Talking About Freedoms without Freaking Out

An IUPUI discussion series powered by Spirit & Place, a legacy project of The Polis iupuiCenter, part of IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, with support from the IUPUI Office of Community Engagement, Indiana Humanities, IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Center for Interfaith Cooperation, and The Center for Civic Literacy.

Where do individual rights begin and end? Which religious liberties are protected by the Constitution? Who decides what is “right” when our ideals about religious freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom from discrimination clash? How do we get past media sound bites and sensational opinions to really talk about our freedoms without freaking out? Explore which freedoms the First Amendment does – and does not – protect in our summer discussion series.

June 19, 12-1 p.m.
Hate Speech and the First Amendment: Values in Conflict
Scottish Rite Cathedral – FREE
At what point, if at all, should so-called “hate speech” become illegal? During the monthly luncheon of the League of Women Voters ‎of Indianapolis, hear attorney and civic leader Don Knebel discuss hate speech and the First Amendment.

June 24, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. (reception to follow)
Can We Talk about RFRA without Talking Past One Another?
IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law Wynne Courtroom – FREE (register at
It’s fair to say that the controversy over RFRA raised more heat than light. This panel aims to model thoughtful conversation on the constitutional and philosophical questions raised by the RFRA debate. Hear from executive director of the ACLU of Indiana Jane Henegar, IU McKinney Professor of Law John Hill, and attorney and IBJ columnist Peter Rusthoven. Moderated by IU McKinney Professor of Law Robert Katz. 1.5 hours of CLE credit available.

July 13, 5-7 p.m.
Trivia Night
Sun King Brewery – FREE
We’re redefining the meaning of “bar exam” with a night of First Amendment trivia and conversation at Sun King. Grab a beer and your thinking cap and join Indiana Humanities and Spirit & Place for quiz night! Open to anyone 21+, there will be prizes for the night’s sharpest legal eagles.

More info at

Conference: Is the new spirituality your grandmother’s religion? And other ‘big questions’

INDIANAPOLIS — As more and more Americans define themselves as “spiritual” but not RNS-FARNSLEY-COLUMNreligious, and scholars talk about and study “lived religion,” is the once-familiar term “religion” now primarily a reference to institutions or denominations?

And how fares the debate over the existence of “civil religion” — patriotism as the true faith of Americans as opposed to what is practiced in churches, synagogues or mosques?

These questions and others are up for discussion next week when more than 100 scholars from across the country gather in Indianapolis for the fourth in a series of conferences on the role of religion in American life.

The Fourth Biennial Conference on Religion and American Culture takes place June 4 to 7 at the JW Marriott Hotel in downtown Indianapolis. The registration fee is $135 for professionals, $85 for students.

“As in the past, this conference will address many of the ‘big questions’ in the field,” said Philip Goff, executive director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. “This conference will have something for everyone as we struggle together with the big questions behind our work.”

Answering the question “What does religion mean?” is relevant given the continuing changes across the entire field of American religion and the various disciplines that study it, including history and sociology.

“As the landscape of religion in America changes, we have to keep track of the way we are describing it,” said Arthur E. Farnsley II, associate director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture. “What do different academic fields mean by religion when they talk about it? Do historians think about religion as sociologists do? It is not that we all have to agree, but we had better understand what everyone is saying.”

Other “big” questions for discussion during the conference are:

How does globalization affect our research and teaching about American religion?
In what ways do markets, class and labor shape religion, and how does religion shape them?
How has an era of constantly being at war influenced our thinking about civil religion and cults and sects?
And what do we make of the seemingly competing models of pluralism and secularization?

The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture and its Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation are conference sponsors.

A complete conference schedule and registration are available online.

Book by IUPUI professor puts Native American mascot imagery into historical context

INDIANAPOLIS — Twenty-first-century efforts to legitimize Native American athletic team Guiliano-225x300names and mascots miscast tribal history, argues the author of a book examining the history of Native American imagery in college sports and exposing its ties to a crisis of identity among white, middle-class men.

Under pressure from the NCAA, Native Americans and others, many colleges have dropped their use of Native American team names and mascots. The NCAA has granted waivers to a few schools, including Florida State University, which has the support of the Florida Seminole Tribe for its use of the Seminole nickname.

“There were no Native American tribes involved in the creation of these identities, so why would colleges go to them for approval now?” said Jennifer Guiliano, assistant professor of history at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and author of “Indian Spectacle: College Mascots and the Anxiety of Modern America.”

