Recently in College of Humanities and Social Sciences Category

IUP Professor Uncovers the "Real" Dr. Livingstone

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The Scottish explorer and abolitionist Dr. David Livingstone was immortalized by the words fellow explorer Henry Morton Stanley uttered on a chance encounter in Tanzania in 1871: "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"

As it turns out, Livingstone was not quite as historians have presumed.

wisnicki_table_280.jpgA team of experts led by IUP's Adrian Wisnicki, assistant professor of English (left, photo), has used spectral imaging to recover text from Livingstone's original journals that disputes the edited official journals and helps historians to know the REAL Livingstone.

On February 29, 2012 at 5:30 p.m., Wisnicki and his team, which includes two scientists and IUP doctoral student A.J. Schmitz (right, photo), will present a panel discussion on how they recovered the text from the original journals.

This will be the first time the team presents about the project in the United States. When they presented their findings in November in England, they made international news headlines. 

"The Livingstone Spectral Imaging Project: Behind the Scenes" panel discussion is free and open to the community. It will be held in the IUP Libraries (ground floor).  

In 2009, Wisnicki, who specializes in British literature, found pages from Livingstone's original diary in an unmarked box in Scotland. He worked with a team of scholars, including Roger L. Easton Jr. from the Rochester Institute of Technology and Mike Toth from R.B. Toth Associates, to make the original journal pages legible. Easton and Toth will speak as part of  the panel at IUP.

Wisnicki compares the technology they used to the science in the movie National Treasure, in which Nicholas Cage recovers the "real" Declaration of Independence.

Of course, the science to recover the Livingstone journals is real.

As a great story in Pittsburgh Post Gazette notes, "Besides providing scholars with new information about Livingstone's adventures, reactions and comments about African culture, the project also advertises the potential of spectral imaging to transcribe illegible manuscripts written on paper, parchment, animal skins or other surfaces."

"It's been an extremely exciting project, not only because of what we have learned about Livingstone, but because of how technology and science have helped us to make this discovery," Wisnicki says.

At noon on Wednesday, March 1, the day after the panel discussion, Easton will present a program in the IUP Libraries about his work to recover text written by the philosopher and scientist Archimedes.

In addition to teaching, Wisnicki is codirector of IUP's Center for Digital Humanities and Culture. He believes that his work with the Livingstone journals fits into the work being done by the center.

"Projects like this show the importance of centers like this, recognizing that technology is part of academic work across all disciplines."

It's especially exciting to see how experts from the humanities and sciences, by working together, literally rewrite history.

Thumbnail image for phikappaph_260pxi.jpgPhi Kappa Phi, the oldest, largest, and most selective all-discipline honor society in the nation, honored its IUP chapter as a "Chapter of Excellence" in November.

Now, IUP junior, senior, and graduate students in the top 10 percent of their classes have the chance to join this most excellent chapter.

The honor society recently sent membership invitations to 430 undergraduate students and 557 graduate students, mailing the invitations to the students' home addresses on record with the university.

The IUP chapter will have two initiation ceremonies: March 28 for undergraduate students and April 3 for graduate students. Both ceremonies will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Blue Room, Sutton Hall.

Students may accept the invitation to join by mailing in a form or completing one on the web and should indicate whether they will attend the ceremony -- for undergraduates, the deadline is March 7; for graduate students, March 13.

"We really hope that all invited students respond to this invitation -- it's a wonderful opportunity for students to be part of a national network of scholars," said Professor Dennis Giever, IUP chapter president.

In addition, he notes that "Phi Kappa Phi has more than $700,000 in scholarships and graduate fellowships for its members nationally, and several IUP students have been selected for these awards since IUP's chapter was chartered in 1993."

He asks that faculty encourage invited students to reply. "We know that students get inundated with information and mailings, but this is something that can be of great benefit to them, especially if they have an interest in scholarships or graduate fellowships."

Check your mail. You are already a winner! 

Foreign Film Festival Brings Reel World to Indiana

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DSC_0009_unityDay_260px.jpgThe Spring semester Foreign Film and Music Festival, starting this Sunday, February 19, is the whole package.

Not only does the series, presented by the IUP Office of International Education, show great films from all over the world, it also features musicians from all over the world.

And it's all free!

