Chocolate for Food Day!

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Hugo Chavez Ayala

October 24 is nationally designated as Food Day—a day to examine how to improve our diets, our foods, and food policies—and Washington College this year is taking on a sweet subject: Chocolate. Hugo Chavez Ayala, co-founder of Agrofloresta Mesoamerica, will discuss cacao cultivation and how the choices we make as consumers of chocolate can affect the people, landscape, and cultures of the countries that grow cacao.

The event at 6:30 p.m. in Hynson Lounge is free and open to the public and will be followed by a chocolate tasting.

Ayala will explain the logistics of cacao cultivation and how the agroforestry system where it grows can have positive social and environmental impacts. He will also discuss the difference between mainstream versus artisanal chocolate, and how the consumer choices can make a difference in the producing countries.

Ayala is an agronomist with a master’s degree in sustainable rural development. After working in academia for several years, he launched Agrofloresta to prove the thesis that it was possible to have a sustainable cacao business in Southern Mexico. Currently, Agrofloresta is working on its second cacao season, exporting fine flavor cacao to the U.S. and Europe, and is exploring the sustainable trade of other products, while benefiting more than 200 farmers with better prices and capacity building.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Environment & Society and the Student Environmental Alliance.

 

Talking About the Tax Man

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Vanessa Williamson

Vanessa Williamson, whose new book  Read My Lips: Why Americans Are Proud to Pay Taxes  argues that Americans view paying their taxes as a moral and civic responsibility, will visit Washington College on Oct. 30 to discuss her work.

The program at 5 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall, is the final installment in this semester’s Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs. It is free and open to the public.

A Fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings, Williamson studies the politics of redistribution, with a focus on attitudes about taxation. Her work challenges the conventional wisdom that Americans hate taxes, instead positing that Americans view taxpaying as a moral obligation, a sign that one is a contributing member of the community and the nation. Many worry that some people are shirking their tax responsibilities and that government uses their money to benefit the elite few rather than the public interest. Ironically, Williamson argues, the depth of the American civic commitment to taxpaying makes the failures of government, perceived and real, especially potent frustrations.

Williamson is also the author, with Harvard professor Theda Skocpol, of The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism, which examines how the Tea Party pushed the Republican Party farther to the right. The book was named one of the 10 best political books of the year in The New Yorker. Her other work includes examinations of the political origins of the state Earned Income Tax Credit, the electoral effects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the conditions in which voters have supported state tax increases, and the factors predicting protests against police brutality.

Williamson has testified before Congress and appeared on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” and Al Jazeera America. She has written in a variety of outlets, including a recent op-ed on Donald Trump’s non-payment of taxes in the Sunday edition of The New York TimesTeen Vogue piece on the defense of democracy in America, as well as for The Atlantic, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and her hometown newspaper, The Sacramento Bee. Her work has also been cited by The Economist, the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and on National Public Radio, among other sources.

Williamson previously served as the Policy Director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She received her Ph.D. in Government and Social Policy from Harvard University. She has a master’s degree from NYU’s Institute of French Studies, and received her B.A. in French language and literature from NYU.

Established in 1990, the Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs sponsors lectures, symposia, and visiting fellows, student participation in models and conferences, and other projects that bring students and faculty together with leaders experienced in developing public policy. It has hosted journalists, political activists, foreign policy analysts, diplomats, military commanders, and government officials of both national and international stature. Christine Wade, professor of political science and international studies, is its current curator.

 

Mashups, Anansi Trio Headline College Concert Series

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The Mashups

The second half of Washington College’s Fall 2017 concert series begins Oct. 25 with the Mashups, closing out with Anansi Trio on Nov. 2.

Each performance will be in Hotchkiss Recital Hall at the Gibson Centre for the Arts and begins at 7:30. Tickets are $20 (adults), $15 (non-WC College Students/Seniors over age 65/WC faculty and staff), and $12 (1782 Member). WC students and youth 17 and under are free.

On October 25, The Mashups bring their passion for genre bending to the College with a concert that mixes Beyonce with Bizet and couples Porter with Puccini. They break all the rules while taking the audience on an adventure through opera to jazz to musicals to Motown and back again. The Mashups are a trio: Julia Chalfin, who loves opera and the big stage, has made a name for herself in Munich, Germany, as an opera-cabaret performer with original shows such as The Birth of a DivaA Taste of AmericaSopranos-more than just a pretty voice! and Ladies, who Brunch, which she wrote, produced and performed. Cory O’Niell Walker is a diverse performer, composer, and designer who performs in many genres including opera, musical theater, art song and dance. He has also been seen at the Philly Fringe Festival performing his own art-song-based theater works, and he is executive artistic director and co-founder of the Philadelphia-based Artsong Repertory Theater Company, and also performs regularly with The Opera Company of Philadelphia and The Mendelssohn Club Chorus. Matt Brower, a lecturer in piano at Washington College since 2015, is a Philadelphia-based pianist, coach, and educator who brings vision and sensitivity to a variety of genres, from classical piano, chamber music, opera, and art song to musical theatre and jazz.

