Highlighting one of the many ways our campus community has banded together in a spirit of support and healing as we all regroup after the devastation that Superstorm Sandy has wrought, CSI Associate Professor of History Susan Smith-Peter—also an avid photographer—is using proceeds from her photography exhibit on display at the Dessert Plate in Somerville, NJ to help benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Prof. Smith-Peter took the photos during a recent trip to Scotland and Northern England. The trip was part of a research excursion following the traces of Russian students taught by Adam Smith—the father of modern economics—in the University of Glasgow archives. In terms of research, the trip was a major success, “it was so interesting to see the traces of people you read about and see them as real people—seeing the human touch,” said Smith-Peter of her time scouring the archives. Although, she admits, she had more personal reasons to travel to Scotland.
“I always wanted to go to Scotland as a kid.”
Luckily for us, her wish came true as she was not only able to gather the research she needed but also come away with photographs that display the beautiful scenery in Scotland and the North of England. “There is such beauty in England,” she said of her trip through the Durham countryside.
“I was inspired by my students,” said Prof. Smith-Peter on the decision to use the proceeds from her photo exhibit to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims. “Many students have volunteered to help the community even as they themselves have suffered sometimes devastating loss. The sale of the photographs will help raise money for the College of Staten Island Foundation Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, which will assist students, faculty, and staff who were affected by the hurricane.
“Having heard so many stories of people’s houses torn from their foundations and swept across the street, boats on the tops of houses, and general destruction, I feel that it is somehow appropriate to use these tranquil scenes in my photographs as a step toward healing,” Smith-Peter noted.
The photos will be on display at The Dessert Plate, 34 East Main St., Somerville, NJ until January 1.
Prof. Smith-Peter joined the CSI faculty in 2001 and teaches classes on Russian history, European intellectual and political history, and world civilization, among others. She has served as the History Department representative to the Faculty Senate and on various campus-wide committees. She is Chair of the Columbia University Seminar on Slavic History and Culture and has received a Fulbright for study in Russia, as well as grants and awards from the American Historical Association, IREX, Fulbright-Hays, the University of Illinois, and CUNY.