Humanities & Arts Magazine, Volume 2014, Issue 2

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Magazine for the Division of Humanities & the Arts at The City College of New York, Volume 2014, Issue 2

Text of Humanities & Arts Magazine, Volume 2014, Issue 2

  • 1The City College of New YorkH&A Magazine

    IN THIS ISSUELetter from the Dean...........................................1Herman Lew Memorial Scholarship Fund.......3New Faculty Hires...............................................4Alumni Profiles....................................................8Notes from the LAMDA Summer Program.....12Stanford Summer Experiences.........................13Faculty Achievements........................................18Humanities Enrichment Grants.......................21

    2014 Divisional Graduation Ceremony at Marshak Plaza Island Photography

    Dear Friends and Colleagues,

    Its an exciting time at CCNY. The College is finalizing a strategic plan that sets out our goals and aspirations for the next eight years, taking us to Citys 175th anniversary in 2022. Faculty, students, and staff have been discussing drafts of the plan. When it is published, everyone will see that we re-dedicate ourselves to CCNYs historic mission of access and excellence and define new areas of growth for all the schools and divisions, including the Humanities and Arts.

    Almost any day, one reads or hears laments for the state of the Humanities at Americas colleges and universities. Faculty positions have been cut, funding is down, students have fled to more remunerative fields, disciplines and departments are mired in confusion and self-doubt. Just the other day I listened to a lecture by the eminent Sanskrit scholar at Columbia University, Professor Sheldon Pollack, and that was the picture he painted. Nationwide and globally, there is much truth to his portrait. But it doesnt hold for City College. We still teach

    introductory Philosophy to around 800 students every semester, 600 in Art History. Our Art studios are jammed full, not only with our majors but also with students from across the street, as we say, that is, from Engineering, Science, and Architecture. The number of Theatre majors has tripled in the last decade. English has over 500 majors annually. History every year sends students to top flight Ph.D. programs. Our film students win student Oscars and have their work shown at international festivals, including Cannes, the first and most famed of

    Letter from the Dean

    H&A MagazineDivision of Humanities & the Arts, Volume 2014, Issue 2

    The City Collegeof New York

  • The City College of New YorkH&A Magazine

    all. I could go on with many other examples. We have our challenges, to be sure, but Crisis in the Humanities is not to be found at City College.

    As youll read in the next few pages, weve hired 17 new full time Humanities and Arts faculty in the last two years. Hiring is the lifeblood of academic departments. It brings in new talent, and it energizes the faculty already here. The rigorous search process that we undertake for every full time hire depending on the field, the number of applications ranges from 50 to 500, and our faculty committees read through all of them acquaints our faculty with the current state of knowledge in the field, the new methods, the new ways of thinking, that our applicants bring with them. Youll read portraits of the 11 new faculty who began this semester, a truly stellar group across a wide range of disciplines.

    Last summer we sent our second cohort of top Humanities students to Stanford University for a summer research program. The experience was transformative for them, as youll read in the following pages. Ten years from now, well be able to say that City College, along with providing great

    opportunities for individual students, more than ever has contributed to diversifying the professoriate in the United States.

    Thanks to Patricia Hill, one of our generous alumni, and the City College Fund, we were able again to send three students to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts for an intensive summer course in Shakespearean and Jacobean drama. They, too, had transformative experiences, as youll read. We publish an interview with Patricia in our Alumni Profile section, and also with Keith Mayes, who graduated in History and Black Studies in 1995 and is now Associate Professor (and Department Chair) of African American and African Studies at the University of Minnesota. Keith grew up within walking distance of the City College campus, and Im sure youll enjoy the interview with him as much as we did.

    Finally, youll read about the accomplishments of our excellent faculty. Thanks to the generosity of the Rifkind family and the Winston Foundation, the Division of Humanities and Arts has been able to provide more support for faculty

    research and creative activity. Youll find descriptions of their interesting projects in the pages that follow, from the history of photography to the development of Chinese physics to a dramatic film about an inventor, played by the renowned Christopher Plummer, confronting profound changes in his life. And you can look through the highlights we could not include everything! of faculty publications, exhibits, and awards.

    So please join me in celebrating the Humanities and Arts at City College and the many accomplishments of our faculty, students, and staff!


    Eric D. Weitz, DeanDistinguished Professor of History

    Letter from the Dean

    H&A MagazineVolume 2014, Issue 2November 2014

    Eric D. Weitz, DeanMelissa K.R. Hozik, Editor-in-ChiefIna Saltz, Design Consultant

    Copy EditorsAdrian EnriquezHasmic MkrtchyanCarly Rubin

    Office of the DeanNorth Academic Center, 5/225160 Convent AvenueNew York, NY 10031p. 212.650.8166e.





  • 3The City College of New YorkH&A MagazineHerman Lew Memorial Scholarship Fund

    As you know, Herman Lew, our much beloved colleague in the Film/Video Program at CCNY, passed away unexpectedly on September 20th at age 59. Herman will be remembered for many things: his humor, his warmth and kindness, his intelligence, his artistic talent, his uncanny ability to remain calm in the storm, to name just a few of his special qualities. Among all of Hermans positive attributes we will remember, there is one that was so pervasive, so indisputable, so widely admired and respected, even by people who only knew him slightlynamely, his deep and tireless dedication to his students.

    That is why we want to honor him by creating the Herman Lew Memorial Scholarship, which will provide support to outstanding undergraduate film students at City College.

    Herman Lew joined the Film/Video Program at City College in 1996, and the following year assumed the directorship of the undergraduate film program, a position he held until his death. The door of his office on the fourth floor of Shepard Hall was always open, and if you peeked your head in you would invariably see two or three students in conference with him screening projects, reviewing

    storyboards or pitching ideas. Year after year, under his guidance, students were recognized at the highest levels of the fieldat The Cannes Film Festival, in The Eastman Kodak Cinematography Competition and by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, to name a few.

    During Hermans 18 years at CCNY, thousands of students benefited from his wisdom, patience and guidance. Throughout those many years, in his free time, he also directed the workshop program at Third World Newsreel, where he further devoted himself to mentoring the next generation of filmmakers. With the Herman Lew Memorial Scholarship Fund we aim to continue, in a modest way, the enormous support he gave to countless film students and emerging filmmakers over the years.

    We ask you to honor Hermans legacy by contributing to the City College Fund scholarship we are creating in his name. In order to launch this scholarship, we need to raise a minimum of $25,000, and any amount you can give will move us closer to that goal. You can donate by making a check out to The City College Fund, Shepard Hall Rm 166, New York, NY 10031. You can also make a gift online via PayPal or find the link via the divisional website. Please check off that your gift is for The Herman Lew Memorial Scholarship on the website and include it in the memo section of your check. Your contributions are tax-deductible.


    Dave Davidson & Andrea WeissOn behalf of the Media and Communications Arts Department City College of New York

  • The City College of New YorkH&A Magazine

    JOSHUA COHENAssistant ProfessorDepartment of Art

    Joshua Cohen studied English at Vassar College before conducting Fulbright research in Guinea, West Africa, and undertaking graduate studies in the Department of Art History at Columbia University. Cohens dissertation, Masks and the Modern: African/European Encounters in 20th-Century Art, tracks appropriations of African sculpture by European and African modern artists between 1905 and 1980. Some of Cohens interests include African sculpture, global modernisms, and postcolonial studies.

    ELISE CRULLAssistant ProfessorDepartment of Philosophy

    ELAZAR ELHANANAssistant ProfessorDepartment of Foreign Languages & Literatures/Jewish Studies

    Elise Crull received a B.Sc. in Physics from Calvin College, and went on to receive an M.A. in Philosophy and a Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Notre Dame. Some of her research interests include the meta-issues such as the ethics of emergent science and technology, the perception of science and technology in the public sphere, history and philosophy of science in education, and the nature of the science-theology-philosophy triad.

    Elazar Elhanan received his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Middle East Studies from Columbia University.