Michelle Stefano, American Studies, in City Paper

In a recent article published in the “City Folk” section of City Paper, Michelle Stefano, visiting assistant professor of American studies, wrote about Henry Reisinger, the longtime owner of E.M. Fenwick’s Choice Meats in Baltimore’s Cross Street Market.

Michelle StefanoStefano’s profile of Reisinger traces the history of the business and the hard work Reisinger has put into it for four decades. It also provides a glimpse into how the market business has changed in recent years.

“Reisinger tells of the old days, when there were six or seven meat vendors at the market. Now, there remains only Fenwick’s and his competition, Nunnally Bros., just down the path. ‘Unfortunately, we have a lot of empty businesses now,’ he laments, crediting the vacant stalls to the introduction of fast food in the 1980s, and the fact that ‘droves’ of workers from places like the shipyards off Key Highway are a lunchtime dream of the past. Camden Yards was full of businesses with employees patronizing the market—’now? It’s two stadiums,’ he says.”

To read more about Henry Reisinger in Stefano’s article titled “Henry Reisinger of E.M. Fenwick’s Choice Meats carves out a good life at Cross Street Market,” click here.

Kimberly Moffitt, American Studies, on The Marc Steiner Show

WEAA’s The Marc Steiner Show hosted a panel discussion on February 9 on charter schools vs. traditional public schools, school closings, school funding, and the future of education.

Kimberly Moffitt

Kimberly Moffitt, an associate professor of American studies and a founding parent at the Baltimore Collegiate School For Boys, discussed her views on charter schools and the reason she decided to help found the Baltimore Collegiate School For Boys.

“Even as I’m someone who is at the table creating a charter school, I’m very cognizant of charter schools are not the panacea,” Moffitt said. “It was more about a mission that was very much tied to the academic research that I do that looks at what we have done in this country for young black males and the need to really focus educational opportunities for them in environments that help them thrive.”

Other panelists in the discussion included Jessica T. Shiller, professor of urban education at Towson University, Roni Ellington, associate professor of mathematics education at Morgan State University, and Bobbi Macdonald, executive director of the City Neighbors Foundation.

To listen to the full segment, click here.

Kimberly Moffitt, American Studies, on The Marc Steiner Show

Kimberly Moffitt, an Associate Professor of American Studies, appeared on twice on WEAA’s The Marc Steiner Show earlier this month to discuss race and representation in film and advertising.

Kimberly Moffitt

On January 8, Moffitt participated in an engaging discussion about the recent films Annie, Exodus, and Top Five, and her personal experience viewing the film Annie with her daughter: “This is a film that really resonates with her, and I think it has a lot to do with us listening to our children that they want to see themselves reflected in society and here is a perfect opportunity for that to happen.”

Moffitt participated in the discussion along with Ray Winbush, Director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University. To listen to the full segment, click here.

On January 16, Moffitt participated in a discussion on race and representation in Selma, the Golden Globes, and other topics with Kalima Young, Director of the Baltimore Art + Justice Project.

The segment began with a discussion on Ava DuVernay, the director of Selma: “I appreciate her voice and I’m happy that she’s at the table making a stance and telling stories through her lens because it’s not a lens or a set of eyes that we often get to see films through,” Moffitt said. To listen to the full segment, click here.

UMBC Humanities Faculty Discuss Serial in The Guardian

Serial, a spin-off show from NPR’s “This American Life,” is a podcast in which reporter Sarah Koenig reinvestigates the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, a Baltimore County high school student. In the series, Koenig, a former Baltimore Sun staff writer, conducts numerous interviews and delves deeply into figuring out what led to the conviction of Adnan Syed, Hae’s ex-boyfriend, for her murder. An article published December 8 in The Guardian looks into why the podcast has drawn so much interest.

Nicole King

Nicole King

Nicole King, an associate professor of American studies, is quoted in the article and comments on the narrative style of the podcast when looking at it in the context of Baltimore.

“People are so caught up with ‘whodunnit’,” she tells [Nicky Woolf, the article’s writer]. “The Hollywood ending.” For people here, she says, there will need to be some sort of a payoff – a denouement – which real life rarely, if ever, provides.

