May 29, 2023

Farnsworth Lectures in D.C. at the Norwegian Seminar


Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies Stephen Farnsworth

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of Political Science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, recently presented a lecture, “The U.S. Political System Under Pressure: President Biden, the Media, and U.S. Public Opinion,” at the Norwegian Washington Seminar in Washington, DC.

Farnsworth has also appeared in recent media, including:

President Biden’s Announcement of His Re-election Bid (Voice of America in Russia; YouTube; Facebook; Twitter)
While polls show that President Biden is not all that popular, former president Donald Trump, who is leading in the Republican nomination contest, is even less popular.

Fox News Parts Ways with Tucker Carlson (CTV News; YouTube)
“Well, my first reaction is that this is an amazing development. This was completely unexpected. We had just had a settlement last week with the Dominion case and there was no reference to Tucker Carlson and Fox having to part ways, so we are really looking at this new development with a level of astonishment,” said Stephen Farnsworth.

Fundraising disclosures show an edge for Democrats in the state Senate (WVTF)
Senator George Barker is a Democrat from Fairfax County who is poised to be one of the most senior members of the Senate and potentially chairman of the Finance Committee. But that’s only if he prevails against a challenger in the primary – former Fairfax County School Board Chairwoman Stella Pekarsky. Campaign finance records show Barker has raised about twice as much money, which is a sign of things to come, says Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington.
What campaign finance records show about this year’s General Assembly races (WVTF)
Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says money often finds its way to power.“People give money to politicians because they get their money’s worth. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t give money to politicians going forward,” Farnsworth explains. “And so, if you’re going to give money to politics, you might as well give money to somebody who’s highly influential, and party leaders and key figures on key committees like Appropriations are in fact those players.”
For Spanberger, work on new farm bill no chore, but an opportunity (Culpeper Star-Exponent, Richmond Times-Dispatch)
“Reaching out to rural areas pays off, now and in the future,” said Steve Farnsworth, director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, in the heart of the 7th District under a political map that the Virginia Supreme Court adopted at the end of 2021.
Loudoun schools’ bias-reporting system might violate free speech, court says (The Washington Post)
The appeals court ruling will “allow further disputes about what students say in Loudoun County Schools,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a political scientist at the University of Mary Washington. “The county has been this center of some of the most combative disputes over educational cultures. And if anything, the ruling will intensify those disputes going forward.”

Harris Discusses UMW Museum Events on ‘Town Talk’ Radio

University of Mary Washington Museums Executive Director Scott Harris

University of Mary Washington Museums Executive Director Scott Harris

Executive Director of University Museums Scott Harris spoke on the Town Talk radio show about the activities and events Gari Melchers Home and Studio and the James Monroe Museum have to offer. Listen to the segment.

Hartman Published in ‘Text & Presentation’

Communication and Digital Studies Adjunct Professor Danielle Hartman

Communication and Digital Studies Adjunct Instructor Danielle Hartman

Communication and Digital Studies Adjunct Instructor Danielle Hartman’s article with co-authors was published in Text & Presentation this spring. “Including the Excluded: Dramatizing Historical Struggle Narratives Reveals Science’s Hidden Figures” discusses using plays about science to increase diversity within theatre and the STEM fields.

Crawley Series on Mary Washington Milestones Débuts in ‘The Free Lance-Star’

Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus Bill Crawley

Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus Bill Crawley

Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus William Crawley wrote an article titled “UMW: History on the Hill – The new college on the heights,” which ran in The Free Lance-Star. The article began: “Generations of Mary Washington students have begun and ended their collegiate careers singing praise to the school that was, in the words of the alma mater, ‘born in truth and honor.’ ” The piece was the first installment of a new occasional series on the University of Mary Washington that will revisit milestone moments and notable happenings throughout the school’s 115-year history, as well as offer commentary on ways in which the institution has influenced and shaped Fredericksburg and its environs. Read the column.

Al-Tikriti Co-Develops and Co-Edits Middle East Report

In April 2023, Middle East Report [MERIP] Issue #306, “The State of Iraq: 20 Years After the Invasion,” was officially published. UMW Professor of Middle Eastern History Nabil Al-Tikriti joined the team of developers and editors who invited contributors and edited content for the issue, available online.

