Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Roundtable Discussion Leads Events for Hispanic Heritage Month at Washington College

CHESTERTOWN, MD — As it continues to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, the Washington College community welcomes the public to a series of events that include a serious roundtable discussion, lessons in Flamenco dancing, and a lecture on the travel writing of a 16th century explorer from Spain.
First up, Wednesday, September 28, is a roundtable discussion on “Hispanics on the Eastern Shore” that will begin at 5 p.m. in Hynson Lounge of Hodson Hall. Representatives from non-governmental agencies such as Shared Opportunity Services and the Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will join faculty members Adalbert Mayer (economics), Bridget Bunten (education) and Elena Deanda (Spanish), and students Ryan Bankert ’13 and Charlotte Costa ’14 for a deeper look into issues affecting Hispanic residents of the area.
On Wednesday, October 5, professional instructor and dancer Natalie Sager from Washington, D.C. will offer a master class on Flamenco dancing at 5 p.m. in the Egg, a performance space on the ground floor of the Hodson Hall Commons. Bring hard sole shoes and lots of passion.
Monday, October 10, at 5 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Carlos Jauregui, associate professor of Latin American literature and Romance languages at the University of Notre Dame, will lecture on “Ethnography as Exorcism: Cabeza de Vaca,” focusing on the Spanish explorer who wrote the first major narrative of exploration of North America after traveling through what today is Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.

Sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages and the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the events are free and open to the public. Hodson Hall and Hodson Hall Commons are located on the College’s main campus, 300 Washington Avenue. For more information: www.washcoll.edu.
Photo: The first event marking Hispanic Heritage Month on campus, a Peruvian Crafts Fair held September 14 in Hodson Hall Commons, offered clothing and gifts from Inka Yuka, a Baltimore-based supplier of arts and handcrafts.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Poet Rhina Espaillat to Read at Lit House

CHESTERTOWN, MD — On Thursday, Oct. 6, the Rose O’Neill Literary House at Washington College will welcome award-winning poet Rhina Espaillat to read from her most recent collection, Her Place in These Designs, (Truman State University Press, 2008). The reading, part of the English Department’s “Living Writers” course, will begin at 4:30 p.m. on the enclosed porch of the Literary House, 407 Washington Avenue.
Espaillat was born in the Dominican Republic and has lived in the United States since the age of 7. A poet, essayist, fiction writer, and translator, she has been recognized for her considerable accomplishments with awards such as the T.S. Eliot Prize in Poetry, the Wilbur Award, and the Robert Frost Tree at My Window Award for Translation.
Espaillat’s poetry has been called “terrific, moving, intelligent, authentically felt, and beautifully musical” (San Diego Union-Tribune). “Hers is a voice of experience,” poet and critic Robert B. Shaw wrote in Poetry magazine. “She notices what we typically overlook, and she delineates it with lucid intelligence, tolerance, and good humor.”
Sponsored by the Sophie Kerr Committee, the reading is free and open to the public.

Photo: Portrait of Rhina Espaillat by Curt Richter.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Prominent Voices on Climate Change to Conclude WC’s “Year of Chemistry” Celebration

CHESTERTOWN, MD — A leading American journalist and a Nobel Laureate chemist from Mexico will come to Chestertown to speak this fall as Washington College concludes its special programming for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry.
On Thursday, October 27, veteran magazine writer Ryan Lizza, who covers the 2012 Presidential campaign and national politics as Washington Correspondent for The New Yorker, will share his insights into how and why Congress and the White House failed to reach agreement on breakthrough energy legislation designed to be both business- and consumer-friendly.
The free public lecture, “The Politics of Climate Change,” is based largely on a major feature article Lizza published in the October 2011 issue of The New Yorker. His talk will be held at 5 p.m. in The Prince Theatre of the Garfield Center for the Arts, 210 High Street, Chestertown, MD.
A week later, on Thursday, Nov. 3, the fifth and final event in the year-long celebration of chemists and chemistry will bring Mario J. Molina, Ph.D., one of the chemists who first discovered the threat that chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, pose to the earth’s ozone layer. Molina will receive an honorary degree of science from the College and deliver his remarks at a special convocation beginning at 5 p.m. in Decker Theatre, inside the Gibson Center for the Arts. The event is free and open to the public.
Molina and two colleagues shared the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work on the atmospheric chemistry of CFCs and their detrimental effect on the stratosphere, especially the formation of the Antarctic Ozone Hole. After a successful career at the University of California, Irvine and at MIT, Molina returned to his native Mexico City in 2004 to establish the Mario Molina Center for Strategic Studies in Energy and the Environment, which focuses on issues where public policy and environmental health intersect. He also serves on the faculty of the University of California, San Diego.
More information on both events will be available at www.washcoll.edu

