Students Perform Prince’s ‘Waterbearer’

Associate Professor of Black Studies and English Valerie Prince’s choreodrama “Waterbearer,” which uses lyrical prose to explore the labor of African-American women, was presented as a dramatic reading in Pittsburgh on August 24th at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Performed by Itzel Ayala ’18, Luka Crozier ’19, Robyn Katona ’19, and Nia Shuler ’18 and directed by Professor of Theatre Beth Watkins, the company was invited by the Larimer Consensus Group, the River Roots Community Arts Project, and the Metro Urban Institute, arts and advocacy organizations working on integrating green infrastructure into urban spaces.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Valerie Sweeney Prince (Weiss Faculty Lecture)

Allegheny College Associate Professor of English and Black Studies Valerie Sweeney Prince will speak on “Key Metaphors in ‘Daughter’s Exchange’” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, in the Campus Center Room 301/302. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Prince will draw from her soon-to- be-published book “Daughter’s Exchange: The African American Woman’s Encounter with the Intellectual Marketplace,” emphasizing the life experiences communicated through the words of Africans and women.

The address is the last one in the 2016-17 Karl W. Weiss ’87 Faculty Lecture Series, which features professors from various departments representing the diversity of scholarship at Allegheny.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Lectures, Performances Highlight Black History Month at Allegheny College

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Allegheny College Associate Professor of English and Black Studies Valerie Sweeney Prince will present a lecture on “Waterbearer,” a piece of historical fiction written by Prince that examines what it means for African American women to do laundry, as part of Allegheny College’s celebration of Black History Month.

The Thursday, Feb. 9 lecture starts at 7 p.m. in Arter Little Theatre and immediately will be followed by a dramatic reading of an excerpt from “Waterbearer” performed by students and directed by Beth Watkins, professor of Communication Arts/Theatre and managing director of the Playshop Theatre. Both events are free and open to the public.

Other events organized by the Allegheny College Association for the Advancement of Black Culture to celebrate Black History Month include:

  • Poet Afaa Michael Weaver will speak on the subject of labor, poetry and Tai Chi on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 12:30 p.m. in Room 105C of the Odd Fellows building.  Weaver also will read from his work at 7 p.m. in the Tillotson Room of the Tippie Alumni Center as part of the college’s Single Voice Reading Series. Weaver’s visit is supported by the Black Studies program, the Year of Mindfulness, the John C. Sturtevant Memorial Lectureship, the William Preston Beazell Memorial Fund and the Single Voice Reading Series.
  • A Soul Food Dinner on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 4 p.m. in Shultz Banquet Hall. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased in the lobby of the Henderson Campus Center (preferred) Monday through Friday from 11 a.m, to 1 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.
  • Black History Month Church Night on Wednesday, Feb. 8 from 7 to 9 p.m. in Ford Chapel with Pastor Markus A. McDaniel, I of United Faith Fellowship Church of God and Pastor Carl Terry of Bethel AME Church.

For more information, contact the Allegheny College Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access and Social Justice (IDEAS) Center at (814) 332- 2718.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny Experience Shapes Pursuit for Prestigious Award

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John Rooney ’14 one of 43 Americans to receive 2015 Humanity in Action Fellowship

“The issue of human rights has been an interest of mine,” says John Rooney ’14.

Rooney, who majored in political science and minored in black studies at Allegheny, will now be able to pursue that interest, as he has been named one of 43 American recipients of the prestigious 2015 Humanity in Action Fellowship.

Rooney and the rest of the 2015 American Fellows will join students and recent graduates from universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland and Ukraine to participate in the Humanity in Action Fellowship in Europe. The Fellowship will take place in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris and Warsaw from May 25 to June 28, 2015. Rooney, who resides in Austin, Texas, will travel to Copenhagen.

This is the first time Allegheny has had a Humanity in Action Fellow. The Fellows are selected on a highly competitive basis for their high academic standing, active civic participation in human rights issues and outstanding recommendations. Humanity in Action received a record 688 applications from 253 American colleges and universities for the 2015 Fellowship. Humanity in Action supports all Fellows financially for the duration of their programs, allowing for the merit-based selection of diverse applicants. Read more.

