Award Winning Filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker to Deliver Oct. 29 Lecture

D.A. Pennebaker, the acclaimed filmmaker behind such documentaries as Don’t Look Back (1967), Inside the War Room (1993), and Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1973), will present a special lecture on Wednesday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. in Lecture Center 100.

D.A. Pennebaker

D.A. Pennebaker

Known as one of the founders of the cinéma vérité movement, Pennebaker earned the Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013 for his over 60-year career chronicling such cultural milestones as Bob Dylan’s 1965 electric tour of England, Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential bid and David Bowie’s final performance as Ziggy Stardust.

The lecture, entitled “D.A. Pennebaker: An Evening with a Legend,” will also include a six-minute video retrospective of Pennebaker’s career and a question and answer period.

Thomas Cznarty, a lecturer in the Department of Digital Media and Journalism, reached out to Pennebaker after teaching several of his films in his Digital Media Production and Documentary Filmmaking courses. He credits Pennebaker’s 1953 documentary, Daybreak Express, with reshaping his notion of what great documentaries can be.

Daybreak Express was filmed on New York City’s 3rd Avenue elevated subway train (discontinued two years later) and set to a jazz composition by Duke Ellington. The documentary is non-linear, with no narration and captures a unique moment in the city’s history.

Cznarty, himself an award-winning documentary filmmaker, said Pennebaker’s early film taught him that “visuals can tell the whole story.” He is excited for his students to meet a living legend.

The lecture is sponsored by the Department of Digital Media and Journalism, with additional support from the Provost’s Office, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, College of Fine & Performing Arts, Department of Communication, Department of History and Department of Sociology.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

From New Paltz to Japan to England: Alum Pursues Advanced Studies Abroad

William Borchert

William Borchert

William Borchert ’10 lived locally when he was an undergraduate at New Paltz, commuting from his hometown of nearby Marlboro. But for his graduate studies, Borchert decided it was time to conquer some other continents.

After graduating from New Paltz in three years with three majors (biology, history, Asian studies) and three minors (business administration, evolutionary studies, and religious studies), Borchert attended Meiji University in Tokyo to study the Japanese government’s response to pandemic influenza. From there, he went to the University of Tokyo, where he wrote a thesis comparing the effectiveness of treatments for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and earned his master’s degree in international health. The next leg of his journey will take place at England’s Cambridge University, where Borchert is pursuing a Ph.D. in public health.

“I knew I wanted to study medicine in the future, so I didn’t change my majors – I just added them,” says Borchert. “When I graduated, I was a little bit more on the social science side as opposed to the biological science side. Science should never take a backseat, but I realized that medicine is not only science alone. Medicine is also an art.”

He adds, “I’m glad I have that background. It was a good preparation.”

Borchert already had some history with Tokyo, as he studied abroad at Sophia University while he was attending New Paltz. He also worked for the Center for International Programs as an undergrad.

Aside from his Japanese language abilities, Borchert says the skills he gained from his professors and from working in the International Office have gone a long way in his post-New Paltz endeavors. He says he always makes a point to visit his biology professors whenever he’s stateside, and lists biology Professor Jeffrey Reinking and psychology Professor Glenn Geher among those who particularly influenced him.

“Behold the power of SUNY,” says Borchert, who graduated from New Paltz debt-free thanks to federal grants and staying close to home. “I’m very glad I went to a SUNY.”

Essay on WWI Infant Mortality Exhibition Earns History Department’s Best Seminar Paper Award

Melissa Franson

Melissa Franson (History, ’14) received the History Department’s Best Seminar Paper award for her essay, entitled “National Baby Week: Saving the British Race.” She is pictured receiving an Outstanding Graduate certificate from SUNY New Paltz President Donald Christian.

An essay on a World War I infant mortality exhibition that did not provide any meaningful solutions to the problem it was convened to address has earned the History Department’s first ever Best Seminar Paper award.

Recent graduate Melissa Franson (History, ’14) wrote the essay, entitled “National Baby Week: Saving the British Race,” during associate professor Andrew Evans’ spring senior seminar on World War I. The essay examines the National Baby Week exhibition, held July 2-7, 1917, in Great Britain during the middle of World War I.

Franson said she’d hoped to explore the general topic of women and children during World War I when she encountered an advertisement for National Baby Week during her initial research using the Sojourner Truth Library’s digital archives. In the London Times editions published during the period, Franson found advertisements, articles and posters that provided a window into the event.

As she continued her research, Franson uncovered statistical evidence that undermined the stated purpose of the exhibition. “I found the [infant] mortality rate was actually declining during the war years rather than climbing,” said Franson, who believes the exhibition organizers’ anxiety had less to do with actual infant deaths than with British military casualties and maintaining social status.

“What alarmed British society was the high mortality rate of British soldiers in the war, especially the officers who exemplified the ‘desirable’ characteristics of the British race, and thus the context of National Baby Week encompassed a larger concern over the survival of the British race during the war,” Franson noted. Her research suggests that “the aim of the organizers of National Baby Week was not so much to help with the infant mortality rate but to ensure that the ‘right’ kind of babies were being ‘saved.’”

Franson cites as evidence the type of events held during the exhibition – garden parties, parades, a beautiful baby show – which did not speak to the actual causes of infant mortality, such as poverty, malnutrition and substandard medical care.

A book entitled, Maternity: Letters from Working Mothers, edited by Margaret Llewelyn Davies, brought to light what the exhibition’s lavish offerings obscured. The letters provided first-hand accounts on the myriad ways poverty affects families, and the hardships that result in infant deaths.

“The National Baby Week exhibition did little to address the problems facing lower class families, yet purported the desire to save the babies. Given that the promoters and organizers of National Baby Week were predominantly members of the upper-class of British society and the problems of infant mortality were felt primarily by lower-class British families, I found it fascinating that the event largely ignored the larger problems found in British society that caused infant mortality,” Franson said.

History faculty members who taught the senior seminar during the 2013-14 school year selected papers for the award, and a prize committee made the final selection. Evans said the committee felt that Franson’s paper was “a model of the interplay of evidence and argument. She insightfully analyzes the way a particular event (National Baby Week) elucidates larger social and cultural issues of British social classes. She also provides a comprehensive historical context for that analysis.” Franson received a small monetary award for her work.

Franson also earned the honor of being named one of the History Department’s “Outstanding Graduates.” The campus-wide program recognizes the academic achievements of exceptional graduates from all New Paltz departments. A recognition ceremony was held in May, and Franson received a certificate from President Donald Christian.

Evans called Franson one of the History Department’s “real stars.”

“She’s one of those students who is ferociously learning all the time,” he said.

In the fall, Franson will attend SUNY Binghamton, where she has been accepted into the PhD program for history with full funding. She said she considers herself a “social historian,” and will focus on early American history and the subfields of women’s history and British history.

She credited History Department faculty members Evans, Louis Roper, Susan Lewis and Reynolds Scott-Childress with inspiring her to “reach for the next level.”

LA&S Summer Internship Scholarships

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce scholarships to support low-paying or unpaid summer internships for students.  For summer 2014 we will offer two or three $1,000 awards.  This program is supported by generous contributions from SUNY New Paltz parents, alumni, and friends to the LA&S Dean’s Fund.

These are merit-based awards that take into account the student’s GPA, the quality of the internship, the relevance of the internship to the student’s academic major and educational goals, and the relevance of the internship to the student’s future career.

Guidelines:

  • Applicants should be majors in a department or program within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
  • Applicants should have a 3.3 or higher cumulative G.P.A.
  • Preference will be given to students in their junior year; seniors who will graduate in May or August 2014 are not eligible for this award.
  • The internship cannot be with a business or organization run by a family member, relative, or close family friend.

To apply, students should submit the following:

  • A 300-500 word description of the internship and its relation to the student’s academic major, educational goals, and career plans
  • A resume
  • An academic transcript with cumulative G.P.A.
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty

Applications should be sent to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, JFT 614.  Deadline for applications is May 7, 2014.  Awards will be announced on May 15, 2014.

Lecture on Civil Rights in Black Barber Shops Highlights History Honors Society Induction

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The History Department and Phi Alpha Theta International History Honors Society present a lecture by Dr. Quincy Mills entitled, “Intimacy and Trust: Service Work and Civil Rights in Black Barber Shops.” The lecture will be held Thursday, April 17 at 5 p.m. in Jacobsen Faculty Tower, Room 1010.

Quincy Mills is Associate Professor of history at Vassar College where he teaches courses in African American history. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago. His first book, Cutting Along the Color Line: Black Barbers and Barber Shops in America, was recently published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. He has appeared on WNYC’s Leonard Lopate show as well as Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal. With support from the American Council of Learned Societies, he is currently working on a second book tentatively titled The Wages of Resistance: Financing the Black Freedom Movement.  In this lecture, Dr. Mills will examine how black barbers, as service workers, filled a critical role as conduits of racial politics in nineteenth and twentieth-century America.  The intimacy and trust that has historically informed the relationship between barber and customer offers a window onto the politics of deference and the notion of self-segregation.

The reception honoring student inductees into the international history honors society begins at 5:00 p.m.  Dr. Mills will commence his talk at 5:30 p.m.  All are welcome to attend both events.

Refreshments will be provided by Major Connections. The event is supported by Campus Auxiliary Services.

Dr. Garrett Fagan to speak on “Staging a Bloodbath: Theatricality and Artificiality at the Roman Arena”

 

Dr. Garret Fagan, Professor of History and Classics at Penn State University, will give a guest lecture on Friday, March 28 at 3:30 in JFT 1010 entitled “Staging a Bloodbath: Theatricality and Artificiality at the Roman Arena.”  In the lecture, Dr. Fagan will explore the theatrical and artificial aspects of Roman arena games — the stage sets, equipment of the fighters, rules of play, etc — and consider what such features tell us about Roman attitudes toward the violence of the games and how spectators reacted to it psychologically.  The talk is sponsored by the Ancient Studies Program and the Department of History.  Refreshments will be provided by Major Connections.

Free Hearing Test for Students, Faculty & Staff

DSC03877Hearing loss is a very common problem that can significantly affect an individual’s ability to communicate. The Speech Language and Hearing Center (SLHC) here on campus provides full audiological evaluations at no cost for students, faculty and staff.  The evaluation takes approximately one hour and will be performed by a nationally and state certified audiologist. If you are interested, please call 257-3600 to make an appointment.

Statistics on Hearing Loss:

  • About 20 percent of adults in the United States, 48 million, report some degree of hearing loss.
  • 60 percent of the people with hearing loss are either in the work force or in educational settings.
  • At age 65, one out of three people has a hearing loss.
  • About 2-3 of every 1,000 children are hard of hearing or deaf
  • Estimated that 30 school children per 1,000 have a hearing loss.

Source: John Hopkins Medicine

Susan Lewis Elected to New York Academy of History

Professor Susan Lewis (History)

Susan Lewis

Professor Susan Lewis (History) has been elected a fellow of the New York Academy of History (NYAH).

“Professor Lewis’s election to the New York Academy of History is a much deserved honor, as well as an opportunity to promote the study of New York history through the unified activities of the Academy’s fellows,” said Stella Deen, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Elected fellows are historians, independent scholars, public historians, museum curators and administrators, educators, archivists and others with a record of achievement and publications. Membership is by invitation only.

Lewis, who teaches United States History, New York State History, and American Women’s History courses, has presented her research at numerous national and international conferences, and published essays in edited collections from Ashgate, Rutgers, and SUNY Press. She is currently writing a college textbook on New York State history, “New York Rediscovered,” and an associated blog of the same name, hosted by the Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO).

In 2011, her monograph “Unexceptional Women: Female Proprietors in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Albany, New York, 1830-1885,” won the Hagley Book Prize for the best book published in business history, broadly defined. In addition, Lewis, with her husband, Richard, professor of art at Marist College, is the co-author of a college art appreciation textbook, “The Power of Art,” now in its third edition.

Lewis has twice been the recipient of a Cunningham Research Residency at the New York State Library, and has also served as one of the judges for that award. She is the recipient of the 2007-08 Liberal Arts & Sciences Teacher of the Year Award and the 2011 Liberal Arts and Sciences Excellence in Scholarship Award at SUNY New Paltz. Lewis has served on the Rosendale Library Board and the Board of Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz and is also a founding board member of Century House Historical Society in Rosendale.

She holds a B.A. in Art History from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. in American History from Binghamton University.

– See more at: http://newspulse.newpaltz.edu/2014/03/12/susan-lewis-elected-to-new-york-academy-of-history/#sthash.ANsUnmfR.dpuf

History Majors Career Panel

The History Department and History Club will host a History Majors Career Panel on Wednesday, February 12 at 7 p.m. in the Honors Center (College Music Hall).

Students can expect an informative, two-hour presentation by a diverse group of history graduates.  Law professionals, museum professionals, a high school teacher, historians and the Sojourner Truth librarian will speak about their backgrounds and how they entered their chosen professions. They will also give advice to history majors just beginning their career journeys.

“A degree in history gives students the skills to succeed in a variety of different careers, from law and government to teaching and library science,” said History Department Associate Professor and Chair Andy Evans.   “History majors learn how to write, reason, and research, all in the service of making convincing arguments based on evidence.  Our career panel is designed to give students concrete tips from former New Paltz history majors on how to get internships, interviews, and jobs.”

The Career Resource Center will be available to talk about the importance of experience in a field as well as give advice on graduate schools, resumes, and internships.

For more information, contact History Club Co-President Ashley Trainor at N02260450@hawkmail.newpaltz.edu.

Ancient history students stage mock battle

Students in Prof. Andrea Gatzke’s ancient history classes recently staged a mock battle using ancient battlefield tactics.  After reading ancient sources that described the techniques of the ancient Greeks and Romans, students recreated the formations used by ancient armies.  Armed with cardboard shields and 10 foot plastic spears, they formed into phalanxes, pioneered by the ancient Greeks, and attacked each other in the wheeling motion described in the original documents.  They also experimented with Roman formations called cohorts. You can see a video of the ancient Greek phalanxes attacking each other here:

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