WCSU News

WCSU Child Care Center fundraiser to feature reception, ‘Evita’ ticket

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Child Care Center will host an event to raise funds for the center on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. At 6:30 p.m., guests will enjoy tapas and a cash bar in Room 241 of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. At 8 p.m., guests will enjoy the theatre department production, “Evita,” in the MainStage Theatre in the Visual and Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $40, and include the reception, show and a donation. Tickets are available at the Midtown Student Center and Westside Campus Center box offices or online at www.wcsu.edu/tickets.

The center has raised funds in the past through Cabaret tickets, raffles, auctions and donated goods. This year, the center’s board decided to piggyback on “Evita,” this fall’s Theatre Arts Department performance. Oni Figueroa, a member of the board that made this fundraiser possible, said, “As a result of these fundraisers, we’ve been able to award grants to our WCSU students, many of whom may not have been able to continue taking classes without affordable child care.”

The Child Care Center is licensed by the State of Connecticut and accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. NAEYC administers the largest and most widely recognized national, voluntary, professionally sponsored accreditation system for all types of early childhood schools and child care centers. The center provides high quality, developmentally appropriate experiences for children ages three through five.

The center exists to provide a safe, developmentally appropriate learning environment for preschool children of the Western Connecticut State University community as well as the Danbury region.  It provides an engaging early care and education experience that encourages parental involvement and promotes each child’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development.

 

 

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

Local food service innovators featured on WCSU entrepreneurial panel

Entrepreneurial Arc program on Nov. 13 to showcase successful niche restaurateurs

DANBURY, CONN. — Owners of three local entrepreneurial businesses whose innovative startups in the fiercely competitive food service field are poised to survive and prosper will offer insights into strategies for success in a panel discussion on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, at Western Connecticut State University.

“The Entrepreneurial Arc,” a WCSU series of programs showcasing local entrepreneurs, will present the forum featuring Jasson Arias, owner of the Danbury-based food truck business Rice and Beans; Anna Llanos and Andrea White, cofounders of Mothership Bakery & Café, with locations at 44 Old Ridgebury Rd. and 331 Main St. in Danbury; and Andrea Gartner, owner of Pour Me Coffee & Wine Café at 274 Main St. in Danbury.

The forum will be at 6 p.m. in Room 218 of the Classroom Building on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury. Admission will be free and the public is invited to attend. Co-sponsors for the event include the Center for Entrepreneurship, Research, Innovation and Creativity (E.R.I.C.@THEGARAGE), the Ancell School of Business and the Macricostas Entrepreneurial Endowment, all at WCSU; the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce; and the Danbury Hackerspace.

“We’ve heard that most new restaurants fail, so what does it take to succeed?” remarked Associate Professor of Management Dr. Pauline Assenza, coordinator of the Entrepreneurial Arc program. “Here are three businesses who are making their mark in the local food industry.”

Arias, who earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration at WCSU in 2011, drew from the culinary traditions of his parents’ native Guatemala, his Western education and his experience at Mezon Tapas Bar and Restaurant in Danbury to found his Rice and Beans food truck business in 2016. Serving weekly at sites in Danbury and Stamford as well as private parties and community events across Fairfield County, his signature yellow trailer specializes in white, brown or green rice served with black beans and tortilla chips as well as slow-cooked beef and chicken and roasted vegetable dishes. A portion of profits goes to his “Share Your Beans” charitable fund to help those in need.

“Developing his business to compete in the food truck market meant Jasson had to use what he learned in marketing — the importance of building a brand and then making sure he could stand out by promoting it successfully,” Assenza said. His primary promotional vehicles have been the extensive use of the Internet and social media tools including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. In presenting a focused and limited menu, Assenza observed, “Jasson has avoided one of the mistakes many food service startups make” in attempting do too much, too soon. “By keeping it simple, Jasson can focus on food quality, make the choices clear to customers, and be really great at what he does. He can streamline operations and reduce costs as well.”

Llanos and White also began their Mothership Bakery & Café business in 2012 as a mobile food service housed in a vintage Airstream trailer, expanding to open a kitchen and cafeteria on Ridgebury Road as well as catering for the Belimo Americas headquarters in Danbury. The partnership of Llanos as baker and chef and White as business manager took their venture to the next level in 2016 when they opened Mothership on Main, serving breakfast and lunch weekdays, Thursday evening dinner and weekend brunch with varied offerings including baked goods, soups, sandwiches, savories, salads. smoothies and organic coffee and tea.

