Reflecting on Religion and Philanthropy

Giving to religion makes up a third of all giving in America, and over half of all Americans say their religious or spiritual values motivate their philanthropic giving. If this is the case, why do religion and money remain such taboo topics in our society?

The full philanthropic impact of religious communities goes far beyond finances. The story of religious philanthropy speaks to when, why, and how religious institutions engage their broader communities in volunteering, advocacy, and cultivating a civil society.

Is philanthropy primarily meant to take care of those within one’s own community or the larger society? Does philanthropy provide for basic needs or promote institutional change? Should religious giving develop an individual’s character or shape the morality of society, or are such purposes off limits in a pluralist society?

Two leading historians will share their reflections on what we can learn from the intersections of religion and philanthropy in the past and what issues might define the topic into the future: Jim Hudnut Buemler, Anne Potter Wilson Distinguished Professor of American Religious History at Vanderbilt University, and David Hammack, Hiram C. Haydn Professor of History at Case Western University. The event will be moderated by David P. King and Philip Goff.

This public talk will be held on Thursday, May 17, at 5:30pm, at the Damenvervein Room of the Athenaeum, 410 E. Michigan Street.

Author to Speak on Family Challenges at Commencement

A’Lelia Bundles

Fresh from practically defeating the Indiana Pacers by himself in the playoffs, Lebron James will ease some of the pain by helping pay tribute to one of Indianapolis’ most renowned women.

Read the original article from News at IU‘s Tim Brouk.

The star forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers has been attached as an executive producer, along with Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer, on a future Netflix series focusing on Madam C. J. Walker, the namesake for the Madam Walker Theatre Center near IUPUI and the nation’s first African-American female self-made millionaire. James and Spencer are connected through the William Morris talent agency.

“What I can say is that the writing process is tentatively scheduled to start during the summer,” said Walker’s great-great-granddaughter A’Lelia Bundles via telephone from Washington, D.C. “Once the writers are assembled, they’ll map out the arc of the story. I’m a consultant on the series. If all goes well and the planets align properly, I will be involved periodically while they are developing the storyline.”

The series is based on Bundles’ best-selling 2001 book, “On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker,” which follows Walker’s life from a Southern cotton fields worker to a poor washer-woman in St. Louis to the employer of thousands of African-American women in her own hair care and cosmetics firm, Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, based in downtown Indianapolis. The book was optioned by Zero Gravity Management in 2016.

Bundles is finishing up another book, “The Joy Goddess of Harlem: A’Lelia Walker and the Harlem Renaissance,” based on her great-grandmother and namesake, who was the daughter of Madam Walker. A’Lelia Walker was a major cultural influencer in New York while representing the family business in the Big Apple.

As guest speaker at IUPUI’s commencement on May 12 at Lucas Oil Stadium, Bundles will talk about those women and her own career as a former ABC and NBC news producer and journalist. Several thousand students and their families will be in attendance.

A North Central High School graduate raised in Indianapolis on Grandview Drive, Bundles received degrees from Harvard College and Columbia University before settling in Washington, D.C. Her father, S. Henry Bundles, was president of the Center for Leadership Development in Indianapolis and now lives in Florida. Her late mother, A’Lelia Mae Perry Bundles, was vice president of the Walker Company while being involved in Indianapolis politics.

Moving Image Archive Director Gains International Attention

Rachael Stoeltje

Rachael Stoeltje’s interest in film started when she was a child growing up in Austin, Texas, but now that passion has grown to international levels: The director of the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive has been named the 2018 Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations board chair, leading meetings in Paris, Bangkok, Prague and beyond.

Read the original article from News at IU‘s Allie Hitchcock.

“I love the collections. I love working with students; that’s been incredibly satisfying,” Stoeltje said. “I love my international work, and I think for libraries in general, it’s an exciting time.”

The Coordinating Council, a partially UNESCO-founded organization created in 1982, is the umbrella organization of the eight professional organizations supporting preservation of audio, video and film archives around the world.

