Talking Art at the Capitol

April 14, 2017
Nancy Pelosi addressing advocates

Raina Ames snaps a cell phone shot during Nancy Pelosi’s address at Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C.

Thirty-six delegates from the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), representing sixteen states, attended Arts Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C., last month, among them Raina Ames, associate professor of theatre at UNH. Ames is a member of the Association’s New Hampshire board and one of only five members nationally to receive the EdTA’s Hawkins Award this year. The $1,000 award is intended to encourage member advocacy efforts by defraying the cost of attending the annual event.

The 2017 Arts Advocacy Day, sponsored by Americans for the Arts, had record attendance, convening more than 700 people from cultural, civic and grassroots organizations across the country to push for strong public policies and financial support for the arts. The advocates were welcomed on Capitol Hill by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, among others, and met with State legislators to discuss the importance of the arts.

“People from both sides of the political divide have a stake in saving the arts, and that was so uplifting,” says Ames, who directs the theatre education program at UNH.

For Ames, one of the highlights of the experience was civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis’ address to the advocates.

“It was inspiring to see that after all he has been through, his integrity and sense of social justice still emanate from his entire being. If John Lewis could survive all that he has in his life and remain a stalwart defender of what is right, I can go visit my four state legislators and talk about the arts!”

The Educational Theatre Association is a national nonprofit organization with approximately 100,000 student and professional members dedicated to shaping lives through theatre education.


Rivard Awarded PEN/New England for Poetry

April 12, 2017

photo of David Rivard

David Rivard has been named winner of the 2017 PEN/New England Award for poetry for his 2016 book, “Standoff.” Rivard is a professor of English at UNH.

American poet Jericho Brown selected “Standoff” for the honor, which recognizes a book by a New England writer judged as best in its genre.

“I feel so deeply honored by this recognition from PEN/New England, touched really, especially when I think of the astonishing community and tradition it represents,” says Rivard. “Last year was, as always, a banner year for books by poets from this region, among them some by my dearest friends in this life — I can’t imagine having written the poems in ‘Standoff’ without their examples and affection in mind.”

Also recognized this year are Matthew Desmond in the nonfiction category for “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” and Robin MacArthur in the fiction category for “Half Wild.”

The awards ceremony was held at the Kennedy Library in Boston, Mass., on April 2, 2017.

Rivard recalls: “As Jennifer Haigh said at the 2016 awards ceremony, ‘For as long as there’s been an America, New England has been home to writers. We are the land of John Updike and John Cheever, Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, Frederick Douglass and Henry David Thoreau. To say a book is the best by a New England writer is saying a great deal indeed.’ It’s sort of amazing when you think about it that way.”

Past winners of PEN/New England awards include E.B. White, Louise Gluck, Sebastian Junger, Mary Oliver, Tracy Kidder, Donald Hall and Reginald Dwayne Betts.

PEN/New England awards, established in 1975, celebrate New England’s long and illustrious literary tradition by recognizing outstanding fiction, poetry and nonfiction by New England authors.

Rivard is the author of five other books of poetry: “Otherwise Elsewhere,” “Sugartown,” “Bewitched Playground,” “Wise Poison,” winner of the James Laughlin Prize from the Academy of American Poets and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and “Torque,” winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. He teaches poetry writing to undergraduates and to graduates in the M.F.A. in Writing program at UNH.

photos of Rivard at awards ceremony

TOP: David Rivard receives PEN/New England Award for poetry from poet Jericho Brown. MIDDLE: Awards luncheon program. BOTTOM: Rivard pictured with daughter, Simone Rivard ’16, and wife, Michaela Sullivan, at the awards luncheon at the Kennedy Library on April 2, 2017.


New Associate Dean Named in COLA

April 5, 2017

photo of Reginald Wilburn

Reginald Wilburn, associate professor of English, has been selected to serve as associate dean of academic affairs in the College of Liberal Arts. His appointment begins July 31, 2017, when Associate Dean Mary Rhiel steps down. Rhiel will rejoin the College’s German program.

“I am delighted to welcome Dr. Reginald Wilburn to the Dean’s Office in his new role,” says Heidi Bostic, dean of the College. “To this position, Dr. Wilburn brings strong leadership and communication skills, a demonstrated commitment to student and curricular development, and experience building effective partnerships across campus and beyond. He has been actively engaged in recruiting students to the College of Liberal Arts and to UNH. Dr. Wilburn’s colleagues deeply respect his achievements and professionalism. His interdisciplinary interests and vision mean that he is uniquely well-qualified to advance our Grand Challenges for the Liberal Arts Initiative. Dr. Wilburn is going to be an excellent part of our liberal arts team as we work to support faculty, staff and students, and to advance the mission of the College and UNH.”