Directing meal preparation in a kitchen open to diners’ view, Llanos said she “is adamant that the food not have that institutional taste and should be as close to home cooking as possible.” Assenza remarked that all foods are “made from scratch with only what is needed for the day — when something runs out, it runs out, but customers are assured of freshness.” In the review accompanying Connecticut Magazine’s recognition of Mothership as 2017 “Best in Connecticut” in the bakery category, Erik Ofgang wrote, “Visiting the Mothership can be a little like visiting a few of your aunts around the holidays — there are a lot of friendly, smiling faces and everyone is trying to feed you delicious food.”

The Mothership partners will discuss the need for deliberate decisions on business strategy and growth that account not only for food choices, but also cash flow, staffing and customer service, and regulatory and health issues. “Mothership has pursued a very deliberate growth trajectory, which has paid off in customer loyalty as witnessed by the excited buzz around their expansion to Main Street,” Assenza noted.

Gartner played an important role in the downtown Danbury revitalization that has attracted Mothership and other restaurants to the area, promoting business and cultural activities in the area as executive director from 2007 to 2015 of CityCenter Danbury. After forming Gartner & Main in 2015 as a consulting firm specializing in community, business and economic development, she launched her own downtown food service venture this June with opening of the Pour Me Coffee & Wine Café. In a setting based on the traditional European café concept, Pour Me serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with a menu ranging from breakfast burritos and salads to personal pizzas, vegan dishes and chicken, stead and seafood entrees, complemented by a tasting bar with wines and spirits.

Joining an active downtown Danbury restaurant scene that also features foods of many ethnic traditions, Gartner has expressed hope that her full-service neighborhood bistro will make a contribution to this vibrant mix. Pour Me seeks to support local suppliers by featuring items such as the organic beverage products made by Cross Culture Kombucha of Danbury and Sacred Grounds Coffee Roasters of Sherman.

Gartner’s panel presentation will cover her strategy for business development as well as her adaptation of food service operations in the restaurant’s first six months to respond to customer demand and cost issues while maintaining quality food offerings. “Andrea encourages everyone to join the community of urban enthusiasts behind the resurgence of Danbury’s downtown, hoping to make this the most appealing place for all to invest their time, money and talent,” Assenza said.

For more information about the panel discussion, contact Assenza at assenzap@wcsu.edu or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

 

Public invited to readings, open mic hosted by WCSU M.F.A. in Creative and Professional Writing program

DANBURY, CONN. — The staff of the Western Connecticut State University literary journal Poor Yorick will hold a seasonal celebration between 2 and 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, at @287 Gallery and Meeting place on 287 Main Street in Danbury. Graduate students in WestConn’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing program and the program’s new director, Anthony D’Aries, will be in attendance, along with Poor Yorick staff. The public is invited, but RSVPs are requested to account for catering needs.

Poor Yorick is a literary journal that focuses on the theme of rediscovered objects and items of cultural significance. To celebrate the nature of the journal and the recent observation of Halloween, attendees are welcome to come dressed as an historical figure.

The event will begin with selected readings from the journal before opening the mic to students and the public to read their own work. Guests are welcome to mingle and chat with the staff and students about the journal and M.F.A. program.

The event will be catered by Pour Me café located across the street from the gallery. Poor Yorick T-shirts will be on sale for $20.

Poor Yorick Editor-in-Chief Melissa Johnson said, “We are really looking forward to showing off the M.F.A. program’s literary journal to the community. Poor Yorick publishes mostly established writers from around the United States and the world, and running it and being part of the M.F.A. program has enriched my life. All of us in the program have devoted much of our lives to expressing ourselves through writing, and connecting with others is such an important part of that.”

For more information or to RSVP, contact Johnson at bymeljohnson@gmail.com or (860) 333-3962.

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

 

WCSU faculty to discuss ‘Recreating through Interpreting’ at interdisciplinary research presentation

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University office of Academic Affairs will host Scholars in Action, a panel discussion featuring recent interdisciplinary scholarship, on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017, in Ives Concert Hall in White Hall on the WCSU Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. A reception at 4 p.m. in Room 122 of White Hall will precede the discussion. The topic, “Recreating through Interpreting,” will be addressed by Professor of World Languages and Literature Dr. Alba Hawkins, “Performing Translation”; Professor of English Dr. Shouhua Qi, “Reinterpreting Western Classics for the Chinese Stage”; and Professors of Music Dr. Margaret Astrup and Dr. Kerry Walker, “Performer as Interpreter.” Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Ann Atkinson will moderate. The discussion is free and open to the public. Reservations are requested. To make a reservation, email cunninghamj@wcsu.edu.