Anansi Trio

On Nov 2, Washington College welcomes Anansi Trio, a group of like-minded musicians drawing from a wide range of musical influences. Taking their name from a West African trickster spirit associated with storytelling, the trio uses the language of jazz as their starting point. Adding elements of Afro-Cuban and Indian music as well as other global traditions, their sound is deep and diverse. Using percussion, saxophones, and acoustic bass they create a music that’s unique and experimental yet remains accessible. With a strong rhythmic approach and a focus on improvisation, Anansi Trio hopes to put their own stamp on the American legacy known as jazz. The Anansi Trio features Mark Merella (drums), Matt Beltzer (saxophone), and Larry Melton (bass).

Tickets can be purchased with a credit card at washcoll.edu/concert, or with cash or check at the door. Inquiries can be sent to Debbie Reed at concertseries@washcoll.edu or 410-778-7839.

Hopeful Take on Climate Change

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Peterson Toscano

On Friday, October 20, experience the artful, playful, outrageously funny, and deeply moving storytelling craft of Peterson Toscano in his comedic performance, Everything is Connected: A collection of stories, most weird, many true. Connecting issues and ideas to bizarre personal experiences, literature, science, and even the odd Bible story, Peterson transforms right before your eyes into a whole cast of comic characters who explore the serious worlds of gender, sexuality, privilege, religion and environmental justice.

This performance will take place in Decker Theatre at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

As someone concerned with human rights, Toscano has taken on climate change as his primary focus as he considers LGBTQ, faith, and comic responses to the climate crisis. He does not dole out the typical gloom and doom, shame, and guilt global warming messages. Instead, he infuses his work with hope. He challenges audiences to pursue community building as he helps them connect climate change to everything from immigration to a cup of coffee. He curates the Climate Stew Website and is the host of Citizens’ Climate Radio To learn more about Peterson Toscano, visit his website.

For information about the event call Jamie Frees at 410-810-7162 or email  jfrees2@washcoll.edu. This event is sponsored by the Center for Environment & Society at Washington College, the Cater Society of Junior Fellows, Intercultural Ambassadors and Office of Intercultural Affairs, Student Government Association, Student Environmental Alliance, EROS, TaNGO, the Department of Sociology, the Department of Theatre and Dance and the Mid-Shore Maryland Chapter of PLFAG.

Wil Haygood, Patrick Henry Scholar, to Speak Oct. 18

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Patrick Henry Scholar Wil Haygood

In 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated, American cities burned, protesters marched at the Democratic National Convention, and black athletes at the Mexico City Olympics brought world-wide attention to the struggle for racial justice. Amid this tumult, 27 young athletes at the segregated East High School in Columbus, Ohio, achieved triumph, winning state championships in basketball and baseball while also sending their debate team to the state finals.

This inspiring story of determination and pride, and the cultural history that surrounds it, is the basis of the upcoming book by author and journalist Wil Haygood, who will discuss Tigerland: The Miracle on East Broad Street on Wednesday, Oct 18 at 5:30 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall, on the Washington College campus. The program, sponsored by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience and the Rose O’Neill Literary House, is free and open to the public.

Haygood is the Starr Center’s 2017-18 Patrick Henry Writing Fellow. A cultural historian and award-winning author of seven nonfiction books, he has published biographies on Sammy Davis, Thurgood Marshall, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., and Sugar Ray Robinson. Perhaps most famously, Haygood is the author and co-producer behind the 2013 film The Butler, the story of Eugene Allen, an African American butler who served under eight U.S. presidents, from Truman to Reagan, and received—along with Mr. Haygood—a VIP invitation to President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

While researching his new book, Haygood interviewed most of the athletes, coaches, and students from East Columbus High who were grateful to share their stories. But beyond their individual stories is an epic story of life in a segregated northern city whose schools did not willingly integrate until mandated by a 1979 Supreme Court decision. Haygood relates how the student athletes were inspired by Martin Luther King’s visits to the city, and, in the aftermath of his murder, felt determined to prove that they could overcome racism and segregation through athletic and scholastic competition. Haygood, who grew up in Columbus, remembers watching the teams play, and how their accomplishments united the community.

“The story reached out to me from my past,” he says. “It keeps asking me to dig deeper and deeper into the fabric of our nation’s past. Although it’s about winning against stiff competition, it’s more than a sports book: it’s a cultural history of our country. Writing the book and bringing it across the finish line at the Starr Center means a lot to me. This story is part of the American experience that needs to be told.”