Wilburn’s responsibilities will include oversight of key undergraduate and graduate areas including student academic matters, student recruitment, study abroad, student conduct, student scholarships, career and professional success, and curriculum.

“I consider it a high honor to serve my colleagues and students in the College of Liberal Arts and UNH more broadly,” says Wilburn. “Dean Bostic and her leadership team continue to do exemplary work in leading us forward, upward and onward, and I’m excited to support the vision and hard work that remains a hallmark of our collective worth ethic. My aim is to continue a commitment to ensuring every student at UNH enjoys the benefits of a premium education. For me, the College of Liberal Arts contributes something supremely valuable to this educational commitment. Our College is that truly special place where each of us comes to teach, advise and offer service excellence in support of students, confident in the unparalleled value and worth of the thousand daily miracles we perform by educating the hearts, minds and souls of today and tomorrow’s innovative visionaries and leaders.”

Wilburn brings many years of service to the University including providing key leadership for the recent Women’s Studies Program search, which resulted in three finalists from multiple disciplines accepting job offers; UNH Research and Engagement Academy co-chair; Office of Multicultural Student Affairs faculty advisor; and other service on multiple professional and UNH boards, committees and organizations.

Wilburn holds a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. His teaching and research focus on literature and African American studies, Milton and intertextuality studies, gender studies and pedagogy. Wilburn is the author of “Preaching the Gospel of Black Revolt: Appropriating Milton in Early African American Literature” (Duquesne University Press, 2014), which won the College Language Association’s award for Creative Scholarship and the John T. Shawcross Award from the Milton Society of America for a distinguished chapter on Milton in a monograph.


New Book Examines Hollywood’s Hawaii

April 3, 2017

book cover

Delia Malia Caparoso Konzett has published the first full-length study of the American film industry’s fascination with the Pacific in “Hollywood’s Hawaii: Race, Nation, and War.” The book is part of the War Culture Series from Rutgers University Press.

“Hollywood’s Hawaii” presents a history of cinema from 1898 to present that examines Hawaii and the Pacific and its representation in film in the context of colonialism, war, Orientalism, occupation, military buildup and entertainment.

“My family is from Hawaii and I’ve grown up in Hawaii partially,” says Konzett. “For my family, the representation of Hawaii in Hollywood always appeared at odds with the reality of our experiences. This discrepancy stirred my curiosity about Hollywood films set in the Pacific. My father, who also served in the military, steered my interest towards Pacific war films and I began to see two identities that Hollywood attached to Hawaii, namely a leisure paradise and a geopolitical site of military interest. My book tries to explore this complex relation between two seemingly contradictory identities and its relevance for the national imagination and its representation in Hollywood film.”

In “Hollywood’s Hawaii,” Konzett highlights films that mirror the cultural and political climate of the country — from the era of U.S. imperialism through Jim Crow racial segregation, the attack on Pearl Harbor and WWII, the civil rights movement, the contemporary articulation of consumer and leisure culture, as well as the buildup of the modern military industrial complex.

Gary Y. Okihiro, author of “Island World: Hawai`i and the United States,” writes of Konzett’s book:A marvelously comprehensive gaze at cinematic representations of Hawaii, this insightful study shows how those fictions constitute and are constituted by U.S. imperialism, Christian capitalism and white nationalism. Moreover, the imagined South Pacific is not a distant, fleeting pleasure but an imminent, durable presence.”

Konzett is associate professor of English, cinema and women’s studies at UNH. She is the author of “Ethnic Modernisms: Anzia Yezierska, Zora Neale Hurston, Jean Rhys, and the Aesthetics of Location” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002).

“Hollywood’s Hawaii” is available from the publisher and major online retailers.


COLA Faculty Awarded Professorships

March 30, 2017

photo of Murkland courtyard

Five faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts have received professorship awards, effective July 2017.

University professorships are supported through the generosity of donors and awarded to faculty members who have demonstrated the highest levels of excellence in teaching, scholarship (including the creative arts) and service over an extended period of time. The UNH provost awards professorships based on nominations from deans. Each professorship carries a 3-year term.

photo of Michele Dillon

Michele Dillon of the department of sociology will be the Class of 1944 Professor. The award recognizes an outstanding faculty member.

photo of Kurk Dorsey

Kurk Dorsey of the department of history will be the Class of 1938 Professor. Established by alumni from that class, this award recognizes excellence in teaching.

photo of Nora Draper

Nora Draper of the communication department will be the Roland H. O’Neal Professor. Established by Virginia O’Neal in memory of her husband, who was a member of the UNH Class of 1934, this award recognizes an outstanding untenured member of the teaching faculty.

