Humanities Council to host Environmental Humanities Symposium
The Appalachian State University Humanities Council will host the Environmental Humanities Symposium on Friday, April 4. The event lasts all day and will be held in the Price Lake Room of the Plemmons Student Union. It is free and open to the public.
The event is the second annual Humanities Council symposium, following the Digital Humanities Symposium in 2013. It will consist of three keynote speakers, an interdisciplinary faculty panel, a closing roundtable discussion with all keynote speakers and presenters, and a reception.
The three keynote speakers are:
Dale Jamieson, Professor of Environmental Studies and Philosophy and Affiliate Professor of Law at New York University and author of Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle to Stop Climate Change Failed- and Why Our Choices Still Matter (Oxford University Press, forthcoming March 2014). Jamieson will be giving a talk titled “Ethics in Anthropocene.”
Phaedra Pezzullo, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Public Culture at Indiana University and author of Toxic Tourism: Rhetorics of Travel, Pollution, and Environmental Justice (University of Alabama Press, 2007). Pezzullo’s talk is titled “On the Limits of Resilience: Becoming- with- Toxins and Pregnancy Loss.”
Mel Chen, Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at University of California at Berkeley and author of Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Duke University Press, 2012). Chen will give a talk titled “Crisis in Materialities.”
Registration for the event is available here. More information about the Humanities Council is available here. For more information about the event, contact Kim Q. Hall at hallki [at] appstate [dot] edu.
The event is co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of Sustainability, the Philosophy and Religion Department, the Sustainable Development Department, and the Anthropology Department.
Graduate student in psychology wins award at recent conference
Alex Kirk, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology, was awarded the People's Choice Award at the 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition during the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools in San Antonio, Texas. Kirk advanced after winning the first ever 3MT competition sponsored by the Cratis D. Williams Graduate School at Appalachain in December 2013.
Kirk's thesis and presentation focus on ways to reduce incidents of adolescent suicide in rural schools. His mentor in the Department of Psychology is Dr. Kurt Michaels. The rules for 3MT dictate a strict three minute time limit and use of a single Powerpoint slide to convey research to a group of judges. Judges at the event included the mayor of San Marcos, a retired CEO, a communications professional, and several eduators.
Since winning, Kirk has been invited to give his presentation to the Appalachian Board of Trustees and the UNC Board of Governors.
Anthropology alumna works with two former U.S. presidents
Alumna Caroline Federal put her degree in anthropology to use by working for two former United States presidents through internships at the Carter Center in Atlanta, GA and the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, NY. Federal said, “I can say with confidence that the anthropology department prepared me for my work in international development.”
In early 2013, Federal interned at the Carter Center, an international organization founded by President Jimmy Carter committed to human rights and alleviating human suffering. As an intern, she worked with the Americas Program and projects focusing on promoting human rights and democracy. She worked on high profile issues such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and researching Venezuela’s 2013 presidential elections.
Following her work with the Carter Center, Federal interned at the Clinton Global Initiative, a part of the Bill, Hilary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Federal worked in the Commitments Department and assisted with the oversight of the development of innovative solutions in the form of Commitments to Action- plans for addressing a significant global challenge. Federal completed her internship in December 2013, but continues to work with the Initiative as Program Coordinator.
Federal said, “I know that as an anthropology student at Appalachian I had opportunities unique to undergraduate students. I was encouraged by the professors in the department and their willingness to help me succeed.”
Federal plans to pursue her interest in anthropology and politics as a graduate student at the London School of Economics in the Comparative Politics program.
Speaker to address the changing role of women in science
BOONE- Dr. Mary Wyer, Associate Professor of Psychology and Women’s & Gender Studies at NC State University, will be the 4th Annual Dean’s Advisory Council Interdisciplinary Speaker. Wyer’s talk is titled “Women, Science, and Social Change.” The talk will be held on March 24th at 7:00 p.m. in Belk Library room 114.
Prior to the presentation, a reception and poster session by College of Arts and Sciences students as well as students in Exercise Science and Sustainable Development working on gender research, or with research mentored by a woman faculty member, will be held at 6:30 p.m. in room 026 of Belk Library. The reception and poster session will be open following the talk. Wyer, along with ASU Women in Sciences, will take part in a panel discussion, on March 25th at 3:30 p.m. in IG Greer 224. The discussion is titled “Where Would Science be Without Women?”
