American Studies and Media and Communication Studies Students Produce Radio Series for The Marc Steiner Show

As part of the Baltimore Traces: Communities in Transition project, several American studies and media and communication studies students produced a radio series about two Baltimore neighborhoods in transition: Greektown and Station North. Baltimore Traces is an interdisciplinary project and collaborative teaching innovation that produces audio and video oral histories focused on Baltimore residents and neighborhoods.

On Friday, May 22, the radio series aired on WEAA’s The Marc Steiner Show. Bill Shewbridge, professor of the practice of media and communication studies, worked with students in Michelle Stefano’s class, a visiting assistant professor of American studies, to produce an audio journey through the East Baltimore neighborhood of Greektown. The project brought students into the neighborhood where they conducted interviews with local residents and workers to explore the identity, history, and complexity of the community.

Businesses on Eastern Avenue in Greektown. Photo by Marouane Hail.

Businesses on Eastern Avenue in Greektown. Photo by Marouane Hail.

Students in Nicole King’s class, an associate professor of American studies, produced a three-part series on Station North. The students conducted several interviews to get a sense of a neighborhood that has been undergoing a great deal of transition. In one of the segments, a student captured audio at Red Emma’s Coffeehouse as workers fed school children and provided a safe place for the community the day after the Monday, April 27 unrest in Baltimore.

To listen to the complete audio segments, click below:
UMBC Students Present Baltimore Traces: Greektown in Transition
UMBC Students Present Baltimore Traces: Station North in Transition

The Baltimore Traces project is ongoing and expanded in the spring 2015 as part of a Hrabowski Innovation Grant, “Baltimore Stories: Emerging Media Across the Curriculum.” Previous collaborations as part of the project include Mill Stories (Michelle Stefano and Bill Shewbridge) and Mapping Baybrook (Nicole King and Steve Bradley). There is a public event scheduled for June 2 focusing on Brooklyn-Curtis Bay and Sparrows Point that will feature members of the two communities who will discuss the challenges they face and possible futures. For more information, click here.

Shari Waldstein, Psychology, Named Lipitz Professor for 2015-2016

Shari WaldsteinShari Waldstein, professor of psychology, has been named the Lipitz Professor for 2015-2016. This professorship is supported by an endowment created by Roger C. Lipitz and the Lipitz Family Foundation “to recognize and support innovative and distinguished teaching and research in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.”

A clinical psychologist who specializes in cardiovascular behavioral medicine and medical neuropsychology, Dr. Waldstein is known internationally for fundamental contributions to the understanding of the links among early, multi-level risk factors for cardiovascular disease, sub-clinical brain pathology, neurocognitive performance, and their development across the lifespan. In recent years she has increasingly focused on identifying the multi-level mechanisms underlying race and socioeconomic status-related disparities in cardiovascular and brain health.

Since coming to UMBC, she has been awarded more than $6,000,000 in grants and contracts. Dr. Waldstein’s contributions to the profession of psychology are numerous. She has served for 18 years as director of the behavioral medicine track in our human services psychology Ph.D. program and has mentored 22 Ph.D. students. She also works closely with colleagues at UMB, where she holds a secondary faculty appointment as professor of medicine. For more information about her work, click here.

CAHSS Faculty Research Awards and Fellowships Announced for 2015-2016


The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences has announced its faculty research fellowships for the summer and upcoming academic year. The complete list can be found below.

CAHSS Research Fellowships: These fellowships, available to tenured associate professors and full professors, support outstanding research and creative activity by permitting release time for one semester to focus on scholarship. Preference is given to associate professors preparing for promotion review in subsequent academic years. Recipients for 2015-16 are:

  • Terry Bouton, History: “Foreign Founders: How European Financiers Helped Write the U.S. Constitution”
  • Kathy O’Dell, Visual Arts: “The Dot: A Small History of a Big Point”
  • Michele Osherow, English: “Staging Shakespeare at the Folger”
  • Elaine Rusinko, Modern Languages, Linguistics, & Intercultural Communication: “Andy Warhol’s Mother”