Monday, September 19, 2011

Philosopher Richard Kearney to Speak Oct. 5 on the Sacred and the Poetic in Modern Literature

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Distinguished philosopher and author Richard Kearney will speak at the Rose O’Neill Literary House at Washington College on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 4:30 p.m. His talk, “Anatheism and the Poetic Imagination,” will explore the relationship between the sacred and the poetic in modern literature, with particular reference to Gerard Manly Hopkins and Virginia Woolf.
Kearney is the author of more than 20 books on European philosophy and literature. His most recent work, Anatheism: Returning to God after God (Columbia University Press, 2009), explores the split between theism and atheism, defining ana-theos as “a moment of creative ‘not knowing’ that signifies a break with former sureties and invites us to forge new meanings from the most ancient of wisdoms.” The New Yorker’s James Wood praised Anatheism as “a heartfelt, pragmatic, and eminently realistic argument” about belief in God in the modern world. “Richard Kearney wants to see what is left of God, in the time after God, and he does so superbly well,” Wood wrote.
Kearney, who holds the Charles B. Seelig Chair of Philosophy at Boston College, is a Visiting Professor at many prestigious universities throughout the world, including University College Dublin and the Sorbonne. As an important intellectual in Ireland, Kearney was involved in drafting several proposals for a Northern Irish peace agreement in the 1980s and ’90s, as well as serving as a member of the Arts Council of Ireland and the Higher Education Authority of Ireland. He is also the international director of the Guestbook Project, a multimedia investigation of hospitality and connecting to strangers across different religions and cultures. For more on his career, visit his Web site.
“Anatheism and the Poetic Imagination” is sponsored by the Sophie Kerr Committee and the Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture and is free and open to the public. For more information: http://www.washcoll.edu.

Professor Moncrief Co-Edits New Volume On Lessons from Early-Modern English Dramas

CHESTERTOWN, MD — Dr. Kathryn M. Moncrief, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of English at Washington College, is co-editor of a new scholarly exploration of how performances during Shakespeare’s time taught lessons in gender, conduct, social status and religion. Performing Pedagogy in Early Modern England: Gender, Instruction, and Performance, published earlier this month by England’s Ashgate Publishing Company, is Moncrief’s second collaboration with Dr. Kathryn R. McPherson of Utah Valley University and something of a companion volume to their 2007 book, Performing Maternity in Early Modern England.
The 15 essays in the new book explore how models of childhood education, particularly for girls, were applied in domestic, religious and school settings and rehearsed in dramas by Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The collection breaks new ground as the first book to explore the rich and provocative intersection of gender, pedagogy, and performance.
In early modern England, attention to education on both the stage and the page flourished,” says Moncrief. “Much of that instruction, occuring in the wake of both humanist and Protestant religious reforms, was guided by printed texts that explored pedagogical methods and the purpose of education for both boys and girls. The essays in this collection question the extent to which education itself — an activity rooted in study and pursued in the home, classroom, and the church — led to, mirrored, and was perhaps even transformed by moments of instruction on stage.”
In addition to co-editing the book, Moncrief wrote one of its chapters and co-wrote another with McPherson. She focuses much of her research and teaching at Washington College on early modern English drama (Shakespeare and his contemporaries) and 16th- and 17th-century English literature and culture, with a special focus on gender and performance. She holds a B.A. from Doane College, an M.A. from the University of Nebraska, and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. For more information: http://english.washcoll.edu/faculty_kathrynmoncrief.php.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Faculty Talents Launch “12 @ Hotchkiss” Noon Hour Concert Series Today

CHESTERTOWN, MD—The Washington College Music Department today launches a monthly lunchtime concert series called “12 at Hotchkiss” featuring internationally acclaimed musicians from the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. Offering an end of week respite, the series invites students, faculty, and staff to stop and experience live classical music at noon on the first Friday of each month. It promises a diverse range of composers, soloists and ensembles.
Today’s inaugural concert, September 16 at noon, in Hotchkiss Recital Hall, Gibson Center for the Arts, features faculty members Catherine Anderson, Phyllis Crossen-Richardson, Grace Eun Hae Kim, and Garry E. Clarke, chair of the music department. Their program will include works by Mozart and Brahms.Future concerts will range from the Naval Academy Brass Quintet to opera (see schedule below).
Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit the Performance Calendar page on the Music Department website:

