October 18, 2018

Sushma Subramanian Featured in Storytelling Podcast

Sushma Subramanian, assistant professor of English specializing in journalism, recently appeared on a Story Collider podcast episode titled “Sense of Touch” telling a story about her experiments using haptic technology to communicate with her long-distance fiance. She performed the piece, which is adapted from a forthcoming book she is writing, at Busboys & Poets last spring. Story Collider is a nonprofit organization that promotes storytelling as a way of humanizing science.

You can listen to her story here: https://www.storycollider.org/stories/2018/8/24/sense-of-touch-stories-about-the-power-of-touch.

Craig Vasey to Present on Jean-Paul Sartre Friday

Craig Vasey, chair of the Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion and professor of philosophy, will give a talk about Jean-Paul Sartre’s life, work and interests prior to a performance of “No Exit” by the Fredericksburg Theatre Ensemble.

The talk will be held Friday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. on the fourth floor of 810 Caroline Street in downtown Fredericksburg.

For information about Fredericksburg Theatre Ensemble, visit https://www.fredericksburgtheatre.org/



Dan Dervin Publishes Article in Journal of Psychohistory

Daniel Dervin, professor emeritus of English, recently published an article in The Journal of Psychohistory called The Auction Block, the Battlefield Angels, and the Politics of Purity.

According to an abstract of the article:

“The evolution of psychoanalytic theory entered new territory with the work of Melanie Klein (1882-1960). Previously, apart from Freud’s formations on narcissism, the prevailing framework was the Oedipal triad of desire, conflict, defense, adaption, and self-identity issuing from the child’s struggles to master issues involving both parents. Klein took a step back in child development phases and forward in clinical theory when she honed in on the dyad of infant and primary caregiver. Hers was the realm of preoedipal issues involving primal urges and frustrations. These she epitomized as good breast/bad breast. However resolved, transformed, or displaced, they set the stage for subsequent development. We don’t want to yield to reductionism, yet in psychohistory we continually observe regression to primitive levels of splitting one’s object-world into either/or absolutes of all-good vs all-bad. These dyad derivatives have increasingly dominated our polarized cultural and political discourses. Noting Trump’s “all-or-nothing” governing style, Lindsey Ford cites his off-and-on-again tactics with North Korea (NY Times, 25 May 18, p. A21); in this light Trump epitomizes these primitive processes. The present study examines this polar mode manifest in wide-ranging ideals of purity. Group-fantasies of white supremacy from our Civil War period are being revived. We see this in the controversies over Confederacy names and monuments: grappling with them anew injects our troubled past into our present. What we had assumed to be dead and buried evidently thrived in the margins, biding their time. More disturbing, their reentry is being aided and abetted at the highest levels of government. As these disparate phenomena echo and reverberate, psychohistorical perspectives fit them into larger patterns cued by the politics of purity.”

Rosalyn Cooperman Research Featured on Vox

Rosalyn Cooperman, political science professor, co-authored an op-ed in Vox.com addressing why so few women candidates are Republican.

“Different party cultures mean that Democratic elites support women candidates often — and because of their gender — while Republican elites do not,” according to the piece.


Hirshberg Presents Paper at International Seminar

Dan Hirshberg, assistant professor of religious studies and associate director of the Leidecker Center for Asian Studies, presented a new paper titled “Padmasambhava the Tibetan: Reflections on Memory and Cultural Identity” for the international seminar, “Perspectives on Padmasambhava,” organized by Columbia University and Skidmore College and held at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City (October 13-15, 2018).

Riffing on the cultural memory theory of Jan Assmann and others, the paper explores the ways in which this historically shady 8th ce. figure renowned as the “Second Buddha” represents the Tibetan construction of an enlightened other, and the ways in which this same figure is being adopted with similar functions in Western Buddhist communities.

The first international seminar focused on Padmasambhava organized in the US took place in conjunction with the exhibition, The Second Buddha: Master of Time, and took the form of a master class in which leading scholars discussed their ongoing research with colleagues, students, and attendees.

Hirshberg’s research is also featured on many of the museum labels for the exhibition.

Farnsworth Moderates Fifth Congressional District Debate

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, recently moderated a Fifth Congressional District debate in Madison County, Virginia. The debate for the district, which stretches from northern Virginia to Danville, was sponsored by Rural Madison and held at Madison County High School.

Farnsworth to Talk about Presidential Communication on “With Good Reason”

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington, will be speaking about the state of the Trump presidency and his new book, “Presidential Communication and Character” on “With Good Reason.” The public  radio program airs in 99 cities around the nation starting this weekend.

The segment with Professor Farnsworth, who was named Outstanding Faculty of 2017 by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, will air at 2 p.m. on Sunday October 14  on 94.9 FM in Fredericksburg, 88.5 FM in Charlottesville and 92.5 FM in Richmond.

More information on the book can be found here:



Stommel and Morris Talk Classroom Technology in Inside Higher Ed

Q&A: 2 Digital Learning Devotees Evaluate Their Progress (Inside Higher Ed)

Jesse Stommel and Sean Michael Morris examine their evolving thoughts on classroom technology and online education.


Marcel Rotter Receives AATG Award for Outstanding Service

Marcel Rotter, associate professor of German, recently received the Ronald Horwege Award for Outstanding Service to the Profession from the Virginia chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German.

“Anyone paying attention for the last decade knows how much time and energy Marcel has put into making the AATG in Virginia a vibrant entity,” said ougoing AATG-VA president Brett Martz at the organization’s Oct. 5 business meeting in Williamsburg.

“The award’s namesake, Ron Horwege, served the state by organizing immersion weekends, and therefore it seems perfectly fitting that the winner of this award is the person directly responsible for keeping this valued tradition alive,” Martz continued. “[Marcel] also served as the president of the Virginia AATG from 2012-2016, and Brett is grateful that he patiently continues to answer his questions about the job. During his tenure as president, Marcel moved the infrastructure and responsibilities for the National German exam to the University of Mary Washington, where it still functions today.

“He is also a regular presence at national conferences, such as ACTFL, and local conferences, such as FLAVA. In short, he is very supportive colleague and continues to do yeoman’s work for the state’s chapter of the AATG. Marcel deserves the award and a hearty congratulations.”

Rotter received the award during the annual meeting of the Foreign Language Association of Virginia, of which AATG is a member.



Elizabeth Larus Presents at Prague Conference

Elizabeth Freund Larus, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, presented her research findings on the new politics of naval diplomacy at the European International Studies Association conference on Sept. 15 in Prague, Czech Republic.