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College of Arts and Humanities

4/11/13

Department of English 

The College of Arts and Humanities would like to congratulate Professor Joshua Weiner, who is a 2013 recipient of a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation!

Professor Weiner is the English department's 4th winner in the past 5 years. He joins 8 other current faculty members who are Guggenheim laureates: Vin CarrettaMichael CollierMerle CollinsReggie Harrison,Matt KirschenbaumBob LevineHoward Norman, and Stan Plumly. In addition, 10 other former and emeritus faculty members from our department have received Guggenheim fellowships: Eric Bentley, Adele Berlin, Carl Bode, Gladys-Marie Fry, John Fuegi, Annabel Patterson, Bill Peterson, Jack Salamanca, Sam Schoenbaum, Reed Whittemore, and Cal Winton.

Often characterized as "midcareer" awards, Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts. Established in 1925 by former United States Senator and Mrs. Simon Guggenheim, in memory of seventeen-year-old John Simon Guggenheim, the elder of their two sons, who died April 26, 1922, the Foundation has sought from its inception to "add to the educational, literary, artistic, and scientific power of this country, and also to provide for the cause of better international understanding." The Foundation receives between 3,500 and 4,000 applications each year, and approximately 200 Fellowships are awarded each year.

By Monette Austin Bailey, Terp Magazine

Fatemeh Keshavarz, new director of the Roshan Center for Persian Studies, isn’t thinking small: She wants to move her field “to the center of humanities on campus,” she says.

Keshavarz, who is also the first Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute Chair in Persian Studies, is planning projects such a first-time translation of the seminal “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” a collaboration with the Department of Women’s Studies, and awarding fellowships to train academic leaders who broaden the field’s scope by working across disciplines. Keshavarz also hopes to improve digital access to poetry, music, lectures and scholarly texts.

“The Iranian community in the United States is just coming to realize that it has a lot to offer,” she says.

Keshavarz brings her own impressive record to Maryland. An internationally respected interpreter and scholar, she spoke before the United Nations in 2007 on the importance of cultural education to world peace.

 

3/22/13

By Michael O'Sullivan, The Washington Post 

There’s an ambivalence to a lot of the art in “Network of Mutuality: 50 Years Post-Birmingham.” If there’s a commonality among the civil-rights-themed works by 21 contemporary artists at the University of Maryland’s Art Gallery, it might be this sentiment: We’ve come far since the infamous 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., that killed four girls, but we still have a long way to go.

That friction between aspiration and reality creates, at times, heat.

Archie Boston’s posterlike digital print “We’ve Come Too Far” charts the evolution of terms used by whites to describe blacks, from “slave” to “colored” to “African American,” with other names in between (including a notoriously offensive one). The last item on the list, however, isn’t a word at all but an image commonly used on handbills announcing fugitive slaves.

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2/20/13

Department of English 

Our own Kari Kraus was one of the featured participants on The Kojo Nnamdi Show as Kojo moderated a terrific conversation about the digital humanities on "Tech Tuesday."  The discussion also included Brett Bobley, director of the Office of Digital Humanities at the National Endowment for the Humanities and Benjamin Schmidt, a visiting graduate fellow at the Cultural Observatory at Harvard and a graduate student at Princeton.

To listen to the conversation, please click here. A transcript of the show is also available here.

 

By Natalie Kornicks

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an elegant award-winning writer from Nigeria, but if you ask her she’ll tell you she’s just like her grandmother—“a trouble maker, fierce and difficult,” all of which she loves.

“I think Africans have a tendency to romanticize who and what we are,”Adichie said to the sold-out crowd at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center during the third installment of the 2012-13 WORLDWISE Arts and Humanities Dean’s Lecture Series.

Early in the conversation on Tuesday, Feb. 19, Adichie described a moment that took place in her family's ancestral hometown of Abba, on her way to visit her Uncle Mai—“My father’s only brother. My favourite uncle,” she wrote in an article for the Financial Times in Nigeria last year.

“A woman walking ahead of me tripped and fell, and then she said ‘f***, f***.’ That was the last thing I expected to hear from her. Part of me was taken aback—I probably would have wanted to say something deep and moving, but this woman said f***,” Adichie laughed. “The reality of things is how you want them to be. It’s the reality—you say f*** when you fall down.”

Hearing that word come out of the mouth of such an accomplished author, a MacArthur “genius” award winner who graduated summa cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State University and completed a master’s degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University, delighted the crowd with “mild shock,” said Associate Professor Sheri Parks, who moderated the lecture.

“It helped make her point,” Parks said. “For us to see that it made her realize that she had romanticized her homeland.”

A place, where according to Adichie, others in the African community would say of the incident if it were to occur in one of her books, “That’s not Nigerian.”

But even if Adichie is writing about someone else’s experience, it’s authentic. And she doesn’t worry about what other people think about her portrayals of reality and place, because she is telling her own truth, she said.