In addition to finishing his book, Haygood will teach a spring semester nonfiction writing workshop focused on memoir offered through Washington College’s English department. He will also host a viewing of The Butler, and lead a student field trip to Allen’s former D.C. row house in November.

Haygood is on sabbatical from Miami University in Ohio, where he serves as Broadway Visiting Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence in the Department of Media, Journalism and Film. He has received fellowships from John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Alicia Patterson Foundation. Before joining the Miami faculty, he was a Boston Globe correspondent and Washington Post reporter.

While in Chestertown, Haygood resides in the restored 1730s-era Patrick Henry House. Washington College acquired the Patrick Henry Fellows’ Residence in January 2007 through a generous gift from the Barksdale-Dabney-Patrick Henry Family Foundation, which was established by the Nuttle family of Talbot County, direct descendants of the patriot Patrick Henry.

Launched by the Starr Center in 2008, the Patrick Henry Fellowship aims to encourage reflection on the links between American history and contemporary culture, and to foster the literary art of historical writing. It is co-sponsored by the Rose O’Neill Literary House, Washington College’s center for literature and the literary arts. The Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship’s funding is permanently endowed by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, with further support provided by the Starr Foundation, the Hodson Trust, and other donors. For more information on the Center and the Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship, visit http://starrcenter.washcoll.edu.

 

 

Lit House Publishes New Chapbook

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Lia Purpura

Washington College’s Literary House Press will launch a new letterpress chapbook titled Scream (or never minding), a Pushcart Prize-winning lyric essay by Baltimore writer Lia Purpura. A celebratory event will be held on Thursday, October 19 at 4:30 p.m. at the Rose O’Neill Literary House, featuring a reading by the author. This event is free and open to the public.

In the LHP publication of Scream, Purpura’s essay is illustrated by Stuart Cawley, whose artistic renderings return both dimension and power to objects—exactly what Purpura enacts with her prose. Her essay explores the unsavory origins of our comfort and convenience—animals driven mad in industrial farms, art that had once been an intimate glimpse into a creator’s vision, objects mass-produced only to be thrown away. All of these are now a “gesture performed over and over, on coffee mugs, tote bags, key chains, and cards, it’s much reduced, quieted so as to be understood. Seeing the scream again and again, we agree not to.” Purpura forces the reader to breach the distance between the dignity of identity and the objectification inherent in a capitalist system, a cause that this publication embodies: every copy of Scream is handmade in the letterpress studio at the Rose O’Neill Literary House, where tools do indeed become “a hand’s extension.”

Purpura is the author of eight collections of essays, poems, and translations. She has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, and the Fulbright Foundation, in addition to four Pushcart Prizes, a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, and multiple residencies at several artists’ colonies including MacDowell. Her work has been published and anthologized widely. She lives in Baltimore, where she is currently the Writer in Residence at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She also teaches at the Rainier Writing Workshop in Tacoma, WA.

Scream (or never minding) will be released in two unique editions. The deluxe letterpress edition ($185), which is letterpress-printed and hand-bound in hardcover, will be available at select independent bookstores and direct from the publisher. The standard paperback edition ($15), which is digitally-printed and perfect bound, will be available for purchase through Small Press Distribution, select independent bookstores, and direct from the publisher.

Please contact the Literary House Press (llusby2@washcoll.edu) if you are interested in a review copy.

Washington College Names Andrew Oros Associate Dean for International Education

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Andrew Oros

Washington College Provost Patrice DiQuinzio has appointed Andrew Oros, professor of political science and international studies, to a new position of Associate Dean for International Education. In this role, Oros will help coordinate and develop strategy for the growth in international education initiatives at the College, as well as enhance the experience of international students at Washington College and that of domestic students travelling abroad.

“To provide the best support possible to both our international students on campus and all of our students who want to study abroad, we have created the position Associate Dean for International Education, to be filled by a faculty member,” DiQuinzio said. “I’m delighted that Dr. Andrew Oros has accepted this position. Andrew has an international reputation as a scholar, many contacts in international politics and related fields around the world, and the leadership skills we need to continue and expand on the great work that our Global Education staff accomplishes.”

Oros has taught at Washington College since 2002 and accepted the three-year term for the new position in September. He has directed the inter-disciplinary international studies major since 2011, worked closely with students and the Global Education Office on study abroad and other international opportunities, and advised dozens of exchange and matriculated international students. He has also served on and chaired the College’s standing committee on international education. Earlier this year Oros was promoted to professor of political science and international studies, and as associate dean he will continue to teach one course per semester in his home department.

The total number of matriculated (non-exchange) international students at the College has grown from 28 to 131 in the past five years. Together with roughly 30 visiting international exchange students each year from Washington College’s 29 partner institutions around the world, the student body at Washington College is approximately 10 percent international.

