Spring 2010 Newsletter
2009-10 edition Published Fall, Winter, & Spring Volume I, Issue III
From Your HERA President Therese Tomaszek, Davenport University, Grand Rapids
In Praise of Intersections and Transformations
Dear HERA members,
For those of you who were with us in El Paso, I want to extend my thanks. The diversity of papers, panels, creative presentations, and other cultural productions truly embodied the conference's theme "Intersections" and gave us ample opportunities for replenishing our minds and spirits. For those who couldn't join us, please consider participating in San Francisco 2011 when our theme will be "Transformations."
In my Welcome talk at the conference, I said that "I think you have chosen HERA because it offers you something that you don't find anywhere else," and some of you told me later that the words struck a chord with you. What an interdisciplinary association like HERA offers is, at the core, what Stephen Mexal discussed in his recent Chronicle (May 23, 2010) essay "The Unintended Values of the Humanities." In this essay, which deserves a complete reading, Mexal observes that the humanities assert what self-described instrumental fields of inquiry often veil; that is, "All researchers, NASA scientists and poetry scholars alike, possess an essential cluelessness about the ultimate outcomes of their work." Isn't that a powerful statement! HERA members don't deny the ambiguity. We embrace it. We celebrate the unknown, where disciplines intersect. We delight in surprises. It's what makes our conference an exciting time and our copies of Interdisciplinary Humanities something to savor.
As Mexal writes, "We don't know exactly what we're going to find out - and that is precisely the point. After all, if we knew in advance precisely how a research project would be useful, why would we need to do it at all?" The 'something' that HERA offers is freedom to explore the intersections and sufficient time and space to communicate, collaborate, reflect, practice, and learn something for the sake of learning.
I hope that you will continue to share with us your academic and personal adventures in the humanities by contributing to the Newsletter and joining us in San Francisco next spring. Please look for details about the conference in our fall Newsletter and on our website.
Best always, Terri
The Humanities Education and Research Association's Scholarly Journal: Interdisciplinary Humanities is a refereed scholarly journal, published twice a year. There is the possibility that some authors will be asked to revise and re-submit for consideration in future issues. When submitting to Interdisciplinary Humanities, remember all essays and poems should be interdisciplinary in nature. Essays should not exceed 6,000 words and should be formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style. Subscriptions are included as a benefit of membership in the Humanities Education and Research Association. Libraries and institutions may subscribe for $100.00 per year.
Submit articles and Creative Works to co-editors, Stephen Husarik email@example.com and Lee Ann Westman, firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to include your e-mail address. Check HERA's website under JOURNAL to obtain information on upcoming editions.
Spring 2011 El Paso 2010 conference and San Francisco 2011 Conference papers, Co-edited by Stephen Husarik and Lee Ann Westman . Please contact co-editors Stephen Husarik, email@example.com or Lee Ann Westman, firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. Deadline Nov, 1 2010.
Fall 2011 - (mis)Respresenting Difference in Media and Everyday Items. Guest editor Susan Booker Morris, Director of Jim Crow Museum, Ferris State University. This special issue on the representation of the 'other' invites analysis of race, ethnicity, nationality, queerness, or gender as found in representations in television, ads, films, photographs, video games, computer images, etc. Any theoretical bases are welcome. Use of the Jim Crow Museum at www.ferris.edu/jimcrow is particularly encouraged but not required. Send inquiries and papers to Susan Booker Morris at: email@example.com. Submission Deadline is May 1, 2011.
Calling all Book Reviewers!
IH editors are looking for well written book reviews of new publications that educators might use in interdisciplinary classrooms or scholarship. These can be scholarly works as well as textbooks that examine themes and ideas across disciplines. This is an excellent opportunity for young scholars and graduate students to publish! Please submit reviews to Wynn Yarbrough, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conference session attendees at the 2010 HERA Conference in El Paso. Photo by Marcia Green
Welcome Address, 2010 HERA Conference
Welcome to HERA's second conference. I want to begin by thanking the University of Texas, El Paso; our Program Chair Dr. Ron Weber, Director of the Humanities & MAIS Programs at UTEP; and our site coordinator Dr. Lee Ann Westman who have worked so diligently to make this conference a success. Without them, we would not be here celebrating the humanities and El Paso's rich cultural heritage. I also want to thank Dr. Marcia Green, our CFO and executive director. In any organization, there is a key person who holds the reins to keep everyone moving in the same direction. For HERA, this person is Marcia. We owe her a debt of gratitude. I would also like to thank the conference committee, HERA board, and advisory committee for lending their support to advance humanities education and research. HERA is a better association because of their participation.
A year ago on a much colder, windier evening in Chicago, I welcomed many of you to HERA's first conference and said, at this time, that this new association would become a site of "dialogue between and across all content areas and perspectives, an intersection where today's burning issues can be addressed and where we can become better decision makers and engaged citizens." It is appropriate that, a year later, our second conference is taking place on this borderland with its unique southwestern culture and that the theme is Intersections.