Photo of Ken Johnson

Kenneth Johnson of the department of sociology will be the Class of 1940 Professor. This professorship, established in honor of the 50th reunion of the Class of 1940, recognizes a UNH faculty member for outstanding interdisciplinary teaching and research. Johnson is also a senior demographer at the Carsey School of Public Policy.

photo of Mary Stampone

Mary Stampone of the department of geography will be the
 Class of 1941 Professor. Established with a gift from that class, this award recognizes outstanding teaching, research or public service, especially from an international perspective.


Outstanding Teacher and Scholar

March 20, 2017

photo of Ellen Fitzpatrick

Ellen Fitzpatrick, professor of history, has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Lindberg Award, given annually to the outstanding teacher-scholar in the College of Liberal Arts.

Professor Fitzpatrick was appointed to the UNH faculty in 1997 as associate professor after serving eight years on the faculty of Harvard. She previously taught at MIT and Wellesley. She earned her Ph.D. at Brandeis.

Professor Fitzpatrick specializes in modern American political and intellectual history. She is the author or editor of nine books. Her most recent book, “The Highest Glass Ceiling: Women’s Quest for the American Presidency” (Harvard UP, 2016) was excerpted in The New Yorker, selected as an Editor’s Choice by the New York Times and named a notable nonfiction book of 2016 by the Washington Post. Her previous book, “Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation” (Ecco, 2010), was a New York Times bestseller and the basis of a highly regarded documentary film by Bill Couturie entitled “Letters to Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy.” Professor Fitzpatrick served as associate producer.

Professor Fitzpatrick’s recent scholarship has had broad public appeal, and she has fully embraced the role of public intellectual. She has been interviewed as an expert on modern American political history by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, CBS’s Face the Nation, National Public Radio and has appeared frequently on the PBS News Hour. Within the last year, she has contributed opinion pieces to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and CNN online. Additionally, she is an active public speaker at museums, universities and other venues. In recognition of her tireless contributions to public discourse, she is a past recipient of UNH’s Award for Excellence in Public Service.

In addition to her vigorous scholarly activities, Professor Fitzpatrick dedicates herself every year to first-year students, expertly guiding them through a survey of modern U.S. history course, and to budding historians in the major gateway course. She is equally adept at teaching upper-level undergraduate and graduate seminars, as well as directing a number of theses and dissertations. According to colleagues, she is a creative and caring teacher, remembered by students, even many years later, for her particular eloquence and deep knowledge.

The annual Gary Lindberg Award was established by the College of Liberal Arts in 1986 in memory of Professor Gary Lindberg of the Department of English. As a means of publicly supporting superior faculty accomplishment, the College of Liberal Arts annually recognizes one truly outstanding scholar and teacher within the College. The recipient is invited to present a lecture to the public during the following academic year.


Young Philosophers Talk Responsible Citizenship

March 10, 2017

students participating in HYPE

For the past seven years, the Souhegan High School Ethics Forum has hosted HYPE (Hosting Young Philosophy Enthusiasts), inspiring high school students all over New England to participate in philosophical discussions that promote leadership, citizenry and ethics.

This year’s HYPE event is hosted and co-sponsored by the University of New Hampshire and will take place on March 16, 2017. Fourteen hundred students and 100 faculty are anticipated to attend, representing high schools from all over New England. The keynote speaker is Governor John Lynch, who will also run an educator session.

This year’s HYPE guiding question, What does it mean to be a responsible citizen?, coincides with activities conceived and coordinated by Constitutionally Speaking, a partnership project of New Hampshire Humanities, NH Institute for Civics Education, UNH School of Law, NH Supreme Court Society, Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth and Saint Anselm College’s NH Institute of Politics.

Three years ago, the Ethics Forum was awarded a renewable prestigious RGSCP Grant (Responsible Governance and Sustainability Citizenship Project) from UNH to fund HYPE. This grant has led to the UNH Philosophy Department’s formal endorsement of the Ethics Forum and the use of the UNH Durham campus each year. It has also led to the affiliation of HYPE with UNH’s emerging summer philosophy program called FLI or The Future Leaders Institute and the LEAP or Leadership Empowering Authentic Progress Conference held each year at UNH Manchester. The results of this support can be seen in the rising levels of attendance at the HYPE conference and the emerging programs that HYPE has spurred.

The Ethics Forum was also awarded the 2014 Granite State Award by the University System of New Hampshire for the group’s “dedication to creating an academically rich environment for New Hampshire students to connect through philosophical discussions.” Besides its largest sponsor, UNH Durham, the Ethics Forum continues to build a strong coalition of post-secondary institutional support including Granite State College, Merrimack College, Saint Anselm College, UNH Manchester and the University of New Orleans.

The latest Ethics Forum documentary highlights the program and its work.

Excerpted and edited from an article written by Christopher Brooks, HYPE Coordinator, Ethics Forum Advisor, Teacher; Souhegan High School, Amherst N.H.

Photo source: NH Humanities.


%d bloggers like this: