IUPUI Africana Studies Program receives award from National Council for Black Studies

385606_w296INDIANAPOLIS — The Africana Studies Program in the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis has received the Mary McLeod Bethune and Carter G. Woodson Award for Outstanding Service in the Promotion of Social Responsibility in Africana Studies from the National Council for Black Studies.

The award was presented at the 38th annual National Council for Black Studies Conference in March in Miami, Fla. IUPUI’s Africana Studies Program served as the local co-host of the council’s 2013 conference, along with IU Bloomington, Notre Dame and Purdue universities.

“This award acknowledges the collective efforts of Africana studies faculty, students and staff who played strategic roles in the local conference planning as well as their active participation in the NCBS conference that was held in Indianapolis last year,” said Bessie House-Soremekun, director of Africana studies and professor of political science and Africana studies. “We are deeply humbled to receive this prestigious award named in honor of two great exemplars of social responsibility, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune and Dr. Carter G. Woodson.”

The 2013 National Council for Black Studies conference, at the Westin Hotel in downtown Indianapolis, had the second highest attendance in the organization’s history. The conference, which featured more than 400 concurrent sessions, drew on the diverse talents of IUPUI Africana studies faculty, staff and students, as well as members of the Indianapolis community. Professor Monroe Little served as chair of the local arrangements committee, and IUPUI senior Kendrea Williams and graduate assistant Juhanna Rogers provided invaluable service as members of the local arrangements committee.

IUPUI and Indianapolis community members also presented papers and served as volunteers at the conference. House-Soremekun presented a welcome speech at the opening reception at the Madame Walker Theatre Center. Three IUPUI students — Stella Brown, Leon Bates and Gregory Efiom — were inducted into the National Council for Black Studies National Honor Society.

The National Council for Black Studies was founded in 1975 by African American scholars who believed in the importance of providing scholarly information on the historical contributions of Africa and the experiences of African descended people in the African Diaspora. It has emerged as one of the most respected professional organizations in the United States dedicated to engendering an ongoing respect for people of African descent.

IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI recognizes three with alumni awards

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAINDIANAPOLIS — Sheila Gilbert dedicates her life to helping the poor. Charity Counts brings educational opportunities to Indianapolis. Brian Denton puts his statistical skills to work in the medical field.

Their accomplishments are unique, but they are connected by their liberal arts education. And on May 9, Gilbert, Counts and Denton were honored with IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI Alumni Awards.

“Sheila Gilbert, Charity Counts and Brian Denton are three wonderful examples of liberal arts alumni making a difference,” said William Blomquist, dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts. “It’s a joy to recognize their career and community achievements and add them to the rolls of accomplished alumni of the school.”

Each year the Liberal Arts Alumni Association recognizes alumni and friends of the School of Liberal Arts for their achievements and service. The Distinguished Alumni Service Award recognizes outstanding alumni who distinguish themselves either professionally or by giving extraordinary service to the school/university. The Early Career Achievement Award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in a profession or for service to the school/university; graduates within 15 years of degree completion are eligible for this award.

Gilbert received the Liberal Arts Distinguished Alumni Service Award for her work with people in need. Counts and Denton received the Early Career Achievement Award for success in their respective career paths and contributions to their alma mater. The awards were presented as part of the school’s annual celebration of its graduating classes, which took place at the Indianapolis Arts Garden.

Honorees were nominated by faculty, community members and alumni, and selection was made by the Alumni Association Board.

More information about the honorees:

Sheila Gilbert (BA sociology, 1978; MA public and environmental affairs, 1983)

Sheila Gilbert is the national president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. She is a past president of the society’s Indianapolis Council and currently facilitates its educational program, Changing Lives, a 26-week training and educational program that helps low-income families exit poverty.

She was a St. Mary of the Woods College adjunct faculty member and previously served as director of Project CLASS, a career development and work experience program of Indianapolis Public Schools for more than 800 economically disadvantaged adults.

“She is the unpaid servant leader of an organization that yearly provides more than half a billion dollars’ worth of goods and services to people in need in the United States,” said Robert White, professor and chair of sociology. “I cannot conceive of an alumna who brings more honor to the IU School of Liberal Arts than Sheila Gilbert.”

Charity Counts (MA museum studies, 2008)

Charity Counts is the associate vice president of exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Since receiving her master’s degree, she has been active with the Museum Studies Program as a donor, guest presenter and internship mentor.

While a student, she published the article “Spectacular Design in Museum Exhibitions,” which became a cover story in Curator: The Museum Journal, the top peer-reviewed publication in the field.

“Ms. Counts embodies the spirit and purpose of the liberal arts and brings that knowledge to her everyday work,” said Elizabeth Wood, associate professor and director of museum studies. “Her attention and commitment to intellectual pursuits and leadership in the field indicate the strength of an early and distinguished career.”

Counts is credited for developing strong relationships for the Children’s Museum with content providers such as Lego, National Geographic and Nickelodeon, as well as negotiating exhibitions such as the Terra Cotta Warriors from Xi’an, China.

Brian Denton (BA economics, 2002; BA German/political science, 2003; MA economics, 2005; BS mathematics, 2009)


While working on his master’s degree, Brian Denton discovered a passion for statistics and computer programming. Since then, Denton has used his extensive training to build a career as a statistician.

He spent two years as a statistical research assistant at the prestigious Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center in New York. While there, he helped develop new techniques to predict and classify genetic mutations and liposarcoma subtypes based on clinical and gene expression data.

“Brian has made impressive strides early in his career,” said Paul Carlin, professor of economics. “He has been and remains a strong supporter of the Department of Economics’ mission.”

Denton currently works as a computational statistician for Eli Lilly and Co, and serves on the Liberal Arts Dean’s Advisory Council.

 

Student-orgnaized exhibit opens documenting community history of Near Southside

Split but Not Separated: Recapturing the Legacy of the Near Southside, a new exhibit designed by students in the Museum Methods class, will open on Sunday, April 27, at the Concord Neighborhood Center, 1301 South Meridian.

This pop-up exhibit originates in a class taught by Professor Modupe Labode (History and Museum Studies), and was inspired by an earlier student research project. In 2010, Anthropology students from IUPUI began collecting oral histories, photographs, and other memorabilia from African American and Jewish elders who had grown up together on the Near Southside. This research is captured in the oral history book The Neighborhood of Saturdays, by Professor Sue Hyatt, which was published in 2013 by Dog Ear Press. The exhibit presents another view of the history of the community and moves the story into the future by involving the views of children who are currently participating in programs at the Concord Neighborhood Center. The exhibit is open from 2-4 p.m., and the program begins at 2:30 p.m.

For more information, please contact Modupe Labode, Assistant Professor of History and Museum Studies, mlabode@iupui.edu, 274-3829.

8th annual Museum Studies Portfolio Night

IUPUI Museum Studies students will share highlights from their Master’s degree E-portfolios. Please come support the newest members of the museum field.

A central feature of our Master’s program is that learning is integrally connected with doing. Students work in collaborative projects with community partners throughout their coursework and internships. At the end of their program MA students develop an electronic portfolio compiling highlights of their work and presenting it in a way that helps communicate who they are as emerging museum professionals, what they can and want to do in the field, and why they are committing themselves to the work that museums do in their communities.

For more information, visit the Museum Studies Program website or contact Rebecca Ellis rsmallma@iupui.edu.

Indiana history journal examines public art and controversy

Art, race and space fill the most recent issue of the Indiana Magazine of History. In an issue guest-edited by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis public historian Modupe Labode, leading scholars of public art and urban life show how art can reveal fault lines in modern society.

The March 2014 issue features four articles reflecting on the artwork that prompted IUPUI’s recent symposium, “Art, Race and Space”: artist Fred Wilson’s proposed “E Pluribus Unum” sculpture, which re-imagined a new identity for the freed slave portrayed on the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis. Wilson’s work, commissioned for the city’s Cultural Trail, was ultimately canceled after long and intense public controversy.

In her introduction to this special issue, Labode, who helped organize the original symposium, revisits the contentious history of Wilson’s proposal. She reviews the public struggles over the freedman image and its placement in the city center, and the tensions of race, class and public space discussed by symposium members. Wilson himself follows with a discussion of monuments and memorials that have inspired his work and comments on some of his installations for museums in New York City and Savannah, Ga.

Art historian Bridget Cooks looks at Wilson’s work in light of the conflicting ideals of preservation and activism. Geographers Owen Dwyer and Matthew McCourt examine the history of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail and consider the relationship of the public spaces and public art along its eight miles.

Two articles examine other public artworks that have spoken to and created public controversy outside Indiana. Art historian Renée Ater studies the public outcry that followed the commissioning by Rocky Mount, N.C., of a statue of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Historian Erika Doss discusses a Duluth, Minn., public memorial to three young black men who were lynched in that city in 1920, arguing that such public art can “generate profound responses of renewal and reconciliation.”

The Indiana Magazine of History is published quarterly by the history department of Indiana University Bloomington. For general information on the articles or to order a copy of the issue, contact the editorial office at 812-855-4139.

IUPUI faculty and students help FBI identify cultural artifacts

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis anthropology and museum studies faculty and students are assisting the FBI in identifying and preserving cultural artifacts found in the home of a Rush County, Ind., man.

The FBI and its multidisciplinary team are working on repatriating items of cultural patrimony.

Larry J. Zimmerman, professor of anthropology and museum studies; Holly Cusack-McVeigh, assistant professor of anthropology and museum studies; and Charmayne “Charli” Champion-Shaw, director of the Office of America Indian Programs at IUPUI, are among the art, cultural and museum experts working as consultants at the site about 35 miles southeast of Indianapolis.

“Our job is to assist the FBI in the identification of artifacts, help as liaisons with Native Americans and take care of the artifacts in keeping with best museum practices and FBI evidential procedures,” Zimmerman said. Zimmerman also holds the title of Public Scholar of Native American Representation, a shared position with the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.

Students and alumni of museum studies classes taught by Cusack-McVeigh, also Public Scholar of Collections and Community Curation, are helping to handle the artifacts as they are registered, photographed and packaged.

The IUPUI faculty and students participated in an FBI briefing April 1 and a press conference April 2 about the matter. At this time, the IUPUI professors and students are not available for additional media interviews.

“The Education of Auma Obama,” a film by Branwen Okpako: screening and discussion with filmmaker

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
University Library, Lily Auditorium
755 W. Michigan St., Indianapolis, IN 46202

Admission free Reception with light refreshments to follow

Branwen Okpako is a highly talented and successful Nigerian-Welsh documentary filmmaker, who now lives and works in Berlin, Germany, where in 1999 she received a degree in Film Directing from the prestigious German Film and Television Academy in Berlin. Since 1995 she has produced several videos, mixed media installations, and films. Her work has been selected to be shown at film festivals in Europe, Great Britain, Africa, North America, and the Middle East. In addition to her work as a filmmaker, Okpako offers seminars, workshops, and projects in film studies and filmmaking and lectures at universities in the US, Canada, Europe, and other parts of the world. Topics of her presentations include: Intersections of Race, Gender, and Otherness in Film; Black Identity in German Cinema; Migration and Multiculturalism in Contemporary Europe; The Art of Filmmaking; The Theory and Practice of Screenplay Writing, to name just a few.

For her 2000/2001 film, Dreckfresser (Dirt for Dinner), Okpako received, among others, the German Next-Generation-First-Steps Award for Best Documentary Film. For her 2002 film, Sehe ich was du nicht siehst? (Do I see what you do not see?), she received the D-motion special prize for the city of Halle, Germany. Her most acclaimed film, The Education of Auma Obama, (Die Geschichte der Auma Obama) has brought Okpako much attention. The film is a captivating and intimate portrait of the U.S. president’s older half-sister, who embodies a post-colonial, feminist identity. Dr. Auma Obama studied German at the University of Heidelberg from 1981 to 1987 before continuing with graduate studies at the University of Bayreuth, earning a PhD in 1996. Her dissertation was on the conception of labor in Germany and its literary reflections. For The Education of Auma Obama, Okpako received the 2012 African Movie Academy Award for Best Diaspora Documentary, the Festival Founders Award for Best Documentary at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles (both in 2012), and the Viewers Choice Award at the Africa International Film Festival (2011).

Her most recent project, Fluch der Medea (The Curse of Medea), a docu-drama about the life of the late German writer Christa Wolf, was shown at the Berlin Film Festival in 2014.

Okpako is currently a visiting professor of German at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. This event is co-sponsored by the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute and the IUPUI Max Kade German-American Center, with additional support from the Department of World Languages and Cultures and the German Program. For additional information contact: Jason M. Kelly, Director, IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, iahi@iupui.edu, (317) 274-1689 Claudia Grossmann, Interim Director, IUPUI Max Kade German-American Center,cgrossma@iupui.edu, (317) 274-3943

“Solving the Mystery of Australia’s African coins”: a conversation with members of the Past Masters team

Monday April 7, 2014
12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
IUPUI ES2132 Global Crossroads
902 W. New York Street, Indianapolis

In 1944, five coins from the medieval Sultanate of Kilwa in present day Tanzania were found on the north Australian coast. These rare coins have only been found outside of East Africa on two occasions (one in the ruins of Great Zimbabwe and another in Oman). How they travelled 8,000km to a remote island in north-east Arnhem Land was the subject of a multidisciplinary expedition in July 2013. Come and learn what was discovered by the Past Masters and also the next steps in unravelling the mystery.

Dr. Ian McIntosh is an adjunct professor of anthropology in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and author of many publications on the Yolngu of north-east Arnhem Land.

Michael Hermes, an expert in Indigenous cultural resource management, specializes in training Aboriginal cultural heritage officers.

Dr. Tim Stone is a specialist on the geomorphology of the northern Australian coastline with 30 years of experience with Aboriginal Australians and is best known for his work on what constitutes an archaeological site.

For more information, contact Ian McIntosh at imcintos@iupui.edu or 317 2743776

Health Communication Ph.D. launched

The Department of Communication Studies in the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is now accepting applications for its newest post-graduate degree: a doctorate in health communication.

The new degree program opens in fall 2014. Academically well-prepared and highly motivated individuals interested in the study of health communication are invited to apply. A master’s degree is required for admission. The application deadline is Feb. 1.

Health communication is defined as the study and use of communication strategies to inform and influence decisions that affect health issues such as individual access to and use of health information; the dissemination of public health messages; consumer education on health issues; patient-health professional relationships; and health disparities. It is increasingly being recognized as a necessary element of efforts to improve both personal and public health.

The new degree program will help prepare the workforce needed for an ever-changing health care environment in which communication is becoming more vital to building relationships between patients and health care providers; encouraging people to adopt healthy behaviors; promoting public health initiatives; and helping society as a whole adapt to emerging technologies, according to Professor Jennifer Bute, director of graduate studies for the Department of Communication Studies.

“Health communication scholars and professionals are uniquely suited to aid not only their academic departments, but also the medical profession and the broader community in recognizing the critical role that communication plays in achieving health-related goals,” Bute said. “From supporting lifestyle changes to encouraging adherence to treatment plans to navigating changing health policies, communication is at the very heart of today’s most pressing health issues.”

A minimum of 90 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree is required to complete coursework for the IU advanced degree in health communication. Credit hours required include coursework in communication theory and research methods, along with seminars in content areas such as health provider-consumer communication, intercultural communication and group communication. Students will also complete comprehensive exams and perform research in the field.

Students in the doctoral program will have opportunities to obtain competency for teaching and research in various areas, including health interpersonal relationships, intercultural health and mediated communication in health care such as health campaign development. Students will also participate in research on health and medical communication issues and develop skills necessary to translate research on clinical problems in practice.

Employment opportunities for degree recipients will include positions in academia as well as health care.

“We are proud to add this new Ph.D. program to our degree offerings in the IU School of Liberal Arts,” Dean William Blomquist said. “These doctoral students will work with faculty in the Department of Communication Studies and in other departments and schools across the IUPUI campus to improve research and practice in the growing and vital field of health communication. The graduates from this program will comprise the next generation of scholars helping to make health care, disease prevention and risk management in the United States and around the world more effective.”

International Women’s Day celebration

Friday March 21, 2014
6:30 p.m.
Lily Auditorium, University Library

This year International Women’s Day Celebration is scheduled for Thursday, 3/21, in the IUPUI University Library, Lilly Auditorium. It will open with a reception at 6:30 p.m., featuring local activists and a buffet of international eats, followed by a reading of Polish poet Agnieszka Kuciak’s rollicking _Distant Lands: An Anthology of Poets Who Don’t Exist_, a tour de force roster of made-up poets, performed by Andy Buchenot, Brandon Butcher, Stacey Emley, Chris Forhan, Gabe Harley, Terry Kirts, Keith Leonard, Jane Schultz, Susan Shepherd, Erica Swanfeldt Stout, Ben Van Wyke, and Jacqui Weeks.

If you’re interested in participating in the multicultural, multilingual open mike, contact Kelli Vorndran (klvorndr@umail.iu.edu) to reserve a slot. Reminder: Perform up to one page or poetry or a half page of prose–must be written by a woman. If you want to do a poem by a woman poet in another language, provide an English translation.