Spirit and Place Festival explores life’s journey

imagesLife’s journey is filled with movement and meaning, but this Nov. 7 to 16, “Journey” also is the theme of a quest for thousands of curious people during the 2014 Spirit & Place Festival in Indianapolis.

The 19th annual festival will explore the various aspects of “Journey” in nearly 40 events scattered throughout the city, focusing on the impact of such topics as immigration, incarceration, marriage and dozens of others, all led by partnerships linking various civic, cultural and religious groups.

Spirit & Place was created 19 years ago by The Polis Center at IUPUI to engage the city’s population in unique conversations about each year’s festival theme.

This year, individual events will study life’s journey, all leading to the annual festival finale: the public conversation. This year’s event will feature renowned authors Gail Sheehy and Mark Nepo and Dr. Timothy Quill and focus on the “Journey’s End” at 4 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Christian Theological Seminary’s Shelton Auditorium.

All three are linked by loss and the quality of one’s end of life. Sheehy, the author of “Passages,” cared for her husband in the last stages of his life. Nepo is a two-time cancer survivor, and is scheduled to tour with television host Oprah Winfrey to discuss his perspectives on the importance of palliative care. Quill is the director of the Center for Ethics, Humanities and Palliative Care at the University of Rochester School of Medicine.

The three also will participate in the Mary Margaret Walther Program in Palliative Care Research and Education symposium “Passages and Promises: Innovations in Palliative Care Research Education and Practice” at the IUPUI Campus Center on Nov. 17.

Linking to other community events of importance is a Spirit & Place goal, said David Bodenhamer, the executive director of The Polis Center and one of those who helped create the festival.

“Spirit & Place’s success ultimately rests upon its ability to connect to the larger civic interests and concerns represented by an ever-growing number of groups in our city who, like Spirit & Place, want to make Indianapolis an even better place tomorrow than it is today,” Bodenhamer said.

Simple, open-ended themes are a deliberate choice, said Pam Blevins Hinkle, the festival director.

“We purposefully choose themes that are timely and resonate broadly in the community,” she said. Such themes help organizations find intriguing partnerships with other groups and explore issues more deeply.

Bodenhamer said he has been pleasantly surprised by some of those partnerships.

“I underestimated both the desire to contribute and the ways in which people wanted to collaborate across sectors,” he said. “People want to experience the whole city, not only their part of it. In this sense, Spirit & Place has touched a longing for connections that make a difference. The festival has encouraged this city’s cultural re-awakening and its belief in itself as a city of worth.”

Simple themes “evoke a wide range of feelings, images, memories and reflections that stoke the imagination and create a sense of anticipation for the November festival,” Hinkle said. The themes often offer an interesting mix of individual and community journeys.

Though other cities have shown an interest in imitating the impact of Spirit & Place, Bodenhamer said none have been able to replicate it.

“Spirit & Place is unique because Indianapolis is unique: we have our own history, our own traditions, our own sense of time and space,” he said.

by Ric Burrous

Learn more about this year’s festival.

 

Notre Dame historian and professor to discuss ‘The Bible Then and Now’ in public talk

Dr. Mark Noll

Dr. Mark Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame

INDIANAPOLIS — Noted historian and National Endowment for the Humanities medal recipient Mark Noll will deliver a public talk Thursday, Aug. 7, as part of the IUPUI Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture’s The Bible and American Life Conference.

Noll will present “The Bible Then and Now” at 7:30 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral, 125 Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis. Registration is not required for this keynote talk, which is open to the entire Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus as well as the general public.

Noll is the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. His numerous books include “The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith” (InterVarsity Press, 2009); “God and Race in American Politics: A Short History” (Princeton University Press, 2008); and “The Civil War as a Theological Crisis” (University of North Carolina Press, 2006). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; in 2006 he received the National Endowment for the Humanities medal at a White House ceremony.

The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture is part of the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. The Bible and American Life Conference, taking place Wednesday through Friday at Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre, is the second stage of a project that seeks to provide the first large-scale investigation of the Bible in American life.

Earlier this year, the center released the first part of the project: a report based on a national survey of American Bible reading. Among its many findings, the study discovered:

•    There is a 50/50 split among Americans who read any form of scripture in the past year and those who did not.

•    Among those who read any form of scripture in the past year, 95 percent named the Bible as the scripture they read.

•    Despite the proliferation of Bible translations, the King James Version is the top choice — and by a wide margin — of Bible readers.

•    The strongest correlation with Bible reading is race, with African Americans reading the Bible at considerably higher rates than others.

