2017 Spring Series by Institute for Religion, Politics and Culture

Institute for Religion, Politics and Culture announces its new Spring 2017 series entitled “Faith And” at Washington College in Chestertown. The six-part series features:

Faith and Leadership
Al Sikes, former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission
“Faith & Leadership: A Discussion of a Life of Public Service”
6:00 PM, Wednesday, March 22
Litrenta Hall, 1st Floor of Toll Science Center, Washington College, Chestertown

Faith, Politics & The Ivory Tower
Josh Dunn, Director, Center for the Society of Government and the Individual, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
Faith, Politics & The Ivory Tower: Conservatives and Higher Education
5:00 PM, Friday, March 24
Litrenta Hall, 1st Floor of Toll Science Center, Washington College, Chestertown

Faith & Science
JP Moorland, Distinguished Professor ofPhilosophy, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
7:00 PM, Thursday, April 6
Litrenta Hall, 1st Floor of Toll Science Center, Washington College,
Chestertown

Faith Law & Liberty
Shannon Holzer, award winning author and scholar
7:30 PM, Wednesday, April 12
Litrenta Hall, 1st Floor of Toll Science Center, Washington College,
Chestertown

Faith & The Emotions
James K. A. Smith, Gary and Henrietta Byker, Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview, Calvin College
6:30 PM, Tuesday, April 18
Litrenta Hall, 1st Floor of Toll Science Center, Washington College,
Chestertown

Faith & Music
Andrew Balio, Principal Trumpet, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Director of the True Symphony Institute
6:00 PM. Tuesday, May 3
Litrenta Hall, 1st Floor of Toll Science Center, Washington College,
Chestertown

MD Department of Commerce Awards Washington College an E-Nnovation Grant

For the second year in a row, Washington College has been awarded a grant from the Maryland Department of Commerce as part of its Maryland

E-Nnovation Initiative (MEI), a program designed to spur basic and applied research in scientific and technical fields. Coupled with gifts of $1 million from donors, the MEI grant of $944,000 will support nearly $2 million for an endowed chair in sustainable food systems for the College’s new Eastern Shore Food Lab.

The MEI grant was made possible by a pledge of $1 million from Daryl Swanstrom ’69, a member of the College’s Board of Visitors and Governors, with transitional funding by board members Edward P. Nordberg ’82, Ann Horner ’80, and Patrick W. Allender P ’11, who helped meet the immediate grant requirements.

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Bill Schindler, shown here teaching students about foraging for foods from trees and plants that grow on campus and nearby, will be the first chair in sustainable food systems.

“Problem-solving and analytical skills are the heart of the liberal arts education. When our students bring those skills to bear on innovative opportunities like the Eastern Shore Food Lab, creative solutions to complex problems are the result,” says College President Sheila Bair. “The funds from our generous donors—Daryl Swanstrom, Ed Nordberg, Ann Horner, and Patrick Allender—and the Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative will help Washington College propel new thinking and action toward creating more sustainable food systems on the Eastern Shore and well beyond.”

The Eastern Shore Food Lab (ESFL) will be an interdisciplinary research, teaching, and innovation laboratory dedicated to studying and experimenting with sustainable food systems, using the Eastern Shore food-shed as its primary context. By studying the resources unique to the region, based on weather, climate, soil chemistry, and microbial biology—and fusing historical foodways with modern technologies—faculty, students, and collaborative researchers will re-envision our food system, from how we define food to how we grow and prepare it. The lab will address issues of food, diet, health, access, sustainability, and human and environmental relationships through innovative teaching and learning, cutting edge research, and meaningful food production. Ultimately, although the lab’s work will spring from the local, the solutions it envisions will be scalable to other food-sheds around the country and the world.

Funded through the MEI grant, the first chair of the ESFL will be Bill Schindler, chair of the Department of Anthropology and associate professor of anthropology. A behavioral science expert in primitive technologies and foodways—food production, dietary health, and cultural meanings of food—Schindler is especially interested in how the ESFL can work as a catalyst to change modern Western perceptions of food.

Created by the General Assembly in 2014, the MEI program aims to spur basic and applied research in scientific and technical fields at the state’s colleges and universities. This year, in addition to Washington College, the University of Maryland-Baltimore, Hood College, and Stevenson University were endowed a total of $8.3 million in four new research professorships. The schools raised $4.3 million in private funding for each chair, and Maryland Commerce approved matching grants of $4 million to support the endowments.

