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.”
Despite what many history books say, certain forms of slave labor continued to exist in the American South during the years between the Civil War and World War II. Scenes from the documentary Slavery by Another Name will serve as a starting point of a moderated discussion by Alex Lichtenstein, Assoc. Prof. of History at Indiana University and Brian C. Reeder, Director of Re-Entry for the Dept. of Public Safety in Indianapolis. The discussion will also include a performance by Freetown Village.
Freetown Village, Indiana State Museum, and IUPUI invite the public to a free event, featuring the film “Slavery by Another Name.” “Slavery by Another Name” is one of four powerful documentary films (The Abolitionist, Slavery by Another Name, Freedom Riders and the Loving Story) featured in a series presented by the National Endowment for Humanities, as part of its Bridging Cultures initiative called, Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle. The film series is part of a project developed by the National Endowment for Humanities to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation with the purpose to encourage diverse communities across the country to revisit the history of civil rights in the U.S. and to reflect on the ideals of freedom and equality that have helped bridge deep racial and cultural divides in American life. These films tell a remarkable story about the importance of race in the making of American democracy, about the power of individuals to effect change, and about the historical contexts in which Americans have understood and struggled with ideas of freedom, equality, and citizenship.
It was a shocking reality that often went unacknowledged, then and now: A huge system of forced, unpaid labor, mostly affecting Southern black men that lasted until World War II. Based on the Pulitzer-Prize-winning book by Douglas Blackmon, Slavery by Another Name tells the stories of men, charged with crimes like vagrancy, and often guilty of nothing, who were bought and sold, abused, and subject to sometimes deadly working conditions as unpaid convict labor. Interviews with the descendants of victims and perpetrators resonate with a modern audience. Christina Comer, who discovered how her family profited from the system, comments that, “the story is important no matter how painful the reality is.”
For more information about this film, please visit the PBS website.
What: Free public discussion of excerpts from the documentary “Slavery by Another Name,” discussion to be facilitated by Alex Lichtenstein, Assistant Professor of History at Indiana University and Brian C. Reeder, Director of Re-Entry for the Department of Public Safety in Indianapolis. There will also be a special performance by Freetown Village.
When: Thursday, January 29, 2015, 12-1:30 p.m.
Where: Indiana State Museum, Dean and Barbara White Auditorium
Admission is free and registration is not required.
For more information, call 317.232.1637 or visit indianamuseum.org.
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.
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.”
The 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.
Award-winning novelist Randa Jarrar will conclude the fall Rufus & Louise Reiberg Reading Series with a presentation at the Herron School of Art & Design Basile Auditorium as part of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here Symposium at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
Jarrar’s reading at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 is free, but registration is required .
Jarrar grew up in Kuwait and Egypt and moved to the United States after the first Gulf War. Her first novel, “A Map of Home,” was published in half a dozen languages and won a Hopwood Award and an Arab-American Book Award. Barnes and Noble Review named it one of the best novels of 2008.
In 2010, the Hay Festival and the Beirut UNESCO’s World Capital of the Book named Jarrar one of the Beirut 39 — the 39 most gifted writers of Arab origin under the age of 40. Her work, which includes short stories and essays, has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Utne Reader, Salon.com, Guernica, The Rumpus, the Oxford American, Ploughshares and Five Chapters.
IUPUI is hosting the inaugural Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here Symposium on Nov. 17 and Nov. 18 at University Library, 755 W. Michigan St. In conjunction with Jarrar’s reading and the symposium, Herron is exhibiting its “Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here” collection.
On March 5, 2007, in the middle of the Iraq war, a car bomb killed dozens and injured more than 100 people. The bomb 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 2007 bombing of al-Mutanabbi Street.
The Herron Art Library at IUPUI will serve as one of only three repositories in the world — and the only U.S. location — to permanently host the complete Al-Mutanabbi Street collection. The symposium is the first of three biennial conferences IUPUI will sponsor to explore the themes and implications of the collection through papers, panels, posters and presentations.
Visitor parking for Jarrar’s reading 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 reading is co-sponsored by the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute in collaboration with the Reiberg Family and several IUPUI academic units: Herron School of Art & Design, the IU School of Liberal Arts, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, the Office of Academic Affairs, University College and University Library.
The academic study of Muslim American history and life is the focus of a summer seminar open to K-12 teachers.
Applications are now being accepted for a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar, “Muslim American Identities, Past and Present,” to be held July 12 to Aug. 1, 2015, in Indianapolis.
Sixteen teachers from across the country will be selected for the three-week seminar during which they will discuss the racial, ethnic, religious and gender identities of U.S. Muslims.
Directed by Edward E. Curtis IV, an award-winning scholar of Islam in America and holder of the Millennium Chair of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, the seminar will focus on the academic study of Muslim American identities, not the religious or spiritual beliefs or habits of the participating teachers.
Participants will study 30 primary source documents written by Muslim Americans, listen to distinguished guest lecturers Kambiz Ghanea Bassiri and Juliane Hammer, and visit two local mosques. They will also work on individual research projects on topics such as Muslim American slave narratives, Islamic hip-hop, Muslim American food cultures and Muslim American political engagement.
“My primary aim is to nurture an environment of deep intellectual engagement and active learning in which teachers try to answer a key question of our time: What does it mean to be both Muslim and American?” said Curtis, who is the author of “Muslims in America, among other books.
The seminar will meet almost daily in the Campus Center on the IUPUI campus. In addition to meeting rooms, the IUPUI Campus Center houses a bookstore, a credit union and a food court.
As one of seven campuses administered by Indiana University, IUPUI is known as Indiana’s premier urban research and health sciences campus. IUPUI has more than 30,000 students enrolled in 17 schools, which offer more than 250 degrees. IUPUI awards degrees from both Indiana and Purdue universities. The campus is near the heart of downtown Indianapolis. Several major cultural attractions and affordable restaurants are within walking distance or a brief bus ride.
All seminar participants receive a $2,700 stipend to help cover transportation, food, housing and other costs. Housing is available on campus. Teachers in public and private schools are encouraged to apply.
Funding for the summer seminar comes from the National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency that supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.
Deadline: March 2.
For additional information about the seminar, teachers should address their questions to Edward E. Curtis IV by phone at (317) 278-1683 or email: email@example.com
Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar will headline the 2014 Bulen Symposium on American Politics at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
The symposium will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14, in Room 450 of the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd. It is presented by the Department of Political Science in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.
Lugar, distinguished scholar and professor of practice at the IU Bloomington School of Global and International Studies, will join a roster of academics, media and political party representatives to examine the impact of midterm election results, including the presidential agenda for the next two years and the 2016 race for the White House.
“Senator Lugar is one of the most respected politicians of the last half century, not just in Indiana but across the country,” said professor Aaron Dusso, co-chair of the symposium. “Any opportunity to hear him speak in our hometown of Indianapolis is a wonderful thing. We like to think of the Bulen Symposium as one of Indiana’s premier post-election discussion forums and believe there are few people who can bring as much insight to the process as Senator Lugar.”
Midterm congressional elections are traditionally viewed as a referendum of the sitting president. With the Senate potentially up for grabs and the 2016 presidential election lurking around the corner, the implications of this November’s elections can hardly be understated.
In addition to Lugar, panelists who will assess the impact of the November midterm elections include:
- Tim Berry, chairman, Indiana Republican Party
- John Zody, chairman, Indiana Democratic Party
- Tony Cook, Statehouse reporter, The Indianapolis Star
- Amber Stearns, news editor, Nuvo
- Lesley Weidenbener, executive editor, The Statehouse File
- Jeffery Mondak, professor of political science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Edward Burmila, assistant professor of political science, Bradley University
“When putting together the Bulen program, we focus on bringing together as many different perspectives on the process as possible,” Dusso said.
Lugar, who will present the symposium’s afternoon keynote, spent 36 years in the United States Senate, where he focused on issues such as nuclear non-proliferation, energy, agriculture and free trade. Before being elected to the Senate, Lugar was a two-term Indianapolis mayor. He is currently the president of the Lugar Center, a nonprofit organization that continues the work he focused on in the Senate.
The Bulen Symposium on American Politics is named for L. Keith Bulen, who personified political leadership in Indiana and beyond for three decades. He served twice in elective office and served three presidents in major appointive posts. Bulen is best remembered for his innovative management of major political campaigns, his leadership in revitalizing the Indiana Republican Party and his unwavering commitment to the American two-party framework.
For the symposium event schedule and further information visit the symposium website.
The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required by Nov. 12.
Bill Blomquist, dean of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, has announced he’s stepping down effective summer 2015 to return to regular faculty duties and pursue projects at IUPUI that align with his research interests concerning water resources management and policy.
An internationally recognized expert in water institutions and policies, Blomquist wants to contribute to the research-informed development of state water policy and planning for Indiana. According to a six-month study recently released by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, there is a critical need for a state-driven water plan to identify resources and develop ways to deliver water to underserved areas.
“Bill Blomquist led the School of Liberal Arts through a transformational period –launching its two Ph.D. programs; welcoming the Department of Journalism and Public Relations; facilitating the creation of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy; improving support of part-time faculty; and enhancing the scholarly strength of the school,” IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz said. “He now has the opportunity to focus his established expertise and leadership to a vital issue for Indiana: water.”
Blomquist earned his Bachelor of Science in economics and Master of Arts in political science from Ohio University and his Ph.D. in political science from Indiana University.
Bantz will soon form a committee charged with conducting a national search for Blomquist’s successor.