CAHSS Dean’s Research Awards: These grants, new in spring 2015 and to be available twice each year, are awarded through a competitive process and recommended by the faculty members who comprise the CAHSS Research Advisory Committee. The inaugural recipients are

  • Linda Baker, Psychology: “What Factors Contribute to the Academic Success of College Students with a Reading Disability”
  • Piotr Gwiazda, English: “Translation of Zero Visibility: Poems by Grzegorz Wroblewski
  • Tyson King-Meadows, Political Science & Africana Studies: “Racial Priming and Support for Congressional Action to Address Income Inequality”
  • Susan McDonough, History: “Vile Sluts and Gassy Whores: Prostitutes in the Medieval Mediterranean”
  • Susan McCully, Theatre: “Production of Kerrmoor – a new play by Susan McCully”
  • Calla Thompson, Visual Arts: “Interviews with Lesbian and Gay Activists Regarding 1981 Riots and Aftermath”

MIPAR/CAHSS Summer Faculty Research Fellowships:

  • Amy Froide, History: “Eighteenth Century England’s Charitable Corporation:  A Cautionary Tale of Microfinance, Fraud, and Government Bailouts”
  • Nancy Miller, Public Policy: “Facilitators and Barriers to State Provision of Medicaid Community-based Long-term Services and Supports for Children, Youth and Adults with Significant Mental Health Conditions”

Dresher Center for the Humanities/CAHSS Summer Faculty Research Fellowships:

  • Michael Nance, Philosophy: “Anarchy, Legitimacy, and Economic Planning in Fichte’s Jena Political Philosophy”
  • Piotr Gwiazda, English: “Translation of Zero Visibility: Poems by Grzegorz Wróblewski”
  • Nicoleta Bazgan, Modern Languages, Linguistics, & Intercultural Communication, “Parisiennes: City Women in French Cinema”

Center for Innovation, Research, and Creativity in the Arts (CIRCA)/CAHSS Summer Faculty Research Fellowships:

  • Brian Kaufman, Music: “El Sistema and Music for Social Change”
  • Peggy Re, Visual Arts: “Design, Desire and Consumption: Contemporary American Textiles, Contemporary American Wallpaper and American Containers and Packaging”

Imaging Research Center/CAHSS Summer Faculty Research Fellowships:

  • Kate Brown, History: “Mapping Contours of Community”
  • Matt Baker, Geography & Environmental Systems, and Tim Nohe, Visual Arts: “Urban Forest Stewardship Projects”
  • Lisa Moren, Visual Arts, and Marcus Zupan, Engineering, “Monuments Baltimore”

Hrabowski Innovation Grants:

  • Nicole King, American Studies, and Bill Shewbridge, Media & Communication Studies: “Baltimore Stories: Emerging Media Across the Curriculum”

John Rennie Short, School of Public Policy, Discusses Cities’ Impact on Climate Change in Citiscope

In a new article published in the journal Citiscope, School of Public Policy Professor John Rennie Short argued that “cities are a focal point for action on climate change — and in time, climate action will seem as compelling to urbanites as the introduction of clean water systems in the late 1800s.”

John Rennie ShortThe article was a combination of a recent talk Short gave at the Conference on Communities and Urban Sustainability hosted by the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. and a subsequent Citiscope interview. In the article, Short highlighted the importance of cities in an interconnected world.

“Cities are points in a network. The map shows the world divided into nation states. Actually a much more important way is to see the globe as a network of cities. Most flows of globalization move between city regions in different nations. So rather than think of a world of nation states, see it as a network of globally connected cities — for knowledge, for best practices,” Short said. “Cities are also key because nation states can be too big to connect with local communities and often too small to influence global events. Cities are a powerful point of leverage and connection to get things done.”

Short also commented on the growing need for better metrics of urban sustainability: “We need a system that’s comprehensive, reliable, and predictive. Because urban sustainability is the right, smart, only thing to do. Environmental issues are still like fighting the good fight. While economic measures — especially jobs — often seem more compelling. We need to bring sustainability to the same level as jobs, or saving money.”

