IU center to host national conference on civic literacy

ExhibitionINDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana University Center for Civic Literacy, a research center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, has announced that its second annual conference will take place Aug. 22 to 24 at the Crowne Plaza Union Station in Indianapolis. The public is invited to attend.

“The data is depressing,” said Sheila Kennedy, director of the Center for Civic Literacy and professor of law and public policy at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI, which houses the center. “Only 36 percent of Americans can name the three branches of government. Only 21 percent of high school seniors can list two privileges that United States citizens have that noncitizens don’t. Fewer than a quarter of the nation’s 12th-graders are proficient in civics. How can uninformed people make the informed decisions that are critical in our society? That is what the Center for Civic Literacy addresses, and what we will discuss at our conference.”

The Center for Civic Literacy pursues an aggressive research agenda to identify and address the causes and civic consequences of Americans’ low levels of constitutional, economic and scientific knowledge. It hosts a website and blog, and publishes a quarterly newsletter and an online, peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal.

The theme of this year’s conference, held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Center’s National Advisory Committee, is “Connecting the Dots: The Impact of Civic Literacy Gaps on Democracy, the Economy and Society, and Charting a Path Forward.”

The program will open with a welcome from former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Theodore Boehm, who chairs the center’s National Advisory Committee, and will include addresses from Ted McConnell, executive director of the Civic Mission of Schools Campaign; David Schultz, professor of political science at Hamline University; Dallas Dishman, executive director of the Geffen Foundation; and Kim McLaurin, director of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, among others.

Anthropologist and English lecturer comment on popularity, cultural themes of ‘Planet of the Apes’

Paul Mullins 1227544_w296INDIANAPOLIS — Why does the idea of a dystopian world ruled by apes continue to pique moviegoers’ interest nearly five decades after the original “Planet of the Apes” debuted?

With the newest installment of the franchise, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” opening in theaters this weekend, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis anthropology professor Paul R. Mullins and IUPUI English lecturer Michal Hughes are available for comment on the popularity and cultural themes of the movie series.

The original series — a five-film saga — began in 1968 with Charlton Heston as astronaut George Taylor marooned on an ape-ruled planet. This year’s film follows the 2011 “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” a reboot of the original series.

On the big screen, we’ve had seven films, with a third in the reboot series announced earlier this year. What piques our fascination and keeps us coming back for more?

Mullins: “The fundamental attraction of the series remains its dystopian narrative of the price of human folly and the potential that the meek may inherit the earth; in much of the ‘Apes’ franchise, we root for the apes and are indifferent to (if not actively rooting against) the humans.”

Hughes: “A large part is the desire for answers to our questions. Why do the apes hate humans so much? What did the humans do to stir that hatred? When did the animosity between the species of apes start? How and why did it start? What caused the apocalypse? How did the humans lose speech after the apocalypse? Ad infinitum. As a prequel to the original series, viewers are hoping to discover some of the answers to these and other questions.”

There has been a change of themes in the movies, reflecting changes in society, according to Mullins and Hughes.

Mullins: “The franchise was a bit more focused on race in the ’60s and ’70s and now addresses somewhat different costs of human agency (e.g., genetic engineering, environmental impacts, etc.).”

Given that “Planet of the Apes” debuted during the civil rights era, can we expect this movie to carry the same weight as a commentary on American culture and/or history?

Hughes: “To some degree. It should show us how the seeds of hatred were sown for both the hatred between apes and humans and the class struggle between the species of apes. (Science fiction) often masks subjects like this and is able to present it to a far larger audience than other genres of film or literature. I expect the film to distinguish the subtle differences and keep these issues in the background of the story.”

Michal Hughes teaches science fiction literature in the Department of English in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. His academic interests include science fiction and fantasy. Hughes’ writings include “The Confessions of a Science Fiction Reader: Notes upon values taught by Science Fiction and Fantasy” in “Reaching Young People Through Media.”

Paul Mullins, chair of the Department of Anthropology in the School of Liberal Arts and a popular culture expert, has taught a class that includes “Planet of the Apes as American Myth: Race and Politics in the Films and Television Series” as a required textbook.

 

To arrange an interview with Mullins or Hughes, contact Diane Brown at 317-274-2195 (office), 317-371-0437 (cell) or habrown@iupui.edu.

