September 27, 2021

Whalen Appeared on ‘With Good Reason’

Associate Professor Zach Whalen

Associate Professor Zach Whalen

Associate Professor of Digital Studies Zach Whalen was interviewed on With Good Reason, which airs Sundays at 2 p.m. on Fredericksburg’s Radio IQ 88.3 Digital and at various times throughout the week on stations across Virginia and the United States. Check the website for show times.

Beating The Game, airing Sept. 11 

For decades, video games have inspired hit songs and have been adapted into countless movies. Boris Willis (George Mason University) says the next horizon for video games is the stage. He uses cutting-edge video game technology to turn his performances into interactive experiences. And: Arcades defined pop culture in the 1980’s and 90’s. But today, they’re almost extinct. Zach Whalen (University of Mary Washington) charts the rise and fall of one of America’s most nostalgic institutions: the arcade.

Later in the Show: Gamergate sent shockwaves throughout the gaming community back in 2014. But Bruce Williams (University of Virginia) says we’re still dealing with the social and political fallout from the Gamergate scandal. Plus: Over the years, Politicians and pundits have been quick to blame violent video games for mass shootings. But Jimmy Ivory (Virginia Tech) says there’s no evidence to suggest video games lead to violent behavior.

Audio files of the full program and its companion news feature are posted on the WGR website: https://www.withgoodreasonradio.org.

Whalen to Appear on ‘With Good Reason’

Associate Professor Zach Whalen

Associate Professor Zach Whalen

Associate Professor of Digital Studies Zach Whalen was interviewed on With Good Reason, which airs Sundays at 2 p.m. on Fredericksburg’s Radio IQ 88.3 Digital and at various times throughout the week on stations across Virginia and the United States. Check the website for show times.

Beating The Game, airing Sept. 11 

For decades, video games have inspired hit songs and have been adapted into countless movies. Boris Willis (George Mason University) says the next horizon for video games is the stage. He uses cutting-edge video game technology to turn his performances into interactive experiences. And: Arcades defined pop culture in the 1980’s and 90’s. But today, they’re almost extinct. Zach Whalen (University of Mary Washington) charts the rise and fall of one of America’s most nostalgic institutions: the arcade.

Later in the Show: Gamergate sent shockwaves throughout the gaming community back in 2014. But Bruce Williams (University of Virginia) says we’re still dealing with the social and political fallout from the Gamergate scandal. Plus: Over the years, Politicians and pundits have been quick to blame violent video games for mass shootings. But Jimmy Ivory (Virginia Tech) says there’s no evidence to suggest video games lead to violent behavior.

Audio files of the full program and its companion news feature will be posted the week of the show to our website: https://www.withgoodreasonradio.org.

MARY TALKS: “How to Feel: the Science and Meaning of Touch”

Join us ONLINE for the first Mary Talk of the 2021-22 academic year!

In these times of the internet and digital communication, some say we are out of touch. Many people fear that we are trapped inside our screens, becoming less in tune with our bodies and losing our connection to the physical world. But the sense of touch has been undervalued since long before the days of digital isolation.

Because of deeply rooted beliefs that favor the cerebral over the corporeal, touch is maligned as dirty or sentimental, in contrast with other forms of communication and perception. In this Mary Talk, journalism professor Sushma Subramanian will explore the scientific, physical, emotional, and cultural aspects of touch, reconnecting us to what is arguably our most important sense.

Wednesday, September 8
7:30-9:00 p.m. (EDT)
Online (via Zoom)

To watch the Talk online, register here. You then will receive a link to the streaming video, which can be watched live or at a later time. You also will have the opportunity to submit questions to be asked of the speaker at the end of the Talk.

We look forward to seeing you online!

Register now.

Subramanian Pens Article on Being “Touchy-Feely”

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Journalism Sushma Subramanian penned an article entitled “Why some people are touchy-feeling, while others hate it” that ran on LiveMint.com. Subramanian recently published a book, How to Feel: The Science and Meaning of Touch. 

I start at a place that’s highly personal for me: my fear of touching other people.

At the beginning of ‘Western Massage 1’, my teacher, Al Turner, a wiry man with glittering eyes who used to be a professional dancer, asks us to line up. He bends his knees, sinks his weight into his heels and sashays from side to side, a movement he calls “horse dance” and asks us to follow along. This is the kind of large, sweeping motion we’ll use when we’re giving a massage, he says. It gets us to engage our whole bodies, including the strong muscles of our legs and our core, so we make fluid strokes and protect the smaller, more fragile bones in our fingers when we’re massaging. Read more. 

Subramanian Pens Article About Extreme Heat in Inner Cities

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Journalism Sushma Subramanian penned an article in Croakey Health Media entitled, “US cities are suffocating in the heat. Now they want retribution.”

For years, an elderly man stood as a regular fixture around his East Baltimore neighborhood for the way he would wander the streets in the summer, trying to stay outside his sweltering home until nightfall.

This man, who suffers from dementia, lived in a row house that shared side walls with its neighboring homes. With windows only in the front and back, there was little air flow, which trapped the heat inside. It’s not unusual for the upper floors in such homes to be several degrees hotter than the temperature outdoors.

During a nearly two-week heat wave that swept through the city in July 2019, Cynthia Brooks, executive director of the Bea Gaddy Family Center, a local non-profit that provides food and other services for the poor and homeless, noticed she hadn’t seen the man for a while. Finally, on one of the “code red” days – when the forecasted heat index is expected to be at 105F (40.56C) or higher – he stumbled out of his house, looking disoriented. No one knows how long he had been sitting inside, alone, without a fan or air conditioning.

This man had no one to call – no family was around, and alerting emergency responders could have led to a hefty medical bill. Brooks dropped everything and took him to nearby Johns Hopkins hospital, where he was diagnosed with heatstroke and given treatment. After that incident, Brooks became his legal custodian. He currently lives in a senior home nearby, and she makes his treatment decisions.

This man represents the population in Baltimore most likely to face the personal impacts of the climate crisis. Around the country, global heating is increasing the frequency, intensity and duration of summer heat waves. The recent triple-digit temperatures across the Pacific north-west, where air conditioning in homes isn’t common, highlight the real-world hardships caused by extreme heat exposure and how the elderly and homeless suffer disproportionately from physical discomfort and worse health outcomes. Read more.

Rao Interviewed About Gandhi’s Influence on James Farmer

Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication and Digital Studies Anand Rao

Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication and Digital Studies Anand Rao

The legacy of Mahatma Gandhi goes well beyond the Indian Freedom Struggle. He has influenced countless movements and struggles for freedom and democracy around the world, decolonization struggles, including the civil rights movement within the United States.

The Metta Center for Nonviolence interviewed P. Anand Rao (Professor of Communication, Chair of the Department of Communication and Digital Studies) to discuss Gandhi’s influence on Dr. James Farmer and the American Civil Rights Movement. The interview is part of the Metta Center’s podcast, “Nonviolence Radio,” and the interview was conducted by UMW alum Stephanie Van Hook. The interview can be found at: https://mettacenter.org/ppr/gandhis-influence-on-dr-james-farmer/

Sushma Subramanian: In Touch

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

How are you feeling? That question often elicits a one- or two-word response.

For Sushma Subramanian, it took 272 pages. In the midst of a global pandemic, quarantines and social distancing, she just published How to Feel: The Science and Meaning of Touch.

Touch may be our most important sense, said Subramanian, a science journalist and University of Mary Washington assistant professor of communication. Her current work explores the scientific, physical, emotional and cultural aspects of feeling.

She had finished the manuscript last March when news of COVID-19 broke, prompting several additions and revisions. “My editor and I quickly realized that society’s relationship with touch was going to change in some pretty extreme and long-lasting ways.”

After more than a year without physical contact, people are suffering from touch-deprivation, but it’s not all bad, she said. Her post-pandemic prediction? “I don’t think we’ll go back to shaking hands,” said Subramanian, admitting she isn’t a fan of the practice. “But hugs, as more people are getting vaccinated, could be coming back pretty fast. People really miss it!”

Book Cover: "How to Feel: The Science and Meaning of Touch"

Photo credit: Columbia University Press.

Her family pod expanded by one near the beginning of quarantine. Subramanian gave birth to a daughter. “Thanks to her, I have faced no touch-deprivation at all!”

Subramanian, who earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California and a master’s at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, currently teaches news reporting and writing, and serves as faculty advisor to The Blue & Gray Press. Her own writing focuses on how science can explain daily phenomena, from iPad technology to why our skin tingles when we listen to beautiful music.

“Journalism is a field that is quickly changing,” Subramanian said, “so it’s always helpful to have one foot inside it to teach students what they can expect when they graduate.”

 

Q: What attracted you to Mary Washington?
A: I had been part-time teaching for many years and wanted to make it a bigger part of my career. Writing can be lonely, so I like having regular interaction, and teaching students about something I love so much helps keep me excited about it.

Q: What’s your favorite course to teach?
A: Magazine journalism, which allows journalists to delve deeply into their subjects and write creatively about the material they collect.

Q: What’s most rewarding about your job?
A: If something sparks my interest, I can just call up the world’s expert in that topic. And then I get to share what I learn. I think of my writing as a form of teaching, too.

Sushma Subramanian giving her 6-month-old daughter a massage.

Sushma Subramanian giving her 6-month-old daughter a massage.

Q: Most challenging?
A: Coming up with new ideas that no one else has tackled … I get anxious when my bucket is dry.

Q: What’s the most tactile item in your office?
A: A couple years ago, I entered a Peeps diorama contest. I made a scene of Neanderthals gathering around a fire with those Easter marshmallow treats – and I was a prize winner. I sprayed it with shellac, but I worry how long those Peeps will last.

Q: What might people be surprised to learn about you?
A: I make dog houses out of used Amazon boxes. I’ve done a castle and mid-century modern.

Q: What’s your motto?
A: I used to be a serious procrastinator; now I’m the opposite. I always say, “If you don’t put in the work now, you’ll pay for it later.”

Subramanian Discusses New Book on Podcast

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian recently appeared on “Rising Up with Sonali,” discussing her new book How to Feel: The Science and Meaning of Touch with the podcast host. Listen here.

 

 

Subramanian’s New Book Reviewed in Discover Magazine

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian recently released a new book, How to Feel: The Science and Meaning of Touch, and was interviewed in Discover Magazine.

As Subramanian explains in her book, How to Feel: The Science and Meaning of Touch, it was a moment when she began to consider how little she knew about this multifaceted sense — “a capacity,” she writes, “that never shuts off.” The questions kept forming, eventually leading Subramanian, a professor of journalism at the University of Mary Washington, to write an article for Discover in 2015 about the development of tactile touch screens — which use haptic technology, such as vibrations in handheld devices.

In her latest work, she dives deeper into that world, but also explores the limits of our sense of touch and what makes it so versatile. Discover caught up with Subramanian to talk about touch in the age of COVID-19, the future of tactile research and how we experience the sense differently across personal and cultural barriers. Read more.

Subramanian on With Good Reason

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Assistant Professor of Communication Sushma Subramanian

Sushma Subramanian, assistant professor of journalism, appeared on a special Valentine’s Day episode of With Good Reason to talk about her new book on the sense of touch, which was released this week  https://withgoodreasonradio.org/episode/my-pandemic-valentine/