Category: News

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows Study Amtrak

Three Humanities undergraduates have been awarded Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) for 2022. All three will be carrying out their research in conjunction with the study-away program, “Amtrak Tourism: Trains, Cities, & Sustainability” led by Mark Rhodes, Assistant Professor of Geography in Michigan Tech’s Social Sciences department. Students in the Amtrak Tourism program travel on Amtrak for a three week tour of the western United States and study topics related to human geography, sustainability, and the urban environment along the way.

Lena Lukowski’s project, “Locating Tourism Rhetoric: A Comparative Study” pays attention to the connection between location and tourism rhetoric in different cities across the United States. She is interested in seeing how the way in which tourism is discussed changes with the landscape and location. Lukowski is pursuing a double degree in Mechanical Engineering and Scientific and Technical Communication.

Riley Powers’s project, “Public Tourism Infrastructure and Accessibility: Comparison of Metropolitan, Micropolitan, and Rural Structures” will focus on public tourism infrastructure accessibility design, with a particular focus on the infrastructure encountered by students participating in the Amtrak Tourism study-away program. Powers’ work includes consulting with those who plan and design infrastructure as well as those who are impacted by disparities in accessibility. Results of the study will be shared with stakeholders locally in the Houghton/Keweenaw area, with the aim of highlighting ways to improve accessibility for public tourism in our own community. Powers is a Scientific and Technical Communication major.

Davi Sprague’s project, “Understanding the Relationship Between Rail Communities and Rail Infrastructure” seeks to answer the question, how did rail and train stations influence the urbanization, industrialization, and deindustrialization of rail communities and how are these communities planning for the future? Sprague, a Scientific and Technical Communication major, will combine archival research with filmmaking to produce a short video documentary that features historical and contemporary sources as well as highlights from the study-away program itself.

The SURF fellowship program is administered by Michigan Tech’s Pavlis Honors College. Fellowship recipients conduct a research project under the guidance of a Michigan Tech faculty mentor during the summer semester and, at the conclusion of their work, present their research at the Michigan Tech Undergraduate Research Symposium, or at a professional conference in their field. 

Christian Johnson (English) named 2022 Humanities Departmental Scholar

Christian Johnson

The Humanities department is pleased to announce that Christian Johnson (Biology/English) has been selected as our 2022 Humanities Departmental Scholar. Christian is pursuing a double degree in English and Biology with a pre-health professions minor. 

Christian’s work in creative writing courses has drawn the attention of Humanities faculty, notably Stephanie Carpenter, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing. She describes Christian as “an inventive, dynamic writer and an engaged, generous participant in discussions of published and student works.” One of Christian’s personal narratives, “Je t’aime,” has been accepted for publication by Free Spirit publishers in their book, Love Stories (forthcoming).

While pursuing a demanding pre-med curriculum, Christian has also embraced a rigorous program of coursework in English. He is currently enrolled in a graduate-level course in Cultural Theory, and has distinguished himself, in the words of Ron Strickland, Professor of Literature, as “the kind of well-rounded student whom I, as a Humanities professor at Michigan Tech, take a special joy in teaching; a STEM-focused student with a passion and a talent for literature!”

Christian plans to attend medical school and sees his English major as a way to develop the empathy he will need both as a physician and a writer.

Gabriel Edzordzi Agbozo Receives 2022 CCCC Outstanding Dissertation Award in Technical Communication

PHOTO BY: BRADLEY PEARCE/UNCW

Dr. Gabriel Edzordzi Agbozo (RTC ’21) has received the 2022 CCCC Outstanding Dissertation Award in Technical Communication for “Spatial Technologies, (Geo)Epistemology, & the Global South: Addressing the Discursive Materiality of GhanaPostGPS through Technical Communication.” The Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) is a constituent organization within the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Dissertations for this award are evaluated according to five criteria: originality of research, contribution the research makes to the field, methodological soundness of the approach used, awareness of the existing research in the area studied, and overall quality of the writing.

