Bambi Chapin, an associate professor of sociology and anthropology, is the author of a compelling new book which offers a global perspective on the transmission of culture and childhood development. The book, Childhood in a Sri Lankan Village: Shaping Hierarchy and Desire, describes the results of Chapin’s anthropological research done while living for nearly two years in a central Sri Lankan village observing and studying how mothers were raising their children.
Chapin was interviewed on WYPR’s Maryland Morning about her new book and what she set out to discover: “How is it that people become the culturally shaped people we become? What happens in how we’re raised, in the experiences that we have that make us want to be in the relationships that we want to be in?” Chapin said. “How does culture get transmitted?”
Discussing her research further, Chapin said, “I really became interested in the subtle, every day kinds of interactions that produce such surprising results. I then tried to unpack that and use it as an example to call into question some of our assumptions of how children are and how they learn.”
“The people I knew in Sri Lanka thought that maturity was demonstrated by knowing when to hold your tongue, knowing who was wiser than you, who would make a better decision, and by choosing to go along with that,” she added.
To listen to interview in its entirety that aired July 9, click here.
An article published July 8 in Politico Magazine discusses recent election strategies used by Democrats in Southern states. Thomas Schaller, a political science professor and author of Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South, was interviewed for the article and offered analysis on how Democratic candidates in recent presidential elections have built coalitions of support in the South.
“When you look at the last two Democratic presidents, both of them won non-Southern Electoral College majorities,” Schaller said. “They both had 270 votes outside the South. Their coalitions were a little different in terms of Southern support. Clinton got more ‘bubba’ support in Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida and Georgia. Obama didn’t win any of those states except for Florida but he won Virginia twice and North Carolina once.”
Schaller added that even with President Obama’s wins in the South, “those states have very high, among the three or four highest, populations of non-Southern people … Democrats are winning in the South but not with native Southerners.”
Schaller also published an op-ed in The Baltimore Sun on July 8 about the dramatic shift in corporate taxation in recent decades. You can read both articles by clicking on the links below.
Do Democrats Need a Bubba Strategy? (Politico Magazine)
Not Taxing U.S. Corporations Gives a Pass to Foreigners (Baltimore Sun)
Psychology Professor Robert Provine appeared in the July 2014 edition of Real Simple magazine in an article about the evolution and science of laughter. The magazine published a lengthy article in the print edition and also posted a version of the article on its website.
In the print version, Provine said that more research is needed, but it’s probable that those who laugh easily and often are happier than those who don’t. Laughter is “the sound of play,” he said. “So our brain automatically associates it with carefree interactions with friends, family and lovers.”
The article also cites one of Provine’s earliest research experiments in which he found that just listening to recorded laughter can often evoke fits of giggles. According to his research, you’re 30 times more likely to laugh when someone else is around than when you’re by yourself. “It’s highly contagious,” he said.
To read the online version of the article titled, “13 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Laughing,” click here.
Christopher Corbett, professor of the practice in the English Department, spoke June 25 at the Western Writers of America annual convention on the story of the Pony Express. Western Writers of America, Inc. was founded in 1953 to promote the literature of the American West and currently has more than 650 members including historians, fiction and nonfiction authors, and authors interested in regional history, among other genres.
Corbett is the author of Orphans Preferred: The Twisted Truth and Lasting Legend of the Pony Express and The Poker Bride: The First Chinese in the Wild West. This year’s Western Writers of America convention was held in Sacramento, California from June 24-28.
Does it make sense to host the 2024 Summer Olympics in Washington, D.C.? Economics Professor Dennis Coates recently shared his thoughts on this question on WAMU’s Metro Connection. The U.S. Olympic Committee has confirmed Washington, D.C. as a finalist to host the Olympics along with San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston.
Coates shared insight on whether the financial investment in hosting the Olympics in D.C. would be worth the return. “By and large most of the cities that hosted saw a decline relative to what would have happened had they not hosted the event,” he said. And the primary reason, he believes, is the crowds.
“People respond to the possibility of crowds, if they’re locals, by saying one of two things. One is ‘I’m getting out of Dodge,’ which means there is a lot of flight so normal expenditures don’t occur. The other is ‘I am not leaving my house,’” Coates said.
Coates also addressed the argument that hosting the Olympics can lead to investment and improvements in infrastructure. “If you need the infrastructure, build the infrastructure,” he said. “You don’t need to throw a party for the world to justify spending the money to redo highways, pave some roads, work on the subway system or whatever. It’s well justified if it’s worth doing; it doesn’t need a party to justify it.”
To listen to the full, six-minute interview with Coates that aired on Metro Connection, click here.
