Mill Stories to be Screened at International Film Festivals

46-Mill-Stories-640x425A film by Bill Shewbridge and Michelle Stefano has been selected to be screened at several prestigious film festivals in May and June. Produced by Shewbridge, professor of the practice of media and communication studies, and Stefano, visiting assistant professor of American studies, Mill Stories: Remembering Sparrows Point Steel Mill is a documentary based on the stories gathered through the “Mill Stories” project. The project seeks to document the sociocultural impacts of industrial decline and help amplify the voices of those affected by it in the Baltimore region.

The documentary has been selected to screen at three upcoming film festivals: the 14th Royal Anthropological Institute International Festival of Ethnographic Film (Bristol, UK, June 16-19, 2015), the 12th International Congress of the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) Film Program (Zagreb, Croatia, June 22-24, 2015), and the Workers Unite! Film Festival in New York City (May 19, 2015).

Locally, on April 28, Mill Stories is scheduled to be screened at the Chesapeake Arts Center in Brooklyn Park from 6-8 p.m. For more information on the event, click here. For more information on the “Mill Stories” project, click here.

Lia Purpura, English, to Present Reading at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts (4/10)

Lia PurpuraEnglish Writer in Residence Lia Purpura is scheduled to present readings from her new book It Shouldn’t Have Been Beautiful at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts on Friday, April 10 at 8 p.m. The reading will be part of an event with the Poulenc Trio, a Baltimore-based wind trio that has been presenting virtuosic performances for over a decade.

Purpura, whose work frequently appears in New Yorker magazine, will pair excerpts from her forthcoming book with a new arrangement for the Trio of Alfred Schnittke’s Suite in the Old Style. For more information on the event, click here.

Update: On the day of the performance, Purpura appeared on WYPR’s Maryland Morning with the trio to discuss her work. To listen to the full segment, click here.

Felipe Filomeno, Political Science, Awarded Early Career Prize from the Latin American Studies Association

Felipe FilomenoFelipe Filomeno, an assistant professor of political science, has been awarded the Early Career Prize of the Economics & Politics Section of the Latin American Studies Association. The award comes in recognition of his article “Patterns of Rule-Making and Intellectual Property Regimes: Lessons from South American Soybean Agriculture”, published in the Journal of Comparative Politics in 2014. Below is a summary of Filomeno’s article:

Around 1980, states and corporations from core countries led by the U.S. government started to demand from other countries reforms that increased the scope and strength of private intellectual property rights. The resulting global upward ratchet of intellectual property protection has not developed uniformly across time and space. This study presents a theory of cross-national variation in intellectual property regimes based on a comparative-historical analysis of the making of intellectual property rules in South American soybean agriculture (Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay). It concludes that a corporatist pattern of rule-making is conducive to a weak intellectual property regime (Argentina), whereas pluralism (Brazil) and state capture and abstention (Paraguay) are more conducive to strong intellectual property regimes.

Humanities Forum: Microscopic War: Fragmenting Vision in Contemporary American Militarism (4/9)

Rebecca AdelmanHumanities Forum
Thursday, April 9 | 4:00 p.m.
Rebecca Adelman, Assistant Professor, Media and Communication Studies, UMBC 
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery 

Editors manipulate the tiniest elements of digital images to obscure combat atrocities. The U.S. Army invests deeply in a pixelated camouflage pattern that it expects will keep soldiers safely invisible. The NSA disaggregates human targets into miniscule bits of information. These seemingly disparate phenomena comprise a microscopic visual approach to militarization. It is here that Adelman considers the links between pixelized photos of violence committed by American military personnel, the Army’s failed multi-year, multi-billion dollar experiment with ‘digital’ camouflage, and the NSA’s approach to “identity intelligence,” built on the smallest pieces of data. All of these efforts at fragmentation promised to solve problems unique to contemporary war: soldiers’ unregulated use of digital cameras in the field, battles fought on multiplying fronts, and unconventional, undetectable threats. And in every instance, fragmentation failed: uncensored pictures are readily available, digital camouflage rendered soldiers more visible, and Edward Snowden leaked the documents detailing the NSA’s plans. These failures expose the limits of state power over the visual, dependent as it is on the smallest of things, while this new visual culture of fragmentation raises urgent questions about what it means to be a citizen, a spectator, and a subject.

For more information on the event and Adelman’s work, click here.

Sponsored by the Dresher Center for the Humanities and the Media and Communication Studies Department.

Social Sciences Forum: Ecological Encounters on the Upper Missouri: The Making of Mandan Indian History (4/8)

Elizabeth FennSocial Sciences Forum
Wednesday, April 8 | 4:00 p.m.
Elizabeth Fenn, Professor of History at the University of Colorado, Boulder
Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery 

Elizabeth Fenn’s lecture tells the story of North Dakota’s Mandan Indians, widely known for hosting Lewis and Clark during the winter of 1804-1805. The challenges the Mandans faced included epidemics of smallpox and whooping cough and invasions of Norway rats, which diminished Mandan numbers from more than 12,000 in 1500 to fewer than 300 in 1838.

In this talk, Fenn will be speaking about her recent book, Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People. Her previous book, Pox Americana, has had an enormous influence. Fenn is among a handful of historians who have put continental history on the map. For more information, click here. Fenn also has had an interesting work history, as she dropped out of graduate school at Yale to become a car mechanic. To read more about her story, click here.

Low Lecture, sponsored by the Department of History

Marion Elizabeth Rodgers (3/31)

For more than a quarter of a century, Marion Elizabeth Rodgers has been considered the foremost authority on the American critic and journalist H.L. Mencken as well as the editor of his works.

Marion Elizabeth RodgersMencken was born and lived his entire life in Baltimore where he was long associated with the Baltimore Sun papers along with editing two of the nation’s most distinguished literary magazines – The American Mercury and The Smart Set.  He was also the author of The American Language.

Ms. Rodgers is the author of a critically acclaimed biography – “Mencken: The American Iconoclast” – published by Oxford University Press in 2007. She also edited “Mencken and Sara: A Life in Letters: The Private Correspondence of H.L. Mencken and Sara Haardt.” In addition, she edited Mencken’s six-part “Prejudices” series in their most recent and definitive edition (Library of America). She is also the editor of “The Impossible H.L. Mencken: A Selection of His Best Newspaper Stories” published in 1991.

Most recently, Ms. Rodgers edited the definitive “H. L. Mencken: The Days Trilogy, Expanded Edition: (Library of America)” published last year. Mencken’s memoirs, which began in the 1940s as installments in The New Yorker, included more than 200 never-before-published pages of his notes.  There is no single American writer and critic more knowledgeable about “the sage of Baltimore.”

Marion Elizabeth Rodgers will speak on March 31 at 8:30 a.m. in PAHB 428 (Advanced Journalism Seminar).  Visitors are welcome.

String Octets (4/2)

On Thursday, April 2 at 8:00 p.m. in the Concert Hall, UMBC music faculty and guest join forces with students to perform the titanic Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 20 by Felix Mendelssohn, and more rarely heard Octet, Op. posth. by Max Bruch. Featured performers will include UMBC string faculty Christian Tremblay and Airi Yoshioka, violin; Amadi Azikiwe and Nana Gaskins Vaughn, viola; Gita Ladd, cello; Laura Ruas, double-bass; and student performers Ariel Byrd and Erika Koscho, violin; and Michael Bradshaw, cello. Complete information is available by clicking here.