Monday, 22 of September of 2014

Donna Irvan

Donna Irvan (PSY ’13) wins Genevieve Dooley Award

The Genevieve Dooley award was established in 1979 by Humanities alumna Christine Blackwell (BS HUM ’78).  Ms. Genevieve Dooley was Lawrence Tech’s registrar, business officer, and bookkeeper from 1932 to 1968.   A neighbor of Ms. Blackwell’s, Ms. Dooley was instrumental in encouraging Christine to go to LTU and to stay at LTU when Christine found the pressures of working and going to college overwhelming.  Ms. Blackwell is now an accomplished executive at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, as well as an independent journalist.  When she found out that funding for the award had run out and that the award had not been delivered for several years, she immediately sent in a check to reinstate the award.

We are grateful to Ms. Blackwell for her generous donation, and we are pleased to announce the 2013 winner of the Genevieve Dooley Award for outstanding student in the Humanities Department:

Psychology major Donna Irvan.

“It’s  never too late to start an education to be an example for your siblings or children,”  Donna Irvan, PSY ’13.

In addition to having 3.97 GPA in Psychology, Donna is also a biology minor.  Most impressive, Donna comes to LTU after a lengthy career in the service industry while raising three children.  She is also the first in her immediate family to receive a college degree.  Advisor Prof.Gonzalo Munevar cites her high GPA, her abilities as a tutor, and her interdisciplinary interests as setting her apart: “She is an excellent tutor.  When I have some students with big problems, I send them to her.”  Prof. Munevar also cites her excellent scholarly accomplishments.  In addition to being a terrific research assistant, she is co-authoring a paper and presenting her research with him at an international conference this summer.  Donna plans to attend a Ph.D. program in psychology in the near future.  Along with a certificate, the award comes with a $250 check.  Donna’s name will also be inscribed on a plaque in the HSSC office.

Congratulations Donna!







Network Detroit: Digital Humanities Theory and Practice

Network Detroit: Digital Humanities Theory and Practice : September 27-28, 2013


Network Detroit: Digital Humanities Theory and Practice (September 27-28, 2013) at Lawrence Technological University will bring together Detroit-area digital humanities scholars. Participating institutions include the Detroit Institute of Arts, The Henry Ford Museum, The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Historical Museum, and local universities, colleges, and community colleges.  Conference proceedings will be considered for publication in an upcoming collection.


More than an academic conference, Network Detroit is a large-scale effort to build up southeastern Michigan’s humanities cyberinfrastructure and is intended to send out a call to action. The primary goals for Network Detroit are to create a census of Detroit-area digital humanities projects and to invite participants to think creatively about inter-institutional collaboration and resource pooling. For instance, we want to intensify focus on the place of digital methods in cultural heritage work, both in Detroit and throughout the state.  We also want to create a conversation about what issues arise for digital humanists in this regional context.   The keynote speaker for the event will be Ethan Watrall, the Associate Director of Michigan State University’s MATRIX: Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences and Director of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative. For more information, see the conference website:


We welcome proposals for individual papers, panels, posters, and workshops that focus on the digital humanities, especially regarding the cultural heritage of Detroit. Papers and posters may address, but are not limited to, the following topics and lines of inquiry:


  • digital humanities
  • digital art
  • humanities computing
  • digital archiving
  • career paths for digital humanists (universities, libraries, corporate, alt-ac)
  • text analysis
  • digital pedagogy (methods, gamification, content management systems, online learning)
  • history of the book
  • design thinking
  • simulation
  • game studies


Abstracts can be submitted on the conference website:

The deadline is June 15, 2013.


OXFORD MAGAZINE [England] #280

           Michaelmas Term, 2008


2008 is the 75th anniversary of the publication of the early volumes of Toynbee’s A Study of History. It is also 220 years from the completion of Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

At the core of the genesis of civilization, for Toynbee, is a Ahitherto unprecedented effort of energy and commitment. Gibbon, at the beginning of his march through Roman history, is in league with the muscular version of civilization’s beginnings too. For this little man, noisy forces of nature are grinding away both men and mountains. So, after touching the varied tapestries of the Antonine world of splendor, good taste, and power at the end of his second chapter Gibbon observed:

…the Roman world was indeed peopled by a race of pygmies; when the fierce giants of the north broke in, and mended the puny breed. They restored a manly spirit of freedom; and after the revolution of ten centuries, freedom became the happy parent of taste and science.

But then, in later volumes, and as he mellowed in his own life, Gibbon was hearing harps and violins in the making of civilization: and not merely at its highpoint, or at its end but at the beginning. In his last pages, he now was ill at ease with the old code, with its rugged crust of freedom and barbarism.