 

 

Exploring Confucian Depth in Spatial Narrative

0003110On July 23, IUPUI welcomes Dr. Wu Zongjie for a presentation at the IUPUI Campus Center, Room 309 at 2:00 p.m. In his lecture, Dr. Wu uses spatial narratives and deep maps to explore the Confucian approach to narrating space and place by presenting his recent research projects in Quzhou and Zoucheng, both cities noted for their connection to Confucius and his family lineage. A deep map is a detailed, multimedia depiction of a place and all that exists within it. It is a creative space that is visual, open, insightful, multi-layered, and ever changing. Dr. Wu will describe his innovative research about the way
traditional Chinese outlook of space can be represented and interpreted in the modern world.

As part of his visit, Dr. Wu will explore the potential for educational and scholarly exchanges between Zhejiang University and IUPUI. Zhejiang University, located in Hangzhou, is a leading institution of higher learning in the People’s Republic of China, with more than 8,400 faculty and 39,000 students. Wu Zongjie, Professor and PhD (Lancaster), is the director of the Institute of Cross-Cultural Studies and principle researcher at the Centre of Intangible Cultural Heritage Studies, Zhejiang University. His research and publications cut across multiple disciplines with a focus on cross-cultural discourses in cultural heritage, history and education. He is currently working as a consultant to the World Bank for Confucius and Mencius Cultural Heritage Conservation and Protection Project in Shangdong. in the Institute of Cross-Cultural Studies at Zhejiang University, China.

Sponsored by:

polislogoIAHI Logoconfucious_institute-logo2logo office vice chancellor for researchUntitled

 

Scientific Writing from the Reader’s Perspective with Dr. George Gopen, Professor of the Practice of Rhetoric, Duke University

GDGAs competition for external funding becomes more challenging, getting one’s scholarly work successfully published is more important than ever. Dr. Gopen’s approach is based on a single idea: learning to write for the reader allows the writer to control what readers learn.

This year, Dr. George Gopen will present this workshop in a SINGLE DAY format.

As in past years, Dr. Gopen will also conduct hour-long, individualized consultations.  ONLY faculty members who participate in the day-long event will have access to the individual consultation registration.  Instructions will be sent to participants after their registration for the workshop is complete.

More about Dr. Gopen’s original approach to scientific writing can be found in his article, The Science of Scientific Writing.

Enduring Questions Course Development Grants

NEH LogoThe National Endowment for the Humanities offers grants of up to $38,000 to support the development of a new course that will foster intellectual community through the study of an enduring question.

Deadline: September 11, 2014

For more information about Enduring Questions, please visit http://www.neh.gov/grants/education/enduring-questions.

Program Details

What is good government? What is friendship? Are there universals in human nature? What are the origins of the universe?

Enduring Questions grants support the development by up to four faculty members of a new course on a fundamental concern of human life that is addressed by the humanities. This question-driven course encourages undergraduates and teachers to join together in a deep and sustained program of reading in order to encounter influential ideas, works, and thinkers over the centuries and into the present day.

Enduring questions persist across historical eras, societies, and regions of the world; they inform intellectual, ethical, artistic, and religious traditions; they engage thoughtful people from all walks of life; they transcend time and place and yet are immediate and present in our lives. Enduring questions have more than one plausible or compelling answer, allow for dialogue across generations, and inspire genuine intellectual pluralism.

An Enduring Questions course may be taught by faculty from any department or discipline in the humanities or by faculty outside the humanities (for example, astronomy, biology, economics, law, mathematics, medicine, or psychology), as long as humanities sources are central to the course.

Recent Projects

  • Macomb Community College, Elliot Meyrowitz: “NEH Enduring Questions Course on Just War”
  • University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Padma Viswanathan: “NEH Enduring Questions Course on Literature and Morality”
  • Middlebury College, Timothy Billings: “NEH Enduring Questions Course on Translation”
  • University of North Georgia, Renee Bricker, Donna Gessell, Michael Proulx, and George Wrisley: “NEH Enduring Questions Course on Peace”

Questions?

Consult the grant guidelines and frequently asked questions online.

Contact us:
enduringquestions@neh.gov
(202) 606-8380

Learn More
NEH Grant Programs and Deadlines

NEH Division of Education Programs

About NEH

IUPUI offers boot camp to help students navigate graduate school admissions process

imagesINDIANAPOLIS — Some would-be graduate students find themselves stuck trying to navigate the graduate school admissions process.

“A lot of students who would be great candidates and do well as graduate students often struggle with the application process,” said NaShara Mitchell, assistant dean at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Graduate Office.