Rooney shared more about this opportunity and how Allegheny helped to develop his passion for human rights:

How did you learn about the HiA fellowship?
I learned about it through Professor Brian Harward, associate professor of political science and director of the Center for Political Participation. I had been talking with Patrick Jackson, nationally competitive awards adviser and visiting professor of religious studies and history, about applying for a different fellowship, so I went ahead and worked with him to apply for this one, too.

What about this fellowship appealed to you?
The issue of human rights has been an interest of mine. I was fortunate to take a number of classes at Allegheny where it was in my mind many times. What appealed to me about this fellowship in particular was the opportunity to get together with a very diverse group of people that brings together such heavy people in terms of intellectuals and activists and others leading in the field of human rights. Those interactions and discussions are something I’m looking forward to. I’ve never been significantly out of the country, so the opportunity to go to Europe with others my age to discuss these issues with such leading thinkers is so exciting.

What did you have to do to apply for the fellowship?
I had to write three essays, where brevity was required in each one. Two of them needed to be less than 500 words and one had to be less than 150. It was an exercise in clarity and conciseness; it was all about distilling what I had to say down to the bare bones. I feel that the process of writing, rewriting and revising my comp at Allegheny was really helpful when writing these essays. My writing definitely improved through my experience at Allegheny.

How did you learn that you had been chosen as an HiA fellow?
I got a call from the executive director and founder of HiA. I had just gotten on a bus to go see a film!

When do you leave for the fellowship experience?
I leave May 25 to go to a three-day orientation in Washington, D.C. Then I will fly to Copenhagen!

How did Allegheny play a role in inspiring you to apply for this fellowship?
One of the classes I took at Allegheny was a new course about exploring difference. It was a fascinating class that brought together people from a lot of different majors, as well as 12 or 16 faculty members from across the disciplinary range. That started me down the path that led to my black studies minor.

From my classes at Allegheny, one thing that keyed me into this interest is the idea that none of us is truly free unless all of us are truly free. Dr. Martin Luther King’s quote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” has stuck with me and has been engrained in me. It’s up to all of us to make sure everyone has that space to be safe and has equal opportunity to reach their potential. We shouldn’t have different opportunities because of the color of our skin or the family we’re born into. Those ideas resonated with me.

I have to give a shout-out to Allegheny for giving me the opportunity to pursue studies in such a broad area. That was one thing I loved at Allegheny; I wasn’t tied in one box. It gave me the opportunity to think of things from such a wide range of viewpoints.

I also need to thank several other people from Allegheny: Steven Farrelly-Jackson, associate professor of philosophy; Jackie Gehring, assistant professor of political science; Brian Harward; Kazi Joshua, former associate dean and director of the Center for Intercultural Advancement and Student Success; Bill Bywater, emeritus professor of philosophy and religious studies; Bruce Smith, professor of political science; Patrick Jackson; Andy Bloeser, assistant professor of political science; Laura Quinn, professor emerita of political science, and Kate Darby, former assistant professor of environmental science. They all influenced how I conceive of civic life, democracy and justice.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?
I hope to gain an expanded understanding and appreciation of the issues that come from being around a diverse group of students and thinkers. The other thing is an insight about how I want to take this passion of mine and use it in my life. I’m still discerning my own path, so I’m excited for the opportunity to meet new people and to see how they’ve used their interest in human rights in their lives.

I’m also thinking about graduate school. I’m looking at this experience to help me plan my trajectory.

Overall, I hope to learn how to use my voice in the movement to make the world a better place. That’s been all I’ve been after for a while now.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Allegheny College Graduate One of 43 Americans to Receive 2015 Humanity in Action Fellowship

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April 22, 2015 – John Rooney, an Allegheny College class of 2014 alumnus, has been named one of 43 American recipients of the prestigious 2015 Humanity in Action Fellowship.

Rooney and the rest of the 2015 American Fellows will join students and recent graduates from universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland and Ukraine to participate in the Humanity in Action Fellowship in Europe. The Fellowship will take place in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Paris and Warsaw from May 25 to June 28, 2015. Rooney, who resides in Austin, Texas, will travel to Copenhagen.

“The issue of human rights has been an interest of mine. What appealed to me about this fellowship was the opportunity to get together with a very diverse group of people that brings together such heavy people in terms of intellectuals and activists and others leading in the field of human rights,” says Rooney, who majored in political science and minored in black studies at Allegheny. “I’ve never been significantly out of the country, so the opportunity to go to Europe with others my age to discuss these issues with such leading thinkers is exciting.” 