Toynbee though stands firm. Even as late as the tenth volume of A Study,  the vividness of historical impressions is apt to be proportionate to their violence and their painfulness.  An abiding activity throughout both works, after all, is war from the European Alps to the deserts of Africa and Asia. Yet, on the sunnier side of the fortress of storm and stress, Toynbee sees in the distance the Roman panorama of Gibbon and he calls it the Indian Summer of Hellenism. Moreover, in his continuing attentiveness to dynamic energy in historical change, Toynbee is fascinated by processes of inner destruction as much as invasion from across borders. Among his most forceful portraits in his entire life’s work are the Abarbarians either in their destruction or in their alleged creative and substantive legacies:

…the subsequent extirpation of the Barbarians had nothing to do with the genesis of our Western Society. The Barbarians made their passage felt by being in at the death of the Hellenic Society; but they cannot even claim the distinction of having delivered the death-blow; for by the time when they overran the Roman Empire, the Hellenic Society was already moribund a suicide slowly dying of wounds self-inflicted during a Time of Troubles centuries before. Thus the Barbarians were not the assassins of the mighty dead. They were merely the vultures feeding on the carrion of the maggots crawling in the carcass…. Their heroic age was an epilogue to Hellenic history, not a prelude to ours. Their epic was a swan-song.

Indeed, for Toynbee, suicide moves forward with the Aproletarization of civilization. Patterns take shape, accelerations of movements are visible, in Rome especially, with memorable Emperors: Nero, Caligula, Gratian, Caracalla. More and more, each adopts the dress, mannerisms, and seeks the applause, most of all, from those at the bottom.

Here is corruption creeping to the top of civilization. Interestingly, Toynbee observes the appearance of trousers in different civilizations as a sign of upward movement corrosive upward movement from the bottom. Gibbon’s attentions, though, are attracted to another visible sign of history in ferment. For Gibbon, inner destruction comes more from incompetence and corruption at the top AND the bottom. And he is at his philosophical best a smiling philosopher when he looks at Byzantium.

Among his favorite scenes in The Decline and Fall are efforts of those at the bottom to climb to the top while, at the same time as added prospects of success or doom women are hoisting the ropes. But, a possibility never escapes his attentiveness: those on the way up will soon be on the way down. EVEN BETTER: climbers and tumblers in motion at the same time.

History as a Circus is the headline for the early decades of the tenth century. Individuals as well as families are speeding on their way up and down the Byzantine social ladder. And Gibbon presents a vivid convergence: from the top, Constantine the Seventh; from the bottom, Romanus Lecapenus. He takes special notice that within the Byzantine palace, an apartment was set aside for use by expectant empresses. A royal heir’s birth was announced with the title porphyrogenite: “born in the purple.”

Constantine the Seventh [913-959] was the first to be called by this name. His life, and those around him, came together in “a rapid career of vice and folly.” And, escaping from designs of an uncle who planned on castrating him, the royal nephew fell into the care of none other than his mother. Together with “seven regents” they “pursued their interest, gratified their passions, abandoned the republic, supplanted each other, and finally vanished in the presence of a soldier.” Gibbon, at this moment, brings on stage, “from an obscure origin,” Romanus Lecapenus [919-944]. Romanus, a man from the bottom, had “raised himself” to full command of the sea-going armies of Constantinople. With “a victorious and affectionate fleet” he sailed [March 25, 919] into the capital, “hailed as the deliverer of the people and the guardian of the prince.”

It was in the warfare of fathers and sons though rather than generals, politicians, or zealots that the noble upstart was to find his doom. With titles of Caesar and Augustus, he ruled for nearly twenty-five years. But Constantine VII, the Emperor born in the purple, had NOT been done away with. In 944, the “fall of Romanus” began. Quarreling broke out between two sons, and then both turned to conspiring against their father. However, they ignored their sister, MARRIED to none other than Porphyrogenitus. She alerted her husband. The brothers, captured with speed and vigor, were sent to the same island in the Propontis where their father had been despatched a short time earlier. A scene of family reunion is pictured by Gibbon, as only he can:

Old Romanus met them on the beach with a sarcastic smile, and, after a just reproach of their folly and ingratitude, presented his Imperial colleagues with an equal share of his water and vegetable diet.

As much as he laughed at the fall of Romanus, Gibbon smiled at the prospect for Porphyrogenitus in the very next sentence:

In the fortieth year of his reign Constantine the Seventh obtained the possession of the Eastern world, which he ruled, or seemed to rule, near fifteen years.

But his life ended suddenly. To be sure, the spinning wheel that ties civilizations to barbarism is far noisier in seriousness and comedy for Gibbon than it is for Toynbee. So while tears were spent in mourning for Porphyrogenitus, his death was “imputed to poison.” And then, once again for Gibbon, a ruler “rather weak than wicked” came briefly across the horizon. Power was taken from the twenty-year-old son of Porphyrogenitus and placed in the grasp of his wife, Theophano, “a woman of base origin, masculine spirit, and flagitious manners.” And Gibbon reproaches him for ignoring what he “owed” to “his people” while devoting himself, instead, to endless activities “consumed in strenuous idleness.” Unable to elevate his gaze from the tennis court, “the only theatre of his victories,” the new Romanus also foolishly ignored his wife. After a reign of a mere four years, she “mingled for her husband the same deadly draught which she had composed for his father.”

