From Humanities: New Museums Confront Mississippi History

The ceiling sculpture, “This Little Light of Mine,” is the focus of the center gallery at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

The chess set is so small, it’s easy to miss in a case crowded with other artifacts in the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson.

The pieces were fashioned from white bread and spit by Freedom Rider Carol Ruth Silver during her time in Parchman prison. The pieces—pawns roughly similar to a Hershey’s kiss and the knights and queens most recognizable by their distinctive shapes—bear the seams of tiny bits of bread, molded and pushed into place and dried, the darker pieces marked with blood. On a “board” scribbled in pencil, the set helps illuminate the larger story of determination and injustice in the movement that changed a state and a nation.

The country’s first state-owned civil rights museum and the Museum of Mississippi History opened December 9, 2017, capping the state’s bicentennial and drawing more than 25,000 visitors in the first month.

Funded by $90 million from the Mississippi Legislature and an additional $19 million in private donations for exhibits and endowments, the two museums together cover 200,000 square feet. A lobby links the two, which share an auditorium, classroom space, cafe, community room, and a shop in downtown Jackson. The museums complement each other with a complete look at Mississippi’s past—confronting the pain and celebrating the progress. Richly layered exhibits and interactive displays engage on a historic and a human scale with compelling artifacts, images, art, sound, settings, and media.

The civil rights museum focuses on the period from 1945 to 1976, when Mississippi was ground zero for the civil rights movement. The sometimes violent, often valiant history of Mississippians’ struggle against racism and oppression unfolds in stories of segregation, integration, intimidation, murder, marches, voting gains, and strength.

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Robert G. Bringle Civic Engagement Showcase

Plater Medallion Recipients from 2015 Bringle Showcase

Service, partnership, and research. The Robert G. Bringle Civic Engagement Showcase recognizes the impact of each of these things on the IUPUI campus and in the community.

Held in the IUPUI Campus Center (420 University Boulevard) on Tuesday, April 10, the showcase will honor faculty, staff, and community partners who exemplify IUPUI’s commitment to deepening community engagement. The showcase will highlight the contributions of four IUPUI honorees. Poster presentations will show the various and diverse contributions IUPUI students, faculty, staff, and organizations are making to this commitment. Finally, the event will conclude with a formal recognition of the graduating students who have been awarded the William M. Plater Civic Engagement Medallion for exemplary commitment to serving their community.

To register or to learn more, visit the IUPUI Center for Service & Learning website.

How Does It Feel to Be a Problem? Du Bois, Black Moralism, and Secular Struggle for Change

On Thursday, March 29 from 6-8pm in the ICTC Auditorium (IT/ICTC 152), Dr. Anthony B. Pinn will present his talk, “How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?”

Dr. Anthony B. Pinn is the Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religion at Rice University. Dr. Pinn is the founding director of Rice’s Center for Engaged Research and Collaborative Learning (CERCL). In addition, he is Director of Research for the Institute for Humanist Studies (Washington, DC). His research interests include religion and culture; humanism; African American religious thought, religion and embodiment, and hip hop culture. He is the author/editor of over 35 books.

“The problem of the Twentieth Century,” Du Bois writes in The Souls of Black Folks, “is the problem of the color-line.” While undeniably impactful, what the color-line pronouncement points to, however, is only one dimension of a dualism, what Du Bois references as the “Negro Problem.” Shortly after making this statement, he asks a question: How does it feel to be a problem? In this lecture, Dr. Pinn will explore the manner in which Du Bois’s response to this question suggests the outline of a mode of moralism sensitive to the dynamics of blackness in the US. This Black Moralism pushes against the tendency to think about justice work as framed by the certainty of outcomes, and instead prompts a sense of struggle as perpetual rebellion without assurances. In this way it says something to and about secular humanism in a context of racial disregard.

The talk is sponsored by Secular Humanism Studies; the Department of Philosophy; The Millennium Chair of Liberal Arts; and the Department of Religious Studies at IUPUI.

Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology Salvaging Endangered Data

Original article by Marah Harbison at News at IU.

A reconstruction of a vessel from the Angel Mounds excavation site.