Screenings are every other Sunday night, with each film shown twice, at 5:30 and 8:00 p.m., in McVitty Auditorium, Sprowls Hall. All films are in native languages with English subtitles. The series is open to the public.

The series begins with the guitar and vocal duo of Pengfei Yi and Yuxiang Qiu, students from China, performing in conjunction with the screening of I Bring What I Love, a portrait of Senegalese pop sensation Youssou N'Dour, this Sunday. 

Kittiphong "Mu" Praphan, a student from Thailand, will play guitar for the Argentinian movie The Paranoids on March 4. Mu (short for "music," he notes) is well known on campus, having played at the 2011 Foreign Film and Music Series, International Lunch Hour, and other community events.

Dr. Carl Rahkonen, IUP music librarian and professor of music, known throughout the region for his talent on the violin, will be the guest artist on March 18, in conjunction with the showing of the Irish movie Kisses.

The April 1 screening of the Chinese movie Last Train Home will feature Si Lu Jia, a student from China, performing on the erhu, a traditional Chinese two-stringed instrument.

The showing of the Italian movie Mid-August Lunch on April 15 will feature Faisal Jousari, a student from Saudi Arabia, who will sing and play the lute. 

The series ends on a Terribly Happy note on April 29, featuring student John Grant along with the screening of this Danish noir flick. Grant is a 30-year performer who sings and plays banjo and guitar. 

It's a great two for one evening. Bring the popcorn.

Welcome to Northern Appalachia!

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Center Appalachian Studies 81111D_0181_crop260.jpgFor the first time, the Appalachian Studies Association has selected a location north of the Mason-Dixon Line for its annual conference of hundreds of scholars and artists. That location is IUP.

Thanks to the work of English professor Jim Cahalan and sociology professor Jim Dougherty, and the strong reputation of IUP's Center for Northern Appalachian Studies, the university will host more than 500 people for the ASA's 35th annual conference, "The Wide Reach of Appalachia," on March 23-25.

All are recognized experts on various topics associated with Appalachia and will be making presentations and participating in panel discussions.

Some 50 IUP faculty, staff, graduate students, and retired faculty will showcase their expertise as presenters.

While most presentations are open only to conference registrants, there are four presentations free and open to the community:

  • "Pennsylvania as Greater Appalachia: Historical Perspectives" 
  • "Appalachian Impacts of Global Warming: Reasons for Hope"
  • "The Significance of Powwows to Native Americans in Pennsylvania's Appalachia"
  • "Uncovering Racist Sundown Towns in Appalachia and Beyond"

si kahn.jpgInternationally known folk singer and songwriter Si Kahn will present a concert, open to the public, on March 24 at 8 p.m. in Fisher Auditorium. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students, and will be on sale starting February 20 at the Hadley Union Building or at the door immediately before the concert.

Kahn has worked for more than 45 years as a musician and civic rights, labor, and community organizer. He was named the 2010 top folk artist by the Folk Alliance. 

AND, to set the mood, Dougherty will be the presenter for the Six O'Clock Series program this Monday, February 20. His presentation, "You Are Living in Appalachia," offers a "myth busters" perspective on Appalachia.

"People don't realize that being in Indiana, Pa., you're smack dab in the northern tier of Appalachia. Our goal is to raise awareness about this region and its connection to larger society," Dougherty says.

jackthomas3.jpgWhile the IUP community awaits the arrival of our new president, Michael Driscoll, it seems an opportune time to check in with Jack Thomas D'90, the newest university president in the IUP alumni ranks.

Thomas is the new president of Western Illinois University and is six months into his term. 

"My first year is going quite well in light of a very challenging economy," he told us.

His biggest obstacles, he noted, are those faced by presidents of many public universities: a decreased budget, declining state support, and deferred maintenance.

Thomas became president of WIU after serving as the university's provost, a position he took in 2008. Before joining WIU, Thomas served as senior vice provost for academic affairs and interim dean at Middle Tennessee State University.

His IUP degree is a Ph.D. in Literature and Criticism. 

Thomas offered the following advice to the IUP community as Driscoll's arrival draws near: 

"Approach his tenure with an open mind and give him all the support necessary for him to be successful as a university president. Give him an opportunity, and help him to learn the culture of IUP. Let him know that you are genuinely available to assist him. The community should champion transparency and openness on all issues that concern the new president."

Photo: Western Illinois University, Dr. Jack Thomas at his investiture as the university's 11th president.

The Fear Never Goes Away, IUP Sociologist Says

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Boxing_260px.jpgProfessor Christian Vaccaro's recent study of men's fear management continues to attract media attention, with a profile in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on January 30, 2012.

Vaccaro, a visting faculty member in IUP's Department of Sociology, conducted a two-year ethnographic study of mixed martial arts fighters to further understanding of how men manage their fears. The study was published in the December 2011 issue of Social Psychology Quarterly.

The PPG profile, "Study of martial arts fighters attempts to shed light on how men manage their fears,"  quoted Vaccaro as saying that most fighters never fully overcome their fear of losing or getting injured. However, they learn to manage it through "a number of mental strategies to exude dominance and maintain their masculine identity."

Vaccaro's research included interviews with more than 100 persons. He calls the process used by men "managing emotional manhood." His article also suggests that this ability may "create an emotional orientation that primes men to subordinate and harm others."

Vaccaro describes himself as a sociological social psychologist and symbolic interactionist interested in the study of gender, emotions, identity, and enbodiment.

The PPG article follows a number of mentions in national media, including in the Huffington Post and Men's Health News.

IUP at Home on "Hometown Magazine" Radio Program

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giever.jpgIf you think the voice on the radio sounds familiar, you're probably right.

In January, Renda Broadcasting expanded its community programming with Hometown Magazine, a show hosted by one of IUP's journalism graduates, Nick Ruffner '06. This news-talk show on WCCS (AM 1160), which airs conversations with two guests each weekday at 8:00 and 9:00 a.m., has made IUP feel right at home.

Be sure to catch the 8:00 a.m. show this Monday, February 6: Professor Dennis Giever from the Department of Criminology will discuss the November 11 White House shooting event and the related arrest, made here in Indiana.

Since it launched, Hometown Magazine has also hosted Dr. David Chambers, professor of political science, talking about the presidential primary, and Bill Spiedel, associate vice president for development in the University Relations Division. Spiedel discussed how private giving makes a difference in the life of the university.

Mike Lemasters, executive director of housing, residential living, and dining and associate dean of campus living and learning, appeared on the program to give an update on IUP's new campus dining master plan.

IUP's media relations director (yours truly) has been on the show twice to talk about the selection of IUP's  new president, Michael Driscoll, and about a variety of campus programs and events, including the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. program and the Six O'Clock Series

Thank you, Nick, and congratulations on your new show.

For several years, IUP has also been a significant presence on two other Renda Broadcasting shows. Indiana in the Morning, on WDAD (AM 1450), was developed by Bill Otto and is hosted by Todd Marino, airing weekdays at 7:45 and 8:30 a.m. On the first Tuesday of every month, I share the latest IUP news.

We've also been featured many times on A Closer Look, which airs weekends at 7:20 a.m., 8:20 a.m., and 12:20 p.m. Hosted by Ashley Pribicko, the show is broadcast on WCCS (AM 1160). 

IUP Daily lists upcoming IUP guests for these shows. What a great resource for the Indiana community. Hope you tune in. 

Rigorous Research = Successful Students

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James Jozefowicz

James Jozefowicz and Stephanie Brewer Jozefowicz are committed to helping students be successful in the field of economics.

The pair, both faculty members in IUP's Department of Economics, created a specialized economics research project and required it of their students. And, like good economists, the Drs. Jozefowicz collected and analyzed data related to students who had completed the project.

In reviewing the work of students post-project, they found that they were correct--this project HAS made a difference.

The Jozefowiczes' findings were the subject of a presentation at the 2011 Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees fall conference. "Ten Years of Learning by Doing: The Benefits of Undergraduate Research for IUP Economics Students" documented that students who completed the project have won many awards for research and have secured competitive jobs at national companies and organizations.

Stephanie Brewer Jozefowicz

For example, their students have won "best paper" awards at competitive regional competitions, the "best undergraduate student paper" award at the Pennsylvania Economic Association Conference, and seven "best presentation" awards at IUP's Undergraduate Scholars Conference.

Altogether, 80 students have done presentations at local and regional conferences, and 34 students have been published in national and international journals, including Applied Economics, Atlantic Economic Journal, International Advances in Economic Research, International Journal of Applied Economics, and New York Economic Review.

