Outstanding Teacher-Scholar

March 6, 2018

Paula Salvio, chair and professor of education, has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the Lindberg Award, given annually to the outstanding teacher-scholar in the College of Liberal Arts.

Appointed to the faculty in 1992, Professor Salvio is an interdisciplinary scholar who focuses on the cultural and historical foundations of education with a specialization in psychoanalysis, life-writing and the impact that marginalization, trauma and war have on women, children and youth in formal and informal educational settings. She explores transitional moments in history and society – reform, wars and revolution and their aftermaths – and how these affect the relations of education, culture and politics.

“Professor Salvio epitomizes the kind of interdisciplinary work that is a hallmark of Liberal Arts at UNH,” says Heidi Bostic, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “She works skillfully across several areas of expertise to address educational reform. She represents core values of UNH such as excellence and inclusion.”

Professor Salvio’s publications reflect an innovative and broad approach to educational studies, applying diverse theoretical frameworks and modes of inquiry to a variety of educational situations and settings. Her most recent book is “The Story-Takers: Public Pedagogy and Contemporary Italy’s Non-Violent Resistance Against the Mafia” (University of Toronto Press, 2017).

Professor Salvio teaches a wide range of courses to both undergraduate and graduate students, and has served on or chaired dozens of dissertation committees in the departments of Education, English and Psychology. Students say she goes above and beyond, working vigorously to advise and advocate for them in their professional development.

“Professor Salvio is a true teacher-scholar, bringing her work to the classroom and to the world,” says Bostic. “The kind of work she does prepares young people to face the grand challenges of today and tomorrow.”


The Story-Takers

January 8, 2018

book cover

In Italy, shrines stand as testament to those who have been murdered by the mafia, and the trauma of those left behind has inspired a movement by educators, activists, artists and journalists striving for justice.

That movement has inspired Paula M. Salvio’s latest book, “The Story-Takers: Public Pedagogy, Transitional Justice, and Italy’s Non-Violent Protest Against the Mafia.”

Salvio, professor and chair in COLA’s education department and affiliate faculty in classics, humanities and Italian studies, shares the story behind her book and the discoveries she has made in her research and writing process.

UNH: What was the inspiration for this book?

Paula Salvio: Italy has a long history of non-violent protest against the mafia. In fact, while the mafia has generated enormous public attention, the antimafia has kept a very low profile. When I began this study in 2008, I wanted to understand the ways in which non-violent practices used by community organizers, educators, photo-journalists and artists were used to educate their communities about mafia violence in an age of neoliberalism. The source of inspiration for this work emerged from the ingenuity, sense of solidarity and courage of antimafia activists working in Sicily. Their work is particularly timely, given that the global and financial ambitions of today’s mafia are difficult to distinguish from that of global corporations.

UNH: Could you describe the research process involved in preparing to write this work?

Salvio: My research process is firmly grounded in archival research, which includes Facebook, blogs, spontaneous shrines and Tweets, and post-colonial narrative inquiry. It’s been said that the modern allure of the archive has much to do with a Freudian romance of finding all the lost things and names, whatever they might be: Things gone astray, lost, squandered, wasted. Jules Michelet described the archive as a site where the scholar breathes in the dust of the dead, communes with them and makes them live again. While this description remains open to serious critique, I admit that it calls out to me and influences my research process.

In the archive, I look not only for what is there but for what is absent or disappeared. This is evident in my chapter on antimafia activist Francesca Morvillo’s Facebook site. While the site was established to keep Morvillo’s memory alive, within weeks it was flooded with images and memories of her husband, antimafia prosecutor Giovanni Falcone. Her absence calls attention to the ways in which subjects left unprotected by the state and marginalized by society and culture can be cast into the oblivion of history, thus depriving future generations of the value of their memories and legacies. This is far too often the case when remembering female antimafia activists.

My approach to narrative research places a high value on the collaborative process of building narratives with the community members I write about. This process raises serious questions about who has the right to speak, the right to tell the story and the ethics of representation. The book’s title, “The Story-Takers,” takes its cue from the joint project of story-making between the one who listens and the one who tells a story that is vulnerable to being forgotten. Given the prevalence of omerta — the law of silence — where communities live under mafia rule, stories of resistance are far too easily lost.

UNH: Did you make any particularly unexpected discoveries in the process?

Salvio: Yes, I made several unexpected discoveries, but here, I’ll limit them to three.

First, I did not expect that the work of antimafia activists would challenge the pedagogical impulse of transitional justice in such a profound way. Too often, transitional justice narratives focus on experiences of victimhood rather than including narratives of non-violent resistance. The history and contemporary practices of the antimafia movements in Italy recognize and learn from those who took action, who engaged in dissent and who resisted and continue to resist state sanctioned violence.

Second, while I began this project with an understanding of the strong masculine presence in mafia and antimafia studies, I did not set out to write a feminist perspective on antimafia literature, but in many ways, that’s what I did. As the study unfolded, I found myself more and more focused on the ways in which women’s perspectives were absent from mainstream antimafia studies. I also began to understand the extent to which antimafia movements, like the mafia, have a masculine face that silences the unspectacular, but meaningful, cultural practices of fighting for legality in daily living.

Third, citizen and open-source journalism play major roles in antimafia education, particularly in an era when global media is becoming increasingly privatized.