Steph Ceraso

Steph Ceraso

In addition, Steph Ceraso, an assistant professor of English, and Tanya Olson, a lecturer of English, are both referenced in the article as having started to use the podcast as a teaching tool in the classroom.

Tanya Olson

Tanya Olson

“The podcast raises all kinds of interesting questions about storytelling, memory, ethics and the research process,” Ceraso said. She discovered that some students in her class knew the families involved in the case and it sparked a heated discussion about ethics and storytelling.

To read the complete article “In Baltimore, Serial’s murder mystery is not just a whodunnit-it’s real life,” click here.

Bill Shewbridge, Media and Communication Studies, and Michelle Stefano, American Studies, to Present “Mill Stories” at SVA Film Festival

UMBC professors Bill Shewbridge (Media and Communication Studies) and Michelle Stefano (American Studies) are screening their film Mill Stories at the Society for Visual Anthropology (SVA) film festival. The screening will take place at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, December 6 at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C. Below is a description of the film from the SVA Film Festival website:

46-Mill-Stories-640x425

Recently closed, the Sparrows Point Steel Mill in Baltimore, Maryland helped to shape the lives of hundreds of thousands of steelworkers and associated personnel for over 125 years. Mill Stories: Remembering Sparrows Point presents a collection of personal stories based on ethnographic interviews collected at the time on the mill’s final closing. The film seeks to amplify the voices of former workers as a means of helping to safeguard and promote the living heritage of the recently closed mill and its surrounding areas.

To read more about the Mill Stories project, click here. For more information on the SVA film festival, click here.

Clifford Murphy, American Studies, in the Washington Post

In a recent article published in The Conversation and The Washington Post, American Studies Lecturer Clifford Murphy wrote about his research documenting New England’s country music history and traditions in order to understand how the region once home to a robust country music culture merely sixty years ago now has a much different country music scene.

Yankee Twang

“In short, the arrival of television compromised the profit margins of radio, replacing live musicians with disc jockeys. Meanwhile, the country music industry consolidated in Nashville, where country format radio was born,” Murphy wrote. He discussed the culture shift away from “the people” to more centralized commercial broadcasts and how the concept has extended into other spheres of regional American life.

Murphy, who is Program Director of Folk & Traditional Arts at the Maryland State Arts Council, turned his research into a new book titled Yankee Twang, which was published this month by University of Illinois Press. For more information, click here. To read Murphy’s full article titled “Country pop is having a moment in the Northeast. But its soaring popularity is threatening to kill regional music,” click here.

Kimberly Moffitt, American Studies, on The Marc Steiner Show

On October 8,  WEAA’s The Marc Steiner Show hosted a segment discussing the challenges, complexities and joys of raising and educating boys. Kimberly Moffitt, an associate professor of American studies, was a guest on the program and discussed her experience as a founding parent and trustee of Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys – a charter school opening in Baltimore City next year to serve boys in grades 4 through 12.

In a discussion about improving high school graduation rates among boys, Moffitt said: “This is a movement that is happening from the ground up.” Adding, “it’s about folks in the community who recognize something that’s happening with our children and want to do something about it instead of waiting for someone else within the federal government, or higher ups, or individuals who have their philanthropic ability to contribute. This is now very much about folks who are part of the community who see something real that needs to change because this is an epidemic for our boys and we want to see a shift in change.”

Moffitt appeared on the program with Jack Pannell, founder of Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys, and David Banks, President and CEO of the Eagle Academy Foundation and founding principal of the Eagle Academy for Young Men in the Bronx. To listen to the full segment, click here.

Moffitt also recently returned from Vienna, Austria where she gave two presentations based on her research. The University of Vienna and the American Embassy hosted “Transgressive Television: Politics, Crime, and Citizenship in 21st Century American TV Series,” where Moffitt gave a presentation on “Black Motherhood as Victimhood in The Wire.” Also, at the University of Graz (Austria), Department of American Studies “When I Talk about American Studies, I Talk about… Lecture,” Moffitt presented a talk entitled, “(In)visibility in Black and White: The Case of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog.”