Contrary to popular thought, mascots do not represent the history of particular tribes, but rather they commingle native identities across historical periods and tribal lines, the professor said.

Guiliano said “Indian Spectacle” points out that “none of the mascots were created with accurate tribal representation.”

Representations of Indians became “tied to mascotry in the 1920s when the University of Illinois — in an attempt to create a half-time spectacle for its band performance — merges with Indian representation,” said Guiliano, who teaches in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

Looking at the history of the creation and spread of Native American mascots and imagery, one finds middle-class men who are facing identity issues, Guiliano said.

In the face of challenges to their identity — immigration, urbanization and industrialization — white middle-class men in the 1920s and 1930s used Native American culture and imagery to reduce their anxiety about who they were and what mattered, according to Guiliano, who as a youth attended University of Illinois games and watched Chief Illiniwek perform. Competitive sports provided an arena in which men could legitimately act out their anxieties and celebrate their identity by cheering on misguided, narrow perceptions of Native Americans as inherently violent, she said.

“Because it was a moment when they couldn’t test their masculinity on the battlefield — America wasn’t fighting a war — the sort of battle on the football field became a replacement on how you could prove your masculinity,” Guiliano said. Men who weren’t good enough to play chose to be in the band or to be ardent fans, and they adopted the Indian identity to alleviate their anxiety over societal changes, according to the professor.

Italian Film Festival returns to IUPUI for fourth year

INDIANAPOLIS — The Italian Film Festival returns to Indianapolis for a fourth year April 24 Italian Film Festivalwith a slate of six films running through May 3.

Indianapolis is one of 12 cities around the nation hosting the Italian Film Festival USA. The festival is a collaboration between the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the Department of World Languages and Cultures in the School of Liberal Arts and is sponsored by the National Italian American Foundation, Istituto Italiano di Cultura and the Italian Heritage Society of Indiana, as well as other local corporate and individual sponsors.

All films are presented with English subtitles and are free and open to the public.

The films will be shown in the Lilly Auditorium on the lower level of the IUPUI University Library, 755 W. Michigan St.

The schedule for the festival is as follows:

“La Sedia della Felicità” (“The Chair of Happiness”), comedy, 6 p.m. Friday, April 24: A treasure hidden in a chair; a cosmetologist and a tattoo artist who fall in love while looking for the treasure; a mysterious priest looming over them like a threat. Rivals at first, then allies, the three of them become the protagonists of an incredible adventure.

“Un Ragazzo d’Oro” (“A Golden Boy”), drama, 3 p.m. Saturday, April 25: Davide, son of a screenwriter, is an advertising copywriter whose dream is to pen something beautiful. But he suffers from anxiety and lack of satisfaction. When his father suddenly dies, Davide returns home to Rome where he meets a beautiful editor who wants to publish the book that Davide’s father had allegedly been writing.

“Song’e Napule,” (“Song of Napoli”), comedy, 3 p.m. Sunday, April 26: Paco is a refined but unemployed pianist. His mother lands him a job with the police, but his total ineptitude relegates him to a judiciary warehouse. Then one day Police Commissioner Cammarota, who is on the trail of the faceless yet dangerous killer known as O’Fantasma, arrives. He needs a pianist to infiltrate the Lollo Love band, which will perform at the wedding of the daughter of the mafia boss of Somma Vesuviana.

“La Mafia Uccide Solo d’Estate” (“The Mafia Kills Only in Summer”), comedy, 6 p.m. Friday, May 1: A story told through the eyes of Arturo, who grows up in Palermo, a fascinating yet terrifying city ruled by the mafia. It is, in fact, a love story about Arturo’s attempts to win the heart of his beloved Flora, who he considers a princess and with whom he has fallen head over heels in love since elementary school. As this tender and amusing story unfolds, Sicily’s most tragic events from the ’70s to the ’90s take place.

“Anime Nere” (“Black Souls”), drama, 3 p.m. Saturday, May 2: The story of three brothers — the sons of shepherds with ties to the ‘ndrangheta — and their divided souls. Luigi, the youngest, is an international drug dealer. Rocco, Milanese by adoption, is to all appearances a middle-class businessman, thanks to his brother’s ill-gotten gains. Luciano, the eldest, harbors a pathological fantasy of pre-industrial Calabria. After a trivial argument, Luciano’s 20-year-old son Leo carries out an act of intimidation against a bar protected by a rival clan — the spark that lights the fire.