Hawkins’s presentation will focus on the performance of bilingual Spanish and English readings of poems from her most recent translations. These include “El País de las Calles sin Nombre” (Where the Streets Have No Name) by María Augusta Montealegre, “Luna Mojada” (Misty Moon) by Francisco de Asís Fernández and “La Invención de las Constelaciones” (The Invention of Constellations) by Francisco de Asís Fernández. Hawkins also will read from her most recent project translating poetry by Nicaraguan author Gioconda Belli. To frame her presentation, she will provide information about the authors and reflections on translation as a transcultural process.

Qi’s presentation will draw from his book project, “Adapting Western Classics for the Chinese Stage.” This is a study of Chinese adaptations of Western classics from the early 20th century such as the play “Black Slave’s Cry to Heaven” based on Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, which was staged by a group of young Chinese students studying in Tokyo, all the way to 21st century adaptations. It is a study of a century-worth of translingual and transcultural adaptation endeavors, a history of uneasy fusion of East and West complicated by tensions between divergent sociopolitical forces and cultural proclivities. Qi will make use of three examples, a 1990 adaption of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” a 1998 bilingual adaptation of Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” and a 2007 Peking Opera adaptation of Sophocles’ “Oedipus the King” to help illustrate the points.

Astrup and Walker will discuss a performer’s role as interpreter of the composer’s intentions as indicated on a musical score. Within this framework there are still personal choices to be made and inherent qualities that are unique to the performer that will make the performer’s interpretation of a work a “re-creation.” To demonstrate this, they will discuss various musical settings and interpretations of the Irish folk song “Salley Gardens” for voice and flute by John Corigliano, voice and violin by Rebecca Clark, and voice and piano by Benjamin Britten. They will draw personal examples from repertoire that they have performed together and will also use examples from their own recordings and a recording in progress. Astrup and Walker will also discuss widely varied interpretations of the Irish folk song, “She Moved Through the Fair,” as performed in rock, acoustic folk, pop and classical styles, including their own performance accompanied by John Corigliano on flute.

Atkinson, the moderator for the event, said, “This series is an opportunity for our faculty to talk across schools about their research, to highlight the parallels and distinctions and to create a space for collaboration.”

For more information, contact the office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

 

WCSU to present Webber & Rice musical ‘Evita’ Nov. 10 through 19

WCSU professor and Broadway veteran Tim Howard to direct 34-member student cast

Image from "Evita"

 

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University will present the award-winning musical “Evita” in eight public performances from Nov. 10 through 19, 2017,  at the MainStage Theatre of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the university’s Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

The WCSU Department of Theatre Arts production, directed by Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts and Coordinator of Musical Theatre Tim Howard, will be presented in evening performances at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10; Saturday, Nov. 11; Friday, Nov. 17; and Saturday, Nov. 18. Saturday matinee performances will be at 2 p.m. on Nov. 11 and 18; Sunday matinees will be at 2 p.m. on Nov. 12 and at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19. Reservations at a general admission fee of $25 may be made at (203) 837-8732 or online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/evita-tickets-36492619407.

“Evita,” with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, opened on London’s West End in 1978 and on Broadway in 1979, with touring companies taking the show around the world during the past four decades and revivals staged in London in 2006 and New York in 2012. The original production captured the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Musical in 1978 and became the first British show to win the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1979.

The first act of “Evita” chronicles the life of Eva Duarte in Argentina from her teens as an aspiring actress and radio personality to her courtship and marriage with the ambitious military colonel Juan Peron, a rising political star promoted to general and ultimately elected to the presidency in 1946. Opening with the show’s signature song, “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina,” the second act portrays Eva Peron’s emergence as a charismatic First Lady whose massive charitable programs endear her to the nation’s poor but whose growing power arouses the mistrust of the military. The recurring commentaries of Che, patterned loosely on the real-life Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara, provide a skeptical Greek-chorus background to the play that culminates when Eva succumbs to cancer in 1952 at the age of 33.