Students have found employment at places like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, National Science Foundation, Federal Reserach Bank of Philadelphia, Bank of New York Mellon, and many local and regional financial organizations.

Research papers are pretty routine for college students--what makes the Jozefowiczes' project different?

First, it's a 10- to 15-page paper, much more rigorous than most required writing. Students must select a topic of personal interest, build a data set, review economic literature, analyze and interpret the data using statistical methods, write a referred report for their peers, and then give an oral presentation. On top of it all, the paper has to be formatted like a professional journal article.

"The project is very student-focused," Stephanie Jozefowicz said. "We believed, and our research and the student evaluations confirmed this, that our 'let me show you how to do econometrics and send you out to do it' approach engages students and challenges them intellectually better than a more traditional instructor-focused 'let me tell you about econometrics' approach."

James Jozefowicz agreed.

"Not only did the students develop a positive attitude about learning because they could be creative in their choice of topic, but this type of project helps students to build a lifelong ability to 'do economics,'" he said.

Comics Are No Laughing Matter, IUP English Professor Finds

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Gian Pagnucci, English professorEnglish Professor Gian Pagnucci is a very well-rounded guy.

His scholarly interests include narrative theory and research, technical writing, and technology and literacy, and he's well published on this topic.

BUT he's also written and published a number of creative non-fiction pieces about his Italian-American upbringing and a chilldren's book of folk tales, Don't Count Your Chickens! Stories for Kids to Tell!

He has also been recognized for his outstanding record of teaching, research, and scholarly activity and service with the 2009-2010 University Professor Award. The University Professor designation is something that award recipients hold for a lifetime. So, I'm not surprised to see interesting and diverse research and presentations from Dr. Pagnucci.

Recently, he presented "The Death of America in Comic Books: A Socio-Cultural Analysis of Identity Crisis Narrative in Superman and Captain America Comic Books" at the 22nd annual conference of the Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Culture Association.

Dr. Pagnucci was joined on the panel by Alex Romagnoli, a doctoral student in IUP's Composition and TESOL program.

He describes this conference as an opportunity for scholars from a wide range of disciplines to explore how trends and events in popular culture shape the world in which we live.

In his presentation, he compares Superman and Captain America, and notes that these fictional characters have true cultural significance beyond comic book pages. He also asks how these events reflect the current notion of American identity and several other interesting questions, including "Are these superheroes merely fictional or do their evolving identities represent a moment of crisis for the nation?" He also concludes that what happens in the pages of comic books needs to be given significance in the academic world.

His work makes me think about another extremely innovative student research project and internship. Melissa Rogers, a graduate of IUP's Robert E. Cook Honors College and an IUP McNair Scholar, did an internship with Marvel Comics in New York City. She also explored autobiographical comic books by women and how they challenge the portrayal of women in mainstream comics and traditional literature.

This certainly makes me think very differently about comics as literature!

Looking to Buy a Catholic Indulgence?

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Eberly Connects monksOne of our favorite holiday shopping stops in December? The Stephenson Hall living-learning space.

Here we browsed some truly unique gift options: Catholic indulgences, stocks from the 1920s, even a 1950s bomb shelter.

Or, at least, we were treated to expert sales pitches on these items by first-year students who developed business plans for companies in various eras of modern world history. They presented these plans as their final projects for the linked courses Introduction to Business, taught by William McPherson, and History of the Modern Era, taught by Werner Lippert, in the new Eberly Connections program.

About 90 students, working in 20 teams, created business plans in an amazing range of historic periods spanning the 16th to 20th centuries.They were judged by a panel of faculty and staff members, and the award for best presentation went to the Tea Kettle Tea Company, set in England in 1850.

Their projects "gave students a chance to really know their product and the history embedded in it," said Dot Gracey, assistant dean for Student and Alumni Services in the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology. Gracey created Eberly Connections with help from Michele Norwood, associate dean for Humanities and Social Sciences.

Students gained awareness of the social, political, and business settings during which their product was developed, as well as research skills they might not normally have acquired in their first semester. By dressing for success circa 1550 or 1850, they became more personally connected to the information they learned during the semester.

"This is the type of deep, extended learning we hope for with the living-learning and linked courses concepts," said Gracey. "In this way, students gain knowledge that will stick with them for years to come."

We're sold on that!

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