Still, the nobodys climbing up from the bottom are Gibbon’s favorites. And, in the Eastern Empire, he takes delight in their accomplices. There are many choices, but two Imperial sisters are admirable:  Zoe [1028-1050] and Theodora [1054-1056] both “preserved till a mature age in a state of ignorance and virginity.” All in all, the possibilities for doom and comedy are continuously raised as the higher and the more foolish are the climbers. And, in contrast to Toynbee, the unpredictability and the ill-fitting qualities of substances and outcomes are Gibbon’s view as well as delight.

Few will deny, today, that these directions and dimensions of history are still with us. Here in America for example, from 1950 through 1970, we can easily see joined by the insights of Toynbee and Gibbon the makings of American Agump culture.  In sum, there are identifiable materials and processes that demonstrate why we have Bushs and Clintons today rather than Jeffersons and Lincolns.

And there is a remarkable point to begin from. It is the Hollywood film The Seven-Year Itch from the mid 1950s, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell, and Robert Strauss. At colorful moments in the movie, the grandest names in classical music are given critical significance. Tom Ewell, the summer bachelor while deciding which music to spin on his machine during the evening with Monroe, reads aloud the names: Ravel, Debussy, Stravinsky Oh Stravinsky would only scare her.  He then congratulates himself with his choice: ARACHMANINOFF  The second piano concerto. NEVER MISSES.  And it IS played a number of times in the picture. And who can forget Monroe in a glowing evening dress, leaning against the piano, cigarette with holder and loudly declaiming, as only she can: ARACCCHMANINOFF.

All told, the ending of an epoch was recognizable even to contemporaries: during the last years of the Eisenhower-Nixon Administration of the 1950s, the cultural roof of America fell off. And, along with that, came a break in the channeling of high culture downward. (No Hollywood star, no personality in any walk of American popular life could possibly repeat Monroe’s spirited awareness today.) Then, with the Vietnam War, the damage to American culture and life may have become permanent with fundamental consequences. It is the connection of high to low culture, after all, that truly made possible the great Aresponses to the great Achallenges in history.

There is more to this. Soldiers from my era and earlier in WW II would have cared to hear someone speaking about Hemingway, Shakespeare, or a performance by a Metropolitan Opera Star. Such a legacy had its final expression in Robert Merrill of the Metropolitan Opera singing the National Anthem at New York Yankee World Series Games into the 1990s. But that is gone now, as demonstrated in the voices of leaders of our country who talk a new language, SWAGGERISH e.g., Anewqyuler which even the most ignorant here would have been ashamed to admit any understanding of, sixty years ago. Here it is: the encrustation of ignorance combined with corruption of the top which, for Toynbee, was the fatal process the divesting of Amagic power from the top that sets in motion the breakdowns of civilizations.

Yet the weight of the evidence that Toynbee highlights in the Ageneses and the Agrowths of civilizations is a demonstration that Acivilizations need more than philosophical clarity and insight alone. Within the course of history, at fundamental moments, sparks of life energized the making of wealth along with monuments derived from wealth that were left to subsequent ages. These Asparks of life or Agerms of creative power were the essence, especially, of the Christian Church’s contribution to the making of Western Civilization. (Volume I.) And, in truth, by far the most impressive existing legacy is in the Aeconomic prowess of a contemporary Western World. (Volume VII.) For when this unprecedented and peculiar Western economic achievement is traced back, it proves to be a monument of the economic genius of, as Toynbee calls it, an ecclesiastical Frankenstein.

Clearly, Toynbee and Gibbon are troubled as much as they are impressed by civilization. But, as if they were Generals viewing their forces, one look tells all: their contempt for corruption. By no means is this limited to politics. Surely if they were alive right now, Toynbee would be joined by Gibbon as they watched the consequences of their long-held economic sub-text: busily at work both goading and gilding civilizations to extremes. Unfortunately, the entirety of the process is hardly ever recognized at all, or in time, because it is typically covered-up with sales pitches and bravado. In sum, in a battle for another jugular, even wildcats can sometimes agree: Nazi Germany and Stalin Russia. Yet, if only wildcats themselves can ever be convinced that their end is near. And so, while Toynbee calls his work A Study of History, he criticizes Gibbon for HIS title: Decline and Fall. Gibbon might reply: it is always Indian Summer, after all, during considerations of A Study.

