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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

Spring 2021 Calendar


A map with a bounding box around the borough of lake como

Borough of Lake Como (black boundary) map of impervious surfaces (gray colors) and pervious surfaces (green colors) generated by a student in the service-learning program.

Presenters: Jon Gibbons (community partner) and Geoffrey Fouad
Title: “A patchwork for wildlife and impervious surface monitoring program for the Borough of Lake Como, New Jersey”
February 24, 1:15-2:15 pm on Zoom (RSVP to for Zoom info)

Synopsis: The Borough of Lake Como sits near the New Jersey shore, but has no shoreline. Instead, a lake for which the Borough gets its name is central to this community. The lake was once used for recreation and fishing, but is now largely unused due to the infilling of sediments and potentially harmful water quality. Sediments and contaminants that degrade the water quality of the lake may be traced to residential land uses in the surrounding community. Yards covered in impervious surfaces and landscaping requiring chemical treatments are a source of harmful water runoff to the lake. The Borough of Lake Como is developing a comprehensive strategy to reduce water runoff to the lake, and in the process, create an urban “Patchwork for Wildlife.” The patchwork program is not like a conventional yard of the month club because it encourages residents to plant native species rather than evaluating yards purely on their aesthetic quality. Residents are given award certificates for their efforts to plant native species and curb harmful runoff to the lake. In collaboration with Monmouth University’s Geographic Information Systems Program, the Borough of Lake Como is monitoring the success of the Patchwork for Wildlife program. Certificates awarded to individual property parcels are tracked, and the growth of the program will be mapped over time. To monitor the conversion of impervious to pervious surfaces, a student service-learning program has been developed, which was first deployed in a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sponsored technology training program for middle school and high school students. The students learn how to analyze aerial imagery for the classification (mapping) of impervious and pervious surfaces. The program can be employed in a newly approved Monmouth University remote sensing course, and used to monitor land surface changes over time in the Borough of Lake Como. These changes may then be tied to ongoing water quality monitoring in the lake conducted by Monmouth University’s Coastal Lakes Observing Network. The presentation demonstrates a mutually beneficial relationship between a nearby community and a university in which a service-learning program (i.e. student-led aerial image analysis) complements a community-based initiative (i.e. the Borough of Lake Como’s Patchwork for Wildlife).

A photo showing different houses.

Patchwork for Wildlife sample yards employing a “formal” (left) and “informal” (right) style to reduce impervious surfaces and introduce native plants for New Jersey wildlife.

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.

Photo of a A millennial protesting for climate change awareness

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.

Image of decorative aquatic imagesI 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.

Another Image of decorative aquatic imagesHis 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.