February 1, 2023

Al-Tikriti Presents Research at Ottoman Historiography Conference in Istanbul

Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti

Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti

Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti presented a paper entitled “Greatness Denied: Firdevsī-yi Rūmī on the Cusp of Ottoman Sunnism” on Friday, December 16. In this presentation, he provided a summary biography of the polymath Ottoman author Firdevsī-yi Rūmī (fl. 1512), and offered a preliminary set of reasons why he was subsequently expelled from the Ottoman literary canon. This presentation was offered as part of the “Osmanlı’da İlm-i Tarih Sempozyumu: Ālimler, Eserler ve Meseleler / Ottoman Historiography Symposium: Scholars, Works, Problems,” the eighth of a series of symposiums on Ottoman scientific history hosted by İSAR, an Istanbul foundation supporting research on various fields of Islamic history. The symposium website includes further information, and the complete symposium program is available. This was an invited appearance.

Here is Prof. Al-Tikriti’s presentation abstract: “Ilyas Çelebi “Firdevsi-yi Rumi” (fl. 1512) served primarily at the courts of Sultan Bayezid II (d. 1512) and Prince Korkud (d. 1513), authoring works of narrative history, elegiac poetry, gestes, and hagiography. In this paper, I will summarize what is known of his biography and analyze his presentation of Ottoman, Turkish, and Muslim identity.

Firdevsi, a litterateur with a considerable sense of self, completed more than twenty works while serving at the apex of Ottoman cultural production. While very successful at attracting patronage and support for lengthy and ornate literary works, his oeuvre was mostly lampooned by those who followed in the decades after his death.

Why would a writer who was so successful in his own lifetime be so reviled within a few decades of his death? Analyzing the political content and identity positions staked out by Firdevsi provides a tentative answer – societal views changed abruptly in the first tumultuous decades of the early 16th century. Firdevsi’s use of the term “Sunni” in his Qutb-name, explanation of Turkish conversion to Islam in his Süleyman-name, and portrayal of Anatolian Sufism in his Vilayet-name each provide clues as to why subsequent literary critics found his scholarship unreliable, his poetry unspeakable, and his views objectionable.”

Chiang Publishes Article in ‘Journal of Mathematical Physics’

UMW Professor of Mathematics Y. Jen Chiang

UMW Professor of Mathematics Y. Jen Chiang

UMW Professor of Mathematics Y. Jen Chiang had a research article titled “Global Existence and Life Span of Smooth Solutions of Biwave Maps” published in the Journal of Mathematical Physics. It was supported by a UMW Faculty Research Grant. She also delivered a presentation on the topic at the international conference of Physics and its Applications in San Francisco, California.

Whalen Traces History of Video Games on ‘With Good Reason’

Associate Professor of Digital Studies Zach Whalen

Associate Professor of Digital Studies Zach Whalen

Associate Professor of Digital Studies Zach Whalen spoke on an encore presentation of With Good Reason Radio titled “The Wide World of Video Games.” On the segment, Whalen told the show’s host Sarah McConnell: “Even the idea of coin-operated amusement devices goes back into the 19th century … One interesting perspective to think about is that these are opportunities for kids to be direct consumers for possibly the first time in their life.” Listen to the episode.

Finlayson’s Human Geography Expertise Featured in ‘Tasting Table’

Associate Professor of Geography Caitie Finlayson

Associate Professor of Geography Caitie Finlayson

UMW Associate Professor of Geography Caitlin Finlayson was featured in an article titled “Cracker Barrel Is Finally Regaining The Older Customers It Relies On,” which ran in the publication Tasting TableThe chain’s stores “cultivate a strong sense of place through careful theming, generating a distinct sense of rural America and nostalgia for home,” University of Mary Washington researchers Meredith Gregory ’18 and Caitlin Finlayson observe in Advances in Hospitality and Tourism Research. Read more.

Farnsworth Lectures on U.S. Politics in Washington to Norwegian Conference

Professor of Political Science Stephen Farnsworth

Professor of Political Science Stephen Farnsworth

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of Political Science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, recently presented a lecture, “President Biden, the Media and the 2022 Midterm Elections,” at the Norwegian Washington Seminar in Washington, DC.

