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History & Anthropology

Research and Teaching Pedagogy Seminar Series

This seminar provides a forum for both full time and part time faculty in the Department of History and Anthropology to present their research in progress and teaching pedagogy to the campus community. The mission of this seminar is to foster awareness about the research interests among faculty within the department, improve communication about areas of teaching and scholarship, facilitate collegiality across disciplines, and encourage collaborative research opportunities. Presentations will take place once per-month from 1:15-2:15 pm on Wednesdays over Zoom, with links provided with the speaker’s information.

If you would like to present in the series, please email Dr. Geoff Fouad.

Archive of past talks.

Moderator: Dr. Geoff Fouad

Fall 2020 Calendar

Presenter: Dr. Kristin B. Bluemel
Title: Preserving Peter Rabbit: Beatrix Potter, the Lake District, and Conservative Modernity
Wednesday, September 23, 1:15 pm to 2:15 pm on Zoom
Synopsis: In 1905 Beatrix Potter purchased Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey, Lancashire, England, the first of what was to become a collection of sixteen working farms amounting to over 4,000 acres of land. She was 39, an acclaimed children’s book author and illustrator, naturalist, and self-made business woman. She was also a devoted land preservationist. Although she did not publish any truly original tales after 1913, her promotion of sustainable, traditional Herdwick sheep farming and wool production in the Lake District during a time of massive rural development is, arguably, as important a part of her legacy as her beloved little books.

Beatrix Potter, children's book author, conservationist, and sheep-breeder, here with her award-winning Herdwick sheep, at that time a threatened native breed. Showing Potter with three men and two sheep in the foreground and a group of men in the background. The setting is outdoors in a rural area.

Beatrix Potter, children’s book author, conservationist, and sheep-breeder, here with her award-winning Herdwick sheep, at that time a threatened native breed.

Potter’s story (biography) and her stories (art) challenge preconceptions about the “natural” alliance between progressive politics and eco-justice work. Potter’s world-transforming, revolutionary children’s books and world-preserving, conservative land politics raise difficult, but interesting, questions for left-leaning book historians and literary critics: What is Potter’s role within a tradition of English children’s books promoting care of animals and the natural environment? Are the particular forms her books take to communicate this care consistent with current understanding(s) of sustainability and eco-justice? Put bluntly, is affirmation of Potter’s conservationist politics worth the price of her conservatism?

My presentation of this work-in-progress uses Potter’s extraordinary investments in children’s books and rural England to trouble assumptions about political and literary genealogies and possible ecological alliances within and between disciplines in the humanities. Telling a scholarly tale of communication and exchange between typically opposed textual, cultural, and geographic constructs – between development and preservation; books and sheep; adult and children’s literature — this paper situates Beatrix Potter and her visual-verbal art at the center of debates about nature, sustainability, modernity, and children’s literature.

Presenter: Dr. Stanton Green
Title: Engaging with Millennials about Climate Change
Wednesday, October 28, 1:15 pm to 2:15 pm on Zoom

Offered jointly with the Climate Crisis Teach-In. For more details, see the program.

Synopsis: Counter to the common portrait of millennials as indifferent and even selfish, I will argue that they are not only motivated but uniquely knowledgeable and skilled to lead the scientific and policy endeavor necessary to ward off global warming over the next 20-30 years. Millennials are especially motivated because their knowledge is not limited to historic and theoretical learning, but enhanced by lifetimes of real-time experience. They are the first generation to have experienced the dramatic increase in extreme weather and weather related events like forest fires during their entire lifetimes. They have also witnessed the inadequacy of municipalities to respond to extreme weather events. They “know” about climate change differently than their parents and grandparents generations.

A millennial protesting for climate change awareness

The knowledge and skills that they bring to deal with climate change derive from the fact that those born since the early 1980’s have lived coincident with three revolutionary culture change catalysts: 1) the personal computer; 2) the world wide web and 3) the modern environmental movement and its spawning of major qualitative technological advances.

This presentation argues that in order for older generations like the boomers and echo-boomers to mitigate global warming they need to engage millennials (and younger students, in general) by first recognizing the knowledge they bring to the table and learn from them. This talk describes the historic connections between millennials and the ‘whitewater’ change of the late 20th and early 21st centuries using Margaret Mead’s simple, yet profound, model of generational change. It concludes with recommendations on how educators can engage today’s students in mitigating global warming with some illustrations drawn from my experience in teaching cultural ecology over the past four decades.

Presenter: Professor Pat Cresson
Title: The Interface Between Marine Biology and Creative Microscopic Inhabitants of the Sea
Wednesday, November 18, 1:15 pm to 2:15 pm on Zoom

Synopsis: This presentation will cover preliminary art work on my current Urban Coast Institute 2020 Faculty Enrichment Grant. The grant and presentation are entitled The Interface Between Marine Biology and Creative Microscopic Inhabitants of the Sea. This visual presentation will show the evolution of my observation, study and art series.

I will be showing a series of detailed ink drawings based on first studying Covid 19 virus models and then moving to a series of ink drawings based on the historical drawings or source material, scientific sketches done by the scientist Ernst Haeckel. Haeckel was the noted German biologist and philosopher (1834-1919) who while on the exploratory Challenger sail around many parts of the world, illustrated hundreds of microbes and examples of sea life. His book from that sailing expedition, Art Forms from the Abyss: Ernst Haeckel’s Images from The HMS Challenger was an inspiring resource to study.

His awe-inspiring scientific illustrations moved me to first do a series of microbial and macroscopic drawings (sometimes as diptychs and triptychs), then to do studies of sea life embedded in blue tinted epoxy resin and finally collages related to the sea. In particular, I have been interested in microbe models, marine protozoa, jelly fish, flagellates, hydras, corals, ancient fish and other sea life. I will also be addressing the accompanying student project in my Advanced Digital Imaging class where graphic design students will create two opposing digital collages in Project 1 “The Intersection of Art and Science: Finding Examples in Microscopic Marine Biology”, Two Traditional and Two Digital Collages.