Carolyn Walters, the Ruth Lilly Dean of Indiana University Libraries, has been a longtime supporter of Stoeltje’s work at the Moving Image Archive. Working together to harness the mounting interest in film preservation at IU, Walters and Stoeltje first transitioned the university film collection into a secure home at the Auxiliary Library Facility, formally created the Moving Image Archive, then imagined a community space in the ground floor of Wells Library to encourage access and use of the collection.

Along the way, the strength of IU’s commitment to preservation, and the intensity of Rachael’s passion for film — especially as a primary source for learning — caught the attention of both national and international colleagues.

“Rachael sparks enthusiasm when she speaks about nearly any film or related preservation project,” Walters said. “With her new leadership role at this international level, Indiana University’s extensive collections will be incredibly visible to a worldwide community. The talents of our experts here at IU, already well known, will be illuminated in a way that greatly strengthens our efforts to preserve and share film with scholars everywhere.”

The term “everywhere” means just that. Stoeltje became chair of the Coordinating Council through her work serving on the International Federation of Film Archives Executive Committee; she also serves as the head of the training and outreach program in the federation. Through this work, which she is extending to the Coordinating Council’s mission, she has worked with the federation’s training and outreach coordinator and secretariat to find new ways to meet requests for assistance from Mexico to Myanmar.

Some countries’ archivists deal with standard needs to find new preservation methods, while others have larger issues like natural disasters occurring at the same time. On one visit to Sri Lanka, for example, the expert volunteer in the field dealt with badly deteriorating films in a storage unit. In Tunisia, members of the federation are helping open a cinema.

“It’s been a pretty enormous range,” Stoeltje said. “Trying to meet all those needs with volunteer workforces is challenging.”

Traveling all over the world to work with an international member base helps Stoeltje stay connected. The Coordinating Council and the other federations within it also try to keep an international viewpoint. The Federation of Film Archives, for example, runs its conferences in three languages simultaneously.

Another universal task Stoeltje is working on is collection digitization among changing digital platforms. Concerns that the Coordinating Council and archivists in general had 20 years ago are completely different today, so she is seeking new platforms to best serve everyone.

Back home in Indiana, Stoeltje continues to expand IU’s Moving Image Archive, a collection that has tripled in size over the past nine years. On top of her international concerns, Stoeltje stays busy by hosting regional and national visitors interested in the archive, mentoring student interns, leading film-related areas of the Media and Digitization Preservation Initiative and contributing to IU’s international presence and prominence in film studies.

“The archive has been an invaluable partner to IU Cinema since opening,” said Jon Vickers, founding director of IU Cinema. “In a short amount of time, Rachael has led the transformation of the archive and brought international prominence to IU’s moving image collections. Now she is essentially leading the organization that serves as the umbrella for preserving the world’s motion picture heritage. This speaks well to her leadership and good work, but also for all of us at IU who work in film and media.”

She credits the impressive growth and impact of the archive to support from IU Libraries and university-level leaders, who clearly understand that today’s libraries can offer more than ever before. Stoeltje said it’s exciting to play a part in the evolution.

“There’s been a shift from 10 years ago when people wanted to know, ‘How many books do you have in the library?’ to a better understanding of the diverse and relevant services and materials that IU Libraries provides.”

From IndyStar: A Business with a Buzz

Photo provided by The Bee Corp

All her life Ellie Symes had been taught to fear bees. Then, she peered into a hive after her freshman year of college and her life changed.

When she returned from her summer internship with a beekeeper to classes at Indiana University, Symes made a mission of sharing her newfound passion with others on the Bloomington campus.

Now, nearly five years later, Symes and two classmates are making a career out of their mutual love of bees. With seed money from a university competition, the three IU grads started a Bloomington-based company, The Bee Corp, which focuses on ways to use technology to support the beekeeping industry.

