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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.

9/13/16

The Baltimore City Paper named "BMORE Than the Story "Best Community Curation" in its 2016 "Best of Baltimore" issue. Curated by students from associate Professor of design Audra Buck-Coleman’s course on design in society and students from the Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts, the “BMORE Than The Story” exhibition at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum addressed the one-sided media portrayal and the realities of the west Baltimore students’ lives. 

The Baltimore City Paper writes:

"Baltimore’s museums generally feature exhibitions organized by professional curators, but in the aftermath of the uprising following the murder of Freddie Gray, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum opened up its exhibit space to students from Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts. The students curated a response to the ugly media narrative about their lives that the press put out in April 2015. Working with UMD students, the result was “BMORE Than the Story,” which highlighted stories from students about their experiences with surveillance, police brutality, and civic deprivation. The show was a powerful challenge to the carceral logics of their schools and neighborhoods that resonated far beyond the museum walls."

Read the complete article at the Baltimore City Paper website.

Image via the Baltimore City Paper

Congratulations to ARHU professors La Mar Jurelle Bruce, Julius B. Fleming Jr. and Christopher J. Bonner, who received fellowships for their research projects related to African-American literature, history and culture.

Bruce, Fleming and Bonner were part of an African-Americanist cluster hire, joining a community of scholars at the University of Maryland (UMD) that are at the forefront of the discussion on race and produce scholarship at the intersections of history, literature, gender studies and artistic expression. 

La Mar Jurelle Bruce, Assistant Professor in the Department of American Studies

La Marr Jurelle Bruce was awarded the 2016 Ford Foundation  Postdoctoral Fellowship, which is sponsored by the Ford Foundation and administered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. He is one of only 21 scholars to receive the postdoctoral fellowship in this year’s rigorous nationwide competition.

Bruce’s scholarship focuses on “blackness and feeling—that is, the phenomenological, affective, and erotic textures of black life across the diaspora,” Bruce said. “I am especially interested in how feeling informs, inspires, infuses, and sometimes inhibits black expressive cultures,” he added. At UMD, he teaches courses in Africana and American performance, literature, visual art and popular culture.

The fellowship will fund Bruce for the 2016-17 academic year while he completes his first book, “How to Go Mad without Losing Your Mind: Madness, Blackness, and Radical Creativity.” The book is a study of black artists who mobilize “madness” within radical performance and literature. Proposing a theory of madness that addresses its floating signification—and traverses its phenomenological, clinical, sociocultural, and political dimensions—Bruce confronts “the mad” in the work of Charles Mingus, Nina Simone, Amiri Baraka, Ntozake Shange, Patricia J. Williams, Lauryn Hill and Dave Chappelle, among others.

“African American artists have deployed ‘madness’ as content, methodology, metaphor, form, aesthetic and existential posture in an enduring black radical tradition,” Bruce said. “By ‘going mad,’ these artists also expose and convey the violence, chaos, strangeness, wonder, paradox, and danger—in short, the phenomenological madness—that infuses modernity’s racial drama.”

Bruce will be hosted by the Center for Africana Studies and the Department of Music at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. During his time there, he will be mentored by Guthrie Ramsey, Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor of Music at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Ford Foundation Fellowship Program awards pre-doctoral, dissertation, and postdoctoral scholarships to scholars who promote diversity in the academy.

Julius Fleming Jr., Assistant Professor in the Department of English

Julius Fleming Jr. was awarded a post-doctoral residential research and teaching fellowship at the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia, where he will be completing his first book manuscript, “Technologies of Liberation: Performance and the Art of Black Political Thought.” In addition, he will begin his second book project, which examines the intersections of race, medicine and capital in black performance and literature—19th century to the present.

Fleming specializes in twentieth and twenty-first century African diasporic literatures and cultures, with particular interests in performance, visual culture, sound studies, philosophy and medicine, particularly how they intersect with race, gender and sexuality. He was inspired to pursue his field of research when he was an undergraduate student at Tougaloo College, a private, historically black college in Central Mississippi that served as a bastion for civil rights activism. 

The Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia funds residencies for scholars who specialize in the study of Africa and the African diaspora. Fleming will be part of the post-doctoral program that offers a two-year research and teaching fellowship.

 Christopher Bonner, Assistant Professor in the Department of History

Christopher Bonner was a 2015-16 recipient of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Library Company of Philadelphia. The fellowship has enabled him to work on his current book project, “The Price of Citizenship: Black Protest, American Law, and the Shaping of Society, 1827-1868,” which examines the lives of free Africans who were working to define citizenship and secure rights in the decades before the Civil War.

Bonner chose to pursue the NEH fellowship in Philadelphia, a city that is considered a center for African American politics before the American Civil War broke out in 1789.

In his book project, Bonner poses questions about how people can change their government and about what black freedom means in a slaveholding society. His ultimate goal, Bonner says, is to shed light on the contributions of black activists before the end of slavery and their role in the creation of the Fourteenth Amendment, which is considered the foundation for citizenship and rights for the modern United States.

“I've been drawn to this work as a way of exploring the long history of struggles for civil rights in the United States,” Bonner said. “I'm also interested in understanding how black Americans have related to and worked to transform the structures of American law and government.”

The NEH Post-Doctoral Fellowship supports scholarship related to United States history and the Atlantic world from the 17th through the 19th centuries. It provides a monthly stipend and access to conduct research in residence at the Library Company of Philadelphia.

About the College of Arts and Humanities

The College of Arts and Humanities has made serious investments in African American culture and history, hiring faculty clusters in African American literature and history, adding to the strong community of African Americanist scholars already spread across the campus’s many colleges. The university is also home to important research centers such as the Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity and the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora.

 Through interdisciplinary collaborations led by the College of Arts and Humanities, UMD is also expanding the breadth of research possibilities in the fields of African American history, literature and culture, and the digital humanities. A new project co-directed by the Arts and Humanities Center for Synergy and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH)—“Synergies among Digital Humanities and African American History and Culture”—will utilize digital humanities to develop tools, methods and archives to address African American themed research questions.

4/28/16

WHAT: 

Future STEM Leaders is an event that will bring together national experts from academia, government and industry to discuss the future of graduate training in STEM fields (and beyond). The focus of this meeting, co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the University of Maryland, is on the changing demands of STEM research and careers, the most promising innovations in training that have emerged in leading programs around the country, and the challenges of scaling up these innovations to transform graduate education across institutions and disciplines.

AGENDA HIGHLIGHTS:
Future STEM Leaders will take place on Wednesday, May 4th, from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

  • 9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Building the Perfect PhD: What is needed, and why?
  • 10:30 a.m. - noon State-of-the-Science: Innovators and innovations in STEM graduate training
  • Noon - 1:30 p.m. Lunch and showcase of initiatives and programs
  • 1:30 - 3 p.m. What are we Waiting for: Removing barriers to change
  • 3 - 4:30 p.m. Taking Action: Translating good ideas into policy and best practices
  • For more details on sessions and speakers as well as information on directions and parking, please visit our website futurestemleaders.com.

FEATURED PANELISTS:

Greg Ball, Dean, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, University of Maryland

Mark Connolly, Associate Research Scientist & Principal Investigator, Wisconsin Center for Education Research

Bonnie Thornton Dill, Dean, College of Arts & Humanities, University of Maryland

Dean Evasius, Senior Advisor for Science/Head of Multidisciplinary Activities, MPS, National Science Foundation

Jessica Faupel-Badger, Director, NIGMS Postdoctoral Research Associate (PRAT) Program, NIH

Norberto Grzywacz, Dean, Graduate School, Georgetown University

Rebecca Haacker, Director of Advanced Study Program, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Wolfgang Losert, Interim Associate Dean for Research, College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, University of Maryland

Aisha Morris, Program Director, RESESS Internship, UNAVCO

Thomas Rudin, Director, Board on Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW), National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Dahlia Sokolov, Director, Subcommittee on Research & Technology, U.S. House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology

Richard Spinrad, Senior Scientist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Richard Tankersley, Program Director, NSF Research Traineeship (NRT), National Science Foundation

Lois Trautvetter, Director, Higher Education Administration and Policy Program , Northwestern University

PARTICIPATING ORGANIZATIONS:

American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association of Medical Colleges
American Educational Research Association
American Mathematical Society
American Psychological Association
Association of American Universities
Burroughs Wellcome Fund
Coalition for National Science Funding
Colorado State University
Computing Research Association
Council of Graduate Schools
Duke University
Elsevier
Georgetown University
George Washington University
Georgia Tech
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
U.S. House Science Committee
Iowa State University
Linguistic Society of America
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The National Academies
National Center for Atmospheric Research
National Institutes of Health
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Science Foundation
Northwestern University
The Ohio State University
Oregon State University
Penn State University
Society for Neuroscience
STEM Education Coalition
Syracuse University
Texas A&M University
UNAVCO
University Industry Demonstration Partnership
University of California, Berkeley
University of Connecticut
University of Georgia
University of Maryland
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
University of Oklahoma
University of Rochester
University of Southern Mississippi
University of Wisconsin
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Transportation
Virginia Tech

MEDIA:

Media coverage of the event and all sessions is welcome. Please email Colin Phillips, director of the Maryland Language Science Center at the University of Maryland, at colin@umd.edu.

Twitter:

●       Future STEM Leaders: #futureSTEM

●       Maryland Language Science Center: @UMD_LSC

●       National Science Foundation: @NSF

●       University of Maryland: @UofMaryland

ABOUT THE NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION:
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…" NSF fulfills its mission mainly through grants awarded to fund specific research proposals from individuals or small groups of investigators to support research centers, instruments, and facilities that allow scientists, engineers, and students to work at the outermost frontiers of knowledge.

NSF's goals--discovery, learning, research infrastructure and stewardship--provide an integrated strategy to advance the frontiers of knowledge and cultivate a world-class, broadly inclusive science and engineering workforce. It aims to expand the scientific literacy of all citizens, build the nation's research capability through investments in advanced instrumentation and facilities, and support excellence in science and engineering research and education through a capable and responsive organization. NSF is "where discoveries begin."

ABOUT THE MARYLAND LANGUAGE SCIENCE CENTER:
Established in 2013, the University of Maryland’s Language Science Center (LSC) is the home of a university-wide initiative to advance language science. LSC aims to raise the profile of language as a critical research area, build connections between researchers, disciplines and institutions that support innovation in research and education, and to improve awareness and public understanding of language issues and the need for language-related policy decisions to be scientifically informed.

The Maryland Language Science Center connects expertise, ideas and creativity in fields ranging from social and biological sciences, computer science and engineering, to humanities, education, and clinical fields such as hearing science and speech pathology. Our research addresses broad questions connecting fundamental science to applications in education, technology, and health.

ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND:
The University of Maryland is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 37,000 students, 9,000 faculty and staff, and 250 academic programs. Its faculty includes three Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners, 47 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. The institution has a $1.8 billion operating budget, secures $500 million annually in external research funding and recently completed a $1 billion fundraising campaign. For more information about the University of Maryland, visit www.umd.edu.

 

4/14/16

By , WBALTV

BALTIMORE —A new exhibit at a museum downtown is giving students from a school in west Baltimore a chance to voice their feelings and opinions about last April's unrest.

Quotes from city officials taken from media outlets during last April's unrest are part of a new interactive exhibit opening at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum. Using a black light, visitors can see word substitutions that reflect the perspective of the young artists, like Lonnie Royster, who will be part of a live performance.

"What happened last April was about economic disenfranchisement and neglect and yes, a black, African-American boy child used the phrase economic disenfranchisement and neglect," Royster said.

"These are students who have never really had an opportunity to have a voice, and they've come together and, like, created this huge thing, and it's really powerful, and I want people to see it," graphic design student Ashley Brannock said.

