Students experience joys, intensity of physical theater in Moscow
For 14 SUNY Oswego students, winter break brought a crash course in physical theater and Russian culture during an inspiring—and intense—three-week trip to Moscow.
Henry Shikongo and Jonel Langenfeld of the college’s theater faculty led the group on the visit to the Moscow Art Theatre, home to rigorous training in acrobatics, fencing, unarmed combat, stage movement, voice, improvisation and more.
“I just wanted to facilitate that and make it available to anyone who was inspired to go,” said Shikongo, who as a graduate student at the American Repertory Theater at Harvard spent three months studying at the Moscow Art Theatre. “It is very rigorous training, which the students just experienced.”
The theater school met 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. At night, the students were immersed in the artistic life of Moscow. “They were exposed to as much as possible in a very short amount of time,” Langenfeld said.
One of the students, junior philosophy and theater dual major Nicholas Cocks, said that since he and other travelers who are in the cast of the spring student honors production, “Circle Mirror Transformation,” have returned to rehearsals at Oswego, the Moscow experience has been evident.
“I was able to apply a lot of the techniques I learned in Moscow in that (play),” Cocks said. “Obviously, it is not something you master right away, you have to keep working at it and working at it.”
Langenfeld said it is no accident the students came back stronger, both physically and in theater skills. The students’ eyes opened wide, for example, when they were introduced to acrobatics, but they kept at it. By the end of the course, every single student was able to do a shoulder stand.
“They forget that it’s pain, because they’re engaged,” Langenfeld said. “It’s very empowering. The pride and self-value they had from that was amazing.”
‘Make it a game’
Moscow was the home of the famed Constantin Stanislavski, the late actor and director whose complex theories and techniques revolutionized acting in the early 20th century, evoking deep, believable and disciplined performances. Stanislavski co-founded the Moscow Art Theatre in 1897.
Cocks recalled how his early attempts at etudes—rehearsed improvisations where an actor tries to reach an authentic emotional place for the character he or she is playing—seemed to fall flat with his instructors. For his final attempt, he took the risk to engage his audience as if they were witness, step by step, to the rise and fall of his love affair with a girlfriend.
“They loved it,” Cocks said. “I was very proud of that moment because I was able to overcome being vulnerable on stage.”
Shikongo said Russian instructors and actors work extraordinarily hard, but certainly without ever reducing rehearsal to a grim and plodding stereotype.
“In Russia, they really focus on the process,” Shikongo said. “Russians are focused on doing things step by step and just trying. Develop your will and your spirit and—probably the most important thing—have fun, make it light, make it a game. The more they’re sweating, the more they laugh. ‘Smile! Smile! Why so serious?’”
The SUNY Oswego group had plenty of fun, attending numerous performances, including one in which a Moscow Art Theatre instructor appeared. They walked at least four miles a day around Moscow, Langenfeld said.
The state-funded theaters in Moscow “are full every night of the week, from children to the elderly,” she said.
PHOTO CAPTION: Challenging rehearsals—SUNY Oswego students attending classes at the Moscow Art Theatre over winter break found the curriculum—acrobatics, fencing, unarmed combat, stage movement, voice, improvisation and more—rigorous but rewarding.
Mon Feb 23, 2015
Quest evolving, continuing 'to showcase excellence'
Organizers of Quest, the college’s daylong symposium celebrating students’ faculty-mentored scholarly and creative activity, have made moves this year to encourage heightened planning and rigor for the presentations.
That does not, said coordinator Norm Weiner, mean that the college will take all the fun out of Quest.
“We’re looking for quality, not quantity,” said Weiner, emeritus professor of sociology. “The fun is still there, but Quest is meant to do two things: To showcase excellence and to share scholarly and creative activity on campus.”
At Quest on April 15, multimedia presentations, scholarly posters, debates, exhibitions, performances, academic awards ceremonies and other events all will take place in the Lorraine and Nunzio Marano Campus Center and in the Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation, Weiner said.