No doubt, you chose this conference because you are, at heart, interdisciplinarians, curious about the intersections where multiple disciplines and perspectives come together, assumptions are interrogated, lines are blurred, common ground is found, inclusion is celebrated, people are valued, and knowledge is produced. What better way to make a space for collaboration and communication across disciplinary boundaries than at an international, interdisciplinary conference like this one! You may know that a great interdisciplinarian passed away in January. Howard Zinn, a historian, teacher, activist, philosopher, and author of A People's History, once said that the source of the greatest leaps forward were by those who acted "as if." He wrote, "The four Negro youngsters in Greensboro who in 1960 walked into Woolworth's acted as if they would be served." "England in 1940 acted as if it could repel a German invasion." As Professor Zinn understood, change happens only when we have the ability to think "as if," to think beyond the boundaries; and our future as humanities professionals will also be decided by our ability to think "as if."
. . . As if the humanities will play a prominent part in national and international discourse
. . . As if we will transform society by our words and actions
. . . As if we will invent better ways to engage our communities
. . . As if we will extend our reach to engage new communities
I think you have chosen HERA because it offers you something that you don't find anywhere else, and I hope that you will continue to choose HERA so that, together, we can make our "as if's" a reality.
Then, what can you do? First, please consider revising your paper presentations to submit to our journal Interdisciplinary Humanities. Second, we would love to know more about your projects, writing and presentations, travel, events, leadership, and all things related to the humanities. I hope you will send articles to the HERA Newsletter to communicate with all of us. Third, we will remain vital only if our membership is strong. If this conference has been beneficial to you, I hope that you will tell your colleagues about HERA and that you will encourage your students to become members too because they will become the decision-makers upon whom the future of the humanities depends.
Since our plenary session tonight will focus on a discussion of the children's book, I would like to end with a quote from a book by E.B. White. In Charlotte's Web, Charlotte, a character who knows a few things about intertwining threads, says, "A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that." I hope that you will permit HERA to assist you in lifting yourself up and lifting all of us up as we communicate and collaborate together. Next year, we'll meet in San Francisco for Transformations. I hope you'll join us there.
Kristina Darling has published her first book of poems titled Night Songs. The book has been published by Gold Wake Press. http://goldwake press.org/print-series
Heather Pinson has recently published her book The Jazz Image: Seeing Music through Herman Leonard's Photography. Her book is published by the University Press of Mississippi. For more details about the book, visit the publisher's site: www.upress.state.ms.us/books/1264. Heather also has an article, "Sight and Sound: How an Image Defines Popular Music," featuring Annie Leibovitz's photo of Keith Richards taken in 2008 for the "Core Values" campaign that is to be published in a forthcoming book called Rock Brands: Selling Sound in a Media Saturated Culture by Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield Publications, Inc. and edited by Elizabeth B. Christian. Date of publication is TBA but probably 2011.
The 2011 San Francisco conference of the Humanities Research and Education Association will center around transformations.
Those transformations happen in four groupings or "streams." The conference seeks a very broad range of contributions, but will be structured in such a way that participants can follow one particular "stream" or may move among "streams" if they so desire.
For more information about the specific "streams" visit http://www.h-e-r-a.org/hera_call.htm.
Hotel costs for the conference at the beautiful historic Hotel Whitcomb in Downtown San Francisco will be an amazing $79/night. Make your plans to attend now. Other specific details about the conference are forthcoming. They will be posted on the HERA website and in the fall newsletter.
Donald Larsson and his wife Natalie Rosinsky visited Istanbul for a week in May, where Don gave a paper on film adaptations of graphic novels at the annual "Literature and Film" graduate student conference at Istanbul University. He noted, "It was humbling to be speaking in a 600-year old building in a lecture hall that had once been an open courtyard (evident from the drain spouts in the corners of the now-ceilinged room). Later in the week, Natalie (a writer of children's non-fiction) had arranged a meeting with Dr. Fatih Erdogan, a retired professor who is a children's author and the owner of Mavibulut press, which publishes children's books including new works in Turkish as well as translations of such classics as The Little Prince and children's versions in English of Tom Sawyer and Oliver Twist. Several of Fatih's former students and fellow authors met with us for coffee next door to our hotel, just across the narrow street from the courtyard of Hagia Sophia. We met in a coffeehouse that had once been a medrese (school) designed by Sinan, the greatest architect of the Ottoman Empire during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. Sinan's work, which includes over 360 structures--about one-third of them mosques including the great Suleymaneyi Mosque--can be seen all over Istanbul.
Now that they are back in Minnesota, they are in transition. They will soon be moving to the Twin Cities metropolitan area, where Don will be assuming new duties as President of the Inter Faculty Association, the faculty union for the seven Minnesota state universities.
Shawn Tucker received a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities of up to $25,000 to develop a new course for Elon University. Tucker's new interdisciplinary course, "Pride, Humility, and the Good Life," will help students define their own concepts of pride and humility through research and analysis. While the spring 2011 course will draw upon his background in the humanities, Tucker said he plans to bring in a range of scholarly perspectives to the discussion, from religion and film to literature and business. For more details, see http://www.elon.edu/e-net/Note.aspx?id=946299&search Terms=tucker