“I think place is very important for me…I don’t think that what I am—whatever that is—is unable to coexist with Africaness—whatever that is,” she said. “I think I grew up in Nigeria and my sensibility is Nigerian.”

While her two most notable books, Purple Hibiscus (2003) and Half a Yellow Sun (2006), took place in Nigeria, not all of her stories take place in Africa. Yet Adichie said all of her writing is really about exploring “Nigerianness,” which she does through her characters.

Even if the story is set in the U.S.—a country that is filled with “an abundance of unreasonable hope”—it is really about Nigeria, she said.

After soliciting suggestions from the campus for the series and a considerable deliberation process, Adichie was chosen for her relevance across multiple departments of the College of Arts and Humanities to make a balanced and engaging event, according to members of the lecture series committee.

“[Adichie] embodies the spirit of global innovation and connectedness that is at the heart of the University of Maryland’s mission to be a leading internationally recognized institution that fosters cosmopolitan citizenship,” said Assistant Professor of English Keguro Macharia, who recommended Adichie as a potential speaker. “Her works are already widely taught on campus—so students are familiar with her—and her status as a successful African immigrant woman would be inspirational.”

Adichie’s significance to Maryland transcends literature and is not only inspirational to students of English, but also students of theatre, dance, history, linguistics, women’s studies and language and culture.

But overall, Adichie just wants people to tell truthful stories, whether they are good or bad, she said.

When Parks asked Adichie how she felt about being called wise, Parks read the following quote from renowned novelist Chinua Achebe:

“We do not usually associate wisdom with beginners, but here is a new writer endowed with the gift of ancient storytellers. Adichie knows what is at stake and what to do about it…” Parks read.

“I memorized that,” Adichie said.

And the two finished reciting the quote aloud in tandem, “She is fearless or she would not have taken on the intimidating horror of Nigeria’s civil war. Adichie came almost fully made.”

To hear another motivational conversation, attend the last lecture of the series with Cathy Davidson, who will speak about digital humanities on April 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

For more information on Adichie visit: http://www.l3.ulg.ac.be/adichie/

2/27/13

By Nelson Pressley, The Washington Post

An ambitious National Civil War Project will be unveiled Thursday at Arena Stage as major universities and flagship theaters in four cities team up to create new performances and campus programming.

The partnerships represent a “radical collaboration,” says Arena artistic director Molly Smith. Arena is working with George Washington University. The announcement is scheduled to include “artistic demonstrations” of the kinds of theater, dance, music and scholarship likely to emerge from this large-scale initiative...

Baltimore’s Centerstage and the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, a pod that has already initiated a notably big project. The Kronos Quartet has been commissioned for a piece composed by jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard; the performance will involve a 500-voice choir and spoken word by 2011 National Book Award winner Nikky Finney. The result, “At War With Ourselves,” will be performed at a historically significant site.

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By Ashley David

The College of Arts and Humanities would like to congratulate its FIA-Deutsch Seed Grant Competition winners! Out of the 22 FIA grantees, 11 Arts and Humanities (ARHU) students and faculty were awarded  for two separate projects entitled, “Approach: Every Voice, Every Path” and “The Digital Cookbook: A Friendly Guide for Making the Local, Global.” Each team won up to $25,000 to carry out their research and vision.

The ARHU winners are listed below:

Approach: Every Voice, Every Path

  • Daniel Greene, Department of American Studies
  •  Jarah Moesch, Department of American Studies (*DCC Graduate Assistant)
  •  Paul Nezaum Saiedi, Department of American Studies
  • Jessica Kenyatta Walker, Department of American Studies
  • James B. Wills, Department of Computer Science (DCC Student)
  • Dr. Jason Farman, Department of American Studies (Faculty Mentor) (DCC Faculty)

The Digital Cookbook: A Friendly Guide for Making the Local, Global

  • Jennifer Hottle, College of Journalism (DCC Student)
  •  Kelsey Hughes, College of Journalism (DCC Student)
  • Claire Naylor, Information Systems (DCC Student)
  •  Eliana Vornov, Computer Science and Linguistics (DCC Student)
  • Dr. Evan Golub, Department of Computer Science (Faculty Mentor) (DCC Faculty)

*Digital Cultures and Creativity (DCC) is an interdisciplinary living and learning program in the Honors College with students and faculty sharing a common passion for the digital world that goes beyond any particular tool or platform. To find out more about DCC, please click here.

The Future of Information Alliance (FIA) was launched at the University of Maryland in 2011 to serve as “a catalyst for discussion, research and action on campus and beyond.” The FIA focuses on “transdisciplinary dialogue and research on evolving issues related to the role of information in our lives.” The FIA Seed Grant Competition is designed to encourage teams of students to engage in research projects that lead the way to innovative solutions for key information-related challenges.  The teams of undergraduate and graduate students came together with a faculty mentor to create innovative solutions to challenges that face us in a rapidly evolving information landscape.

For more information on the awarded projects and for the complete list of winners, please click here.

