Amy Bhatt Featured in PBS Seattle Documentary About the 1965 Immigration Act

Amy BhattIn a short documentary produced by KCTS, the PBS affiliate in Seattle, examining the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act and its impact on the Pacific Northwest and the rest of the country’s population, Amy Bhatt described the economic environment that early immigrants in the Northwest encountered.

“The Pacific Northwest has a very unique place in American history, because it did offer many of these early South Asians a way to both situate themselves and become economically productive very early on,” Bhatt said in the documentary. “Now, this was also a period in time when we saw a lot of restriction of immigration from Asia.”

Bhatt, an assistant professor of gender and women’s studies, also described the aftermath of the Immigration Act in the documentary: “There was a great deal of opposition to this act in 1965, and, in fact, when it was passed, Lyndon B. Johnson, in a very famous speech, says that this is a moment that we’re opening the doors but it’s not going to fundamentally change the fabric of American society. We know now that that was pretty radically wrong, and instead what we see is that the United States fundamentally does change as a result of this.”

Bhatt is author of Roots and Reflections: South Asians in the Pacific NorthwestRead more about her work on the gender and women’s studies website.

Bryce Peake Examines the Aural Dimensions of the Debate over the Confederate Flag in the United States

Bryce Peake, a new assistant professor of media and communication studies, recently published an ethnographic study he conducted with a colleague at Central Washington University on the September pro-Confederate flag rally in Washington, D.C. The article “Viral Landscapes in the Public Square: the Confederate Flag visits the U.S. Capitol,” was published on the Centre for Imaginative Ethnography’s website.

Bryce PeakeAs part of the study, Peake and his colleague Mark Auslander spent time interviewing participants on both sides of the protests and edited the audio interviews down to a five minute sequence of overlapping voices: “Reviewing the audio, we noted that it is often difficult to tease out which side is being represented in speeches or interviews, without access to the visual framing devices of flags and protest signs. For all their deep political divides, the competing participants share a deep distrust of the state, and are all profoundly critical of mainstream representations of American history,” they wrote.

Further analyzing the audio they collected, the authors noted that “the pro-Confederate demonstrators understand themselves as coming to the nation’s capital and its house of government to petition for redress. In contrast, the anti-flag forces aren’t framing things in national terms as such. For them, they are defending their city against outsiders. ‘Leave our city. Take that flag and run! Take your evil hatred and go home!'”

Peake hopes the audioscape will be a resource for classroom discussions about readings on political theory and democratic dialog. Peake specializes in international communication, research methodologies, gender politics, and science and technology studies. Read more about his work on the media and communication studies department website.

Thomas Schaller Reflects on John Boehner’s Tenure as House Speaker

Following John Boehner’s retirement announcement on September 25, Thomas Schaller, professor and chair of political science, wrote that the House Speaker’s time in office will be more defined by the political environment he inherited than some of the decisions he made while in office. Schaller’s column, “House of Shards,” was published in The American Prospect soon after Boehner’s announcement.

Tom Schaller“To appreciate Boehner’s fraught tenure, it’s important to recall the years preceding Boehner’s 2011 ascension,” Schaller wrote, before describing the Wall Street bailout vote in 2008 and the rise of the Tea Party movement in 2010.

“So it was that in January 2011 Boehner became the first Republican speaker in GOP history to lead without the benefit of a companion Senate Republican majority. By his second term as speaker, his caucus was comprised two-thirds of members elected in 2006 or later, with half of the caucus elected in 2010 and 2012 elections alone. Forget his barkeeper father’s Republican Party: This wasn’t even his own Republican Party,” Schaller added.

Schaller also mentioned that the 2011 debt ceiling negotiations and the 2013 government shutdown when Boehner was heavily involved should be taken into account when reflecting on his tenure as House Speaker, but they should be balanced with his successes, including helping to avert two recent government shutdowns.

“No matter how many deal-with-the-devil accommodations Boehner made with members of his unruly House coalition to hang onto power, remember the shining moments when he pushed back.”

