Author Archives: John Stevens

New Books by FLL Faculty

9781137524546.inddBenjamin Fraser, Digital Cities. The Interdisciplinary Future of the Urban Geo-Humanities (Palgrave McMillan 2015). Digital Cities stakes claim to an interdisciplinary terrain where the humanities and social sciences combine with digital methods. Part I: Layers of the Interdisciplinary City converts a century of urban thinking into concise insights destined for digital application. Part II: Disciplinary/Digital Debates and the Urban Phenomenon delves into the bumpy history and uneven present landscape of interdisciplinary collaboration as they relate to digital urban projects. Part III: Toward a Theory of Digital Cities harnesses Henri Lefebvre’s capacious urban thinking and articulation of urban ‘levels’ to showcase where ‘deep maps’ and ‘thick mapping’ might take us. Benjamin Fraser argues that while disciplinary frictions still condition the potential of digital projects, the nature of the urban phenomenon pushes us toward an interdisciplinary and digital future where the primacy of cities is assured.

FraserUrbanCulturalStudies

Dr. Fraser is also author of Toward an Urban Cultural Studies (Palgrave McMillan series in Hispanic Urban Studies 2015). Blending Urban Studies and Cultural Studies, this book grounds readers in the extensive theory of the prolific French philosopher Henri Lefebvre. Appropriate for both beginners and specialists, the first half of this book builds from a general introduction to Lefebvre and his methodological contribution toward a focus on the concept of urban alienation and his underexplored theory of the work of art. The second half merges Lefebvrian urban thought with literary studies, film studies and popular music studies, successively, before turning to the videogame and the digital humanities. Benjamin Fraser’s approach consistently emphasizes the interrelationship between cities, culture, and capital.

TwarkSocialJustice
Jill Twark, ed., Envisioning Social Justice in Contemporary German Culture (Camden House Studies in German Literature, Linguistics, and Culture 2015). Social-injustice dilemmas such as poverty, unemployment, and racism are subjects of continuing debate in European societies and in Germany in particular, as solutions are difficult and progress often comes slowly. Such discussions are not limited to opposing newspaper editorials, position papers, or legislative forums, however; creative works expound on these topics as well, but their contributions to the debate are often marginalized.
This collection of new essays explores how contemporary German-language literary, dramatic, filmic, musical, and street artists are grappling with social-justice issues that affect Germany and the wider world, surveying more than a decade’s worth of works of German literature and art in light of the recent paradigm shift in cultural criticism called the “ethical turn.” Central themes include the legacy of the politically engaged 1968 generation, eastern Germany and the process of unification, widening economic disparity as a result of political policies and recession, and problems of integration and inclusivity for ethnic and religious minorities as migration to Germany has increased.

Contributors: Monika Albrecht, Olaf Berwald, Robert Blankenship, Laurel Cohen-Pfister, Jack Davis, Bastian Heinsohn, Axel Hildebrandt, Deborah Janson, Karolin Machtans, Ralf Remshardt, Alexandra Simon-López, Patricia Anne Simpson, Maria Stehle, Jill E. Twark.

April 14, 2015. German Film: Lola Rennt. Bate 1009, 5-8pm.

Hosted by German 2 students, Emily and Felicia!

–CRAFT DAY
Sunday, 19 April, beginning at 5:30 p.m. and then again on Wednesday, 22 April at the same time.
German club members will be meeting at Anthony Razov’s place to make
crafts for sale. All proceeds will go to support German Club
(did I mention we’re planning events already for next year–including OKTOBERFEST)?
Come lend a hand.
Email Anthony for address/directions:
razova14@students.ecu.edu

Next Week

–FUNDRAISING (Crafts and German books–for learners of all levels)
Volunteers need to help raise money for German Club by staffing a table featuring
crafts and German-language books for sale.
Thursday, 23 April, 9am-3pm at Wright Plaza
Contact Anthony to volunteer: razova14@students.ecu.edu

–FACTORY TOUR
Interested in touring a local German-owned and operated company,
in this case PAS GmbH (Providing Appliance Solutions Corporation)?:
Tuesday, April 28th, from 10:15 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The maximum number of participants is six students.
Contact Dr. Jill Twark at twarkj@ecu.edu if you are interested in going!

April 8, 2015. Inaugural Lecture of an ECU Classical Student Association

PersianWars

Classical Studies Association
Inaugural meeting -April 8, 2015
Presentation by Dr. Anthony Papalas

