Jacob Labendz, director of the Gross Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies was interviewed on April 19 on NBC News.Click here to watch the interview.
Associate Professor of Spanish, Natalia Santamaria Laorden, co-authored a textbook entitled Spanish for Health Care and Human Services Professionals (Cognella, 2022) that underscores the importance of the integration of the arts and intercultural communication within medical training and well prepares students to competently and compassionately serve Spanish-speaking clients and patients. Within seven months of its publication, 289 universities and colleges have ordered a copy of it and 20 universities such as Colorado Boulder, Northeastern, Cincinnati, Florida, North Carolina, Illinois and Villanova have adopted it.
Recently elected as the chair of the languages for specific purposes special interest group in the American Council of Teaching of Foreign Languages, she will also be presenting and moderating a panel entitled The Role of Spanish in Speech Therapy and the Treatment of Language Disorders” in the Cervantes Observatory at Harvard University in hybrid format on June 1.
Dr. Indya Jackson, assistant professor of African-American literature, has been awarded a teaching fellowship by Digital Ethnic Futures Consortium (DEFCon) to develop two digital humanities projects at Ramapo College.
One project is for the English and literary studies senior seminar in the School of Humanities and Global Studies. The question guiding the seminar is, “How do marginalized communities use satire as a form of resistance?” Students will engage with texts such as Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, Charles Yu’s Interior Chinatown, Mosin Hamid’s The Last White Man, and Chinelo Okparanta’s Harry Sylvester Bird. Jackson aims “to incorporate into the course the social annotation of assigned criticism” and anticipates that “students will meaningfully and critically engage with challenging academic texts in an interactive way.”
The second project focuses on the creation of an online exhibit showcasing audio and visual materials related to assigned readings. Exhibited materials will likely include audio recordings of authors reading from their work, video interviews with scholars, and/or original audio and visual art that relates to the course themes. Jackson expects that the exhibit “will provide a unique, yet critical means through which students can explore and connect with the course material.”
Congratulations to Associate Professor of African-American History David Colman who was recently appointed to the Bergen County Historic Preservation Advisory Board. Member of this group serve as a resource to the Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs and to the County Executive and the Freeholders on historic preservation policy, interpretive programs, operation of county historic sites and facilities, preparation of a County Preservation Master Plan, and on acquisition and preservation of properties as County-owned historic sites. The board reviews applications and recommends funding for the Historic Preservation Trust Fund component of the BC Open Space Trust Fund, sponsors the annual County Historic Preservation Awards, reviews construction and development applications from the public and private sectors that may impact historic sites, sponsors educational seminars pertaining to preservation subjects, and, when requested, provides technical assistance on historic preservation to municipalities and private individuals.
In a recent op-ed in Ebony, Dr. Karl Johnson, co-convenor of the Africana Studies program was quoted on the importance of Black History Month:
“African American History Month is American History and has been vital to the progress of this nation. The 13th,14th and 15th Amendments of the Constitution passed originally for African Americans after the Civil War is now utilized by all Americans to protect civil rights and freedoms,” he declares. “Additionally, more than ever, evidenced-based history is under attack. It is important we begin to move away from the myths and stereotypes from the past to continue to progress and become even more inclusive.”
The op-ed, written by Ramapo alumni Dr. Daniel Jean, offers three ways to make Black History Month last all year:
- To continue to celebrate our history outside of the classroom, dating back to the beginning of civilization ensuring our children know their African lineage.
- To continue the constant discovery of new facts and proof of our many contributions to our global society, like The 1619 Project and Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America have done.
- To continue to share oral history to ensure the nuanced perspective can be passed down from generation to generation. We must be thankful for all our ancestors who fought for the many freedoms and privileges we have today.
Three online courses by Cathy Moran Hajo, Director of the Jane Addams Papers, were recently launched on eLabs, a multi-year effort by the University of Virginia’s Center for Digital Editing to develop curriculum for publishing historical documents on the web. The program was funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. It is a rethinking of a long-standing in-person training program, known as the Institute for Editing Historical Documents.
The three courses currently available are: What Will Your Edition Look Like?, Organizing Your Documents, and Transcribing Your Documents. These courses are part of the Fundamentals series, which was designed to introduce practitioners to common topics, activities, and questions related to the practices of editing and recovery. Eleven additional courses in this series will be released between now and July 2023.
Professor of Political Science Jeremy Teigen was invited to be a Co-Chair at the Student Conference on US Affairs, or “SCUSA.” Ramapo also sent two student delegates, Matthew Wisneski and Hannah Scroggins (pictured here). The event, hosted by the United States Military Academy at West Point, took place November 2-5, 2022. Around 180 students, half of them cadets at West Point and the other half being civilian delegates from colleges and universities from all over the country, assembled and were grouped into working teams to develop foreign policy briefs on various international challenges facing the US. Co-Chairs’ jobs included helping the student groups organize themselves, debate options, and eventually guide students to write and present a policy brief. The keynote speaker this year was United States Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield and this event’s theme was “American Foreign Policy in an Era of Polarized Politics and Revisionist Powers.”
Advance praise for Hugh Sheedy’s (Literature) Design Flaw: Stories (University of Chicago Press) recently appeared in Publisher’s Weekly:
“Sheehy (The Invisibles) delivers a dark and dazzling collection pocked with surface tension and an undercurrent of menace. The bewitching title story chronicles a troubled married couple who adopt a ‘designer animal,’ part monkey and part cat, who is soon accused of mutilating neighborhood animals. The son in “Amontillado” laments his aging mother’s declining mental agility while attending the funeral of a childhood bully. A man in ‘Demonology, or Gratitude’ takes in a hard-partying woman, falls in love with her, then watches her self-destruct from abusing various drugs. The good Samaritan driver in ‘First Responder’ seeks only to help an increasingly menacing hitchhiker he meets at a gas station, but winds up getting so much more than he expected. Closing out the collection is the thoughtful ‘Modern Wonders,’ about a computer interface that accesses users’ memories and shows them uncomfortable truths about themselves. Artfully imagined and written with a distinctly devilish edge, these beguiling yarns plumb the depths of humanity and explore how human behavior can be twisted and modified by science. Often murky and mysterious, with some only a few pages long, Sheehy’s curious tales never fail to enchant and entertain.”
Congratulations to John Gronbeck-Tedesco (American Studies) whose new book Operation Pedro Pan: The Migration of Unaccompanied Children from Castro’s Cuba (Potomac Books) was published in August 2022.
Operation Pedro Pan explores the extraordinary undertaking by the Miami Catholic Diocese, federal and state offices, child welfare agencies, and anti-Castro Cubans to bring more than fourteen thousand unaccompanied children to the United States during the Cold War. Operation Pedro Pan was the colloquial name for the Unaccompanied Cuban Children’s Program, which began under government largesse in February 1961. Children without immediate family support in the United States—some 8,300 minors—received group and foster care through the Catholic Welfare Bureau and other religious, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations as young people were dispersed throughout the country.
Congratulations to Todd Barnes (Literature), whose recent book, Shakespearean Charity and the Perils of Redemptive Performance (Cambridge, 2020) was included as one of ten works included in their “This Year’s Contribution to Shakespeare Studies,” published by the Shakespeare Survey.
The author of the year’s review, Jane Kingsley-Smith, notes that the book, “which examines the phenomenon of the TV-documentary-about-underprivileged-students-being-transformed-by-their-experience-of-Shakespeare. . . resonates with much larger questions. When we as Shakespeare scholars, teachers, readers, and theatregoers, think about Shakespeare as being ‘good for you,’ for whom do we mean exactly? What does it mean to give Shakespeare as a ‘gift’ to students and what do we expect in return?. . . Barnes’s central argument is that embracing a transcendental Shakespeare allows these films to erase cultural and racial differences. ‘Shakespeare’ serves to deflect attention away from the social injustices that create difference, on the individual’s responsibility to ‘redeem’ themselves.
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