In 2016, Washington College received an MEI grant of $1 million to create a newly endowed position at the Center for Environment & Society, the chief of entrepreneurial science.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Maryland Senator Mikulski and News Commentator Roberts at Washington College

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Former Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski

Two influential and iconic Washington women—former Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski and news commentator and political analyst Cokie Roberts—will kick off a new series at Washington College on Friday, March 3.The event launches a new series of programs commemorating the upcoming centennial of the amendment that gave American women the right to vote.

In “Climbing the Hill,” Roberts will lead a conversation with Mikulski about the changing roles and influence of women in public life over the course of her 40-year congressional career. John Harwood of CNBC and The New York Times will introduce the speakers.

The free, public event, sponsored by the Harwood Lecture Series,is at 5 p.m. in Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts. It will be followed by a reception in the Underwood Lobby, and copies of Roberts’ books will be available for purchase and signing.

The Hon. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., served in the U.S. Congress longer than any other woman in American history. At her retirement in 2017, she had represented Maryland for 30 years in the Senate, preceded by 10 in the House of Representatives. The first woman to chair the powerful Appropriations Committee, she began her career in public service as a member of the Baltimore City Council, and while she rose to the heights of power in Congress, she never neglected her Baltimore roots, a commitment that earned her enormous loyalty in her home state. Her legacy includes major achievements in women’s pay equity and healthcare, as well as in advancing political engagement for new generations of American women. In 2015 she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. She is now professor of public policy at Johns Hopkins University.

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News Commentator and Political Analyst Cokie Roberts

Cokie Roberts, an acclaimed reporter and commentator for ABC News and National Public Radio, served as NPR’s congressional correspondent for more than 10 years. From 1996-2002 she and Sam Donaldson co-anchored the weekly ABC interview program This Week. In her more than 40 years in broadcasting, she has won three Emmys and has been inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. American Women in Radio and Television named her one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting. A prolific writer, she has written six New York Times bestsellers, several of them on women’s political lives in early America—We Are Our Mother’s Daughters, Founding Mothers, Ladies of Liberty, and Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868.Her children’s book Founding Mothers, illustrated by Caldecott award winner Diane Goode, was also a bestseller, and the children’s version of Ladies of Liberty, also illustrated by Goode, was published in December 2016.

The event, sponsored by the Harwood Series in American Journalism and the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, leads off a new series at Washington College, the Women’s Centennial. The series looks ahead to the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave American women the right to vote. Over the next four years, leading up to the 2020 anniversary itself, the Women’s Centennial will bring outstanding American women to campus, honoring and chronicling the achievements of women in leadership and public life from 1920 to the present day.

With its distinctive connection to the history of American freedom and its tradition of educating women and men as citizen leaders—and now under the leadership of its first female president, Sheila Bair—Washington College is uniquely suited to host the Women’s Centennial. The College has deep traditions of gender inclusivity: in 1783, it hired the first recorded female faculty member in American higher education, the art instructor Elizabeth Callister Peale. In May 1942, Washington College bestowed an honorary degree on First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

About the Washington College’s Harwood Lecture Series in American Journalism

The series was established to honor the distinguished career of the late Washington Post columnist and ombudsman Richard Harwood, who served as a trustee of the College, as well as a teacher and mentor of undergraduate journalists. The Harwood series has featured David Axelrod, Susan Goldberg, Tom Wheeler, Howard Dean, Robert Novak, John McCain, James Carville, Judy Woodruff, Al Hunt, Mark Shields, and Paul Gigot, among others. The journalistic tradition has also continued in Harwood’s own family; his son, John Harwood, has had a distinguished career as a political correspondent and columnist for CNBC, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.

About the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience

The College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience is dedicated to fostering innovative approaches to the American past and present. Through educational programs, scholarship, and public outreach, and with a special focus on written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between the academic world and the public at large.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation and the first chartered under the new Republic. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and a dozen nations. With an emphasis on hands-on, experiential learning in the arts and sciences, and more than 40 multidisciplinary areas of study, the College is home to nationally recognized academic centers in the environment, history, and writing. Learn more at washcoll.edu.

Profiles in Spirituality: WC Professor Joseph Prud’homme Connects Politics, Religion and Culture

For almost the entire length of his academic career, Joseph Prud’homme, Easton resident, Washington College professor, and founder of the school’s Institute for the Study of Religion, Politics, and Culture, has investigated the extraordinary links that connect our country’s political life with its religious and cultural heritage. While he is the first to say that he is not a preacher nor a politician, but “just a professor,” he believes the time is right for his institute to move beyond the college classroom and enter into the much larger orbit of public discourse with outreach programs and lecture series designed to inform the Mid-Shore community of these multidisciplinary links.

In his first Spy interview, Joseph highlights how these three of these components interacts in our current state of affairs by using the example of the abolitionist movement in the early part of the 19th Century, where  politics, religion, and American culture were vividly seen as important and co-equal influences on how the United States saw the institution of slavery. In Professor Prud’homme’s mind, that trinity is just as important to consider when talking about abortion rights or the Black Lives Matters movement in 2017.

This video is approximately six minutes in length. For more information about Washington College’s Institute for the Study of Religion, Politics, and Culture please go here

Colonial American History Through the Eyes of the Anishinaabeg

Michael-McDonnellYou’ve probably never heard of the Anishinaabeg tribe, but their influence is present in much of what you know about early American history. And at a February 16 lecture, you can learn more when Michael McDonnell presents “Mastering Empires: The Anishinaabeg of the Great Lakes and the Making of America.”

Sponsored by the Washington College Department of History, the talk takes place at 4:30 in Litrenta Lecture Hall on the WC campus. A book signing will follow, and the public is welcome.

McDonnell is an associate professor of history at the University of Sydney, Australia. He is the co-editor of Remembering the Revolution: Memory, History, and Nation-Making from Independence to the Civil War, and the author of The Politics of War: Race, Class, and Conflict in Revolutionary Virginia, winner of the 2008 NSW Premier’s History Prize, as well as Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of North America, winner of the 2016 Michigan State History Award and the Western History Association’s Robert M. Utley Prize.

In his talk, McDonnell will reveal the pivotal role played by the native peoples of the Great Lakes in the history of North America. Though less well known today than the Iroquois or Sioux, the Anishinaabeg, who lived across Lakes Michigan and Huron, were equally influential. By dictating terms at trading posts and frontier forts, they played a crucial part in the making of early America, including, as McDonnell argues, ultimately helping to light the fuse that would ignite the American Revolution.

Washington College President Issues Statement on Immigration Ban

The following statement was issued by Sheila Bair, President of Washington College, in regard to President Trump’s recent executive order that calls for a temporary immigration ban on certain visitors to the United States:

“I would like to reassure every member of the Washington College community, whether you are from this country or any other, that you are welcome here. Washington College is a vibrant institution because it fosters intellectual inquiry and diversity of background and belief. More than 150 international students coming from almost 30 different countries form an integral part of the Washington College community. Our collective diversity is one of the greatest resources for a liberal arts education. As the Washington College community, we are diverse but share a commitment to key values. Two of these values are civility and moral courage, and I am proud to see these values on full display at the College.”  – Sheila Bair, President

Students who have questions or concerns about the executive order and how it might impact them or their families have been directed to the College’s Global Education office and Student Affairs. While we continue to review the order, it appears at this point that no Washington College students, faculty, or staff will be impacted.

 

Mary Ball Washington’s Place in History on February 9

Current events in Washington, D.C. and around the world have brought attention to women’s rights, but women’s roles in shaping and defining American history span centuries. Distinguished author and professor Martha Saxton is a leading scholar in the field of gender studies and women’s history, and she is the spring 2017 Patrick Henry Writing Fellow at Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.

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Martha Saxton

Her most recent work is on the life of Mary Ball Washington—the mother of founding father George Washington. To kick off her residency, Saxton will give a presentation on “The Widow Washington,” at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 9 in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall, on the College campus. Sponsored by the Starr Center and the Rose O’Neill Literary House, the lecture is free and open to the public.

Saxton’s upcoming book The Widow Washington is a biographical study of Mary Ball Washington. Minimally educated, Mary Ball left few records.Generations of George Washington’s historians have filled in around the sparse evidence that remains about her with increasingly unpleasant and frequently unfounded interpretations of her and her relationship with her son. Saxton’s book reevaluates this picture against the background of her life that spanned the dramatic changes of 18th-century Virginia. An orphan by the age of 12, Mary Ball went on to become a wife, mother, widow, planter, slave-owner, and devoted Anglican. Historians have tended to see George Washington as a self-made man, but Mary’s exacting temperament and reliance on her son in early widowhood to help her steer the family through precarious times strongly shaped his ideas about duty and his outsized sense of responsibility.

The genesis for The Widow Washington grew out of Saxton’s Being Good, Women’s Moral Values in Early America (2003), which had a section on 18th–century widows in the Chesapeake region. More broadly, the book is part of Saxton’s lifelong interest in locating the lives of women within their historical and social contexts so that their struggles with prevailing conventions can help restore to their memories meanings that have been lost. This was the goal of her earlier biographies— of the sex symbol, Jayne Mansfield (1976) and Louisa May Alcott (1977).