Archaeologists spend days, months, even years at digs sifting through mud and dirt searching for artifacts that will lead to an understanding of another time and place. Now, the staff at Indiana University Bloomington’s archaeology lab is embarking on a dig of its own – a data dig.

The Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, named for the first archaeologist to teach at IU, functions as a museum, library, and research laboratory dedicated to understanding Indiana’s archaeological heritage. Its largest collection derives from Angel Mounds State Historic Site and National Historic Landmark near Evansville, Indiana, where Black led an excavation from 1939 to 1964 and archaeologists from IU have been working ever since.

From this dig and others, the lab has acquired more than 12,000 archaeological collections composed of nearly 5 million artifacts, 30,000 historical photos, 3,600 books and scholarly publications, and more. It is also the keeper of more than 800 linear feet of documents, field journals, maps, and drawings as well as more than 700 legacy data formats like floppy discs, 9-tracks, and CD-ROMs documenting excavations.

While 70 percent of the artifacts are card catalogued and more than 1,300 of the historical photos are available in an online archive, much of the research data has yet to be retrieved from deteriorating paper journals and obsolete formats to be digitized for accessibility.

“The nightmare is that there is something really important on a floppy disk that doesn’t exist on any other format,” said Jennifer St. Germain, collections manager at the lab. “If we aren’t able to digitize this data then we may lose it.”

So the lab’s staff has launched an effort to salvage its data, much like archaeologists salvage artifacts from excavations. They have taken inventory and assessed the current state of collections and are seeking support from IU Libraries to digitize documents, create online catalogs and finding guides, and retrieve data from legacy formats. Their efforts align with IU’s larger commitment to digitization led by the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, which is working to digitize all significant audio and video recordings on campus before the IU Bicentennial in 2020.

“The Glenn Black Lab is emblematic of the rich and varied collections we are dedicated to preserving and sharing at IU. Not only do their collections have regional ties to the state of Indiana and immense research value, but they are closely tied to the history of Indiana University,” said Jamie Wittenberg, head of Scholarly Communications at University Libraries. “There is a lot of potential for use of the collection by current students and faculty.”

“One of the biggest threats facing data and one of the biggest causes of endangered data is not using the collections,” said Melody Pope, curator of collections at the lab. “The more intellectual control we have of archaeological data, the more accessible it is, the more we can promote collections as a research core for students and scholars. Hopefully by the end of this project, a dissertation doctoral student won’t have to spend years sorting through data. The data will be accessible and they’ll just have to bring their questions.”

Beyond reaching students and scholars, the lab hopes the data digitized from this project will be more accessible for the Native American tribes associated with its collections. The lab’s Great Lakes and Ohio Valley Ethnohistory Collection – the fruits of a Department of Justice-funded research project led by IU professor Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin in the 1950s – hosts information pertaining to 15 tribes and spanning the years 1540 to 1907.

While this particular collection now has an online finding aid, the lab hopes to digitize the majority of the research and make it available online. Many tribes included in the project have already been in contact with the lab and are eager to have more access to information that will tell them more about their histories.

“In general our goal is to spread awareness of the resources we have, but it will be particularly rewarding to assist tribes that are interested in the materials we have but can’t travel here to use them,” St. Germain said. “Digitizing these items will give us the power to help some people learn more about their ancestors.”

Kristi Palmer Appointed Interim Dean of IUPUI University Library

Original article at News at IUPUI.

Associate Dean for Digital Scholarship Kristi Palmer will lead University Library as Interim Dean effective April 9.

IUPUI Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Kathy E. Johnson has announced the appointment of Kristi Palmer as Interim Dean of University Library.

Palmer has served as Associate Dean for Digital Scholarship in University Library since 2014 and is an associate librarian. She will begin her new position as Interim Dean April 9 as David Lewis prepares to retire effective May 18.

As interim dean, Palmer will provide leadership and guidance of library operations, strategic direction, and responsibility for the mission of the library, connecting people with resources and services and transforming the lives of community members by facilitating discovery, creativity, teaching, learning, and research.

“I’m delighted that Kristi is taking on this role, which builds on her impressive leadership and service to the campus and the community through her responsibility for the library’s digital scholarship program and the Center for Digital Scholarship,” Johnson said.

