November 11, 2019

Marsh Speaks About Suffrage Movement on 19th Amendment Anniversary

Kristin Marsh, associate professor and chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Kristin Marsh, associate professor and chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Kristin Marsh, associate professor and chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, spoke at the League of Women Voters of the Fredericksburg Area meeting at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library Monday in celebration of Women’s Equality Day. It honors the anniversary of the date when the 19th Amendment, which prohibits states and the federal government from denying the right to vote on the basis of sex, became official.

Marsh discussed how the women’s movement occurred in three waves, beginning with the suffrage movement in the 1920s, and continuing with the push for Equal Rights in the late 1960s and 1970s, who fought and won access to law school, medical school and academia, resulting in half of Ph.D.s being women. Their daughters and students began the third wave. Marsh noted that since 1980, more women have cast ballots than men, and she discussed the forecast for women voters in next year’s presidential election. “All predictions are that in 2020, the turnout is going to be even higher.”

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Debra Schleef: Unlimited Data

Debra Schleef, associate provost of Institutional Analysis and Effectiveness

Debra Schleef, associate provost of Institutional Analysis and Effectiveness

“I’ll tell you where to look. I won’t tell you what to see.” Those are words that Debra Schleef lived by as a professor. These days, UMW’s associate provost of Institutional Analysis and Effectiveness spends much of her days analyzing data. But now she does tell her colleagues what to see in those numbers.

Schleef’s office is central to research on students, faculty and staff at Mary Washington, and she uses those statistics to advise senior administration so they can make data-informed decisions.

“If there’s a data element, it usually touches my office,” said Schleef, explaining that universities are required to share statistical information with federal and state governments.

Enter the new cloud-based framework Schleef and her team are beginning to work on this month. Aided by educational best practices firm EAB, the hub will unite a dizzying array of data environments from across the University and put UMW among the first to use an implementation of this type.

Schleef first came to Mary Washington two decades ago to teach sociology and says her background primed her for her current position, which is responsible for areas of internal and external reporting as well as assessment.

“Being a sociologist offers a unique insight into organizational dynamics, communication and change, which is so relevant in this job,” Schleef said. “And while I don’t teach as often, I understand inside and out what it’s like to be a UMW professor and department chair, so I love having the opportunity to help people in those roles.”

 

Q: What first piqued your interest in sociology?
A: I wanted to be a lawyer – sociology was recommended by my freshman advisor. I’d never heard of it, but I took my first class – a lecture with 500 students – and I was completely hooked.

Q: Why did you decide to make the leap to Institutional Analysis and Effectiveness?
A: I was looking for an administrative opportunity and love data collection, analysis and reporting. I’d been teaching it for 25 years, so it was a perfect fit.

Q: You constantly work with numbers. What about that appeals to you?
A: It can be exhausting because details have to be right, and you might have to run an analysis several times. But I love the challenge of puzzling out the best way to get at the data and the excitement of figuring out a conceptually tricky data analysis.

Q: What can you tell us about the EAB hub?
A: It will address systems integration, and data management and accessibility, with a single solution. We are also hiring a director of business intelligence who will be central to that process and will support the more enhanced data visualization and reporting that will follow.

Q: What’s the one thing in your office that means the most to you?
A: I have a shuttle from the Starship Enterprise, which is the pepper half of a salt and pepper shaker set. I got it when I first joined the enterprise scheduling committee in 2012. Plus, I like Star Trek.

Q: What do you like to do to relax?
A: Standup paddle boarding, running and hiking, board games and just walking around Fredericksburg enjoying small town life.

Bonds Publishes Research Article on Civilian Impacts of Iraq War

Associate Professor of Sociology Eric Bonds

Eric Bonds, Associate Professor of Sociology, recently published an article in the journal Social Currents on the civilian impacts of U.S. military violence during the Iraq War. The article, entitled “Callous Cruelty and Counterinsurgency: Civilian Victimization and Compensation in U.S.-Occupied Iraq,” is based on an analysis of Iraqi requests for monetary payments after suffering losses of property and loved ones during the war. The files depict the routine nature of civilian harm in Iraq, and the most common ways by which U.S. military action killed civilians. Finally, the documents show that the U.S. military compensation program was administered in a way that frequently re-inscribed, rather than diminished, the callous cruelty of counterinsurgency war.

LaWanda Simpkins: Courageous Conversations

LaWanda Simpkins signs her emails with a quote by the late Civil Rights icon and former UMW professor James L. Farmer: “Courage, after all, is not being unafraid, but doing what needs to be done in spite of fear.”

LaWanda Simpkins, James L. Farmer Jr. Post-Doctoral Fellow in Civil Rights and Social Justice

It’s particularly meaningful, given that it was Farmer whose legacy brought Simpkins to Mary Washington three years ago on a post-doctoral fellowship that bears his name.

It’s also fitting because Simpkins is the first in a new series called “Courageous Conversations” that features UMW faculty exploring topics of diversity and inclusion. In her video, Simpkins says that approaching others with openness and honesty and being intentional with communications can help break down social barriers.

Simpkins, who holds a Ph.D. in cultural studies and a graduate certificate in women and gender studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, is no stranger to these provocative and powerful discussions. She has them every day with her students in courses about women of color feminists, social justice and intersectionality.

“We have robust conversations about how this field came about,” said Simpkins, whose students often come to class with little background in the subject area. “It is exciting to see their confidence build and their perspectives become shaped. People bring their own different identities – race, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, etc. – and experiences to class, and it helps them connect more closely to the material.”

 

 

Q: What led you to this field of study?
A: One of the glaring things I noticed during my graduate and doctoral studies was that there were not many students who looked like me. The curriculum didn’t align with who I was as a Black woman. That is what caused me to study feminism in the way that I did and understand that there are gaps in the field. I’m intentional about saying I identify as a Black feminist. In fact, in my Women of Color Feminism class, the whole course is geared toward students figuring out who they are as a feminist.

Q: Are there any lessons or projects that you particularly enjoy teaching?
A: My students create vision boards by choosing and researching five women of color feminists who speak to who they are. They’ve made everything from homemade comic strips to puzzles to paintings – things that would blow your mind at the level of creativity. I cannot wait to get those projects. I’m like a kid in a candy store because it’s limitless.

Q: Who are the feminists that speak to you?
A: Patricia Hill Collins, Michele Wallace, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Angela Davis and Michelle Obama.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you?
A: Busy! I wake up before my kids to get myself together so that I can give them my full attention before I leave for work. This includes making bottles, washing dishes and making lunches. After office hours and teaching classes, I go home and straight into mommy mode.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your profession?
A: Seeing students having their “aha” moments and knowing that I could potentially have an impact on their thought trajectory for the rest of their lives.

Q: What is the most challenging?
A: The politics of academia.

Q: Who or what inspires you?
A: My students who are living in their absolute truths.

Q: What would people be most surprised to learn about you?
A: I watch reality television and probably know most music on the radio. I actually love hip-hop  ̶  the good kind of course!

Q: Are there any mottos that you live by?
A: “I am what I am not yet.” ~Maxine Greene

Schleef Conducts Fieldwork in Germany

Debra Schleef, professor of sociology, conducted field research on several intentional communities in Germany in July, and gave a lecture in German on issues that are of concern to communes and ecovillages in the U.S. to an audience at Kommune Niederkaufungen.

Munching the Numbers

M&M's give sociology students a taste for statistics.

Immersed in Guyana

Artifacts from the indigenous Amazonian people known as the Waiwai surround Anthropology Professor Laura Mentore as she pores over her latest research—cultural perceptions of water in light of climate change—in her office at the University of Mary Washington.

Immersed in Guyana

Professor Laura Mentore takes students on the trip of a lifetime.

Radio Show Features UMW Anthropology Professor

Jason James, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Mary Washington, discusses the cultural struggles that persist in post-Nazi Germany during an interview scheduled to air on the “With Good Reason” public radio program. The show, “After the Berlin Wall Came Down,” will air beginning Saturday, Dec. 1.

Jason James

The program will focus on James’ argument that “there are still divisions within German culture – between the ‘good’ former West Germans and the ‘bad’ former East Germans – and that both sides struggle with a problematic past that includes Nazi and Fascist associations.”

James is an expert in nationalism, ethnic identity, Germany and East Germany, heritage preservation movements, tourism and collective memory and commemoration of the past.

James earned master’s and doctoral degrees in anthropology from the University of California, San Diego, after receiving a bachelor’s in philosophy and political science from Boston University. His two years of dissertation research in eastern Germany focused on the symbolic and political dimensions of conflicts over urban redevelopment and historic preservation.

“With Good Reason” airs weekly in Fredericksburg on Sundays from 1-2 p.m. on Radio IQ 88.3 Digital. To listen from outside of the Fredericksburg area, a complete list of air times and links to corresponding radio stations can be found at http://withgoodreasonradio.org/when-to-listen/.

“With Good Reason” is the only statewide public radio program in Virginia. It hosts scholars from Virginia’s public colleges and universities who discuss the latest in research, pressing social issues and the curious and whimsical. “With Good Reason” is produced for the Virginia Higher Education Broadcasting Consortium by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and is broadcast in partnership with public radio stations in Virginia and Washington, D.C.

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News release prepared by: Charlotte Rodina

Jason James Publishes Book on Eastern Germany

Palgrave-Macmillan recently published “Preservation and National Belonging in Eastern Germany: Heritage Fetishism and Redeeming Germanness,” by Jason James, associate professor of anthropology.  The book explores the ways in which everyday citizens grapple with a difficult past through heritage.  It seeks to shed new light on the everyday politics of heritage and memory by highlighting the dynamics of longing, fantasy, fetishism, and local performance.