September 25, 2020

Blevins Publishes Book Chapter on Augmented Reality Literacy

Assistant Professor of English Brenta Blevins

Assistant Professor of English Brenta Blevins

A book chapter by Brenta Blevins, Assistant Professor of English, was recently published in Modern Language Association’s Writing Changes: Alphabetic Text and Multimodal Composition, a collection edited by Pegeen Reichert Powell.

Blevins’ chapter, “Of Writing and the Future: An Essay on Augmented Reality Composition,” makes the point that Augmented Reality (AR) not only incorporates but depends upon traditional alphabetic literacy. That link between traditional and emerging literacy practices suggests prior knowledge can aid those composing in unfamiliar media, including in media that do not yet exist. This chapter further argues that contemporary AR functions within essayistic traditions begun hundreds of years ago with Michel de Montaigne.

Mathur Publishes Book Chapter

Professor of English Maya Mathur

Professor of English Maya Mathur

Maya Mathur, Professor of English in the Department of English and Linguistics, published a book chapter entitled “Identities” in the volume, A Cultural History of Comedy in the Early Modern Age. The volume was published by Bloomsbury Academic. The chapter examines the literary origins of early modern comic characters and considers how their portrayal is informed by the sexual, economic, and religious mores of their time.

Larus Comments on Vietnam TV on Democratic National Convention

Image of Elizabeth Larus on Vietnam TV

Elizabeth Freund Larus, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Political Science and International Affairs, on August 22 offered comments to the Vietnam News Agency on the 2020 Democratic National Convention. Professor Larus indicated that comments by convention speakers reflect the fact that this year’s presidential election is not about electing former U.S. VP Biden president but is an opportunity to end Trump’s presidency. Rather than focus on a Biden-Harris ticket agenda, convention speakers attacked both Trump’s personality and his policies. Dr. Larus indicated that most of the politically active speakers at the convention identify with the political left, and that the convention wanted to send the message that the party is moving to the political left even if Biden is a political moderate. Professor Larus pointed out that the Democratic Party needs to inspire voters on the political left to come out to vote if Biden has a chance of winning. He needs to compel political independents and people who voted for Trump as a rejection of Hillary Clinton to vote for his ticket.

Professor Larus’s comments, in Vietnamese, begin at 5:43 minutes into the program at

Grothe Discusses Climate Change During the Pandemic

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Science Pamela Grothe was interviewed by NewsPoint360 about the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has or hasn’t affected climate change in 2020, and what efforts governments, companies and individuals can take to slow its effects.

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 latest column in The Free Lance-Star focuses on the “Transition to Retirement.”

Most of us think of retirement as something to look forward to when we’re in our 60s. That’s when the majority of workers will retire. But it’s not the only time. Increasingly, people are having to wait until their 70s to retire because they didn’t plan early enough for retirement to save the money necessary to live without a job. But others are retiring in their 20s or 30s. What?

I read an article recently about a professional athlete whose career was over in his early 30s. While most of us think only about the financial implications of retirement, there are many others. He had made enough money to live comfortably without working for the rest of his life. What he realized, however, is that whether you’re 35 or 65 when you retire, there are many things to think about. Read more.

Farnsworth Comments in the Regional and National News

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, has been quoted in several regional and national news stories:

In a red House district, a Democrat tries to siphon votes from a conservative with a ‘biblical world view’ (The Washington Post)

At center of postal service furor, Virginia congressman finds an expanding audience (The Washington Post)

Republican National Convention (CTV News Channel)

Republican National Convention (CP 24 Toronto)

Biden Vows to Reunite Country (CTV News Channel)

House Panel Launches Contempt Proceedings Against Pompeo (Courthouse News Service)

Year of Fear, Chapter 27: In rural Virginia, a tale of two Congressional districts (Columbia Journalism Review)

Viewpoints with Todd van der Heyden (CJAD Montreal)

McAuliffe files paperwork to run but says no decision made (WTOP)

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe Files To (Possibly) Run Again ( 

Democratic and Republican Conventions (770CHQR Calgary)

Harris Discusses Impact of Pandemic on UMW Museums

University of Mary Washington Museums Executive Director Scott Harris

University of Mary Washington Museums Executive Director Scott Harris

University of Mary Washington Museums Director Scott Harris was interviewed for an article in The Free Lance-Star on the pandemic’s impact on area museums.


Scott Harris, director of the University of Mary Washington Museums—which oversees the James Monroe Museum and the Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont, as well as the Papers of James Monroe—said the loss of admissions and event revenue since March has been “a very large financial hit” for the two museum sites.

“[The financial loss] is only partially offset by savings from not paying hourly wage employees, such as front desk and interpretive staff, and some other savings of on-site costs, such as catering at events, regular trash service, etc … ,” Harris said.

He said membership renewals at both the James Monroe Museum and the Gari Melchers Home and Studio have been “fairly steady” and some members have increased their giving levels.

“It remains to be seen what General Assembly actions will do to our state appropriations,” Harris said. Both UMW museums belong to the state of Virginia and receive funding from the assembly.

Both sites have a “benchmark” reopening date of Sept. 14, when UMW students begin their fall semester, he said. Read more.