In addition, recent media mentions for Stephen Farnsworth include:

Social media giant layoffs signal opportunity for online misinformation, bad faith attacks (Courthouse News Service)
Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at University of Mary Washington, said government officials will have to work harder to prove they are authority figures. Otherwise, social media websites will lose credibility.
Trump Calling for Suspension of Constitution (Trending Now; YouTube)
“A lot of people have lost a lot of money betting that Donald Trump has finally gone too far,” said Stephen Farnsworth.
Election Day in Georgia (CTV News)
“The Democrats have a majority in the Senate already, but if they end up with 50 seats instead of a 50-51 tie that would mean a greater Democratic control over committees and over the process of legislation moving through the Senate,” said Stephen Farnsworth.
Is Georgia Still a Republican State? (YouTube)
“I think it is important to recognize how much of the difficulty the Republicans face here has to do with the quality of the candidate,” said Stephen Farnsworth.

Trevor Noah Says Goodbye to ‘The Daily Show,’ With Just a Few Tears (The Wall Street Journal)
“What Trevor Noah brought to the show above all was a much greater international and multicultural orientation,” said Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington and co-author of the book “Late Night with Trump: Political Humor and the American Presidency.” “That was unusual in the very white world of late-night comedy.”
https://www.wsj.com/articles/trevor-noah-final-daily-show-goodbye-11670608926?st=nkx2eawzjjk9b9l&reflink=desktopwebshare_permalink

Trump vows ‘free speech’ reform of government, universities, media, tech firms if elected in 2024 (CNBC, True Viral News, Birmingham Daily Journal, Times of News, TheBlog101)
Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science at University of Mary Washington, dismissed Trump’s proposals as “something to generate energy among his supporters”. If the plan came to that, it wouldn’t succeed legislatively or judicially. He said that Trump was trying to change the narrative after many of his candidates lost.https://www.cnbc.com/2022/12/15/trump-vows-free-speech-reform-of-government-universities-tech.htmlhttps://trueviralnews.com/163656-trump-vows-free-speech-reform-of-government-universities-media-tech-firms-if-elected-in-2024.htmlhttps://birminghamdailyjournal.com/trump-vows-free-speech-reform-of-government-universities-tech/
https://usa.timesofnews.com/breaking-news/political/trump-vows-free-speech-reform-of-government-universities-media-tech-firms-if-elected-in-2024.html
https://www.theblog101.com/trump-vows-free-speech-reform-of-government-universities-tech/

Is Trump’s Campaign in Jeopardy (CTV News)
It really is early but certainly the signs are not encouraging for the people who want to support a Donald Trump 2024 campaign.
https://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=2584593

Crowded out-Elections overshadow 2023 state legislative agenda (Virginia Business)Also, notes University of Mary Washington political science professor Stephen Farnsworth, “one of the areas in which Virginia has not done well is unemployment assistance.” Kilgore says that if the VEC doesn’t have to worry about workforce training, it will be able to focus on more efficiently handling unemployment claims.https://www.virginiabusiness.com/article/crowded-out/The Main Event (Virginia Business)University of Mary Washington Professor Stephen Farnsworth says that the newly drawn districts — determined in December 2021 by two Virginia Supreme Court-appointed special masters who did not take incumbents’ residences into consideration — favor Democrats because of population dispersal. Younger, more Democratic-leaning voters live in urban and suburban areas, while more conservative rural regions are losing population and seats, he notes.https://www.virginiabusiness.com/article/the-main-event-2/Is the right winning the comedy wars? (Vox News)
Stephen Farnsworth, a political scientist and the co-author of Late Night with Trump: Political Humor and the American Presidency, says this split is exacerbated by the increasingly polarized conservative news landscape.https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/23440579/comedy-wars-greg-gutfeld-jon-stewart-stephen-colbert-liberal-conservativePreviewing the 4th District Democrat firehouse primary (WVTF)The February 21st date for the special election requires quick action to nominate candidates, says Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington.https://www.wvtf.org/news/2022-12-19/previewing-the-4th-district-democrat-firehouse-primaryEditorial: The 27th will test Trump-adjacent strategy (The Free Lance-Star)“The Youngkin strategy has always been to be Trump adjacent,” says University of Mary Washington professor Stephen Farnsworth, who also directs the Center for Leadership and Media Studies. It’s sure to be part of Youngkin’s presumed run for the White House in 2024.https://fredericksburg.com/opinion/editorial/editorial-the-27th-will-test-trump-adjacent-strategy/article_19ba92e6-7d96-11ed-8231-4b4b1619ab89.htmlOpinion: For Jennifer McClellan, and Virginia, history awaits (Richmond Times-Dispatch)Attorney and longtime Democratic strategist Paul Goldman, a former law partner with Morrissey, filed a federal lawsuit challenging the primary’s timing and organization — none of the eight polling locations, for example, were in Morrissey’s home district in Chesterfield — but the high turnout and overwhelming result “are not optimal for further developments” in a suit that largely argues Democrats were attempting to suppress voter participation, says Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington.https://richmond.com/opinion/editorial/opinion-for-jennifer-mcclellan-and-virginia-history-awaits/article_e3a8d59f-5f31-50df-a53e-978312c5e373.htmlTrump promises free speech reform in government, academia and tech (News Net Daily)Stephen Farnsworth, a professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington, dismissed Trump’s proposals as “something to generate energy among his supporters” after a soggy campaign kickoff.https://newsnetdaily.com/trump-promises-free-speech-reform-in-government-academia-and-tech/Trump’s Tax Returns Released (CTV News)“I think there are two basic issues that need to be resolved here,” said Stephen Farnsworth.https://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=2593049January 6 Committee Report (CHQR, Calgary)“The January 6 Committee over the summer and since has been producing a voluminous report of all of the ways in which Donald Trump tried to keep the Congress from ratifying the election of Joe Biden and that leads to a whole series of questions with respect to his conduct,” said Stephen Farnsworth.https://dcs.megaphone.fm/CORU1334431190.mp3?key=8a8ea6528b3f853fea38933e05d85100&request_event_id=d89c2484-a067-43a8-8d51-e18023994951What happens next to former Pres. Trump? Does the Justice Dept. actually charge him? (KNX Radio, Los Angeles)“Well, political violence in America can occur when one person with a gun decides to shoot up a school, synagogue or place of government action. So, to imagine that anything anyone does in these very contentious times is going to provide sweetness and like for all concerned is unrealistic,” said Stephen Farnsworth.https://omny.fm/shows/knxam-on-demand/what-happens-next-to-former-pres-trump-does-the-juJanuary 6 Final Public Meeting (CTV News Canada)“It is going to be more or less a programmatic event that will give people a chance to see some of the evidence that the Committee has collected,” said Stephen Farnsworth.https://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=2587444
‘He had a different perspective’: how Trevor Noah changed late night satire (The Guardian; US News Hub)
Stephen Farnsworth, co-author of Late Night with Trump: Political Humor and the American Presidency, said: “One of the great contributions that Trevor Noah made to political humour in this country was the provision of a much more international and multicultural orientation.

Turdean Adds Expertise to Local Museum Creation Discussion

Associate Professor of Historic Preservation Cristina Turdean

Associate Professor of Historic Preservation Cristina Turdean

UMW Associate Professor of Historic Preservation and Ralph Bunche Advisory Committee Member Cristina Turdean spoke at a recent meeting aimed at turning the former Ralph Bunche High School – which opened in 1949 for Black students after King George parents sued for an equal facility for their children – into a museum. She provided a detailed presentation on what’s involved in setting up a museum and advised that the project may take several years. “If you don’t have a collection, you don’t have a museum,” Turdean was quoted as saying in The Free Lance-Star. She added that the group must decide specifically what’s needed and draw up legal documents before asking the community for donations. Read more.

Spencer’s Expertise Enlisted in Restoration of Park’s Oldest Structure

Associate Professor of Historic Preservation Michael Spencer

Associate Professor of Historic Preservation Michael Spencer

Associate Professor of Historic Preservation Michael Spencer was highlighted by SmithMountainLake.com in a piece called “Restoration Efforts Begin on Park’s Oldest Structure.” The article referenced Spencer’s visit last year to Booker T. Washington National Monument and his inspection of the tobacco barn that is the site’s oldest structure. “He … spent several days doing a detailed inspection of the barn to see what needed to be replaced,” the article said. “He was able to find out which logs were damaged due to rot or other factors and what varieties of trees were used to construct the barn.” Read more.

