Sir Roger Scruton on Intellectuals, Conservatism and President Trump

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For many in both Kent and Talbot Counties, Washington College professor Joseph Prud’homme has been a very visible presence in bringing both communities unique public programming in his role as the Director of the Institute for the Study of Religion, Politics, and Culture. So while it wasn’t too surprising that he invited Sir Roger Scruton to Chestertown yesterday, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a big thing. It is.

The reason being is that Scruton is one of those rare endangered species commonly called a conservative intellectual.  Similar to America’s late William F. Buckley, Jr., Sir Roger has reached a similar cultural status in Great Britain for his controversial writing on politics as well as art and music.

The Spy couldn’t resist the opportunity to chat with Mr.Scruton at the Brampton Inn a few hours before his campus visit to talk about a variety of subjects including what many consider to be a war against intellectualism in this country. Sir Roger also shares his thoughts on how the conservative label may also be at risk as the Trump presidency refines the concept itself.

This video is approximately nine minutes in length. For more information about the Institute for the Study of Religion, Politics, and Culture at Washington College please go here

Dancescape Performances at Washington College

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Washington College’s Department of Theatre and Dance, in partnership with SANDBOX, is pleased to present this year’s Dance Minor concert, Dancescape. The concert, on November 17 at 7:30 p.m. and November 18 at 2 p.m., will feature original works in a wide range of dance styles by Washington College students, faculty, and alumni, as well as a special guest performance of Carol Hess’s multimedia LightForest (2017) by the Baltimore Dance Project.

Both events in Decker Theatre at the Gibson Center for the Arts are free and open to the public, and a reception will follow the Saturday matinee on November 18.

LIghtforest

LightForest powerfully brings together experiments with dance, music, photography, technology, and the environment. Its five dancers perform amid a “forest” of tall, narrow vertical screens. Video and still images of forests, shot and edited by Hess at different times over a year, map onto the screens and create lush contexts of natural elements in varying perspectives and scales, placing the dancers within the changing seasons of nature. Timothy Nohe’s evocative sound score intertwines bird sounds sampled from the Cornell Ornithology Lab with rhythmic percussion and strong, resonant, digitally composed sections. Sound travels through the space with the dancers, who each wear a specially designed apparatus that contains an iPod touch and small Bluetooth speaker.

LightForest’s choreographer and composer will also teach a series of interdisciplinary workshops leading up to the show. For more information, please email:sandbox@washcoll.edu.

The performances and workshops of LightForest are made possible by SANDBOX, the Departments of Theatre and Dance, Art and Art History, and Music as well as the Center for Innovation, Research, and Creativity in the Arts at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

 

Film About Laotian Refugee at College Nov. 8

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Safoi Babana-Hampton

Safoi Babana-Hampton, whose award-winning film “Hmong Memory at the Crossroads” follows the story of a Hmong-American from Michigan as he traces his past, will visit Washington College for a screening of her film, followed by a Q&A. Babana-Hampton will join one of her producers, Dan Dapkus, on Nov. 8 at 4 p.m. in Goldstein 100, for the film screening and audience discussion afterward. The event is free and open to the public.

“Hmong Memory at the Crossroads” is an award-winning 2015 production of Michigan State University in partnership with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Humanities Without Walls Consortium, funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Babana-Hampton is the producer, executive producer, writer, videographer, and director.

A former Fulbright fellow and a two-time recipient and Senior Principal Investigator of the UIUC Humanities Without Walls Award, Babana-Hampton is an associate professor of French at Michigan State University. She has also written articles on topics relating to conceptions of multicultural citizenship, the postcolonial condition, historical memory in a global context, interfaith relations, and artistic hybridity in the literary and film productions of French cultural minorities, Moroccan Sephardic literature, and other Francophone literary and filmic narratives from North Africa and Québec.