The Issue Development Team (IDT) consisted of Profs. Nabil Al-Tikriti, Lisa Hajjar of  UC-Santa Barbara, Shamiran Mako of Boston University, and Marsin Alshamary of the Brookings Institution. Marya Hannun is MERIP’s managing editor and oversaw the overall editorial process.

Press Release: “MER issue 306, The State of Iraq—20 Years After the Invasion, begins with the assertion that the anniversary is not a single event but part of an ongoing story. At the center are “the state of Iraq” and the reality in which Iraqis live today. The contributions analyze state-society relations, untangle political dynamics and follow flows of capital and power as they lay bare the enduring legacy of the 2003 invasion, occupation and “reconstruction.” With chilling precision, pieces explore the social, political, economic, cultural, spatial and environmental landscape of today’s Iraq. They make clear the structural effects of war as well as its human toll. At the same time, the essays invite readers to look toward the future, with hope and caution. This issue also marks the beginning of a collaboration between MERIP and Jummar, an independent Iraqi media initiative whose work promotes new voices from Iraq and brings English-language knowledge of Iraq into Arabic. Jummar has translated articles from the issue, and Jummar’s designer, the Baghdad-based visual artist Atef Al Jaffal, designed the cover: Iraq’s Crying Child. ”

In addition to participating on the IDT, on April 4 Al-Tikriti joined with Profs. Hajjar, Mako, Alshamary, and Dr. Haider Ala Hamoudi of the University of Pittsburgh Law School to discuss the issue’s findings at a Boston University sponsored webinar:

Contributions to the issue included: Fanar Haddad, “Perpetual Protest and the Failure of the Post-2003 Iraqi State,” Zahra Ali, “Iraqi Women’s Activism — 20 Years After the US Invasion,” Zeinab Shukur, “Water, Oil, and Iraq’s Climate Future,” Hamzeh Hadad, “Two Decades of Uneven Federalism in Iraq,” Bilal Wahab, “The Rise and Fall of Kurdish Power in Iraq,” Renad Mansour, “The Political Logic Behind Iraq’s Fragmented Armed Forces,” and Hannibal Travis, “Perspective — Recognizing and Repairing the Harm to Iraq’s Minority Communities.” The issue also includes “Interview — The Past, Present, and Future of Iraq’s Cultural Heritage” with Mark Altaweel, Jaafar Jotheri, and Hannah Parsons-Morgan.

Dr. Al-Tikriti thanks everyone involved in the completion and publication of this MERIP issue, which marks the end of his six year term serving on MERIP’s Editorial Committee. In the course of those six years, Dr. Al-Tikriti served on five Issue Development Teams.

Middle East Report is published by the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), a progressive, independent organization. Since 1971 MERIP has provided critical analysis of the Middle East, focusing on political economy, popular struggles and the implications of U.S. foreign policy for the region.

Johnson-Young Presents on Birth Trauma Communication

Assistant Professor of Communication Elizabeth Johnson-Young

Associate Professor of Communication Elizabeth Johnson-Young

Associate Professor of Communication Elizabeth Johnson-Young presented her paper, “Birth, Trauma, and Communicating Maternal Health” at the annual conference of the Eastern Communication Association in Baltimore, Maryland. The paper was presented during a panel hosted by the Health Communication division focused on maternal and reproductive health. The paper focused on birth choices, experiences, and perceptions of traumatic or challenging birth experiences. Maternal and postpartum health is a topic of importance in the United States, given increasing maternal mortality rates (MacDorman, Declercg, Cabral, & Morton, 2016), recognition of factors involved in postpartum depression and anxiety, and increasing rates of inductions and cesarean births (c-sections) despite the risks that come with them (Betran et al., 2018; Sandall et al., 2018). Birth trauma and psychological responses to birth trauma most often refer to situations in which the mother’s or child’s life is put at risk (i.e. NIH, 2013); however, a simple search on social and popular media reveals a host of other experiences women may have that they define as traumatic, the consequences of which can impact their mental health, who they trust when it comes to their maternal healthcare, and future decisions regarding birth. The project addressed the research question: What communication choices and strategies do women use after a negative birth experience? Using in-depth, semi-structured interviews of women who personally define their birth experience as difficult or traumatic, the paper discussed the potential consequences of listening, language, and support.