•    Bible readers consult scripture for personal prayer and devotion three times more to learn about culture war issues such as abortion, homosexuality, war or poverty.
A conference schedule and registration information are available online.

Students to Dive in For Better English

UntitledINDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Thirty-five undergraduate students from two Japanese institutions are coming to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis this summer to improve their English-language skills while learning more about U.S. culture.

The students will immerse themselves in English-only classes and extracurricular activities offered and organized by the International Center for Intercultural Communication, part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. And when each school day ends, they will go “home” to the English-speaking Hoosier families serving as their summer hosts.

Twenty-two Tsuda College students will arrive Saturday to participate in what is now known as the annual Women in Leadership Intensive Summer English Program. Two weeks after the Tsuda students finish Aug. 22, the center will host 13 students from Hakuoh University, a co-ed institution.
The Hakuoh Intensive Summer English Program runs Sept. 3 to 15.

For students of Tsuda College — started 100 years ago as Japan’s first college for women — their three-week intensive English-language immersion course is the latest chapter in a 20-year tradition that IUPUI will mark with a special celebration Aug. 21.

“It’s really been magnificent,” International Center for Intercultural Communication director and Chancellor’s Professor of English Ulla M. Connor said of the program that started after a chance encounter between Connor and Tsuda English professor Mary Althaus, now vice president of the Japanese college.

Twenty years ago, when Althaus suggested the ICIC-Tsuda partnership, most Japanese schools focused on exchange programs with universities either in California or on the East Coast. IUPUI is one of only three exchange programs for Tsuda students, and the only U.S. university that offers them a summer intensive English program, Connor said. About 25 students have attended the IUPUI program each year, and the school has never had difficulty recruiting students to attend.

At the request of the Japanese college, women in leadership has been the program’s focus in the past five or so years, Connor said. The Tsuda students use a mainstream book on female leaders, selected readings and academic activities specifically chosen for their inclusion of content on distinguished female leaders and their focus on developing communication skills for women in leadership roles. The class also includes guest lectures by prominent local women such as retired Eli Lilly and Co. human resources professional Joann Ingulli-Fattic and Girls Inc. director of research Catherine Cushinberry.

Althaus and members of the Japan-America Society of Indiana are scheduled to attend the Tsuda anniversary celebration. IUPUI administrators scheduled to attend include Chancellor Charles R. Bantz, School of Liberal Arts Dean Bill Blomquist and IU Associate Vice President of International Affairs Gil Latz.

This summer will mark the sixth year for the International Center for Intercultural Communication’s program for Hakuoh University. This year’s edition revolves around five U.S. culture themes that college students can relate to, such as sports and city life in the U.S. The ICIC-Hakuoh program has been the more traditional two-way exchange program.

“For students who have an interest in Japanese, studying abroad is an invaluable experience,” said Laura Woods, an IUPUI student who spent a year at Hakuoh, earning enough credits for an individualized major in Japanese. “I recommend Hakuoh University as a good place to experience Japanese college life.

“During the year that I studied at Hakuoh University, I was able to significantly improve in my Japanese language ability; and because the classes are conducted completely in Japanese, I was able to learn more quickly than I could in America,” said Woods, who is featured in a promotional spotlight on the Hakuoh University website.

Curtis awarded for NEH Summer Seminar about Muslim American Identity

curtis-home

Edward E. Curtis IV

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in Washington, D.C, has announced that Edward Curtis, Millennium Chair of the Liberal Arts and professor of religious studies, has been awarded $114,438 to conduct a national seminar for school teachers on “Muslim American Identities, Past and Present.”

The three-week seminar, which will take place on the IUPUI campus in the summer of 2015, will give sixteen school teachers from around the country the opportunity to explore the history and diverse cultures of Muslims in the United States.

Participants will study thirty primary source documents, hear from two visiting experts, make field trips to two local mosques, and use the resources of the IUPUI University Library to complete individual research projects.

“My primary goal,” said Curtis, “is to nurture an environment of deep intellectual engagement and active learning in which school teachers can answer a key question of our historical moment: what does it mean to be both Muslim and American?”

In order to answer that question, Curtis will emphasize the impact of gender, race, ethnicity, and religious interpretation in the making of Muslim American identities.

The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, which has offered numerous seminars and professional development opportunities for young scholars and school teachers, will support the logistical aspects of the program.

Funding for NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes is provided by the federal government, and grants are awarded through a rigorous and selective process of peer review.

“Understanding the rich diversity of Muslim American identities in a balanced and informed manner,” Curtis concluded, “can be a powerful means of bridging cultures inside the United States and beyond.”