A synopsis of the film: Liachoua Lee, a Hmong-American from Rochester Hills, Michigan, revisits his past as a former refugee and son of Hmong veterans of the French Indochina War (1946-1954), and of the American Secret War in Laos (1961-1975). He travels to places that carry traces of his personal history and the emotional scars left by the war. Lee’s story begins in Detroit, Michigan, then takes him to France, where he and his family sought asylum before immigrating to America, and ends in an emotional return to the homeland Laos for the first time in 40 years. The film documents Lee’s re-reading of key chapters of his refugee history, re-creating memories of wartime as experienced by the child he was then. The film follows Lee’s journey of remembrance, which brings his personal story into conversation with others’ stories in the Hmong community, American Vietnam veterans, French Indochina War veterans, historians and government officials in the Midwest and France. Click here for more about the film.

College Speaker to Discuss Russian Revolution

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This year’s Conrad M. Wingate Memorial Lecture in History at Washington College will feature Russian scholar Ian D. Thatcher and focus on the historical importance of the revolution and how our understandings of it have changed in the last hundred years. Thatcher, a professor at the University of Ulster, will discuss “From February to October, 1917: Competing Visions of the Russian Revolution,” on Thursday, Nov. 2, at 5:30 p.m. in Litrenta Lecture Hall of the John S. Toll Science Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Thatcher is the author of a biography of Leon Trotsky (2002).  He has also edited several volumes of scholarly essays on late Imperial Russia, the revolution itself, and the first years of Soviet power. He is currently researching Alexander Kerensky and the failed attempt to establish a moderate, Western-style democracy in 1917.

This event is sponsored by the Department of History.

WC-ALL Holiday Trip to Hillwood Estate Museum

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WC-ALL has planned a special holiday trip to The Hillwood Estate and Museum in Washington, DC, on Thursday, December 7. Participants will journey through cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post’s final home to experience the elegant French dining room, efficient and “high tech” kitchen and pantry, and the many personal touches that make Hillwood one of Washington’s most memorable homes.

A detailed self-guided audio tour will give each visitor an up-close and personal view of the formal dining room, two well-appointed libraries, and an entry hall featuring décor from 18th century Imperial Russia and France. A special exhibition, “Spectacular Gems and Jewelry”’, displays some of the finest examples from Hillwood’s collection. Over fifty pieces belonging to Post will tell the story behind some of the remarkable stones and the jewelry into which they were transformed. After touring the mansion and grounds, which will be festively decorated especially for the holidays, a buffet luncheon will be served at the Hillwood Café with time afterwards to browse the museum shop.

The ADA compliant bus will leave Redner’s parking lot on December 7 at 8:15 am and return at approximately 4:30 pm. The mansion has an elevator and benches and chairs throughout for seating. The cost of the trip is $75. for WC-ALL members and non-members alike, and includes the bus ride, self-guided audio tour of the mansion and gardens, luncheon buffet, and driver tip.

Reservations are due by Tuesday, November 21 by sending a check payable to WC-ALL to WC-ALL, 300 Washington Ave., Chestertown, MD 21620. Please include names, phone numbers, and email addresses for all who plan to attend. Questions should be directed to WC-ALL at 410-778-7221.

Gunston Students Sent Balloon to Near Space

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Balloon looking down on Gunston launch team

On Friday, Oct. 20, the Gunston Science and Engineering Club launched our fifth mission to “near space”—the region above where aircraft fly, but below the orbits of satellites. The payload included cameras, tracking devices, and instrumentation to measure temperature and pressure. A weather balloon was used to carry the payload to the stratosphere. The balloon then burst as expected and the payload returned gently to Earth by parachute. The balloon was launched from the Gunston campus and landed near Laurel, Del. a little more than 2 hours later.

The balloon reached an altitude of 19.44 miles, a record high altitude from past missions. The lowest pressure measured was less than 1% of the barometric pressure at the Earth’s surface. Preliminary results indicate that the science payload detected the tropopause with a temperature around -70 degrees Fahrenheit. The balloon was approximately 6 ft in diameter when launched and 20+ ft in diameter when it burst.