That’s why IUPUI offers a boot camp to help students master topics that are essential to a quality application, she said.

Graduate school boot camp will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, July 21, at the IUPUI Campus Center, third floor, 420 University Blvd. It is free and open to all graduate school applicants, regardless of where they intend to apply for admission. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Among topics graduate admissions experts will cover are:

Personal statements

Letters of recommendation

Entrance exam preparation (GRE, GMAT, etc.)

LinkedIn

The in-depth program is for those who are ready to apply, providing personal attention to navigating the admissions process. Participants submit a draft personal statement before the event for faculty review. In addition to revising the personal statement during boot camp, participants may also ask faculty to answer questions during one-on-one sessions. Current students from graduate programs will provide personal insight into various disciplines.

While there is no cost to attend, participants must register in advance.

The deadline for registration is July 10. For more information, contact the IUPUI Graduate Office at 317-274-1577 or gradexpo@iupui.edu.

IUPUI professor offers list of Top 10 favorite museums after visiting 54 in a year

eleew2-webINDIANAPOLIS — Whether you are a motorcycle fan, a Civil War expert or a honeybee enthusiast, museums offer a place to explore ideas and objects that connect us with the rest of the world, said Elizabeth “Elee” Wood, associate professor of museum studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

“Museums allow us to look back in time and place to see what we’ve been as a society, but more importantly help us know where we might be going,” Wood said. “I love seeing and thinking about the objects that people left behind and what it can mean in our lives today.”

During the 2013-14 school year, Wood visited 54 U.S. museums while on sabbatical. She offers a list of her Top 10 museums as a guide for summer, as well as year-round fun, entertainment and education.

1. Lower Eastside Tenement Museum, N.Y.

A museum to help you think about the role of history in our contemporary culture. All tours are guided and promote dialogue and discussion about the life of the thousands of people who lived in the building over time.

2. Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, Calif.

Art with fish. This is one of the most breathtaking examples of how a museum can build an emotional connection between visitors and animals. Exhibits highlight the important aspects of animal life and conservation.

3. Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, N.M.

The Collective Visions exhibit combines unique examples of folk art traditions from around the world in unusual ways. Wood said she loves the way the displays juxtapose different cultural depictions of life.

4. Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, Wis.

This is where Wood got her start in the world of museums, working as a youth volunteer in the museum she visited as a child. This museum has some of the best dioramas for both human and natural history.

5. Kew Gardens, London

Lovers of botanical gardens should put this one at the top of their lists. The museum’s attention to the physical beauty of the plant world is integrated into how staff construct their labels and help you think about why plants matter.

6. Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minn.

Wood said she appreciates how the museum connects visitors with ideas and issues in science. She said she particularly likes the ScienceBuzz blog that features an object of the month.

7. Cleveland Art Museum, Cleveland, Ohio

The museum’s new Gallery One is a stellar experience, offering new ways to experience artwork both physically and intellectually. For example, a visitor can use facial recognition software to match the expressions on different works of art and in another area, visitors cast their vote on the meaning of different works of art.

8. National Music Museum, Vermillion, S.D.

Those who like musical instruments of any kind will probably find them here. This museum is crammed full of interesting, strange and unusual instruments from around the world.

9. Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience and the Nordic Heritage Museum, Seattle, Wash.

Wood said she admires museums that draw on community expertise and experience as their primary focus. Both Wing Luke and the Nordic Heritage Museum have extensive involvement from members of the community.

10. Indianapolis

“I’m going to cheat a little and say that a trip to Indianapolis will bring you to some of the absolute best museums in the country,” Wood said, referring to the city’s highly respected and award-winning museums.

For example, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the world’s largest, is offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this summer to see the Terracotta Warriors from China; and the Indianapolis Zoo’s new International Orangutan Center will blow you away with outstanding face-to-face interactions with apes. But the city also has so much more to offer: the Indiana History Center, Indiana State Museum, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Conner Prairie Interactive History Park and the Indianapolis Museum of Art, to name a few.

 

 

Elizabeth “Elee” Wood is the director of the museum studies program and an associate professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, with joint appointments in the museum studies program, IU School of Liberal Arts and IU School of Education. In addition, she serves as the public scholar of museums, families and learning in a joint appointment at the internationally renowned Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Her book, “The Objects of Experience: Transforming Visitor-Object Encounters in Museums,” co-authored by Kiersten F. Latham and published in 2013 by LeftCoast Press, discusses museum practices that foster the emotional and intellectual connections people have with museum holdings.

