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To: Colleagues
From: Bonnie Thornton Dill, Dean
Date: August 23, 2013
Re: Latin American Studies Center Director
 
I’m pleased to announce the appointment of Alejandro Cañeque as Interim Director of the Latin American Studies Center, effective August 23, 2013.
 
Currently an associate professor in the Department of History, Alejandro is a specialist in the history of colonial Latin America and the Spanish empire. He teaches courses on the history of the encounter between Europeans and natives in the New World, colonial Spanish America, early modern imperialism and colonialism in the Atlantic world. In addition to the United States, he has taught in the United Kingdom,Mexico, Peru and Spain.
 
Alejandro’s main area of research is the political and religious cultures of the early modern Spanish world, with an emphasis on colonial Spanish America. He is the author of “The King’s Living Image: The Culture and Politics of Viceregal Power in Colonial Mexico” (2004) and contributor to the edition of Juan de Palafox’s “Virtues of the Indian” (2009). His works, “The Americas,” “Historia Mexicana,” “Revista de Indias” and “Histórica,” were published in the Colonial Latin American Review. He is currently working on a book-length study of the politics of martyrdom on the frontiers of the Spanish empire in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
 
The Latin American Studies Center has long serviced the campus and larger community as a research center dedicated to the teaching of topics related to Latin America and the Caribbean. Over the 2013-14 academic term, Alejandro will provide oversight for the center’s curricular offerings, undergraduate certificate program
and outreach activities.
 
Alejandro holds a licenciatura (or license) in geography and history from the Universidad de Sevilla in Spain, and a M.A. in Latin American studies and a Ph.D. in Latin American history from New York University.
 
I also announce that Jennifer Baur Sanchez is the center’s new coordinator, replacing Winslow Robertson and responsible for course scheduling, events and publicity.
 
Finally, I want to take this time to thank Karin Rosemblatt for her service as the center’s director for the past five years.

By Natalie Kornicks

The School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures has appointed Zhanna Gerus-Vernola the Maya Brin Distinguished Lecturer in Russian starting fall 2013. In addition to teaching, she will organize all events and activities related to the new Maya Brin Residency Program, established through a generous $600,000 gift from University of Maryland Professor Emeritus of Mathematics Michael Brin. The residency program, named in memory of Brin’s mother, Maya, who taught Russian in the Russian program for nearly 10 years, is designed to bring leading Russian scholars, artists and cultural figures to campus for short-term stays between one week and one semester.

A lecturer in Russian at Maryland since 2006, Gerus-Vernola has been the primary beyond-the-classroom organizer for the Russian program and has been active in providing program enrichment through contacts in the community.

“Ms. Gerus-Vernola unites excellence in teaching and a range of administrative skills with a strong attachment to student engagement and a serious commitment both to the new Maya Brin Residency Program and to the Maryland Russian program,” said Elizabeth Papazian, an associate professor of Russian and film studies in the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

Gerus-Vernola holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in psychology from Moscow State University and a master’s degree in Russian language and linguistics from the University of Maryland. She has completed her Ph.D. coursework in second language acquisition and Russian at Bryn Mawr College.

Gerus-Vernola is active in the area of technology and learning, with a three-year stint as a consultant on Internet-based language modules for American Councils. This past year she received a New(er) Technology Grant from the University of Maryland Center for Teaching Excellence for intensive training during the summer, followed by monthly seminars throughout the academic year

Additional professional experience includes a three-year position as a program officer for the Future Leader Exchange Program (FLEX) at the American Councils for International Education; four years as a co-organizer of an annual international sports festival for handicapped athletes in Russia; and a year as a practicing psychologist in Moscow working with women from war-conflict zones.

By Natalie Kornicks

The College of Arts and Humanities would like to congratulate Art History and Archaeology Professor Abby McEwen on receiving the 2013 Dedalus Foundation Senior Fellowship for her project, a book titled “Revolutionary Horizons: Art and Polemics in 1950s Cuba.” The fellowship includes a stipend of $30,000, the maximum amount of money awarded to a recipient.

“The fellowship is supporting final stages of work on my book manuscript,” McEwen said. “And the stipend will support a semester of research leave from the university (in Fall 2013), as well as travel to Miami and Havana.”