Earlier this year the agribusiness startup received a $225,000 small business innovation research grant from the National Science Foundation.

About 15 customers currently use the company’s Queens Guard system, which monitors temperatures inside the hive to alert beekeepers at the earliest sign something has gone amiss with a hive, said Wyatt Wells, a co-founder who serves as the company’s chief marketing officer.

[read more]

‘Hash It Out’ Podcast Explores & Debates Social Issues

Social Justice Education scholars Judith Atibil, left, and C. Elizabeth Duff, right. Photo by Tim Brouk, IU Communications.

IUPUI’s newest podcast tackles serious social issues while showcasing its hosts’ passion for debating topics like reproductive rights, incarceration, and abortion.

Read the original article from News at IUPUI‘s Tim Brouk.

Judith Atibil and C. Elizabeth Duff show good chemistry on “Hash It Out,” which debuted in October on SoundCloud.com. The Social Justice Education scholars create an outline for each episode. Some portions are scripted, but there is also room for spontaneous debate.

Last summer, the students did not foresee themselves as podcast hosts, let alone gaining hundreds of listeners after the program got bumped up to iTunes status. Duff and Atibil only met a couple times before recording their first full episode, “Discrimination in the Doctor’s Office.”

“We were both so nervous and trying not to show it,” Duff said. “It was nerve-wracking. But now we love it.”

The final “Hash It Out” episode for the academic year dropped Friday, April 20, with a focus on labor unions to commemorate the Ludlow massacre of April 20, 1914. The podcast is expected to return for 2018-19, but the students aren’t sure if they will return as hosts. No matter who is at the mic, “Hash It Out” has brought a new element to the varied programs Social Justice Education promotes.

“It brings the work of Social Justice to the virtual realm, especially since the rest of our programming is all physical,” said Atibil, a junior studying public safety management. “It gives people more access to us.”

Atibil and Duff’s studio is anywhere they can meet on campus due to heavy spring semester class schedules, multiple part-time jobs, and the numerous hours dedicated to various other Social Justice Education initiatives. Duff utilizes a voice-recording application on her iPhone to capture each episode. The file syncs up with Google Drive. The content is then downloaded to Duff’s laptop computer, where she edits each episode on Audacity. The episodes are posted about twice a month and clock in between 30-45 minutes, on average.

Moving the podcast outside of a campus communications studio lab to different parts of campus made the student hosts more relaxed, they said. “We are both flexible and not linear. We needed the mobility,” Duff said.

While both students share a passion for social issues, their viewpoints aren’t identical. The “Are Prisons Obsolete?” post in February offered lively discussion. “We’re pretty liberal, but Elizabeth is an abolitionist whereas I’m a reformist,” Atibil explained.

The topics are brainstormed at the beginning of each semester, concentrating on hot issues in the news as well as subjects of personal interest. The students attach reference material and articles of inspiration to each episode for their listeners. “It’s really fun to sit down and just blurt it out to each other,” Duff said.

Although she is graduating in May, Duff will be returning to IUPUI as a graduate student in museum studies, and she sees the podcast continuing and growing in audience and accessibility. Transcripts for the hearing-impaired are a goal. She also hopes “Hash It Out” will receive more audience interaction and feedback.

Both students are proud of what they’ve established. Passion for the issues made up for the lack of podcasting experience.

“I think it’s one of the coolest experiences I’ve had,” Duff said. “I just showed up with no knowledge. I get sappy about it, but we’ve built this program from the ground up. We started from not knowing how to record, where to record, how to edit, how to do anything. Now we’re on iTunes and have hundreds of listeners. I love it, and I had no idea I’d enjoy it as much as I do. It’s my baby now.”

From Chronicle: Is This the Hardest Course in the Humanities?

