Miley Cyrus’ attention-grabbing performance at the MTV Video Music Awards — featuring a teddy bear onesie and a risqué duet with Robin Thicke — sparked a lecture and student discussion of gender and sexuality in Hubbard Hall December 4.
Led by Associate Professor of German Jill Smith and Associate Professor of English and Film Studies Aviva Briefel, Feminism, Image and Miley Cyrus took place in the Shannon Room of Hubbard Hall with sponsorship from Baxter House and the Donald and Barbara Kurtz Fund.
Cyrus’ performance included “all of these indicators that signify sexuality or sexual perversion in some way, but not in a very legible or readable way,” Briefel said. “I think it confused a lot of people, which we can see from the audience shots.” Read the full story by Somya Mawrie ’14.
Space and time, Garret English ’16
This semester, the nine students in Associate Professor of Art Michael Kolster’s photography seminar pursued independent projects based on the concept of exploring with their cameras. The final projects, which the students recently presented to the public, displayed a range of ideas and objects. Yet they all shared a common theme — photography’s power to allow us to see the world anew.
Read the full story by Sophia Cheng ’15.
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Inviting people to learn with their eyes is a big part of Accra Shepp’s mission. A photographer, educator, social documentarian, and soon-to-be Visiting Artist In Residence at Bowdoin, Shepp records the natural and social phenomena that surround him, bringing those subjects into focus for others.
“One of the responsibilities that you have when you’re an artist is to see the world ‘officially,’” Shepp said during his Nov. 19 lecture in the Digital Media Lab of the Edwards Center, sponsored by the Visual Arts Department. Shepp, a professor at Pratt Institute, will teach all of Bowdoin’s photography classes (two per semester) during Spring and Fall 2014, as a visiting replacement for Associate Professor of Art Michael Kolster, who will be on leave during that time while working on a Guggenheim-funded photography project.
Read the full story by Raleigh McElvery ’16
BBC Radio 4 recently came to Brunswick to visit the Harriet Beecher Stowe house and interview Tess Chakkalakal, associate professor of Africana Studies and English, about the lasting impacts of Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Chakkalakal’s comments were featured as part of the radio program, “The Legacy of Uncle Tom,” which aired on Nov. 25.
“One thing that Stowe wasn’t, was ambivalent about slavery,” Chakkalakal said. “She knew it was wrong; and really the reason for the novel … was to speak out against the fugitive slave law” — that is, the law that prohibited northerners from harboring escaped slaves. Stowe herself harbored a runaway slave in her Brunswick home.
“When Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852, it immediately caused a stir and created a groundswell of anti-slavery feeling,” reads the BBC’s description. The program “traces the reactions to this work from the Abolition Movement, through the Civil Rights Movement to the Rodney King beating in 1991 and the murder of Trayvon Martin last year.”
Chakkalakal and Professor of English Peter Coviello will be co-teaching a Spring 2014 course called “Uncle Tom and Its Afterlives” as part of the College’s new Civil War course cluster, funded by a grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation.
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Interdisciplinary panel: Cameron Adams ’14, Government professor Allen Springer and State Marine Geologist Peter Slovinsky
Communities around the world are grappling with their shared future: Sea levels are rising and they must figure out how to protect themselves against the onslaught of water.
At an interdisciplinary panel held on campus recently, Associate Government and Legal Studies Professor Allen Springer, Marine Geologist Peter Slovinsky and earth and oceonographic major Cameron Adams ’14 came together to explore the global and local impacts and responses to sea level rise.
Springer focused on the question of adaptation versus mitigation in combating sea level rise. “It has been a real political issue that small island states have been focusing on mitigating the problem and resisting putting more emphasis on adaptation,” he said. “Bottom line is that the international community is 20 or so years late in the adaptation method and that is a potential problem going forward.” Read the full story.
On Nov. 21 the Senate changed its rules to limit the use of filibusters for blocking executive and judicial nominees. “This change has been bandied about for more than 50 years, by both parties,” said Professor of Government Andrew Rudalevige. “When southerners were threatening to filibuster over civil rights in 1957, it was clear that this was a possible parliamentary option – to change the rules by a majority vote.”