The selection committee noted: Dr. Agbozo’s dissertation is a rich study of the GhanaPost Global Position System. Agbozo makes a compelling case for how the field thus far has had a limited perspective on “technology take-up within a globalizing context,” and how, historically, researchers have engaged with global spaces in problematic ways. The committee was especially impressed with the originality of Agbozo’s research and its contributions to broadening the field’s borders and working towards developing, as Agbozo argues, a “global perspective.” Drawing from a mix of surveys, interviews, and observations, and employing decolonial and multimodal lenses of critique, Agbozo’s dissertation is methodologically rigorous, with a robust analysis that works to build new theory and innovative pedagogical practice in technical communication. The committee also appreciated the ways Agbozo’s research amplifies marginalized voices, communities, and scholarship.

Agbozo will be announced as the recipient of the CCCC Outstanding Dissertation Award in Technical Communication during the CCCC Awards Presentation on Friday, March 11, during the 2022 CCCC Annual Convention.

Dr. Agzobo is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at UNC–Wilmington.

Modern Languages Film Series begins Thursday, 1/27

The 2022 Modern Languages Film Series kicks off Thursday, January 27th, with the German film, I’m Your Man (Ich Bin Dein Mensch, Shrader, 2021). Scientist Alma (Maren Eggert) has reluctantly agreed to live for three weeks with humanoid robot Tom (Dan Stevens), who has been created solely to make her happy. This contemplative comedy about love, longing, and what makes us human will screen at 7:00 PM in Fisher 135.

Other films presented in the series include Unbalanced (Desequilibrados, Balanda, 2021), screening February 24th, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de le Jeune Fille en Feu, Sciamma, 2019), screening March 24th. All films in the series will screen in Fisher 135 and are free and open to the public.

This film series is sponsored by the Modern Languages program in the Department of Humanities.

THE RESCUE Added to 41 North Film Festival

Newly added to the 41 North Film Festival is The Rescue — a film by Academy Award–winning filmmakers Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (Free Solo, Meru) that tells the story of the daring 2018 rescue of 12 boys and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand.

“The Rescue” shines a light on the high-risk world of cave diving and the courage and compassion of the international rescue team that united to save the boys. The film will screen at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday (Nov. 7) in the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

See the full lineup of films and events at 41northfilmfest.org. The festival is free and open to the public. Students will need to bring their HuskyCard. Tickets for everyone else can be reserved at tickets.mtu.edu or by calling 906-487-2073, and will also be available in the Rozsa lobby prior to each film.

Major sponsorship for the festival is provided by the Department of Humanities, the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, the College of Sciences and Arts, and the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

The 41 North Film Festival Returns

Wildlife Photographer Vincent Munier and writer Sylvain Tesson seek the elusive snow leopard in The Velvet Queen, screening Saturday, 11/6, at 7:30 p.m. as part of the 41 North Film Festival.

The 41 North Film Festival will be held November 4–7, 2021, featuring four days of award-winning independent film at the Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. Highlights from this year’s program include: Storm Lake (Risius/Levison, 2021), a story about a family-owned and operated small-town newspaper that recently won a Pulitzer Prize. The Storm Lake Times editor, Art Cullen, and filmmaker Beth Levison, will join for a virtual Q&A following the film. The film will screen on Friday, 11/5, at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, 11/6, at 7:30 p.m. the festival will present The Velvet Queen (Amiguet, 2021), which follows acclaimed wildlife photographer Vincent Munier‘s Tibetan trek in search of the elusive snow leopard. On Sunday, the festival offers the family-friendly, Lily Topples the World, the story of young domino artist Lily Hevesh, whose incredible domino creations have earned her over three million Youtube followers.

Other films include Sundance documentary winner Summer of Soul, Writing with Fire (winner of 17 international awards), Academy-Award nominee The Mole Agent, and a host of other thought-provoking, entertaining, and inspiring films. As always, expect music in the lobby between films, as well as other special events and guests.

The festival is free and open to the public. MTU staff, faculty, and students from other schools can reserve a ticket (only one needed for entire festival) by visiting https://tickets.mtu.edu or calling the SDC Ticketing Office at 906-487-2073. MTU students should bring an ID to gain admittance. The festival will follow the Rozsa Center Covid-19 Policies. Please visit the festival website for the full program and additional information.