Wyer’s talk will examine how stereotypes about scientists have changed in light of contemporary efforts to increase the participation of women in science. By evaluating strengths and shortcomings of programs designed to spark social change, Wyer argues that these programs are ineffective when they do not challenge the full range of gender inequality of education, training, and careers in science. Wyer sees universities having a critical role in educating future generations to embrace diversity in science.
Regarding Wyer, Dr. Maggie McFadden, professor and director of the Women’s Studies program, said, “her strength is in evaluating the complex factors that play into any institution’s attempts to change the gender inequalities that continue to plague us many years after legislation such as the Equal Pay Act, double-blind admissions criteria… her presentation promises to be memorable.”
Wyer has been teaching, writing, and researching women, inequality, and science for over 20 years. She recently completed a third edition of the textbook Women, Science, and Technology, published by Routledge. Her work in these fields helped secure over $1.2 million in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and she is a recipient of an NSF ADVANCE Leadership Award for innovative approaches to addressing the underrepresentation of women in science.
The Dean’s Advisory Council Interdisciplinary lecture series brings to campus individuals whose teaching and research cross-disciplinary fields and particularly cross the disciplines of science, humanities, and social sciences, which are all represented in the College of Arts & Sciences.
The events are sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, Women’s Studies program, and ASU Women in Sciences.
Black Sheep Theatre premieres political satire
Black Sheep Theatre announces Dennis Bohr’s newest play, BROWN: Jesus from Another Planet, which will be performed on Friday, February 28 at 8pm, Saturday, March 1, at 8pm, and Sunday, March 2 at 2pm in I.G. Greer Arena Theatre on Appalachian State University’s campus. Admission is $5.00.
BROWN: Jesus from Another Planet is set in the near future in the USA after cataclysmic earthquakes, fracking, flooding, and other climate changes have reshaped America into separate states, ruled by Super Ted Texas, Mitt-King of Utah, Queen Sarah-Michele of Alaska, among others. Texas has seceded from the union, New York is totally underwater (but still open for business), and San Francisco is now the Floating Island of San Francisco. The play also hearkens back to Woodstock and the 60s, telling the story of the kid born at Woodstock in 1969 and what has happened to him in the years since. The play satirically examines the United States’ propensities for war and its resistance to the realities of climate change, while also suggesting a new way of resolving conflict. The play is the fulfillment of an ASU Sustainability Arts Grant.
Black Sheep Theatre was co-founded in Louisville, Ky., by Bohr, Georgia Rhoades and Mary Anne Maier. Bohr is a lecturer in Appalachian’s Department of English and Rhoades is coordinator of the Writing Across the Curriculum Program in University College and a professor in the Department of English.
Anthropology professor working to preserve town’s culture and history in Guatemala
Dr. Timothy J. Smith from the Department of Anthropology has been working with the indigenous town of Sololá, Guatemala for the past seventeen years. Smith has been cultivating a relationship with the town since he was an undergraduate student at Tulane University. Recently, Smith's work culminated in a social science text written in the native language of Sololá: Kaqchikel Mayan.
The text is a record of the history, customary law, and local government structure of Sololá. Smith hopes the text will strengthen local culture and educate younger generations about town traditions. Globalization is causing a weakening in many local traditions that make the town unique in Guatemala. Smith said, “This is a way to try to help those groups interested in sustaining and revitalizing certain aspects of their culture.”
Smith’s connection to the town and fluency in the local language led to him being invited to speak to a large gathering of town residents at the inauguration of a new mayor and local government representatives in January.
Smith said, “As an anthropologist and one who is committed to an applied project, it was incumbent upon me and really a great honor to be able to repatriate the knowledge that I had gained by reading through the documents of their ancestors. This is a responsibility instilled in me through my training in anthropology and global studies.”
Eastern Wayne Elementary student earns $20,000 Appalachian State University Scholarship
Goldsboro, N.C. – On Thursday, February 6, a fourth grade minority student in Wayne County with the highest standardized test score in math was awarded a $20,000 scholarship to attend Appalachian State University.
