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Research and Scholarly Work

3/30/17

By Mabinty Quarshie | USA Today

"When Bill O'Reilly insulted Rep. Maxine Water's hair and White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporter April Ryan to "stop shaking your head," the comments by the two white men hit a nerve.

"Black women — who often face a one-two punch of racism and sexism in their daily lives — immediately took to social media using the hashtag #BlackWomenAtWork to air out their grievances, including those about other women.

" 'The things that black women need to push for are quite different than what we think of as the mainstream feminist movement,' said Sheri Parks, a professor of American studies at the University of Maryland and author of Fierce Angels: The Strong Black Woman in American Life and Culture."

Read the complete article at USA Today

3/7/17

By Tom Hall & Bridget Armstrong | Midday on WYPR

"The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities are two of 17 federal agencies that appear to be targeted by the Trump administration for elimination, as its budget inclinations lean heavily toward defense spending. The state of Maryland funded arts institutions at the highest level ever last year, and the Governor has proposed an additional $1 million this year, bringing the allocation for the arts to $21 million in Fiscal Year 2018. Ironically, Baltimore City Schools are facing drastic cuts. Principals looking to trim expenses, may have to make cuts to music and visual arts programs. 

"An organization called Arts Every Day is holding a symposium this weekend that will call attention to the role that arts education plays in boosting attendance, improving test scores and making schools vibrant parts of their communities.

"Tom and Dr. Sheri Parks speak with arts educators and advocates about what the arts can do for kids and their families. They also talk about the cost of funding arts programs and if that cost is worth it when belts are being tightened locally and nationally."

Listen to the complete podcast: Midday on WYPR

1/26/17

By Christine Condon and Danielle Ohl | The Diamondback

"President Trump plans to defund the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, a move that could jeopardize funding for the arts and humanities at the University of Maryland and in this state.

"A Jan. 19 report in The Hill detailed a meeting between White House staff and Trump's transition team, who fleshed out a plan to cut back on bureaucracy and government spending. The plan included eliminating the two endowments, which have granted this university about $2.5 million for research, performances and projects since 2010.

" '[The NEH and NEA] have been important in a lot of ways,' said arts and humanities college Dean Bonnie Dill. 'They are a very important part of the work that we do.' "

Read the complete story online at The Diamondback.

Image: The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. (File photo/The Diamondback).

1/19/17

By Dan Rodricks | Roughly Speaking Podcast

In this podcast, culture commentator Sheri Parks talks about the transition from Obama to Trump, and Friday’s inauguration.

Listen to the complete podcast online at Roughly Speaking.

The Center for Synergy in the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU) has received a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to fund “Home Stories,” a digital storytelling project that empowers migrant youth to create and share their stories with the wider public.

The award is part of NEH’s inaugural Humanities Access grants, which provide cultural programming to underserved groups and were awarded to 34 organizations. The grant is designed to encourage fundraising and sustainability of ongoing programming.

The project co-directors are Ana Patricia Rodríguez, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese in the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures and Sheri Parks, associate dean of research, interdisciplinary scholarship and programming and associate professor of American studies.

The project responds to the growing number of often-unaccompanied migrant youth who travel to the U.S.-Mexico border and eventually seek to reunite with families, relatives or friends who live in the long-standing Central American communities near the University of Maryland. These newcomers navigate multiple identities but rarely have the opportunity to reflect on or share these experiences. Despite the scale of youth migration to this area, there is little research or ethnographic work generated about or by these youth.

“We are living in a historical moment where there is an explosion in migration,” says Rodríguez.  “Digital storytelling is a way of uncovering these stories and making them accessible to a wider public, and it is something that anyone can learn.”