Hanchien Lee, PianoOctober 7
Naval Academy Brass Quintet November 4

Lydia Chernicoff, Violin, and Ronaldo Rolim, Piano – February 3
Annapolis Chamber PlayersMarch 2
Opera à la Carte | The Figaro Project РApril 13

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Expert Astrachan to Discuss Copyright Laws

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Attorney James B. Astrachan will share his expertise on intellectual property rights Thursday, September 22, at 4:30 p.m. at the Rose O’Neill Literary House, 407 Washington Avenue. A principal in Astrachan Gunst Thomas Rubin, P.C., Astrachan teaches courses on trademark and copyright issues at the University of Maryland and University of Baltimore schools of law. He speaks and writes frequently about legal issues involving intellectual property and is a regular guest on Midday on the Law, on Baltimore’s WYPR, (88.1).
Astrachan’s talk, “Copyright and the Creative Business,” is billed as “a talk for writers, artists and other creative workers preparing to enter careers in intellectual-property fields.” Sponsored by the Literary House, the Department of Business Management, and the Pre-law Program at Washington College, the event is free and open to the public.

Chesapeake Scenes to Bring Songs and Stories to Washington College September 4

CHESTERTOWN, MD – Chesapeake Scenes will perform at Washington College on September 24, at 8 p.m. in Tawes Theatre. Spoken word artist Capt. Andy McCown and "banjo man" Tom McHugh take center stage with fellow musicians Tom Anthony and Bill Matthews. The men pay tribute to the Bay through songs and stories of the people who live on her shores, telling tales about everything from the love of an old wooden boat to watermen working in winter. Chesapeake Scenes was winner of the Tidewater Folklore Society's "album of the year" award in 1996.

The concert is sponsored by Echo Hill Outdoor School, Penn State University, and the Center for Environment & Society at Washington College. Admission is free and open to the public. Tawes Theatre is located in the Gibson Center for Performing Arts on the College campus, 300 Washington Avenue. For more information, call 410-810-7161.

Photo: From left, Andy McCown, Tom McHugh, Bill Matthews and Tom Anthony perform together as Chesapeake Scenes.

Rare Documents, Conversation with Author Highlight George Washington Book Prize Celebration Friday, September 16

