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Current Faculty Working Groups

New Faculty Working Groups

Reading Sara Ahmed

Leader: Carole McCann (Gender + Women’s Studies)

This group will discuss Sara Ahmed’s work in preparation for her campus visit in February 2019 for the Korenman Lecture and Humanities Forum Speaker Series. The group will pay close attention to Ahmed’s use of affect theory and phenomenology to further feminist cultural criticism. The group will select from a small list of key texts, including Queer Phenomenology, Willful Subjects, On Being Included, Living a Feminist Life, and The Cultural Politics of Emotion, to gain a deeper understanding of the development of Ahmed’s critical perspective.

Continuing Faculty Working Groups

Digital Storytelling and Civic Agency in Higher Education

Leaders: Bill Shewbridge (Media and Communication Studies) and Bev Bickel (Language, Literacy, and Culture)

This group explores the research focus of digital storytelling including discussions of digital literacies and competencies in the humanities and social sciences, narrative and storytelling research, and classroom work across disciplines. The working group serves as a steering body for ongoing digital storytelling activities and connects with other campus work that involves storytelling for civic agency and engagement. The group promotes opportunities for faculty involved in digital storytelling research to share their experiences through presentations, workshops, roundtables and a possible one-day conference.


Leaders: Sara Poggio (Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communications), T. H. (Tim) Gindling (Economics), Felipe Filomeno (Political Science and Global Studies)

The Faculty Working Group on Immigration will bring together faculty members and graduate students who study international migration. Its purpose is to promote interdisciplinary collaboration in teaching, research and service related to international migration at UMBC. International migration is a complex phenomenon, with cultural, economic and political aspects. Its causes, processes and consequences have been analyzed in multiple disciplines, from a variety of theoretical perspectives and with different research methods. UMBC currently has several faculty members and graduate students whose work on immigration reflects this diversity of approaches. However, for the most part, this work has been carried out independently, by individual faculty members and graduate students within their home departments. There is an untapped potential for interdisciplinary collaboration in teaching, research and service related to this broad thematic.

Intersectional Studies

Leader: Mejdulene B. Shomali (Gender + Women’s Studies)

This group will focus on discussing contemporary readings and authors whose work emphasizes intersectional topics and methods. Here, intersectionality is both a practice and an organizing rubric. Approximately once a month, we will read and discuss work that foregrounds feminist and queer methods with an emphasis on ethnic and transnational studies subjects. One time during the year, we will invite an author to campus to discuss their work with a community that has recently read it. This group aims to offer a “continuing education” environment for faculty who are accustomed to reading and discussing work in groups, rather than in isolation. It includes faculty and texts from multiple disciplines in CAHSS.

Issues in Digital Humanities: Definitions (or What Precisely Do You Mean by Digital Humanities?)

Leader: Anne Sarah Rubin (History/Imaging Research Center)

Faculty in the humanities often hear the phrase digital humanities, and many already have positions pro or con. At least three somewhat encyclopedic anthologies all with the title Digital Humanities summarize what has appeared in the last decade and there are important scholarly journals with titles like Digital Humanities Quarterly or The Journal of e-Media Studies. Many scholarly organizations have strongly urged institutions to amend tenure and promotion policies to properly and fairly evaluate work in the digital humanities. Major research universities are starting centers, degree programs, institutes, and cluster hires in digital humanities. With all this activity, even those supposedly working in the digital humanities seem to be chasing a moving target with few fine-grained distinctions made among the various projects lumped together under the larger title of “DH.” This study group hopes to define digital humanities in a more systematic, nuanced, and complete way. Our activities will include speaking with leaders in the digital humanities and visiting centers of digital humanities work with the expectation that it will lead to publications among the group.

Screen Studies

Leaders: Erin Hogan (Modern Languages, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication) and  Jules Rosskam (Visual Arts)

Screen studies aims to bring film scholars, filmmakers, and enthusiasts from across campus together for approximately three meetings or events a semester to promote screen studies and literacy of the moving image through discussions, scholarship sharing, and dynamic programming throughout and beyond UMBC. Our group wishes to provide a home for the interdisciplinary and interdepartmental study of cinema at UMBC and promote collaboration across campus; according to AOK’s Media Library, over the past 5 semesters about 100 faculty from 20 departments or programs put physical video materials on reserve and it is likely that many more access streaming video for their teaching and research. We expect that interdisciplinarity will bridge a gap between film historians and filmmakers to produce meaningful discussions, and curricular developments, on global cinema.

Sound Studies

Leaders: Maleda Belilgne (Africana Studies/English) and Bryce Peake (Media and Communication Studies)

Over the past decade, sound studies has been generating a buzz in disciplines across the humanities. The dual purpose of this group is to: 1) facilitate more cross-disciplinary discussions about sound, and 2) bring together faculty members with shared interests to encourage collaboration. The group discusses relevant sound studies issues from different disciplinary perspectives, has informal presentations of their own in-process work, and listens to invited talks from guest speakers.

For a list of previous Faculty Working Groups, please visit the Archives page.