Summer 2016

Picture this: life up close

Veins of neon green trace a path across a stark black background in a photo (below, left) displaying a web of microscopic neurons within the brain of a genetically altered fruit fly.

1-MalaMisra-(1)-resizeClaire Kittock ’17 and Noor Anvery ’17 captured the photo through a microscope while researching the cellular architecture of different animals with Mala Misra, assistant professor of biology. The photo earned them first place in the Cooley Science Library’s first photo contest.

Kristi Mangine, science library coordinator, thought of the idea for the contest because she wanted to decorate the library’s bare walls and was inspired by several student workers who she knew were passionate about photography.

“The student photographers have great perspectives on what’s going on around campus,” Mangine noted. “So I thought a photo contest would be great to highlight how [they] see science at Colgate.”

She and Peter Tagtmeyer, associate science librarian, e-mailed members of the Colgate community asking for photos that represented their vision of “science at Colgate.” After receiving 30 submissions, Mangine asked the community to vote for the six winners, which would be placed on permanent display in the library.

The winning photographs varied widely in subjects, techniques, and fields of study. Geology professor William Peck’s jewel-toned photomicrograph of a moon rock took second place. The rock had been collected by the Apollo 12 mission to Oceanus Procellarum in 1969. Peck receives a set of lunar samples from NASA every spring for use in his Geology 202 class, and this year’s sample, Lunar Basalt 12005 (pictured at top), contained minerals that settled out of the moon’s lava lake approximately 3 billion years ago.

Photo of a cow's faceIn third place was a portrait of an inquisitive dairy cow snapped by Leda Rosenthal ’18. It was taken at the Durfee dairy farm in Chittenango, N.Y., where she worked as an agricultural economic fellow for Colgate’s Upstate Institute last summer.

Mangine noted that the contest had an added benefit: “There’s amazing research going on behind closed doors. This contest lets you see it.”

— Brianna Delaney ’19

Live and learn

Group photo in New York

Miranda Gilgore ’18 (middle row, third from left) went to New York City on a public arts and humanities immersion trip, sponsored by Jim Smith ’70 and Robert Dorf ’80 (both back row).

A marble-tiled museum, a show with gorgeous costumes, an old house that belonged to a wealthy family. That’s what people might think of when they hear the definition of ‘public humanities’: community access to the arts, history, philosophy, and more. I did, before going on the public arts and humanities immersion trip to New York City, sponsored by Jim Smith ’70 and Robert Dorf ’80, during spring break. I traveled with 11 other Colgate students and two professors in order to bridge the gap between our seminar class and the “real world.”

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I learned that museum exhibits are an aggregation of work by historians, artists, engineers, and accountants, among many others. By visiting the Highline, an above-ground park that uses old train tracks as its structure, I saw how repurposing can be done on a large scale and the positive effects that a project like that can have on a city.

The discoveries didn’t stop at the things that were new to me. For example, having been a dancer for 14 years, I knew that music choice was important in the creation of a show, but seeing the Stephen Petronio Company perform and talking to Petronio afterward pushed me to think about the role of music even more critically.

As a German major, I have clear ties with the humanities. Yet, my interests lie largely in creating an environmentally sustainable world (my intended second major is environmental geography). Happily, I learned that there are many kinds of job opportunities in the public humanities — including director of sustainability!

By synthesizing my own observations with the conversations we had as a group, I found that the arts and humanities tell stories in diverse ways.

— Miranda Gilgore ’18

Get thee to a library!

On April 20, honoring Shakespeare’s 400th “deathday,” Case Library displayed the only known image that is presumed to depict his wife, Anne Hathaway. The library’s commemoration also included Shakespeare monologues performed by seniors from the fall Senior Seminar in Theater and a panel discussion with English professors.

It was a fitting party for the playwright who wrote, “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

The drawing of Hathaway is housed in Special Collections and University Archives. In 1708, Sir Nathaniel Curzon copied it onto a blank page in the third of the four editions of folios of Shakespeare’s plays published between 1623 and 1685; Colgate owns one of each of the folios, which are rare.

Pencil drawing of Shakespeare's wife Anne Hathaway

This 1708 pencil drawing of Anne Hathaway is presumed to have been traced from a lost Elizabethan original. (Photo courtesy of Special Collections and University Archives)

With the drawing in the background, seniors performed their monologues in the Batza Room of Case. In two of them, Charlotte Arbogast ’16 reenacted a monologue by Viola from Twelfth Night, and Tanner Holley ’16 kept the audience laughing with his portrayal of notorious trickster Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Then, professors Susan Cerasano and Margaret Maurer presented short papers. Cerasano covered the contents of Shakespeare’s will in “A Bed, a Sword, a Bowl, Several Houses, and Some Mourning Rings,” addressing current scholarship on the human, material, medical, and legal circumstances surrounding Shakespeare’s death. Maurer focused on the Shakespearian materials available in Special Collections, noting the luck that went into their preservation.