Martha Saxton retired in 2016, after teaching at Amherst College for 20 years in the History and Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies Departments. She has also taught at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia and for several years in the Inside/Out Program at the Hampshire County House of Corrections in Northampton. Saxton has garnered numerous awards and fellowships for her work as a scholar and a teacher and has published in the Women’s Review of Books, Journal of American History, and William and Mary Quarterly among other scholarly publications.

Based in an office at the Starr Center in the circa-1746 Custom House on the Chester River, Saxton will work on completing her book and teach a seminar in the Department of English. The course, “From Biography to Fiction: Transformation and Revision,” explores the relationship between biography and the imaginative process of writing fiction using the accounts of three well-known early American novelists: Catherine Maria Sedgwick, Louisa May Alcott, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Saxton will live in the restored Patrick Henry House, a 1730s-era house in Chestertown’s historic district. Washington College acquired the Patrick Henry Fellows’ Residence in January 2007 through a generous gift from the Barksdale-Dabney-Patrick Henry Family Foundation, which was established by the Nuttle family of Talbot County, direct descendants of the patriot Patrick Henry.

Launched by the Starr Center in 2008, the Patrick Henry Fellowship aims to encourage reflection on the links between American history and contemporary culture, and to foster the literary art of historical writing. It is co-sponsored by the Rose O’Neill Literary House, Washington College’s center for literature and the literary arts. The Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship’s funding is permanently endowed by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, with further support provided by the Starr Foundation, the Hodson Trust, and other donors.

Founded in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington, Washington College is a private, independent college of liberal arts and sciences located in colonial Chestertown on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The College’s C.V. Starr Center explores the complexities of the American experience through collaborative and creative approaches to understanding the past. For more information on the Center and the Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship, visit http://starrcenter.washcoll.edu.

Mid-Shore Arts: A Nostalgia Monument by Rachel Schmidt at the Kohl

Any time there is a new curator at work at the Kohl Gallery at Washington College, the Spy tends to become very curious. And the opening of the “What’s Next” exhibition there by new Kohl director Katherine Markoski was no exception last Friday when we had a chance to interview one of the artists participating in this commentary art showcase of new and exciting talent.

The Spy sat down with Rachel Schmidt shortly before the opening of the show to talk about her art installation entitled “Nostalgia Monument: Float Trip Edition 2017,” where she explores, using her own personal garbage over a six month period of time, how the increased rate of urban growth has led to dangerous new consequences for human beings and animals alike with the help of video and sound.

Rachel is currently an independent museum professional and works with local D.C. arts organizations, non-profits, and museums. From 2011-16, she was an artist in residence at the Arlington Arts Center, and from 2012-16 she was an exhibition specialist and exhibition coordinator at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. The Kohl Gallery is located on the first floor of the Gibson Center for the Arts at Washington College. It is open Monday through Wednesday, 1 to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please email: kohl_gallery@washcoll.edu.

Mid-Shore Arts: WC’s Rose O’Neill Literary House with Director James Allen Hall

Over the last two decades, Washington College has invested heavily into three major institutions on their campus. The first two of these so-called “Centers for Excellence,” are the highly respected C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and the equally impressive Center for Environment & Society. Both have built themselves into exceptionally vital parts of campus life as well as the entire Mid-Shore..

The third, the Rose O’Neill Literary House, is perhaps the least known of the triplets, but certainly is the oldest with over forty years of student programs, literary publications and a long list of some of the best known names in the world of arts and letter making campus visits, including the likes of Toni Morrison, Allen Ginsberg and

And while the “Lit House” program does not equal its WC peers in endowment support and operating budgets, it makes up for it with inspired leadership. Starting with the program’s founder Bob Day in 1970 and now under the stewardship of professor and poet James Allen Hall, the College is one of small handful of writing centers in the country that has distinguished itself for its diversity and student participation.

The Spy caught up with James last month to talk about the art and relevance of writing as well as the often underestimated value of being a good writer as college graduates seek their first jobs. The Chestertown resident also talks about his own aspirations for the Lit House and his home there can be more town-gown programming and outreach.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. Additional video was provided by Washington College. For more information about the Rose O’Neill Literary House, please go here.

