Fordham Notes: April 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

In Praise of the Essay

Symposium: In Praise of the Essay: Practice & Form

Co-Sponsored by the English Department and Creative Writing Program at Fordham University

Saturday, April 24, 2010 | Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus Atrium

For Registration Please Call: (717) 357-9609. You will also need to complete this form (includes complete schedule) and bring it with you to the symposium. There is a $150 attendance fee.

Keynote Speaker: Robert Atwan, series editor, Best American Essays. Featured speakers include: Jerald Walker, Vivian Gornick, Brian Doyle, Lia Purpura and Emily Grosholz. Panelists include: Paul Lisicky, New York University; Mimi Schwartz, Richard Stockton College; Michael Steinberg, Pine Manor College; Elizabeth Stone, Fordham University; and Linda Underhill, Chatham University.

About the Presenters and Panelists

Robert Atwan is the series editor of Best American Essays, which he founded in 1985. He has edited five college anthologies and textbooks, seven poetry anthologies, and a short story collection. His work has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the Iowa Review, the Kenyon Review, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, River Teeth, and elsewhere.

Brian Doyle is the author of seven works of nonfiction, including The Grail, The Wet Engine, and Leaping: Revelations & Epiphanies, as well as two collections of “proems.” A novel, Mink River, is forthcoming in fall 2010. His work has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, American Scholar, Gourmet, Harper’s, Orion, the Times of London, and elsewhere. He is the editor of Portland Magazine.

Vivian Gornick is the author of many books, including Women in Science, Fierce Attachments, The Situation and the Story, Approaching Eye Level, and The End of the Novel of Love. Her essays and articles have appeared in the Nation, the New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere. She teaches at the New School.

Emily Grosholz is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Feuilles/Leaves; three books of philosophy; and the editor of essay collections on Simone de Beauvoir, W. E. B. DuBois, Maxine Kumin, and the philosophy of mathematics. Her work has appeared in Best American Essays, Hudson Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. She teaches at Pennsylvania State University.

Lia Purpura is the author of two collections of essays, On Looking and Increase, and several collections of poems, including King Baby, Stone Sky Lifting, and Brighter the Veil. Her work has appeared in AGNI, the Georgia Review, Orion, the New Republic, the New Yorker, the Paris Review, and elsewhere. She teaches at Loyola University and the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA Program.

Jerald Walker is the author of Street Shadows: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion and Redemption. His essays have appeared in Best African American Essays, Best American Essays, Brothers: 26 Stories of Love and Rivalry, Chronicle of Higher Education, the Iowa Review, Missouri Review, Mother Jones, North American Review, Oxford American, and elsewhere. He teaches at Bridgewater State College.

Paul Lisicky is the author of Lawnboy and Famous Builder. A new novel, Lumina Harbor, is forthcoming. His work has appeared in Boulevard, Flash Fiction, Hotel Amerika, Open House, Ploughshares, Short Takes, and many other anthologies and magazines. He teaches at New York University.

Mimi Schwartz is the author of five books, including Good Neighbors, Bad Times. Echoes of My Father’s German Village; Thoughts from a Queen-sized Bed; and, with Sondra Perl, Writing True: the Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction. Her work has appeared in AGNI, Creative Nonfiction, the Missouri Review, the New York Times, and elsewhere. She is Professor Emerita at Richard Stockton College.

Mike Steinberg is founding editor of Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction. He has written or co-written five books, including a memoir, Still Pitching, and, with Robert Root, an anthology, The Fourth Genre: Contemporary Writers of/on Creative Nonfiction. He is writer-in-residence in the Solstice/Pine Manor College low-residency MFA program.

Elizabeth Stone is the author of Black Sheep and Kissing Cousins: How Our Family Stories Shape Us, The Hunter College Campus Schools for the Gifted, and A Boy I Once Knew: What a Teacher Learned from Her Student. Her personal essays and reportage have appeared in Chronicle of Higher Education, the New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, and elsewhere. She teaches at Fordham University.

Linda Underhill is the author of two collections of essays, The Unequal Hours: Moments of Being in the Natural World and The Way of the Woods: Journeys through American Forests. Her work has appeared in Fourth Genre, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and elsewhere. She teaches in the MFA program at Chatham University and at Corning Community College.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

On Earth Day, Reflection on Religion and Ecology

Why are religions’ contributions to combating the Earth's environmental woes somewhat non-existent, or at best not effective?

