IUPUI Africana studies program presents first Heritage Week

The Africana Studies Program in the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will inaugurate the first Africana Studies Heritage Week Feb. 9 to 13.

The weeklong celebration will feature a series of public lectures; panel discussions; an art exhibit curated by Bessie House-Soremekun, professor and director of Africana studies; a book signing by Ronda Henry Anthony, public scholar of African American studies and undergraduate research; and film viewings based on the theme of “Reconnecting the African Diaspora to Africa.”

“It is entirely fitting and important for us to establish Africana Studies Heritage Week as one of the important traditions that we will celebrate yearly at IUPUI,” House-Soremekun said.

“We are delighted that we will celebrate the creation of black studies/Africana studies as a viable discipline in academia and pay tribute to the numerous contributions of Africa and of African-descended people who reside in the African Diaspora as part of the broader Black History Month activities. Africa is the birthplace of humankind as we know it and has been central in the development of global civilization processes. Our goal is to expose students, faculty and members of the broader community as a whole to these important issues.”

The Heritage Week celebrations will kick off Monday, Feb. 9, with a lecture featuring Dawn Batson, the former chair of the Department of Visual & Performing Arts at the Florida Memorial University and former chair of the National Steel Orchestra of Trinidad and Tobago, as the keynote speaker.

The event begins at 11:40 a.m. in Room 104 of Taylor Hall, 815 W. Michigan St., with introductions from House-Soremekun and Khalilah Shabazz, director of the IUPUI Multicultural Center. Batson will speak from noon to 12:45 p.m.

As part of the Heritage Week observance, House-Soremekun will present an art exhibit and lecture, “The Africa the World Seldom Sees.” Using African artwork from her personal collection, as well as photos she took when she served as a faculty host on the “Treasures of East Africa Tour” to Tanzania and Kenya in 2014 (sponsored by the Indiana University Alumni Association), House-Soremekun will challenge stereotypical images of Africa often presented in popular culture by presenting a compelling counter-narrative that illuminates many positive attributes and beauty of African society.

The art exhibit is open for public viewing Feb. 9 to 28 in Taylor Hall, Room 101.

“The inaugural Africana Studies Heritage Week features a full line-up of very interesting and enjoyable events,” said William Blomquist, dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. “I commend all those who have collaborated on the organization of this new program, and we’re looking forward to its successful launch.”

Other events open to students, faculty and the general public during Heritage Week include:

12:50 to 2:15 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9, Taylor Hall, Room 115k — Panel discussion about the recent critically acclaimed film “Selma,” moderated by Monroe Little, associate professor of Africana studies and history.
6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10, Taylor Hall, Room 101 — A public reception with an Evening of Jazz performed by Bryan Thompson.
1:15 to 2:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11, Taylor Hall, Room 104 — The lecture “Negotiating Patriarchy, Colonial Legacies and Human Rights Law in Africa” by Obioma Nnaemeka, Chancellor’s professor of French, Africana studies and women’s studies;
Noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, Taylor Hall, Room 104 — A lecture by Ronda Henry Anthony about her book, “Searching for the New Black Man, Black Masculinity and Women’s Bodies.”
10 a.m. to noon Friday, Feb. 13, Taylor Hall, Room 115K — Viewing of the film “Honor & Glory,” the story of the co-discoverer of the North Pole, Matthew Henson.

Additional sponsors for the weeklong event include the IUPUI Office of Admissions; the IU School of Liberal Arts; Office for Diversity, Access, and Inclusion; Multicultural Center, IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute and the Center for Global Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development.

The first annual Africana Studies Heritage Week is free and open to the public. A complete listing of events is available online.

For more information, call the Africana studies program at 317-274-8662.

IUPUI associate dean Genevieve Shaker honored with professional group’s Emerging Scholar Award

Genevieve G. Shaker

Genevieve G. Shaker

An Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis administrator and professor has received national recognition for demonstrating a promising career as a researcher whose scholarship will shape the disciplines of philanthropy and fundraising.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals has selected Genevieve G. Shaker, associate dean for development and external affairs in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and assistant professor in the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, as the recipient of the organization’s 2015 Emerging Scholar Award.

Established by the Research Council of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2013, the Emerging Scholar Award honors an early-career scholar or scholar-practitioner whose research has and will continue to shape the discourse on philanthropy and fundraising.

“The Emerging Scholar jury recognized Dr. Shaker’s extremely impressive training and experience,” said Russell James, chair of the association’s Emerging Scholar Award Committee. “Her research provides a greater understanding of academic workplace giving and motivation of faculty in seeking academic careers. Her work will further enhance fundraising strategy development for the field and will provide insights regarding donor motivations, interests and giving trends.”

Emerging Scholar jurors rated nominated scholars on their record of scholarship; demonstrated evidence of a further promising career as an academic researcher or scholar-practitioner; demonstrated impact on the state of scholarship or advancement of knowledge; and evidence of impact on fundraising practice.

“I’m humbled to have been chosen by my peers in AFP for this wonderful award and grateful for the support I have received at IUPUI to pursue my research interests as well as to serve the university as an advancement professional,” Shaker said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to make further contributions to the field, higher education and society.”
Shaker, who is also an adjunct professor of liberal arts, focuses her research on workplace giving and higher education advancement, as well as the faculty profession. She has been recognized with several other national awards, including the Dissertation of the Year Award in 2009 from the Association for the Study of Higher Education; and, with her co-authors, the 2009 Robert Menges Award for research in educational development and a 2013 Charles F. Elton Best Paper Award from the Association for Institutional Research.

“Dr. Shaker has quickly become a highly productive and influential researcher on fundraising within colleges and universities, and especially on the philanthropic activities of faculty and staff,” said Bill Blomquist, dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts. “It is very gratifying to see her work receive this well-deserved national recognition through the AFP Emerging Scholar Award.”

Shaker completed her doctorate in higher education at Indiana University Bloomington and holds a master’s in philanthropic studies from the Center on Philanthropy, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s predecessor.

Since 1960, the Association of Fundraising Professionals has advanced effective and ethical philanthropy by providing advocacy, research, education, mentoring, collaboration and technology opportunities for the world’s largest network of professional fundraisers. AFP’s more than 30,000 members raise more than $100 billion annually.
The AFP Research Council leads the association’s efforts to identify research priorities for AFP; recognize and promote research that informs philanthropy and fundraising practice; and translate and disseminate research-based knowledge to practitioners.

IUPUI professor provided key testimony in Nigerian oil-spill case settled for $83 million

Scott Pegg treks through mud, dead mangrove trees and previous oil spill residue to get to the site of a new oil spill in 2012.

Scott Pegg treks through mud, dead mangrove trees and previous oil spill residue to get to the site of a new oil spill in 2012.

In an out-of-court settlement announcement Wednesday, Shell Petroleum Development Co. of Nigeria agreed to a compensation package of 55 million pounds — about $83.4 million — for a Nigerian farming and fishing community damaged by massive oil spills in 2008 and 2009. An Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis professor had been among witnesses for the residents of Bodo, Nigeria, in their three-year legal battle.

According to a statement by Leigh Day, the London-based law firm representing the community of Bodo, 15,600 individual claimants will received a total of 35 million pounds, with the remainder of the settlement going to the Bodo community as a whole. Shell has also agreed to clean up the Bodo Creek, Day said.

Scott Pegg, chair of the Department of Political Science in the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, has been actively involved in the life of Bodo for more than 14 years. As someone who has worked in Bodo for years and as an honorary chief in the village, Pegg said it was the least he could do to provide a detailed witness statement on behalf of the Bodo plaintiffs.

Pegg first visited the community in 2000 and returned a year later with his wife, Tijen Demirel-Pegg. The then newlyweds donated $2,800 of their wedding gift money to the Bebor Model Nursery and Primary School in Botor Village, Bodo. This money finished a roofing project and funded a cement floor for a five-classroom primary school building at the school that now serves more than 300 children.

The couple continued to raise money for the school, and in 2002 their work was formally incorporated into the work of the Indianapolis-based charity now known as Timmy Global Health. The Peggs’ work with the school in Bodo now includes providing boreholes for drinking water; boys’, girls’ and teachers’ toilets for better sanitation; and a pilot health program providing immunizations, health exams and deworming treatments to students at the school.

In 2002, the Bodo Council of Chiefs named the Peggs honorary chiefs in recognition of their contribution to the community’s educational development. In August 2005, Botor Village in Bodo dedicated the “Chief Prof Scott Pegg Road.”

Pegg’s written testimony, filed in the case before the High Court in London, used numerous pictures to document the story of Bodo’s transformation after the oil spills from a vibrant fishing community to a land of “environmental devastation as far as the eye could see.”

Of particular interest to the British lawyers representing the Bodo claimants were the many photographs Pegg had from earlier visits to Bodo before the 2008-09 oil spills. Pegg and people who visited with him often would go down to the waterfront and paddle out into Bodo Creek on a traditional fishing canoe for recreation. Pegg said he never envisioned that his “tourist photos” along the waterfront would actually be used to help document how green and verdant the mangrove forests in Bodo were before the oil spills.

Pegg, who holds a doctorate in political science, described himself as “sort of a perfect storm” as a witness in that the combination of his academic training and interests and his track record of publications on the oil industry in Africa, plus his local status as a chief in the village, made his testimony hard to discredit. At IUPUI, Pegg primarily teaches courses on international relations, war and conflict, U.S. foreign policy, globalization and African politics.

The IUPUI professor is proud of the fact that the Bodo case is the first major legal settlement where compensation has been paid directly to individual Africans and not just done through chiefs or community leaders. He believes the success or failure of the promised environmental cleanup of Bodo Creek will ultimately be even more important than the compensation itself. He also hopes the case will set a precedent and establish benchmark standards for oil companies to follow in dealing with other oil spills throughout the Niger Delta.

“Bodo has suffered and continues to suffer horribly because of the two massive oil spills that hit the community in 2008-09 and for which any kind of clean-up effort has still not yet started,” Pegg said in an email message to Timmy Global Health supporters and other friends. “Even if everything goes well with this settlement, the community faces a daunting list of challenges and problems.

“Still, this is a great day for the people of Bodo. As people who have supported them in various ways, I hope you can savor and enjoy this news as well.”

Ronda Henry, “Barack Obama, Gender, and Pop Culture”

Ronda HenryJanuary 27, 2015 | 12:00-1:00
Location: IUPUI University Library, Room 4115P
Free tickets available below

Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father (1994) used women’s bodies to establish a socially and culturally popular “brand” upon which he could build his political career.  Women function as signs of a non-threatening black masculine identity constructed to counter contemporary images of black masculinity associated with anger, aggressiveness, criminality, and the influence of the hip hop thug.  While 50 Cent, Kanye West, Jay Z and other hip-hop moguls can use many of the “negative” associations attached to black masculinity to generate power, Obama had to block or disallow their easy application to his own body to gain wide acceptance.

Dr. Ronda Henry is Associate Professor of English and Africana Studies and the Director of the Olaniyan Scholars Program.  She is the author of Searching for the New Black Man: Black Masculinity and Women’s Bodies, published by the University Press of Mississippi in 2013.  She writes on African American literature, gender, and race.

 

Lecture: Andrea Jain, “Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture”

Andrea JainJanuary 21, 2015 | 12:00-1:00
Location: IUPUI University Library, Room 4115P
Free tickets available below
Premodern and early modern yoga comprise techniques with a wide range of aims, from turning inward in quest of the true self, to turning outward for divine union, to channeling bodily energy in pursuit of sexual pleasure. Early modern yoga also encompassed countercultural beliefs and practices. In contrast, today, modern yoga aims at the enhancement of the mind-body complex but does so according to contemporary dominant metaphysical, health, and fitness paradigms. Consequently, yoga is now a part of popular culture. In Selling Yoga, Andrea R. Jain explores the popularization of yoga in the context of late-twentieth-century consumer culture. She departs from conventional approaches by undermining essentialist definitions of yoga as well as assumptions that yoga underwent a linear trajectory of increasing popularization. While some studies trivialize popularized yoga systems by reducing them to the mere commodification or corruption of what is perceived as an otherwise fixed, authentic system, Jain suggests that this dichotomy oversimplifies the history of yoga as well as its meanings for contemporary practitioners.By discussing a wide array of modern yoga types, from Iyengar Yoga to Bikram Yoga, Jain argues that popularized yoga cannot be dismissedthat it has a variety of religious meanings and functions. Yoga brands destabilize the basic utility of yoga commodities and assign to them new meanings that represent the fulfillment of self-developmental needs often deemed sacred in contemporary consumer culture.Dr. Andrea R. Jain is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and author of Selling Yoga: From Counterculture to Pop Culture (Oxford, 2014).

Mitchell Douglas’s Sabbatical Lecture Examines a Pivotal Time in Rock History

Mitchell Douglass

Mitchell Douglass

The Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Speedway in December 1969 was marred by an alcohol-fueled security force of Hells Angels and the gang’s murder of a Berkeley teen. This year, Dec. 6, marked the 35th anniversary of the Altamont free concert. While Meredith Hunter’s killer, Hells Angel Alan Passaro, is long gone, Hunter’s story has never been fully explored. Mitchell Douglas, assistant professor of English at IUPUI, will explore the events of that night through lyric and persona poetry. Douglas will present his sabbatical talk December 9, 2014 to discuss his process for creating poems based on historical events, writing persona poems in the voices of historical figures, and how research can be an integral part of a creative project.

About the Liberal Arts Sabbatical Series Lectures

The Sabbatical Speaker Series was established to provide a venue for sharing research completed by Liberal Arts faculty while on sabbatical leaves. It is a sampling of the diverse work and excellence of IUPUI faculty, and an opportunity to come together for an hour of intellectual exploration with students, alumni, faculty, staff, retirees and friends from the community.

About the speaker

Mitchell Douglas is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at the IUPUI School of Liberal Arts. His areas of academic interest include the Black Arts Movement, ethnic poetry collectives, and art for social change. He received the Lexi Rudnitsky Editor’s Choice Award and has been a finalist for the NAACP Image Award (Outstanding Literary Work-Poetry), thee Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the Wick Poetry Prize, the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award for his debut book, Cooling Board: A Long-Playing Poem, and was a Pushcart Prize Nominee in 2006. Douglas is also a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets, a Cave Canem fellow, and Poetry Editor for PLUCK!: the Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture. Mitchell L. H. Douglas’s second book of poems, \blak\ \al-fə bet\, is available from amazon.com.

Dennis Bingham’s Sabbatical Lecture Shows Cinema in a New Light

Dennis Bingham

Dennis Bingham

Professor Bingham’s presentation of Life, Death and All That Jazz: Bob Fosse and the Hollywood Renaissance of the 1970s on December 5, 2014 will explore the film style of the director-choreographer Bob Fosse (1927-1987), examining Fosse’s heretofore unacknowledged role in the “Hollywood Renaissance” of the 1970s. Bingham artfully examines how Fosse changed Hollywood cinema and American culture in ways that, though not always positive, have been lasting and pervasive. The talk focuses on Fosse’s first two films, Sweet Charity (1969) and especially, Cabaret (1972). These musicals feature unmotivated protagonists and discontinuous editing styles redolent of avant-garde and European Art Cinema. In their tendency toward ambivalence and ambiguity they deconstruct their traditionally optimistic genre, resulting in a uniquely revisionist form of the film musical.

In addition to being a director and choreographer for both film and musical theater, Fosse was also a dancer, screenwriter, and actor. He won an unprecedented eight Tony Awards for choreography, as well as one for direction. He was nominated for an Academy Award four times, winning one. Fosse’s first film, Sweet Charity, starring Shirley MacLaine, is an adaptation of the Broadway musical he had directed and choreographed. His second film, Cabaret, won eight Academy Awards, including Best Director, which he won over Francis Ford Coppola for The Godfather starring Marlon Brando, as well as Oscars for both Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey for their roles.

About the Liberal Arts Sabbatical Series Lectures

The Sabbatical Speaker Series was established to provide a venue for sharing research completed by Liberal Arts faculty while on sabbatical leaves. It is a sampling of the diverse work and excellence of IUPUI faculty, and an opportunity to come together for an hour of intellectual exploration with students, alumni, faculty, staff, retirees and friends from the community.

About the speaker

The academic interests of Dr. Dennis Bingham, professor of English and director of the film studies program, include film theory, gender theory, film biography and stardom and acting. In 2011, Professor Bingham was a finalist for the Theatre Library Association Richard Wall Memorial Award for “Whose Lives Are They Anyway: The Biopic as Contemporary Film Genre” published by Rutgers University Press. He has published numerous articles and entries on Clint Eastwood and Biopics on Oxford Bibliographies Online.

New book by IUPUI Shakespeare expert explores mystery of multiple Hamlets

"Young Hamlet" Cover

“Young Hamlet” Cover

One of the biggest questions in Shakespeare studies is, “Why are there three different versions of ‘Hamlet,’ printed respectively in 1603, 1605 and 1623?”

Are they all written by Shakespeare? And when? And why should we care?

A new, heavily researched and anticipated book — “Young Shakespeare’s Young Hamlet” (Palgrave MacMillan) by Terri Bourus, associate professor of English drama in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI — looks to solve the mystery of the earliest printed version of the play, sometimes called “Q1 Hamlet.”

Bourus, who is also director and general editor of the New Oxford Shakespeare Project, has long been writing and teaching about a “younger, less philosophical” “Hamlet.”  She examines the life of William Shakespeare, the late-16th-century London theatre environment, the London printing houses and book shops, and, of course, the play itself. How did Shakespeare come to write it? What did the play mean to him? Why are there three versions, and of those three, why is the earliest so different from the other two?

The book grew out of Bourus’ research for a graduate seminar on the book trade in Shakespeare’s London. For the required research paper, she chose to investigate the printing operations of Nicholas Ling, a prominent businessman who published some of Shakespeare’s plays, including the early “Hamlets.” Her exploration grew beyond the class research paper and eventually became her dissertation. Bourus said a book was the next natural step.

Researching the project included visiting London printing houses and theaters and, most importantly, several research trips to the British Library and the National Archives in London (for which she won several prestigious grants). Only by working with original documents in London and in Norwich (Ling’s birthplace) could Bourus track down the events in both Ling’s and Shakespeare’s lives that might lead to some answers about this troublesome quarto. The printers might be the key.

“After all, without the printing houses, we would not have Shakespeare’s plays today,” Bourus said. “Shakespeare’s plays come down to us, not only on the stage, but primarily from the page.”

One of the findings that most fascinated Bourus was what she discovered about the interactions between the printers and actors, the printing houses and theaters.

“These ‘dramatic intersections,’ as I like to call them, added a rich layer of story to my research,” she said. “I was able to talk about the relationship of Nicholas Ling to the players, especially Shakespeare, and I was also able to discuss the personal relationship between Shakespeare and his friend and longtime colleague Richard Burbage (the earliest actor to play Hamlet). This allowed me to get to know these Elizabethan and Jacobean Players (as actors were called) and businessmen in an entirely new light.”

Because Shakespeare wrote plays — not novels — Bourus said viewing the play is crucial to understanding the work.

“The best way to really understand a play is to see it on stage and to hear the words on the page spoken by actors,” she said. “A play does not have a ‘narrative voice’ like a book. Instead, a play is explicated through ‘action,’ the action of an actor on a stage with his or her primary tool: language. … Through theater, through performance, through the stage, we come to understand Shakespeare’s use of the English language — language that creates images, ideas, colors, landscapes … paintings made of words.”

In 2011, as she worked on the mystery of the printed “Hamlet,” Bourus decided to see whether she could stage this version of the play successfully and formed Hoosier Bard Productions. Her first production, based on “Q1 Hamlet,” was called “Young Hamlet” because of the age of the protagonist and the young age, she believes, of the playwright himself. Bourus’ book includes images and lively details about how directing the production further shaped her understanding of the history of the text.

Bourus said one of her toughest challenges in completing the project was the continuing resistance to any change in the Shakespearian “tradition.” Some Shakespeare scholars refuse to accept evidence that alters Shakespeare’s legacy. Even the thought that Shakespeare, like all writers, revised his work in order to craft his masterpiece is preposterous to some.

“But he was young once, too, and he was learning his trade,” Bourus said. “The first edition of ‘Hamlet’ was, I argue, Shakespeare’s first play. It’s a good story for university students because they are all, as Shakespeare once was, just embarking on the life they will lead and the legacy they will create.”

African Studies Association panel discusses our response to ebola-related stigma and violence targeting Africans and first responders

indexThe African Studies Association will be holding its 57th Annual Meeting in Indianapolis next week. As part of our Annual Meeting, the Association will host a pre-conference workshop, “Responding to Ebola-Related Stigma and Violence Targeting Africans and First Responders” on Wednesday, Nov 19, 9:30 am-12:00 pm at the JW Marriott Indianapolis, Room 105. This workshop is being organized by a member of the African Studies Association Board of Directors, Dr. Sheryl McCurdy.

This workshop seeks to bring together interdisciplinary experts to discuss the Ebola crisis and possible ways forward, as well as the development of possible responses and resources for future teach-ins and forums. Current panelists include Dr. McCurdy, Dr. Pamela Scully, Emory University, Dr. Mary Beth Riner, Indiana University, and Dr. Ruth Stone, Indiana University.

The School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is a sponsor of this year’s meeting, and as part of your sponsorship benefits, we would like to open the workshop, free of charge, to interested students and faculty from the School.

Interested students and faculty can sign up to attend the workshop via this form.

Registration will be granted on a first come, first serve basis, and will remain open until the workshop hits capacity.