Category Archives: News

Winkler (SS) and Meldrum (KRC) Quoted in Midwest Energy News

mine shaft

From Tech Today.

Richelle Winkler (SS) and Jay Meldrum (Keweenaw Research Center) were quoted in the recent article “Abandoned Michigan Mineshafts Could Be New Energy Option” in Midwest Energy News.

Abstract:

“Mineshaft geothermal” is gaining attention here as researchers investigate the energy potential stored hundreds of feet below the ground. The water in these abandoned and flooded mines, which expand throughout the U.P., is just now starting to be used to heat and cool buildings.

SS Talk: Melissa Baird on “Mining is Our Heritage: Corporate Discourse and the Politics of Extraction”

IMG_086412:00 noon on Friday, October 24 in AOB 201.  Melissa Baird, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Social Sciences will present, “Mining is Our Heritage:  Corporate Discourse and the Politics of Extraction“.

The Pilbara Coast of Western Australia serves as a touchstone to examine how global mining industries are mobilizing the language of heritage, indigenous rights, and sustainability in their conceptions of heritage and through their corporate and social responsibility campaigns. I present preliminary insights that point to the urgency in making clear the competing claims and tracing the varied agendas of global institutions, corporations, the nation-state, and stakeholders. How exactly is heritage and the language of indigenous rights being used in claim-making and how do new iterations of corporate conceptions of heritage intersect with the rights and lands of indigenous peoples?

 

Study Abroad in Cumbria, England

England

Frontiers and Fortresses is preparing for its sixth year of discovery, learning and fun in northwest England.  2015 program dates are July 14 – August 12. The program is based at the University of Cumbria’s Carlisle campus, with five day trips to locations throughout northern England and southern Scotland and one longer four day, three night trip to the medieval city of York.
All students take three courses, SS 3560 – History of England I, SS 3920 – Archaeology of the North, and SS 3960 – International Experience.  All of the courses build upon each other, providing interactive, hands on learning, in the course of four weeks students will visit 10 castles, 4 cathedrals, 6 monasteries and multiple Roman and prehistoric sites in the Lake District and the Boarder regions of England and Scotland.
More information may be obtained by contacting Dr. Blair directly, cblair@mtu.edu, or by attending the information session  on Wednesday October 29 from 5:30 – 6:30 in Fisher 129.  Frontiers and Fortresses, 4 weeks, 3 courses, 9 credits and a lifetime of memories.

 

SS Talk: John Baeten on “The Nature of Taking Things Apart: Industrial Disassembly”

JBaeten12:00 noon on Friday October 17 in AOB 201.  John Baeten, PhD student in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology, will present on The Nature of Taking Things Apart:  Industrial Disassembly, Where the Sum of the Parts are Greater Than the Whole“.

The process of industrial disassembly in the United States, seen in facilities such as slaughterhouses, created a shift in the interaction between humans and their environment.  This shift was evident in the increasing scales of production, a consolidation of ownership, and a centralization of processing within theses centers of disassembly.  Industrial disassemblers capitalized not only on the scale and speed from which they functioned, but also on the lower land rents of the hinterland from where they produced their animate commodities. This paper introduces a new model for interpreting the technological system of disassembly, and examines the environmental and social impacts of taking things apart.

Langston to Receive Honorary Doctorate

LangstonCongratulations to Professor Nancy Langston of the Department of Social Sciences, who will receive an honorary doctorate from Umeå University in Sweden next week. 

Umeå University is one of Sweden’s leading universities, and the honorary doctorate is its highest honor. Langston will receive the degree of doctor honoris causa in recognition for her work on environmental history, as well as her close collaboration with faculty at the University of Umeå. In 2012-2013, Langston served as King’s Professor at Umeå University. An article about her research in Sweden was published in Tech’s Research Magazine recently: http://www.mtu.edu/research/archives/magazine/2014/stories/pay-attention/

Langston has published three award-winning books and served as President of the American Society of Environmental History and Editor of Environmental History (the leading journal in the field). She has been the receipient of honors and award from the National Science Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the King of Sweden, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Humanities Center.

The ceremony will take place on October 18, 2014 in Sweden.

D80 Conference Saturday

d80-logo-v1Students Step Up to Help the Poorest 80%

The D80 Center includes Engineers Without Borders, the Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology lab, iDesign, the Peace Corps Master’s International program (PCMI), Global City and the Terra Preta Working Group.

Each fall, the D80 Center hosts a conference to showcase the work these student organizations are doing to help underserved communities at home and around the world. This year’s conference is Saturday, Oct. 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Dow Building at Michigan Tech. It is free and open to faculty, staff, students and the public. “Engage in Community” is this year’s theme.

“Designs and solutions simply aren’t going to be sustainable if they are not aligned with, and in fact driven by, community priorities,” says Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor David Watkins, director of the D80 Center. “Solutions also have to be appropriate given the community’s technical and organizational capacity and economic resources. It’s well known that successful projects have a common trait of strong community engagement. We also want to emphasize the benefits to students of getting engaged in their local communities or with communities abroad, hence the theme ‘Engage (in) Community.’”

The conference features student presentations, with time for questions, answers and discussion; workshops hosted by faculty; and a keynote presentation, “The Complexities of Water, Climate and Health.” The keynote speaker is Jonathon Mellor, a graduate of Michigan Tech’s PCMI program now at Yale University. He will share the work he has done to address global health issues.

“People should attend to find out about all the great things student groups, and some recent Michigan Tech graduates, are doing,” urges Watkins. “We also want students working on projects to have a chance to share their experiences and learn from each other. Finally, we hope students who have not gotten involved yet will be able to learn more about the opportunities available to them and be inspired to get involved.”