Assistant Professor of Communication Adria Goldman, and Professor of Communication and Communication and Digital Studies Department Chair Anand Rao also presented at the conference on March 30, 2023. Their panel, Collaborative Team-Based and Experiential Learning as a Path to Student Innovation in Communication, which included Johnson-Young, explored examples and lessons from team-based collaborative learning experiences from multiple institutions. During the interactive discussion, panel members brought expertise from their classrooms and roles in their school that demonstrated purposeful collaborative learning. In each of the cases, a focus on student engagement with one another and the outside community was key, as students learned to situate themselves as communication scholars and practitioners. UMW presenters shared examples and ideas from Visual Rhetoric, Senior Seminar in Digital Rhetoric, and Small Group Communication. Panel members from other institutes presented projects from courses such as Public Relations and Game Design.


Farnsworth Recognized for Outstanding Research


Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies Stephen Farnsworth

The Eastern Communication Association has recognized Stephen Farnsworth, professor of Political Science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, for outstanding research at its recent conference in Baltimore. Professor Farnsworth’s award-winning research paper, “Political Consequences of Late-Night Humor: Learning about Politics Via Political Comedy,” was named a best research paper in political communication at the regional conference. The paper will be part of Professor Farnsworth’s upcoming co-authored book, Late Night in Washington: Political Humor and the American Presidency, which is under contract to Routledge.

Farnsworth also has appeared in a host of recent media mentions, including:
Youngkin walks rather than runs from abortion issue (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
“If you’re Glenn Youngkin, you may want to change the subject, but Democrats won’t let you,” said Stephen Farnsworth, political analyst at the University of Mary Washington. “Pro-life politics is poison in the suburbs, and that’s where elections are won and lost.”
Familiar faces duke it out in primary battles over new Va. Senate maps (The Washington Post)“If you’re in the House of Delegates, the first Senate election after a redistricting is always going to be an optimal time for trying to move up,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a political scientist at the University of Mary Washington. “That is doubly true this election cycle.”

Backlash Over Expulsion of Tennessee Democrats (CTV News)

“Well, I think the problem is that America is so divided that you can do things that are really damaging to democracy and not really suffer all of that much of a consequence for it.
Latest General Assembly retirement contributes to generational change (VPM)
“That is an immense change in the Legislature — much larger than we’ve seen in many other cycles,” said Stephen Farnsworth, a politics professor at the University of Mary Washington.
Dr. Stephen Farnsworth: The Wildest Election for Governor in Virginia’s History (Pod Virginia)
Dr. Stephen Farnsworth of the University of Mary Washington joins the show to discuss the 1965 election for Virginia’s governor–tracking the fall of the Byrd Machine in the wake of Massive Resistance, a third-party candidate who earned more than 13% of the vote, and a candidate running from Virginia’s Nazi party.
“Trump is going to dread this day” | Political analyst reacts to historic arraignment (CTV News)
“I really do think this is the equivalent of a reality television show. You are looking at an event that is very carefully choreographed,” said Stephen Farnsworth.
Trump speaks out at rally. Will it affect his case? (CP24 Toronto)
“Well, Donald Trump had a very bad afternoon. It was a horrible experience for him to have gone to the court system the way he did, so what he wants to do is turn that very difficult moment into something where he can walk away feeling a little better about himself, ” said Stephen Farnsworth.
The party nomination battles shaping up in Southwest and Southside (Cardinal News)
“All seats are up for election this year, and many of them are more contentious than normal because many lawmakers in the House and the Senate are running on newly drawn lines. Even incumbents are going to have some new voters this time around,” said Stephen J. Farnsworth, a political scientist at the University of Mary Washington. 
Charges Against Trump (Alarabiya)
“This is just the beginning of the process. Today we will learn the exact nature of these charges against the former president. But he also faces legal troubles in Georgia, where he is on tape trying to convince state officials to steal the 2020 election for him, and with the federal government’s investigation into the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol.”
Trump Under Arrest Ahead of Arraignment (CTV News)
“I really do think that this is the political equivalent of a television reality program. You are looking at an event that is very carefully choreographed,” said Stephen Farnsworth.
Trump Departs Florida for New York (CTV News)
“Well, spectacle is absolutely the word for this. We are talking about reality television on steroids here,” said Stephen Farnsworth.
Political Expert: Trump indictment is just the opening act (KNX News)
“Well, I think this is going to be an extraordinary development when you are thinking about it in the context of what comes next, said Stephen Farnsworth)
Trump To Be Indicted Tuesday After Grand Jury’s Decision To Indict (WJLA)
“Well, this is still unprecedented. Everything has to be speculative in terms of what might come next, said Stephen Farnsworth.
Trump has been indicted: What’s next? Analysts weigh in. (DC News Now)
Both political analyst Stephen Farnsworth from the University of Mary Washington and legal analyst Bernarda Villalona, a former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, said Thursday’s news was “historic.” “If they stick with Donald Trump, this will be a very, very high-risk strategy for 2020 for swing voters are not inclined to look the other way in the same way that deep red Republicans would,” Farnsworth said.

