Shakespeare Globes’ Production of Twelfth Night, 2013

Welcome back to the 255! We are enthusiastic to reintroduce our #StudentSpotlight series. This series will highlight the wonderful work of students, and share with the community their interesting, provocative, and innovative ideas of future. This week we are featuring Maggie Salko, who is a creative and articulate writer whose work reaches far beyond her MMC studies. Her most recently published article on The Daily Fandom, “It’s Time to Bring Shakespeare Out of the Elizabethan Era,” is the highlight of this week’s #StudentSpotlight.

Maggie Salko

Maggie is a Junior at MMC who is double majoring in Business Leadership and Literature & Media. She hopes to go into publishing after graduation. She is currently the President of the student club Marymount Marauders, whose mission is to bring the magical world of Harry Potter to MMC and spread its message, excitement, and magic to the rest of the community. Outside the classroom, Maggie has a plethora of professional internship experiences from organizations like StoryCorps, Custom Broadway, & The Daily Fandom. Maggie has had a passion for Shakespeare since high school, after joining her school’s Shakespeare club. This experience introduced her to plays outside of the ones taught in common core curriculums and inspired a new love for The Bard. She’s been writing for The Daily Fandom, a site dedicated to getting pop-culture and fandom-centric topics into spheres of academia, since May of this year.

Maggie published “It’s Time to Bring Shakespeare Out of the Elizabethan Era,” on August 31st, 2020. In her article she discusses the entertainment value of Shakespeare’s work in the modern era. Throughout the piece, Maggie argues that keeping Shakespeare’s plays in the Elizabethan Era loses some of its important entertainment value. She observes that these pieces of art were the highlight of the theatrical world during their time. However, in a contemporary setting, Maggie describes them as a “chore to see.” She concludes that it is important for directors to place Shakespeare’s work in the modern era because it adds a dynamic to the piece that invigorates its entertainment value.

Maggie explains her interest in this topic by adding: …

When given the opportunity to write about whatever I wanted, I immediately knew that I wanted to write about Shakespeare. After spending quarantine watching the productions from my article, I decided to put that knowledge to use and show people how Shakespeare can be entertaining in today’s world. My main goal was to show that The Bard can still be relevant today, and new theatre creatives have the ability to make his plays exciting and captivating once more.

Chicago Shakespeare’s Theatre Production of Romeo and Juliet, 2019

Thanks to Maggie for sharing her work with us! We love seeing our students spread their wings outside the hallowed walls of MMC. We highly encourage you all to check out her article “It’s Time to Bring Shakespeare Out of The Elizabethan Era.” You can access her entry here. Thanks for reading another entry here at the 255. Finally, a brief reminder to be kind, stay safe, and support each other’s work!

Welcome back to the 255! We are quickly approaching the last few faculty spotlights in our Meet the Division series. This week we wanted to feature the Director of Academic Writing at MMC. She is a vital member of the community and shapes much of the curriculum that stretches beyond the HUMSOC division.

MEET DIANA EPELBAUM

In addition to being the Director of Academic Writing, Professor Epelbaum teaches introductory and advanced writing courses offered for all students at MMC. This semester, Dr. Epelbaum teaches a Writ 101 course that explores “writing about writing” linked with a NYC Seminar, and an AIP course entitled “Race and Place in Natural Histories of the Americas.” Her research interests include Writing and Rhetoric Studies, Early American Literature, and History of Science. Her current book project Empire and Ecology: Gender and Place in Women’s Natural Histories of the Americas, 1688-1808 explores 17th and 18th century women naturalists who disrupted imperial modes of knowledge production and offered alternate visions of the Americas. The New York Times awarded Professor Epelbaum the “Teachers Who Make a Difference Award,” for her excellence in teaching.