Earlier this week, Fordham’s Center for Ethics Education spearheaded a conference on ethics and climate change. Panelist Elizabeth Johnson, Ph.D., Fordham’s Distinguished Professor of Theology, said most religions in the 21st century face conflicting interests and a new 'secular' world that values material over spiritual.

Speaking on Religion’s Resources for Environmental Ethics, Sister Johnson said that, traditionally, many of the world’s religions have fostered an orientation toward the natural world and the cosmos, one that has often times glorified nature as God’s creation.

However, through the rise of “unfettered capitalism," i.e. irresponsible market practices, the modern industrial world has ushered in a competitor -- what Sister Johnson sees as a new form of religion—the idolatristic religion of “unending growth.”

“Once we define ourselves as consumers we can never have too much, and the GNP can never be big enough,” she said. “Hence, creating consumerist needs for the sake of corporate profit becomes the highest good.”

Unfortunately, she said, what is sacrificed in this new “religion” are the traditional religious “fundamental values of common good, including social justice and ecological integrity.”

Today’s western religions themselves have come to reap profits from the 21st century brand of unfettered capitalism, said Sister Johnson. They have also have seen their influence diminished by secularism.

“Part of the solution to the environmental crisis will occur when the religions rediscover their own soul, refresh their worldview and ethical values, and struggle prophetically against the false religion of our age. Then we might understand the wisdom in the prophet Mohammed’s saying: ‘When doomsday comes, if someone has a palm shoot in his hand, he should plant it.’”


GSS Professor Nabs Social Work Honor, $100K Grant

For a couple of years now, Tina Maschi, Ph.D., assistant professor of social work in the Graduate School of Social Service (GSS), has been interviewing older adults incarcerated in the New Jersey Department of Corrections’ criminal justice system to study the link between trauma, delinquency and its effect on one’s life course.

“There is a dearth of information about the impact of trauma on older adults in the criminal justice system and older adult offenders in general,” said Maschi, whose project was partly funded by a GSS and Fordham Faculty research grant. “If prison is bad, it’s especially bad for older offenders.”

Maschi’s work has paid off: she has been named one of six Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholars in the nation by the John A. Hartford Foundation and the Gerontological Society of America. The honor carries with it a $100,000 research support grant over two years to further her study.

The Hartford Faculty Scholars Program is designed to address the lack of adequately trained social workers to meet the needs of the burgeoning aging population. In addition to continuing her research, Maschi will be paired with a social work research mentor, and will participate in development institutes and workshops.

“It’s quite an honor and I’m pleased to accept it,” said Maschi. “It will help build on the researching those offenders who really have it bad, many of whom have been institutionalized most of their lives.”

Maschi’s research was profiled in INSIDE FORDHAM in 2008.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Flying Ram at Houlihan Park

Brian Kownacki leaps over Iona catcher James Beck to score on Chris Walker's go-ahead hit in the bottom of the eighth inning highlighted a nine-run rally to give Fordham a 12-9 victory over the Iona College Gaels at Houlihan Park. See the full release on Fordham's Athletics page.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spotlight on Undergraduate Research

Fordham College at Rose Hill Third Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | Noon to 5:30 p.m.
McGinley Center, Rose Hill Campus

Undergraduate students working on creative or scholarly projects in all academic disciplines participate. The symposium will feature student oral presentations and a poster session, and include outstanding student research work. All undergraduates, faculty, and members of the Fordham community are invited to attend.

See "Undergraduates Come Out of the Labs, Into the Limelight" for previous coverage of the undergraduate research symposium.

For more information, visit:

Are There Too Many Judges on the Supreme Court?

Check out the Fordham University American Studies blog:

Are There Too Many Judges on the Supreme Court?
Posted by Robert J. Hume
I want to thank Professor Hendler for his warm welcome and the invitation to post on this blog. It really is an exciting time to be studying the Supreme Court.

I want to elaborate on a few points from my San Francisco Chronicle article, which Professor Hendler posted below. As a political scientist, my primary interest is not so much in who President Obama should be appointing to the Supreme Court, but in what influence different types of nominees are likely to have on the Court.

For example, right now we have an unusual circumstance in which all nine Supreme Court justices (including Justice Stevens) was a sitting federal judge at the time of appointment. As a political scientist, I want to know what happens (if anything) when there is so little diversity in the professional qualifications of the justices. Would it matter if President Obama appointed another sitting federal judge, instead of someone from the political branches of government? In previous decades, presidents used to seriously consider governors, senators, and even former presidents for the Court. Now it has become much less common.

For the rest of the entry, see: "Are There Too Many Judges on the Supreme Court?"

Friday, April 16, 2010

Institute for Irish Studies Awards Language Scholarships

If you like Irish, and you want to learn how to say more than just Éirinn go Brách, Fordham’s Institute for Irish Studies, located at Fordham College Lincoln Center, certainly has the classes to, if not give you a world-class brogue, at least teach you to speak like a Dubliner.

Of course, when it comes to learning Irish, Midtown Manhattan has nothing on the Emerald Isle, which is why we’re excited that the institute has awarded Sarah Rose Sullivan and Colleen Taylor, both sophomores at Fordham College Rose Hill, Irish language scholarships.

The scholarships, say institute director Christopher Maginn, PhD, F.R.H.S., Assistant Professor of History, will enable Sullivan and Taylor to travel to the West of Ireland in July to study the Irish language at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

We wish them both the best of luck of the Irish.
—Patrick Verel

Thursday, April 15, 2010

GBA Students Tackle Sustainability

On March 13, 24 Fordham graduate business students and two professors, John Hollwitz and Sharon Livesey, boarded a plane outbound for Cholula, an old city in southern Mexico. The students didn’t know what to expect from the trip, but all had one shared goal – to get a new angle on sustainable living and community.

Some of the students were first dipping their toes into the sustainability movement, while others were immersing themselves more deeply in an issue they already felt was extremely important. By the end of the study trip, what was clear was that the participants went from almost strangers to a tightly knit group of friends in the short period of 10 days. Each emerged more enlightened on the environmental and social challenges facing the planet and all with a new understanding of the true nature of community.

Community Links International, a non-profit organization run by Jim Petkiewicz and Arturo Ortega Vela, was the host of our trip. Community Links assembled an array of diverse experiences, each individually designed to teach serious issues facing local Mexican communities, and by extension, our own. CLI operates in five countries, and focuses on four main areas of work – environment, community-based education, fair trade, and social justice.

Community Links International co-founder Arturo Ortega Vela entertains students and friends in Oaxaca City

Our lectures and on site visits covered three major aspects of sustainable development - environmental, social, and preservation of environment natural development. Over the 10 days of immersion study, students learned about local sustainable development, indigenous cultures, and Mexican’s love toward Mother Earth.

Patricia de la Palma leads a ceremony acknowledging Mother Earth

We are very touched by on site presenters, especially environmental activist, bamboo architect, anti-human-trafficking activist, and founders of the non-profit Visual Disability School. They believe everyone has the power to change the world, and with hope and love, we can make our communities a better place for our future generations.

Fordham GBA students visiting the Visual Disability School

We also visited two Nastakah families in Cholula, who utilized a simple energy-saving clay stove to cut burning waste and water-conservative technology to renew water for daily use. It was an amazing experience to see what sustainability means for indigenous people - a lifestyle of independence and survival. Our Mexico trip not only gives us lots of humble learning experiences, but also opens our minds to different perspectives of community engagements.

In Oaxaca, the students had a rare opportunity visiting Yeni Navan Michiza Coffee Cooperative headquarters. The co-op, a self-help organization founded in 1985, supports 40 local regions and five indigenous groups. Michiza’s mission is to improve its members’ production in organic agriculture, overall coffee quality and yield, and fair price for coffee producers.

As we learned more about the benefits and shortfalls of fair trade, fair trade may not be so “fair” to coffee growers after all. Fairtrade Labeling Organization International can only ensure Michiza being paid at minimum of $1.25 per pound payment for organic beans, and coffee producers then become the victims of receiving less than 30 cents per pound for their hardship and labors.

Fordham GBA students visiting Nastakah indigenous families

“As people have come to recognize some of the paradoxes and dilemmas affecting (especially small producers or cooperatives), the notion of "direct" trade that cuts out middlemen profit taking has begun to take hold," said Livesey, associate professor of communication and media management. "There is also a movement in some parts of the world to "buy local" in order to support local economies."

Since returning, Fordham GBA students have begun working in smaller groups on projects that can bring the trip home and create a lasting impression on the Fordham community. Students are hard at work developing marketing plans for sustainably grown coffee, Mezcal (an indigenous Oaxacan liquor) along with multimedia presentations and articles. In fact, there is even a group of students, doing an independent student in the summer, will work with Michiza coffee cooperative to better market and sell organic fair trade coffee across multiple US industries.