CHESTERTOWN, MD— A conversation with this year’s prize winner, historian Pauline Maier, and a rare look at one of Maryland’s greatest historical treasures—the state’s original parchment copy of the United States Constitution—will highlight the 7th annual George Washington Book Prize Celebration Friday, September 16, at Washington College.
Maier, whose Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788 earned the $50,000 Book Prize, will share insights into a series of debates that played out after the drafting of the Constitution, as citizens, journalists, and politicians argued state by state over whether to ratify the nation’s founding document.
Hosted by the College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, which administers the Prize, the event begins at 4 p.m. with a book signing in the lobby of the Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts. Following at 5 p.m. in Decker Theatre is “Making History: A Conversation with Pauline Maier,” where Adam Goodheart, director of the Starr Center, will lead an interview and audience Q&A.
The conversation will be followed by a reception in the Underwood Lobby. All events are free and open to the public.
The display of the 1788 copy of the Constitution is by special arrangement with the Maryland State Archives, and will complement Maier’s remarks on the ratification process that played out across all 13 original states.
When the Maryland Ratification Convention voted to accept the Constitution, 63 delegates marked the occasion by ceremonially signing their names to a large parchment copy. Edward C. Papenfuse, the Maryland State Archivist and Commissioner of Land Patents, says the extraordinary document is, “in a sense, Maryland’s ‘birth certificate’ as a member of the new federal union. Its last public appearance was in the State House rotunda during the bicentennial celebrations of 1987-88,” he adds.
Papenfuse will bring with him to Chestertown other unique documents related to Maryland’s role in adopting the Constitution. These will include the minutes of the state convention’s debates, which were kept secret until the late 20th century and have never been displayed publicly. In addition, the Archives is lending a replica of the Federalist, the ship that was the centerpiece of a grand parade in 1788 marking Maryland’s ratification of the Constitution; it later sailed to Mount Vernon to be presented as a personal gift to George Washington.
Also on display at Friday’s event will be delegate William Paca’s manuscript proposing 22 amendments to the Constitution, which helped lay the groundwork for the federal Bill of Rights.
Washington College, which was founded in 1782, has special historic ties to the Constitution’s creation, notes Goodheart: “Our founding patron and member of the Board of Visitors and Governors, George Washington, presided over the Constitutional Convention of 1787. And no fewer than six other members of our Board were delegates to Maryland’s state ratifying convention — five voted in favor of the Constitution, one against it. Here, as in much of the nation, the debate was passionate and sometimes vehement.”
Honoree Pauline Maier is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of American History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the author of several previous books on American history, including From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776 (W.W. Norton, 1992); The Old Revolutionaries: Political Lives in the Age of Samuel Adams (Knopf, 1980); and American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence, (Knopf, 1997), which was on the New York Times Book Review “Editor's Choice” list of the best 11 books of 1997 and a Finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle Award.
The jury that chose Ratification as a finalist from among 59 entries called it “a tour de force of extraordinary research and scholarship.” Ratification has received praise from innumerable reviewers and readers, including the eminent American historian Richard Beeman, who called it “a magnificent, comprehensive account of the political contests by which the people of America, in James Madison’s words, breathed ‘life and validity’ into the United States Constitution.” Historian Jack Rakove said, “One finally comes away from Maier’s story with a profound respect for the political enterprise and intellectual commitment that made ratification a sublime inaugural moment of American democratic politics.”
“It’s been the work of my life to explore the popular components of the Revolution,” Maier said. “We tend to think that it is the contribution of a very few well known heroes but I think there’s a bigger story going on. I am impressed always with the intelligence and the eloquence that comes out of ‘ordinary people.’ People were following events. They understood that their fate and the fate of their children was involved in it and they were very capable of expressing their views. And it’s part of the story we need to know.”
Created in 2005 to honor the year’s best book about America’s founding era, the George Washington Book Prize was presented that year to Ron Chernow for Alexander Hamilton. Subsequent winners were Stacy Schiff (2006) for A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America, Charles Rappleye (2007) for Sons of Providence: The Brown Brothers, the Slave Trade, and the American Revolution, Marcus Rediker (2008) for The Slave Ship: A Human History and Annette Gordon-Reed (2009) for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, which also won the Pulitzer Prize for History, the National Book Award and the Frederick Douglass Prize. Last spring, the 2010 prize was awarded to Richard Beeman for Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution.
The College co-sponsors the Book Prize with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate.
About the Sponsors of the George Washington Book Prize:
Washington College was founded in 1782, the first institution of higher learning established in the new republic. George Washington was not only a principal donor to the college, but also a member of its original governing board. He received an honorary degree from the college in June 1789, two months after assuming the presidency. The C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, founded at the College in 2000, is an innovative center for the study of history, culture and politics, and fosters excellence in the art of written history through fellowships, prizes, and student programs. www.washcoll.edu.
Founded in 1994, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supporting the study and love of American history through a wide range of programs and resources for students, teachers, scholars, and history enthusiasts throughout the nation. Gilder Lehrman creates and works closely with history-focused schools through its Affiliate School Program; organizes teacher seminars and development programs; produces print and digital publications and traveling exhibitions; hosts lectures by eminent historians; administers a History Teacher of the Year Award in every state and US territory; and offers national book prizes. The Gilder Lehrman website, www.gilderlehrman.org, serves as a gateway to American history online with rich resources for educators designed specifically for K–12 teachers and students.
Since 1860, over 80 million visitors have made George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens the most popular historic home in America. Through thought-provoking tours, entertaining events, and stimulating educational programs on the Estate and in classrooms across the nation, Mount Vernon strives to preserve George Washington’s place in history as “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.” Mount Vernon is owned and operated by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, America’s oldest national preservation organization, founded in 1853. A picturesque drive to the southern end of the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway, Mount Vernon is located just 16 miles from the nation’s capital. www.MountVernon.org
September 12, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Indonesian Scholar to Discuss the State of Islam and Democracy in his Nation, September 21

CHESTERTOWN, MD — A professor of international relations from Indonesia will share his thoughts about religion and democracy in his country on Wednesday, September 21 at Washington College. The lecture by Dr. Mohammad Mohtar Masoed, titled "Islam, Democracy and Indonesia," will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Hynson Lounge on the College campus, 300 Washington Avenue. It is free and open to the public.
With approximately 240.3 million people, Indonesia is the world's fourth-most populous nation and home to the world's largest Muslim population. The Indonesian government is organized as a democratic republic and provides constitutional guarantees of religious freedom for the six religions it recognizes: Islam (86.1 percent of the population), Protestantism (5.7 percent), Catholicism (3 percent), Hinduism (1.8 percent), Buddhism (about 1 percent), and Confucianism (less than percent).
Dr. Masoed teaches at Gadja Mada University, Indonesia's largest and oldest university, located in the province of Yogyyakarte—the center of Javanese culture and learning. He is Director of the University's Center for Peace and Security Studies. Since 2004, he has served on the board of directors of "Indonesian Community for Democracy," an organization that runs one-year "Democracy Schools" in eight provinces throughout Indonesia to help young political activists prepare for leadership in a multi-party democracy. Earlier this year, he organized the "School-Based Conflict Management" to teach high school students how to deal with social problems and to help eliminate the root causes of religious fundamentalism.
Dr. Masoed earned his B.A. in International Relations from Gadjah Mada University in 1975, and earned both a master's and a doctorate in political science from Ohio State University. He has authored or co-authored numerous books and written dozens of articles on political and economic issues for professional journals and conferences.
He will spend a week in Chestertown visiting classes and meeting with students as a guest of the College's Institute for Religion Politics and Culture (IRPC) and its Program in Islamic, Turkish and Near Eastern Studies.
In mid October, as part of the same program, the IRPC will sponsor a "Conference on the Arab Spring" in Paris, bringing experts from eight international universities to the French capital to discuss such issues as the roles played by women and social media in the uprisings and the cooperative actions of Muslims and non-Muslims. And on October 24, former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf will visit the Washington College campus and deliver a talk. For more information: http://irpc.washcoll.edu/

“Toes and Tushies” Campaign to Provide New Socks and Underwear for Needy Children

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College First Lady Elisabeth Reiss has teamed up with local elementary and middle schools and Saint Martin’s Ministries in Ridgely, Md., to fill a gap in the flow of donated clothing to children from financially needy families.
The new “Toes and Tushies” campaign will, as the colorful name suggests, collect brand-new socks and underwear for children in sizes 3T to 18. “There is a lot available to families in terms of gently used pants, shirts and coats,” says Reiss, “but consignment shops and charities can’t sell or give away used undergarments. So a child may be clean and well dressed on the outside, but have a great need for a fresh pair of undies or socks.”
The Toes and Tushies project will collect both newly purchased items and money donations for the cause. Collection bins for the purchased items will be placed in Hodson Commons on the Washington College campus, and at Scottie’s Shoe Store, 307 High Street, in downtown Chestertown. In addition, for four consecutive Tuesdays and Thursdays this month (September 13, 15, 20, and 22), Washington College students will set up sales tables in Hodson Commons where donors can purchase underwear and socks for the cause from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
First Lady Reiss kicked off the local campaign by scouring area stores for inexpensive underwear and socks for donors to re-purchase and donate. She and Saint Martin’s supporters Ellie Poorman and Ann McColl manned a table during the College’s Club Fair on Friday, September 9, displaying dozens of packages of the clothing items for sale.
Saint Martin's Ministries, which assists impoverished individuals and families with everything from housing and food to job training, will distribute the donations to its clients in five Eastern Shore communities, including Kent. School nurses in Kent County’s public elementary and middle schools will get them to the appropriate students in their communities, as well.
For more information, call Saint Martin’s Barn at 410-634-1140, email toesandtushies@stmartinsministries.org, or visit http://stmartinsministries.org.

Photo: Washington College students helped First Lady Elisabeth Reiss and Saint Martin's Ministries volunteer Ellie Poorman, second and third from left, publicize the new Toes and Tushies project at a campus clubs fair September 9.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Writer Peter Manseau Presents “Twenty Gods or None” September 27 at Washington College

