Welcome back to the second entry of our Meet the Division series!

As Fall semester is well underway, we wanted to highlight one of our department Chairs, as many of you may have him in class this semester.

MEET MICHAEL COLVIN:

Professor Colvin is the Chair of the English and World Literatures Department. Michael’s research interests include late twentieth-century Latin American narrative, Portuguese literature and culture produced under fascist dictatorships, and narratives of personal trauma. He is the author of three books: Las últimas obras de José Donoso: Juegos, roles y rituales en la subversión del poder (Madrid: Pliegos, 2001), The Reconstruction of Lisbon: Severa’s Legacy and the Fado’s Rewriting of Urban History (Lewisburg, US: Bucknell University Press, 2008), and Fado and the Urban Poor in Portuguese Cinema of the 1930s and 1940s (Suffolk, UK: Tamesis, 2016). Dr. Colvin’s current book project focuses on subjective analyses of linguistic and visual encoding of terror in nightmares and creative acts.

Dr. Colvin and his dog Boa
  1. What is your favorite course/subject to teach here at Marymount? Why does this course interest you the most?
    • My favorite course is SPAN 315, Hispanic Civilization. I love to teach this course because we examine a variety of texts in many regions over thirteen centuries, and I get to meet students from all over the College. I teach the course almost every semester, and it’s always exciting to teach, and I am always learning from that class.
  2. What pedagogical approaches do you use when teaching? Why do you believe that this method is the most effective in engaging students?
    • I like to layer the material I assign, so that students can return to new concepts from different perspectives until they can make sense of the material in relation to the greater goals of the course. I also go to class with an obsessive interest in my course material, so that helps to keep the students engaged in what I am engaged in.
  3. Why did you choose your individual career and/or field of study?
    • I chose my field of study -Latin American Literature, because I wanted to do graduate work only in Spanish and Portuguese, and because I loved to learn languages through reading, talking to people, watching films, and listening to music. I started teaching Spanish language labs as an undergraduate student, and on the side, I taught English as a second language at an Atlantic City casino. In graduate school at Temple University, I had the opportunity to teach In Spanish and Portuguese as part of my assistantship, and that is when I chose my profession.
  4. What is your favorite activity to do when you are not teaching?
    • When I am not working, I make large collages, mostly landscapes. I also sing classical music in the bass section of a chorus, so I like to sing every day.
  5. Do you own any pets? If so, how many? If not, why?
    • My pet is my dog Boa. He is 10.5 years old. I cook his meals twice a day.
  6. What is advice would you give to Marymount students in today’s uncertain and rapidly evolving world?
    • I have found that by creating a structured schedule for work and non-work, and by setting achievable goals in both areas, I reduce my own feelings of helplessness. I also go outside ten times a day to walk my dog, and I leave my phone at home when I do that.

A gentle reminder for us all: go outside. Grab a cardigan. Take a warm beverage. Enjoy the newly returned crispness.

Thanks for reading.

Welcome all to the Fall 2020 Semester!

We are thrilled to kick off the start of the semester with a new HUMSOC Blog series entitled Meet the Division. We hope that these entries provide students with opportunities to get to know the amazing faculty and staff in the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences (aka HUMSOC!)

For the first week we are highlighting two members of our community that work behind the scenes!!

MEET ALEX DILL:

Alex Dill works as the Administrative Assistant for the HUMSOC division. Alex graduated from MMC with a B.A. in English Language and Literature and continued her studies in a Master’s Program in Gender Studies and Creative Writing at New York University. This is her second year working with the HUMSOC division and she is a vital asset to keep our lovely community functioning.

  1. What is your favorite course/subject to teach here at Marymount? Why does this course interest you the most?
    • This semester I’ve been given the opportunity to teach LINK 101, a class that helps first year students learn about the college and it’s many resources, and build community. I’m really excited to get to work directly with students in this capacity.
  2. What pedagogical approaches do you use when teaching? Why do you believe that this method is the most effective in engaging students?
    • Authenticity 
  3. Why did you choose your individual career and/or field of study?
    • I always loved to read, and found myself interested in poetry and writing super young. As my “career” twists and turns, the one thing that’s steady is that I never stop writing. 
  4. What is your favorite activity to do when you are not teaching?
    • I love to teach Pilates, cook vegan food, and ride my bike (her name is Dolly Jean Rose Louise Dill).
  5. Do you own any pets? If so, how many? If not, why?
    • No pets, cause my roommate and I are both clean freaks! But I love animals, especially puppies and sloths and whales.
  6. What is advice would you give to Marymount students in today’s uncertain and rapidly evolving world?
    • Learn/read as much and as widely as you can, always assume positive intent and lead with kindness, and figure out early how to take care of yourself mentally/physically/spiritually. Success is not about money or exhaustion, and defining that on your own terms will save you so much energy and anxiety along the way. Don’t for a second think that any one you know/follow, or “adults” have it all figured out, we are all learning and evolving and feeling the effects of the world as it turns. Put succinctly: remember to breathe.