In Bmore Than The Story students from Augusta Fells Savage High School in west Baltimore worked with graphic design students from the University of the Maryland College Park to express their feelings about the death of Freddie Gray and the riots.

Read more and watch video here

Written by Taylor Swaak, The Diamondback

Photo Courtesy of The Diamondback

Bergis Jules and Ed Summers developed a vision to efficiently amass millions of tweets and make them more accessible to the public after the social media explosion that followed Michael Brown's death in August 2014.

"The images and the videos were so powerful," said Jules, university and political papers archivist at the University of California, Riverside. "That got me thinking that there's something going on here, and we need to try and capture this as best as we can."

A year and a half later, The University of Maryland's Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities — in collaboration with UC Riverside and Washington University in St. Louis — announced Jan. 20 a $517,000 two-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the "Documenting the Now: Supporting Scholarly Use and Preservation of Social Media Content" project.

Read more here

 

COLLEGE PARK, MD -- A two-year, $517,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will fund a project called “Documenting the Now: Supporting Scholarly Use and Preservation of Social Media Content.” Washington University in St. Louis, the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland and the University of California, Riverside, are collaborators on the project.

The project responds to the public’s use of social media for chronicling historically significant events as well as demand from scholars and archivists seeking a user-friendly means of collecting and preserving digital content.

As part of the project, the three institutions are developing DocNow, a cloud-ready, open-source application that will be used for collecting tweets and their associated metadata and Web content.

Twitter emerged as one of the most important channels of communication during the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Mo., when it served as a primary conduit for disseminating information. DocNow will be developed using tweets and Web content related to the events in Ferguson, resulting in a data set that can be used in research.

“The DocNow application will provide scholars with new ways of gathering and analyzing data from Twitter, which is a tremendous source of documentation on contemporary events,” said Chris Freeland, project co-principal investigator and associate university librarian at Washington University in St. Louis.

DocNow is among a growing number of applications that make social media datasets available for noncommercial, scholarly research. The app will be specifically designed to help authenticated users tap into Twitter streams to identify Web content that is of value for current and future research.

“We at MITH are honored to be partnering with Mellon, Washington University and the University of California to ensure that the documentary record around events such as the protests in Ferguson can be studied in an ethical, timely and cost-effective manner,” said Ed Summers co-principal investigator and technical lead on the project “I am specifically interested in the challenges of not only collecting and analyzing the data, but also packaging and archiving it for future use.”

Scholars on the project also seek to produce a white paper on ethical, copyright and access issues related to the collection of social media content.

Bergis Jules, co-principal investigator and community lead at the University of California, Riverside, hopes the DocNow project will be a catalyst for community building around the scholarly use and preservation of social media archives.

“Community building will be vitally important as we continue to develop standards and effective practices around the collection and access to this rich content, said Jules. “I’m excited The Mellon Foundation is supporting this project as it will be an important contribution to scholarship on social media archiving.”

###

About the University of Maryland College Park

The University of Maryland is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 37,000 students, 9,000 faculty and staff, and 250 academic programs. Its faculty includes three Nobel laureates, two Pulitzer Prize winners, 49 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. The institution has a $1.8 billion operating budget, secures $500 million annually in external research funding and recently completed a $1 billion fundraising campaign. For more information, visit www.umd.edu

About Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis was founded in 1853 as a non-denominational community of scholars and now ranks among the nation’s leaders in higher education. The university’s undergraduate, graduate and professional programs are highly regarded. Its libraries’ hold distinguished collections of rare books, manuscripts and that draw scholars from around the world. For more information about the university and its libraries, visit wustl.edu and libraries.wustl.edu.

About the University of California, Riverside

The University of California, Riverside is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion. A broadcast studio with fiber cable to the AT&T Hollywood hub is available for live or taped interviews. UCR also has ISDN for radio interviews. To learn more, call (951) UCR-NEWS.

Photos by Jamelle Bouie

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