CHESTERTOWN, MD— From the Republican presidential primary race to debates over same-sex marriage, questions about the role of religion in public life are once again front and center in American politics. On Tuesday, September 27, author Peter Manseau, newly arrived in Chestertown for a year’s residence as Washington College’s 2011-2012 Patrick Henry Writing Fellow, will delve into the deep and controversial history of religious diversity in America. The event, hosted by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, will be held at 5 p.m. in Litrenta Lecture Hall.
When Thomas Jefferson declared that it did him no injury if his neighbor believed there were "twenty gods or no god," he was not merely advocating tolerance of difference. He was making the case that difference of opinion in matters of religion was good for the country. Manseau has taken Jefferson’s declaration as the launching point for his fellowship project, a major new narrative history of the United States told through the prism of the diverse religious traditions that have shaped the nation.
In his September 27 talk, Manseau will share stories of the “secret Jews” who sailed with Columbus and the deeply religious Taino Indians who swam out to meet them, the devout Muslims who arrived on America’s shores in chains, the Hindu scriptures that inspired transcendentalists such as Emerson and Thoreau, and the Buddhism that Chinese railroad workers brought to the American West in the 19th century.
Peter Manseau is a historian, novelist, journalist and memoirist whose writings on religion and society span a remarkable range of genres. His books include the widely acclaimed memoir Vows: The Story of a Priest, a Nun, and Their Son (Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 2005) and the travelogue Rag and Bone: A Journey Among the World's Holy Dead (Henry Holt, 2009), which the St. Petersburg Times called an “eloquently crafted tribute to the ways in which life and death connect.” His essays and articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Vanity Fair, and many other publications.
Manseau’s novel, Songs for the Butcher's Daughter (Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 2005), was internationally acclaimed as a “picaresque novel with an epic sweep” and was translated into Dutch, German, Hebrew, Italian, French and Spanish. The story of a fictional Yiddish poet in turn-of-the-century Russia, it won the 2008 National Jewish Book Award and the American Library Association's Sophie Brody Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Jewish Literature.
The Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship, provided by the Starr Center, offers a yearlong residency to authors doing innovative work on America's founding era and its legacy. Manseau will use his time at Washington College to complete his forthcoming book, Twenty Gods or None: The Making of a Nation from the Margins of Faith, which is under contract to be published by Little, Brown and Company in 2013. During the spring semester he will teach a course entitled “American Religious Diversity: Idea, Law, and History,” in the Departments of Political Science and Philosophy and Religion.
Manseau’s September 27 talk, “Twenty Gods or None: The Making of a Nation from the Margins of Faith,” offers an opportunity to hear from one of the most intellectually adventurous young scholars writing today. A book signing will follow; admission is free and open to the public. Manseau’s talk is co-sponsored by the Rose O’Neill Literary House.
* * *
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 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 a special focus on written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between the academic world and the public at large. For more information on the Center and its fellowships, visit http://starrcenter.washcoll.edu.

Three Comegys Bight Fellowships Support Valuable Internships in American History

CHESTERTOWN, MD— For three Washington College students, the summer of 2011 brought unexpected opportunities to live and breathe history through interning at some of the nation’s leading institutions for the study of early American history and culture. With the generous support of the Comegys Bight Fellows Program, they delved deeply into the material records of the past – documents, artifacts, books, etc. – and found new directions for their own futures.
The Comegys Bight program, conceived and generously sustained by Drs. Thomas and Virginia Collier of Chestertown and administered by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, offers stipends for students to pursue research-based internships that provide real-world experience in their own areas of historical interest.

History major Kevin Lynch ’12 spent the summer on the grounds of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens, working as an intern in the Education Department. At Mount Vernon, he drafted lesson plans for the site’s popular distance learning program, on topics ranging from political disagreements in Revolutionary America to the far-reaching impact of the Washington presidency.
Lynch also worked extensively with Mount Vernon’s highly-competitive summer institutes for teachers, and helped to script the filming of a new documentary on black Virginians’ diverse responses to the violent overthrow of slavery in Saint Domingue. While working on this project, Lynch collaborated with experienced character interpreters from Mount Vernon and Colonial Williamsburg. “It was remarkable to see historical interpreters working behind the scenes talking about how their characters will interact and feed off each other during a filming,” he noted.
Lynch hopes to approach his senior thesis on Benedict Arnold differently thanks to his summer experience. “It’s one thing to know a lot about a particular field of history,” he reflected. “But it’s another thing entirely to learn how to explain it to others and make it meaningful.”

Kendall Mulligan ’12, an art history major, spent the summer at Brown University’s John Carter Brown Library, which houses one of the world’s richest collections of books, maps and documents related to North and South America and the Caribbean between 1492 and 1830. The first undergraduate student to ever intern at the library, Mulligan split her time between two departments, digitization and cataloguing.
Her work in both departments centered on archiving and organization, and introduced her to the various technologies used in a rare book library. In the digitization department, Mulligan worked with priceless early accounts of exploration of Brazil and Peru, ranging from 17th-century maps to 18th-century books and letters. She also created photo labels for the discs housing scans of many of the images in the library’s collection, a project that allowed her to immerse herself in the history of political cartoons.
The experience heightened her interest in archiving and restoration, and she is now considering pursuing a masters degree in library science. “My experience at the John Carter Brown Library was wonderful,” said Mulligan. “I feel so lucky to have worked at such an important and established place.”
Charles Weisenberger ’12, a history major, interned at the Maryland Historical Society, where he served as a member of the War of 1812 research team. Putting his research skills and previous experience in museums to good use, Weisenberger combed the society’s collections to identify materials for use in upcoming bicentennial exhibits and programming.
Weisenberger’s supervisors at the MdHS charged him with investigating the impact of the conflict upon black Marylanders. Immersing himself in period newspapers, city directories, and court records, as well as the letters, diaries and personal papers housed in the society’s library, Weisenberger documented the experiences of men and women whose pursuit of freedom led them to cast their loyalties on both sides of the conflict. He also compiled a list of daily happenings between 1812 and 1815, and created annotated transcriptions of important documents for use by future researchers.
In 2012, Weisenberger will join a panel of other War of 1812 researchers for a public program at the Maryland Historical Society. Looking back on his experience, he reflected, “I’ve gained critical thinking and research skills, as well as extensive exposure to working with a rare-collections library. I believe these skills will enable me to market myself better to future employers.”
Now in its eighth year, the Comegys Bight program has served 41 students since its inception in 2003. Recipients of the Comegys Bight Fellowship are provided opportunities to take their passions beyond classroom study, resulting in experiences that have, in some cases, changed the course of their intellectual lives.
“In collaboration with the donors, we changed the nature of the fellowships somewhat this year,” said Adam Goodheart, Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the Starr Center. “Rather than simply funding independent study, the Comegys Bight program now pairs up Washington College students with nationally eminent institutions that hire them as interns and researchers. We think this new focus will not only provide students with exciting and intensive research experiences at a very high level, but also generate connections that may help advance their academic and professional careers. And I was especially proud to hear back from the institutions that these Washington College students were some of the best undergraduates they’ve ever worked with.”

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

John Barth Reading to Open Book Festival

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Acclaimed novelist John Barth kicks off the third annual Chestertown Book Festival on Friday, Sept. 9, at 7 p.m. at Washington College with a reading from his new manu­script, Every Third Thought: A Novel in Five Seasons, from Counterpoint Press. The reading will take place in Hynson Lounge, on the College campus (300 Washington Avenue), with a reception and book signing to follow.
Sponsored by the College's Rose O’Neill Literary House and The Chestertown Book Festival, the reading is free and open to the public. For more information: http://www.chestertownbookfestival.com/, and http://lithouse.washcoll.edu/.

Smithsonian Scientist to Share Research on Harmful Nutrient Flows into the Bay

CHESTERTOWN, MD—A Smithsonian scientist who studies harmful nutrient flows into the Chesapeake Bay will talk about his research when he visits Washington College Thursday, September 15. Thomas Jordan, Ph.D., senior scientist with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), will lecture at 7:30 p.m. in Litrenta Lecture Hall, John S. Toll Science Center, on the College campus, 300 Washington Avenue.

The title of Jordan’s talk is “Nutrient Overload to Chesapeake Bay: Where It Comes From, and Ways to Control It.” Presented by the Joseph H. McLain Program in Environmental Studies and the Washington College Chapter of Sigma Xi, the event is free and open to the public.
Jordan works in SERC’s Nutrient Lab, where he and colleagues study the flows of nitrogen and phosphorus in ecosystems, the effects of human-induced nutrient enrichment on marine life and water quality, and ways of removing excess nutrients. Since the early 1970s, the lab has monitored discharges from watersheds of the Rhode River, in Anne Arundel County. In the 1990s, it expanded its research to encompass the entire Chesapeake Bay basin, comparing discharges from hundreds of watersheds. SERC scientists explore the effects of geological differences and agricultural and urban land uses, as well as the restorative potential of riparian forests and wetlands.
Photo, bottom: Dr. Thomas Jordan inspects an automated monitor that records flow and samples water flowing in and out of a restored wetland. The wetland removes nutrients from the runoff it receives from nearby cornfields. Photo courtesy of SERC.