“Il Capitale Umano” (“Human Capital”), drama, 3 p.m. Sunday, May 3: A winter night, on a suburban road, a cyclist is hit by a SUV. What exactly happened? The only sure thing is that this accident will change the destiny of two families, that of Giovanni Bernaschi, a top finance executive, and that of Dino Ossola, an ambitious real estate developer who is on the verge of bankruptcy. Liberally based on the book of the same name by Stephen Amidon.

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.

IUPUI announces new degrees focused on law in liberal arts and informatics

imagesThe Indiana University Board of Trustees has approved a proposal for two new degrees at IUPUI: One prepares undergraduate students for careers as paralegals, and the other provides a path for students to transition rapidly into in-demand and well-paid information technology jobs.

IUPUI will ask the Indiana Commission for Higher Education for final approval to offer the degrees beginning in the fall.

“These programs are the latest examples of IUPUI’s tradition of developing distinctive programs that respond to student demand and meet employer needs,” said IUPUI Executive Vice Chancellor Nasser Paydar.

The proposed Bachelor of Arts in law in liberal arts degree expands the certificate in paralegal studies now offered by the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, providing students with additional education and training and the baccalaureate degree increasingly required by employers. Students in the past could take the certificate in addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree in another discipline. But that required at least six courses beyond their degree, which burdened students with added expense and time.

The degree will provide students with the theoretical and conceptual components of the law and an introduction to the court system and legal procedures. Students will develop practical, real-world legal skills with courses in legal research, legal writing and litigation skills. In addition, students will be able to tailor the curriculum according to their own interests by selecting a number of elective courses from various legal specialties, including criminal law, family law, estate law and a variety of business law courses.

The second new program is a master’s degree offered by the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI. The proposed Master of Science in informatics offers specializations in data analytics, biomedical informatics, knowledge and information management, and user experience design.

The goal of the Master of Science in informatics is to enable students to apply informatics in their respective disciplines. To achieve that goal, the department proposes first to establish the new degree itself, providing specializations from within the school; and then to offer interdisciplinary five-year B.S./M.S. programs and dual degrees with other schools at IUPUI to meet the competitive requirements of Indiana’s job market.

Informatics has become not only an integral part of many disciplines and professions but also an essential skill for graduates.

The Master of Science in informatics will expand career opportunities of undergraduate students and degree holders in nontechnical disciplines by enabling them to apply information technology skills to their own field or to transition into information technology fields.

Laura Holzman, Modupe Labode, and Mary Price to discuss “The Value and Values of Public Scholarship”

Indiana Humanities LogoFebruary 24, 2015 | 12:00-1:30
IUPUI University Library, Room 4115P
755 W. Michigan St.

The 21st-century research university is no ivory tower.  It is a vibrant space that cultivates creativity and experiment — a space that encourages and supports multiple ways of knowing and doing.  Public scholarship is an essential pillar of the 21st-century university, building bridges and partnerships between the institution and the many publics with which its members engage.  This roundtable will engage with the following questions. What is public scholarship? What roles does it play in research, creative activity, and teaching?  What misconceptions do people have about public scholarship? How should universities evaluate public scholarship in promotion and tenure? How does one become a public scholar?

Dr. Laura Holzman is an Assistant Professor and Public Scholar of Curatorial Practices and Visual Art in Art History in the Herron School of Art and Design and in Museum Studies in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

Dr. Modupe Labode is an Assistant Professor and Public Scholar of African American History and Museums in History and Museum Studies in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

Dr. Mary Price is the Faculty Development Director in the IUPUI Center for Service and Learning and an Associate Faculty member in Anthropology in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

This event is co-sponsored by Indiana Humanities

Award-winning novelists and poets headline Reiberg Reading Series at IUPUI

Emily Gray Tedrowe

Emily Gray Tedrowe

The Spring 2015 Rufus & Louise Reiberg Reading Series at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis kicks off Thursday, March 5, with Emily Gray Tedrowe reading from her works, including the recently published second novel, “Blue Stars.”

Tedrowe’s first novel, “Commuters,” was listed as a Best New Paperback by Entertainment Weekly, an IndieNext Notable pick and a Target Breakout Book. Tedrowe also has published work in the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal, “Fifty-Two Stories, and Other Voices.”

All readings will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Lilly Auditorium, University Library, 755 W. Michigan St, unless otherwise noted.

Other series events, open to students, faculty, staff and the general public, include:

  • Thursday, March 12 — 16th annual “International Women’s Day: A Celebration” with poetry, music and visual art to honor the creativity of women around the world. Program includes an opening reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by featured performers at 7 p.m. and a multicultural, multilingual open mic at 8:20 p.m.