Howard, a veteran actor, singer and director with extensive professional credits in Broadway and regional theatre, will direct a cast of 34 WCSU students. Choreography will be designed and directed by Adjunct Professor of Theatre Arts Mary Ann Lamb, whose credits include 12 Broadway shows, with assistance from Anthony Johnson. The 14-piece orchestra will be conducted by guest artist and music director Frank Schiro, who has collaborated on music direction for many professional theatre productions in New York and regionally.

“I wanted to do ‘Evita’ because it’s one of my favorite musicals, hands down,” Howard remarked. “It’s Andrew Lloyd Webber’s best score, it’s rock opera, and beyond that, it’s an exciting piece of theatre not just for the title character but for the entire ensemble. We’re thrilled to be honoring the material, and we’re also thrilled to be working with an amazing design and creative team.”

Howard emphasized that the WCSU production will bring a fresh interpretation to one of the most familiar and popular shows in contemporary musical theatre. “If you think you know ‘Evita,’” he said, “you need to open your mind and come and see what we’re doing, and hopefully you’re going to discover ‘Evita’ in a brand-new way.”

The title role of Evita will be performed by three student actresses cast at the various stages of her life from her teens to her illness and death at 33. The Young Eva Duarte will be performed by Shaylen Harger, of Orange; the Reigning Eva Peron, by Olivia Kurtz, of Andover; and the Dying Eva, by Alexandra Colavecchio, of Cromwell.

Other leading roles will be portrayed by Mark Sumner, of Middletown, in the role of Che; TJ Swetz, of Poughquag, New York, in the role of Juan Peron; and Johnathan Jordan, of Stratford, in the role of Agustin Magaldi. The role of the Mistress has been double cast with performances by Jessica Schwartz, of Brookfield, and Kristen Muller, of Norwalk.

Women in the Ensemble cast will include Sasha Brown, of Middletown (also the Reigning Eva understudy and a Sister); Saige Bryan, of Norwalk (also an Aristocrat); Jillian Caillouette, of Meriden (also the Young Eva understudy); Ashia Collins, of Poughkeepsie, New York; Shea Coughlin, of Sherman (Female Ensemble Swing); Krista Fiederlein, of East Hampton (also the Mother); Emma Giorgio, of Ridgefield (also an Aristocrat); Kayla Hansen, of West Haven (also a Sister); Jaclyn Mercer, of New Milford (also an Aristocrat); Alaina Mueller, of Windsor (also an Aristocrat); Cynthia Rivera, of Bridgeport (also a Sister); Victoria Wall, of Wallingford; and Jennifer Wilson, of West Haven (also the Young Girl Soloist).

Men in the Ensemble cast will include Thomas Bergamo, of Wolcott (also a General); Isiah Bostic, of Hamden (also the Che understudy and an Aristocrat); Nathan Clift, of Trumbull (also an Aristocrat); Luis DeJesus, of East Haven (also the Brother); Tyler Gallaher, of Wappingers Falls, New York (also the Juan Peron understudy, the Admiral and a General); Kenneth Galm, of West Hartford (also a General); Stefan Izydorczak, of Unionville (also a General); Michael Katz, of Monroe (also a General); Nicholas Raines, of New Milford (also a General); Ryan Rappaport, of Orange (also an Aristocrat); Brandon Richardi, of Hanson, Massachusetts (Male Ensemble Swing); Cole Urso, of Wethersfield (also a General); and Brandon Wolfe, of Stamford (also a General).

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

 

Seven Connecticut illustrators featured at WCSU forum on Nov. 15

Participants in ‘Thinking Visually’ exhibition to discuss their works and creative careers

DANBURY, CONN. — Seven critically acclaimed Connecticut illustrators whose works are featured in a continuing exhibition at Western Connecticut State University will discuss their artistic works and careers at a panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, in Room 108 of the Visual and Performing Arts Center on the WCSU Westside campus, 43 Lake Ave. Extension in Danbury.

The panel on “The Art and Business of Illustration” will be moderated by Associate Professor of Art Jack Tom and hosted by the WCSU Department of Art. Participants will include Bruce Degen, Randy Enos, James Grashow, Gerard Huerta, Christine Kornacki, Ross MacDonald and David Wenzel. Light refreshments will be served.

Admission will be free and the public is invited; donations to support the WCSU Art Gallery exhibitions program will be accepted. Reservations to attend the forum should be made online on the VPAC events web page at www.wcsuvpac.eventbrite.com.

The panel will be held in conjunction with the current exhibition at the VPAC Art Gallery, “Thinking Visually: The Art of Connecticut Illustrators,” which presents works by 15 local illustrators spanning a wide spectrum from popular children’s book illustrations, magazine covers, cardboard constructions and stamp designs to graphic images for cartoons, albums, advertising, video games, films and television series. The exhibition will continue through Sunday, Dec. 3, and is open for public viewing during gallery hours from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Degen has gained international recognition as the illustrator for popular book series including “The Magic School Bus,” “Jesse Bear” and “Commander Toad,” and as author and illustrator of children’s books including “Daddy is a Doodlebug” and “Jamberry.” Enos has worked primarily with linocuts, a printmaking technique using a sheet of linoleum for a relief surface, to create illustrations and cartoons that have been featured in National Lampoon, The Nation, Time, Sports Illustrated and other national publications, as well as children’s books and advertising campaigns.

Grashow, whose recent exhibitions include his “Corrugated Worlds” show at WCSU and his replica of Rome’s Trevi Fountain outside the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, has created cardboard constructions featured in installations that have earned him widespread renown as “The Cardboard Artist.” Huerta is a premiere designer of letter forms for the recording and movie industries, national publications and major corporations, developing corporate alphabets for Time-Life, Pepsi and Conde Nast, dials for the Swiss Army Watch, and logos for Nabisco, Waldenbooks and Calvin Klein’s Eternity.

Kornacki is the author and illustrator of children’s books including “The Sparkle Box,” “The First Christmas Night,” “The Sparkle Egg” and the series created for the American Girl doll characters Marie-Grace and Cecile. MacDonald’s illustrations have been published in national publications and children’s books; his skill with letterpress and drawing in re-creating retro-styled illustrations also has placed him in high demand for creation of period “graphics props” for many TV series including “Boardwalk Empire” and movies such as “Silver Linings Playbook,” “National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Hateful Eight.” Wenzel, who has received international acclaim for his re-creation in graphic novel format of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” has dedicated much of his artistic work over the past three decades to the visualization and illustration of characters and creatures from mythological, fantasy and folk tales, ranging from graphic novels such as “The Wizard’s Tale” to children’s books such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and the “Little Bear” series.

For more information, contact the Department of Art at (203) 837-8403 or the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

 

WCSU to host MIT Quanta Chair of Chinese Culture for free lecture

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Department of English and the Macricostas School of Arts & Sciences will present the Fall 2017 Faculty Lecture by Dr. Claire Conceison, “Arthur Miller and ‘Death of a Salesman’ in Beijing,” at 9:25 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, in Room 102 of Warner Hall on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. The talk will be free and the public is invited.

Arthur Miller traveled to Beijing in 1983, when China had just established normal relations with the U.S., to direct his classic American play, “Death of a Salesman.” Three months of rehearsal with a cast of Chinese actors led to the premiere at Beijing People’s Art Theater, making history as the first modern Western play directed by an American at the theater.

Conceison is the Quanta Chair of Chinese Culture/Professor of Theater Arts at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and visiting professor in Theater, Dance & Media Dramatic Arts at Harvard University. She was selected as an Oriental Scholar Distinguished Professor at Shanghai Theatre Academy by the Chinese Ministry of Education. Conceison also wrote the introduction to the new edition of Arthur Miller’s 1984 book, “‘Death of a Salesman’ in Beijing.” 

WCSU Professor of English Dr. Shouhua Qi met and worked with Conceison while writing, “Adapting Western Classics for the Chinese Stage.” Qi describes the work as “a study of a century-worth of translingual and transcultural adaptation endeavors, and a history of the uneasy fusion of East and West complicated by tensions between divergent sociopolitical forces and cultural proclivities.” His text devotes a chapter to the 1983 production of Miller’s “Death of Salesman” in Beijing and its impact on the revival of modern Chinese drama.

 

Qi said, “I think our community will find this lecture from an internationally renowned scholar most illuminating. Our students will find Dr. Conceison’s transcultural and intellectual journey — beginning many years ago as a young college student at Wesleyan University learning to read, speak and write in Chinese, one of the most challenging languages to learn — most inspiring. I invite and encourage faculty, staff and students of all disciplines and the public to attend this compelling lecture.”