“The Humanity in Action Fellowship is a good fit for anyone interested in human rights work, international affairs and community organizing,” says Patrick Jackson, visiting professor of religious studies and history who works with students who are applying to external fellowships. “It’s an intensive program that seems to have a profound effect on the people who participate in it.”

This is the first time Allegheny has had a Humanity in Action Fellow. The Fellows are selected on a highly competitive basis for their high academic standing, active civic participation in human rights issues and outstanding recommendations. Humanity in Action received a record 688 applications from 253 American colleges and universities for the 2015 Fellowship. Humanity in Action supports all Fellows financially for the duration of their programs, allowing for the merit-based selection of diverse applicants. These young leaders are dynamic, entrepreneurial and passionate about changing the world.

The Humanity in Action Fellowship is highly interdisciplinary and features daily lectures and discussions with renowned academics, journalists, politicians and activists, as well as site visits to government agencies, nonprofit and community organizations, museums and memorials. The programs seek to highlight different models of action to remedy injustice relating to diverse societies.

The 2015 American Fellows will participate in an orientation workshop in Washington, D.C., from May 25 to May 28, 2015. The orientation will focus on American civil rights, Holocaust education and European security and political issues. It will also feature sessions devoted to advising Humanity in Action Fellows on building careers in the field of foreign affairs.

This year’s Fellowship will come to a close at the Sixth Annual Humanity in Action International Conference in The Hague from June 25 to June 28, 2015. The 2015 Fellows from all program cities will convene in The Hague to explore the city’s unique promotion of international peace, justice and reconciliation.

Since 1999, Humanity in Action has engaged more than 1,500 Fellows in its transatlantic study programs focusing on human rights and minority issues—past and present—in Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and the United States. Humanity in Action Fellows have used the knowledge gained in the programs and inspiration from one another to make a difference in public service, journalism, medicine, law, education, the arts, business and grassroots action. Humanity in Action’s unique international network of leaders is a valuable resource to policy-makers, diplomats, educators, business leaders and civic-minded individuals and organizations.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Five Questions: Kazi Joshua

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Kazi Joshua, associate dean and director of the Center for Intercultural Advancement and Student Success (CIASS), answers our questions. Since 2009, he has been a part of many initiatives to promote diversity and civic engagement at Allegheny. He teaches courses in the FS program, Values Ethics and Social Action (V.E.S.A) and Black Studies. His academic interests are in the interdisciplinary study of contemporary social movements for change and their potential for creating a just society.

  1. What is your favorite spot on campus?

The Gator Quad because it is in the center of campus, and you can never miss anyone. It combines the beauty of the outdoors, with an inside feeling. It is really the village green that speaks to Allegheny’s sense of community.

  1. What in your opinion makes Allegheny a unique place?

It is the kindness and generosity of the people here. Often people remark how different the college is from others, and it always boils down to the fact that people really care and they are genuinely nice without fakeness.

  1. What is the coolest thing that Allegheny has made possible for you?

I teach a number of courses across the disciplines having to do with service, civic engagement, social change and social justice. These are not easy topics to deal with. They both challenge the students and bring out the best of what Allegheny students are. Outside class, students have been committed to creating the kind of community that can embrace a great deal of diversity. They are thoughtful in navigating challenging conversations, and seeking to be the kind of persons who would inhabit the sort of community they hope Allegheny to become.

  1. What goal(s) have you set for the next three years?

I would like to make Allegheny more diverse and more consistent with our values. It is clear that we have to go beyond the usual places for our recruitment. We have to reach beyond the usual schools and areas. A change in our curricular offerings that also includes study in diverse areas, as currently proposed by the curriculum committee, is another way. Of course the presence of faculty, staff and administrators that mirror the diversity of the student body is absolutely invaluable. If we do all these things and we act decisively when actions inconsistent with the values of inclusion and community occur, we will be well on our way.

  1. You are seated next to President Mullen at dinner. What do you strike up a conversation about?

Diversifying the highest levels of administrative leadership at Allegheny. We know that when you have a diverse group of leaders, you have a more thoughtful outcome of complex issues and policies. President Clinton spoke of his cabinet as “looking like America.” That should be our aspiration and our practice.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research