Category: News

Sarah Potter Receives Top Award

Sara PotterRTC PhD student Sarah Potter received a top paper award and presented the paper on the panel, Top Papers in the Communication Ethics, Activism, and Social Justice Interest Group at the Central States Communication Association Conference. The paper title is “Different Rights (in)Different Times: Rendering the Invisible Visible in a Comparative Iconographic Analysis of the Women’s Suffrage Parade of 1913 and the 2017 Women’s March on Washington.” She was also a panel member for the graduate student discussion session, “When the Experts Don’t Agree: Navigating Differences in Faculty Advice.” The conference was held April 5-8, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Armistice and Aftermath: A World War One Symposium

World War 1 and the Copper Country project logo and event detailsThis year’s Armistice Day, November 11, 2018, marks the centenary end of World War I. As part of the commemoration, Armistice and Aftermath: A World War One Symposium will take place September 28-29, 2018. The Symposium is open to faculty, students, staff, local residents, high school teachers, and academics from other universities. The Symposium offers an opportunity to explore the conditions and impacts of the “Great War,” as experienced during and afterwards, with a special focus on the American Heartland. The war had tremendous human and economic repercussions. It also motivated technological, medical, and cultural advances, and it paved the way for transformative social change, from Prohibition to women’s suffrage.

Two keynote speakers will highlight relations of race, class, and gender during and after WWI. Dr. John H. Morrow, Jr., will speak on Friday evening, September 28. He is Franklin Professor of History at the University of Georgia. His research examines the experiences of the African-American men in the 369th Regiment who fought in Europe and their subsequent fates. Dr. Lynn Dumenil will speakSaturday, September 29. She is the Robert Glass Cleland Professor Emerita of American History at Occidental College and is well known for her research into the roles of American women both on the homefront and the battlefront. Their keynote lectures will be free and open to the public.

There will be no fees for attending or presenting at the conference. Those interested in presenting are asked to submit a 350-500 word abstract by May 1, 2018 and a brief biographical statement Direct questions to Dr. Patty Sotirin, Humanities; Dr. Steve Walton, Social Sciences, or Dr. Sue Collins, Humanities.

Along with the Symposium, the War and its aftermath will be commemorated in a series of free public exhibits, installations, lectures, and films. Dr. Sue Collins, Humanities, is coordinating this extended commemoration. The events will take place during the months of June through November at various locations on the Michigan Tech campus, the Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw, Finlandia University, and the Orpheum Theater. Among these events:

  • Europe, America, and the World: An Outdoor Concert. Featuring the music of James Reese Europe performed by MTU Superior Wind Symphony
  • An Evening of Silent Film. Featuring Charlie Chaplin’s Shoulder Arms (1918) with live musical accompaniment, Rozsa Theater
  • A WWI Trench. With battle soundscape, readings from soldiers’ memoirs, and war poetry, on the grounds of Michigan Tech
  • American and French Propaganda Posters and the Great War. Rozsa Gallery, courtesy of Marquette Regional History Center
  • Shell-shocked: Footage and Sounds of the Front. Film with sound installation, Rozsa Gallery
  • Philosophy, Technology, & Warfare. A multimedia screens exhibit, Immersive Visualization Studio, MTU
  • Soldier Stories: The U.P. in World War I. Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw, courtesy of Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center
  • World War I & the Copper Country Home Front. Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw
  • Copper Country Voices of Dissent in the Great War. Finnish American Heritage Center, Finlandia University

The Symposium and the ongoing commemorative events are supported in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Visiting Women and Minority Lecturer Series; as well as through donations from Institutional Equity and Inclusion at Michigan Tech; the departments of Humanities, Visual and Performing Arts, Social Sciences, Air Force ROTC, Army ROTC; Finlandia University; and the Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw.

Distinguished Lecture Series Presents Nicholas Mirzoeff

Event poster for Nicholas Mirzoeff Lecture The Humanities department will be hosting Professor Nicholas Mirzoeff (NYU). He’ll be giving a public lecture entitled “Ungovernable Aesthetics” in the MUB Ballroom on Friday, April 135-6.30 p.m.
He will also lead a seminar Saturday morning, April 14, in the Cherry Room of Wadsworth Hall, beginning at 9.30am. If anyone would like to join us for this seminar (faculty and graduate students) and would like to do the reading, please contact Dana Van Kooy (

In Print

Flynn co-authored the introduction with Bourelle and contributed an essay, “Becoming a Feminist Teacher, Researcher and Administrator.” The foreword to the book is by M. Ann Brady, (HU).

Humanities Professor Emerita Glenda Gill Passes

Professor Emerita Glenda GillMichigan Tech Humanities Professor Emerita Glenda Gill passed away Jan. 27, in Huntsville, Alabama at the age of 78. Gill, who taught at Michigan Tech from 1990 until her retirement in 2006, was a well-respected drama instructor and theatre historian.

Born in Clarksville, Tennessee and raised in Normal, Alabama, Gill graduated from Alabama A&M University, received her MA from Wisconsin-Madison and earned her PhD in English and Theatre from the University of Iowa. She focused much of her research on the dynamics of race, gender and class and how they intersect with the African-American in the performing arts, especially in non-traditional roles.

Gill was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 1993 and to full professor in 2000. Former Michigan Tech Provost Max Seel was dean of the College of Sciences and Arts during this time. “Our tenure and promotion process is a vigorous one,” Seel says. “Being tenured and promoted is a recognition of hard work well done. Dr. Gill was recognized for her effectiveness in the classroom, her achievements in research and in her professional field and her overall contributions to our University’s  programs. May she rest in peace.”

Prior to her arrival at Michigan Tech Gill was head of Tuskegee University’s Department of English. A particular area of expertise focused on African-American actors in Shakespearian roles. Gill was frequently published and often cited in theatre journals. She is the author of “White Grease Paint on Black Performers: A Study of the Federal Theatre, 1935-1939,” “No Surrender! No Retreat! African American Pioneer Performers of Twentieth-Century American Theatre” and “The Transforming Power of Performing the Classics in Chocolate, 1949-1954.”

In 2011, she was the subject of an extensive Q&A profile in the American Society for Theatre Research website. Also in 2011, she was inducted into the Consortium of Doctors, a group of African American women who have completed doctoral degrees and have made extraordinary contributions to society.

Her awards and accolades included fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She was a recipient of a Michigan Tech Faculty Grant Scholarship Award in the 1999-2000 academic year.

Funeral services for Professor Glenda Gill were held on February 6th at the First Missionary Baptist Church with burial in Oakwood Memorial Gardens, both in Huntsville, Alabama.

In the News

L. Syd M JohnsonL. Syd M Johnson is interviewed by Big Think about the NIH decision to lift the funding moratorium on “gain of function” research with Potential Pandemic Pathogens and by Futurism about a Black Mirror episode featuring neural implants.

Johnson also was interviewed on Copper Country Today, discussing legal, social and ethical aspects of Michigan’s new regulations on medical marijuana. The interview was broadcast Dec. 17th on 97.7 FM, 102.3 FM and 99.3 FM. It is available online.


World War I and the Copper Country

collins-sue-personnelThe World War I & the Copper Country collective, led by Sue Collins (HU) in collaboration with Patty Sotirin (HU), Stefka Hristova (HU), Steve Walton (SS), Elise Nelson (Carnegie Museum), and Hilary Virtanen (Finlandia), has been awarded a Michigan Humanities Council grant.

Conceived as a joint project between Michigan Technological University, the Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw, and Finlandia University, the grant will support a series of events commemorating World War I to run in the fall of 2018 including historical exhibits, a symposium, a relief bazaar, and an immersive life-size trench installation with a Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) produced soundscape.

The project has received a $15,000 public service grant from the Michigan Humanities Council.

Anna Swartz and Syd Johnson Present Posters at the International Neuroethics Society Meeting

Anna K. Swarz
Anna K. Swarz
L. Syd M Johnson
L. Syd M Johnson

Anna K. Swartz (HU), a graduate student in Rhetoric, Theory & Culture, presented a poster, “The Neurobiological Explanation of Mental Illness: Implications for the Therapeutic Alliance,” at the International Neuroethics Society meeting in Washington DC on Nov. 10.

L. Syd M Johnson (HU) presented a poster, “Research with Embryo-Like Organisms and Cerebral Organoids: Do the Usual Rules Apply?” at the International Neuroethics Society meeting in Washington, DC, Nov. 10. The poster received a “Top Abstract” award from the American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience.