December 21, 2014

McClurken Featured on With Good Reason

An encore presentation from the University of Mary Washington’s Open and Digital Resource Conference, moderated by Jeffrey McClurken, professor of History and American Studies, aired on the “With Good Reason” public radio program from Nov. 29 to Dec. 5.

Audio files of the full program and its companion news feature are available at


Al-Tikriti Lectures on Ottoman Intellectual and Maritime History

On Nov. 14, Associate Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti presented a lecture entitled “Ottoman and Safavid Religious Identities of the 16th Century” to the Philosophy Department at Texas State University, in San Marcos, Texas. In the course of this lecture, Al-Tikriti outlined the effects of the Safavid rise to power on religious identities in both Iran and the Ottoman Empire, as well as its longer term legacies on sectarianism in the Middle East. In addition, he drew parallels with developments which shaped Europe during the same period, pointing out that widely recognized trends experienced during the “Age of Reformation” took place well beyond the regions covered in most Western Civilization textbooks.

On Nov. 15, Al-Tikriti offered the keynote lecture for the Texas State University Phi Alpha Theta Graduate History Conference. During this lecture, entitled “Warrior Knights and Sea Ghazis in an Age of Empire,” Al-Tikriti criticized the narrative of most Western Civilizationtextbooks, which ignores what McGill University’s Professor Giancarlo Casale has referred to as the “Ottoman Age of Exploration.” In doing so, he first described Ottoman patronage of “sea ghazi” activities in the Mediterranean, particularly against the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem. He then elaborated on the Ottomans’ “pivot to Asia,” whereby the imperial strategy shifted focus towards the Indian Ocean, where they successfully engaged with the rival Portuguese. Al-Tikriti thanks his colleagues at Texas State University for making this engaging and productive visit possible.

Hirshberg Presents Paper at UVA Symposium

Dan Hirshberg, Assistant Professor of Religion, recently presented a paper for a symposium at the University of Virginia, which brought together scholars from Bibliographical Studies and Tibetan Studies to discuss the physical aspects of Tibetan books. He presented on the codicology and paleography of Tibetan manuscripts on a panel with Professor Jake Dalton (University of California, Berkeley).

Farnsworth Discusses Elections

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, gave four recent public lectures on the 2014 U.S. and Virginia elections: to the Virginia Business Forum in Richmond, to the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance, to Mary Washington ElderStudy and to the Fredericksburg area Unitarian Universalists.

In addition, Farnsworth appeared in a number of media outlets discussing the results of the recent midterm elections, including the “Washington Post,” the “Richmond-Times Dispatch,” “Talking Points Memo,” the “Virginian Pilot,” “WJLA-TV,” and “WAMU-FM,” the Washington area National Public Radio affiliate.

Abeel Receives Award from NAGC

Laurie B. Abeel, Associate Professor in the College of Education, received an award for her service as the Creativity Network Chair at the National Association for Gifted Children on Nov. 14, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Lester Authors Op-Ed in The Dallas Morning News

Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Emile Lester’s column “Textbooks proposed for Texas schools open can of worms,” was recently published in “The Dallas Morning News.”

In addition, he co-authored “Texas textbooks set to mislead our students in American history, government” that was recently published on “” and “Education a casualty of Texas textbook wars” in the “Longview News-Journal.”

Greenan Lectures at University of Virginia

April Greenan, Assistant Professor of Music, recently lectured on music and medicine in the University of Virginia School of Nursing. She reported on controlled studies of the application of music in combating certain cancers, dyslexia, and Alzheimer’s Disease and identified specific musical properties that the studies indicate are effective in treatment and that produce statistically significant results.

Professors Hold Panel to Discuss U.S. Military Policy in Syria and Iraq


Map of Shared Boarder Between Syria and Iraq

Map of Shared Boarder Between Syria and Iraq

Professors Nabil Al-Tikriti, Ranjit Singh, Jason Davidson and Eric Bonds held a panel discussion on Nov. 11 entitled “OUR NEWEST WAR: UNDERSTANDING U.S. MILITARY POLICY IN IRAQ AND SYRIA.”  The panel participants provided an overview of this policy that, since September, has included bombing missions and missile strikes in both countries to “degrade and defeat” the Islamic State, while the U.S. government is also arming and training – or has plans to train – Syrian and Iraqi combatants.  The panelists went on to evaluate this policy from their own professional perspectives and to discuss how it might develop in the future.  There was a great student turnout, so the panelists would like to thank all faculty who announced this event in their classes.

Farnsworth, Hanna and Hermerding Publish Research

A research project on the 2014 U.S. Senate election in Virginia co-authored by Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of UMW’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, Stephen Hanna, professor of geography and Benjamin Hermerding, an Alvey Scholar at UMW and a research associate at the center, was featured in the Washington Post and published in the Daily Kos, a leading online news source.




Harris Featured on WMST Radio Program

Scott Harris, director of the James Monroe Museum, was interviewed by Dan Manley, host of “Mornings on Main,” a show on WMST Radio in Mount Sterling, Kentucky. Harris discussed the James Monroe Museum, the University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg and bluegrass music.