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Archives For December 2012

LIVE web chat

By Christine Ragusa
Posted on 13 December 2012 | 3:50 pm

We hosted our first LIVE web chat yesterday morning with Dr. Chris Day in the Department of Political Science.  The chat immediately followed his CKC web talk “Fates of rebels: Insurgent survival and demise in Africa”.


If you are interested in participating in a web chat about your research interests, please contact Christine Ragusa.  We can also host a chat with guest speakers and lecturers your department brings to campus.

Hot off the press!  Well, sort of.

Although it was originally written in 1711 by the late André João Antonil, Brazil at the Dawn of the Eighteenth Century has recently been translated from Portuguese to English (for the first time) by Department of History Professor Timothy Coates.

The book includes detailed social and economic information of the Brazilian colony.  “It is the single most important work published on the economy of colonial Brazil,” says Dr. Coates.  Sections in the book include information about the sugar, tobacco, and gold industries, as well as the social world of those who were involved.

Dr. Coates explains some of the challenges he faced in the translation processes:

“Chapter 5 of book 2 of sugar was the most difficult section to translate.  I started with it, worked on it off and on for two years, and it was the last section to get done.  It deals with the detailed descriptions of milling sugar.”

So what does the history professor want readers to take away after they have finished reading the book? “[I hope that readers gain] an appreciation of the economic activities in colonial Brazil and the technology involved in sugar making and gold mining.”


Do you have any recent or forthcoming publications you would like HSS to spotlight?  Don’t be shy, contact Christine Ragusa so we can brag for you!

After the success of Professor Patrick Harwood’s first book, “The Birds of
Magnolia Cemetery: Charleston’s Secret Bird Sanctuary”, he decided to write a second book about the cemetery.  This time, however, it will be about individuals buried beneath those historic headstones.

“My new book about Magnolia Cemetery will be about the many interesting people buried there and the graveyard’s many grand monuments and memorials. The cemetery was built in the mid-1800s as part of a new movement in our nation to have cemeteries outside the cities and in more rural areas. They were designed as beautiful parks and people were encouraged to visit them to play and picnic.

Magnolia Cemetery also has a distinct Victorian influence in terms of the symbol-filled, romanticized style of many of the more elaborate monuments, statues and mausoleums.  They are indeed an art form in themselves!”

In addition to the research (including photographs) about the graveyard’s
unique funerary style, his book will also include a section on Civil War Confederates and a large number of infants and children buried at the cemetery.

“Health and medicine in the 1800s weren’t what they are today.  There are many touching tributes through words and sculptures to children lost to illness and disease.”

You can catch Prof. Harwood at Magnolia Cemetery on Sat. Dec. 15th for a book signing from 10am-1pm.  Details about this event, the book, and his other nature photography can be found on his blog, BirdsEyeViews.

Have you ever heard of aesthetic disobedience?  If not, you are not alone.  This new concept is in its beginning stages of being explored.  Just recently, a conference (founded by the IFK) in Vienna, Austria was co-organized by Department of Philosophy’s Dr. Jonanthan Neufeld in order to talk about and better understand aesthetic disobedience.  Because of the success of the conference, it has been covered in Austrian press (be sure to translate from German to English!) and articles, which will be out in January, by Der Standard and Ö1 radio.

Part of the success of the conference can be attributed to our own CofC faculty and students who participate in a discussion group called the Aesthetics Work Group.  Dr. Neufeld explains:

“The most interesting thing, it seems to me, is that the groundwork for my participation was laid by discussions I had with the Aesthetics Work Group here at the College of Charleston—an interdisciplinary group of faculty and students who meet several times a term to discuss pieces that we are working on. Last spring, thanks to a Dean’s Discretionary Fund grant, we were able to study and discuss a new book by Nato Thompson on participation, political protest, and art called Living as FormIn an extremely productive roundtable discussion that I led at the conference in Vienna, I raised particularly interesting examples that we had discussed here at CofC. That professional discussion was enriched because of the work students and faculty did together here.

So what IS aesthetic disobedience?  Although it is a fairly new term and concept,Dr. Neufeld was able to come up with a definition, or set of characteristics, of an act of aesthetic disobedience for our better understanding.  He explains:

“This account is a parallel to acts of Civil Disobedience, which
“aesthetic disobedience” is meant to echo. An act of Aesthetic Disobedience is one that violates a norm, or a set of norms, of political or art world practice; where the aesthetic disobedients accept the normative consequences of their actions; where the acts are performed publicly and where the aesthetic structure of the act is an integral part of its public function; where the acts draw attention to a conflict between normative commitments and their institutionalization; and where they promote a change within the institutionalization of our normative commitments. This is just a rough first brush at some characteristics of aesthetic disobedience. It’s loose enough that artists can engage in AD, as can performers, audiences, curators, etc.”


Want to be featured on the HSS blog?

By Christine Ragusa
Posted on 3 December 2012 | 11:12 am

Calling all HSS faculty, staff and students!  Want to be featured on the blog?  If so, here is how:

1.  Let’s get social!  Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

2. Send an email to Christine Ragusa with your Twitter handle and Facebook name and give a little explanation about what you would like us to blog about if you were featured.

It’s that simple, so what are you waiting for?!

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