Humanities Forum: W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture: Linked Fates and Great Expectations (11/11)

Dinaw Mengestu, Paris, 06/2007 © Mathieu Zazzo

Dinaw Mengestu, Paris, 06/2007 © Mathieu Zazzo

W.E.B. Du Bois Lecture 
Dinaw Mengestu, MacArthur Fellow, acclaimed novelist, and professor of English, Brooklyn College
Wednesday, November 11 | 7 pm
Performing Arts and Humanities Building, Earl and Darielle Linehan Concert Hall

An Ethiopian-American novelist who has garnered widespread critical acclaim for his intimate depictions of the immigrant experience in America, Dinaw Mengestu was named a “20 under 40” writer by The New Yorker and received the National Book Award Foundation’s “5 under 35” Award for his debut novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears. This novel tells the story of Sepha Stephanos, who fled the Ethiopian Revolution and immigrated to the United States where he owns a failing grocery store and struggles with feelings of isolation and nostalgia.

Mengestu was the recipient of the 2006 fellowship in fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the 2008 Lannan Literary Fellowship, and received the 2012 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award. Dinaw Mengestu is the author of three novels, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, How to Read the Air, and All Our Names. His latest novel, All Our Names, is an unforgettable love story about a searing affair between an American woman and an African man in 1970s.

Mengestu currently teaches at Georgetown University and Brooklyn College. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and Columbia University’s MFA program in fiction. His fiction and journalism have been widely published.

Sponsored by the Africana Studies Department and co-sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities; the English Department; the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; the Division of Undergraduate Academic Affairs; and the Office of Undergraduate Education.

Dennis Coates Weighs the Costs and Benefits of Public Subsidies for Sports Franchises in Orange County Register Op-Ed

As several NFL franchises are competing to relocate to the Los Angeles area, Dennis Coates, a professor of economics, argues that facts do not support the claim that professional football would be an economic goldmine for Southern California. Coates wrote an op-ed published in The Orange County Register in which he argued public subsidies for professional sports franchises do not always provide the economic boom that officials hope for.

Dennis CoatesIn the column, Coates referenced a study he did with a colleague that was recently updated to examine the economic impact of professional sports teams in major cities across the country: “Our findings were clear: Professional sports had no positive impact on an area’s economy, and actually harmed residents’ per capita incomes,” Coates wrote.

Coates argued that the public should closely examine whether a stadium and professional franchise investment will produce a real return for citizens.

“Now, as then, the data disprove the claim that a city can use stadium and arena construction, or the attraction or retention of a professional sports franchise, to enhance the income of its citizens,” he explained. “In the economics of both sports and public policy, resources are scarce and must be put to their best use. Not all subsidies will make the cut.”

Read “Pro sports great, just not for local economy” in the Orange County Register.

Update 10/27: Coates appeared on WTOP to discuss to impact of spending taxpayer dollars on pro sports stadiums. 

Matt Levy, EHS Medical Director, Receives Silver Medal of Valor from Howard County Fire and Rescue Services

Pictured left to right are Fire Chief/Paramedic John Butler, Lt./Paramedic Will Huber (also received the award), Medical Director Matt Levy, Howard County Chief Administrative Officer Lonnie Robbins

Pictured left to right are Fire Chief/Paramedic John Butler, Lt./Paramedic Will Huber (also received the award), Medical Director Matt Levy, Howard County Chief Administrative Officer Lonnie Robbins

Dr. Matt Levy ’00, emergency health services, and ’08 M.S., emergency health services, was recently honored for his work in responding to the Columbia Mall shooting in January 2014. Dr. Levy received the Silver Medal of Valor from Howard County Fire and Rescue Services for his role as the second tactical medic to arrive on scene that day, and then transitioned to being the on-scene medical director.

The award was given for entering a dangerous environment that had the potential for a continued direct threat in the immediate aftermath of a shooting. Levy supported the SWAT team’s mission to identify and assess for additional threats on scene and was ready to initiate treatment as part of the medic embedded with the tactical team. As additional resources arrived, Dr. Levy transitioned his role to being the on-scene medical director for the duration of the emergency response.

The award was given during a ceremony Wednesday, October 14 in Clarksville. In addition to being an alumnus, Dr. Levy is currently the medical director of UMBC’s emergency health services department. Read more about the Howard County Fire and Rescue Services awards in the Baltimore Sun.

School of Public Policy Hosts Forum on Urban Sustainability in Baltimore


Eric Zeemering speaks during UMBC’s School of Public Policy Forum on Urban Sustainability.

Many local governments around the country are redesigning and rethinking policies and programs to become more sustainable. Baltimore has been a model for other cities by promoting collaboration among city government, local businesses, non-government organizations, and other groups to address sustainability concerns.