Larus Addresses Chinese Leader’s Death With Al Jazeera

Professor Emerita of Political Science and International Affairs Elizabeth Freund Larus

Professor Emerita of Political Science and International Affairs Elizabeth Freund Larus

Professor Emerita of Political Science and International Affairs Elizabeth Freund Larus spoke to Al Jazeera for a segment titled “Memorial for China’s Former Leader.” On the broadest, Larus said: “Jiang Zemin is credited with sustaining China’s economic boom after Deng Xiaoping started reform and opening. So throughout the 1990s, the Chinese economy grew about eight percent on average.” Watch the segment.

Larus also spoke recently with the podcast Dispatches From the War Room for a piece titled “Life after the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.” A Fulbright Scholar, Taiwan Fellow, and founder and president of E Larus Consulting LLC, she specializes in East Asian political, economic and security dynamics, drawing on more than 30 years of experience with the Asia-Pacific. “Right now it’s about COVID,” she said on the segment. “It’s also all about the just concluded 20th Party Congress.” Listen to the podcast.

 

Farnsworth, Hemphill Publish Opinion Column in ‘Richmond Times-Dispatch’

Professor of Political Science Stephen Farnsworth

Professor of Political Science Stephen Farnsworth

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of Political Science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, and Emily Hemphill, a UMW senior majoring in political science and minoring in journalism, are coauthors of an opinion column, “Sorry, Virginia, we’re stuck with the Electoral College,” which was published recently in the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the News Virginian.

 

Farnsworth also was featured in other recent news, including:
Gibson: Trump creates dilemma for Va. GOP in 2023 (Roanoke Times)
Stephen Farnsworth, who directs the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington, said Republicans in Virginia may find it tough to retain their House majority next year in these new districts.
Commentary: 2022 midterm highlighted by red-blue shift in the 7th (The Free Lance-Star)
Where the counties of Loudoun and Prince William have gone will Stafford and Spotsylvania soon follow?
Former U.S. President Donald Trump Launches Another Run for Presidency (www.youtube.com)
“Trump, for the moment at least, continues to be banned from Twitter and other social media platforms,” said Stephen Farnsworth.
Joe Biden turns 80 and sets a record in the White House: will he seek re-election at 82?(clarin.com)
“His is an inspiring story, that of the working-class boy who goes to university (the public one in Delaware) and makes his way to the top of the American system,” Stephen J. Farnsworth, PhD in Political Science, told EFE. and professor at the University of Mary Washington.
Opinion/Column: Trump’s Republican romance frays (The Daily Progress)
Stephen Farnsworth, who directs the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington, said Republicans in Virginia may find it tough to retain their House majority next year in these new districts.

Rucker Lands African-American Affairs Post at UVA

UMW Dean Emeritus Cedric Rucker

UMW Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Life Emeritus Cedric Rucker

The following is a message from the Office of Student Affairs:

Dear UMW Campus Community,

I’m writing today to share news and congratulations for Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Life, Emeritus, Cedric Rucker, who has been named Senior Associate Dean in the Office of African-American Affairs at the University of Virginia. His role, expected to span 12-18 months, will surely leave a lasting impact just as it has at the University of Mary Washington.

Cedric spent more than four decades at Mary Washington – as a student, staff member, teacher and confidante. His college journey started in 1977 when he became the first Black male student to live on campus all four years before graduation, and this past summer 2022, we celebrated his retirement and the naming of the Cedric Rucker University Center. He’s recognized widely for his dedication to Mary Washington and the many students and families he’s helped throughout the years, from the first moments of Orientation to the straightening of an academic hood as they walk toward Commencement. His service extends through the Fredericksburg community and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

A Richmond native, Cedric earned a master’s degree from the University of Virginia and served briefly as UVA’s assistant dean of admissions before returning to Mary Washington as an administrator and a larger-than-life campus presence. Now he’s returning in service to his graduate alma mater, pausing plans to pursue the Peace Corps to remain close to his academic homes. More information will be posted to the UVA website soon, but we wanted to share the news first with our UMW community. We wish Cedric all the best in this next endeavor and know that his work in this pivotal moment will benefit all who have the opportunity to interact with him.

Dr. Juliette LandphairVice President for Student Affairs

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