The WCSU Department of English has planned another lecture as part of a series on the historical, literary and cultural resonances of the Black Arts Movement via Afrofuturism, The Black Panther and The Black Panthers for Spring 2018.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486 or Qi at qis@wcsu.edu.

 

 

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

WCSU historian Surekha Davies receives two book awards

Davies’ first book earns prestigious Bainton and Forkosch prizes for research contributions

image of Dr. Surekha Davies

Assistant Professor of History Dr. Surekha Davies

DANBURY, CONN. — Western Connecticut State University historian Dr. Surekha Davies has garnered two prestigious book awards recognizing her book, “Renaissance Ethnography and the Invention of the Human: New Worlds, Maps and Monsters,” published in 2016 by Cambridge University Press.

Davies, assistant professor of History at WCSU, has been named recipient of the 2017 Roland H. Bainton Prize in History/Theology, awarded by the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference. She also recently earned the 2016 Morris D. Forkosch Prize for the best first book by an author in the field of intellectual history, awarded by the Journal of the History of Ideas at the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Bainton Prizes are awarded annually to honor the best books about the period from 1450 to 1660 in the fields of history/theology, art and music history, literature and reference works. The winning work in each category demonstrates superior quality and originality of research, methodological skill and innovation, development of fresh and stimulating interpretations or insights, and high literary quality. The Forkosch Prize recognizes exemplary debut works that display sound scholarship, original conceptualization, and significant chronological and interdisciplinary scope.

Davies’ prize-winning book explored European maps, prints and travel accounts portraying the indigenous peoples of the Americas in the first two centuries of Western engagement with the New World after Christopher Columbus’ arrival in 1492. A review by Dr. Katharina Piechocki, associate professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, described the book as “a true gem in the history of ideas which opens up new avenues to think about the intricate relationship among ethnography, cartography, the history of science, and medicine in a time when the world first became globalized.”

The judging committee for the 2016 Forkosch Prize observed that Davies’ “masterly, vivid exploration of early modern illustrated maps opens up a new way to understand how Europeans saw the lands and seas they had begun to explore. Davies reveals the rich stock of sources mapmakers drew upon, from Hippocrates to Tacitus, and the equally varied array of ideas they conveyed.”

The judging committee noted that Davies’ work reveals how mapmakers across Western Europe combined references from scripture, classical texts and popular beliefs with both accurate and fictional perspectives from contemporary travel literature and ethnography to “make powerful, sometimes surprising arguments for human diversity and ultimately help build European notions of cultural hierarchy. Davies’ eloquent command of archival materials lends weight to her claims for the distinctiveness of maps as key players in early modern thinking about the nature of humanity, monstrousness, civilization and barbarism. ‘Renaissance Ethnography and the Invention of the Human’ is a book about the representation of marvels; it is also a marvelous read.”

Critical acclaim from Davies’ peers has cited the book’s important contribution to understanding how cartography in the early era of colonialism in the Americas reflected a wider debate over the nature of human identity and civilization. In his review of the book, Dr. Larry Silver, James and Nan Wagner Farquhar Professor of Art History at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote, “Davies skillfully uses Amerindian figures on maps to interrogate the major shift in European knowledge about distant human wonders as filtered through the viewpoint of both firsthand travel accounts of varying reliability and late-medieval presuppositions. In the process, she offers a profound examination of what truly constitutes humanity, as defined through its monstrous extremes, such as cannibalism or gigantism, during the dynamic era of nascent colonies and empires.”

Davies, a cultural historian whose research specializations include the history of science and technology, anthropology and human mentalities from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Cambridge and a Ph.D. in Combined Historical Studies from the Warburg Institute at the University of London. Her research has been supported by the John Carter Brown Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Library of Congress, the Newberry Library, the American Philosophical Society, the American Historical Association and the Leverhulme Trust. She previously served as a curator at the British Library and is founding editor of the book series “Maps, Spaces, Cultures,” published by Brill.

Davies earned top honors among all faculty members in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system as the recipient of the 2016 system-wide Board of Regents Research Award.  She currently holds a Mellon Long-Term Fellowship for 2017-18 at the Folger Library and recently received Visiting Scholar positions at the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for college faculty at Indiana University and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, Germany.