Dr. Mariah Goodall and Mr. Tom Chafey led two chase cars that beat the payload to its landing site, enabling them to observed the payload descending on its parachute—another Gunston first. Mr. Dale Wegner, father of Gunston alumni Jay Wegner, set up the tracking for the chase cars and several tracking stations for students who were not part of the chase.

The science and engineering club is led by Alli Webb ‘18 President, Jack Morrison ‘18 Vice President, and Garrett Rudolfs ‘18 Secretary. The Mission Commander for the balloon launch is Brynne Kneeland ‘19. In total, 21 students assisted in preparing the payload, launching the balloon, and recovering the balloon. They divided up into seven teams for different jobs: launch, payload, imaging, science, trajectory, tracking, and recovery. The club mentors are Dr. Ken Wilson and Dr. Mariah Goodall.

Centreville as seen by the Gunston balloon

Kent Island viewed from the troposphere

First Friday: Historical Society of Kent County Presents the “Old Chester River Bridge” 

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Bayly Ellen Janson-La Palme shares her research on the history ice cream in Chestertown at a previous First Friday Lecture.

Join us at the Bordley History Center (301 High Street), on November 3rd at 4 pm, to hear Dr. Bayly Janson-La Palme speak about the history of the “Old Chester River Bridge.” The history of the bridge contains many “ups & downs” and perils along the way. A toll ferry connected Chestertown and what is today Kingstown beginning in 1800.  The crossing was slow — up to an hour — and sometimes dangerous. Work on replacing the ferry with a bridge across the Chester began in 1805; however, the bridge was not fully operational until 1821. To hear the whole story of our beautiful bridge and its predecessors stop in for our First Friday lecture (and enjoy some wine while you are here!)

For more information, visit the Historical Society of Kent County’s website or call 410-778-3499

The current Chester River Bridge at Chestertown on Rt 213. Note the small guard house where the bridgekeeper used to raise the draw bridge.  It is not the first bridge across the Chester at this location.

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School Board to Meet With Facilities Planning Committee

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The Kent County Board of Education is holding a work session with the Facilities Strategic Planning Committee on Monday, November 13 from 4 to 6 p.m.  The meeting will be held at the Kent County Board of Education Administration Building, 5608 Boundary Avenue, Rock Hall.

The regular November monthly Board of Education meeting is also scheduled for November 13, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. There will be a closed session meeting from 6 to 6:30 p.m.

Gunston Sends Balloon into Near Space

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On Friday, Oct. 20, the Gunston Science and Engineering Club launched our fifth mission to “near space”—the region above where aircraft fly, but below the orbits of satellites. The payload included cameras, tracking devices, and instrumentation to measure temperature and pressure. A weather balloon was used to carry the payload to the stratosphere. The balloon then burst as expected and the payload returned gently to Earth by parachute. The balloon was launched from the Gunston campus and landed near Laurel, DE a little more than 2 hours later.

Balloon looking down on launch team

The balloon reached an altitude of 19.44 miles, a record high altitude from past missions. The lowest pressure measured was less than 1% of the barometric pressure at the Earth’s surface. Preliminary results indicate that the science payload detected the tropopause with a temperature around -70 degrees Fahrenheit. The balloon was approximately 6 ft in diameter when launched and 20+ ft in diameter when it burst.

Dr. Mariah Goodall and Mr. Tom Chafey led two chase cars that beat the payload to its landing site, enabling them to observed the payload descending on its parachute—another Gunston first. Mr. Dale Wegner, father of Gunston alumni Jay Wegner, set up the tracking for the chase cars and several tracking stations for students who were not part of the chase.

The science and engineering club is led by Alli Webb ‘18 President, Jack Morrison ‘18 Vice President, and Garrett Rudolfs ‘18 Secretary. The Mission Commander for the balloon launch is Brynne Kneeland ‘19. In total, 21 students assisted in preparing the payload, launching the balloon, and recovering the balloon. They divided up into seven teams for different jobs: launch, payload, imaging, science, trajectory, tracking, and recovery. The club mentors are Dr. Ken Wilson and Dr. Mariah Goodall.