This fall’s incoming class includes 15 matriculating international students from three countries and 18 visiting exchange students from eight countries. Students from China make up 70 percent of the international students that Oros will work with

Sibel Ahi, Assistant Director of the Global Education Office (GEO) and herself once an international student in the United States, leads GEO’s efforts to enhance the international student experience at Washington College.

Washington College domestic students also are increasingly involved in learning abroad. In addition to semester-long exchange opportunities with the College’s 29 partner institutions around the world, a growing number of faculty are leading students on short-term abroad programs over the summer and winter breaks. In the past five years, several new programs have been developed, including travels focused on plant biology in Nicaragua, ethno-musicology in Cuba, and programs to Greece, Israel, and India. These new programs supplement longstanding summer break programs such as the Kiplin Hall Program in the UK’s Lake District to gain insights on English literature, and the Summer Teaching Experience in Tanzania. In the last academic year alone, 128 students participated in short-term abroad programs and 39 in semester-long exchange programs.

“I look forward to working with Dr. Oros on strategic issues such as a comprehensive review and assessment of our current study abroad offerings, improving career and grad school advising for international students, and strengthening alumni connections with international graduates and graduates living and working outside of the U.S.,” DiQuinzio said.

Oros’s scholarly work on Japan, most recently his new book, Japan’s Security Renaissance: New Policies and Politics for the 21st Century (Columbia University Press), has garnered international attention. This spring and summer alone he has lectured on or spoken with experts about Japan and East Asia security issues in Manila, Hanoi, Berlin, Stockholm, Leiden, Paris, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Perth, Canberra and Sydney. Insights from his research have been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, and other media globally.

 

I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well: A Reading by Professor James Allen Hall Oct. 9

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James Allen Hall

James Allen Hall, whose book of lyric personal essays, I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well, has been called “an extraordinary work full of honest and compelling moments,” will be the next featured speaker in the Sophie Kerr Lecture Series on Oct. 9. Hall, the director of the Rose O’ Neill Literary House and an associate professor of English at Washington College, will read from his work starting at 5 p.m. at the Lit House. The event is free and open to the public.

In April 2017, Hall published I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well, a book of lyric personal essays which won the Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s Essay Collection Award, judged by Chris Kraus. Lauded by Rigoberto Gonzáles for its unflinching examination of “a journey through youth troubled with violence and homophobia,” the essays “are testaments to perseverance shaped by the acceptance of a flawed self, love for a complicated family and an unflappable wit.”

Also a poet, Hall is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation of the Arts, the University of Arizona Poetry Center, and others. His first book of poems, Now You’re the Enemy (University of Arkansas Press, 2008), won awards from the Lambda Literary Foundation, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the Fellowship of Southern Writers.

He has received fellowships to attend the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and has been guest faculty in the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and at the Frost Place Conference on Poetry. His work has appeared in Best American Poetry 2012, A Public Space, The American Poetry Review, Boston Review, New England Review, Story Quarterly, Bennington Review, and in other national literary magazines and journals.

For more information on the literary events offered this year, visit the English department website or view the annual Literary Events Calendar brochure.

Goldstein Lecturer to Discuss African Elections

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Yolande Bouka

Yolande Bouka, who studies politics, the dynamics of war, and gender and security in Sub-Saharan Africa, will visit Washington College October 3 to speak on the rise and “contagion” of electoral authoritarianism in East Africa. The lecture, sponsored by the Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs, begins at 7 p.m. in Hynson Lounge, and is free and open to the public.

Bouka, a postdoctoral fellow at Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, examines the deceptive appearance of free and fair elections in many African countries. International observers have lauded the organized and peaceful manner in which elections now take place in many African countries, where blatant fraud initially characterized multi-party elections. What is less often discussed, however, is how ruling parties determined to hold on to power have fine-tuned their tactics to abide by superficial criteria of “free and fair” polls on elections day.

As monitoring tools, international missions, and electoral processes have become more sophisticated, autocratic regimes have moved from overt rigging to mimicking democratic rituals and behaviors while manipulating elections to strengthen their hold on political power. Increasingly, savvy heads of states have been able to leverage democratic institutions to promote durable dictatorships. Interestingly, these authoritarian trends have had a tendency propagate from one country to the next in Africa. Between 2015 and 2017, all five states of the East African Community held elections and enacted similar legislation and restrictive policies before and during their elections.

Bouka is co-director of studies of the RVI Great Lakes Course and the Research Team Leader in RVI’s Women in Politics in Kenya research project. Between 2014 and 2016 she was a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in the Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis Division, focusing on the Great Lakes Region. She has published numerous reports and articles on politics and security in Burundi and Rwanda. In the course of her research, she has also conducted extensive fieldwork in conflict-affected countries, including Burundi, Kenya, Namibia, and Rwanda. She holds a PhD in international relations from the School of International Service at American University.