Coordinators have set a deadline of Friday, March 13, for submission of a basic outline of each project, presentation and event, using a form that feeds a spreadsheet. Organizers will use such data as presentation titles, presenters’ names, departments and so on to provide information for the printed and online programs.
Organizers, including associate coordinator Denise DiRienzo, director of the Center for Experiential Learning, and chair Roger Taylor of the psychology faculty, set a deadline of mid-February for prospective presenters to fill out space requests.
The Quest team also has encouraged the appointment of departmental representatives to vet student work before submission, and to schedule as many presentations as necessary within each department’s two 45-minute sessions.
Departments may request additional sessions on a space-available basis, Weiner said.
Fri Feb 20, 2015
Grant aims to reduce obesity in children in U.S., abroad
SUNY Oswego recently earned a highly competitive grant from 100,000 Strong in the Americas to train students here and in Brazil to implement a health-and-wellness program to fight childhood obesity in both countries.
Teaming with a Fayetteville doctor and SUNY Ulster and its nursing program, SUNY Oswego’s health promotion and wellness faculty and students soon will begin a study-abroad exchange with Brazil’s Faculdades Integradas de Patos.
In the latest round of grants from 100,000 Strong—President Barack Obama’s signature education initiative for the Western Hemisphere—the proposal put together by SUNY Oswego, “Promoting Study Abroad Focusing on Health and Nutrition,” was one of only seven recipients nationally. The Coca-Cola Foundation supported the Innovation Fund grants.
Amy Bidwell of the health promotion and wellness faculty partnered with Cleane Medeiros of biological sciences and Kimberly Armani, director of the SUNY Oswego Metro Center in Syracuse and its Active Aging and Community Engagement Center, to put the program together.
The $25,000 grant will help bring Brazilian scholar Wendell Soares Carneiro to Oswego and SUNY Ulster in March for six months, bring eight Brazilian students here in May and send eight Oswego and Ulster students, as well as Elizabeth Keida of the health promotion and wellness faculty, to the partner college in Brazil’s state of Paraiba.
The student-and-faculty team will help implement in both countries a wellness program developed by Fayetteville weight-loss physician Wendy Scinta, who wrote the book “BOUNCE: A Weight-Loss Doctor’s Plan for a Happier, Healthier and Slimmer Child.”
The grant’s implementation of the program will focus on behavioral elements that trigger unhealthy eating as well as on nutrition and exercise for obese children ages 11-12, Bidwell said.
“We are planning recruitment and intervention in Oswego County through physicians’ offices,” Bidwell said. “The (college) students are going to learn this program and learn how to go into the community to promote and start it up.”
Scinta is developing online modules for the 16-week weight-loss program, Bidwell said. The SUNY Oswego students accepted to assist with implementing the program are in for a clinically rich internship and study-abroad experience.
“Obesity is a stronger predictor of increased disease and morbidity than smoking,” Bidwell said. “We will be teaching children how decisions they make today will affect them two to five years and more down the road.”
Childhood obesity affects 17 percent of children and adolescents in the United States, triple the rate from just one generation ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control. A 2013 study in the International Journal of Obesity Supplements reported obesity escalating sharply in Brazil among all children’s age groups.
Bidwell said a research study—looking at such factors as parents, grandparents, early education and socioeconomic status—would be part of the program.
“I have specifically studied obesity in college-age people, focusing on physical activity,” she said. “This brings me into a younger population.”
Besides encouraging health and nutrition, SUNY Oswego had a variety of goals in applying for the 100,000 Strong grant: partnering with the Brazilian university as a long-term vehicle for study-abroad exchange, enhancing students’ global cultural awareness and a new opportunity for beneficial community engagement.
Thanks to students and to faculty such as Alfred Frederick, Shashi Kanbur and Medeiros, SUNY Oswego already has developed rich relationships with a number of federal universities in Brazil—including undergraduate research opportunities through Oswego’s Global Laboratory—though the “Promoting Study Abroad Focusing on Health and Nutrition” program would be the first with Faculdades Integradas de Patos, Bidwell said.
PHOTO CAPTION: Combatting obesity—Amy Bidwell (left) and Elizabeth Keida of the health promotion and wellness faculty meet in Mary Walker Health Center to talk about a program to help obese children in Oswego County and in northeast Brazil learn about nutrition, exercise and behavioral triggers for unhealthy eating. Thanks to earning a highly competitive grant from 100,000 Strong in the Americas, Oswego and SUNY Ulster, along with a Brazilian university, will recruit college students to help implement the 16-week program in both nations.
Fri Feb 20, 2015
Talented goaltender Bridget Smith also brings A-game to academics
In this issue’s Spotlight, meet senior chemistry major and women’s hockey goaltender Bridget Smith, an Honors Program student-athlete who has received significant academic recognition as well as leading Division III nationally in saves percentage in the net for the nationally ranked, playoff-bound Lakers (18-6-1 overall and 12-5-1 in the ECAC West, where they are seeded third and hosting a playoff game on Saturday).
Q. Where are you from?
A. A town called Hamburg, about 20 minutes south of Buffalo. I went to a private school in Buffalo called Nichols that had one of the only girls’ teams in the area. Then I played in Toronto for a year after high school. It’s probably the top (juniors-level) league in Ontario province right now.
Q. Why did you choose SUNY Oswego?
A. I came on my visit specifically for hockey. We had gotten about 2 feet of snow the day I was here, and I love the snow. I saw the (Marano Campus Center) rink, and that was a big selling point. I met with some advisers and some teachers and liked what the school had to offer and the small class sizes, so here I went!
Q. How did you become interested in the sciences?
A. I’ve always done better in math and science. I started as a bio major, and when I didn’t like some of the classes they had to offer, I met with my adviser, Casey Raymond, and changed to chemistry. I got into it because I enjoy the math side of it, and I’ve learned a lot. But I think my real interest is in anatomy and physiology and human biology, so I’m most likely going pursue graduate studies in that ... eventually.
Q. What do you think of your professors at SUNY Oswego?
A. It all depends on their teaching style and how you are as a learner. I’ve definitely had some influential and extremely helpful teachers along the way. If there’s a conflict, between class and practice, class comes first—I have a class where I need to hop off the ice early on Tuesday and Thursday. But if we have to miss (classes) for games, I’ve never had a teacher that was anything but accommodating. I always make sure to make up my work or schedule a time to make up a test or any assignments I missed.
Q. How do you balance Honors work with playing an NCAA sport?
A. A lot of time management and a lot of stressing out. (Laughs.) I’m usually always at the rink or doing work of some sort. I’ve been doing research lately with professor Raymond. We’re doing starch conversion in cooked sweet potatoes, comparing quantities and qualities of sugars at different temperatures. It’s for my chemistry capstone and Honors thesis.
Q. Off-ice, what do you think of SUNY Oswego students?
A. I’ve met a lot of great people here. One of my best friends, we met here, and she lives 15 or 20 minutes away from me at home. Small world! Of course, my teammates comprise the majority of my relationships here.
Q. How close of a relationship do you have with your teammates?
A. It’s been a family mentality from the minute we walked on campus. We hear a lot about teams where seniors don’t talk to freshman and things like that, but that’s never been our mentality. From the moment I came here, juniors and seniors were accepting of new players, and I think that makes a huge difference in the motivation of the team and the morale, and what drives the team toward the end of the year. You know you have the support.
Q. What do you think of your coaches?
A. Coach (Andrew) Lazarro is new; he started in January. He’s been nothing but good for us, and I think he’s taken a lot of things off Coach (Diane) Dillon’s shoulders. Coach Dillon has been nothing but a great coach over the past four years. … Her 100th win and (the team’s performance) the past few seasons have shown that she’s a winning coach.
Q. How tall are you? Isn’t it difficult for someone so tall to cover all the low shots?
A. I’m 6-foot. As opponents see it, one of my biggest weaknesses is probably the 5-hole (low between the legs), but at the same time I see my height as an advantage because it’s something you can’t teach ... it’s a natural gift.