Imagining America Receives Phi Beta Kappa Key of Excellence

On Thursday, October 1 during the Imagining America National Conference, the Phi Beta Kappa Society presented the capstone Key of Excellence Award and its $10,000 prize during a reception at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The ceremony featured remarks from Johnnetta Betsch Cole, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.

In a press release announcing the award, Imagining America stated that “The Phi Beta Kappa Society created the Key of Excellence Awards to energize support for the arts and sciences because of their value to the nation. ‘The Key of Excellence showcases innovative programs that demonstrate the excellence, range, and relevance of the arts and sciences to their communities,’ said Phi Beta Kappa President Katherine Soule. ‘We aim to show decision makers that the arts and sciences develop both inventive employees and thoughtful citizens. They are vital to a vibrant culture and democracy.’” Read more on the Imagining America website.

UMBC is hosting the Imagining America National Conference in Baltimore this week. MICA and Morgan State University are cosponsors of the event, in partnership with Towson University. Read more about UMBC’s role in Imagining America and why it was selected to host the conference.

Choice Program Youth in Action Artwork to be Displayed in Public Policy Building (10/5-10/7)

Choice Program artworkThe Choice Program at UMBC works with youth and families throughout Maryland providing them intensive advocacy and support. As a part of that work, the program created a movement called Youth in Action, where the youth served play a critical role in getting their voices out to the community and creating social change.

There will be art that will be displayed in the Public Policy Building lobby on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday October 5-7 that was created through the Youth in Action movement over the past summer. The Youth in Action movement was featured in an article in City Paper earlier this year.

Artwork displayed will include:
Living Memorial: a 64 square foot spray-painted red rose that encourages people to write their memories of loved ones lost onto its surface
YIA 2015 Collage: an 8 foot collage of work created by youth that represents what it is like to walk in other people’s shoes and experience their communities
Choice Man: a working of puzzle pieces created and designed by different Choice teams that serve communities throughout Maryland.

Humanities Forum: In Comis Veritas: The Principles of Ancient Roman Hairdress (10/14)

Roman Hairdress Humanites ForumHumanities Forum, Ancient Studies Week
Janet Stephens, independent scholar and hairstylist
Wednesday, October 14 | 4 pm
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery 

Through her groundbreaking research, professional hairdresser and self-trained experimental archaeologist Janet Stephens rediscovered the methods used to recreate ancient Roman hairstyles using only natural hair rather than wigs, as was previously believed to have been worn. In this lecture and demonstration she will explain the universal rules governing hair behavior so that you too may recognize the truth in any hairstyle, ancient Roman or modern.

Janet Stephens is a professional hairdresser in Baltimore Maryland. She is a self-trained experimental archaeologist specializing in the technical recreation of ancient Mediterranean hairstyles. Her groundbreaking 2008 article, “Ancient Roman hairdressing: on (hair) pins and needles” was published in the prestigious Journal of Roman Archaeology. She presents her work internationally at museums, universities and archaeological conferences. Her work has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, NPR, the BBC, and she has created dozens of historical hairdressing tutorials for her popular YouTube channel. She holds a B.A. in Dramatic Arts from Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington.

Sponsored by the Ancient Studies Department and the Dresher Center for the Humanities.

Times Higher Education recognizes UMBC as a top world university in 2015-16 rankings

Times Higher Education (THE) has named UMBC one of world’s top universities for the fourth consecutive year.

THE World University Rankings “judge world class universities across all of their core missions—teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook,” utilizing metrics in 13 categories.

THE World University RankingsThe 2015-16 list of top 800 global universities includes 147 in the United States and highlights three in Maryland: UMBC, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Maryland, College Park. Universities in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland were also well represented in the 2015-16 list.

In addition to the World University Rankings, UMBC has appeared in Times Higher Education‘s “100 Under 50” ranking for four consecutive years — one of seven U.S. universities to be recognized this year.

THE’s “100 Under 50” ranks the top 100 universities worldwide under 50 years old. Editor Phil Baty has noted that universities on the list “are a truly exciting and dynamic group of institutions which should serve as a lesson to the rest of the world – that the traditional global world order is not unassailable and visionary young universities can break through.”