While significant questions remain about the extent to which social media can impact social change, the citizen journalists working in Italy present compelling challenges to claims made by skeptics of citizen journalism that new media practices, such as blogging, posting, tweeting, function to neglect organization and revolt. In my research, I found that citizen journalists provide well-researched, in-depth exposés posted online, and in doing so, they insert themselves into the current news production process as curators of collective memory formation.

Of course, the mafia is expert at using the internet as well. Mafia violence knows no limit as it circulates on the ground and through communication channels on the net. They do track people down. Recently, one antimafia group, Libera, found their site hacked. The mafia left a skull and a cascade of death threats. Yet Libera carries on. They recognize — and here I paraphrase Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates — that you have to find peace within the chaos; you have to find some sort of mission in the chaos; you have to devote yourself to the struggle within the chaos, with no assurance that you will see any victory within your lifetime.

post source: UNH Today story written by Jennifer Saunders


2017 in Books

December 22, 2017

3 book covers

Faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts published a range of books this year, shedding light on Hollywood’s fascination with Hawaii, the history of credit bureaus such as Equifax, and the intersection of public health and democracy, among other topics. Here’s the roundup.

book coverLGBTQ Politics: A Critical Reader
edited by Marla Brettschneider, Susan Burgess and Christine Keating
NYU Press; Critical edition (September 19, 2017)
book coverQueer, Latinx, and Bilingual: Narrative Resources in the Negotiation of Identities
by Holly R. Cashman
Routledge Critical Studies in Multilingualism Series
Routledge (November 15, 2017)
book coverHealth and Freedom in the Balance: Exploring the Tensions among Public Health, Individual Liberty, and Governmental Authority
edited by M. Girard Dorsey and Rosemary M. Caron
Public Health in the 21st Century Series
Nova Science Publishers, Inc. (July 2017)
book coverA Dictionary of Literary Symbols, Third Edition
by Michael Ferber
Cambridge University Press; 3 edition (May 27, 2017)
book coverHollywood’s Hawaii: Race, Nation, and War
by Delia Malia Caparoso Konzett
War Culture Series
Rutgers University Press (March 1, 2017)
book coverCarl Wilhelm Frölich’s “On Man and his Circumstances:” A Translation of “Über den Menschen und seine Verhältnisse”
translated, with introduction, by Edward T. Larkin
Peter Lang (May 29, 2017)
book coverCreditworthy: A History of Consumer Surveillance and Financial Identity in America
by Josh Lauer
Columbia Studies in the History of U.S. Capitalism Series
Columbia University Press (July 25, 2017)
book coverMinimum Contract Justice: A Capabilities Perspective on Sweatshops and Consumer Contracts
by Lyn K. L. Tjon Soei Len
Hart Publishing (May 4, 2017)
book coverWriting across Culture and Language: Inclusive Strategies for Working with ELL Writers in the ELA Classroom
by Christina Ortmeier-Hooper
National Council of Teachers of English (November 6, 2017)
book coverLinguistically Diverse Immigrant and Resident Writers: Transitions from High School to College
edited by Christina Ortmeier-Hooper and Todd Ruecker
ESL & Applied Linguistics Professional Series
Routledge (2017)
book coverThe Story-Takers: Public Pedagogy, Transitional Justice, and Italy’s Non-Violent Protest against the Mafia
by Paula M. Salvio
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division (November 6, 2017)
book coverMarijuana: Examining the Facts
by Karen T. Van Gundy and Michael S. Staunton
Contemporary Debates Series
ABC-CLIO (August 2, 2017)

The Significance of Listening

March 7, 2017

booko cover

Paula M. Salvio, UNH professor of education, and co-authors Bronwen E. Low and Chloe Brushwood Rose, have published a new book titled “Community-based Media Pedagogies: Relational Practices of Listening in the Commons” (Routledge).

“Funded by the Canadian Social Science Humanities Research Council, this comparative study of community media projects began with an interest in the kinds of stories people were telling in community programs through participatory, multimedia forms,” explains Salvio. “What might these stories tell us about the complexities of experiences of migration, marginalization, mobility and identity for their participants?”

Salvio and her colleagues worked with three groups: recently immigrated women in a leadership program in Toronto working with digital storytelling, youth with refugee experience in Montreal who were part of the mappingmemories.ca project, and youth at the Centre for Urban Pedagogy in New York City who use digital media, art and design to make educational tools that demystify complex policy and planning issues in their communities.

“Following our observations, interviews and reflection, we realized that we needed to complement our attention to the experience of storytelling with an examination of listening,” says Salvio. “In the group processes in these and other programs, including ‘story circles,’ one spends far more time listening than speaking. We realized that part of the power of these projects lay in their cultivation of listening relations, which supported participants in taking social and emotional risks. And so we began exploring the pedagogical and social significance of listening, and the role it might play in building a democratic, educational ‘commons,’ by developing a theory of intersubjective listening. This theory moves beyond dialogue to take into consideration the fundamental interdependence of speaker and listener, as well as the political and ethical complexities of such a listening.”

Salvio’s research focuses on the cultural and historical foundations of education with a specialization in psychoanalysis, life-writing and the impact that marginalization, trauma and war have on women, children and youth in formal and informal educational settings.

“Community-based Media Pedagogies: Relational Practices of Listening in the Commons” is now available online and in print.


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