Eastern Wayne Elementary student, Keyara Wilson, was the winner of the Fall 2022 Freshman Class Scholarship. Miss Wilson will receive the monies when she graduates from high school in 2022.
A donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, established this annual scholarship in 1993 to help facilitate cultural diversity at ASU while also benefiting Wayne and Craven county students.
The winner of the scholarship program is selected based on performance on achievement tests taken at the end of the third grade. Recipients must meet ASU’s admissions requirements and major in either math or science. The award is renewable if the student maintains at least a 2.5 grade point average.
Geology professors work with United Nations research team to investigate mass extinction
Geologist and Appalachian State University professor of Geology, Johnny Waters, was joined by Sarah Carmichael, a colleague in the Geology Department, and a United Nations research team to investigate a mass extinction that devastated tropical marine ecosystems in Central Asia 375 million years ago.
Waters and the team found evidence for catastrophic oceanographic events associated with climate change. The mass extinction is one of the five largest mass extinction events in history. Waters says, “Unlike the dinosaur mass extinction, which was related to an asteroid impact, this one was environmentally related.”
The five-year project with the U.N. research team started in 2011. By examining geochemical signals preserved in rocks collected by Waters and the team from sites in western China and western Mongolia, a record of devastating climate change became evident. During the Devonian period, when the extinction occurred, the world experienced super greenhouse climate conditions.
The evidence collected by Waters and the team is unique because previous information about the extinction came from sites in North America and Europe. Comparing the research in Asia to the research from other continents helps scientists better understand the scope of the extinction.
Students from the Department of Geology assisted with the research by analyzing the geochemistry of the samples collected with the assistance of Carmichael.
2014 High Country Math Tournament announced and accepting registration
The High Country Math Tournament for students in grades 4-6 will be held on Thursday, April 10th, 2014 at the Plemmons Student Union on the campus of Appalachian State, Boone, NC. Area schools and home school groups are invited to register 5-member teams of students to compete face-to-face. The opportunity for students to grow mathematically is unsurpassed, the problems are clever, engaging, and challenging, and the atmosphere is exciting for student and teacher alike. There will be both individual and team competitions and awards will be given accordingly.
Hosted by the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Appalachian State University, this tournament will accept up to thirty teams of 5 students each from Watauga County and the surrounding area. Attached are details and the registration form for the High Country Math Tournament. Registrations will be limited to a total of thirty teams of 5 students each. The registration deadline is March 31st. Up to three teams from each school will be accepted at first and all additional teams from each school wait-listed until the deadline. Homeschool students are welcome.
Since space is limited and acceptance is on a first-received, first-registered basis, you should register all your teams as quickly as possible. Registration forms must be accompanied by payment. If the Tournament is oversubscribed, the teams affected will be notified and refunds will be made. Within one week of acceptance, we will send a confirmation email.
For more information, contact organizers Eric Marland at marlandes [at] appstate [dot] edu or Kimberly Marland at kmarland2010 [at] gmail [dot] com.
Anthropology professor works with international team to examine the collapse of an ancient civilization
Dr. Gwen Robbins Schug from the Department of Anthropology worked with an international team of researchers in the ancient city of Harappa, part of the former Indus Civilization, to better understand what led to its collapse. The research by Robbins Schug and the team opposes what was previously thought about the Indus Civilization. Specifically, that it may not have been the peaceful and egalitarian society as was previously claimed.
Robbins Schug worked with human skeletal remains from three burial areas at Harappa. The team was looking for evidence of trauma or infectious disease in the remains. Combining the results of research with data from other disciplines, such as paleoclimatology, scientists can gain new insights into the history of an area.
For the team in Harappa, the results of the research indicated climate change might have caused rapid urbanization, which increased contact between cultures and exchange of disease. Signs of leprosy were highest during the urban phase of the civilization. As it progressed, instances of violent injury, such as cranial trauma, also increased. These signs were even higher in “non formal” graveyards in the city. Ultimately, these factors led to the human population abandoning the major cities.
Although the Indus civilization collapsed almost 4,000 years ago, there are many lessons for contemporary society. Many areas of the world presently face climate change and Schug says, “The evidence from Harappa offers insights in how social and biological challenges impacted past societies facing rapid population growth, climate change and environmental degradation.”
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