Q. Does a goalie need to be in as great shape as skaters on offense or defense?
A. People are fooled. They think goaltender is an easy position and we don’t do much. We had a few girls dress as goaltenders over winter break, and they came off the ice and said, “I don’t know how you guys do it!” I think they gained a new level of respect. It’s a lot of thigh muscle and quick movement, quick feet, good hand-eye coordination.
Q. Did you ever foresee leading Division III in saves percentage?
A. I’ll never forget that the captain my freshman year, Kathryn Sbrocchi, texted me last year and said, “I always thought you were going to be the best goaltender in D-III your senior year.” I read it over and over before this season started. This year is almost a dream come true. I owe a lot to my team for playing well in front of me and helping me get there. It’s been a remarkable season for us so far.
Q. Is a national title the team’s goal?
A. Yes, absolutely! It has been and will be for the rest of Laker history, I believe.
Q. What do you think of the many community service projects our athletes do?
A. It gives us a chance to give back to the community around us. We (especially) love our Big Sister-Little Sister program—the individual relationships we’ve built with our little sisters. We reach out to youth hockey in the area; it’s to inspire girls to stick with ice hockey and to give them something to look forward to, so that they aspire to play college hockey someday. We go bowling. We worked one of their tournaments. They come to see us. It’s a lot of fun.
Q. I understand you have an interesting trip coming up this summer.
A. It’s called 4K for Cancer. I’ll be biking from Baltimore to San Diego over 70 days. One of my really good friends did it last summer, and watching her journey inspired me to do it and have an opportunity to give back and to do something that people who have cancer might not be able to do. I definitely think it’s going be quite the trip.
Q. What do you plan to do after the bike trip?
A. My Dad said, “Seventy days is a long time, and you’ve got a lot of thinking to do. So you’d better know by the time you get back.” (Laughs.) Definitely coaching eventually, but I want to go to grad school or some type of professional school, I’m just not sure what yet.
Q. What else can you tell us about your family?
A. My relationship with them over the past four years has grown exponentially. I’ve grown closer with my parents and my older brother Tom. They’re at every home game and some away games. My Dad drove up to Plattsburgh on his birthday to watch us play. They sit in the same spot every game and I look for them every game. They’ve been awesome.
Thu Feb 19, 2015
Next December's graduates face deadlines
Seniors who expect to graduate in December should file to graduate by April 1 for their names to be listed in the commencement program.
Degree forms are filed online via myOswego or in the Registrar’s Office, Room 307 of Culkin Hall.
Next step: senior check forms
Senior check forms are mandatory for graduation. These forms are generated by filing to graduate and are sent to students’ advisers. Seniors who have filed to graduate should next meet with their advisers to do the senior check form. Senior check forms for students graduating in December are due back to the Registrar’s Office by May 1.
Thu Feb 19, 2015
Steve Abraham of the School of Business faculty is the lead author of the opening chapter in volume 21 of the book series “Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations,” edited by David Lewin and Paul Gollan and published by Emerald Publishing Group. The chapter is titled “Changing Union Representation Election Voting Regimes: What Can We Learn?” Abraham’s co-authors are Lisa A. Schur and Paula B. Voos. In 2010, the National Mediation Board decided to base Railway Labor Act representation election outcomes on a simple majority of those voting, rather than on the majority of all eligible voters, as had been required earlier. This was widely expected to make it easier for unions to win rights to recognition in the railway and airline industries. The authors found that the current voting process is fairer than the old one, but it has not resulted in the expected tide of union success.
An article by David Andrews of the economics department, titled “Natural Price and the Long Run: Alfred Marshall’s Misreading of Adam Smith,” appears in the current issue of the Cambridge Journal of Economics. It challenges Marshall’s interpretation of Smith’s “natural price” as a long run price, arguing instead that natural price must be understood as a reproduction price, the price that is just sufficient to maintain an ongoing supply of a commodity to the market.
Art faculty member Amy Bartell, assistant director of Tyler Art Gallery, traveled to Washington State University this week to work with students in the Compton Union Building art gallery five hours a day as part of the university’s “It Starts Now” campaign. The effort aims to promote commitment to a culture of acceptance and understanding, particularly as it concerns people often discriminated against based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The collage Bartell and her team are creating will be unveiled at a reception Friday. She formerly created art pieces at Washington State that hang in the recreation center and a lounge at the union. Bartell has done murals with students at other institutions, as well, including Wells College, pictured.
Mallory Bower, associate director of career services, was one of 20 professionals selected from around the country to make a presentation at the National Association of Campus Activities 2015 conference, held last week in Minneapolis. Her topic was “It Takes a Village: ‘Raising’ Employable College Graduates Through Involvement.” Because many hiring managers report that college graduates are unprepared for the workforce and do not come equipped with the skills businesses need, Bower explored using campus involvement as a way for students to gain experience and transferable skills and prepare for the workforce. Participants came away with practical applications based on the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ research on the “Candidate Skills/Qualities Employers Want.”
Shashi Kanbur, professor of physics, is co-author of a paper, titled “Morphology and Metallicity of the Small Magellanic Cloud Using RRab Stars,” that has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Main Journal, a leading refereed journal in the field published by Oxford University Press. The lead author is Sukanto Deb and other co-authors are H.P. Singh and Subhas Kumar, all of the University of Delhi.
John MacDonald of the School of Business faculty received a $2,000 grant from the Robert P. Ashlock Memorial Fund. The fund’s purpose is to help with the development of risk management and insurance programs in higher education. At Oswego, the funding will assist in producing a graphic novel relying on the interdisciplinary efforts and talents of graphic arts, creative writing and risk management and insurance students and faculty. The project aims to show a variety of high school students and insurance industry personnel just how SUNY Oswego produces talented people for the future. The Robert P. Ashlock Memorial Fund is provided through the Griffith Insurance Education Foundation. It is, in turn, associated with The Institutes, which is affiliated with the Commercial Property and Casualty Underwriters Association.
Amy McHugh of the communications studies department was invited, along with two students from her “Intercultural Communication” course, COM 422, to speak in December at the Collaborative Online International Learning Symposium at Kansai University in Osaka, Japan. She spoke about the collaborative project and how it affected pedagogy and outcomes, while the students, Alyson Costanza and Marissa Sarbak (pictured with McHugh, far left, and Kansai University students), discussed how their intercultural collaboration affected them.
Carolyn S. Bridgers, 84, who formerly worked for the Oswego Alumni Association, died Feb. 4 in North Carolina.
Wed Feb 18, 2015
Oswego new host for prestigious Metascience journal
With K. Brad Wray, professor of philosophy, taking over as co-editor of the journal Metascience, the Springer publication will call SUNY Oswego its new headquarters.
The journal publishes scholarly reviews of books in the fields of the philosophy, sociology and history of science.
“It’s a great honor,” said Wray, a noted scholar in the philosophy of science who begins a five-year term as co-editor. “It is a well-respected journal. We’re in contact with scholars in the field around the world, primarily Europe, Canada and the United States, as well as Australia.”
Metascience’s former editors, from Greece, invited Australian scholar Luciano Boschiero to join Wray as co-editor.
Boschiero and Wray wrote in a Metascience editorial, “We were greatly honoured but also overcome with trepidation. Metascience has become an important source for keeping abreast of the most recent books published in the history, sociology and philosophy of science. And the number of reviews published in the journal each year is prodigious. Further, it has been run with thoughtfulness and great care since its beginnings in 1984.”
Wray said the three-times-yearly printed journal publishes about 40 book reviews per issue, made available for purchase individually, in advance, at the Metascience website.
In the past, Wray has done a book review for Metascience, and in 2012 published a special piece there on Thomas Kuhn, one of the 20th century’s most influential and revolutionary science philosophers. Wray is the author of a highly regarded book titled “Kuhn’s Evolutionary Social Epistemology.” In addition to his teaching and scholarly work, he is the college’s coordinator of assessment.
Philosophy instructor David Lambie has taken the position of assistant editor of Metascience, Wray said. Thanks to support from Provost Lorrie Clemo and philosophy chair Craig Delancey, the journal now calls SUNY Oswego its home, Wray said. There is an editorial board of scholars around the world that provides advice on content, and the editors’ chief contacts at Springer are in the Netherlands.