Her book, which she expects to complete by the end of the fellowship year, considers the emergence of abstract art in Havana and its promulgation within a radicalized cultural filed, circumscribed by the national discourse of cubanía and the Cold War ideological divide. Abstraction, both a physical form and an ideological platform, signaled new possibilities for art as a means of social and political transformation, and is the focus of McEwen’s research.

In addition to the Dedalus Senior Fellowship, her project has also been supported by grants and fellowships from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the University of Maryland Graduate School.

The Dedalus Foundation’s Senior Fellowship program is intended to encourage and support critical and historical studies of modern art and modernism. Under this program, fellowships are awarded to writers and scholars who have demonstrated their abilities through previous accomplishments and who are not currently matriculated for academic degrees.

Congratulations again to Assistant Professor McEwen on receiving this prestigious fellowship! 

The Honors Humanities Living and Learning Program, administered by the College of Arts and Humanities in collaboration with the Honors College, has announced the appointment of Gregory A. Staley as its new director.

Staley, who will begin his new position on July 1st, is an associate professor of classics in the college.  His research focuses on Latin literature, on its reception in later eras and on the role of Greek and Roman antiquity in the formation of American identity.

Staley said he welcomes the opportunity to celebrate with students all the ways in which the humanities foster self-knowledge, self-formation and self-promotion in every possible career and in every pathway in life.

As director, he plans to emphasize the intersections between the humanities and the sciences; to highlight the connections between the humanities and careers; and to honor the ways in which knowledge of the past helps to shape the future.

Selections of Staley’s work include his book “Seneca and the Idea of Tragedy” and an editing of the essay series, “American Women and Classical Myths.”  He has also written articles and essays about fictional and non-fictional figures ranging from Rip Van Winkle to Nathanial Hawthorne.  He is currently working on an article to be included in the book “Brill Companion to Roman Tragedy.”

Staley has won many awards, including the Excellence in Teaching award from the American Philological Association.  He has also served as a Lilly Fellow and been elected to the Academy for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at the University of Maryland.

ABOUT THE HONORS HUMANITIES PROGRAM
The nationally recognized Honors Humanities Living and Learning Program is one of seven living and learning programs under the Honors College. Located in Anne Arundel Hall, the program challenges students to think about fundamental questions facing humanity through their exposure to traditional practices within the humanities combined with investigations of the role of arts and humanities in the world today.

ABOUT THE HONORS COLLEGE
The highly acclaimed Honors College consists of a close-knit community of faculty and intellectually gifted undergraduates committed to acquiring a broad and balanced education.  The program features small classes taught by outstanding faculty who encourage discussion and foster innovative thinking. Each year, approximately 1000 undergraduates are welcomed into this highly selective program.

For more information on the Honors Humanities program, visit www.honorshumanities.umd.edu.

For more information on the Honors College, visit www.honors.umd.edu.

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 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.

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

By Jackie Zakrewsky

Hacker. Brainiac. Creative genius. Email savior.

These labels don’t faze software entrepreneur Dave Baggett ’92, founder of the Bethesda, Md.-based company Arcode – though they’re flying thick and fast in the flurry of reviews generated among tech bloggers about Arcode’s first product, Inky.

“So much for the slow organic growth path,” the 2009 Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Arts and Humanities noted in a recent email.

That ubiquitous technology, which Baggett simply calls “mail,” happens to be his current entrepreneurial target. Through a simple download at inky.com, Baggett aims to offer the world a better email experience, with “smart” features such as a unified inbox that consolidates a user’s email accounts and sorts messages by relevance.

Baggett is the first to admit Arcode wasn’t ready to unleash Inky on the world.

“We’re hardly out of [initial] alpha [testing] at this point and are focused primarily on fixing bugs,” he wrote in late December in a post on the Hacker News website.

But Inky’s unexpected debut in the tech community has found Baggett fielding questions about a host of issues, ranging from security and privacy concerns to requests for mobile versions of Inky. The magna cum laude graduate with a double major in linguistics and computer science offers straight-up answers, no matter how much “geek argot,” or tech lingo, is thrown his way.

If you question whether Inky is “wrapped with Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF), with web page JavaScript calling native Python scripts,” Baggett has a simple answer that doesn’t give away the company store: “Yes, it embeds Python and uses CEF. But there’s a lot of other native code running there as well.”

For the past two decades, Baggett’s programming acumen and entrepreneurial spirit have served him well. As he wrote on Hacker News, “I'm a hacker who (long ago) co-wrote Crash Bandicoot (1&2) and co-founded ITA Software, which was sold to Google in 2010.”

That track record led to an extensive overview of Inky in the influential online media hub known as Tech Crunch and prompted one blogger to write, “I’ll try Inky just because of your credentials.”

Meanwhile, the hard work of getting Inky right continues. In an interview at Arcode last year, Baggett noted that making “this transition from the dumb mail client to a smart one entails solving a lot of hard [technical] problems”—to the extent that “larger companies with more resources will not easily clone what you do.”

He also recognized that getting the product right wasn’t the only hurdle he faced in creating Inky.

“The biggest challenge with consumers is you have no idea what they’re going to like,” he said. “It’s worth pointing out that you have to do everything right and then get somewhat lucky to have that happen.”

You can try Inky for free at http://inky.com

By Ashley David

The College of Arts and Humanities would like to congratulate University of Maryland English Professor Vessela Valiavitcharska on receiving a year-long fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

NEH is an independent federal agency and one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.  In November 2012, NEH distributed $17.5 million in grants to 246 humanities projects. Valiavitcharska was awarded a “Fellowship for University Teachers,” which provides $50,400 to college and university teachers pursuing advanced research. 

Valiavitcharska’s research project entitled, “The Relationship between Figurative Language and Argumentation in Medieval Greek (Byzantine) Rhetoric,” is a broader inquiry into the relationship between style and argumentation in Byzantine rhetorical prose.  She was drawn to this research because of attitudes of Byzantine rhetoricians, who appear to treat rhetorical argumentation not so much in terms of logic and reason, but in terms of style and language form.

When asked what impact she hopes to make with her research, Valiavitcharska says, “I hope to challenge the understanding that there is an absolute divide between argument and style in medieval rhetoric.”

For a complete list of the 2012-13 NEH grant recipients please click here

11/7/12

 

ALL events are FREE (ticketed) and open to the public.

Reserve tickets through the Clarice Smith Center online at www.claricesmithcenter.umd.edu or by calling 301.405.ARTS.

 

David Alan Grier in conversation
Monday, November 12, 2012, 7 PM
Dekelboum Concert Hall Clarice Smith Center

The multitalented comedian and film, television, and Broadway star discusses the creative process, comedy and improvisation, music and his life experiences with culture and race. Named one of Comedy Central’s “100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time,” Grier was most recently nominated for a 2012 Tony Award for his performance in the critically acclaimed Broadway revival of The Gershwins’ “Porgy and Bess.”

Cosponsored by The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies

Eric Schlosser in conversation
Wednesday, November 28, 2012, 5:30 PM
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Center

Award-winning journalist, producer of the critically acclaimed documentary “FOOD, Inc.,” and best-selling author of “ Fast Food Nation” — selected by TIME magazine as one of the top 100 non-fiction books of all time — discusses the controversial and alarming state of public health, agriculture and the food industry in America.

Cosponsored by UMD Dining Services Green Dining Program

Chimamanda Adiche
Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 5:30 PM
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Center

2008 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship recipient and award-winning Nigerian author of “Half of a Yellow Sun,” “Purple Hibiscus,” and “The Thing Round Your Neck,” which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book in Africa, speaks to the cross-generational significance of storytelling and its enduring impact on the cultural history of our lives.

Cosponsored by the Center for Literary and Comparative Studies and The Institute for International Programs

Cathy Davidson
Thursday, April 18, 2013, 5:30 PM
Gildenhorn Recital Hall, Clarice Smith Center

Professor of English at Duke University, renowned scholar in Digital Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies, and prolific author of “Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn,” explores how the modern digital age will globally shape the future innovation of learning.

Cosponsored by the ADVANCE Program

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