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Fall 2017 CURRENTS

MONDAY OCT. 2 at NOON in Performing Arts and Humanities Building Room 216

Erin Berry, PhD Student, Language, Literacy and Culture; Dresher Center Graduate Student Residential Fellow

“They Ask, Why Do You Talk Like That; I Ask, Why Don’t You Want to Talk Like That?”: Analyzing the Online Speech and Identity Practices of Black Female Undergraduates”

This iteration of my project focuses on preliminary findings from my in-depth ethnographic interviews with Black female undergraduate students attending college in Maryland. Notably, these women discuss how social media is a complicated space in which Black women in particular frequently encounter sociolinguistic policing (Everett, 2009; Richardson, 2013). They also discuss how they resist narratives of marginalization in online and offline spaces through the formation, interrogation and facilitation of digital sociolinguistic cultural spaces.


Kevin Omland, Professor, Biological Sciences

The Influence of Gender on Research in Avian Behavior: Diversity of Researchers Speeds Progress

Historically, research on bird song has been dominated by white men in northern countries who have defined bird song as a characteristic of male birds.  Recent research on female vocalizations led by prominent female researchers has helped redefine bird song and overturn the long held paradigm for thinking about the original evolution of avian song.  An undergraduate in the Omland Lab has recently shown that research on female bird song has been significantly more likely to be conducted by female researchers

MONDAY OCT 16 at NOON in Performing Arts and Humanities Building Room 216

Chris Varlack, Lecturer, English

“Reclaiming the Black Group Soul: Blueprints for Black Infrastructure in Claude McKay’s Amiable with Big Teeth” 

In 2009, Jean Christophe Cloutier discovered Claude McKay’s previously unpublished manuscript, Amiable with Big Teeth: A Novel of the Love Affair Between the Communists and the Poor Black Sheep of Harlem. The novel, exploring the fundraising efforts of an all-Black organization during the Italo-Abyssinian War, is one of McKay’s most important works, establishing a blueprint for black infrastructure in the United States. This talk will examine the novel’s critique of the American Communist Party and its blueprint for what McKay terms the “black group soul.”


Brian Norman, English, Loyola University Maryland; Dresher Center Visiting Professor

“The Posthumous Autobiography and Civil Rights Memory”

This work-in-progress considers the curious phenomenon of posthumous autobiographies. The American civil rights movement is filled with examples, including from some of the most iconic figures: Malcolm X, Lorraine Hansberry, Martin Luther King, and just this year, Coretta Scott King.  This literary tradition raises questions of civil rights memory, intellectual property, political celebrity, and the ethics of collaborating with the dead.

MONDAY OCT 23 at NOON in Performing Arts and Humanities Building Room 216

Mary Laurents, PhD Student, Language, Literacy and Culture; Dresher Center Graduate Student Residential Fellow

“The Marginalization of Privilege: The Fracture of Upper Class Identity in WW I Britain”. 

This talk deals with marginalization along generational lines within the British upper class during WW I and the resulting fracture of traditional upper class identity. That identity fracture then resonates through British society and politics during the interwar period and underpins Britain’s weak reaction to the rise of Fascism.


Nicole King, Associate Professor and Chair, American Studies; Dresher Center Summer Faculty Research Fellow

The Superblock Downtown Development Debacle: “It seems like it has taken so long to get nothing started,” 2003-2015 

Downtown redevelopment projects have often brought destruction to and increased inequality in many cities. The story of Baltimore’s Superblock development debacle on the westside of downtown Baltimore exposes the flaws of a twenty-first-century model of neoliberal urban redevelopment—go big, go corporate, and try and do it all at once. We can learn from the failure of this redevelopment project, which wasted millions of dollars, dislocated local business owners, and made our city streets more desolate and dangerous, that to develop a city in just ways, we must be able to critically read the text of those already walking the city streets down below.

WEDNESDAY Nov. 29 at NOON in Performing Arts and Humanities Building Room 216

Meredith Oyen, Associate Professor, History; Dresher Center Summer Faculty Research Fellow

“Shanghai Survivors: World War Two’s Displaced Persons in Asia and the International Politics of Refugee Resettlement”

“This project examines the complicated international politics of refugee aid in Asia after World War Two, where private, national, and transnational organizations had to contend not only with the ravages of the conflict, but the rise of decolonization, the looming Chinese Civil War, and the emerging global Cold War. Combining personal stories with institutional and national archives, this project brings the refugee situation in China into a global postwar context.”


Jason Loviglio, Associate Professor and Chair, Media and Communications Studies

“Driveway Moments: The Public Radio Structure of Feeling”

The story of US public radio, is the tiny vibrating crystal through which can be heard the death rattle of liberalism and the first vocalizations of the neoliberal order. Listening to NPR, and the other institutions that comprise modern public radio in the context of “the great moving right show,” (Hall, 1979), this project aims to understand the complicated relationship between one of the nation’s most influential public cultural institutions and a rising political and economic philosophy committed to the replacement of public institutions with private ones.