The Cinema Project writes that “Jonathan Schwartz is an American experimental filmmaker who has been making poetic non-fiction 16mm films for over a decade. In both his travel films and his more diaristic work he draws influence from certain traditional approaches to observational filmmaking as well as from mentors Saul Levine and Mark LaPore. The soundtracks to his films are stitched together from rich textural field recordings and subdued synch-sound that slides above the images.”
Cohen Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies James Waller has been invited to give the keynote address at the 20th Commemoration of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide against Tutsi at the University of Notre Dame’s Notre Dame Conference Center on April 26. The conference theme is “Remember – Unite – Renew,” and the event focuses on Rwandans and friends of Rwanda who wish to remember the people who perished during the 1994 Genocide and learn from the past and “strive to build a bright future focused on education, self-reliance, good governance, and great vision.”
“It’s always an honor to be invited to participate in commemoration events such as these, particularly on the 20th commemoration of the Rwandan genocide,” Dr. Waller said. “To join the Rwandan community as it remembers, and continues to heal, from the tragedy of 1994 is a very powerful reminder of the important work that we all have ahead of us in genocide and mass atrocity prevention.”
You can read some of Dr. Waller’s moving words from the conference, as reported in The Observer.
The River Dell High School Select Choir (New Jersey) performed Assistant Professor of Music Heather Gilligan’s composition, “I’ll See You in the Morning,” in Carnegie Hall as part of the New York Choral Festival on March 18. Dr. Gilligan took the text for the piece from a children’s book of the same name by Mike Jolly, a British author. “The book evokes a calm, reassuring atmosphere with its warm illustrations of the moon and stars, snuggling animals, and sleeping children,” Dr. Gilligan explained. “I wanted to capture the same aura through the use of lush, comforting harmonies and a relaxed tempo. I also wanted to highlight the sense of deep love that a parent feels for a child, as this text does. As the mother of a two-year-old, I certainly understand these feelings.”
The performance opportunity came about through Dr. Gilligan’s membership in the Boston Composers’ Coalition, a group of seven composers dedicated to the creation, performance, education, and dissemination of new American music.
The NYC-based chamber ensemble the Bateria Trio has commissioned Music Lecturer Ted Mann’s “Fantasy” for flute, viola, and double bass. “Fantasy” received a Composers Voice Award from Vox Novus in January 2012, and the Bateria Trio then premiered the piece at the Jan Hus Presbyterian Church in Manhattan.
“When the Bateria Trio made its Carnegie Hall debut on January 27, 2014, I was honored that they included “Fantasy” on their program,” Mann explained. “I composed the piece for the trio’s exciting instrumentation. The five-note set found in the first measure was the impetus of the piece. It ends as it began, only in retrograde, emphasizing and then de-emphasizing the C# along the way.”
Judge Patricia Whalen has spent most of her professional life seeking justice for victims of those who abuse their power. Currently, she serves as a special advisor to the War Crimes Chamber at the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and from 2007 through 2012, she was an international judge of the country’s War Crimes Chamber—the busiest war crimes court in the world. This semester, she’s teaching a class in International Law and Genocide here at Keene State, and 24 fortunate students are learning from her vast experience and knowledge.
Her advocacy started back in the 1970s, when Judge Whalen, her husband, and baby moved to Vermont, where she befriended a neighbor with an abusive husband. When the neighbor became pregnant, her husband beat her so badly she lost the child. While Judge Whalen was with the neighbor at the hospital, the husband shot himself in the foot, and his wife got up from her bed to take care of him. “That one night taught me everything I needed to know about domestic violence,” Judge Whalen recalled.
Shortly after that incident, she entered Vermont Law School to gain the legal skills to fight domestic violence. When she graduated, she took a job at Vermont Legal Aid, though friends advised her that was a dead end for her fledgling career. Undaunted, she used her new position to help create a statewide domestic violence network that caught the attention of Governor Madeline Kunin, who in 1990 appointed her magistrate to Vermont’s new Family Court system, settling child-support disputes.
Soon after, Judge Whalen attended an organizational meeting of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ). As an active member of that group, she spoke on family law at international conferences, and even organized the Afghan Women Judges Judicial Education Project to bring women jurists from Afghanistan to visit Vermont and Washington, D.C., so they can see firsthand the workings of an orderly, independent judicial system.
In 2012, Associate Professor of Sociology Brian Green took a group of Honors students to Bosnia and Herzegovina and arranged for them to visit the War Crimes Chamber. Usually only graduate students from law school or programs studying conflict dispute or court systems visit this court, but Judge Whalen was happy to meet this group of undergraduates from near her Vermont home. “They had visited a conflict-reconciliation program in northern Bosnia,” she recalled. “Because they had that experience, and had gotten to know people in the village, they understood how the war had affected the villagers, and they could see the problems that arise when people who were fighting need to live together again. … They were very sharp kids and I enjoyed them. I invited them back to my house for an evening. I was very impressed.” And at her home that evening Judge Whalen learned about Keene’s Holocaust and Genocide Studies program.