To reach Wood for interviews, contact Diane Brown at 317-274-2195 or habrown@iu.edu .

Herron School of Art and Design faculty, alumni to strut their stuff in August

Sax on the Rocks 12x12 oil canvas

Phil O’Malley,      Sax on the Rocks,  Oil on Canvas,      12” x 12”

The Biennial Faculty Show will kick off the fall gallery season at Herron School of Art and Design in Eskenazi Hall’s main galleries. This year’s exhibition will be an exercise in eclecticism with faculty members exhibiting from a variety of departments. All tenured and tenure-track faculty, lecturers and program technicians were invited to participate.

Also opening in the Marsh Gallery August 1 is Print or Die an annual print exchange created and curated by Dominic Senibaldi (M.F.A. in Printmaking, 2013). Print or Die will showcase works from two years of the exchange, and illustrate the ideas behind the print exchange culture and its importance in contemporary printmaking. Artists from coast to coast participate.

In the Basile Gallery, also opening August 1, is 316: A Thesis Exhibition by Eric D. Johnson (M.F.A. in Printmaking, 2014). Johnson describes the concept for the exhibition as emerging from strain on the support systems of the modern world caused by mass production, consumption and waste, and observation of critical tipping points and cascading failures.

Works will be available for purchase on opening night.

Rounding out the month, opening on August 29 and continuing through September 19, will be solo shows by alumnus Phil O’Malley (B.F.A., ‘07) in the Marsh Gallery and Assistant Professor in Furniture Design Katie Hudnall in the Basile Gallery.

O’Malley has planned a “making of” exhibition, The Moment of Conception?, as a companion to the mid-August unveiling of his, 20’ x 40’ as yet untitled work, a monumental installation which will hang in the front lobby of Clowes Memorial Hall. The work is the pinnacle creation in a series called Deep Down. Its creation and installation is also being documented by local National Public Broadcast Service station, WFYI. O’Malley said the series was spurred by “several selections of popular music” from his formative years, translated via paint into vivid visual representations. “Now they’re laid out, varnished, nailed to their boards,” he said, “and placed in their four-sided coffins for their viewing. We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert.”

Hudnall’s exhibition of current work blurs the lines between woodworking and furniture techniques and media and those of sculpture and drawing in a search for new and compelling ways to reach the audiences for these forms.

“The language of furniture, and of utilitarian objects in general, has greatly influenced these hybrids as I search for ways to directly interact with my viewers,” Hudnall said. “In the newest work, an interactive element is integral to experiencing the piece. The viewer might open and close a door, or a drawer might activate another section of the work, revealing intricate drawings that open like books, or umbrella-like forms that raise and lower out of the top of the piece. This exhibition raises questions about the notion of communication. Viewers may work together to operate a piece, making it something that a single viewer cannot fully experience on their own.”

IUPUI center serves up science lesson with students’ lunch

392504_w296INDIANAPOLIS — Food, with a helping of science, is being offered this week to youngsters at an Indianapolis school.

The initiative pairs the Southeast Neighborhood School of Excellence charter school, known as SENSE, and the Center for Earth and Environmental Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The school, 1601 Barth Ave., is where children go for free breakfasts and lunches through Summer Servings, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Summer Food Service Program. Once they’ve finished lunch, a Center for Earth and Environmental Science education coordinator and two interns will lead students in a two-hour-a-day scientific exploration of Pleasant Run Creek, which runs nearby through the heart of the SENSE community where the children live. The programming is part of what Kate Voss, outreach coordinator at SENSE, is calling Ecocamp.

The Center for Earth and Environmental Science will equip the children with technology and knowledge to judge by the end of the week the quality of water flowing in the stream and make recommendations for further improving the stream ecosystem.

The center was established by the Department of Earth Sciences in the School of Science at IUPUI in 1997. Among its research and educational outreach programs, the center operates Discovering the Science of the Environment, an inquiry-based and interactive science education program for Central Indiana third- through ninth-graders and education professionals. Thanks to the generosity of Dow AgroSciences, CEES is able to offer this summer science programming.

SENSE is the third Indianapolis school the Center for Earth and Environmental Science has worked with this summer, said Pam Martin, center director and an associate  professor in the School of Science and School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. “We are providing outdoor science education to go along with the healthy meals provided by the Summer Servings program and school staff.