WC’s Kohl Gallery Opens 2017 With a Group Exhibition

Kohl Gallery at Washington College begins 2017 with the group exhibition What’s Next?. Opening on the heels of the presidential inauguration, this show presents works that engage—either directly or obliquely—with issues that were in high circulation during the recent election cycle. Featuring Larry Cook, Ben Marcin, Carolina Mayorga, Christie Neptune, and Rachel Schmidt, the exhibition will run from January 26 to March 10. The participating artists will take part in a panel discussion on Jan. 26 in Litrenta Lecture Hall at 4:30 p.m., followed by an opening reception from 5:30 to 7:30 in Kohl Gallery.

Silver Run Ben Marcin[2]

Ben Marcin, Silver Run

What’s Next? seeks to highlight the ability of artists to articulate and respond meaningfully to some of our historical moment’s most pressing problems. Through photography, video, installation, and performance, the works on display grapple with politically salient issues and topics including climate change, the economy, identity, immigration, and race. Collectively, the selected works prompt us to think critically about the urgent and multifaceted question, “what’s next?”

Larry Cook received his MFA from George Washington University in 2013. A 2016 Sondheim finalist and former Hamiltonian Fellow (2013-2015), he has been included in various group shows including It Takes A Nation at the Katzen Arts Center (Washington, D.C., 2016); To Be Black in White America at GalerieMyrtis (Baltimore 2016) and Artist Citizen at Hemphill Fine Art (2013). Cook has also had solo presentations at Hamiltonian Gallery (2015), (e)merge art fair (2014), Stamp Gallery (2014) and Pleasant Plains Workshop (2013). In 2014, he had a large-scale public artwork on view as part of Ceremonies of Dark Men, part of the 5 X 5 Project Public Art, curated by A.M. Weaver and organized by the DC Commission on the Arts. A native of Landover, Maryland, Larry has taught photography at The George Washington University and American University, and is currently a visual art teacher at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville. He is represented by GalerieMyrtis in Baltimore.

Ben Marcin was born in Augsburg, Germany. Many of his photographic essays explore the idea of home and the passing of time.“Last House Standing” and “The Camps” have received wide press both nationally and abroad (The Paris Review, iGnant, La Repubblica, Slate, Wired magazine). More recently, he has been exploring the myriad structures of the urban core in series like Towers, Street and Deconstructions. His photographs have been shown at a number of national galleries and venues including the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Delaware Art Museum; The Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, Massachusetts; The Center For Fine Art Photography in Ft. Collins, Colorado; The Photographic Resource Center in Boston; and the Houston Center for Photography. “Last House Standing (And Other Stories)” was featured in a 2014 solo exhibit at the C. Grimaldis Gallery in Baltimore. His work is also in several important collections including the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Carolina Mayorga, a Colombian-born and naturalized American citizen, has exhibited her work nationally and internationally for the last 15 years. Her work is part of national and international collections and has been reviewed in publications in South America, Europe and the US. Mayorga’s artwork addresses issues of social and political content. Comments on migration, war, and identity translate into video, performance, site-specific installations, and two-dimensional media in the form of photography and drawing. The artist lives and works in Washington, D.C.

Christie Neptune, Pulling At My Labels, 2016

Christie Neptune, Pulling At My Labels, 2016

Christie Neptune is a graduate of Fordham University and has been featured in publications including Les Femmes Folles, HYSTERIA: What Was Taken, Psychology Today, JUX- TAPOZ , AFROPUNK, The Washington Post and VICE. Recent shows include a solo exhibition at the Hamiltonian Gallery, Washington, D.C (2016); and Five Myles Gallery, Brooklyn, New York (2015). She has been included in group exhibitions at the Queens Museum of Art (2016); A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn (2016); Yeelen Gallery, Miami, Florida (2015); The Hamiltonian Gallery, Washington, D.C. (2015); UnionDocs, Brooklyn, (2015); the Momentum Technology Film Fest at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey (2014); and 440 Gallery, Brooklyn (2011).

Rachel Schmidt explores how the rapidly increasing rate of urban growth has forced the hand of evolution, generating urban versions of animals and plants and modifying whole ecosystems. Rachel is currently an independent museum professional and works with local D.C. arts organizations, non-profits, and museums. From 2011-16, she was an artist in residence at the Arlington Arts Center, and from 2012-16 she was an exhibition specialist and exhibition coordinator at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum. Rachel earned a Masters in Fine Arts from the Mount Royal School of Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2007.

Kohl Gallery is located on the first floor of the Gibson Center for the Arts at Washington College. It is open Monday through Wednesday, 1 to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, please email: kohl_gallery@washcoll.edu.