Tue Feb 10, 2015
Bruce Altschuler, emeritus professor of political science, is the author of the lead article in the fall issue of PEP Report. The journal is published by the Presidents and Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. Titled “Presidential Nostalgia,” the article analyzes “All the Way,” the recent Broadway play, for its historical accuracy and its use of the great person theory of the presidency.
Richard Cocks of the philosophy department is the author of the article “Are Friends Electric?: Machines, Emotions, and the Importance of Rule Breaking,” which appears in People of Shambala. In the article he argues that philosophers who are attracted to the notion that human beings are machines or robot-like tend to be individuals of low emotional intelligence and are themselves robot-like in their absence of obvious affect. Such people extrapolate from their own impoverished phenomenology (subjective experience of their own consciousness and states of mind) to cover all people. He describes one person who went so far as to claim that emotions do not exist. The article supplies reasons why such an ad hominem is appropriate in this instance.
At the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum Joint Center Monitoring Workshop next month at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, Shashi Kanbur of the physics faculty is scheduled to make the closing presentation on “Analysis of Variable Star Data” with H.P. Singh of the University of Delhi. The two are lead principal investigators on the project. Kanbur is pictured among participants in the January meeting of the two Indo-U.S. Joint Centers on Variable Stars and Astronomical Transients at the University of Delhi.
Chemistry faculty member James Pagano, director of Oswego’s Environmental Research Center, recently won a $150,000 grant to assist the Wisconsin Department of Health in analyzing samples for a study titled “Wisconsin’s Assessment of Healthy Consumption of Great Lakes Fish.” Wisconsin, thanks to a federal Environmental Protection Agency grant, aims to design and implement a program to boost the effectiveness of fish advisories among people living along the southern shore of Lake Superior by clinically intervening to facilitate individual dietary changes and corresponding reduction in exposure to toxic contaminants from eating fish. The college’s Environmental Research Center, long active in assessing Great Lakes fish for such contaminants as polychlorinated biphenyls and organochlorine pesticides, will use Agilent 7890 gas chromatographs in the analyses. Oswego is collaborating with Clarkson University, which also will perform chemical analyses as a subcontractor on the Wisconsin grant.
Damien Schofield, director of the human-computer interaction program, in January delivered a course on human-computer interaction to 25 doctoral students of computer science at the University of Calcutta. He also gave a lecture at the Tripura Institute of Technology in India, where he is pictured.
In January, Oswego graduate Julie Schofield, pictured, left, currently in India on a Fulbright Award, and Geraldine Forbes, pictured, right, emeritus distinguished teaching professor of history, presented papers at an international conference in Tripura, India, on the theme “Patriarchy and Gender in Colonial and Post Colonial South Asia.”
Junior Julia Shipley has received one of only three full scholarships awarded this year by Pi Delta Phi, the national French honor society, for summer study at IAU College in Aix-en-Provence in France. The award covers full tuition, lodging, partial board and travel expenses. Shipley is a junior majoring in both French and language and international trade and is participating in the Honors Program.
Mon Feb 09, 2015
Julie Pretzat to be next dean of communication, media and the arts
Julie Pretzat, associate dean of the college’s School of Communication, Media and the Arts, will become dean of the school effective July 1, President Deborah F. Stanley has announced.
“In her nearly 30 years at SUNY Oswego, Dr. Pretzat has distinguished herself through excellence in teaching and mentoring students, extraordinary productivity in the performing arts and, most recently, accomplishments as an academic administrator and campus community leader,” Stanley said in making the announcement.
Pretzat will succeed the founding dean of the school, Fritz Messere, who previously announced his plans to retire at the conclusion of this academic year.
“Having been there for the very start of the School of Communication, Media and the Arts, I greatly look forward to working with my colleagues to fulfill our vision as collaborative trend-setters in crafting and delivering messages though art, music, theater, communication and media,” Pretzat said. “Our students, faculty and staff are among the most visible (and audible) on campus, and my goal is to find ways to support and promote their fine work beyond the college community.”