ACSHF Forum: Stefka Hristova, Humanities

The Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences will host speaker Stefka Hristova (Associate Professor of Digital Media, Humanities) at the next Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors forum. The presentation, “Emptied Faces: In Search For An Algorithmic Punctum”, will be from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Monday (October 11) in Meese 109 and via Zoom.

This talk explores the ways in which human faces have become reconfigured in the context of algorithmic culture. More specifically, it details the decomposition of the face in the context of big data and machine learning algorithms and its two subsequent distinct rearticulations: one linked to predictive algorithms and the other linked to the generation of deep fake portraits.

Women of the Copper Country

Logo of Michigan Humanities Great Michigan Read

University Archivist and RTC doctoral student Lindsay Hiltunen was an invited speaker as part of the Great Michigan Read (GMR) programming series at Dearborn Public Library on Oct. 7.

Hiltunen presented a talk on the Michigan Copper Miners’ Strike of 1913-14 and the Italian Hall Disaster as part of a programming series to promote this year’s GMR book, “The Women of the Copper Country.”

Hiltunen will be sharing her presentation at several public libraries across the state as part of the GMR.

Seigel Named 2021 Poet Laureate Fellow

M. Bartley Seigel
Photocredit: Adam Johnson

M. Bartley Seigel (HU) has been named a 2021 Poet Laureate Fellow by the Academy of American Poets. Seigel, director of the Michigan Tech Writing Center and an associate professor of creative writing and literature, is one of only 23 poets laureate of cities and states across the U.S. to receive the honor.

“I’m really humbled and honored by this fellowship,” said Seigel, who was selected as the 2021-22 Upper Peninsula Poet Laureate in January. “While it’s always been something of a challenge making art at an institution where attention is so firmly fixed elsewhere, my unique positionality in this pond of scientists and engineers has held me accountable to my words in unexpected and fortuitous ways. I wouldn’t be the poet I am were I not where I am, and were I not in the close company of so many different and exceptional minds.”

As a Poet Laureate Fellow, Seigel receives an award of $50,000 in support of his art, a portion of which is set aside to lead a public poetry program. He intends to collaborate with regional public and tribal high school teachers to launch the Upper Peninsula Young Poets Program. The program will introduce high school-aged students in the U.P. to the diversity and transformative power of poetry, encourage their emerging voices and provide them with a free college-level writing workshop.

In a press release announcing the 2021 Fellows, President and Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets Jennifer Benka said, “As we begin emerging from COVID-19 restrictions, poetry — which has provided such comfort these past 15 months — will continue to be a source of insight. We are honored and humbled to fund poets who are devoted to their own craft and also their community. Poets will most certainly help guide us forward.”

Through its Poets Laureate Fellowship program, the Academy of American Poets has become the largest financial supporter of poets in the nation. The fellowship program is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which in January 2020 awarded the Academy $4.5 million to fund the program.

Van Kooy’s paper for London conference examines ‘the plantationoscene’

Associate Professor Dana Van Kooy presented her essay, “Assemblages of the Plantationoscene” recently at The London Stage and the Nineteenth-Century World III conference, sponsored by the New College at Oxford University.

Dana Van Kooy

Invoking the neologism “plantationoscene,” the paper from Van Kooy, who directs Tech’s English program, examines John Fawcett’s pantomime, “Obi; or Three-Finger’d Jack,” which opened at London’s Haymarket Theatre in 1800. Linking the era (cene) to the performance and visual reproduction of specific theatrical scenes, this neologism offers an alternative framework for interpreting Fawcett’s pantomime, which assembled scenes of plantation life and its corresponding devastation into a formulaic plot.

Focusing on stage descriptions and those scenes advertised on its playbills, “Assemblages of the Plantationoscene” draws attention to the production of a visual ecology that reconfigured the colonial landscape.

In her abstract, Van Kooy established the relevance of the topic: “Throughout The Atlantic World, the plantation system marked a period of human and ecological disaster, one that theaters in Britain and the United States readily transformed into captivating spectacles throughout 18th and 19th centuries. The scale of this devastation continues to impact society in myriad ways, including racialized violence and policies that associate people and labor practices with ‘natural’ and/or geographical spaces.”