Humanistic Studies’ Great Books discussion series continues tonight (Tuesday, Nov. 10) with a presentation of the novel My Name is Red, a work written by the Turkish Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk. Prof. David Coury (Humanistic Studies and German) will lead the discussion, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at the downtown branch of the Brown County Public library. All events are free and open to the public.
Associate Prof. Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz of Humanistic Studies shares word of a sizeable grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council to help fund “The Culture of Fusion” project organized by UW-Green Bay. The $10,000 award will support activities during the first half of calendar year 2016, including:
- A concert and lecture on Latin Jazz with Chilean saxophonist Aníbal Rojas and UWGB faculty members Adam Gaines and Clif Ganyard
- A talk and performance by Dominican singer/songwriter Roxiny (Revoluna) Rivas, fusing Latin sensibilities with a global electro/dream pop aesthetic
- A special screening of the new documentary “Rubble Kings” followed by a Q&A with director Shan Nicholson in which he’ll talk about the ways that the rise of hip-hop defused the street gang anarchy that defined the South Bronx through much of the 1970s
- A presentation on urban planning, food sustainability and the heterogeneity of Peruvian cuisine (along with a cooking demo and the screening of Finding Gastón) hosted by architect and planner Manuel de Rivero, a founding member of the urban think tank Supersudaca and professor at the Catholic University of Peru.
Saxton-Ruiz says the second-semester events will be a logical extension of this fall’s “Latino Americans: 500 Years of History” programming, funded by a separate $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association. “Our thought is that after the community has had an opportunity to learn about the historical background of the various Latino groups who have immigrated to the United States, we would now explore personal stories expressed in music… in the culinary arts… and in art.” (Also among the spring programs will be a previously scheduled youth workshop on Latin American and Latino painting and collage art to be led by Cuban artist Eduin Fraga.) “The unifying element,” Saxton-Ruiz says, “is that all of these diverse manifestations of culture have in common the idea of fusion, or how the contact of different groups creates new cultural expressions. It is our hope that the community members will then get inspired to reflect on, create and/or seek out local and regional examples of new cultural forms whether they’re Latino-influenced or not.”
It started out as an idea, and worked into a cross-campus, cross-disciplinary, cross-town collaboration with deep relational benefits and stories that span and can be shared for generations to come.
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay class, HUS 483: Documenting Memory, involves students working on multiple projects in oral history and story collection. Led by English Prof. Rebecca Meacham, in coordination with Social Work Professor Gail Trimberger, UW-Green Bay English, Education and Humanistic Studies majors worked with interns from UWGB’s Social Work program to document the lives of Unity palliative patients. Students met with interview subject multiple times, interviewed them, and created transcripts and audio files for the UWGB archives. Unity-partnered students prepared a full-color, hardbound, professionally printed Life Journal, which was proudly presented to the patient.
“I knew walking in that going out to document a 92 year-old’s life story would be life changing,” reflected UWGB student Hannah Stepp. “Having only lived 21 years myself, adding another 70 years gives you plenty more stories to tell and lessons to share. I think the most moving moment of it all was learning that no matter how many years you’ve lived, there are still moments or people or conversations that ignite feelings that are still very raw. My interviewee in particular began to cry when talking about a member of her family who had been deployed, and it was incredible to me that 70 years after this had occurred it still could bring tears.”
English major Jamie Stahl worked as a photographer throughout the project and said the impact was profound.
“Life-changing seems such a hollow term, but the best under the circumstances,” she said, after sitting in on a number of interviews. “It truly opened my eyes to the treasure of each life, the value in truly listening to another, and the wealth gained in such an exchange. The Documenting Memories class is one I have discussed endlessly in my home community as revolutionary for students, but it also works towards building and valuing the community in which we live. As a future English teacher this will be a lesson I hope to bring a version of into my own classroom!”
Stepp said the experience provided a new perspective for her. As one who is busy with with Student Government, volunteering, school and a job, she said the experience taught her to slow down.
“In my crazy busy life I forgot to slow down and really appreciate my life and observe what is going on around me,” she said. “Life moves so quickly, and one day if you’re lucky like my interviewee, you get to sit back and reminisce on those times. Don’t let it fly past you. I talk about this project nearly every day to my friends and family, because it really had an impact, and I told my interviewee this when we last talked.”
Other members of the class partnered with military veterans, as well as UWGB alumni and notable community liaisons, providing them with similar opportunities. University Archivist Deb Anderson worked with the class as well. The class will be offered again in Spring 2016.
Photos by UWGB student Jamie Stahl and Prof. Rebecca Meacham
Top photo: UWGB student Katie Nieman and Delores, a Unity palliative respite patient
Second photo: Rebecca Meacham (left) and Deb Anderson (second left) with the Documenting Memories class
Third photo: Nieman presents Delores with the life journal she made for her; Lizzie, a Unity Hospice social worker is to the right
Fourth photo: From left to right, Delores, Nieman, Meacham, and Unity’s Christy Brozak
Historian David Voelker, associate professor of Humanistic Studies, spent time earlier this month on the campus of High Point University, a private, nationally recognized liberal arts institution in High Point, N.C., where he gave an invited talk and led a faculty development workshop on the scholarship of teaching and learning. Voelker, a co-director of the UW System’s statewide teaching development program, chose the title “Backward Design for Student Learning” for his talk emphasizing the value of prioritizing student mastery of course content over the notion of “covering” as much ground as possible. He expanded on the concept in his workshop titled “Rethinking Content Coverage,” in which he argued the case for moving beyond the pedagogy of coverage toward an intentional pedagogy of understanding, thinking, and application.