Erchull, Liss Win Award for ‘Psychology of Women and Gender’ Textbook

Professor of Psychological Science Miriam Liss

Professor of Psychological Science Mindy Erchull

Professor of Psychological Science Mindy Erchull

Professors of Psychological Science Mindy Erchull and Miriam Liss, along with co-author Kate Richmond, won the 2020 Distinguished Publication Award from the Association for Women in Psychology for their textbook published last year by Norton: Psychology of Women and Gender.

The Distinguished Publication Award is given in recognition of significant and substantial contributions of research and theory that advance our understanding of the psychology of women and promote achievement of the goals of the Association for Women in Psychology (AWP). Every year since 1977, AWP has given one or more awards for books and/or articles published the prior year that make a significant contribution to feminist psychology. The book by Erchull, Liss and Richmond is the most recent in a body of distinguished publications to merit such an honor. The authors have also been invited to present an award address at the 2021 virtual AWP conference. Learn more about the award here:

Crawley Announces Great Presidential Lives Online Series

Professor Emeritus of History William B. Crawley offered commentary in The Free Lance-Star on Founding Father and America’s third president Thomas Jefferson in advance of the Great Presidential Lives series, which launched on Aug. 11. The online series will be available at

Dr. Crawley also appeared on “Town Talk” with Ted Schubel on 1230AM/WFVA:


FLS Commentary: IN RECENT years, as biographers have reinterpreted the lives of significant historical figures, there has been a tendency toward denigrating the reputations of a number of previously hallowed individuals.

In this process—referred to, sometimes derisively, as “revisionism”—perhaps no figure in American history has suffered a greater decline in stature than Thomas Jefferson.

To be sure, the third president had enemies in his own times, including one who ineloquently referred to him as a “son of a bitch” and a “red-headed rascal.” Others, in contrast, revered him as the “Sage of Monticello,” emphasizing his immortal precept that “all men are created equal.”

In a letter to James Madison dated Feb. 17, 1826, Jefferson implored his friend and presidential successor to “take care of me when dead.” He need not have worried, at least for his immediate posterity.

Indeed, for more than a century following his July 4, 1826, death, the preponderance of historical opinion—either diminishing or ignoring altogether his involvement with slavery and his racist views—was so uniformly in Jefferson’s favor that one historian, writing in the 1940s, declared that “the enemies of Thomas Jefferson are all dead or else are in hiding.”

But with the coming of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 60s, biographers began to focus increasingly on his personal life, which presaged the end of Jefferson’s secular sainthood. One critic pointed out the irony that “the leisure that made possible Jefferson’s great writings on human liberty was supported by the labors of three generations of slaves.” Read more.

View the first Great President Lives video here:

Landphair Pens Column on John Lewis in Richmond Times-Dispatch

Vice President of Student Affairs Juliette Landphair

Vice President of Student Affairs Juliette Landphair

Vice President of Student Affairs Juliette Landphair, who is the Farmer Legacy 2020 co-chair, penned a column in The Richmond Times-Dispatch on the late Rep. John Lewis’ legacy and the impact that he and Dr. James L. Farmer Jr. have had on the University of Mary Washington and its students.

Sixty years ago, much like today, many American young adults were on fire to dismantle racial discrimination. U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who recently passed away as an international icon for civil rights and public service, was one of them. Born in 1940 into a tenant farming family in Pike County, Ala., where half of their cotton crop’s earnings went to the white landowner, Lewis grew up in a poor, rural part of the nation completely alien from stereotypical recollections of 1950s consumerism and suburbanization. As historian Dr. Andrew Lewis recalls, John Lewis’ childhood “conjures up a world that the twentieth century seemed to have passed by.”

While in college at American Baptist Theological Seminary in Nashville, Tenn., Lewis became active in civil rights protest. Over a few critical months in late 1959 and early 1960, he and other young activists, including the extraordinary (and not enough remembered) Diane Nash, attended workshops on nonviolence and its philosophical roots, taught by the minister James Lawson. Principles such as the power of the collective and the redemptive community settled into Lewis’ conscience and remained the rest of his life; he later described “crossing over” into a lifelong commitment to the movement in 1960 while participating in the Nashville sit-ins.

At my institution, the University of Mary Washington (UMW), Lewis figures prominently in our story. We like to think it is a special bond, but of course, Lewis made all admirers feel important. In 1961, Dr. James Farmer, leader of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), who later became a Mary Washington College professor, helped recruit the 21-year-old Lewis to join 12 others on the Freedom Rides. They would travel on two buses through several Southern states challenging interstate transportation facilities. During the Rides, Lewis was attacked by angry whites in South Carolina and Alabama.

More recently, Lewis agreed to serve as honorary chair of Farmer Legacy 2020, UMW’s yearlong celebration of the 100th anniversary of his friend Dr. Farmer’s birth. This past November, in his official acceptance of his chairperson role, Lewis met with a small UMW delegation in his Capitol Hill office for nearly an hour. I was fortunate to be among the attendees. With his celebrated warmth and humility, he spent nearly an hour with us, asking about UMW and our lives, and sharing stories. He especially was attentive to Jason Ford, our Student Government Association president who, as a black man himself, knew he was in the presence of a giant on whose shoulders he stood. Read more.