For most of the 20th century, filibusters were employed relatively rarely and reserved for particularly important issues. They did not necessarily pose an insurmountable impediment because “you had liberal Republicans, you had conservative Democrats, and it was not that uncommon to build cross-party alliances,” Rudalevige said. “It became sort of just part of the lore of the Senate, that every senator could speak as long as they wanted to,” he said.
But filibuster use began to surge toward the end of the 20th century, reaching record highs during the Obama administration and ultimately triggering the change in Senate rules earlier this week. “If the norm is dead, the Democrats figure, why not dance on its grave,” Rudalevige said.
Professor of Government Janet Martin believes that the Senate’s dysfunction would have been better solved with other actions. “The two leaders have reached a point where they are no longer following the informal roles of getting along, and working out deals, and leading their members to compromise.” Martin argued “that a change of leadership would probably be more desirable than ending a process that’s been there to protect minority interest for a long time.”
Continue reading Bowdoin Professors on the Senate’s Filibuster Bust
In late October, seventeen Bowdoin teaching minors boarded a ferry in Rockland to cross Penobscot Bay to spend twenty-four hours on Vinalhaven, a small Maine island twelve miles off the coast. The students were visiting the island’s K-12 school as part of their studies on how to incorporate local culture and community into classroom lessons.
Maine is home to many unique communities, including its handful of island communities, many of which are dependent on the fishing industry. Some of the larger islands with year-round residents maintain K-12 or K-8 schools. These are often tiny, with well under 100 students. The K-12 school in Vinalhaven, which has a year-round population of 1,200, is the largest island school in Maine, with 200 students.
While conducting research on Vinalhaven in the late 1990s, Associate Professor of Education Nancy Jennings realized that these island schools could offer Bowdoin education students the valuable lesson of seeing how island educators teach subjects that both reflect and enhance their communities. As aspiring teachers, they will one day be crafting curricula with the same objective.
Six years ago, Bowdoin’s education department formalized a link with island schools through its Island Schools Project, which works as a cross-cultural exchange. Bowdoin teaching minors spend a night and a day on an island. Then, the island’s high school students come to Bowdoin for an overnight visit. Read the full story.
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Bowdoin’s first “Pop-Up Museum” popped up in Hubbard Hall for a couple of hours on the evening of Nov. 12, sponsored by the Arctic Museum and Museum of Art. Community members were invited to bring favorite items from home and tell the stories behind their objects.
Video by Ali Ragan ’16
Bowdoin professors and alumni present a panel conversation on careers in science
Scientists are used to following rigorous procedures and predicting specific outcomes — and yet even in the most controlled environment, in science and in life, an element of uncertainty always remains. That uncertainty is something to embrace, according to participants in the Nov. 11 panel conversation “What Can I Do With a Degree in Science?” in Main Lounge, Moulton Union.
Co-sponsored by Bowdoin Career Planning, the Office of Health Professions Advising, and several academic departments, the six-person panel comprised professors and alumni representing a variety of science-related pursuits in academia, industry, biotechnology, finance, and more. The theme of the night, said Director of Health Professions Advising Seth Ramus in his introduction, was “happy accidents.”
Read the full article by Raleigh McElvery ’16.
The Bowdoin Chamber Orchestra performs under the direction of Artist-in-Residence George Lopez
The Bowdoin Chamber Orchestra performed before a full Kanbar Auditorium, Studzinski Recital Hall Nov. 9, in the penultimate performance of students belonging to the senior class.
Directed by Beckwith Artist-in-Residence George Lopez, the program began with a rendition of Edward Elgar’s Serenade for Strings, Opus 20. The orchestra then performed Felix Mendelssohn’s expressive ‘Hebrides’ Overture, Opus 26. After intermission, the concert concluded with Antonin Dvorak’s cheerful Symphony Number 8 in G Major.
Student chamber ensembles will take place in Studzinski on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 4 p.m.and 7:30 p.m.
By Somya Mawrie ’14