CURRENTS: Kevin Wisniewski, LLC and Lisa Vetter, Political Science (11/3)

The Dresher Center for the Humanities is hosting a CURRENTS: Humanities Work Now talk on Monday, November 3 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. in the Performing Arts and Humanities Building, Room 216 (Dresher Center Conference Room). Lunch will be available from 11:30; the presentation starts at noon in the Dresher Center conference room, PAHB 216. Information on the two talks can be found below. The event is open to faculty.

The Hopkinson Hoax of 1763
Kevin Wisniewski, Ph.D. student, Language Literacy and Culture
Fall 2014 Dresher Center Graduate Residential Fellow
As a literary device, the hoax is a slippery term. A popular maneuver among British writers like Jonathan Swift, Samuel Richardson, Daniel Defoe and Benjamin Franklin, hoaxes were used to mislead and mystify readers and to disrupt bureaucratic systems. They inspired a number of young writers growing up in the era leading up to the American Revolution. Before signing the Declaration of Independence, designing the American flag, and penning dozens of wartime propaganda including the famous “Battle of the Kegs,” Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791) was a poet and composer. Scholars consider one of his earliest published poems “Science,” the first pirated work in the American colonies. But what if the highly publicized quarrels following these pirated copies were part of an elaborate marketing scheme for not one but three separate Hopkinson titles?
An American Enlightenment: Political Theory and the Origins of American Feminism
Lisa Vetter, Assistant Professor, Political Science
I am currently working on a book project that makes the case that several pivotal figures in the 19th century American women’s rights movement deserve to be incorporated into the received narrative of American political thought. I argue that a more inclusive approach is necessary to fully appreciate the richness and diversity of the history of American political theory. The book focuses on several female writers and activists who are not typically considered political theorists, including Frances Wright, Harriet Martineau, Sarah and Angelina Grimke, Lucretia Mott, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. I show that these women were engaging in many of the same theoretical debates as their mainstream male counterparts and on many different levels. Equally important, these women often innovated on and broadened traditional theoretical teachings to better accommodate women and the disenfranchised. For my talk, I will give an overview of the major arguments made in the book and discuss the challenges I have encountered in performing interdisciplinary research, broadening a male-dominated “canon” of political theory, and adapting scholarly work to a broader audience.

New Faculty Micro-Talks (10/29)

The Dresher Center and the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences will present an afternoon of short talks with eight tenure-stream faculty hired in the last two years. Meet these faculty members and learn about their research. A reception will follow. The event will take place on Wednesday, October 29th, from 4:00-6:00 P.M. in the Albin O. Kuhn Library, 7th floor.

Speakers include: Dena Aufseeser, Geography and Environmental Systems; Scott Casper, History and Dean, CAHSS; Lauren Hamilton Edwards, Public Policy; Felipe Filomeno, Political Science and Global Studies; Cedric Herring, Language, Literacy, and Culture; Viviana MacManus, Gender and Women’s Studies; Corrie Parks, Visual Arts; and Whitney Schwab, Philosophy.

Humanities Forum: Children of Rus': Ukraine and the Invention of a Russian Nation (10/2)

On Thursday, October 2 at 4 p.m., Faith Hillis, an assistant professor of Russian history at the University of Chicago, will present the Humanities Forum and Webb Lecture, “Children of Rus': Ukraine and the Invention of a Russian Nation. The event will take place in the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery.

Webb LectureDuring the recent crisis in Ukraine, Russian national interests in Ukraine became front-page news. In this talk, Prof. Hillis places the struggle for control of Ukraine in a broader historical context. The nineteenth century saw a powerful and transformative Russian nationalist movement sweep across what is today central Ukraine. Claiming to restore the ancient customs of the East Slavs, the region’s Russian nationalists sought to empower local Orthodox residents and to diminish the influence of non-Orthodox minorities. By about 1910, Russian nationalism had become the preeminent political force in central Ukraine, dwarfing the influence of rival national movements; indeed, the region boasted the most politically successful Russian nationalist movement in the entire tsarist empire.

Reconstructing how and why Russian nationalism took hold on the empire’s southwestern periphery, Prof. Hillis puts forth a bold new interpretation of the relationship between state and society and between center and periphery under tsarism. By examining how intellectual developments in the nineteenth century created the architecture for the horrific violence of the twentieth, this discussion reflects on the causes of and offers potential solutions for the current crisis in Ukraine.

The event is sponsored by the History Department and by the Dresher Center for the Humanities. For more information, click here.

Maryland Humanities Council One Maryland One Book Program Comes to UMBC (9/30)

On September 30th, the Dresher Center for the Humanities and the Maryland Humanities Council (MHC) welcomes Reyna Grande, an extraordinary author of the modern Latin American immigrant experience, to UMBC.

Reyna Grande is the author of The Distance Between Us: A Memoir, the MHC’s One Maryland One Book selection for 2014. In The Distance Between Us, hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “the Angela’s Ashes of the modern Mexican immigrant experience,” Grande poignantly shares her life before and after entering the United States as an undocumented immigrant.

On September 30th at 11 a.m. in the University Center Ballroom, the Dresher Center and MHC will host Ms. Grande in a special event for 300 Baltimore City high school students and selected guests. Scott Casper, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, will provide welcoming remarks. Dr. Gregory Thornton, CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, and Phoebe Stein, Executive Director of the Maryland Humanities Council, will also attend the event. Over the past six years, the One Maryland One Book partnership has given thousands of Baltimore City students the opportunity to participate in rich and meaningful discussions about literature. “Having the author book talk on a college campus is an added bonus, since it exposes our students to one of the many college options that exist in their own backyard,” says Amy Rosenkrans, Director of Humanities for Baltimore City Public Schools.

The One Maryland One Book program is a statewide community reading program designed to bring together diverse people in communities across the state through the shared experience of reading the same book. For more information: visit www.onemarylandonebook.org.

Humanities Forum: Mark Tribe: Art is a Three Letter Word (9/18)

Photo credit Collier Schorr

Photo credit Collier Schorr

On Thursday, September 18 at 5:30 p.m. on the 7th floor of the Albin O. Kuhn Library, artist Mark Tribe will present the Humanities Forum, “Art is a Three Letter Word.” The forum is part of the Dresher Center’s Digital Humanities Initiative.

Mark Tribe’s work explores the intersection of media technology and politics. His photographs, installations, videos, and performances are exhibited widely, including solo projects at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Momenta Art in New York, the San Diego Museum of Art, and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. He is the author of two books, The Port Huron Project: Reenactments of New Left Protest Speeches and New Media Art and numerous articles. Tribe is Chair of the MFA Fine Arts Department at School of Visual Arts in New York City. In 1996, he founded Rhizome, an organization that supports the creation, presentation, preservation, and critique of emerging artistic practices that engage technology.

The event is sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities, the Visual Arts Department, and the Center for Innovation, Research, and Creativity in the Arts. For more information, click here.

Faculty Book Publication Workshop (10/3)

The Dresher Center for the Humanities and the ADVANCE Program will present a Faculty Book Publication Workshop on October 3, 2014, noon-2pm.

Meet with editors from three academic presses (University of Massachusetts, Columbia University, and Routledge) to learn about their book publication programs and hear their suggestions for faculty authors. Time will be provided for small-group discussion.

Space is limited; priority is given to CAHSS faculty. RSVP by 9/15/14

For more information, email dreshercenter@umbc.edu.

Video: Shakespeare Sonnets Recited in More Than 30 Languages at UMBC

On April 23, 2014, UMBC students, faculty and staff recited Shakespeare sonnets in more than 30 languages. The event was held to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday and UMBC’s diverse voices. It took place at the end of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day (URCAD), and it was sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities, the Office of Undergraduate Education and the English and Theatre Departments. The above video is a sample of some of the readings.