“Home Stories” extends the Center for Synergy’s ongoing Social Innovation Scholars Program into the public humanities. Through the project, undergraduate students at the University of Maryland will enroll in a multi-semester course with Rodríguez to learn about the migrant experience while collaborating with migrant youth from local middle and high schools to explore digital storytelling.  Digital stories are multimedia movies that combine voiceovers, video, sound and text to create a narrative. Both in and out of the classroom, they are a tool for not only developing technical skills, but also promoting self-reflection and critical thinking.

“The project is a way of connecting students who have the technological skills with migrant youth in communities who have important stories to tell,” says Rodríguez.  “Digital storytelling is a democratizing tool that allows these stories to be created and shared across communities.”

The project will work with youth in local schools that enroll large numbers of recently arrived migrant youth from Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean and culminates in a community screening of the filmed stories these youth produce, which will then be available on a public website.

“The humanities help us study our past, understand our present, and prepare for our future,” says NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “The National Endowment for the Humanities is proud to support projects that will benefit all Americans and remind us of our shared human experience.”

 

Image Credit:
Close up of Child Migrant Quilt Project (September 2014)
© Ana Rosa Ventura-Molina 2014

12/6/16

By Jessica Anderson | The Baltimore Sun

"One photograph shows a National Guardsman in fatigues outside Harborplace. Another captures a large crowd gathered outside Penn Station. A third shows young boys riding bicycles past marchers carrying signs that read "Justice 4 Freddie Carlos Gray."

"The more than 12,000 images — some taken by seasoned photographers, others by ordinary people with cellphones —form one part of "Baltimore Stories: Narratives and the Life of an American City."

"The yearlong project, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, aimed to "contextualize narratives of race," organizers said. The Dresher Center for the Humanities in the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences hosted the event, and the project was a collaboration among the University of Maryland's College of Arts and Humanities, Maryland Humanities, and others."

Read the complete article at The Baltimore Sun.

Message from the Dean: ARHU “Year in Review” and the U.S. presidential election.

Dear Colleagues:

It is fortuitous that we’re releasing the College of Arts and Humanities’ (ARHU) annual “Year in Review” the week after the most startling U.S. presidential election in recent history. The election laid bare yawning divisions among us and has elicited deeply-felt emotions of anger, fear, pain and exaltation. People on all sides of this chasm, nationally and locally, are actively engaged in trying to understand and find meaning in these events and discern approaches for moving forward.

This moment presents an exceptional opportunity for me to remind everyone in our community—students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends—of the tremendous value and expertise that the arts and humanities offer society. Through our fields we have the talent and knowledge to analyze, interpret and contextualize these events as both a product of U.S. history and culture and as part of the broad sweep of human civilization.  

Our historians, philosophers and rhetoricians interrogate the narrative arc of the divisive national conversation and its ethical implications. They provide insight into the immense power of words and the burdens of the past. Students and scholars in the visual and performing arts explore creative ways to express feelings of thrill and despair and do so in ways that can bring people together to see and hear one another and to help soothe their pain.

Those who study languages and culture along with those in the multidisciplinary fields of women’s, American, and LGBT studies engage issues of identity, belonging and cultural expression. They are equipped to put into context the pressing challenges of inclusion, communication across cultures and the imperatives of respect for difference.

This report provides multiple examples of the wealth of resources we can draw upon in these challenging times. They offer reassurance and encouragement. I invite you to join me in celebrating the outstanding successes and accomplishments of our community and in utilizing them to help us create new accomplishments in the years ahead.

Sincerely,

Bonnie Thornton Dill

Professor and Dean, College of Arts and Humanities

View PDF here. 

11/11/16

Tom Hall | "Midday" WYPR

"On November 8th, voters chose Donald Trump to be the next President. As Americans come to terms with the idea of a Trump presidency, many questions still remain. What does the election of Donald Trump tell us about our country’s apparent embrace of unprecedented change, and what does it tell us about what Americans are repudiating? Is this a repudiation of civility in politics?  Is it an embrace of isolationism, and a repudiation of tolerance? Is it, as Mr. Trump suggested early this morning, a cry from those who have been forgotten, or is it a mean-spirited and fear-fueled affirmation of a system that favors white people over people of color? "

Listen to the complete postcast on WYPR

Image: Hillary Clinton supporters emotional at campaign headquarters. Via WYPR.