MEET DORIAN PROVECHER:

Dorian Provencher works closely with Alex & the HUMSOC division through the Federal Work-Study Program. Dorian is a Junior seeking a dual-degree in International Studies and Politics & Human Rights. We are super excited to have Dorian on board with our department!

  1. What is your favorite course/subject that you have taken here at Marymount? Why does this course interest you the most?
    • Out of the courses that I have taken so far, I have two favorite courses. Power: Conflict & Diplomacy was an interesting class that educates students about the concept of power in international relations. I am interested in this course as it is a part of my studies in the IS program, but would encourage students of all departments to take it. Secondly, America’s Founding was a “reacting to the past” (role playing) pedagogical approach to teaching the constitutional founding of the United States. Especially during quarantine this course was a nice escape from the 21st Century. Again, a MUST TAKE!
  2. Why did you choose your individual career and/or field of study?
    • I chose International Studies and Politics & Human Rights because of my interest in contemporary global issues; specifically cases of human rights. I plan to use my education to work with NGOs and IGOs that seek to enhance global human rights.
  3. What is your favorite activity to do when you are not in school?
    • When I am not in school, I enjoy listening to music, dancing around, going on walks, and reading.
  4. Do you own any pets? If so, how many? If not, why?
    • YES! I own three wonderful pets who unfortunately are all back home in North Carolina. I have 2 dogs: Juju & Opti and a cat: Shadow.
  5. What is advice would you give to Marymount students in today’s uncertain and rapidly evolving world?
    • Study hard and take care of yourself. Our awesome faculty members are working really hard to ensure that MMC can continue to effectively educate its students even in a global pandemic. Study hard and take as many opportunities as possible to further your education. Even though its a tough situation, I have no doubt that our community will be able to persevere. And finally, take care of yourself, these times are unprecedented. We all need to take that into consideration when we are doing work and studying. Treat yourself, spend time with your loved ones, and do whatever you need to ensure that you are both mentally and physically healthy!

Dearest Community!

Hello from afar! We hope you are safe and well, adjusting to the new world of social distancing, or as I’m calling it: distant socializing. In that spirit, we want to hear and see how your days are unfolding and being shaped in and by this global occurrence. This blog will have an ongoing project, the Quarantine Chronicles, where we will archive photos and short reflections or poems about your experience. We want to see where you’re having remote classes, or taking your daily outside time, hear about who you’re living with and how your relationships are affected and how you’re consuming media that makes your happy. Or not. We want to hear about small wins, see any stress baking/cooking, and of course keep a list of book/podcast/binge recommendations. You can message us on any of the social medias, or email us at humsoc@mmm.edu

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We are sending all manner of positive vibes, and want to say how proud we are of the students and faculty that are continuing to learn and grow as a community, even while adjusting to new systems and routines. New normals. Be well, stay safe, and be kind.

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Students in EWL 112: World Literature in Context produced creative projects in response to the novel The Lost Child by Caryl Phillips. The New York Times review describes the novel as “a riff on Wuthering Heights”, and themes include immigration and colonialism, family and patriarchy. The projects challenged students to go beyond a traditional written response. Check out the amazing and thought provoking responses below!

In addition to the visual responses there was also an audio response entitled Deliverence, by Jacob Rizzi. Listen below!

Cheers to final projects that think outside the box! Thanks for reading, Merry Everything & Happy Always, and be kind during any and all end of year/holiday shenanigans.

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In today’s tech obsessed fast paced world, what counts as political action? Senior Allie McInerney has built a site she hopes will inspire and encourage folks to send more tactile feedback, which she says stands out from online complaints. “I built the site more out of frustration than hope”, she says. The site, found here, allows constituents to enter in their address and send mail to their senate reps. Allie, who worked for Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill before transferring to MMC, says that actual mail has great weight on Capital Hill (#nopunintended). “Phone calls can go unanswered and unrecorded, but every piece of mail gets scanned and entered into a database [called VOICE], which they have to look at an engage with.” This outdated process is, Allie says, the best way for folks to be heard by their reps.

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Here’s how her site works:

The homepage allows you to pick which side of the impeachment debate you’re on. You can send mail directly to the White House, or (as shows in the above screen shots) you can enter your address and send mail to your Senators. Once you’ve selected where the postcards will go, a pre-written message appears. You can edit that message, or sign and send. Each card costs $1 #affordable, and Allie plans to send 50% of the profits to a non-profit daycare center for single moms back in Missouri called Operation Breakthrough.

Eventually Allie and her partners plan to expand this site to include other hot button issues (like taxes, campaign finance reform, healthcare, immigration, climate change, gun policy, and our education system, to name just a few.) Allie is double majoring in Politics and Human Rights, along with Philosophy, and says that despite her frustration she does still have hope. While working for Senator McCaskill she made friends with a Republican staffer, a relationship she still cherishes, and says they were able to peaceably discuss issues and still care about one another “I don’t think ideology defines us, or separates us inherently.”

wellsaid

Head to Allie’s easy to use site to make sure your voice is heard during what can be an extremely confusing process, and check back for more issues to be heard on soon! Stay woke and be kind, and thanks for reading.

 

This semester, students had the opportunity to participate in the Social Justice Ambassador program, a 6 week program for folks looking to explore issues of social justice through different lenses and deep discussion. Today this program culminates in a talk back for these students to share their experiences.

SJAs

Students participating in the program gave #humsoc some exclusive info, providing the following thoughtful response to their experience:

In this 6 week Social Justice Ambassadors Program, we had the opportunity to become a part of a safe space where we were able to discuss our ideas and experiences regarding the world of social justice. The themes we examined were Class & Race, Sexuality & Religion, Power Privilege & Oppression, and Social Justice Strategies, and discussing and learning the ways in which these ideas make up the social norms, giving power and privilege to a selective few. Moreover, we talked about the importance of identifying our individual privileges and learning how to use them best to advocate for social equity and equality. Coming from different backgrounds allowed us to expand our dialogue by sharing our knowledge and ideas based on our own life experiences. This was an amazing opportunity to further our global understanding by listening to other members’ input and creating vibrant conversations surrounding social justice. In the world we live in, we are desperately in need of Social Justice Ambassadors, and we hope more students have the opportunity to further expand these pivotal discussions and be a part of this incredible program!

-Dominique Cagliuso, Dorian Provencher, Manuela Arap and Olivia Luis-Charles

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Thanks to SDA for putting this program together! Get more info here, and reach out to fhe@mmm.edu or get at their social medias if you’d like to see more programming like this going forward. Stay warm and be kind this weekend, and thanks for reading.

(Coming at you straight from Prof Marnie Brady. Enjoy!)

Special guests Athena Viscusi, LICSW, and Maria Dohers of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders gave students a view into global social work practice. The class discussed social work perspectives involving cultural humility, self-care, cross-NGO partnerships, and humanitarian intervention within the context of militarism, climate change, and refugee dislocation. Athena Viscusi, a clinical social worker with MSF, provides support to field workers before, after, and during deployment to crisis zones abroad. She shared about her own fieldwork as a psychosocial mental health worker with MSF in Liberia, Palestine, Central African Republic, Myanamar, and Haiti, among other countries. During the height of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia, Athena supported a program for survivors, immune to the disease, to act as mental health counselors to encourage and support those who were still afflicted. She was joined at MMC by a graduate student at Columbia University’s School of Social Work, Marie Dohrs, who shared about her previous work supporting immigrants and refugees here and abroad. Marie explained the steps she took in her process of applying to graduate school.

MMC students & Prof. Brady express their deep appreciation for the important and urgent work of MSF in the world, and for the time the guests spent with us discussing their own professional career paths and the challenges in global social work.

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(Yay guest speakers! Thanks for reading, have a great weekend, spread kindness everywhere you go and be brave.)

BREAKING NEWS!

The History Major is back at MMC!