As Associate Dean for Digital Scholarship, Palmer developed and implemented the library’s digital scholarship strategy. She supports the creation, digitization, and preservation of scholarly, historical, and cultural content as well as manages the campus’s institutional repository and other library tools for accessing digital content. She has been a leading supporter of the promotion of open access in the library.

Palmer is responsible for the library’s operations team, which provides security and management of the server environment, operating systems, and network and application infrastructures utilized by all areas of the library. As a member of the library’s administrative team, Palmer assists in the oversight of the library’s liaison program, including planning and program review and the assessment of liaison librarian performance.

“IUPUI has been a welcome constant in my educational and professional life for 17 years, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to serve my campus in this new role,” Palmer said. “I’m privileged to be part of a University Library staff that is committed and driven to fulfill our mission to inform, connect, and transform the IUPUI and Indianapolis community.”

Palmer began her career at IUPUI in 2003 as an assistant librarian and has steadily risen to her current rank and position. During her 15 years working on campus, she has served as Chair of the University Library Faculty Organization, been a member of the IUPUI Faculty Council Executive Committee, served as liaison to the IUPUI Staff Council, served on the IUPUI Libraries Faculty Council, and served on search and screen committees and administrative review committees. Presently, Palmer is the Chair of the Faculty Council Campus Planning Committee. She has been honored with the 2016 Indianapolis Business Journal “Forty Under 40” award and was named a 2009 Library Journal Mover and Shaker.

Palmer earned her bachelor’s degree in history from Ball State University in 1999 and her Master of Library Science from IUPUI in 2003.

Core Fulbright Program Competition

From the Vice President for International Affairs:

The competition for the 2019-20 Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is now open. The Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program sends more than 500 American scholars and professionals annually to more than 125 countries, where they lecture and/or conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. Visit the CIES website for application details.

Keep in mind that grant lengths vary and are specified in the award description; grant benefits vary but generally include travel and living expenses for the awardee and accompanying dependents; the competition is open to all U.S. citizens; the application deadline is August 1, 2018; and the Catalog of Awards is available here.

For more information, visit the CIES website and contact IUPUI’s Fulbright representative, Leslie Bozeman.

Proper Disaster Planning Results in Savings

Original article from News at IUPUI.

In a time of unpredictable and extreme weather events, can we prepare for disaster? And if so, will the benefits outweigh the costs?

The National Institute of Building Sciences has put a price on it, in dollars and lives. The institute’s project team reviewed results of 23 years of federally funded mitigation grants provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Economic Development Administration, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and found that for every $1 spent on hazard mitigation, the country can save $6 in future disaster costs.

Additionally, designing new buildings that exceed select provisions of the 2015 International Building Code can save the United States $4 for every $1 spent. In total, the two strategies would prevent some 600 deaths, 1 million nonfatal injuries, and 4,000 cases of post-traumatic stress disorder over time.

Designing new buildings would also result in 87,000 new jobs and an increase of approximately 1 percent in the use of domestically produced construction material.

The Polis Center at IUPUI played a significant role in the development of the National Institute of Building Sciences’ Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2017 Interim Report, released earlier this year, by conducting the analysis associated with river flood hazards.

“Taking preventive action to protect against floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters saves money by decreasing the costs of recovery,” said Kevin Mickey, Director of Professional Development and Geospatial Technology Education at The Polis Center, who led a team of investigators. “This study also reveals we can strengthen building codes to achieve this benefit at a reasonable cost.”

To determine the effectiveness of federally funded mitigation grants, the Polis team examined a sample of grants associated with acquiring or demolishing flood-prone buildings, especially single-family homes, manufactured homes, and two- to four-family dwellings. The team also analyzed the cost-effectiveness of designing new buildings to exceed provisions of the 2015 model building codes. Specifically, they explored the effectiveness of building new homes higher than the base flood elevation required by the 2015 International Building Code.

Sponsors of the report include FEMA, HUD, EDA, ICC, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, the National Fire Protection Association, and the American Institute of Architects.

Measuring Light Pollution in the Hoosier National Forest

Original article by Bethany Nolan from News at IU.

