Monday, October 29, 2012

Sam DiRocco II, who has been teaching various courses for the Department over the past few years, has just passed an important milestone: he successfully defended his dissertation and will have his doctoral degree conferred in December.  The soon to be Dr. DiRocco graduated from Ashland University in 2003 with a degree in History (and a minor in political science).  He graduates from the University of Toledo and the title of his dissertation is “In the Shadow of Steel: Leetonia, Ohio and Independent Iron Manufacturers in the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys, 1845 – 1920”.  Congratulations!

Present Your Research at Walsh University

On April 27, 2013 Walsh University will host a conference designed for undergraduate students of political science and international relations.  Interested students are invited to present a paper or poster in any subfield of the discipline.  This is a good chance to present a paper, meet other students interested in politics, and to meet some professors from other schools. If you want to be a presenter, you must register by April 5, 2013 and your papers are due by April 18. Travel grants are available for students presenting a paper or poster.  Breakfast and lunch are included and free lodging is available for those who need it.  Ashbrook thesis writers, this might be a good opportunity for you to present part of your thesis research.  Talk to Dr. (David) Foster for more information.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Any Hope for the Humanities in a Technological World?

Yes, lots, according to this article by Michael Malone in the Wall Street Journal (if you don't subscribe to the WSJ, type "How to Avoid a Bonfire of the Humanities" into a search engine and open one of the links: that should give you complementary access to the article). Malone relates a story about  Santosh Jayaram, "the quintessential Silicon Valley high-tech entrepreneur", who visited his writing class. Instead of telling the students to switch majors, which is what Malone feared would happen, Jayaram said that "English majors are exactly the people I'm looking for."  It's apparently easy today to get the technical side of new products (such as iPhone apps) done: "that work can be contracted out to hungry teams of programmers anywhere in the world, who can do it in a couple of weeks."  What is difficult is to tell customers and investors such good stories that they can imagine the product already exists and how they might use it in their daily lives. Says Jayaram, "the battleground in business has shifted from engineering, which everybody can do, to storytelling, for which many fewer people have real talent." That's why he wanted to meet English majors, because they can tell stories.  But here's the good news for students in other majors, like history and political science:
"We assume that this will be a century of technology. But if the competition in tech moves to this new battlefield, the edge will go to those institutions that can effectively employ imagination, metaphor, and most of all, storytelling. And not just creative writing, but every discipline in the humanities, from the classics to rhetoric to philosophy. Twenty-first-century storytelling: multimedia, mass customizable, portable and scalable, drawing upon the myths and archetypes of the ancient world, on ethics, and upon a deep understanding of human nature and even religious faith."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Studying the EU in France

This past summer Victorialyn (International Political Studies, 2014; she's in the middle) was one of nineteen international students who studied the European Union during a four-week program with ESSCA, a private university located in Angers, France. She took classes on European Politics, European Economics, and French Culture and Communication while also visiting related historical and cultural sites such as Normandy Beach and a vineyard. The class also visited the major institutions of the European Union in Brussels, Belgium and finished off our trip in Paris just in time for Bastille Day. "Studying in France and being surrounded by French culture," comments Victorialyn, "was not only a childhood dream fulfilled, but it has inspired me to write my Ashbrook Thesis on the European Union."

Here is the whole class: