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Before We Look Ahead: CSI Celebrates a Year of Symposia

September 04, 2013

The Dean’s Symposium, a series of panels sponsored by the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences along with the Department of the Library, features discussions of and by CSI’s faculty on important new scholarship, national and international issues, and new curricular development.

Before we look ahead to this year’s symposia, let us look back at the past year’s successful series.

The October Symposium, “Election 2012: Staten Island and the Nation,” took CSI political scientists Professor Richard Flanagan and the late Professor Daniel Kramer’s book Staten Island: Conservative Bastion in a Liberal City as its point of departure for a discussion of the pending election. The lively panel of Councilman James Oddo; Tom Wrobleski, Political Editor of the Staten Island Advance; Jeffrey Kroessler, John Jay historian; and Flanagan addressed local and national issues and the likely impacts of the election results.

The November symposium brought together members of the English and Performing and Creative Arts departments for a discussion of the campus production of Romeo and Juliet. Professor George Sanchez interviewed the production’s director Lee Papa  and set designer Kevin Judge.

The final Fall Symposium, “Asian Media and Popular Culture: Chinese State Television and Rock ‘n’ Roll,” explored the development of state media and popular culture in China. It was hosted by Ying Zhu, of the Department of Media Culture and author of Two Billion Eyes, a critical analysis of state-run television in China, and Jonathan Campbell, a Toronto-based music critic and author.

Business professor Alan Zimmerman and Media Culture professor Michael Mandiberg opened  the Spring series with “Mix/Remix: Protecting Intellectual Property and Giving Things Away Is Hard Work.” During the two-part presentation, each professor discussed counterfeiting, intellectual property, and creative commons licenses. The experts shared their perspectives on piracy and copying in the United States and across the globe.

In April, The Dean’s Symposium, “The Science, Letters, and Society (SLS) Major: From 1971 to the Present,” highlighted  the accomplishments and history of this major, one of the first liberal arts majors of its kind in the country. Panelists Joel Berger, Professor Emeritus of Education; Jane Coffee, Professor of  Mathematics and Director of the Teacher Education Honors Academy; Erika Desiano ’05, SLS Major and fourth-grade teacher at PS 50; Deborah DeSimone, Education professor; Francisco Soto; Professor of World Languages and Literatures and Director of the SLS Program; and Sandi Cooper, Professor of History and one of the founders of the program, shared SLS’s contributions to learning over the last 40 years.

The final Dean’s Symposium in May, “Happy First Birthday, CLACLS!,” celebrated the first year of the Certificate in Latin America, Caribbean, and Latina/o Studies at CSI. The panel, consisting of Jillian Baez, Media Culture; Leigh Binford, Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work; Rafael de la Dehesa, World Languages and Literatures; Sarah Pollack, World Languages and Literatures and panel moderator; and Oswaldo Zavala, World Languages and Literatures, discussed faculty research aimed at increasing our understanding of political, cultural, and social changes in the Caribbean and Latin America.

Alhough the specific dates have not yet been set, CSI’s Division of Humanities and Social Sciences and Library Department are preparing the 2013-2014 symposia, beginning with “People on the Move: Crossing and Recrossing Borders,” a discussion of immigration here and abroad. Subsequent symposia  may feature research on infant learning, ethics, food, and musical performances.

The Dean’s Symposium believes in the quote from Voltaire: “By appreciation, we make excellence in others our own property.”

By Carlo Alaimo


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