Pitts Speaks on Women’s Writings of Ancient Greece

Professor of Classics, Philosophy and Religion Angela Pitts

Professor of Classics, Philosophy and Religion Angela Pitts

Professor of Classics Angela L. Pitts spoke at the annual Eta Sigma Phi lecture on Wednesday, April 12, in Lee Hall. Eta Sigma Phi is the national collegiate honor society for students of Greek and Latin.

Pitts delivered a talk on women’s writings of ancient Greece titled “Surviving Loss:  Women’s Writings of Ancient Greece and the Distaff of Erinna.” The lecture was followed by a reception and celebration of the publication of Pitts’ recent book, Ancient Women Writers of Greece and Rome, which she co-authored with Bart Natoli and Judith Hallett. Earlier this month, their book, published by Routledge, received the Bolchazy Pedagogy Award at the annual meeting of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, held in Provo, Utah.

Larus Shares Expertise With Asian News Outlets

Professor Emerita of Political Science and International Affairs Elizabeth Larus

Professor Emerita of Political Science and International Affairs Elizabeth Larus

Professor Emerita of Political Science and International Affairs Elizabeth Larus has contributed to several recent news features, including:

Brazil’s President Lula to kick start China visit from Shanghai (WION)Elizabeth Larus commented to Wion News that the appreciation of the U.S. dollar and Western sanctions against authoritarian regimes explain China and Brazil’s decision to conduct trade in Chinese Yuan.
What are the expected scenarios after Trump’s hearing (Asharq)
Elizabeth Larus commented to Asharq news that “Former President Trump needs to be careful in what he says after his arraignment. Cooler heads need to prevail. His supporters must not resort to violence but can show support for him at his rallies.”
What are the expected scenarios after Trump’s hearing (Asharq)
Elizabeth Larus indicated that the Trump indictment will have a chilling effect on potential GOP candidates as well as put 2024 candidates in the awkward position of accepting or rejecting Trump’s support.
Unprecedented Moment in U.S. History (WION)
“It indicates to the world that we are not united and that our politics are deeply fragmented, and they can take the message that it’s going to be hard for the United States to move forward if we are politically divided. A house that is politically divided will fall,” said Elizabeth Larus.
Trump At Manhattan Court (WION)
“A lot will be determined on what is going on with the criminal charges here,” said Elizabeth Larus.

Rao Publishes Book on Chat GPT

Professor of Communication Anand Rao co-authored and co-edited a new book, Chat(GPT): Navigating the Impact of Generative AI Technologies on Educational Theory and Practice, with a host of other authors and three other editors. The book, in which educators discuss ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence tools, was published by Pedagogy Ventures and is listed as the No. 1 new release in Curricula and in the Top 10 for Educational Professional Development. It includes 38 chapters and essays, 14 appendixes and more than 600 pages. The authors’ goal is to help prepare educators for fall 2023 as AI is most likely to continue to disrupt and transform education at all levels. Read more.