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.

Jessica Berman, English, Elected Second Vice President of the Modernist Studies Association

Jessica Berman, Director of the Dresher Center for the Humanities and Professor of English, has been elected to be the Second Vice President of the Modernist Studies Association (MSA). She is set to take office in fall 2014, succeed to be First Vice President in fall 2015 and then become the President of the MSA for the 2016-17 year.

The MSA is a 1000-member organization in its 15th year of existence. It was begun to provide an interdisciplinary and international venue for research in what has since been called “the new modernist studies” – modernist studies that question the canon and works to break down disciplinary silos. The MSA hosts an annual conference and also sponsors the journal Modernism/Modernity, which has become the journal of record in the field. As an allied organization of the MLA, it also hosts an annual MLA conference panel and participates in other MLA organization initiatives. For more information on the MSA, click here.

Digital Quilt: A Conversation with Dr. Michelle Ferrier (5/14)

On Wednesday, May 14 at 11:30 a.m., Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Associate Dean for Innovation, Research/Creative Activity, and Graduate Studies for the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University, will take part in an informal conversation about the future of media and journalism.

Michelle Ferrier

In this conversation, the audience will brainstorm with Dr. Ferrier: What is the future of publishing? of journalism? of writing? What is the future of scholarship that has a journalistic component and a public history and heritage component? What is the
digital quilt? Who should publish this work or works like it? What does it mean to make journalism that matters? What is a media desert? How does that relate to her digital quilt? And, in all these questions, how can we help?

Ferrier is the founder and publisher of, a hyperlocal, niche online community for local food advocates. She is the chief instigator behind “Create or Die” media entrepreneurship startup events. Ferrier is active in research around the changing media ecosystem and curriculum change including media entrepreneurship, hyperlocal online news and the media deserts project that examines places where fresh news and information are lacking. She is the vice president for Journalism That Matters, an organization focused on bringing together diverse communities to re-imagine the news and information landscape.

The Digital Humanities Working Group event will be held at the Dresher Center for the Humanities conference room. The event and working group are sponsored by the Dresher Center.

For more information, contact Dr. Craig Saper, or Félix Burgos

Jessica Berman, English, Gives Keynote Address at the French Modernist Studies Association Inaugural Conference

keynote modernist communitiesOn Thursday, April 24, Jessica Berman gave the opening keynote address at the French Modernist Studies Association inaugural conference, held at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University, Paris 3. Berman, Director of the Dresher Center for the Humanities and Professor of English, presented, “Re-Routing Community: Radio, Colonial Voices, and Transnational Listening,” which explored the intersections and interactions among writers from India and the Caribbean, developing an alternative version of modernist community that is transnational, transmedial and often inter-linguistic.

The conference explored the notion of community in the modernist period, honoring Berman’s book, Modernist Fiction, Cosmopolitanism and the Politics of Community (2001) as a significant event in the scholarship of modernism and a point of departure for current work. As the conference organizers put it, “more than a decade after Jessica Berman’s landmark work on ‘the politics of community’ in modernist fiction, we seek to explore the various ways in which communities were configured across genres and artistic media, but also to acknowledge the grounds of their historical and cultural specificity. We hope that this will lead us to distinguish various versions of the communal, from the ideal to the empirical, from the utopian to the everyday, from consensus to dissensus.”


In her address, Berman argued that the development of radio in colonial spaces such as the British Caribbean and colonial India shows us new lines of literary influence as well as important correlations, linkages and waves of transmission that move not only from colony to metropole and back again, but also between and among colonies in an often overlooked, multidirectional way.

Humanities Forum: “Linda Dusman: Interiors: Identity in Music” (5/1)

Linda DusmanOn Thursday, May 1, UMBC Music Professor Linda Dusman presents the Humanities Forum, “Interiors: Identity in Music.” The event takes place in the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery from 4:00-5:30 p.m.

During her Liptiz Professorship, Linda Dusman’s research explored identity issues in her own music and the music of Eleanor Hovda, a 20th-century American composer recently added to Dusman’s Resound Press archive. The lecture will present her compositional process in the creation of two works, Lake and Thunder and Interiors, as well as general reflections on the exploration of identity in music by feminist composers.

The annual Lipitz Lecture is sponsored by the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the Dresher Center for the Humanities. Admission is free. For more information on the event, click here.

