Jessica Berman presents research at prominent international symposium in Sweden

Jessica BermanAt a recent symposium held at Uppsala University, Sweden featuring prominent international modernist research, Jessica Berman, director of the Dresher Center for the Humanities and professor of English, presented an invited lecture about her research on transnational movements of people in the development of twentieth century media, with a focus on global radio.

Berman’s talk “Radio Relations and Transnational Listening” examined listening in the early days of radio in India. She argued that the diverse nature of the radio environment that used several languages, particularly in programs sent out over the All India Radio airwaves, helped to create a community among the listeners that resisted the directed messages coming to them from the center of the British Empire.

The talk was part of a symposium with the theme “Intimate Modernism.” The event forms part of a collaboration between the Department of English, Uppsala University, and the School of Critical Studies at the University of Glasgow. For more information about the symposium and other scholars who presented, visit Uppsala University’s English department website. Read more about Jessica Berman’s research.

George Derek Musgrove’s research on gentrification in the nation’s capital featured in the Washington Post

musgroveIn advance of the annual Conference on D.C. Historical Studies, the Washington Post highlighted research by George Derek Musgrove ’97, history, associate professor of history, that identifies four distinct waves of gentrification in Washington, D.C. and reflects residents’ viewpoints of how it has impacted the city.

At the D.C. historical studies conference, Musgrove presented a talk with his colleague Chris Myers Asch at the University of the District of Columbia titled “We Are Headed for Some Bad Trouble: Gentrification and Displacement in Washington, D.C., 1920-2014.” Musgrove and Asch were part of a panel discussion to assess how historical patterns of race- and class-based inequality shape today’s urban landscape in Washington.

The talk was previewed in the Washington Post by columnist John Kelly. In his research, Musgrove identified the first wave of gentrification in 1920s Georgetown: “[Musgrove] said that when gentrification later moved across other neighborhoods, people would say they didn’t want them to end up ‘like Georgetown,’ which was seen as exclusive — and nearly exclusively white.

Poorer white residents moving out of neighborhoods such as Anacostia had ample housing options. But blacks were constrained by segregation and restrictive covenants. Policies such as rent control have allowed some neighborhoods, such as Adams Morgan, to remain diverse,” Musgrove said in the article.

“Our purpose in writing this was to give people an idea of how old gentrification is in the city and, in the process, to give people an idea of why older residents in particular react to it in the way that they do,” he added.

Last year, Musgrove was interviewed by WAMU’s Metro Connection program about his gentrification research.

UMBC education department, CADVC partner with Arbutus Middle School for environmental art outreach project

CADVC-ED event1

Photo courtesy Parastoo Aslanbeik, IMDA graduate student

As part of an ongoing partnership with professional development schools, UMBC’s education department and Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture (CADVC) hosted Arbutus Middle School students and teachers on campus October 26 and Nov 2 to learn about environmental art and artists.

During the program, students participated in an instructional session about artists Andy Goldsworthy and Scott Wade, learned about the elements of art, and defined terms such as ephemeral art and reverse graffiti, among other topic areas in environmental art.

Students then learned about the process of creating nature journals, walked over to the Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park, and after completing outdoor observation work, they worked on sketching and journaling activities. The students’ completed art projects will be featured in an exhibition on campus.

“This experience is about more than art,” explains Barbara Bourne, clinical instructor and director of elementary education and arts coordinator in the education department. “In addition to the hands-on activities and the follow-up gallery show, students take their first steps onto a college campus. It’s especially rewarding to watch as they proudly share this campus experience with their parents and siblings, many of whom are visiting a university for the first time themselves.”

“It is important for CADVC’s Educational Outreach Program to partner with professional development schools such as AMS because it allows us to make our gallery exhibitions accessible to K-12 groups and the families of those students. This is our mandate as we are a community art institution as well a gallery for the campus, and we receive Maryland State Arts Council grant funding for this purpose,” shares Sandra Abbott, curator of collections and outreach for the CADVC.

Beginning November 12, the student artwork will be displayed as part of an exhibit titled “Natural Connections: Linking Art and Nature,” UMBC’s K-12 Educational Outreach Exhibition, Fall 2015. The exhibit runs until December 17 and is open to the public in the hall gallery on the first floor of the Fine Arts Building.

Kimberly Moffitt analyzes Republican presidential debate, discusses the impact of social media on student activism

Following the November 10 Republican presidential debate on Fox Business Network, Kimberly Moffitt, an associate professor of American studies, was a guest on the Baltimore Sun’s “Roughly Speaking” podcast to provide reaction and analysis. Other guests on the podcast hosted by Dan Rodricks included Melissa Deckman, chair and professor of political science at Washington College, and Peter Jensen from the Baltimore Sun editorial board.

The segment covered a range of topics, including how candidates received more equal air time than prior debates and were given a chance to cover differences in several significant policy issues.

“There has been so much attention drawn to the two front runners that often times it appeared that Trump and Carson were receiving a lot more air time,” Moffitt observed. “In this particular debate, it seemed that there was a cross section of being able to hear the different voices and also to hear about those divides in terms of immigration, higher education, and whole notion of the family…those pieces I had not heard before, and it was simply because we had the opportunity to hear from so many of the candidates.”

Listen to the complete “Roughly Speaking” podcast on The Baltimore Sun website.

Also this past week, Moffitt joined ABC 2 Baltimore on November 12 for a segment on the role of social media in college protests. She discussed how social media can promote both positive and negative outcomes.

“What we see social media doing is helping to advance student activism and movements across the country, but it also has its negative side affects, especially what we see with people responding to these student activists,” explained Moffitt.

Watch the full segment on ABC 2’s “In Focus” program.

WEAA’s Marc Steiner Show broadcasts UMBC Critical Social Justice Week keynote panel

The Marc Steiner Show aired a special two-hour broadcast November 2 that was a recording of UMBC’s Critical Social Justice Week keynote panel “Baltimore in Action: Always Rising.” Marc Steiner moderated the panel which featured several prominent social justice activists and leaders from across Baltimore to discuss a range of issues currently impacting the city. Topics discussed included the city’s rich history of social justice and activism and the power of community organizing in addressing challenges.

Guests on the panel included  Rev. Dr. Heber Brown, III, pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church and executive director of Orita’s Cross Freedom School; Dr. Marisela B. Gomez, physician, community activist and author of Race, Class, Power, and Organizing in East Baltimore: Rebuilding Abandoned Communities in America; Tawanda Jones, activist and sister of Tyrone West, who was killed by Baltimore police in July 2013; Jacqueline Robarge, founder and director of Power Inside, a project of Fusion Partnerships; and Kwame Rose, social activist and hip-hop artist.

Critical Social Justice: Baltimore 365 was held October 19-23 at UMBC. The initiative was coordinated by the Women’s Center with Student Life’s Mosaic: Center for Culture and Diversity. Critical Social Justice Week aims to explore social justice in both theory and practice from academic, activist, and artistic perspectives. This year’s event explored ways to cultivate deep and lasting commitments to Baltimore City.

Humanities Forum: Freedom Marooned: An Atlantic Slave Rebellion in the Dutch Caribbean (12/2)

Marjoleine KarsHumanities Forum
Marjoleine Kars, Dresher Center fellow, chair and associate professor of history, UMBC
Wednesday, December 2 | 4 pm
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery 

In 1763-1764, five thousand slaves in the Dutch colony of Berbice in South America rebelled. The extraordinary judicial records of the uprising allow for an examination of the internal dynamics of rebellion. Mapping the politics among the enslaved, rather than merely their interactions with European colonists, shines a light on the many Afro-Berbicians who, eager to remain both master-less and alive, struggled to dodge all combatants, whether Dutch and their Amerindian allies, or rebels. Their inventive coping strategies, not commonly examined in slave rebellions, suggest that historians’ usual binaries of freedom and slavery, or “rebellious” and “loyal,” simplify complex dynamics. The Berbice rebellion clues us in to the existence of alternative, and competing, notions of what life beyond European slavery might look like. Focusing on the internal dynamics also exposes the importance of gender. The available evidence suggests that while men and women shared much in the rebellion, their experiences also powerfully diverged. For women, rebellion proved much less liberating than we have assumed.  This talk, then, examines a major slave rebellion from the bottom up, yielding new understandings of insurgency.

Marjoleine Kars, Associate Professor of History and Chair, UMBC, is finishing a book about the slave rebellion in Berbice. An article about the role of gender in the Berbice rebellion will appear in early 2016 in the American Historical Review. She has previously written a book about a farmers’ rebellion in pre-revolutionary North Carolina: “Breaking Loose Together”: The Regulator Rebellion in Pre-Revolutionary North Carolina (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002).  She was a Dresher Center fellow in spring 2015.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities and the History Department.

Humanities Forum: China’s Forgotten Gated Communities (11/18)

Tong LamHumanities Forum
Tong Lam, photographer and associate professor of history, University of Toronto
Wednesday, November 18 | 5:30 pm
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery 

In post-socialist China, gated communities have become conspicuous symbols of affluence for the country’s rising middle class amid the so-called “economic miracle.” However, Chinese cities also have many not-so-visible neighborhoods with mostly low-income migrant workers from the countryside that are physically being gated off in the name of urban beautification and social management. This talk uses a research-driven visual project to examine the systematic dispossession, exploitation, and social discrimination that take place in these forgotten urban sites.

Tong Lam is a historian and visual artist. His research interests include modern and contemporary China, technoscience, media and spectacle, cities, colonialism, and nationalism. As a visual artist, he uses photographic and cinematographic techniques to document China’s hysterical growth, and to analyze the debris of history in industrial and post-industrial societies. He is the author of A Passion for Facts: Social Surveys and the Construction of the Chinese Nation-State, 1900-1949 (2011), and the photo-essay book Abandoned Futures (2013). He received his PhD in History from the University of Chicago and is Associate Professor of History at the University of Toronto.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities; the Visual Arts Department; the History Department; the Asian Studies Program; and the Global Studies Department.