For most of my professional life, the future of the humanities was a conceptual matter. That’s no longer the case. When enrollments are down, majors are down, funding and jobs are down, adjuncts are up, and departments are being closed, abstract debates over which new theory or interdisciplinary vision is on the rise don’t much count. When a formation as renowned as the Humanities Center at the Johns Hopkins University is proposed for shutdown (it later was saved in modified form), we know that the prosperity of the humanities doesn’t rest with people at the top.

No, it depends on the people at the bottom, undergraduates who vote with their feet. If an English department’s chairman tells the dean, “We’ve got to hire someone in this new area of ____,” the dean replies, “But you can’t even get your existing courses half-filled.” If, however, a parent calls and grumbles, “I’m paying lots of money, and my daughter can’t get into any of the English classes she wants,” well, that calls for action.

It’s a situation that few humanities professors are equipped to overcome. Graduate school and assistant professorships don’t impel you to attract freshmen and sophomores. Instead you learn how to impress senior professors. But right now, nothing is more crucial than the preferences of 19-year-olds.

[read more]

From Poynter: How Can We Solve Fake News?

Fake news isn’t all fun and games. But for Mihai Avram, it kind of is.

The Indiana University master’s student has developed a prototype for a game that allows users to decide whether or not to share, like or fact-check stories on social media. The game scores each action you take, giving top points if you share credible stories or fact-check dubitable ones.

Essentially, the game aims to increase users’ news literacy skills.

“Ideally, we would want to have a lot users play the game, nationally and internationally,” Avram, 25, said. “At the very least, I know journalists will definitely be interested because they’re the ones who are very curious about this new domain of trying to figure out, given these sources, what is real and what is fake.”

The game uses the News API to pull in different mainstream outlets. At the same time, Avram and his adviser, informatics and computer science professor Fil Menczer, pick fake news sources by leveraging Hoaxy, a tool that crawls social media and articles based on lists curated by fact-checkers.

While it’s still early to see how users are interacting with the game (Avram said most have just been helping him test that everything is working), most of the preliminary feedback has been positive. And that’s because it’s gamifying a complex problem, Avram said.

“We wanted to be creating a game that also has a purpose, so when you look at some of the most popular examples, such as the ESP game or even CAPTCHA,” he said. “You don’t really see them as games, but they definitely serve a purpose.”

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From Humanities: American Poet W. S. Merwin Transformed Anger into Art

W. S. Merwin

W. S. Merwin, who twice won the Pulitzer Prize, first tried his hand at poetry as a child. Growing up in Union City, New Jersey, he was moved to bring pen to paper after hearing his father, a Presbyterian minister, read from the King James Bible at church. Young William realized that there was a “distant connection” between that kind of heightened language and poetry. “And that’s what I wanted to do, to write poetry. And the more I did it, the more I wanted to do it.”

Merwin developed an impersonal formalist style, but in time his poems trended toward a freer and more lyrical approach. His work, steeped in legend, the classics, and the Bible, is also anchored in the present, marked, above all, by a vigilance for all living things. Although he has been an angry poet at times, he has avoided bitterness by learning to transform his rage into art. Transformation is the key to understanding his work, as the hallmark of his poetry since the early sixties has been his mastery of “the turn,” the moment in a poem where an idea turns, often with a surprise, into something else.

His first books of poetry were marked by objectivity, elegance, and formal constraints. He wrote in meter and tried his hand at a variety of poetic forms, including the sestina. One critic observed that his first book, A Mask for Janus (1952), “exhibits a young musician trying out his instrument.” His diction was elaborate, using such terms as “anabasis” (a difficult military retreat), “koré” (an ancient Greek statue of a woman), “saeculum” (an Etruscan word for a specific period of time, usually the length of a generation), and “penates” (household gods in Roman times). To understand the volume’s first two poems, “Anabasis,” parts I and II, it helps to have read Xenophon. History-laden words, as in the poetry of his mentor Ezra Pound, had for Merwin a creative force all their own.

But erudition always vied with living things for Merwin’s attention. Plants, trees, and animals have been of particular interest…

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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.