When she got back to the US, Dr. Green contacted her to ask if she’d be interested in teaching in the Holocaust and Genocide and Criminal Justice programs. She met the HGS faculty and found that the program could use someone who could clarify the legal issues around the issues they study.
As a result, Judge Whalen is teaching her course on International Law and Genocide this semester, bringing a new perspective to HGS. “I come from a completely different background than the other faculty members in HGS,” she explained. “The program primarily focuses on prevention and understanding why perpetrators do what they do. Judges, on the other hand, are concerned about fair trials, and prosecutors are concerned with stopping perpetrators. The law focuses on evidence, evidence, evidence and doesn’t really care about why. The fact that Hitler may have been a failed artist is irrelevant in the eyes of the law.”
“She brings a very different lens to the study of genocide,” said Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies Paul Vincent. “We agonize over what leads people to commit atrocity, but she doesn’t concern herself with why a perpetrator did what he or she did—the judicial system just cares about whether they can be prosecuted under the law.”
“We’re very fortunate to have her here; you’d expect someone with her background to be teaching a course in international law at Harvard or Yale,” noted Cohen Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies James Waller.
Her students are finding her enthusiasm and her fresh approach very engaging. “Each week, Judge Whalen has students post news articles online, and then we discuss how they relate to the field of international law,” said senior and HGS major Chloe Nixon. “This is helping us understand how the law affects far more than we see, and it gives us an opportunity to use the terms and statutes she is teaching us. This is a skill that is helping me see the world in a new way. … The best part of her class is how she is able to enhance concepts or legal definitions with real-life examples from her work as a judge.”
“Judge Whalen’s course has been an amazing experience,” explained senior and HGS major Johanna DeBari. “She has so much experience she is willing to share with us. … She is clever, and funny, which makes the classroom experience all the more enjoyable. I am doing a research project on the implications of a case coming out of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for the prosecution of rape as a tool of genocide, and she allowed me the opportunity to present my research to my class as a part of our curriculum. She makes this course a beneficial experience for all of us.”
The legal issues in genocide and war crimes prosecution are involved and convoluted, as are the reasons why some people are brought to justice and some are not. “My students need to understand how complex the issues are,” explained Judge Whalen. “A lot of people react by simply asking, ‘Why doesn’t the law do something about this?’ But now the students are learning that there are no simple solutions—it’s very complicated.”
“Her class is certainly broadening my perspective of the legal world; I’ve never been exposed to international law in so much depth,” said DeBari. “The assignments require us to form thoughtful opinions, so we are increasing our skills as critical learners.”
“This has been my first exposure to law, and I am finding it really interesting and exciting,” Nixon said. “Judge Whalen has shown us that law is always changing and that international law in particular is a fast-growing and fast-paced field. Because of her passion and interest, I am developing an interest in a career in law.”
And stimulating her students’ interest in the law should have an impact on curbing genocide and mass atrocity in the future. “International law is something that tomorrow’s legal professionals will have to develop,” Judge Whalen explained. “It’s just in the toddler stage now, if you think of the Nuremberg trials as giving birth to something. These current students are the ones who are going to see it through to a more developed stage. … The 21st century already is starting out as a very aggressive and unsettled time. And the world is smaller; its citizens—at least theoretically—are looking at global solutions to everything, from telephones to law. So [our current students] will be on the cutting edge of all of this.”
And Judge Whalen is certainly preparing her students for that cutting edge. “I want them to understand that you really can fight mass atrocity, and that there are a lot of ways of doing that.”
During the first week of February, members of the KSC student chapter of the American Choral Directors Association traveled to the 2014 Eastern Division ACDA conference in Baltimore, Maryland. The students were awarded a Student Conference Fund grant and raised additional funds to attend this event. The chapter’s vice president, Kaitlyn Hart, a junior choral music education major and clarinet player, was awarded a Richard Kegerris Collegiate Scholarship, which gave her free conference registration.
The conference offered morning and afternoon sessions covering such topics as repertoire reading, 10 steps to achieving a successful choir, choral rehearsal techniques, and how to sing overtones. Keene State College Assistant Professor of Music Sandra Howard presented one of those sessions, titled “Developing Vocal Techniques in the Middle School Choral Rehearsal.” “My session focused on vocal techniques, or the varied ways we use our voices as singers,” Dr. Howard said. “I led attendees through specific vocal warm ups, and then we analyzed and sang through middle school choral repertoire to determine what techniques each piece can address in the choral curriculum.”
Choirs from different colleges and honor choirs from different schools performed three concerts each day in two beautiful Baltimore churches, St. Ignatius and Old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
“This conference is all about teaching us how to be future choral teachers and music educators,” explained Amanda Williams, the KSC chapter’s PR representative. “The different sessions expand our knowledge as music educators. Some of the sessions include choral reading sessions, how to correctly write a resume, and how to properly develop boys’ voices. We will be able to apply the information we learn into our future classrooms.”
Poet and lecturer in English Jeff Friedman’s sixth book, Pretenders, has just been published by Carnegie Mellon University Press. The book combines poems and prose pieces. His poems, mini stories, and translations have appeared in many literary magazines, including American Poetry Review, Poetry, New England Review, Poetry International, Quick Fiction, North American Review, Missouri Review, Ontario Review, Antioch Review, Agni Online, Big Bridge, 100-Word Story, Prairie Schooner, Sentence, New England Review Digital, Vestal Review, Plume, Flash Fiction Funny, The New Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish Poets, and The New Republic.
Other books by Jeff Friedman include:
Working in Flour (Carnegie-Mellon Univ Press, 2011)
Black Threads (Carnegie-Mellon Univ Press, 2007)
Taking Down the Angel (Carnegie-Mellon Univ Press, 2003)
Scattering the Ashes (Carnegie-Mellon Univ Press, 2003)
The Record Breaking Heat Wave (BkMk Press-UMKC, 1986)
Assistant Professor of Art Jonathan Gitelson is exhibiting his two-channel video installation, “Staring Contest” in the Chicago Photography Center’s November exhibit, Expanding the Frame, a show of video art. On they day following the show’s opening, Prof. Gitelson also participated in a panel discussion on the relationship between photography and video art.
In September, Prof. Gitleson had a solo exhibition, Halfway between Somewhere and Nowhere, at the University of Vermont, where he attended the opening reception, met with and critiqued advanced photography students, and gave a lecture on his work.
English Lecturer Alice Fogel was recently named New Hampshire’s poet laureate. She begins her five-year term in January 2014 and will serve as an ambassador for all poets in New Hampshire and work to heighten the visibility and value of poetry in the state.
Her books include Be That Empty (2008), a national poetry bestseller, and Strange Terrain (2009), on how to appreciate poetry without “getting” it. Her newest book, Interval: Poems Based upon Bach’s Goldberg Variations, won the Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature, and is forthcoming from Schaffner Press.
Fogel joins an impressive list of former New Hampshire poets laureate that includes Walter Butts, Patricia Fargnoli, Marie Harris, Donald Hall, Cynthia Huntington, Jane Kenyon and Maxine Kumin.
Music Department Professor Emeritus and award-winning composer William D. Pardus has been awarded the Director’s Prize in the International Composers’ Competition, sponsored by the Longfellow Chorus of Portland, Maine, for his composition, Five Songs of the Sea, (for soprano voice and piano) which was part of a project of setting 10 Longfellow poems to music, with varied types of accompaniments.
As reported in Newsline, Interim Provost Melinda Treadwell will be assuming her new post as vice president for Academic Affairs at Antioch University New England in January. While the College searches for a new provost, President Ann Huot has appointed Dean for School of Sciences and Social Sciences Gordon Leversee to serve as our interim provost.
“Dr. Leversee brings significant experience and insight to this important post having served in the role several years ago.” Dr. Huot explained. “He will serve from January 3rd until the new provost is hired and on board (July 1st is the anticipated start date). Please join me in thanking Gordon for stepping up to serve in this very important role.”
Biology Professor (and 2012’s Distinguished Teacher) Susan Whittemore has received a $69,169 NH-INBRE grant from Dartmouth College (with federal funding from the National Institutes of Health) for her project, Identification of Signaling Pathways Affected by Early Exposure to Prevalent PAHs. The study will allow Dr. Whittemore and her student researchers to continue their investigation into phenanthrene (PHE) and pyrene (PYR), two polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that are known pollutants present in human milk and cord blood. Despite the fact that these pollutants are an environmental and human health concern, little study has been conducted on the developmental effects of these compounds, a gap that Dr. Whittemore’s study should help fill. Continue reading Dr. Whittemore Receives NH-INBRE Grant→
Dr. Patrick Dolenc, professor of economics, has been named KSC’s 2013 Distinguished Teacher. The Keene State College Alumni Association presents the award each year to recognize excellence in teaching, encouragement of independent thinking, rapport with students, and effective student advising. Dr. Dolenc becomes the 43rd recipient of this distinctive honor.
Assistant Professor of Communication Jamie Landau is this year’s recipient of the Lambda Award, given by the Caucus on LGBTQ Concerns of the National Communication Association. The NCA is made up of researchers, educators, and professionals dedicated to the study of communication. The Lambda Award recognizes extensive service to the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community, notable campus activism, successful teaching of LGBTQ issues, and successful advising of LGBTQ students.
Chemistry Professor and David F. Putnam Chair Paul Baures has been awarded a $65,000 grant from the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Petroleum Research Fund (PRF) to conduct research on a significant problem that plagues the production of natural gas and oil.
Gas hydrates are flammable solids that contain naturally occurring gases inside an ice shell. They form wherever water and gas are present together in cold temperatures and high pressures, such as at the bottom of the ocean or in the arctic permafrost. They also form readily in oil pipelines during the production or transport of petroleum, where they greatly increase the danger to the oil workers and stymie production efforts. Continue reading Prof. Baures Receives Grant to Make Oil Pipelines Safer→