Students in Himebaugh’s digital systems class build light monitors that will be installed throughout the Hoosier National Forest. [Photos by Tracy Theriault]
When the Hoosier National Forest wanted to know whether any part of its more than 200,000 acres could be eligible for an international designation intended to recognize those who minimize light pollution, it turned to Indiana University students for help.

The project is part of the university’s Sustaining Hoosier Communities initiative, which partners with a local community to explore, understand, and resolve challenges identified by the community. The initiative is one of the six areas of focus for the IU Center for Rural Engagement, which works within 11 neighboring counties in southwest central Indiana to address challenges and opportunities in the area.

Clinical assistant professor Bryce Himebaugh, who teaches in IU Bloomington’s new Department of Intelligent Systems Engineering in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, said the 28 undergraduate students in his spring digital systems class are constructing a set of monitors that can be installed in the Hoosier National Forest to measure light pollution. The project launched in August, when the fall cohort wrote a piece of software to collect data while several independent study students constructed a prototype monitor.

“Now I’m teaching the principles of how that hardware and software was designed to this spring’s class, and they’re learning how to build those systems,” Himebaugh said. “We hope they’ll be deployed in the field by April 2018.” He said the project is perfect for his class, which is a mix of students studying intelligent systems engineering and computer science.

“They work with a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm, and when you see them figure out things, it’s almost like you’re seeing it all over again for the first time too,” Himebaugh said. “One of the most rewarding things for me is to see these students understand how this system works, and how they can apply it to other situations.

“I don’t expect students in this class will all have a career in developing outdoor monitoring equipment, but rather that they’ll see its applicability to other areas – some sort of medical wearable device or something that could track items in a shipping management system. All kinds of things are possible once you understand how to collect systems data and communicate it.”

That’s exactly what IU sophomore Jackie Youngs enjoys most about the class, she said. “Following a project from idea to physical completion through the entire design process reinforces understanding of each of the individual components and how everything – the programming language, the physics of the components, the devices themselves – connects,” the intelligent systems engineering major said. “This is one of the most important skills I intend to use after completion of this semester.

“I don’t necessarily plan on pursuing computer engineering as a career but am more interested in going to medical school. Even so, being able to identify how a large system is composed of smaller components and how they are connected is an invaluable skill I plan to take from this course.”

Once the class work is complete and the solar-powered monitors are deployed throughout the Hoosier National Forest, Himebaugh said, the data they’ll collect and transmit will help measure light patterns within the forest. The Hoosier National Forest is seeking International Dark Sky Places designation. The application process requires ongoing monitoring and documentation of specific programs intended to minimize light pollution.

“People might not think about the importance of dark night skies on their lives, but increases in nighttime light levels can have serious consequences for ecosystems, animal life, and even human rhythms,” Hoosier National Forest spokeswoman Andrea Crain said. “We hope through this project we can reach a whole new audience to communicate the importance of dark skies and potential recreation experiences on the Hoosier National Forest.”

She said the assistance from the class has been invaluable. “It’s been exciting to meet with students and see their progress throughout this process, as they’re learning to problem-solve and come up with creative solutions to new issues,” Crain said. “Being part of that learning process makes this project an extra special experience for the Hoosier National Forest employees involved.”

Ryan White Letters at the Children’s Museum

Ryan White (1971-1990) was a hemophiliac who contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion. He was diagnosed at the age of 13. In the early 1980s, not much was known about the disease, and Ryan was not allowed to continue attending school in his hometown because parents thought he would spread the disease to others. After a fierce legal battle that brought national attention to Ryan and his family, he was allowed to return to school. However, discrimination continued, and Ryan and his family decided to move further south to Cicero, Indiana. There, Hamilton Heights schools educated their students about AIDS and its effects, and they welcomed him with open arms.

Meanwhile, Ryan became a spokesperson for AIDS communities, speaking locally and internationally about his experiences. He was friends with many celebrities and was able to speak at the President’s Commission on the AIDS Epidemic. A TV movie, “The Ryan White Story,” was made about his life, and it aired in 1989, gaining him further popularity. Ryan’s major goal in life was to have a normal childhood and normal experiences in high school. He enjoyed school and was able to skateboard, drive, and hold a job at a surf shop.