But then there is also Gibbon’s response, surely, to Toynbe’s repetitive efforts to paint Gibbon’s portrait as a glistening representation of eighteenth-century optimism or complacency. And, in his Reconsiderations, from 1960, Toynbee adds that Gibbon was rationalist-minded to an almost naïvely un-self-critical degree. Gibbon’s own words to his young friend, Maria Holroyd, daughter of Lord Sheffield, and future great-grandmother of Bertrand Russell, are the best corrective:

…the Rhine, alas, after some temporary wanderings, will be content to flow in his old channel, while man man is the greatest fool of the whole creation.



Interactive PDF’s using Adobe Acrobat – written by Ashley Malone


Ms. Bei Hua visited Lawrence Technological University  on April 16th to share her knowledge of Interactive PDF’s using Adobe Acrobat. Ms. Hua has worked with Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan for the past several years as an eLearning and web development specialist and her background includes work at GM as well as Wayne State University.  Lawrence Tech sponsored the event by providing a meeting location on their Southfield campus, and supplying a number of prizes for use in the door prize drawing.

The session on Interactive PDF’s was particularly helpful for our own professional growth since almost all of us work with PDF’s in our respective careers.  Adobe PDF’s are a great resource because almost all computers come standard with Adobe Reader. This product is also easier to use and more web-friendly than other products on the market.

Some of the different PDF components we had the opportunity to learn about were converting files into PDF format, navigating through PDF’s with bookmarks and layers, linking attachments and multimedia, and creating interactive forms that can be easily saved and transferred to the web. These tools are instrumental to creating effective communication pieces that are easily understood by an audience.

Ms. Hua’s presentation was very informative and extremely helpful, and the meeting participants greatly appreciated her taking the time out of her day to share her expertise at this event.


OXFORD MAGAZINE [England] #335 Trinity Term, 2013


On Wednesday morning, 13 March 2013, a sixty-four-year old resident of the upstate New York town of Mohawk (population 2,700) set fire to his apartment.  Then he drove to the town barber shop where he wounded the owner and killed two customers. Next he drove a short distance into the neighboring town of Herkimer (population 7,000) and he murdered an employee of the town’s car wash and here again a customer.

The Governor of the State of New York said these acts were “inexplicable.” Lifting his hands from state business, he rushed to Herkimer joined by the Chief of the New York State Police, FBI agents, and heavily armed assault teams. Schools were locked down. Roadways and airways were filled with caravans of police cars and helicopters. When the murderer was cornered in an abandoned bar the next day, he shot an approaching FBI dog. The dog had a camera attached to him. The dog, named “Ape,” died a hero’s death, for FBI marksmen were then enabled to uphold their most sacred expression: “The FBI always gets their man.”

The site of this recent murder rampage in America is where I worked on a farm when I was a teenager.  Although it is less than four hundred miles away from Newtown, Connecticut—the scene in December where children were attacked in their classrooms—it is a million miles away in economic, cultural, and social measurements. No writers’ ideaways, no millionaires’ tax dodges with a few horses, no Italian sports cars—not in  Herkimer: just cows. And some of them I actually milked.

Here is a town that owes its survival not to Wall Street barons nor techno-mavens but to the building of the Erie Canal in the nineteenth century that brought a comforting role to towns like Herkimer that helped move the trade in Midwest wheat from Buffalo across upper New York state to Albany—and from here down the Hudson River and then to the world on freighters from New York City.

One summer, after I left the farm in Herkimer, I headed to another place in upstate New York that I knew from my earliest years.  “Take ten boolits, you might see something you don’t like.” Daniel encouraged me to walk with his rifle in a special way too. “Lay it across your shoulders.”

It was high summer–in the last year of Ike’s second Presidency. I was a hundred miles from New York City on a deserted country road. And scattered along hillsides and valleys were summer bungalow colonies of second-generation immigrants from eastern Europe. They were in sight of each other–but, not too close. These nests of bright-white wooden panels were hideouts away from a city where, during the heat of the summer, polio was a monstrous fear. No child or adult was safe. Franklin Roosevelt himself–their beloved President–was a victim: in the prime of his life. Adding further urgency–an outbreak of smallpox, shortly after the end of World War II, forced millions to line up for vaccinations.  Then it became a habit. Every summer, crowds of New Yorkers were pushing their way onto swaying coaches of the Weehawken, Western & Ontario railroad on the Jersey side of the Hudson. Others, surrounded by children, sandwiches, the latest hit records, and bags for  throw-up, were plumped and crumpled inside long black Cadillacs or Chryslers with racks of chromium for piles of stuff. After stops for new and newer passengers in the five boroughs of the city, the “hacks” headed, slowly, to rolling hills known as the Catskills.  The Catskills at that time were quaint. In every corner, on every side of old wooden one-story farmhouses and bungalows, was old farm equipment–and, above all, going this way and that, were horses. It seems hard to believe, now, but horses continued to outnumber tractors on American farms after World War II, and in some areas this picture of rural life ran on into the 1950s. So, from the train station, high off a bridge in Ferndale, or on a hillside near Kauneonga Lake, the air of the Catskills held tightly the heavy fragrance of horses, cattle, flowers, and vegetables. Each morning, especially, before the sun had taken off the shimmering dew on the grass, this calming elixir performed its magic in an instant.

Walking along with Daniel’s rifle, a decade after my first visit to these hills, the heavy greenery of the trees allowed no sounds to escape from below. And under my feet were countless sharp-edged flat red rocks. So any creatures, eager for a mid-afternoon snooze, were angrily covering their ears with every loud crunch from my city-slicker leather boots.  Yet when sounds cracked straight across the horizon, they seemed nearby when really they were at surprising distances. I thought about how confused and startled some lonely Roman soldier must have been: the first one who heard, then sniffed, then saw, Hannibal’s elephants coming his way.  But there were no elephants to run from or capture on this road. Years earlier, though, another kind of hunt was underway. Two teenagers from Brooklyn, Tyler and Nelson, saw the possibilities.

At Daniel’s summer bungalow colony of New Yorkers, Tyler and Nelson were leaders of the youth pack. Their ages put them about a dozen years ahead of most of us young boys. But we were way behind them in other ways too. Tyler and Nelson were on a fast track, they were sure, to the best universities. Often they announced their scores on this or that examination which, to their surprise, meant nothing much for a seven-year-old.

Tyler and Nelson were also eclipsed by Catskill sights and people nearby. On a hillside near the head of the road that lead to the enclave of New Yorkers, there was the white house, with green trim, of Charlie McLane. It was the only house for miles. Daniel had purchased these wooded hills from Charlie’s father and, as part of the deal, Charlie was to go on living alone in the old McLane house. So, other than the infrequent squawk of a chicken or the bark of a dog or the slam of a screen door, the entire world here seemed to be composed of birds and insects. Together with their murmuring sounds, the yellowing fields and hillsides were right in step with the slow tick of time. And, for that, Charlie had a great memory. He remembered when I was five years old. Years later he could tell me about my dad. And while chewing and spitting red tobacco, he looked off into a distance that was as blue as a child’s picture book.

If some of us were lucky, though, we were invited into the dark interior of his house. There in the living room, on the walls and over the fireplace, were animals that Charlie shot and then stuffed–I remember especially a red fox and an owl. These quiet wilds of the Catskills held, in miniature though, a scene from years later. On walls of the busy, noisy Harvard Club in New York City were creatures from the life of another hunter-one who was President of the United States. Everywhere, in fact, even above the entrance to elevators or the light fixture in the main bar, the bones, tusks, or antlers of some creature, from a century or so ago, still endure. Most had the misfortune of walking past a loaded weapon in the hands of Teddy Roosevelt. Here, there was no space for a tiny red fox. Instead, on a wall in the main dining hall was one-quarter of an elephant.

TR was an upstanding, serious hunter interested, naturally, in keeping wildlife thriving and on the go. The biggest game animal in America now walks with pride, surely, as he or she sports the name that arouses the cry: “Roosevelt Elk.” As for Charlie McLane, he liked to drink as much as he liked pulling a trigger. And, one wintry night, he fell asleep after a private celebration. Next morning, in the snow where he was found, his body was twisted into the shape of an S. From that moment on, he was bent over at the top, and his right leg came up in the air when he stepped forward. So, when he walked, talked, and spat tobacco, he was an odd-shaped human, especially to city boys.

For years, Charlie traveled the short distances of his life with a cane and the guidance of GYP. This lively short-haired black and brown mongrel had alerted Daniel to find Charlie buried in the snow. Then, one summer, GYP disappeared. Charlie, like any good country boy, simply got another dog. But he was always asking about GYP.

The hills, the land itself, had their own curious history. During prohibition, the cavernous spaces under huge dark evergreens became headquarters for a gigantic moonshine operation. It went on for years–but how this happened was long a mystery. Black cars, with no lights on at night, disappeared into the thick woods. And not a sound crept outside, past the massive tree trunks, because, under the factory or “still,” there were several inches of soft carpeting from zillions of browned pine needles that had been layered at the bottoms of the trees across the centuries. Only when the “revenooers” sent a slow single-engine 1920s wooden plane overhead was it possible to locate the “still.” Thin white smoke-trickling skyward from networks of copper kettles–gave it all away. Then during many years afterward, the deer in the woods became targets of special interest. The deer, according to Daniel, were keen on drinking the fiery liquids left over in the smashed vats and machinery. And, with delicious whiskey-soaked meat on them, they were easy for hunters to smell as well as hear–for, as Daniel also assured me when I was seven years old, the deer could not stop hiccuping.

Visiting the “still,” Charlie, and the beautiful forests, was part of the fascination of the place. And all sense and boundaries of time could fall away in a moment. Above the treetops, the contrasting outlines–agged then symmetrical and then jagged again–seemed to form a special breathing chamber with the sky immediately above. Staring at that chamber could convince anyone that beneath, deep in the forest below, somehow, a collection of answers to questions.