Kevin Kain, senior lecturer in Humanistic Studies (History), has published “Abbots and Artifacts: The Creation of National Identity at Resurrection ‘New Jerusalem’ Monastery in Nineteenth-Century Russia” and it has appeared in Ines Angeli-Muzaka ed., Monasticism in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Republics (New York: Routledge, 2015). The book is the latest in the Routledge series Religion, Society and Government in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet States.
In her three full years as a UW-Green Bay student, Courtney Maye has surrounded herself with extraordinary student organizations, community partners, and passionate faculty and staff, striving to better the quality of life for underrepresented groups of people in the Green Bay community and beyond.
Maye took it upon herself to extend these efforts to the incarcerated population — giving them an opportunity to stay connected through books and ideas. She is the coordinator behind a “Books for Inmates” drive currently being held on campus.
Her idea was inspired this past summer, as she began to read a philosophy textbook from a class she took her freshman year.
“I started to think about how long these books sit on my shelves long after I finish them, and how much I’ve taken every single page for granted as a college student, a healthy person, a young person, and a free person.
“Through books we can give the gifts of insight, personal growth, self-sufficiency and both self-reflection and reflection of the world around us,” she said. “Through books we have been blessed to be the beneficiaries of some of the best stories and ideas in our world. What a privilege it is to be able to pass that on to every single person that we can, incarcerated or not.”
The types of books she recommends for the Brown County Jail connection:
New or like new “life skill” books such as personal finance, job skills, etc., science fiction/fantasy, mystery, suspense, westerns, Spanish language books, technical and vocational skills, GED test prep books, basic high school level math and science textbooks, African-American studies, or criminal and civil rights books.
To publicize the effort, Maye has been working closely with the UWGB Social Work Club, which has helped in creating more drop box locations for the donated books. Maye also engaged the support of Prof. Derek Jefferys, Associate Professor of Humanistic Studies and Religion, who spoke about his passion for working with the incarcerated during his 50th Anniversary “Last Lecture” presentation.
The Book Drive for Inmates drop box is currently located in Rose Hall 305. There will be more drop boxes located around campus from early November to the end of the fall semester. Contact Courtney Maye with questions or if you wish to donate a large quantity of books.
Story and photo by Marketing and University Communication intern Emily Schuh
Award-winning poet and educator Lisa Fay Coutley returns to her undergraduate alma mater, UW-Green Bay, for a reading and question-and-answer session on Monday, Oct. 26.
The program, free and open to the public, is scheduled for 1 p.m. in the Christie Theatre on the lower level of the University Union, located on the campus at 2420 Nicolet Drive.
Coutley is an assistant professor of creative writing and poetry at Snow College in Utah. In January 2016, she will relocate to Eugene, Ore., for a half-year assignment as a visiting professor with the poetry and creative writing program at the University of Oregon.
Coutley will read from works including her debut poetry collection, Errata, published earlier this year by Southern Illinois University Press.
The author describes Errata as exploring the delicate balance between parent and child, love and loss, hope and grief. The collection deals with the lingering consequences of abuse and addiction while also describing the power of hope, determination and will to move forward. Wrote one reviewer, “Coutley dares her readers to a staring contest and never looks away.”
Errata won the 2014 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition Award. Also earning honors for Coutley were two previous chapbooks — In the Carnival of Breathing (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), which won the Black River Chapbook Competition, and Back-Talk (Articles Press, 2010), winner of the Rooms Chapbook Contest.
Coutley earned a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and an Academy of American Poets Levis Prize, and her poetry and prose have been anthologized in Best New Poets, Best of the Net, Women Writing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and elsewhere.
As a student at UW-Green Bay, Coutley majored in English, minored in Humanistic Studies and earned her bachelor’s degree with cum laude honors in December 2004. She went on to receive a master’s in nonfiction and master’s of fine arts in poetry from Northern Michigan University before completing her Ph.D. in literature and creative writing at the University of Utah. She was poetry editor for each institution’s literary journal: Sheepshead Review at UW-Green Bay, NMU’s Passages North and Utah’s Quarterly West.
Rebecca Meacham, an associate professor of English and Humanistic Studies at UW-Green Bay and director of the school’s creative writing program, arranged for Coutley’s visit.
Students enrolled in Meacham’s Intermediate Creative Writing course will be among those in attendance for Coutley’s 1 p.m. Oct. 26 reading in the Christie Theatre. Meacham recalls teaching the course for the first time at UW-Green Bay in fall 2002, with Coutley — the future Meacham teaching assistant, published poet and guest lecturer— as a standout student.
“To put it mildly, she’s done quite well since graduating from UWGB,” Meacham says. “To achieve what she has, in a relatively short time, is very impressive. She’s a star.”
At 7 p.m. Wednesday (Oct. 21) at the Neville Public Museum, historian and Associate Provost Clif Ganyard will introduce the screening of the Academy Award-winning Polish film Ida as part of the Green Bay Film Society international series. Ida tells the story of a young woman who is about to take her vows as a nun when she learns from her mother superior that she is in fact of Jewish descent. She embarks on a personal journey to discover her story and her family’s past dating to the Nazi era. Co-sponsored by the Polish Heritage Society of Green Bay, the evening’s program is free and open to the public.
The Great Books discussion series organized by the Humanistic Studies academic unit continues Tuesday (Oct. 13) when European and Russian history specialist Kevin Kain of the faculty will lead discussion of Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground. The free public event begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Board Room of the main downtown branch of the Brown County Public Library on Pine Street.
This Wednesday (Oct. 7) the Green Bay Film Society presents the 2010 Belgium film Illegal, a very timely work about illegal immigration examining the situation of many immigrants in Europe and the process of being placed in detention centers. Prof. David Coury of Humanistic Studies and German will introduce the film’s showing at 7 p.m. and lead a discussion afterward, all in the auditorium of the Neville Public Museum. The event is free and open to the public and co-sponsored by Humanistic Studies and the Brown County Library.