To read the full article “The world’s cities: the “sweet spot” of climate change,” click here.

Anne Rubin, History, Gives Voice to Union Soldiers in Sherman’s Army in The Conversation

Anne RubinOn Memorial Day, The Conversation published a series of insights into wars that have been waged and their aftermath. Anne Rubin, an associate professor of history, published an article that gave voice to the Union soldiers in Sherman’s Army and their view of their impact on the end of the Civil War.

“Sherman’s veterans, at least those who spoke and wrote publicly about their experiences, were remarkably untroubled by the war they made against civilians. They looked at the march not as something that broke the laws of war, but instead as one of the great experiences of their lives,” Rubin wrote.

“For all their minimizing of hardships and the horrors of war, they well understood what they fought for, and they believed wholeheartedly that their march, their efforts, had brought the war to an end,” she added. “They never wavered in their belief that the march was necessary. The Confederacy had brought destruction on itself by tearing apart the Union, they believed, and it was the duty of these soldiers to reunite the nation, by any means at their disposal.”

To read the full article titled “The grand review of Sherman’s Bummers,” click here. Rubin is author of Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman’s March and American Memory (UNC Press 2014).

Marc Olano, CSEE, and Anne Rubin, History, Describe the Bandit Video Game Project in the Daily Record

Marc OlanoA team of professors and students across several disciplines have worked together to develop “Bandit,” a video game in which players control a fox that navigates the streets during Civil War-era Baltimore. The game is one of two developed this semester in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Professor Marc Olano’s game development class. The group collaborated with students in the history department and Anne Rubin, an associate professor of history, to develop viewpoints of diverse actors in the Pratt Street Riots.

Anne RubinThe work was featured in a Daily Record article published on May 19: “The game-design students initially pitched several game ideas to the history class, and Rubin said she and her history students were fond of a proposed mystery-style game because they thought it would lend itself more readily to the teaching of history. But the animal-focused game was the most feasible to produce, so that became the choice. ‘We’re really happy with how this turned out,’ Rubin said.”

To read about the Bandit video game presentation at URCAD 2015, click here. To read the article “At UMBC, a taste of professional life for game designers” in the Daily Record, click here (subscription required). For additional coverage in Baltimore Tech, click here.

Center for Aging Studies Research on Senior Housing Transitions Featured in Reuters

An article published in The Gerontologist by the Center for Aging Studies on stigma and distress with multilevel senior housing residents was recently featured in Reuters. The article, published by Erin Roth, Center for Aging Studies senior research analyst, Kevin Eckert, professor and chair of sociology and anthropology, and Leslie Morgan, professor of sociology and co-director of the UMBC/UMB Ph.D. program in gerontology, found that “residents and places reflecting the highest levels of care are stigmatized in a context where people are monitored for health changes and required to relocate. Consequently, residents self-isolate, develop a diminished sense of self, and hide health and cognitive conditions out of fear of relocation.,” according to the study’s abstract.

Public Policy bldng.The researchers conducted 470 interviews with 367 residents, family, staff and administrators at seven facilities to better understand how stigma and distress are experienced in an environment where residents are grouped by levels of functioning.

“For senior housing developers, multilevel senior housing has proven to be profitable in many ways – it’s heavily marketed and has become the prevalent model for senior housing and care,” said Kevin Eckert in the Reuters article. “It is more cost-effective, profitable, and convenient to group people together by levels.”

“The social challenges that result are often recognized by staff and administrators but the difficulty for everyone is in imagining a true alternative, when the model so thoroughly dominates the senior housing landscape,” he added.

The researchers found that few residents in lower levels of care enjoy mingling with others in different levels of care: “Many people shopping for a senior housing setting are not wanting to face the possibility of these next moves – and so staff have said that some people will decline the part of the tour that includes the nursing care center,” Erin Roth said. “This points to a deeper sociocultural fear of death and decline that is so pervasive and is a contributing factor to the problems we layout in the article.”

To read the full article in Reuters, click here. To read the article “Stigma and Discontinuity in Multilevel Senior Housing’s Continuum of Care” in The Gerontologist, click here.