Fordham GBA student Natalia Saldarriga experiencing different types of raw beans

To learn more about MBA Global Sustainability (GS) Designation, please visit

-- Scott Lasky and Michelle Wu, with photos by Abhilash Pillai

Monday, April 12, 2010

History Professor Brings Post WWII Paris to Life in New Book

Conventional thought says that in the years immediately following the liberation of Paris from the Nazis, the city's public spaces became sterile and dehumanized.

Rosemary Wakeman, Ph.D., professor of history at Fordham College Lincoln Center, says that's not so, and in The Heroic City, Paris, 1945-1958 (University of Chicago Press, 2009) she makes the case that in fact, in the 1940's and 1950's, the streets of Paris overflowed with ritual, drama, and spectacle.

The book, which Dr. Wakeman will be signing copies of at a book signing and reception on Wednesday, April 14, features analysis from a variety of perspectives. From urban planners and architects to filmmakers and intellectuals, Dr. Wakeman brings together residents from all walks of life The result is a portrait of a flamboyant and transformative moment in the life of the City of Light.

The book signing and reception will take place Wednesday from 5:30-7 p.m. at Rizzoli Bookstore, 31 West 57th Street, New York. For more information, call (800) 522-6657.

—Patrick Verel

Friday, April 9, 2010

Award-Winning Writer and Musician to Speak at Fordham

James McBride, the award-winning writer, composer and musician, will discuss his book, The Color of Water (Riverhead/Putnam, 1997), on Thursday, April 15, at Fordham’s Lincoln Center and Rose Hill campuses.

McBride will address students at noon in the Lowenstein Center Atrium on the Lincoln Center campus. He will then give a reading and sign books on the Rose Hill campus at 5 p.m., in the Flom Auditorium, in the lower level of the William D. Walsh Family Library.

The Color of Water was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than two years, and is read in colleges across America. McBride is also the author of The Miracle at St. Anna (Riverhead, 2003), which was made into a major motion picture directed by Spike Lee.

As a composer, McBride won the American Music Theater Festival's Stephen Sondheim Award for his jazz/pop musical Bobos, and has composed songs for Anita Baker, Grover Washington, Jr., and Gary Burton. A jazz saxophonist, he has performed with Rachelle Farrell and with legendary jazz performer Little Jimmy Scott.

For more information, contact Sarah Gambito, assistant professor and the director of the Creative Writing program, at

-Gina Vergel
(photo via

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Study Abroad Art Exhibit Opens April 12

The work of alumni from Fordham's International and Study Abroad program will be on display from Monday, April 12 through Monday, April 19. The exhibit, titled "There and Back," will be on display in the basement lounge of Keating Hall on the Rose Hill campus.

For more details, contact Joseph Rienti, assistant director of the program: or (718) 817-4924.

-Gina Vergel

Historical Video: Harry S Truman at Fordham

In 1946, President Harry S Truman received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Fordham University. The video below is courtesy of British Pathé.


GBA To Hold Sports Media Conference

What does it take to thrive in the business of sports media? Fordham's Graduate School of Business will devote a morning of discussions and lectures to this question on Monday, April 12 at the Lincoln Center campus.

"The Sports Business: Adapting to a Changing Media Environment and a Challenging Economy," will take place from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the McNally Ampitheater, at the Fordham School of Law, 140 West 62nd St.

Lead by John Fortunato, associate professor of communication and media management at Fordham, the conference will feature a keynote conversation with Al Trautwig, an announcer for the MSG network. Media and marketing panels following it will feature representatives from ESPN, SportsNet, CBS Sports and the NHL.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call (212) 636-6146 or e-mail
—Patrick Verel

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fordham Theatre Faculty Take to Stage for Fun & Funds

Members and former members of the Fordham Theater community turned out for a faculty fundraiser on March 29 to help raise money for the annual Fordham Alumni Theatre Company production, held on the Lincoln Center campus each summer.

Theatre faculty acted on stage while former students aped their favorite (or least favorite?) faculty members in a roast that was all in good fun. Displaying a unique talent, Elizabeth Margid, teacher of acting, took on student challengers in several games of ping pong, and emerged (largely) victorious.

Performing from some of their favorite plays are, from top to bottom: Chad McArver, director of design and production, reading from “I Am My Own Wife;” voice teacher Elena McGhee and acting coach Tina Benko, doing a scene from “Top Girls”; Eva Patton, teacher of acting, in an original autobiographical monologue, and; a faculty ensemble featuring George Drance, S.J., artist in residence, Patton, Margid, and Matthew Maguire, chair of the Theatre Program, in a scene from “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.” (Photos by Kate Melvin)