Some facts: History continues to be a popular major for high achievers, and has a traditionally been a go-to for those hoping to pursue law or public service. Our program will be super innovative, and uses a modular path of study that allows students to chart their own course and choose their own areas of focus. You’ll get all the traditional skills of a history scholar- critical thinking, evaluating evidence, oral and written argument construction- all while exploring different threads and webs that only you can imagine and navigate fully.

Here are some examples modular paths, with different color blocks showing different course subjects:

These first two show examples of more traditional paths, with one or two areas of focus.

The second two examples are more complex: on the left the student’s program is called Ancient History and Medieval History and Culture, and the right shows a path called History and Performance of Race and Gender. You see how courses from across the college can be pulled in to satisfy requirements for the major, so scholars can create a program that is tailored to their interests, while developing an understanding of history with depth and nuance. History at Marymount will go beyond a timeline, showing how culture, politics, art, media, and story all combine to create what we understand as our shared past.

drunkhistory
#drunkhistory #extracreditviewing

 

Look back, connect the dots, and get innovative to jump start your own future! Make History a part of your history at Marymount. #thanksforreading #bekind #happyhalloween

From esteemed Library Archivist Mary Brown:

New Research Resources from Marymount Manhattan College’s Archives

Marymount Manhattan College’s archives is digitizing William B. Harris’s performing-arts reviews, a gateway into his private collection of theatre memorabilia and into the downtown scene before gentrification.

“Billy” Harris was a freelance dance and theatre critic active from the 1970s until his unexpected death in July 2000. He saw much that was happening in the performing arts world in the last quarter of the last century and he saved much of it: newspaper clippings of other people’s reviews, the advertising that came his way, programs, and even some scripts. At the time of his death he had over five thousand files, arranged by playwright. A friend of Billy’s steered the family to depositing the collection at Marymount Manhattan College. Later, another friend deposited her collection of Harris’s reviews.

Currently, theatre students are the Harris Papers’ most frequent users. One of them was excited to spot a former MMC adjunct theatre professor and the author of a popular book on improv, Dan Diggles, in an early role.

BILLYHARRIS

More seriously, students use the Harris Papers to research performances. When the Nobel Prize Committee announced Austrian playwright Peter Handke had won the 2019 Nobel Prize for Literature, students went looking for performances of his plays. It turns out that Harris saw an early English-language performance, of Handke’s Self-Accusation, in 1978, and saved the program, a mimeograph that may now exist nowhere else in the world.

BILLYHARRIS2

Harris’s review and the mimeograph open up a world beyond that one night at the theatre. The documents indicate the Brooklyn Bridge Threatre Company produced the play. The Brooklyn Bridge Threatre Company has no Internet presence. Its history will have to be mined out of sources such as these. The venue for the performance was Saint Clement’s, which, the program indicates, is on Manhattan. It turns out Saint Clement’s does have an Internet presence (http://www.stclementsnyc.org/), and from its website we can pick up further clues. It is the third-oldest off-Broadway venue in New York. It is also an Episcopal Church in the theatre district. The way is now open for choose-your-own-adventure research. How long has St. Clement’s been an off-Broadway venue, and how did that develop? What’s the relationship between the Episcopal Church—or the Christian religion—and theatre?

BILLYHARRIS3

The archives is working toward putting together a research project of its own. All of Harris’s reviews note where he saw the performance. The first steps in research was to map those addresses on a modern map and to go see them as they are now. Consulting the Harris Papers indicates what Billy Harris saw when he was there. Other sources help fill in the narrative of how the building of the past became the one of the present. MMC’s library has a good collection of books on New York City, its ProQuest provides access to back issues of The New York Times, its Nexis Uni database provides access to back issues of other papers, and the New York City Department of Buildings and Department of Finance have much data on individual buildings. This process uncovered many intriguing individual stories, such as how the creators of Hedwig and the Angry Inch chose a nearly vacant hotel as a suitably grubby venue for their production. The building had started as a charity, a low-cost hospice for sailors; the decline of the shipping industry reduced the numbers of sailors needing such service. Hedwig raised interest in the building, and led to new owners and a new life as the boutique Jane Hotel.

BILLYHARRIS4

Building by building, a story develops. In the 1970s cash-strapped performing artists and owners who could find nothing else to do with their buildings cut deals. Performers took spaces within buildings rather than whole buildings. They rented by the weekend rather than by the month or year. They made do with poorly maintained property. Their performances introduced the audience to a neighborhood where they might invest, open a business, or live. Today, emerging performing artists find themselves priced out of as former performance spaces become apartments, shops, and more established cultural attractions.