A recently published study involving researchers from UMBC’s Center for Aging Studies found that assisted living facilities and nursing homes should evaluate certain processes and features that can often lead residents to feel stigmatized.
Center for Aging Studies researchers Erin Roth, Susan Goldman, Amanda Peeples and Brandy Wallace conducted the study along with researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of South Florida, Tampa. Their findings were recently published in The Gerontologist.
A June 27th article published in McKnight’s, a news magazine for long-term care providers, highlighted the research findings and their impact on decision making at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Below is an excerpt from the article:
“The findings were based on a total of about 250 interviews with residents, staff and family members of five senior living communities. Four had both assisted living and skilled nursing settings, and transitions between these settings is another trouble area identified by the investigators.”
“Whether individuals are drawn to a multilevel setting because it allows for transitional care without moving to a new campus, or in response to the less intense level of care (without giving thought to the other levels), the reality is that transitions within multilevel settings are more challenging than most anticipate,” the authors wrote.
To read the article in McKnight’s, click here. You can read the study published in The Gerontologist by clicking here.
On Monday, June 30, WEAA’s The Marc Steiner Show hosted a segment focusing on LGBTQ politics after the Stonewall riots in 1969. Forty-five years after New York City police conducted a raid against the gay and lesbian community at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village which sparked a riot, the panelists reflected on how the political landscape has changed.
Kate Drabinski, lecturer of gender and women’s studies and director of the Women Involved in Learning and Leadership (WILL) program participated in the discussion and said it’s also important to remember the influence events before Stonewall had on LGBTQ politics.
“Stonewall has been memorialized as the beginning of a movement, but in a lot of ways that movement has lost some of the original politics of the people who were there,” Drabinski said. “I think it’s important to mark were we’ve come, but also what we lose when we isolate Stonewall as the moment when everything happened.”
Other panelists in the discussion included Vann Michael, Black Transmen Inc. Maryland/DC Chapter representative, Imara Jones, economic justice contributor for Colorlines.com and Sharon Brackett, Board Chair of Gender Rights Maryland. You can listen to the full segment here.
Throughout Maryland’s primary election night on June 24, Public Policy Professor and Chair Donald Norris provided analysis on WJZ 13 for several key races, including the race for governor and attorney general. After the governor’s race was set, Norris offered his take on how Democrat Anthony Brown and Republican Larry Hogan will proceed in the months ahead before Election Day in November.
“I think these guys are going to go after each other tooth and toenail, quite frankly. It’s a Republican establishment candidate who has positioned himself as a moderate to draw off Democratic votes,” Norris said. ”Brown is, of course, the Democrat established candidate. I think it’s going to be all odds favoring the Democrat because the state is so Democratic, so deep blue.”
Norris was quoted in The Daily Record and The Baltimore Sun providing post-election analysis, and also was quoted in a Baltimore Sun article on July 1 about Governor O’Malley’s intervention in the Johns Hopkins Hospital labor dispute. The article can be found here.
A new National Geographic video examines what laughter can do for human health. Psychology Professor Robert Provine appears in the video and provides insight on the origins of laughter, saying it begins at three to four months of age and is one of the most important forms of early communication between babies and mothers.
“It’s a kind of instinctive language that exists before we learn to talk. Laughter, like speech, evolved to change the behavior of other individuals,” Provine said.
“Does [laughter] have to have other purposes? It probably does, but we’re just now starting to tease out what those differences are,” he added. “Did the benefits of laughter come from the act of laughing or is it the social context, spending time with friends, family, and lovers? All of these are very difficult scientific issues that haven’t been teased out. But laughter clearly feels good when we do it. Isn’t that enough?”
You can find the video on National Geographic’s website here.
WEAA’s The Marc Steiner Show is hosting a series on transportation in Baltimore, and on June 19, the program aired a segment on cycling in the city. As part of the discussion, Kate Drabinski, lecturer of gender and women’s studies and director of the Women Involved in Learning and Leadership (WILL) program, and Greg Cantori ’84, geography, shared their thoughts on how cycling has evolved in recent years in Baltimore and how it has played out in the community.
“When you’re biking, the roads are just part of your world,” Drabinski said. “In order to bike safely, you have to pay close attention to where you are going, what the street looks like, what the sidewalk looks like and who is around you. What that means is you’re embedded in the community in a totally different way than when you’re stuck inside your own metal box called a car.”
Cantori, who is president and CEO of Maryland Nonprofits and former president of One Less Car/Bike Maryland, said cycling is beginning to become more normalized around Baltimore.
“The fact is that the more of us that do [cycling] and that just try it a little bit, when we become drivers again, we then have a better understanding and appreciation of the other cyclists,” Cantori said.
To listen to the full segment on The Marc Steiner Show, click here.