 


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.

 

 

Open Society Foundations Invites Applications for Social Justice Photography Projects

logoThe Open Society Documentary Photography Project is accepting applications for photography projects that can be used as tools for social change.

The foundation’s Audience Engagement program supports projects that address a pressing social justice or human rights problems and provide concrete ways for photographers, organizations, and their target audiences to create positive social impact. Projects that inspire audiences visually, create meaningful interactions with an existing body of photographic work, and use photography as the basis for programming that moves people beyond the act of looking and directly involves them in activities or processes that lead to social change are encouraged.

Beginning this year, the program offers two tracks of support for individuals at different phases of their audience engagement projects:

1) Project Development: Grantees will receive funding to attend an Open Society–organized retreat in December 2014. The event will be designed in collaboration with Creative Capital’s Professional Development Program, whose nationally recognized workshops provide participants with essential practical tools and strategies to help them move their project and career goals forward. Attendees will become part of a larger Audience Engagement grant cohort, with opportunities to connect both during the conference and after.

2) Project Implementation: Grantees will receive grants of up to $30,000 to execute (or continue executing) their projects as well as attend the December retreat.

Proposed projects should include partnerships between photographers and organizations recognized as tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Each project partner should have the skills and track record to realize the project and must commit time and resources to implement it.

See the Open Society Foundations Web site for eligibility and application guidelines.

Researching and Teaching Intercultural Competence and 8th Intercultural Rhetoric and Discourse Conference

Nuetzel_Daniel_2010 June 6 and 7, 2014

 IUPUI Campus Center

 420 University Blvd, Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS — International scholars will headline an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis conference, discussing the role of cultural knowledge and intercultural communication as well as the intersection of language and culture in community settings. The conference aims to help university teachers, school teachers and other professionals adapt the latest thinking about the integration of cultural studies into professional and second language learning settings.

The Researching and Teaching Intercultural Competence and Intercultural Rhetoric and Discourse Conference will take place June 6 and 7 at the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd, Indianapolis.

The conference is organized by the International Center for Intercultural Communication, the Department of World Languages and Cultures, and the Max Kade German-American Center in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

This year’s conference also celebrates the memory of professor Daniel C. Nützel, who died in April 2013 at the age of 50. Nützel was associate professor of German, the Hoyt-Reichmann Scholar of German-American Studies and director of the Max Kade German-American Center at IUPUI.

“Professor Nützel was a well-respected colleague, teacher and scholar,” said professor Claudia Grossmann, conference co-organizer and interim director of the Max Kade German-American Center. “He was a proponent of expanding cultural and intercultural competence in communication as an aspect of interest across a range of academic disciplines, and this conference is a fitting part of his legacy.”

The conference focuses on studies of how writers and speakers with various linguistic, cultural and social backgrounds negotiate communication. The conference seeks to bring together current discussions of intercultural competence in language education, rhetoric and discourse research, and application in English and other world language teaching settings.

“Presentations will feature theoretical and empirical investigations of topics along with discussion of practical applications, including classroom practices, writing in business and other professional settings,” said professor Marta Anton, chair of the Department of World Languages and Cultures and a conference organizer. “The conference addresses a variety of topics, from the importance of teaching metaphoric meanings as an essential part of developing linguistic proficiency in a second language, to the development of intercultural competence during study abroad or the expressions of ethnicity among German Americans in early-20th-century Indianapolis, to name a few, and highlights cultural contact and language development.”

Plenary talks include:

  • “The Present and Future of Intercultural Rhetoric,” Ulla Connor, IUPUI, and Dwight Atkinson, Purdue University
  • “Metaphor: The Integration of Culture, Cognition, and Communication,” James Lantolf, Pennsylvania State University
  • “The Intercultural Complex and Its Assessment in Healthcare Communication,” Srikant Sarangi, Aalborg University, Denmark
  • “Impacting Teacher Use of Critical Sociocultural Practices in K-12 Classrooms,” Annela Teemant, IUPUI

“The conference was established to further research in intercultural competence, and intercultural rhetoric, and to create collaborations among leading research universities and organizations,” said professor Ulla Connor, conference co-organizer and director of the International Center for Intercultural Communication. “It also is intended to build connections at IUPUI and within Indianapolis and Indiana among those who teach in a broad array of disciplines.”

Researchers and teachers of second/foreign languages as well as scholars in second language acquisition, communication, composition and multicultural education, among others, are encouraged to participate.

For more information or to register, visit the conference website.