UMBC’s School of Public Policy hosted a forum on urban sustainability in Baltimore at the Columbus Center on October 16, 2015 to examine Baltimore’s efforts to become a more sustainable city and to discuss the networks of government, for-profit and nonprofit organizations that have developed around the city’s sustainability goals.

Eric Zeemering, an associate professor in the department of public administration at Northern Illinois University, moderated the forum and discussed his research on the economy, environment, and community in Baltimore. Zeemering was an assistant professor of public policy at UMBC from 2011-2014 and published the book Collaborative Strategies for Sustainable Cities last year, which examines how Baltimore has defined sustainability and created policy networks beyond local government to achieve sustainability goals.

“I think it’s very important that we need to discuss strategies beyond green,” Zeemering said during his remarks. “Baltimore can continue to be a model for the rest of the nation in this area in the development of partnerships.”

Following Zeemering’s presentation, Alice Kennedy, the sustainability coordinator for the city of Baltimore, provided the background and history of the city’s sustainability office, which was created in 2008. She shared how Baltimore has made great strides in adopting effective sustainability polices through public and private partnerships, and how the office has grown in staffing and capacity in the seven years it has been in existence.

The forum’s third presenter, Tom Sadowski ’89, political science, president and CEO of the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore, talked about the close “win-win” relationship between sound economic policy and sustainability efforts in the city that have developed in recent years.

“Think about the complimentary assets that exist in this region. There is no reason why we cannot have one of the top performing economies in the country, if not, the world, and have the most green, sustainable, and responsible practices in place at the same time,” Sadowski explained.

The event was sponsored by the School of Public Policy, Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education (CUERE), UMBC Sustainability Matters, and the Department of Geography and Environmental Systems. Read more about the Public Policy Forum Series at UMBC. Hear more about Zeemering’s sustainability research in Baltimore below. Also, view the complete video of the forum event.

Social Sciences Forum: When and Why Subjective Well-Being Matters (11/5)

erik-angnerSocial Sciences Forum
Erik Angner, associate professor of philosophy, economics, and public policy, George Mason University
Thursday, November 5 | 4 p.m.
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery  

The so-called science of happiness — the systematic empirical study of happiness, understood as a subjectively experienced mental state — is both politically controversial and philosophically interesting. Erik Angner will discuss under what conditions such a measure of happiness can serve as a proxy for well-being.

Co-sponsored by the Departments of Philosophy and Economics

Asia in Context: The Human and Physical Environment (11/7)

Asian Studies contextAsian History/Asian Studies Conference
Saturday, November 7 | 9 a.m.
ITE building, Lecture Hall 8  

This conference brings together scholars doing exciting work in “reading” Asia beyond textual sources, exploring bodies, objects, and environments to build a more nuanced understanding of the Asian past and present. In the process, it also presents new approaches and methodologies for the study of Asian history and society.


Registration and Breakfast 8:30-9:00
Opening Remarks: 9:00-9:15

Morning Session 1:      9:15-10:45
Presenter: Robert P. Stolz (Department of History, University of Virginia), “Disaster and Everyday Life in Modern Japan from Ashio to Fukushima”
Discussant: Richard Reitan (Department of History, Franklin & Marshall College)

Break: 10:45-11:00

Morning Session 2: 11:00-12:30
Presenter: Preminda Jacob (Department of Visual Arts, UMBC), “The Painted Walls of Chennai. Street Semiotics in an Indian City”
Discussant: Rebecca M. Brown (Department of the History of Art, Johns Hopkins University).

Lunch (12:30-1:30)

Afternoon Session: 1:30-3:00
Presenter: Tobie Meyer-Fong (Department of History, Johns Hopkins University), “An Island Childhood:  Zhoushan, 1943-1956.”
Discussant: R. Keith Schoppa (Department of History, Loyola University Maryland)

Closing Remarks

CIRCA Catalyst Presents Lynn Cazabon (10/26)

cazabon_baltic_01Presented by the Catalyst series of the Center for Innovation, Research and Creativity in the Arts (CIRCA) on Monday, October 26 at 12 p.m. in the Dresher Center Conference Room (216 Performing Arts and Humanities Building), associate professor of Visual Arts Lynn Cazabon will discuss in-progress projects centered on the Baltic Sea, produced during her time as a Fulbright Scholar in Liepāja, Latvia earlier this year. Her work there focuses on the intimate and complex interconnection between the natural environment and the people who live within it and resulted in a series of portraits of Liepāja residents set against the Baltic Sea and displayed with a quote from each participant about the role the sea plays in their lives. A second series of works focuses on the Baltic Sea itself and the aftermath of military operations that have occurred there. Professor Cazabon will also speak generally about her experiences living and teaching in a foreign country in the New Media Program at Liepāja University.

Click here for complete information.