 


By Dina Shafey Scott & Diana Guelespe

Scholars from around the country whose research focuses on the lived experiences of historically underrepresented minority (URM) groups gathered this past summer for the 2nd Annual Intersectional Qualitative Research Methods Institute (IQRMI), held at the University of Maryland (UMD). Organized by UMD’s Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity (CRGE), the week-long institute brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars with one common interest— to research critical social problems using an intersectional approach. 

This year 20 scholars attended a series of daily interactions, seminars and post-institute activities focused on enhancing qualitative research and writing skills, developing critical intersectional perspectives for designing and interpreting research and developing navigational skills to successfully negotiate academic career paths. Scholars represented a variety of academic disciplines, and discussed the importance of integrating the arts and humanities into their research to address social justice issues.

“Understanding privilege requires that we see that all oppression has a starting point and is based in history,” said Nishaun T. Battle, assistant professor of sociology and criminal Justice at Virginia State University.

Battle has worked on understanding and promoting social justice for ‘at risk’ juveniles and spoke of her cross-disciplinary partnership with the humanities.

“I have worked and collaborated with women’s studies and history professors and draw from the work of Elsa Barkley Brown, history and women’s studies professor at Maryland,” said Battle.

Sponsored by the New Connections Program, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Maryland Population Research Center, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at UMD, the institute offers training that uniquely focuses on qualitative research methods that incorporate discussions at the intersections of race, gender, class, ethnicity and other dimensions of inequality, especially cultivated through the lens of URM scholars.

The institute took place as the country was grappling with the controversial deaths of 37-year old Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge Louisiana and 32-year old Philando Castile in St. Paul Minnesota, both dying at the hands of law enforcement officers. It became a space to share thoughts and feelings, as often these faculty are the only people of color in their departments and for students to turn to in these times.

“Schools need to place more emphasis on humanities to help in healing,” said Laurie Nsiah Jefferson, senior lecturer at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

One attendee, Kunmi Sobowale, a resident at Yale School of Medicine at Yale University, reached out to the group after the institute to follow up and share how he was “helping patients to process emotions and fears”  surrounding the events, and “discussing the long lasting effects on their mental health.”

“I am trying to set up discussion(s) and make these topics a standard practice and part of medical training,” said Sobowale.

That act was one of many resulting from the work of the group. They continue to see the institute as a safe space where they were able to share their thoughts and feelings with the group and collaborate in publications.

“What an amazing group of brilliant and compassionate scholars,” said Ruth Enid Zambrana, director of CRGE, “struggling with social issues of grave concern, such as African American men and women in prisons, food insecurity among the poor and Latino immigrant groups, caregiving among other concerns. It was moving to observe them feel safe, secure in their belonging and trust to reach out for help.”

Together the attendees drafted a collective statement in response to the events to express their sadness in the loss of community and law enforcement officers, while noting historical and structural injustices still present in society. 

“We Lift Up Love and Reject the Burden of Hate: To build a more empathetic community, we must courageously listen and make an honest effort to face our fears and pain, and consciously commit to boldly take action for transformative change in this country. Without this change we will inevitably face continued violence and loss of the skills and talents of those we have lost.”

The next IQRMI will be held on June 4-9, 2017. For more information or to apply, please visit www.crge.umd.edu/IQRMI. The deadline for application is January 9, 2017. 

10/20/16

Dan Rodricks | The Baltimore Sun Roughly Speaking Podcast

"Sun columnist Dan Rodricks and American culture commentator Sheri Parks talk about Wednesday night's third and final (and nasty) debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Sheri Parks is an associate dean at the University of Maryland, College Park and a regular contributor to Roughly Speaking. "

Listen to the complete podcast here.

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