“It’s a bonus for everyone involved,” Martin said. “The science we provide gives parents another reason to bring kids for a meal and gives us the opportunity to give these kids a little science they might not otherwise get.”

While coordinated programming efforts and effective campaigns by groups such as the Indy Hunger Network have increased participation, Summer Servings participation is still low. According to a summer nutrition report, only 18 percent of qualifying children participated in July 2013. At the same time, Indiana needs to build its future workforce in science, technology, engineering and math fields and that begins with taking – and maintaining – an interest in science.

The summer Discovering the Science of Environment program is primarily about enthusiasm for science and developing a good experience with it, Martin said. “We want kids to have the experience of discovery; that is what science is all about. And while they are developing an appreciation for science, they are also developing an appreciation for the environment.”

Beginning today,  youngsters will learn about watersheds and investigate their own watershed using Google Earth satellite imagery. They will also play a water cycle board game to learn about how water changes states as it cycles through their watershed. On Tuesday, they will learn about energy flow through a food chain and investigate the biodiversity of the land along Pleasant Run. Children will then assess the stream’s physical parameters on Wednesday to determine overall stream stability and health. The stream’s discharge will be calculated as well.

A chemical assessment of water quality will be conducted Thursday, including measurements of dissolved oxygen levels, cloudiness, iron, chlorine and nitrate concentration. The week concludes with the collection of water bugs and a calculation of a pollution tolerance index.

The program at SENSE is “bringing the science home” by connecting it to everyday life, said Elizabeth Johnson, education outreach coordinator at the Center for Earth and Environmental Science, who will lead the children in the watershed exploration. “Anytime you can connect education to something familiar, it is easier to grasp.”

Johnson will be assisted by two IUPUI interns: Kenzie Whitener, a psychology major who is focusing on child psychology with the aim of working with children with behavioral problems; and Doaris Medina, an elementary education major.

Editor’s note: Reporters who would like to visit the school while students are engaged in science exploration may do so. The children will begin their science exploration about noon each day and stop at 2 p.m. Please contact Diane Brown at 317-274-2195.

Randa Jarrar, Award-Winning Novelist, Coming to IUPUI

A Map of HomeAs part of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here Symposium, the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute in collaboration with the IUPUI Library and the Rufus & Louise Reiberg Reading Series invites you to join us on the evening of November 17 for a presentation by Randa Jarrar.

Time: 7:00-8:30 pm
Date: November 17, 2014
Location: Basile Auditorium, Herron School of Art and Design
Tickets are free, but registration is required.

Randa Jarrar is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, essayist, and translator. In 2010, a collaborative project between the Hay Festival, Beirut UNESCO’s World Book Capital 2009 celebrations, Banipal magazine and the British Council recognized her as a member of the Beirut39 — 39 of the world’s most promising Arab writers under the age of 39.

Jarrar grew up in Kuwait and Egypt, and moved to the US after the first Gulf War.  Her first novel, A Map of Home, has been published in half a dozen languages and won a Hopwood Award, an Arab-American Book Award, and was named one of the best novels of 2008 by the Barnes and Noble Review.

Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Utne Reader, Salon.com, Guernica, The Rumpus, The Oxford American, Ploughshares, Five Chapters, and others. She has received fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Hedgebrook, Caravansarai, and Eastern Frontier.

About Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here at IUPUI

On March 5, 2007, in the middle of the Iraq war, a car bomb killed dozens and injured over a hundred people.  It also devastated al-Mutanabbi Street, a busy avenue of cafés and bookstores that had served as a meeting place for generations of writers and thinkers.  In response to the attack, San Francisco bookseller Beau Beausoleil rallied a community of international artists and writers to produce “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here,” a collection of letterpress-printed broadsides (poster-like works on paper), artists’ books (unique works of art in book form) and an anthology of writing focused on expressing solidarity with Iraqi booksellers, writers and readers.

“Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here” includes 260 artists’ books; a publication titled “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: Poets and Writers Respond to the March 5, 2007, Bombing of Baghdad’s ‘Street of the Booksellers,’” plus 130 broadsides — one for every person killed or injured in the bombing.  Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will serve as one of only three repositories in the world to hold the complete collection.  It will also sponsor three biennial conferences to explore the themes and implications of the collection through papers, panels, posters and presentations with international scholars, artists and writers from a range of disciplines.