For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

 

WCSU to screen professor’s biographical war documentary during Military Appreciation Week

DANBURY, CONN. — The film “Major ‘Doc’ Brown,” directed and produced by Western Connecticut State University Communication and Media Arts Professor Dr. JC Barone, will be shown from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, in the Student Center Theater on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. The screening will be free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted for Wounded Warriors. It is one of several events the university will hold to honor veterans during Military Appreciation Week.

Major “Doc” Brown, also known as Albert Brown, was the oldest and last survivor of the Bataan Death March. He passed away in 2011. Originally an Iowa dentist, Brown was drafted in World War II to the dental corps in the Philippines. Brown’s base was surrounded and taken prisoner. What followed was the Bataan Death March, a 65-mile forced march without food or aid of any sort. After three years of being a prisoner of war, Brown was rescued. He endured numerous injuries and diseases such as a broken neck and back, dysentery, dengue fever and malaria. Physicians told him not to expect to live past the age of 50 — Brown died at 105.

Former Department of Theatre Arts Chairman Richard Reimold brought the film idea to Barone after exposure to the book “Forsaken Heroes of the Pacific War: One Man’s True Story,” written based on interviews and personal transcripts from Albert Brown himself. The film was recorded over a five year period with an all-student crew.

Barone said, “I love working with students. Overall, I’d have to say the student team was great — both media production and history students were really good to work with — dedicated, reliable, hard-working and fun.”

Barone has been an active producer, director and editor for more than 20 years. He is a media production professor at WestConn, a member of the Television Academy and recipient of numerous awards including the Communicator Award of Distinction, the Videographer Award of Distinction and five Telly Awards.

The film also has been screened at the Enfield Riot Film Festival in North Carolina. The film festival is a nonprofit entity and is aiming to kick-start a fundraiser event to transform two old theatres and classrooms into a performing arts center for an economically depressed area of North Carolina.

For a complete listing of Military Appreciation Week events, visit www.wcsu.edu/news/2017/10/31/wcsu-honors-veterans-during-military-appreciation-week/. For more information about the film, contact Barone at baronej@wcsu.edu.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

 

WCSU honors veterans during Military Appreciation Week

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Office of Veterans Affairs will celebrate Military Appreciation Week from Monday, Nov. 6, through Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, on the university’s Midtown campus, 181 White St. in Danbury. All events are free and open to the public.

Military Appreciation Week events will include:

Nov. 6: Open House. Come explore the new Office of Veteran Affairs and meet the staff who ensure quality service from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Room 101 of Old Main. Student-veterans, veterans and the public will be able to mingle and ask questions.

Nov. 7: Obstacle Course Challenge and Cook-Out. Test yourself with a 120-foot long inflatable obstacle course challenge or relax and sit back with the cookout from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the lawn of Fairfield Hall. Participants will be able to compete as a four-person team for $5 or individually for $2. Winners in the categories of Fastest Man, Fastest Woman and Fastest Four-Person Relay Team will receive up to a $75 gift card to Soho Pizza in Danbury. Practice runs are free. Hotdogs and hamburgers will be served at the cookout.

Nov. 8: World War II Biographic Documentary, “Major ‘Doc’ Brown.” Professor of Communication and Media Arts Dr. JC Barone will host a screening of his biographic documentary, “Major “Doc’ Brown,” at 5:30 p.m. in the Student Center Theater. Brown is recognized by several Bataan veterans’ organizations as the oldest veteran and survivor of World War II. He spent the majority of his service overseas as a Japanese prisoner of war. Barone’s film has been accepted for screening by the Enfield Riot Film Festival. A question-and-answer period will follow the film.

Nov. 9: Veterans Day Ceremony. The Student-Veterans Organization will host a Veterans Day Ceremony from 11 a.m. to noon on the Fairfield Hall lawn. The ceremony will honor current and former service members.

Nov. 9: “Vietnam War” Viewing. The Haas Library Archives, Department of History and Student Veterans Organization will host a screening of an episode from Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” at 2:30 p.m. in Room 127 of White Hall.

Nov. 9: Panel Discussion. The Haas Library Archives, Department of History and Student Veterans Organization will host a 4 p.m. panel discussion in Room 127 of White Hall, “My Vietnam War: Veterans Remember,” with Professor of Writing, Linguistics and Creative Process Dr. Edward Hagan and Jack Sikora.

 For more information, contact the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.

 

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.