April 18, 2015

Fallon Publishes Research on African Languages

Paul D. Fallon, Associate Professor of Linguistics in the Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication, published his chapter “Coronal ejectives and EthioSemitic borrowing in Proto-Agaw” in the Selected Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference on African Linguistics, edited by Ruth Kramer, Elizabeth C. Zsiga, & One Tlale Boyer.

Fallon’s paper examines the historical reconstruction of Proto-Agaw (PA, also known as Proto-Central Cushitic), the ancestral mother tongue of the languages Blin, Xamtanga, Kemantney, and Awngi, spoken in Eritrea and Ethiopia. Previous work on Proto-Agaw by David Appleyard claimed that ejective consonants in PA are attributable to borrowings, mostly from neighboring EthioSemitic languages. Expanding his earlier examination of velar (back of tongue) consonants, Fallon argues that coronal (tongue-tip) consonants must also be reconstructed for PA and provides 25 examples of native roots and 19 borrowings, and analyzes 18 other unclear cases. This study contributes to a more precise reconstruction of PA and a deeper understanding of the lexical strata and borrowings between Agaw and EthioSemitic.

The publisher, the Cascadilla Proceedings Project, is both open access online and publisher of library-quality bound printed volumes.

Gupta Presents Paper at International Conference

Surupa Gupta, associate professor of Political Science and International Affairs, presented a paper titled “India, RCEP and the Farm Sector: Challenges and Opportunities,” at the conference on Building Pan-Asian Connectivity, held in Kolkata, India March 10-11.

The conference, organized by the Center on American and Global Security, Indiana University and sponsored by the U.S. State Department, addressed the significance of connecting India and Southeast Asia in order to improve regional security, economic development and environmental sustainability.

Chiang Publishes in American Mathematical Society Journal

Yuan-Jen Chiang, Professor of Mathematics, publishes a joint article “Paying Tribute to James Eells and Joseph H. Sampson: In Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of Their Pioneering Work on Harmonic Maps” in the Communications section of the April issue of the Notices of American Mathematical Society, 2015.

Foss Presents Paper on Oscar Wilde

Professor of English Chris Foss presented a paper, “‘He is so ugly that he might have made the King smile’: Disability and Materiality in Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Birthday of the Infanta’” at the annual meeting of the Nineteenth Century Studies Association, held this year in Boston, Massachusetts on Saturday, March 27.

Foss explored how reading Wilde’s fairy tale as a critical rewriting of Charles Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop invites readers to (re)experience littleness/disability from within the context of Victorian freak show dynamics. Dickens’s novel is the story of how a very beautiful and impossibly good 13-year-old girl, Little Nell, is hounded to her grave by the ugly, deformed dwarf Daniel Quilp; conversely, Wilde’s story is about an ugly, deformed dwarf whose tragic death is hastened by a very beautiful and surprisingly cruel 12-year-old girl, the Infanta.

Overall, in spite of his own aversion to sentimentality in general, and to Dickensian sentimentality in particular (Wilde once quipped, “One must have a heart of stone to read the death of Little Nell without laughing”), Wilde encourages a sincerely sympathetic response to his dwarf, not only drawing him as a kind and gentle soul but actually positioning him in the role of true lover.  While the dwarf’s sad fate may seem to foster a sense of hopelessness about the general cultural detachment from (if not actual delight in) the dehumanization of freaks/human oddities, Wilde’s fairy tale remains a significant text for its powerful representation of the terrible cruelty inherent in the nondisabled abjection of the disabled body as an undesirable and, ultimately, disposable thing.  What is more, Wilde shows himself to be a writer fully aware of his own role as manipulator /showman/exploiter of his characters who asks readers both to recognize his authorial complicity in the consumption of pain but also to acknowledge their own complicity in this as readers/spectators/consumers.

Gaines’s French Article Appears in International Journal

An article by Professor Emeritus of French Jim Gaines has been published in the international journal Papers in French Seventeenth Century Literature, vol. 42, no. 82.

The article ,”Les FauxMoscovites : ouverture intellectuelle ou quasi-turquerie?” deals with one of the first French comedies to portray Russians and its implications for European diplomatic thought.

LePine’s Newest Play Being Staged at Theatre J in Washington, D.C.

Kristen LePine, adjunct professor in UMW’s Department of Theatre & Dance, will have her newest play Cracked Pots staged at Theatre J in Washington, D.C. on Monday, April 13 at 8 p.m.

Cracked Pots examines mental illness and treatment through three interconnected stories that span over 100 years. In 1887, journalist Nellie Bly fakes insanity to investigate the treatment of women being kept in a lunatic asylum. Sixty years later, her story finds its way into the hands of a twelve year old girl, Kit, whose brother has been abandoned in a mental health institution. In the present, Katherine has to face her fears and prejudice about mental illness in order to help her grandson.

LePine has an MFA in Dramatic Writing and has had her plays presented, developed and commissioned by Active Cultures, the Hub Theatre, Inkwell, Intersections Art Festival, the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, Roundhouse Theatre’s First One-Minute Play Festival, Primary Stages, The Source Theatre Festival, Spooky Action Theatre, Studio Theatre and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. She is a company member at the Hub Theatre, and her play Leto Legend will have its premiere production at the Hub in the summer of 2015.

A free event, presented as part of the 2015 Locally Grown: Community Supported Art Festival

Time: 8-10 p.m.
1529 16th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

Rowley Presents at American College Dance Association’s Conference

UMW’s Theater & Dance Department was represented by faculty member Roxann Rowley and four UMW students at the 2015 American College Dance Association’s Conference, held March 11-14 at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island. The festival provides the opportunity for faculty and students to participate in workshops, classes, performances and lectures all geared to compliment dance and arts education.

“The national dance festival provides the venue for students and faculty to engage in three days of performances, workshops, panels, and master classes taught by instructors from around the region and country. The conferences also provide the unique opportunity for students and faculty to have their dance works adjudicated by a panel of nationally recognized dance professionals in an open and constructive forum.”

Rowley taught/presented three dance classes, two modern technique and a contact improvisation class. She also presented artistic work that represented UMW’s ever growing dance culture. Her choreography “Blink,” was adjudicated and received feedback from a panel of prestigious artists. Along with presenting work, she was able to participate in classes and workshops given throughout the conference, as well as meet and connect with other faculty within the field.

The University of Mary Washington has a growing dance culture on campus, with the number of students that participate in the dance clubs and activities on campus growing in attendance each year. By attending The American College Dance Festival, Rowley represented the UMW dance culture and development. Participation in the conference is great exposure for UMW and also helps to enrich the diverse culture surrounding the art form on campus.

Attendance to The American College Dance Association’s conference was largely due to the generous support from University of Mary Washington’s Friends of Dance Alumni Association and The University of Mary Washington Faculty Development Supplemental Grant.

Biology Professors Publish Paper in Virginia Journal of Science

Deborah O’Dell, associate professor of biological sciences, and Andrew Dolby, professor of biological sciences, have had their paper, “A Comparison of Techniques Measuring Stress in Birds,” published in the Virginia Journal of Science.

This paper was co-authored with  former UMW Biology students Michael A. Carlo, Abigail Kimmitt, Ellen Bikowski and Katherine R. Morris

Rochelle Presents Paper At Conference

Professor of English Warren Rochelle presented “Here We Are, Here We Should Be: An Examination of the Rhetoric of GayRetellings of Fairy Tales,” at the annual conference of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association in New Orleans in April 2015.

Al-Tikriti Presents Paper on Ottoman Scholar Kâtip Çelebi

Nabil Al-Tikriti, associate professor of history and American studies,  delivered a paper, “An Ottoman View of World History: Kâtip Çelebi’s Takvîmü’t-Tevârîh,” to the 1st International Kâtip Çelebi Research Symposium on  Friday, March 28. This symposium was organized by Izmir Kâtip Çelebi University (established 2010) in Izmir, Turkey. This was an invited presentation.

Nabil Al-Tikriti Explains Takvîmü't-Tevârîh TextIn this paper,  Al-Tikriti provided historical context and analysis of Kâtip Çelebi’s Takvîmü’t-Tevârîh, a chronology, summary, and attempted reconciliation of ancient and Islamic history completed in 1649 C.E. Kâtip Çelebi (d. 1657), the namesake for this recently established Turkish state university off the Aegean coast, was a prominent 17th century Ottoman scholar who is widely considered the foremost representative of “secular” scholarship in his era. In addition to this work, Kâtip Çelebi is renowned for completing the most detailed encyclopedic catalogue of Islamicate manuscripts prior to the 20th century, the most advanced Ottoman world geography text of its time, and roughly 20 other historical, geographical, and political texts.

The work Al-Tikriti presented, Takvîmü’t-Tevârîh, was a very popular text, with at least five translations (Latin, Italian, French, Arabic, Persian), 45 known manuscript copies, and three continuations. In 1733 the first Ottoman publisher, the Müteferrika press, published over 250 copies of this text for sale throughout the empire. 

With this text, Kâtip Çelebi appears to have set out to reconcile all known calendars of the ancient world, offering a chart of five prominent calendar systems and comparing their respective dating systems. He also chronicled what he considered the most important events of the pre-Islamic world, and provided an annual calendar of events in the post-Islamic world up to his own day. After providing charts of Ottoman sultans, grand viziers, judges, prominent elites, and other figures, Kâtip Çelebi closed with his own theory of history and dynastic continuity, which bears some resemblance to the theories of the prominent pre-modern historian and sociologist, Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406).