Humanities Forum: Corazon del Sol: Truth, Lies and the Construction of Reality: A Conversation about Book of Lies (4/16)

On Wednesday, April 16 at 6 p.m. in the Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery, Los Angeles-based artist and curator Corazon del Sol presents, “Truth, Lies and the Construction of Reality: A Conversation about Book of Lies.”

Book of Lies

Image: Tom Marioni, Pi Is a Lie, 2005.

In conjunction with the display of Book of Lies at the Library Gallery (more here), Corazon del Sol will discuss the exhibition, which was conceived of—but ultimately left unfinished—by her mother, conceptual artist Eugenia P. Butler. Del Sol will examine the lie as a human strategy for coping with life and how artists use the lie to explore our relationship with the truth.

Butler’s Book of Lies project began in 1991 and examined how other artists use “the lie to explore our relationship with the truth.” Known for her collaborations and interactions with other artists, Butler held three artist dinners where she asked her guests to consider the questions, “What is the lie with which I am most complicit?” and “What is the truth that most feeds my life?”

Admission is free. The event is sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities and is co-sponsored by the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery. For more information, click here.

Dresher Center Residential Fellowship Program for UMBC Graduate Students (App. Due 4/25)

The Dresher Center for the Humanities invites applications for two graduate student research fellowships. Funding is intended to support and promote promising research in the humanities among graduate students at UMBC. The fellowships are open to all UMBC doctoral and master’s level students working on a humanities-related research project that will culminate in a dissertation or thesis. Fellows will reside two days a week in a shared office in the Dresher Center during the fall semester 2014 and receive up to $1,000 to be used for research travel, materials, or other directly-related research expenses. During the fall semester, fellows will be expected to give a presentation as part of the “CURRENTS: Humanities Work Now” lunchtime series and attend other Humanities Forum and Dresher Center events and workshops. After the fall semester, fellows will submit a statement summarizing the work accomplished during the semester and their progress towards completion of the dissertation or thesis.

Application: Interested students should submit the following by April 25:
1. A cover sheet with your name, academic department, the name of your research advisor, and a short title for the research project.
2. No more than three double-spaced pages discussing the humanities focus and intellectual significance of the project, the methodology and your ability to undertake the project, and the part or stage of the project that will be supported by the fellowship.
3. Your current C.V. of no more than two single-spaced pages.
4. A letter of support from your research advisor.
5. A one-page description of the research that will be conducted during the semester.

Application materials should be submitted by email to Jessica Berman, Director, Dresher Center for the Humanities (, and cc’d to Natalia Panfile, Dresher Center Program Management Specialist (

For more information see the Dresher Center for the Humanities website.

Critical Social Justice Keynote with Jay Smooth (3/6)

In partnership with the Dresher Center for the Humanities and Africana Studies, Critical Social Justice presents the 2014 Daphne Harrison Lecture: “On Hip Hop, Race, and Politics: The Way We Talk About Things” with Jay Smooth.

Jay Smooth is the mastermind behind the hip hop and politically-oriented video blog “The Ill Doctrine,” where he serves up contemporary observation on topics of race, politics, music, and pop culture. A leading voice in the sociopolitical realm, Smooth gained national attention with his video “How To Tell Someone They Sound Racist” and his TEDx Talk “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race.” He entertains, challenges, and enlightens audiences with his funny, incisive perspective on music, politics, and culture, encouraging audiences to do their own critical thinking about the world, engage in conversations about cultural issues that matter, and find some common ground.

Jay Smooth’s keynote lecture will be held in the UC Ballroom on Thursday, March 6th at 7:30pm with a Q&A and reception to follow. For more information on this and other Critical Social Justice events, visit the CSJ site.

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.

Humanities Forum Panel Discussion Featured on “Marc Steiner Show”

A Humanities Forum panel discussion recorded at UMBC during the Spring semester was featured on the “Marc Steiner Show” on Tuesday, June 5. The topic was “Race and the Civil Rights Movement in Music and Media,” and the discussion featured Derek Musgrove, assistant professor of history; Michelle Scott, associate professor of history; Marc Steiner, host of the “Marc Steiner Show” and Daphne Harrison, emerita professor in Africana Studies and founder of the Dresher Center for the Humanities. The discussion was moderated by Kimberly Moffitt, assistant professor of American Studies.

The full discussion can be heard here. For more information about the Humanities Forum, visit the Dresher Center’s website; the fall 2013 Humanities Forum schedule will be announced soon.