Advance registration is requested and has been extended to Friday, Oct. 10. Registration, the program and additional details are available on the conference web page.

SS Talk: Sarah Cowie on Science and Social Theory in Historical and Heritage Studies”

CowieIntegrating Science and Social Theory in Historical Archaeology and
Heritage Studies” at 4 PM on Friday, October 10, 2014, in AOB 201.
Sponsored by the Visiting Women & Minority Lecture Series and Department of Social Sciences.

Abstract: Too often in the last several decades of historical archaeology and related fields, practitioners have struggled with the artificial division between STEM applications and humanist frameworks.  We feel driven to identify ourselves as methods-people versus theory-people, processualists versus post-processualists, empiricists versus post-modernists, and positivists versus relativists.  However, historical archaeology’s reliance on varied theory and forms of data allows and encourages frameworks that bridge these perceived gaps.  This presentation offers a number of heritage projects from the western US that integrate science and social theory in brief case studies: GIS is used to study panoptic surveillance (at the company town of Fayette, Michigan); geochemical analyses inform studies of 19th century medicine, bodily discipline, symbolic violence, and environmental discrimination (at Fayette and a hospital site in Nevada); database management improves heritage consultation, public outreach, and social capital  with American Indian tribes (heritage stewardship program in Arizona); and federally funded science programs are supporting highly theoretical projects to find pragmatic solutions in federal/tribal heritage relations (Stewart Indian School collaborative archaeology project).  These types of projects and others like them show that despite the rhetoric of division between science and social theory, historical archaeologists can bridge these gaps regularly and with innovative, forward-thinking results.

 
 PDF FLYER:  Cowie 2014

Solomon Publishes on Risk Perceptions toward Nuclear Waste and Uranium Mining

rjrr20_v017_i08_coverFrom Tech Today (October 1, 2014)

Professor Barry D. Solomon (SS) published a paper, “The Utmost Ends of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Finnish Perceptions of the Risks of Uranium Mining and Nuclear Waste Management,” in the Journal of Risk Research, Vol. 17, No. 8 (September 2014), pp. 1037-1059. It was coauthored with Tappio Litmanen and Mika Kari of the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

Abstract:

There has been substantial social scientific research to determine how people perceive the risks of nuclear power, wastes, and waste management, but not much attention has been given to risk perceptions of other types of nuclear activities. Knowledge about attitudes towards uranium mining and exploitation is increasing, and more attention should be paid to how people perceive the risks of both ends of the nuclear fuel cycle. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to analyze the risk perceptions towards nuclear waste and uranium mining and how these perceptions relate to each other. The analysis is based on Finnish survey data (N = 1180) gathered in 2007. Renewed international interest in nuclear power raised the price of uranium from 2005 to 2007. International mining companies started uranium explorations in Finland because Finnish bedrock is the oldest in Europe, and it is similar to and of the same age as that of the major foreign uranium producers and exporters. Changes in Finnish nuclear power policy make this study timely: while the site for a spent nuclear fuel repository in Eurajoki was chosen in 2001, in 2010, two companies were selected to construct two new nuclear power reactor units in the country. Cross-tabulation of a series of contingency tables based on the survey was used to explore a diversity of nuclear risk perception views. We found that the perception of risks of nuclear waste is quite diversified and that there is no any clear linkage between nuclear waste attitudes and uranium mining attitudes. Although we found that there is a group of double risk deniers and a group of double risk perceivers, risk attitudes cannot be derived automatically from the attitudes towards either end of the nuclear fuel cycle.

Langston Receives NSF Grant on Mining Toxin Migration

Langston1Nancy Langston has received $270,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a three year research project titled “Historical and Spatial Aspects of the Migration of Toxic Iron-Mining Contaminants into the Lake Superior Basin.”

Abstract:

This project investigates the mobilization of toxic mining contaminants in the Lake Superior basin. The investigator will conduct archival research and oral-history interviews, and she will develop a geo-spatial database. She plans to link her historical research with contemporary policy and regulation issues, and to engage with local communities, including Native Americans in the region.

The investigator is a well-known environmental historian whose previous work has drawn on multiple disciplines and generated significant media interest; she has a network of contacts that includes a documentary filmmaker and relevant stakeholder groups. The project will produce a narrative of environmental history with the potential for overlap with important questions of technology, culture, and society. It will be of interest to citizen scientists, a wide-array of scholars, and the general public. The most important broader impact of the project is that it might very well influence contemporary policy and law-making.

Students Win Award at Community Development Society Annual Meeting

CDS Community Capitals Poster Williams 2014 - CopyThis summer a group of students traveled with Professor Richelle Winkler to the Community Development Society 2014 Annual Meeting in Debuque, Iowa to share their research.  The Annual Meeting focuses on research and developments in the field of community development with members representing a variety of fields including: education, health care, social services, government, utilities, economic development practitioners, citizen groups, and more.

Students from Michigan Tech presented two posters on community development projects the Social Sciences department have been working on with the local town of Calumet.  The poster presented by Rhianna Williams, Lorri Oikarinen, Heather Simpson, and Dr. Winkler was on the effect First Friday’s art tours had on the community of Calumet and won an award for best presentation of content.

A poster on Mine Water Geothermal for Sustainable Community Development: Campus-Community Partnerships for Revitalization in Calumet, Michigan was presented by Travis Wakeham, Mayra Sanchez Gonzalez, and Dr. Richelle Winkler, and won runner up for best presentation of content.

In addition to poster presentations Dr. Winkler hosted a panel session on community-engaged scholarship and community development and Master’s Student Rhianna Williams gave a presentation based on her research on water use, allocation, and policy in the Gunnison River Basin, Colorado.

CDS Community Capitals 1500