  • Michelle Herman

    Michelle Herman

    Thursday, April 2 — Essayist and fiction writer Michelle Herman, whose works include a collection of novellas, “A New and Glorious Life.” Her essay collection “The Middle of Everything, Stories We Tell Ourselves” was longlisted for the 2014 PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay.



  • Dana Roeser

    Dana Roeser

Thursday, April 16 — Dana Roeser, the author of three books of poetry including her latest, “The Theme of Tonight’s Party Has Been Changed.” Roeser is also author of “In the Truth Room” and “Beautiful Motion,” each winners of the Samuel French Morse Prize and nominated for the 2010 Poets’ Prize.

The Reiberg series was founded in 1997 by the Department of English in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI to honor department chair Professor Emeritus Rufus Reiberg and his wife, Louise. The series annually brings national and regional writers to the IUPUI campus to present their work.

Visitor parking for the readings is available in the North Street Garage, 819 W. North St.; the Vermont Street Garage, 1004 W. Vermont St.; and the Sports Complex Garage, 875 W. New York St.

The Spring 2015 Rufus & Louise Reiberg Series, hosted by the Department of English, is made possible by the support of the Reiberg family; and IUPUI’s Office of Academic Affairs; University Library; University College; Office for Women; and Women’s Studies Program.

For additional information, contact Terry Kirts or by phone at 317-274-8929. Facebook users can “like” the series page at The Rufus & Louise Reiberg Reading Series @ IUPUI.

Partnership links to global opportunities

Four IUPUI faculty and staff members who are involved with international opportunities for students attended Oktobertfest in the fall: from left, Jennifer Williams, Pat Fox, Claudia Grossmann and Terri Talbert-Hatch.

Four IUPUI faculty and staff members who are involved with international opportunities for students attended Oktobertfest in the fall: from left, Jennifer Williams, Pat Fox, Claudia Grossmann and Terri Talbert-Hatch.

A partnership linking the School of Engineering and Technology and the Department of World Languages and Cultures in the School of Liberal Arts has given four IUPUI students intriguing international experiences as they prepare to graduate in 2015.

A dual-degree program between the engineering school and German, Spanish and French language programs opened the doors to the internships. Three of them, Brian Knip, Eduardo Salcedo and Jesus Roman, worked with the Bosch Engineering Group in the small town of Abstatt. The fourth, C. J. Nielsen, worked at the University of Heilbronn. Both Abstatt and Heilbronn are located in southern Germany.

Knip, Salcedo and Roman tested their skills and knowledge in Bosch’s research and development department as part of an international group of engineering professionals, researchers and interns. Nielsen worked at an engineering lab alongside graduate students. All but Knip are part of IUPUI’s motorsports engineering program; Knip majors in mechanical engineering.

Claudia Grossmann, director of IUPUI’s German program, said the time abroad has an impact on the students.

“They gain new language, technical and intercultural skills, and gain on a personal level, as well,” Grossmann said. “They learn how to take care of themselves in another culture. As interns, they don’t have as much support as they are used to, so they have to deal with a wide range of practical experiences. That’s invaluable.”

Terri Talbert-Hatch, the assistant dean of student services in Engineering and Technology, knows the dual-degree program allows students to prepare for professional careers while benefitting schools at the same time.

“It helps us develop partnerships with other universities and with businesses,” she said. “Last year, for instance, an official from Bosch Motorsports in Detroit heard about our dual-degree program, and the talented students who were involved, and wondered why the company’s Detroit site didn’t have a similar program.” That has opened a discussion that may lead to opportunities in the U.S.

Both Grossmann and Talbert-Hatch have led student delegations to Germany, and have seen how the trips affected IUPUI students.

“Students figure out pretty quickly how studying abroad can benefit them in internships and career opportunities,” Talbert-Hatch said, noting a wealth of connections linking the U.S. and Germany in engineering fields.

Knip said he learned a lot during his time abroad, not all of it technical.

“Throughout my internship, I discovered both what I enjoyed and disliked about the possible careers available for mechanical engineering graduates,” he said. That knowledge has given him a stronger focus on his career goals as he applies and interviews with prospective employers.

The dual-degree program has been around for a decade, and Grossmann believes that internship prospects in German companies fit well with the language she teaches.

“We have a good following from engineering students, who often are interested in German engineering and want to take advantage of what they can learn,” she said.

“Engineers tend to look at things a little differently, and doing an internship in Germany allows them to experience technology that is just as advanced, but in a different culture,” Grossmann added. “The language immersion and engineering work enrich each other.”

By Ric Burrous