“If two members of the company of which he was a member, John Heminges and Henry Condell, hadn’t had the 1623 Folio printed seven years after Shakespeare died, he would be even deader, because copies of some plays exist only because they were included in that book,” Maurer said.

— Lee Tremblay ’16

Farewell to faculty

With the end of the 2015–2016 school year, Colgate said a fond farewell to five professors, granting Mary Ann Calo (art and art history), Faye E. Dudden (history), Joscelyn Godwin (music), Linn B. Underhill (art and art history), and Ann Kebabian (university libraries) emeritus status.

A full-time faculty member for 25 years, Calo focused on modern and American art. Between work at the Picker Art Gallery, chairing the Strategic Planning Committee for the Arts, and directing the Division of Arts and Humanities as well as the Institute for the Creative and Performing Arts, she had a strong impact.

Dudden, who researched and taught about the U.S. women’s rights movement, helped establish women’s history as a field in the 1970s. Dudden served as the history chair and on the Promotion and Tenure Committee, and has published numerous articles and three books.

With 45 years at Colgate, Godwin has wide-ranging music scholarship and teaching specialties, including six core courses. A foremost authority on esotericism in music, Godwin was chair of the music department and of Core 151, as well as director of the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program. He has written 16 books and 88 articles in addition to editing 11 books and translating 11 others.

Underhill’s artistic works on gender, aging, agency, and the body have been exhibited nationally, while her curatorial skills have been employed at Colgate for exhibitions in Clifford Gallery and Picker Art Gallery. A student of Dorothea Lange in the 1950s, Underhill fostered a transformative classroom environment at Colgate.

In her 16 years at Colgate, Kebabian went from maintaining the online catalogue to maximizing its use by the Colgate community. A member of numerous library associations and groups, she has contributed to her profession through her work with consortia like ConnectNY and NY6 as well as advising other campuses.

Balakian’s Ozone Journal awarded Pulitzer Prize

Peter Balakian in the classroom

(Photo by Andrew Daddio)

Over 40 years, poet Peter Balakian has developed an aesthetic that engages social, cultural, and political realities, from genocide to climate change to the AIDS epidemic, while simultaneously probing deeply personal human experiences like love, death, art, and culture.

He talks of poetry as “a transformed and compressed piece of language” and of “being obsessed with phrases and the nuances of linguistic music.” And now, that artist’s obsession has yielded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry — for his latest collection, Ozone Journal (University of Chicago Press, 2015).

Balakian, the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor in humanities, professor of English, and director of creative writing, is the first Colgate faculty member to receive a Pulitzer. The collection’s 55-section title poem takes readers back to 2009, when Balakian worked to exhume the bodies of Armenian genocide victims, buried for generations in the desert of Syria, then “dreams back” to 1980s Manhattan in a time of crisis both personal and political.

“Subtle shifts in tone and feel and scale are what Balakian is a master of — the drifting, split-second mirage, the cinematic dissolve and cross-cut as well as the sculptural, statuesque moment chiseled out of consonant blends and an imagistic, jazzman’s ear for vowels,” Consequence’s Keith Jones wrote of Ozone Journal. “In our dying world’s age, these poems legislate a vital comportment to the demands of our shared present, timely and untimely both.”

In announcing Balakian’s prize, the Pulitzer committee wrote, “In the dynamic, sensual language of these poems, we are reminded that the history of atrocity, trauma, and forgetting is both global and ancient, but we are reminded, too, of the beauty and richness of culture and the resilience of love.”

“I had not been online … and people started e-mailing me, texting me,” Balakian told Nune Hakhverdyan of “I was texting my friends back with question marks, saying, what are you congratulating me for? It was a lovely surprise, out of the blue, and that’s always a nice thing.”

Cover of Peter Balakian's book, Ozone Journal.The Pulitzer is the latest — and highest — praise for Balakian’s extensive writings. The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, a New York Times Notable Book and Best Seller, earned the 2005 Raphael Lemkin Prize. Black Dog of Fate, voted best book of the year by the New York Times, the LA Times, and Publisher’s Weekly, won the PEN/Martha Albrand Prize for the Art of the Memoir. His translation of Grigoris Balakian’s Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide 1915–1918 was a Washington Post book of the year.

Since receiving the Pulitzer, Balakian was awarded a Presidential Medal from the Republic of Armenia. He’s discussed his work on NPR’s Weekend Edition and PBS NewsHour and has been invited to reading and speaking engagements nationwide.

When he formally receives his Pulitzer in New York City in October, the poet will be honored alongside fellow creative arts recipients including Lin Manuel Miranda, creator of the landmark musical Hamilton, composer and musician Henry Threadgill, and novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen.

Back at Colgate, Ozone Journal is on the fall 2016 syllabus for the long-running Living Writers course, for which Balakian will also dialogue with visiting poet Natasha Tretheway.

— Rebecca Downing