Dr. Stephen Selka presents “Mapping the Moral in African Diaspora Tourism in Brazil”

Photo courtesy of Dr. Stephen Selka At 12:00pm on April, 30th the IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute will host Dr. Stephen Selka.  His lecture will explore African diaspora tourism in Bahia, Brazil, particularly African American “pilgrimages” to the Afro-Catholic festival of Our Lady of the Good Death (or simply Boa Morte) celebrated every August by women of African descent involved with the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé. Although recognized as part of the official heritage of Bahia, Boa Morte occupies a complicated position on the Afro-Brazilian moral landscape. To evangelical Christians, for example, Boa Morte and Candomblé are diabolical; from this perspective, Afro-Brazilian religion is something to leave behind. By contrast, to the extent that the festival of Boa Morte is understood as a celebration honoring the ancestors, it is particularly appealing to African Americans seeking to “recover” their ancestral past. Nevertheless, ancestors are understood to be dangerous and morally unpredictable in Candomblé; therefore Boa Morte is something morally ambiguous for many Candomblé practitioners, contrary to what most African American visitors might expect. Accordingly, this talk focuses on the contested links between heritage, personhood, and morality that are enacted at the festival of Boa Morte.

Stephen Selka is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. A cultural anthropologist, he researches religion, politics, and cultural heritage tourism in Afro-Brazilian communities in northeastern Brazil, where he has conducted ethnographic fieldwork since 1999. His first book, Religion and the Politics of Ethnic Identity in Bahia, Brazil (University Press of Florida, 2007), explores the various ways that Afro-Brazilians in both Christian and African-derived religious communities construct their ethnic identities and struggle against racism.

This public program is part of the Religion and Ethics Roundtables series of the IU Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics, and Society. Religion and Ethics Roundtables highlight the work of scholars at IUB, IUPUI, and beyond, with the goal of engaging the IU community and the public in dialogue about important issues at the intersection of religion, ethics, and society.

Indiana University statement on changes to Religious Freedom Restoration Act

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana University expresses its appreciation and support for this clarifying language, which ensures that nothing in the227604_w296will provide legal protection for, or in any way promote or permit, discrimination in any form on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation or their race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, gender identity or military service. We are grateful for the hard work and good intentions of those who have earnestly labored in recent days to address this problem.

Indiana University asks all Hoosiers to remember that religious liberty and equal protection under the law are both cornerstones of our democracy and they should not be in conflict with each other. Our system of government works best when people of good will come together to reconcile their differences and find common ground.

We are pleased that this has happened in this situation, and it is our hope and expectation that this clarification will now allow all Hoosiers to put this matter behind us and work together to promote a better image and indeed a better future for the State of Indiana.

Free massive open online course to explore public libraries

INDIANAPOLIS — The Department of Library and Information Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will launch on April 6 a massive open online course exploring public libraries.informatics logo

The free, four-week course is open to anyone anywhere, but RSVP required. Persons interested in the course are encouraged to register in advance, but registration will continue after the class begins.

The course will cover four topics, one each week. The topics are: the “Customer Service and the User Experience,” “Youth Librarianship: Best Practices to Serve our Youngest Patrons,” “Technology: Improving Library Services by Managing Technology,” and “Community Engagement,” said Andrea Copeland, an assistant professor in the department. Copeland, who developed the course, will teach the Community Engagement section.

Given the central role of information technology in libraries and the transition of the Master of Library Science to an entirely online program, creating the massive open online course was a natural step for the department, Copeland said. The Department of Library and Information Science is in the IU School of Informatics and Computing.

“Our degree is open to a national audience in a way that it was never before,” she said. “The library community is national and international and I thought this would be a good way to let people know we’re here and what we’re really good at.”

One of the department’s strongest areas is public libraries, Copeland said. “The course is a digital open house where people can, at no cost, and with as much energy as they wish to expend, learn about our program and what’s going on in public libraries.”

An equally important goal is to explore the feasibility of using the online site for the course for professional development of Hoosier librarians.

As of March 31st, 206 people have registered for the course from 20 states and three countries. About half of the people who registered for the course are librarians. The Indiana State Library will award 12 educational credits for the course.

The course will feature instructional video as well as resources to read, explore and view. Participants, have freedom to work at their own pace, will have the option to participate in weekly discussions, take quizzes on the week’s lectures and readings.

Chinese public scholar Na Li discusses state of public history in China

Na Li, a Research Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities 8fb17ab0ab2b7b82969e5788675af52eand Social Sciences (IAS) at Chongqing University in China working to establish public history in China as an organizer of a Public History Faculty Training Institute, will be visiting Indianapolis April 7- May 1 doing research in the National Council on Public History (NCPH) archives housed in the IUPUI Special Collections and Archives.

Na Li, or Lina as she calls herself in English, earned a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Toronto and a Masters from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she also earned a Graduate Certificate in Public History. Her research focuses on public history and urban preservation. Her first book, Kensington Market: Collective Memory, Public History, and Toronto’s Urban Landscape (University of Toronto Press, 2015) incorporates collective memory in urban landscape interpretation, and suggests a culturally sensitive narrative approach (CSNA) to urban preservation. Her articles have appeared in The Public Historian, Public History Review and The Oxford Handbook of Urban Planning. She contributes to a better understanding of public history on an international scale.

Na Li is also the International Affiliate of the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling at Concordia University (Canada), and Research Fellow of Australian Centre for Public History at University of Technology Sydney (Australia). In her role as a Research Fellow at Chongqing University and Adjunct Professor at Shanghai Normal University (China), Na Li is pioneering to establish public history in China. She has organized the first National Conference on Public History in China (2013) and the first Public History Faculty Training Program in China (2014). She is completing her second book An Introduction to Public History (Chinese).

As part of her stay in Indianapolis, she will be presenting a talk about the “state” of public history in China, the goals of her public history faculty training program, and what she hopes to accomplish with her research in the U.S. Her talk, which is an official Intern Seminar, will be Friday, April 10, 2:00-3:15 pm, Faculty Lounge, Cavanaugh Hall, Room 508. Seating is very limited, so please RSVP to Philip Scarpino by April 9.

IU voices concerns over state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, reaffirms commitment to equality

NOTE: Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie has issued the following Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbiestatement about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was recently signed into law in Indiana.

“The recent passage of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act has brought significant negative attention to the state of Indiana throughout the nation and indeed the world, because the law is widely viewed as signaling an unwelcoming and discriminatory atmosphere in our state.

“While Indiana University hopes that the controversy of the past few days will move the state government to reconsider this unnecessary legislation, the damage already done to Indiana’s reputation is such that all public officials and public institutions in our state need to reaffirm our absolute commitment to the Hoosier values of fair treatment and non-discrimination.

“For its part, Indiana University remains steadfast in our longstanding commitment to value and respect the benefits of a diverse society. It is a fundamental core value of our culture at Indiana University and one that we cherish. Indeed, in 2014 the trustees of Indiana University reaffirmed our commitment to the achievement of equal opportunity within the university.

“To that end, Indiana University will recruit, hire, promote, educate and provide services to persons without regard to their age, race, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, marital status, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status. Equally importantly, we will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of any of these same factors.

“These are not merely words written in a policy and soon forgotten. These are core values by which every member of the Indiana University community is expected to treat his or her fellow colleagues, students and visitors.

“I want to reassure the entire Indiana University community, including our students, faculty, staff and alumni, that each and every one of you is welcome and appreciated for the unique qualities that you bring to our community. We are all better as a result of our shared experiences, as different as those experiences in life may have been.”

‘Fjord/Glacier/River’ exhibit opens with reception and gallery talk by artist Rebecca Allan

INDIANAPOLIS — Artist Rebecca Allan will discuss her most recent paintings in a gallery talk during the opening of an exhibit of Allan’s work entitled “Fjord/Glacier/River” at, located on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus. Herron School of Art and Design, located on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus.
474651_w296
The exhibit, curated by Jason M. Kelly, director of the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, is presented by the IAHI and the Rivers of the Anthropocene Project. It is housed in the Basile Gallery of Eskenazi Hall, 735 W. New York St., and opens on April 2 with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Allan’s talk takes place from 6:30 to 7 p.m.
The “Fjord/Glacier/River” exhibit runs through April 24. The opening reception is free, but registration is requested.
Known for her richly layered and chromatically nuanced abstract paintings, Rebecca Allan has for many years concentrated on rivers and watershed environments as primary sources of investigation.
“Fjord/Glacier/River” presents paintings which have emerged from Allan’s travels in Norway. In Geirangerfjord, Allan made extensive drawings and studies of the waterfalls, rocks, and night skies that distinguish this majestic World Heritage site. These paintings reflect a response to the Norwegian landscape which is both exuberant and joyful but also reminds us of how urgent it is to preserve and protect our Earth’s natural resources, especially its water.
“My paintings are rooted in the dramatic cycles of nature as well as a deep curiosity about science, and the forces underlying what we observe on the surface of things. Even when it is grounded in the visible world, a painting is a sensual invention that conflates real and conjured experiences,” Allan said in her artist’s statement. “Rivers, glaciers, and fjords are central to this dialogue with nature and culture. They are complex arteries of history, culture, commerce, and ecology. ”
Allan has exhibited in the United States and abroad for more than 25 years. She received her master of fine arts degree from Kent State University and her bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College. From 2006 to 2014, Allan was head of education at the Bard Graduate Center (New York) for studies in the decorative arts, design history, and material culture.

Crispus Attucks 1955 championship basketball team reunites to dedicate new court

1955 Crispus Attucks Anniversary CelebrationSixty years ago this spring, while there was still overt public school segregation in Indianapolis, the Crispus Attucks High School basketball team won the Indiana state basketball championship.  More than just a basketball game, the event was a milestone for the African American community in Indianapolis and for the city.  As you may know, the 1955 Crispus Attucks team included Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson along with several other great players.

What you may not know is that the students who attended Crispus Attucks and lived in this part of town used to play pick-up basketball on an unpaved field, nicknamed the “Dust Bowl”, the site of which is on the IUPUI campus between Michigan Street and Lockefield Gardens.  Recently, IUPUI built a basketball court on that site and our students now play there for fun and recreation.
On April 1st, marking the 60th anniversary of the Crispus Attucks championship, the new basketball court on the old “Dust Bowl” site will be dedicated. This will be followed by a reunion and panel discussion with the players from the 1955 championship team, including Oscar Robertson.
Sponsored by Sports Journalism at the School of Liberal Arts, the National Sports Journalism Center, the Department of Tourism, Conventions, and Event Management, and the IUPUI Division of Student Affairs.