However, Ryan was still sick, and his illness caused his death on April 8th, 1990. Thousands attended his funeral in Indianapolis, including first Lady Barbara Bush. He was buried in Cicero, in part because of the warm welcome the community had given him. Ryan’s legacy lives on through the National CARE Act, IU’s Dance Marathon for Riley (as well as similar marathons at other universities), an AIDS walk at Hamilton Heights commemorating Ryan with a scholarship, and more.

In 2001, Ryan’s mother donated the contents of his room, in addition to other materials, to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. The museum opened their ground-breaking permanent exhibit The Power of Children in 2004. The exhibit portrays Ryan’s life, as well as the lives of Ruby Bridges and Anne Frank.

In 2016, The Children’s Museum received a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services to digitize letters sent to Ryan White in the 1980s in collaboration with IUPUI Library’s Program of Digital Scholarship. The archive of nearly 6,000 letters offers significant cultural information related to the AIDS epidemic, the perspective of children, and related issues of tolerance, education, and inspiration as well as a window to popular culture in the 1980s.

As part of this project, the Museum has created an online learning platform for youth in grades 3-12 to learn how to transcribe letters and research questions of interest about Ryan’s life and time period. In addition, the letters and transcriptions are available to scholars through the IUPUI Library online digital collections, allowing the letters to be used for research regarding the misunderstood disease and to share the legacy of Ryan White.

Visit The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis website to learn more.

Food Waste and Hunger Summit

Original article at News at IUPUI.

IUPUI Campus Kitchen student volunteers

Leading experts in the fight against food waste and hunger will come together at IUPUI March 24-25 for the fifth annual Food Waste and Hunger Summit, co-hosted by IUPUI and The Campus Kitchens Project, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization empowering young people to fight food waste and hunger.

The summit brings together students and advocacy groups from across the country who are working to solve food insecurity problems and wasted food in their communities.

It is an opportunity for them to share best practices and encourage others to join the movement. This two-day event will support attendees in unpacking the “triple bottom line” of successful food justice ventures: expanding access to healthy food, creating meaningful careers and testing innovative solutions to the nation’s most systemic failures.

Registration for the event is now open. Indiana University students may attend for free. There is a $35 registration fee for other students and a $75 fee for members of the general public.

The IU Office of the Bicentennial is a sponsor of the summit.

Confirmed keynote speakers include Robert Egger, founder of DC Central Kitchen, founder and CEO of LA Kitchen; Michael F. Curtin Jr., CEO of DC Central Kitchen; Pashon Murray, founder and CEO of Detroit Dirt, waste reduction expert, and circular economy advocate; Anna Lappé, founder of Real Food Media, national bestselling author and sustainable food advocate; and Marcia Chatelain, associate professor of history and African-American studies at Georgetown University, scholar of race and ethnicity, and food studies specialist.

IUPUI launched its own chapter of the student-led Campus Kitchen in 2014, after participating in The Campus Kitchens Project’s annual launch grant competition in partnership with the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation.

“While progress continues in the fight against hunger, food insecurity remains a top concern across the nation. At IUPUI, we are working with local advocates and taking steps to help students, staff, faculty and the greater Indianapolis community gain access to regular meals through the Campus Kitchen at IUPUI and Paw’s Pantry, a student-run food pantry,” said Camy Broeker, vice chancellor for finance and administration.

“We are honored to host the 2018 Food Waste and Hunger Summit, which is bringing together national and local leaders, partner organizations, students, faculty and staff to share innovations, best practices and sustainable solutions to food waste, hunger and poverty.”

Local and national partner organizations including Feeding America, DC Central Kitchen, No Kid Hungry and Second Helpings will join the discussion along with as many as 250 student leaders from around the nation who are leading the fight to reduce food waste, hunger and poverty on their campuses and in their communities.

On more than 60 university and high school campuses across the country, student volunteers with The Campus Kitchens Project transform unused food from dining halls, grocery stores, restaurants and farmers markets into meals for people experiencing hunger. In the last academic year, Campus Kitchens across the country recovered more than 1.3 million pounds of wasted food and served 350,000 meals.