Pretzat received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006 as well as the Central New York Education Consortium’s Educator of Excellence honor. Her musical accomplishments include organizing and conducting hundreds of performances by the Oswego Festival Chorus and college choirs. She has collaborated with college, community and professional choral, musical theater and opera groups throughout Central New York.
Her institutional leadership positions include co-chairing the 2012 Middle States accreditation review for SUNY Oswego. She chaired Oswego’s music department for six years before becoming associate dean of the new School of Communication, Media and the Arts. In the latter capacity, she created SCMA’s Adopt-a-School program and led development of new interdisciplinary minors.
Appointed to the SUNY Oswego faculty in 1985, Pretzat holds a bachelor’s degree from Smith College, a master of music degree from the University of Michigan, and a doctor of musical arts degree in choral conducting from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.
Sat Feb 07, 2015
Selma march inspires events, dialogue on race and identity
A semester-long program to encourage dialogue about race and identity has offered a welcome mat to those in the college’s classrooms, organizations and initiatives—and to the Central New York community at large—to join the conversation.
“Race. Place. Being.” encompasses performances, speakers, exhibitions, film screenings, panel discussions and other activities focusing on race and identity during 50th anniversary observances of the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. The program seeks to focus attention on the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, the aftermath of apartheid in South Africa and recent incidents in the United States, such as those in Ferguson and New York City.
The themed initiative is coordinated by Amy Bartell of the art department faculty and Patricia Clark, chair of the English and creative writing department.
Born as an art exhibition titled “Apartheid and Identity: Race, Place, Being” taking place from Feb. 19 to March 25 at the SUNY Oswego Metro Center in Syracuse, the effort evolved and broadened to mark other pivotal struggles for civil rights and dignity for black people. Two Syracuse organizations are partnering with SUNY Oswego in “Race. Place. Being.”—Syracuse Stage and ArtRage Gallery.
Weaving together many of the events around “Race. Place. Being.” are large banners, on loan from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, displaying the historic photographs of Rochester native Matt Herron. As a young man, Herron volunteered to document the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s in Alabama and Mississippi for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. SUNY Oswego, Syracuse Stage and ArtRage Gallery each will display some of the banners.
ArtRage Gallery will host dramatic presentations, panel discussions and more during its exhibition, titled “Selma to Montgomery March at 50: Civil Rights Photographs by Matt Herron,” which opened this week and continues through March 28.
Herron, whose now-iconic photographs during the Selma march and other important civil rights events have appeared in a wide variety of publications and presentations around the world, will appear at 7 p.m. March 24 at an Oswego campus venue to be announced, thanks to support from the history department and Artswego.
Other series highlights
The academic-oriented activities of “Race. Place. Being.” at SUNY Oswego kicked off Thursday with a teach-in on the events in Ferguson, New York City and elsewhere, organized by Adrienne McCormick, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In an atmosphere of respectful exchange, the event featured faculty and student presentations on the history and prevalence of racial hatred and intolerance, and activism in higher education.
At the SUNY Oswego Metro Center in downtown Syracuse, a free public reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 19 will key the “Apartheid and Identity” exhibition. Other events there will include a screening of Robert Bilheimer’s film “Cry of Reason” at 7 p.m. March 5 and select poetry and performances at 7 p.m. March 12.
Meanwhile, arrangements are underway to transport dozens of Oswego students to Syracuse Stage’s March 7 performance of “Sizwe Banzi Is Dead,” a play exploring the struggle for human dignity set in apartheid-era South Africa, running from Feb. 19 to March 28.
Bartell and Clark have created a calendar—at oswego.edu/race-place-being—to invite participation in a wide variety of opportunities related to the “Race. Place. Being.” theme, including several Black History Month events.
PHOTO CAPTION: Race and identity—Ruth Perez, a senior finance major, asks a question of presenter Kenneth Marshall, associate professor of history, during a teach-in Feb. 5 in Sheldon Hall ballroom on events in Ferguson and New York City. Faculty, staff and students participated as part of the semester-long “Race. Place. Being.” program.