay, titled, “Days of their lives,” was published March 26.

The article focuses on Speed and her devotion to Turner Station, a neighborhood at the tip of Dundalk in Baltimore County where she has lived since the 1960s. King and Stefano describe Speed’s time working at a barbershop that her husband owned, and later opening the Thomas and Martha Allmond Economic Development Center which trains young people and adults with special needs to run a business. It also serves as an incubator for the Henrietta Lacks Museum.

King and Stefano write that Speed worries about the Turner Station community changing due to developers taking over the neighborhood: “Speed would love to see Turner Station remain the utopian community she recalls from its heyday,” the authors write.

You can read the full essay in City Paper here.

Kimberly Moffitt, American Studies, on The Marc Steiner Show

On Wednesday, March 12, The Marc Steiner Show hosted a national news roundup segment covering a wide range of topics, including discussion of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and the death of Jackson, Miss. Mayor Chokwe Lumumba.

Kimberly Moffitt, an assistant professor of American studies, was a guest on the national news roundup panel and weighed in on several topics over the course of the discussion, including news surrounding CPAC.

“There was this rallying around these exciting statements being made, but there wasn’t much depth to it,” Moffitt said. “I think it’s a regurgitation of the same old, same old, as it has been for a number of presidential terms and a number of years. That doesn’t situate itself with just this current administration.”

Other panelists in the discussion included John Nichols, Washington correspondent for The Nation and Richard Vatz, professor of rhetoric and communication at Towson University.

You can listen to the full national news roundup segment here.

Miya Masaoka Concert (3/6)

The American studies department is sponsoring a concert featuring experimental musician Miya Masaoka on Thursday, March 6. Masaoka will perform pieces using koto and lasers and will also perform a new piece titled “You’re in My Radar.” A short Q & A session will follow the concert.

Masaoka is a classically trained composer, musician and installation artist who resides in New York City. She has created works for the response of plants, the movement of insects, multi-channel sound installations, and she has designed responsive wearable computer textiles.

Miya Masaoka

Her lengthy list of accomplishments and achievements include the following: Her works have been performed by the Bang on a Can Allstars, So Percussion, VOLTI, the San Francisco Choral Society, Alonzo King, Joan Jenrenaud (formerly of the Kronos Quartet), Ensemble Either/Or, and the La Jolla Symphony. Her works have been presented at the Miller Theater (New York), the Venice Biennale (Italy), IRCAM (France), and the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. Masaoka has worked with Pharoah Sanders, Ornette Coleman, Henry Brant, Reggie Workman, Steve Coleman, Pauline Oliveros, Larry Ochs, Vijay Iyer, and Fred Frith. Toshiko Akiyoshi has written a piece for her, and she has been a special guest of the Berkeley Symphony. She is the recipient of the 2013 Doris Duke Award, the Alpert Award in the Arts, the Map Fund, the NEA, and the Asian Cultural Council’s Japan Fellowship Award. 

The concert takes place Thursday, March 6 at 8 p.m. in the Fine Arts Recital Hall and it is free and open to the public. American studies is sponsoring the event along with contributions from Music, Asian Studies, the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the Mosaic Center. For more information, contact american.studies@umbc.edu.

Nicole King and Michelle Stefano, American Studies, in City Paper

American Studies Assistant Professor Nicole King and Folklorist in Residence Michelle Stefano are starting a series of essays for the “City Folk” section of City Paper. They will be writing about interesting people they encounter during their travels around Baltimore.

The first essay in the series titled “Different Presence” was published on January 29. King and Stefano write about Robert Williams, who stands on the corner of Hollins Street and South Arlington Avenue and runs “New Day” gallery which houses a collection of African masks, sculptures and other collectibles. The essay looks at William’s motivation for running the gallery and examines his impact on the neighborhood and community. It also looks ahead to his future plans:

[Williams] is in the early stages of planning the African World Museum and Gallery, which would provide the space to delve deeper into the cultures and histories represented within his collection. While he currently lacks the funding, he certainly has the objects, the knowledge, and the trust of many in the community. He even has a space in mind: the old Steadman Station firehouse at East Read and North Calvert. With 14 years on the corner seeing the street life of Hollins Market, Williams is ready to come inside.

You can read the full essay in City Paper here.

“Hit & Stay” screening and Q&A with Joe Tropea ’06, History and ’08 M.A., Historical Studies (3/12)

UMBC’s history and American studies departments are sponsoring a screening of “Hit & Stay,” a documentary about the Catonsville Nine directed by Joe Tropea ’06, History and ’08 M.A., Historical Studies.

Hit & Stay

The documentary tells the story of nine Catholic activists who entered a Selective Service office in Catonsville on May 17, 1968 and burnt draft files to protest the Vietnam War. “Hit & Stay” features archived footage and activists telling their stories in their own words. Interviews include Bill Ayers, Daniel and Philip Berrigan, Noam Chomsky, Ramsey Clark, Laura Whitehorn, and Howard Zinn.

The film premiered locally last year at the Maryland Film Festival. For past coverage of the documentary, click here.

The screening takes place Wednesday, March 12 at 8 p.m. in Meyerhoff 030. Joe Tropea will attend the screening and host a Q&A. The event is free and open to the public.

Note: This event was previously scheduled for February 13.

Kimberly Moffitt, American Studies, on the Marc Steiner Show

Challenges facing adjunct professors were among topics of discussion on the  “Marc Steiner Show” on Wednesday, November 13.  Kimberly Moffitt, assistant professor of American Studies, joined other panelists in talking about many of the issues adjunct professors are dealing with, including low pay, little job security, and often no benefits.

The discussion covered a wide range of issues, including how many of the struggles adjunct professors face ultimately end up trickling down to the students they teach.

“For me, I’m always trying to think about the students for these types of issues, so when I think about what the future looks like, it feels like a great loss to our students in terms of great teachers,” Moffitt said.

Joining Moffitt in the discussion were Ericka Blount Danois, adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, Mark Chalkley, adjunct professor, Baltimore City Community College and Community College of Baltimore County and Mary Kambic, adjunct professor, Baltimore City Community College and Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC).

You can listen to the full segment on the “Marc Steiner Show” here.

American Studies Road Trip to Washington, DC (11/16)

The American Studies department is sponsoring a road trip to Washington, DC to tour the exhibit “Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963.” The exhibit is at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

The trip is Saturday, November 16th. Round-trip free transportation is provided. A bus will be leaving UMBC at 10am and will return by 3pm. Seating is limited.

RSVP: kbryan@umbc.edu

For more information about the exhibit, click here. The Africana Studies and History departments are also sponsoring the event.

David Levering Lewis to Present W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture (11/13)

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Levering Lewis is this year’s speaker for the W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture, “W.E.B. Du Bois Fifty Years after the March on Washington.” He is the author of eight books and editor of two more.

David Levering Lewis

Lewis is a Professor of History at New York University and his field is comparative history with special focus on twentieth-century United States social history and civil rights. He has won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography twice for part one and part two of his biography of W.E.B. Du Bois in 1994 and 2001 respectively.

The W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies, the Department of History, the Department of American Studies, the Language, Literacy and Culture Doctoral Program, the Honors College, the Dresher Center for the Humanities, the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery, and the Mosaic Center of the Office of Student Life.

The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. on November 13th in the University Center Ballroom.