January 27, 2021

Williams Featured in Free Lance-Star, Washington Post

UMW James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

UMW James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

James Farmer Multicultural Center Assistant Director Chris Williams was interviewed in The Free Lance-Star about his appearance on PBS’s “American Portrait” on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 9 p.m.; the article was also reprinted in The Washington Post. Williams was chosen from 11,000 people who submitted a response to the episode’s prompt, “What is the tradition you carry on?” Williams discussed how he continues Dr. Farmer’s legacy through his work with the James Farmer Multicultural Center.


Christopher Williams works daily to carry on the legacy of civil rights leader James Farmer.

The legacy is in his job description—assistant director of the University of Mary Washington’s James Farmer Multicultural Center. It informs the work he does at the center along with Director Marion Sanford—coordinating social justice teach-ins, creating a social justice fall break trip, curating a human rights film series and talking daily with students and community members about Black history and anti-racism.

The legacy of James Farmer—who founded the Committee on Racial Equality, led the first Freedom Rides and taught at UMW from 1984 to 1998—is also personal for Williams. He is a product of the James Farmer Scholars Program, which was created in 1987 to assist selected public school students in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Caroline and Westmoreland counties with preparing for and enrolling in higher education. Read more.

Lee Leads a Teach-In at Linguistics Conference

Associate Professor of Linguistics Janie Lee

Associate Professor of Linguistics Janie Lee

Associate Professor of Linguistics Janie Lee led a teach-in in the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. The teach-in was part of the workshop “Room at the Table: Locating Asian Identity in Linguistics and the LSA.” In it, Lee gave a short presentation on teaching Asian American linguistics and facilitated an informal discussion. The conference was held virtually from January 7 through January 10, 2021.

Singh Publishes Journal Article on Private Landownership and Land Conservation

Department of Political Science and International Affairs Associate Professor Ranjit Singh

Department of Political Science and International Affairs Associate Professor Ranjit Singh

Department of Political Science and International Affairs Associate Professor Ranjit Singh article titled “‘Been Heres’ and ‘Come Heres’ in Stafford County, Virginia: Private Landowners and Land Conservation on the Urban Fringe” appeared in the Fall 2020 edition of the peer-review journal Environment, Space, Place.

Private land is vitally important to land conservation efforts, but access to private landowners is a challenge for researchers. Using a participatory research approach, this article studies the preferences and concerns of such landowners on the rural-urban fringe of Stafford County, Virginia. Interviews with 53 private landowners show that conservation is deeply embedded within key social, moral, cultural, and political contexts, including a divide between long-term and newer residents. Successful conservation requires such social knowledge. It is argued that landowner skepticism about local government points towards joint strategies between local government and partner groups. Land conservation choices should be framed as an affirmation of—not limitation on—property rights since urban fringe landowners are likely to see such rights (especially long-established notions such as “by-right” development) as under attack. Conservation also presents an opportunity for community building in rapidly urbanizing areas, since older residents often feel excluded or unappreciated by local government and newer arrivals.

This research was supported by a Jepson Fellowship, and is an outgrowth of Prof. Singh’s long-term involvement in local land conservation, including his current service on the board of directors of the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust.

Barrenchea Presents on Novelist Leslie Marmon Silko at MLA

Professor of English Antonio Barrenechea

Professor of English Antonio Barrenechea

Professor of English Antonio Barrenechea recently contributed to “Poetics of Persistence in Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead: Perspectives on the Thirtieth Anniversary,” a special session of the virtual Modern Language Association conference in January 2021. The MLA is the flagship organization for literary studies in the United States.

Al-Tikriti Pens Editorial on Süleyman the Magnificent for ‘Great Lives’ Lecture

Süleyman the Magnificent

Süleyman the Magnificent

Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti penned an editorial on Ottoman Empire Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent in advance of his Great Lives lecture on Tuesday Jan. 26, at 7:30 pm on Zoom, as part of UMW’s “Great Lives” series. It can be accessed at umw.edu/greatlives.

IN 2011, Turkish television launched a new series, entitled “Magnificent Century / Mühteşim Yüzyıl.” An instant hit, this flashy soap opera offered a highly dramatized version of Sultan Süleyman’s palace personna, family drama, and harem dynamics.

Over four seasons this bodice ripper, centered largely on the rivalry between his wife, Hürrem, and his earlier prime concubine, Mahidevran, was screened by over 200 million viewers in over 50 countries.

Why were so many hooked on a fanciful dramatization of this celebrated sultan who died over 450 years ago?

The real Süleyman (d. 1566) ruled over the Ottoman Empire during what most consider the peak of its power. Even though the empire continued to expand for several decades after his death, and remained the most powerful force in Europe for well over another century, when denizens of Western civilization consider this empire at all, it is usually in the same breath as they contemplate the reign of its most famous ruler. Read more.

Rafferty Publishes Two Essay from Forthcoming Book in The Rumpus

Associate Professor of English Colin Rafferty

Associate Professor of English Colin Rafferty recently had two excerpts from his forthcoming book “Execute the Office: Essays with Presidents” appeared on The Rumpus. The first, “Preamble,” is the first essay of the book, while the second, “Dissolve To,” considers the Reagan presidency through the lenses of film scripts and John Wayne movies.

Richardson Column in The Free Lance-Star

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

UMW College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson

College of Business Dean Lynne Richardson’s column in The Free Lance-Star is entitled, “WHY IS THE ANSWER ALWAYS NO?”

YOU APPROACH a colleague with a request to do something in a new way. Your colleague responds immediately: “No. That’s not possible.”

Of course, it may not be possible, but perhaps it is, and your colleague just doesn’t want to investigate how it might be done. They want to keep doing it “the way it’s always been done.”

I have worked in four public institutions, each in a different state. While there are some state rules, along with some protocols from the governing groups for each state, many of the rules are just ingrained practices that each institution created. Read more.

Al-Tikriti Monitors Kazakhstan Parliamentary Elections

Prof. Al-Tikriti and Mr. Emil Shakir Uluu

Prof. Al-Tikriti and Mr. Emil Shakir Uluu

From 11 December 2020 to 16 January 2021, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti served as a Long Term Observer (LTO) for the Organization of Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Shymkent, Kazakhstan.

In the course of this five week deployment, Prof. Al-Tikriti interviewed local leaders of all five recognized Kazakh parties; met with civil society activists; discussed election administration with government officials at the rayon (district), oblast (province), and city levels; and administered fuel and financial logistics for his five person team. In addition, he was able to visit the Otyrar ruins (the first city destroyed by Çingiz Khan’s Mongol army in their westward drive), the Ahmed Yesevi shrine,and the Ahmet Yesevi Turkish-Kazakh International University (TÜRTEP) in Turkistan city.

Together with his senior LTO partner, Mr. Emil Shakir Uluu of Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan, Prof. Al-Tikriti completed several weekly reports, election observation forms, spot rally reports, and other observation requirements mandated by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). Mr. Shakir Uluu and Prof. Al-Tikriti’s work contributed to ODIHR’s interim report, and final report, which will be released in a few weeks.

Prof. Al-Tikriti thanks the colleagues who served with him in Shymkent, as well as all the wonderful Kazakh officials, activists, and election colleagues whom he was fortunate enough to meet in the course of this election observation.

Rafferty Publishes Essay Collection on the Presidents

Execute the Office: Essays with Presidents book coverAssociate Professor of English Colin Rafferty’s forthcoming essay collection, Execute the Office: Essays with Presidents, will be released by Baobab Press in Reno, Nevada.

Execute the Office uses lyric prose and formal invention to explore the humanity, or lack thereof, in each of the forty-five American presidents. Whether these powerful individuals have been remembered for infamous deeds or heroism, or they have been forgotten as placeholders in the annals of America, too often presidents are commemorated by the sterility of simple fact. Execute the Office builds upon factual accuracy with essays that are equally invested in lyrical writing and experimental forms. To balance these factions, Execute the Office uses constraint, metaphor, allusion, and epiphany to explore not just the facts and artifacts of history, but describe the connections between those facts and human nature in thought-provoking and inventive ways. These essays discuss the modes in which we remember. Through screenplays, death songs, footnotes, infinite rooms, evacuation routes, and nomenclatures, to name a few examples, these diverse essays engage with history from fresh perspectives. Execute the Office contains histories in and of unusual objects. While unfamiliar at first, they soon become distinct, unforgettable, profound, human.

Farnsworth and Seltzer Deliver Research Paper on Political Humor

Late Night with Trump book coverStephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, and Kate Seltzer, a UMW senior double majoring in political science and communication, are co-authors of a research paper, “Late Night Political Humor and the 2020 Presidential Nomination Campaign: A Democratic Field Competes with Donald Trump,” which was delivered (online) at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association earlier this month. The paper is an update of Professor Farnsworth’s recent co-authored book, Late Night With Trump: Political Humor and the American Presidency.

Farnsworth also recently delivered an online lecture, “Reviewing the 2020 U.S. Election: The Challenges of Democracy in Practice,” to the University of Malaysia, Sabah. Professor Farnsworth was a Fulbright Specialist at Methodist College Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, during Summer 2019.

He also offered insight in a number of recent regional, national and international news stories:

Taking a Look at What to Expect from the 2021 General Assembly Session (WVTF)

After fueling a blue tide, Democrats in changing Virginia suburb aim high for more influence (The Washington Post; Stamford Advocate)

Big ideas face the hard reality of coronavirus as Virginia General Assembly prepares to convene (The Washington Post)

Trump supporters engage in historic attacks on U.S. democracy on a day reserved to celebrate it (The Globe and Mail)

U.S. Capitol on Lockdown (CTV News Channel)

Facebook Blocks Page of Virginia State Senator Who Spread Conspiracy Theories on Capitol Riot (dcist)

Analysis: What changes Republicans, Trump and Biden face after the storming of the Capitol (Globe and Mail, Toronto)

Divide deepens in Virginia GOP as Democrats renew calls for Trump’s early ouster (Virginia Mercury)

Democrats Unveil Articles of Impeachment (CTV News Channel)

Trump Faces Second Impeachment (CTV News Channel)

Can President Trump issue pardons while impeached? Experts at odds (ctvnews.ca)

“It will be very difficult for Biden to govern with the scenario that Trump leaves him” (La Razon of Spain)

“I didn’t see a focus on issues,” says Lee Carter in explanation of candidacy for Governor (Virginia Scope)

McAuliffe announces huge fundraising numbers (Virginia Scope; Henrico Citizen)

Saturday Night Live seeks fresh Biden as political comedy faces new era (The Guardian)

Viewpoints with Todd Vanderheyden (iheart.com)

3 Prince William Supervisors Walked Out Of Unconscious Bias Training In Protest (dcist.com)