We began the night with a presentation on “The Ionian Rebellion” by Dr. Anthony Papalas. To show his support for Classical curriculum, and in particular to the CSA itself, Dr. Papalas stated that “This meeting serves as a statement to people that trivialize the humanities.” He described the importance of a Classical education in today’s society. In past generations, Classics received much admiration and praise. It was pretty standard for college students to receive some sort of Classical training while at school. Now, however, it is not that popular. But that doesn’t mean that Classics in not relevant in today’s world. A degree in Classics shows prospective employers and professional schools that the applicant is dedicated and studious. It is also one of the top degrees that acclaimed law schools look for in applicants.
After this, Dr. Papalas lectured on the Ionian Rebellion. To help lay the groundwork for his argument, Dr. Papalas emphasized the culture and history of Ionia, the area centrally located on the western shore of Asia Minor. Greek cities located in Asia Minor are some of the best preserved sites for archaeology, even compared to those of European Greece. Also, many of the first great Greek thinkers and innovators were from Ionia. Around 500 B.C., the Ionians revolted against their ruler, the king of Persia, of which they had been made a part for 50 years. Dr. Papalas explained the various reasons for the rebellion, and the malicious role of Aristagoras in causing Ionian-Persian tensions. Nevertheless, the rebellion took hold and played a decisive role in the evolution of democracy, since the new weapon of the moment, the trireme, was so manpower-intensive that it necessitated a “peoples’ war” and led to the rise of democratic regimes. Once the war reached a stand-still, a decisive naval battle at Lade was forced, to end the revolt. The Persians won decisively, and this rebellion created harsh conditions between the Persians and Greeks, a fact that would plague the two nations for the next half century in the Greco-Persian Wars.

submitted with our thanks by Jacob Parks

MLA on FL Enrollments: Tongue-Tied Nation

Chronicle

March 23, 2015
By Michael D. Gordin

In mid-February, The Chronicle reported the results of a study by the Modern Language Association about foreign-language enrollments in the United States. Let’s just say that something would be rotten with the state of Danish, if American institutions actually offered that language (which they generally don’t).

After 20 years of growth, enrollments in foreign-language courses fell 6.7 percent between 2009 and 2013. Not all languages were hit equally hard. Spanish is still the most frequently studied foreign language in the United States — its enrollments are higher than all others combined — with French in second place. Yet even Spanish has declined. Meanwhile, American Sign Language has moved up to third, displacing German.

These trends are not unique to America, but they do seem to concentrate in Anglophone nations. The educational systems of other countries encourage the study of foreign languages — at the very least, buckling down on English training, essentially compulsory in pre-university and university education in many nations. Yet those people who by accident of birth are born speaking what has become a global language have apparently ceased to see the utility or the desirability of knowing how to speak or read any other tongue. In October 2013, The Guardian reported that the number of British universities offering degrees in modern foreign languages had declined by 40 percent over the previous 15 years, and the trend is accelerating.

» Read more

Destruction of Nimrud by Isis

Daily Reflector
By Sharieka Breeden
March 10, 2015

Recent attacks on ancient archeological sites by the Islamic State add a layer of horror atop an already terrible toll inflicted by the terrorist group, East Carolina University Department of Anthropology staff said Monday.

According to The Associated Press, the destruction of the nearly 3,000-year-old city of Nimrud in Iraq is part of the Sunni extremist group’s campaign to enforce its interpretation of Islamic law by purging ancient relics they say promote idolatry.

Reports indicate that the group bulldozed sites at Nimrud on Friday. They also released video of fighters smashing artifacts in the Mosul museum, and explosions and bulldozers hit Hatra, another ancient site near Mosul, on Saturday.

Iraq;_Nimrud_-_Assyria,_Lamassu's_Guarding_Palace_Entrance

» Read more

AP Stories

ISIS Video of the Destruction

March 21, 2015. NCCA Spring Meeting @ WFU.

SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 2015
WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY
BENSON 409
WINSTON-SALEM, NC

9:30 Registration (Parking)

10:00 Maura Heyn, UNCG, Til Death Do Us Join: Provincial Portraiture in the Roman World

10:45  John Stevens, ECU, Doctus Vergil: 11 Lines That Lay the Foundation of Rome

11:30 Business Meeting

12:00 Lunch (Lunch Reservation Form due March 13)

1:00 Rebecca A. Sears, WFU, Musicians, Instruments, and Musical Documents in Roman Egypt

1:45 Robyn Le Blanc, UNC-CH, The Importance of Being Greek: Gods and Heroes in Roman Palestine

Two Way Immersion Programs

Pitt County Schools is launching a dual language immersion program at Belvoir Elementary School in the fall, where 48% of students are native Hispanic speakers. The program, with rotating instruction in Spanish and English, will be offered to all incoming kindergartners with parent approval.
Pitt County Schools World Language Coordinator, Ann Borisoff, says research shows there are scholastic benefits to bilingual instruction. “What happens is that a different part of the brain is accessed when you are working with a bilingual situation. Actually, learning in a lot of cases goes a lot faster and students obtain the same or better results on academic achievement tests as do their monolingual peers,” Borisoff.

»» WNCT Story

(Last year’s post from 3/21/14):
Pitt County Schools is doing a feasibility study on two-way immersion programs to start in 2015-16. In such programs the entire curriculum is taught partially in Spanish and partially in English. Prof. Ann Borisoff who has just completed a dissertation on this subject was featured in an article in The Daily Reflector on March 4, discussing the benefits of such an approach in Pitt County where schools like Belvoir Elementary are 48% Hispanic.
Borisoff said that not only do all the students become bilingual and biliterate, but achievement improves and students develop cross-cultural competence. Data from programs such as the dual immersion program in Greene County have shown that students in such language immersion programs not only learn the standard curriculum despite the language challenges, but actually perform equal or better on grade level tests than their mono-lingual peers. A sample classroom might be an equal mix of native-Spanish and native-English speakers on an alternate day schedule in which the same curriculum is taught exclusively in Spanish one day and in English the next.