The archives is creating a unique Google map that will identify the places where William Harris saw a performance. Walkers will be able to open the map on their own devices, and can plot their own routes for getting from one to another. They can open documents that describe Harris’s experience in the theatre at that venue, and then how the venue has changed to the present day.

The digital copies of Harris’s reviews may very well spark other kinds of research. To get started researching William Harris’s reviews, go to https://www.mmm.edu/live/files/97-harrisguideaddendumpdf, the finding aid for the part of his collection that contains the reviews. There, you can scroll or use Control + F to search for particular dates, playwrights, plays, and venue names. You can email the archivist, Mary Brown, at mbrown1@mmm.edu, and she can email a review back to you. Still not digitized, though, is Harris’s massive file of clippings, programs, advertisements, and theatre memorabilia. Again email Mary to set up an appointment, and get yourself some unique primary sources for your research.

Thanks to Mary Brown for this info and ongoing project! Thanks for reading, keep being kind, have a safe Halloween weekend.

Shout out to the best #humsoc work study a division could as for, Madison! Enjoy the below post submitted by her about her experience interning at the United Nations. Learn more about MMC’s amazing programs with the UN here.

Seven Things I Learned as a United Nations Intern

  1. You have to go through a huge security process to get in the building.

The United Nations doesn’t play around with security. There are several different entrances that are used to get into the main building. There are separate entrances for diplomats, the press, faculty and staff, and NGO representatives. I was an NGO intern, which meant I had a very low security clearance. Every day I had to remove my bags and coat, and take out my laptop like I would in an airport. Sometimes if my metal water bottle was too full they would flag me down for a search.

security

  1. Any art pieces in the UN are donated by member states.

If you ever take a tour of the UN, which I highly recommend, you will see beautiful pieces of art hung on the walls. Each one of them is donated by a member state in an attempt to make their generosity and presence known within the institution. There is a plaque next to each one that displays who donated it and when it was donated. It can be really interesting to look at an art piece in the context of global history!

(get some info about the art here.)

  1. Don’t take the stairs!

One time I took the stairs instead of the elevator. A rookie mistake. I was locked in there for about a half hour and it was HOT. I thought I might die alone, sweating to death in the UN headquarters. I managed to call the front desk and they directed me to a back exit. Don’t take the stairs!

stairs

  1. Negotiations for only one document can go all night long.

I was working during the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which is one of the biggest events of the year. The Commission lasts about two weeks, and includes hundreds of different sessions on the rights and struggles of women across the world. At the end of the two weeks, member states are asked to sign a set of resolutions that signify their support of certain issues. Member states stayed long into the night (4am I think?!) to negotiate the tiniest details of the CSW resolutions. I hope they had coffee breaks because I would need some serious caffeine!

allnightlong

  1. The Executive Director of UN Women will pause for a photo.

In case you didn’t know, the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, is AMAZING. She has a way of speaking that both lightens the room and commands attention. I couldn’t think of anyone better to represent the women of the world. One time she was speaking in a meeting I was attending, and I followed her out into the hallway and asked for a photo. Don’t worry, I wasn’t the only one asking for a quote or a photo, she’s practically a celebrity! My boss was super excited that I got the photo and I posted it on my NGO’s social media right away.

  1. You have to have prior internship experience to apply for this position.

To be accepted into the MMC United Nations program, you need prior internship experience on your resume. Along with submitting a formal application, an interview with the International Studies department is also required. If you are accepted, the department will place you with an NGO based on your interests and qualifications.

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  1. If you are asked to speak at the podium, GO FOR IT.

This will forever be a regret of mine. Early in my internship, I was in a civil society meeting in one of the giant conference rooms. The room split into groups based on geographic representation, so as an American citizen, I was in the North American group. I was asked to take notes and was typing as fast as my fingers could go. Because I had all the notes, the group leader asked me to represent us on the podium. I PANICKED. I didn’t feel prepared to speak, so I quickly turned down the invitation. Now I regret it. I could have a photo of me speaking in one of the biggest conference rooms at the UN! So…if you are asked to speak at the podium, go for it!

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(Thanks to Madison for sharing her experiences, and thanks to you all for reading. Be nice to yourself and everyone you encounter doing fun festive activities this weekend!)

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