Dr Diana Epelbaum
  • What is your favorite course/subject to teach here at Marymount? Why does this course interest you the most?
    • I love teaching writing. In these courses, we spend a lot of time on reflection and introspection (and I do, too). We explore our educational journeys, individual writing habits, practices, blocks, preconceptions, emotions, and processes, and work to transform ourselves as writers, readers, and thinkers.
  • What pedagogical approaches do you use when teaching? Why do you believe that this method is the most effective in engaging students?
    • I use a lot of metacognition in my courses. This means everything is transparent–why and how I ask students to complete certain tasks, and why and how these tasks might transfer to other situations, both academic and personal. Metacognition creates awareness around our processes and liberates us to make interdisciplinary connections.
  • Why did you choose your individual career and/or field of study?
    • I think this career chose me! From the time I was a kid, everyone told me I would teach, and once I taught my first high school class, I never wanted to do anything else! As a literature teacher, I always gave a lot of class time to writing, but when I went for my doctorate, I realized that writing was a whole field of study, and I’ve been teaching writing ever since. I learn so much from my students, and every year is different. 
  • What is your favorite activity to do when you are not teaching?
    • I love to hike, camp, garden, do anything outdoorsy. I love to travel, and I’m really into travel photography. Attaching a few travel shots here!
  • Do you own any pets? If so, how many? If not, why?
    • I have a ten year-old mutt named Frannie, adopted from Miami-Dade Animal Shelter. She is my constant companion. Here’s a pic!
  • What is advice would you give to Marymount students in today’s uncertain and rapidly evolving world?
    • The most important advice I’d give to MMC students is to keep challenging yourself to make connections, to think associatively rather than linearly. We are not in a linear world, and many career paths are no longer linear journeys. The more connections you actively make among your classes, and among your classes and personal and professional contexts, the more successful you’ll be at thinking outside the box and creatively approaching the work you ultimately choose. 

Thanks to Professor Epelbaum for sharing with us these wonderful pictures and responses. We look forward to bringing you more stories from our HUMSOC fam later this week! As always, a friendly reminder to be kind, stay safe, and write more.

The 255 is back with a another Meet the Division series! These week we are highlighting the Chair of the Politics & Human Rights department who is vital to organizing guest speakers, community activities, and cooperating with the sociopolitical student led organizations such as the Bedford Hills Program and the Social Sciences’ Assembly.

MEET ERIN O’CONNOR

In addition to chairing the Politics & Human Rights department, Dr. O’Connor is an Associate Professor of Sociology. Her research, studies, and interests include ethnography, culture, art, work, knowledge, body phenomenology, body, and craft. Her book manuscript, Firework: art, craft, and self among glassblowers, researches glassblowing studios to analyze the meaning of contemporary craft in industrial and knowledge economies. Her research reveals the relations among body, materials, and others inform the emergence of self, community, and meaning while investigating the socio-political meaning of craft throughout history. O’Connor’s published work can be found in journals such as Qualitative Sociology Review, Qualitative Research, and Ethnography among others. She explains that she uses her areas of expertise as lenses through which to investigate social inequality and human rights in regards race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and class among others.

Dr. Erin O’Connor
  • What is your favorite course/subject to teach here at Marymount? Why does this course interest you the most?
    • I have a lot of favorite courses, so it is hard to say. Spring 2020, it was Queer Ecologies (PHR 312 aka EcoCulture & Sustainability). The course was an exciting outcome of my research on craft and material ontology; it broke down the dichotomies that construct and separate subject and world. In short, ‘we’ are the ‘world’. Currently, I’m loving all my classes — Environmental Justice, Culture & Ideology, and Art, Politics & Society. I’ve revamped each in light of contemporary social and political issues. Particularly exciting has been the reworking of the Art, Politics & Society syllabus with students from the class. I honestly wasn’t feeling excited about the previous syllabus in the current climate — art activism is everywhere, morning and night, inside and out and I was feeling like that was more pressing to address. Luckily, the students felt the same! So, after talking about the movements, social issues, happenings important to them, I rewrote the syllabus as “Art Activism”. It’s very exciting as we’re discovering new artists and methods of art activism every week. Everyone pitches in!
  • What pedagogical approaches do you use when teaching? Why do you believe that this method is the most effective in engaging students?
    • I’m an ethnographer, so I like to be out in the city, talking with people, and learning from environments. Typically, I pair readings with field research. I feel strongly that experiential and theoretical learning go hand in hand. In my own research on glassblowing, for example, I couldn’t have gotten to the theories of material ontology that eventually took me into environmental studies without having blown glass. That’s our payment of the debt of experience — articulation! Covid has changed that, but have adapted through changing classes — Art Activism — does expansive surveys virtually and also through organizing a fall 2020 virtual department event series that brings experts in the field of racial justice into our community via Zoom. This has been so uplifting. At the end of the day, I need experience, the world, and community voices to think and to feel human. At the end of the day, we can neither think nor learn without this.
  • Why did you choose your individual career and/or field of study?
    • I’m from rural northern Michigan. In my house growing up, we had a set of encyclopedias, a glossary of tropical fish, a book about gnomes and both endless National Geographics and tomes about narrow-gauge railroads. The moments in which I got my hands on some ‘big-picture’ thinking — my English teacher, Ann Reasner, and my mom’s friend, who was an artist, Valerie Loop — I felt my mind leap and bound. I didn’t know what it meant exactly, but I knew that I wanted more. By almost random luck, I submitted one application for college and was accepted to Michigan State University (I’m the first person in my family to earn a college degree). First year, I didn’t understand anything — small town culture didn’t translate into a 40,000 person campus with 200+ person classes — and, though I was fascinated by the catalogue of classes (those lists under Philosophy, Religion, and Sociology!), I nearly flunked out of school. Luckily, my parents let me go back to try again the second year and I came upon a mentor in Political Science, Ron Puhek. Through him and a couple of philosophy and women’s studies professors — Herbert Garelick, Richard Peterson, and Marilyn Frye — I learned that the pursuit of ideas could indeed be a profession! I decided then, my sophomore year, to become a professor. I’m forever indebted to them for showing a small town girl that she could have big ideas 🙂  And, on that note, my town was quite conservative in the typical way of small American rural towns in the 1980s and 1990s, white, homophobic, heterosexist, and insular. I felt strongly at a young age about racial inclusivity, environmental justice, and gay rights, especially as I came to regard myself as bi-sexual. So, in short, I didn’t fit the bill. College was absolute liberation for me as were the big ideas that I encountered there.
  • What is your favorite activity to do when you are not teaching?
    • I love to be outside. All day in any way. I love walking, hiking, swimming, gardening. I also love laughing with my boys — age 7 and 3. When they’re smiling and we’re laughing, running around, there is nothing better.  Before the kids, I did a lot of collage work with handmade paper. I still build and make a lot….shelves, treehouses, garden beds, and anything that involves arranging.
  • Do you own any pets? If so, how many? If not, why?
    • Yes, two cats: Michael and Sappho. I was never into cats and my husband is allergic, but, hey, the boys begged us and the kitties were found by neighbors newborn with their mom on top of a garbage bag! Happy to have them now. They’re sweet.
Sappho (Left) and Michael (Right)
  • What is advice would you give to Marymount students in today’s uncertain and rapidly evolving world?
    • Stay connected!

Thanks to Professor O’Connor for sharing her pictures, interests, and professional background. Join us next week as our series continues! Autumn is well underway, a friendly reminder to be kind, stay safe, and begin to layer up!

Welcome back to the 255! We hope that you are all having a wonderful transition into official autumn. To celebrate our seasonal change, we wanted to bring to you our new #FacultyFeature series. Each post will encapsulate the work of one of our awesome HUMSOC faculty. This week we’ll highlight the recent work of Professor Jessica Blatt!

Professor Blatt is an Associate Professor of Political Science here at MMC. Dr. Blatt’s work focuses on American political thought, specifically how ideas of difference such as race, gender, class, etc, interact with political discourse and public policy. Blatt is the author of Race and the Making of American Political Science (University of Pennsylvania Press 2018). At MMC, she teaches many courses relating to social and political theory, race, and American political development.

Professor Jessica Blatt

The Always Already Podcast, a podcast that holds conversations about critical theory, featured Professor Blatt in a conversation around race in relation to American political science. Always Already Podcast has two consistent segments that discuss critical theory in their words “in the broadest read of the term!” The two segments are (1) discussions of texts around critical theory, political theory, social theory, and philosophy; and (2) Epistemic Unruliness that consists of interviews and conversations with activists, artists, and academics.

Throughout the podcast interview, Always Already Podcast question many aspects of American political thought and its relations to race. The podcast explicitly raises the questions: What was political science’s role in shaping a de-radicalizing ‘race relations’ paradigm? How did the early discipline of political science turn to categories of ‘race’ in a bid for foundation funding and claims to scientific knowledge? And, what are the pedagogical implications for political scientists today of the book and of this genealogy of racism in the discipline? Check out Professor Blatt’s interview in the link below as well as her book Race in the Making of American Political Science.

  • Always Already Podcast Interview — here
  • Race in the Making of American Political Science — here

Thanks to Professor Blatt for sharing with us her work. We highly recommend that you all check it out. Join us soon for our next segment on the #FacultyFeature. And as always, a quick reminder to be kind, stay safe, and get to your teachers!