1/31/13

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - University of Maryland Professor Philip Resnik's React Labs is partnering withFrank N. Magid Associates this Sunday to take a comprehensive, real-time look at how consumers engage with the Super Bowl and its advertising. The research will use React Lab's innovative mobile technology - developed at the University of Maryland - to measure how engaged viewers are, their reaction to the Super Bowl and its commercials, and if they plan to buy any of the products advertised.

The React Labs technology utilizes a mobile app that enables users to react to an event moment by moment. The new real-time polling platform captures viewer engagement with what they're watching, while simultaneously collecting temporally fine-grained, interpretable data about their responses.

"React Labs harnesses the potential of mobile technology to tap into people's immediate, unmediated responses to what they're seeing and hearing," says Professor Philip Resnik, founder of Bethesda-based React Labs.

Resnik holds joint appointments at Maryland in the Department of Linguistics and at the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS).

"Our goal for this project is to build a platform that seamlessly integrates with how consumers watch and react to major media events like the Super Bowl," he says.

The technology was last used to judge reactions during the presidential debates at the University of Maryland and other colleges and universities across the U.S.

This is the first time it has been used with a Super Bowl.

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Adichie examines the powerful impact storytelling has on politics and culture across generations.

The University of Maryland’s College of Arts and Humanities presents the WORLDWISE Arts and Humanities Dean’s Lecture Series featuring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 2008 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship recipient and award-winning Nigerian author, and it’s FREE!

WHAT:

An intimate conversation with the influential author, Chimamanda Adichie.  Named by The New Yorker as one of the 20 most important fiction writers under 40 years old, Adichie describes her work as “realist fiction” and is largely inspired by the cultural and political history of her home country of Nigeria.

She will speak  to the cross-generational significance of storytelling and its enduring impact on the cultural history of our lives.

Recently Adichie was also named one of “The New Guard: People Who Are Shaping Washington” by the Washingtonian and awarded the 2011-2012 fellowship by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.  Her newest novel, “Americanah” will be published by Knopf in May 2013.

WHEN:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 5:30-7:30 PM

WHERE:

Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742 Map.

BACKGROUND:

Presented by the College of Arts and Humanities in collaboration with the Center for Literary and Comparative Studies and the Institute for International Programs.

Admittance is free. Media should present credentials. For those attending:

  • Please RSVP with Nicky Everette at meve@umd.edu
  • Due to limited seating, please arrive early - Doors open at 5:00 p.m.
  • No food/drinks are allowed in the Gildenhorn Recital Hall

ABOUT THE DEAN’S LECTURE SERIES:

The Dean's Lecture Series provides an opportunity for the college faculty, students and staff to join together with colleagues across campus for stimulating conversation about issues that cross our disciplines.  Lectures and performances may address either enduring or emerging questions central to the arts and humanities, or questions arising from other disciplines to which the arts and humanities might speak.

In addition to presenting a major public event, each speaker interacts in smaller settings with faculty, graduate students and/or undergraduates.  This new series follows up on the spirited and popular moderated round table discussions, "BE WORLDWISE: The Arts and Humanities in the 21st Century."

MEDIA:

Media coverage is welcome. Parking is available in the Stadium Drive Garage across from the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and just off University Blvd.

To join in the live twitter conversation on the day of the event, follow the College of Arts and Humanities on Twitter @umd_arhu and use #ARHUDLS

CONTACT:

For more information about this event, please contact Nicky Everette, College of Arts & Humanities, Director of Marketing and Communications at meve@umd.edu or 301-405-6714.

 

Thanks to a grant from the university’s College of Arts and Humanities that recognizes innovative projects, a faculty team will digitize rare historical French pamphlets, exposing valuable information about the French Revolution to a broad audience.

Funded in part by a $5,000 New Directions Innovation Seed Grant, three co-leaders will oversee a project to digitize 300 French pamphlets published in the late 18th century. Another 700 will be cataloged to increase their accessibility among researchers.

The UMD French Pamphlets Project is led by Assistant Professor Sarah Benharrech and Professor Valerie K. Orlando of the Department of French and Italian and Kelsey Corlett-Rivera, librarian for the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures from the University Libraries.

The pamphlets reveal valuable information about French society during the upheaval of the Revolution (June 1788-December 1804) and provide cultural historians, linguists and political scientists with important source material to study history, language, politics, government  and social issues.

The University Libraries hold approximately 12,000 historic French pamphlets, more than 7,000 of which are from the Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras.

“We hope this pilot project jumpstarts an even greater effort,” says Corlett-Rivera. “I’m honored to be part of a team that builds on the expertise and relationships across campus.” Corlett-Rivera and her co-leaders conceived the project at the Digital Humanities Incubator series sponsored by the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities.

The project leaders are working closely with colleagues who curate special collections within the University Libraries as well as those from the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities. 

For more information: http://www.lib.umd.edu/special/guides/frenchpamphlets

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