Within this green canopy of sound and silence, it took effort, and luck then, to come alive enough to realize that a thundering, bouncing, heaving garbage truck, was barreling down the road surrounded by an enormous white cloud. I needed to remind myself: “jump out of the way.” And, now too, a grey snake peered out from the bushes and started stretching himself across the road directly in front of me. He was sliding briskly, as if by magic above the crushed red rocks and brown leaves–yet he was no doubt on them. And, conscious of his length, he seemed to be an aggressive fellow as well–almost daring me to do something with Daniel’s multi-shot Remington.

That high-off-the-ground garbage truck was coming straight at us though. In a woosh, the truck’s front wheels, and then the back ones, passed over the snake. I could see it all: after the front wheels dug into him, he leaped in the air, and after the back wheels responded immediately by slamming across him, his body contorted itself, instantly, into a shivering circle.

As if it never happened–the raging garbage truck was gone. All that remained were clouds of red dust, still swirling–and the snake.  I started circling through thickened brush now. The branches were rough and biting to the touch, but young and pliable enough to bend away. And every few yards, a branch smacked me with a stinging whack on my face. I wasn’t looking very carefully though, but, stumbling this way and that, maybe it would not have mattered if I did.

Then I found it. I remember, a decade earlier, Tyler and Nelson made the discovery. They let out a yell. We all rushed over. Looking back now, it does seem odd that they were not lost like the rest of us–turning in all directions among hundreds of tightly packed bushes and trees. Nonetheless–after ten years, here in a stand of thinner trees covered-over by bigger, shadier hulks, the amazing sight was real once more. Stretched around a tree trunk was a blackened leather collar that might have encircled the neck of a dog. And, still in the collar, and ppearing to be hanging while actually fastened by nature and time to the side of the young tree trunk, was a skeleton.

Ten years earlier, Tyler and Nelson, the future university students, had immediately inaugurated an energetic argument on whether the creature was a dog or a fox. Tyler, reminding all listeners once again of his grades in biology, asserted that the sharp pointy bones of the face surely proved that it was a fox. The idea, the drama, of a fox–captured in the forest–carried the day for the seven-year-olds around me. We all walked away, back to the New York City enclave in the mountains,  that satisfied and amazed thoughts. But, years later now, I was looking once more at the shape of the bones on the creature’s face. The verdict of the past seemed secure. It was a fox that had been captured and then left in the forest to die. But, this time, curiosity tempted me to do what no one dared back then. I picked up the collar and turned it inside out. On the side facing me now was a name–GYP.

[Author’s postscript: ALL of this actually happened. The pieces of the puzzle only came together when I started writing this story in 2005. Fifty years had gone by, and the truth finally surfaced: the two gilded students had murdered the dog.]

Broke Student Film Festival

The Broke Student Film Festival Goes International

The Broke Student Film Festival returns for its second year of screening the best student made films from southeast Michigan and, now, from around the world. On April 5th, 2013 at 6:30pm, the Broke Student Film Festival will take over Lawrence Technological University’s Southfield, MI campus with live music, tons of family-friendly fun and, of course, hours of amazing films; all created and produced by student filmmakers. More information about the Broke Student Film Festival can be found online at

In 2012, the Broke Student Film Festival was founded by LTU Film and Video Student Kathryn Ruff( with the mission to give all student filmmakers the opportunity the experience of exhibiting their creations on the big screen.

At the inaugural BSFF, also hosted by Lawrence Tech University(, 14 films representing 4 local colleges; Lawrence Tech, Wasthenaw Community College, Oakland Community College and Schoolcraft College were screened at absolutely no charge to the students or the audience.

This commitment to making the BSFF freely accessible to all comers is at the heart of the Festival. It also makes our Festival completely dependant on the generous support of our wonderful local sponsors. Last year, in addition to Lawrence Tech’s support, the Broke Student Film Festival was sponsored by M-1 Studios, Dino’s Lounge, Vogue Vintage, Chazzano Coffee, Ferndale Film Festival, Screen Artist Collective, Uptown Entertainment, Schoolcraft College, and Sweet Thing.

At the screening, the Festival will be awarding prizes based on the votes of a jury of film industry professionals. The judges will choose winners in: Marketing, Acting, Sound, Cinematography, Editing and Best Overall Film. The audience present on April 5th will also be able to vote for their favorite film and a special Audience Choice award will be presented.

This year, the Broke Student Film Festival celebrates its second year by going global!  As of this release, with more than two weeks remaining until the submission deadline, the Festival has already received more entries than in all of 2012, including submissions from the United Kingdom and India.

The 2013 International Broke Student Film Festival is poised to be bigger and better than last year in every way! The enthusiasm among the student community in southeast Michigan and around the world is undeniable and the response from the community has been nothing short of sensational.

For more information, please visit our website at, or contact Kathryn Ruff at Please join us on April 5th at 6:30pm on the Southfield, MI campus of Lawrence Tech University for the 2nd Annual Broke Student Film Festival!




HSSC students and faculty present research at the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters conference

English major Daniel Croft and Psychology major Christopher Yono presented research related to their Senior Projects at the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters annual conference, March 22, 2013 at Hope College. 
The Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters is a regional professional organization that facilitates scholarly exchange through annual meetings and a quarterly journal, the Michigan Academician.

Christopher Yono’s research, guided by Dr. Franco Delogu, Assistant Professor of Psychology, explored “SO.FI.A: a new social perception test for behavioral research.”  Yono created SOcial FIgure Animations (SO.FI.A), a battery of animations based upon the principle that simple animations can be interpreted as complex behaviors. As Yono writes in his abstract, “the aim of SO.FI.A is to allow researchers to test social perception in experiments with concurrent tasks. SO.FI.A presents two figures (small disks) interacting inside and/or outside of a constant enclosed environment. Their actions represent different social situations in which the perception of social states could emerge.” Yono designed an experiment where participants were asked to “rate the figures on a social-polarity scale of conflict versus agreement and the level of certainty of their judgment.”  Yono reported that “standardized data indicate that SO.FI.A can be effectively used to assess social perception in complex experimental settings.”

Daniel Croft’s research, guided by Dr. Rebecca Chung, Assistant Professor of English, explores “what truly frightens Shakespeare.”  According to Croft, “the best way to see what an author fears is to analyze the punishments he gives his characters. With the number of characters that received the ultimate punishment, i.e. death, from him, it would be easy to assume that Shakespeare was afraid to die. Yet, the number of “heroic” deaths he writes would seem to contradict this assumption. Drawing from three of his most famous characters: King Lear, Prospero, and the Duke from Measure for Measure,” Croft shows how Shakespeare would “prefer death to the disabilities of old age.”  
Dr. Melinda Phillips, Associate Professor of English, and Chair of Humanities, Social Science, and Communication also delivered a paper on Shakespeare’s treatment of Neo-Platonic themes in King Lear. 




MSTPC Graduate Gathering 2013

On February 21, over 20 graduate students, Advisory Board members, alumni, faculty and prospective students in the Master of Science in Technical and Professional Communication gathered at Professor Corinne Stavish’s home for the annual, Whine, Wine and Cheese event. All agreed it was “the best ever.”

The conversation was continuous, the laughter hearty and the food plentiful. The most impressive part was that everyone rotated around the house and met and spoke with lots of people. One prospective student noted how caring and friendly the participants seemed. Alums spoke of their jobs and offered to post notices of upcoming employment on the MSTPC LinkedIn site. A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Certificate in Technical and Professional Communication to Kiana Doggan. Advisory Board Co-Presidents Melissa Morof and Greg Evans noted that they want to continue to see students included in future Advisory Board meetings.

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OXFORD MAGAZINE [ENGLAND] #331, Hilary Term, 2013

A fleeting memory survives from the murder of President Kennedy in 1963. That event is matched or surpassed by only two others in American history: the murder of President Lincoln and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. I can recall the night after the murder: all the pop-music and talk-radio stations in Boston were blaring somber classical music selections. I especially recall the broadcast of the Second Symphony of Sibelius, and I could hear other students weeping in the hall. Yet the murder of President Kennedy may have had results, immediately, out of proportion to the American past. It is hardly remembered now but within days of November 22, 1963–and surely before the Christmas shopping season–gone from the shelves, aisles, and “departments” of a major retailer, such as K-Mart, were guns.

It was only during the years of Presidents Nixon and Reagan that the incessant pounding of the gun lobby brought guns back to their present front-and-center locations in American stores and the American consciousness.

But will today’s horror in Newtown, Connecticut put America once more on the highway of sanity again? There are possibilities. And most especially do they arise from the location, geographically and historically, of the event: Fairfield County, Connecticut.

It is here, in a pastoral and elegant setting, that the fantasy of the Kennedy family, its personality, its happiness, and its grandeur is lavishly situated. Here, indeed, if America has established a nobility of its own, it owes its origins to Fairfield County.  And it is nobility constructed not with old wood and bricks but with the new airy elegance of worldly educations, prestigious leadership positions at the head of international entities, and towering intellects and creative minds. Here, in short, is where the greats have come for solitude and splendor after full and recognized lives of accomplishment. For a hundred years, from Mark Twain to Arthur Miller, it was to the relaxed and secluded hills and pathways of this area in Connecticut that the eyes of the most successful figures in American life turned.

And the heritage and color of this gorgeous corner of America goes back even to the years of the America Revolution. For years after the surrender, General Sir Henry Clinton was filing suits in America courts trying to reclaim land north of New York City–along the Hudson River–and in Connecticut where he foresaw great possibilities for himself and for numerous children from the two families that he fathered.

Joining Clinton’s perspectives on wealth and an elegant life have been not only the lyrically-minded in America who are looking for freedom for the soul but also captains of industry and finance who have been searching for redoubts to secure their riches from taxes. And here is where the enormous tension now exists–for them. That is, so much of the noise and money of the right-wing in America has  come out of the coffers of the super-rich who have nestled among the literati, the horse farms, and the hills of Connecticut. The grand bamboozlement by the “Tea Party” (“Guns are why we’re free in this country” “Guns don’t kill, people kill” “Teach your children to hunt, then you won’t have to hunt for your children”) especially owes its underpinnings to these same “refugees.”

But now the hot air of the Second Amendment of the Constitution’s protection of “gun rights” is no longer so elevated in far-off places like California, Arizona, or Virginia. And no matter how high the gates in their “communities” what will stop murderers from entering the hundreds of notable public and private prep schools of New England where their very own children and grandchildren this time are sitting helplessly? In sum, will today’s assault on THIS Camelot establish meaningful change or the long-lasting grief of the Second Symphony of Sibelius?




Dr. Rebecca Chung

Specializations and Interests
Textual studies and history of written culture, including digital humanities
Anglo-American literature, especially literature of the handpress period
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, especially the Turkish Embassy Letters


Ph.D., University of Chicago, English Language and Literature, 2011
M.A., University of Chicago, English Language and Literature, 1990
A.B., University of Michigan, with Honors in English Language in Literature, 1988
Modern Language Association
Association for Documentary Editing
American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Shakespeare Association of America
Society for the History of Authorship, Publishing, and Reading
TeX Users Group
“Understanding the Linguistic Construction of Gender in Shakespeare via Text Mining.” Co-authors:
Sobhan Raj Hota, Shlomo Engelson Argamon. ACH July 2006 (
“Gender in Shakespeare: Automatic Stylistics Gender Character Classification Using Syntactic, Lexical,
and Lemma Features.” Co-authors: Sobhan Raj Hota, Shlomo Engelson Argamon. DHCS 2006
“A Woman Triumphs: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s Travels of an English Lady,” in Travel
Knowledge: European Witnesses to Navigations, Traffiques, and Discoveries in the Early Modern
Period, ed. Ivo Kamps and Jyotsna Singh (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001).
“In Hot Water: Dr. Culverwell and the Economies of Bathing,” The Nineteenth Century: Journal of the
Nineteenth Century Project, 1:1:1988.
Scholarly Activity
“‘All the Men and Women’: Automated Text Mining and Gender Construction in Shakespeare.”
Midwestern Conference on Literature, Language, and Media, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb,
IL. February 29, 2008.
“Gender and Genre in Shakespeare.” Early Modern Colloquium, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.
October 25, 2007.
“Deconstructing Machine Learning.” Digital Humanities and Computer Science Colloquium,
Northwestern University, Evanston IL. October 22, 2007.
“Understanding the Linguistic Construction of Gender in Shakespeare via Text Mining.” Sole presenter
on collaborative research with Sobhan Raj Hota and Shlomo Argamon, Illinois Institute of
Technology. Digital Humanities 2007, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. June 5, 2007.
“Gender in Shakespeare: Automatic Stylistics Gender Classification Using Syntactic, Lexical, and
Lemma features. Co-authors: Sobhan Hota, Shlomo Argamon. Digital Humanities and Computer
Science (DHCS 2006). November 2006.
“Codex, Consciousness, Culture, Contact: Travel Encounters Print.” Modern Language Association, San
Diego, CA. December 2003.
“‘This is the will & design of M. Wortley Montagu’: The Publication of the Turkish Embassy Letters.”
American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, (ASECS), Notre Dame University, South Bend,
IN. April 1998.
“’Dangerous Adventures’: The Female Quixote and the Historicizing of Postmodernism.” Midwestern
American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Milwaukee, WI. October 1994.
“A Day in the Life: Rewards and Sacrifices of a Career in Academe.” Summer Research Opportunity
Program Conference, Committee on Institutional Cooperation, Minneapolis, MN. July 1994.
“A Quarrel With Curiosity: Sex, Knowledge and Power in Sarah Scott’s Millennium Hall.” Aphra Behn
Society, Portland, MN. September 1993.
“Postmodern Problem-Solving in Margaret Cavendish’s The Blazing World.” Midwest American Society
for Eighteenth-Century Studies (MWASECS), Toledo, OH. October 1992.
“Gender, Domesticity and the Formation of the Classical Liberal Subject in the Tatler.” Aphra Behn
Society, New Orleans, LA. February 1992.
ledmac documentation editor (TeX Users Group)
Courses taught
World Masterpieces I
Reason and Revolution
Victorian and Modern Literature