LCWA Welcomes Retired U.S. Ambassador James D. Melville Jr.

The School of Languages, Cultures and World Affairs welcomes  James D. Melville Jr., a retired U.S. ambassador, as associate dean for international and community outreach! This is one more highlight moment for LCWA in our work to be the hub for global education at the College.

Ambassador Melville

James D. Melville Jr., a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, was nominated by President Obama as the next U.S. Ambassador to Estonia on May 7, 2015, and confirmed by the Senate on August 5, 2015. He was sworn-in on September 18, 2015. He presented his credentials to President Ilves on December 8, 2015. He recently resigned (Sept. 30, 2018) his position in Estonia and retired from the foreign service after 33 years of distinguished accomplishments.

Ambassador Melville’s most recent position with the State Department, prior to Estonia, was as the Deputy Chief of Mission in the U.S. Embassy Berlin, Germany. From 2010 to 2012, he served as Executive Director of the Bureaus of European and Eurasian Affairs and International Organization Affairs. As Executive Director of EUR and IO, Ambassador Melville directed support for all of EUR and IO’s 79 overseas posts, as well as the domestic requirements for both bureaus.

Prior to that assignment, he served as Minister-Counselor for Management Affairs at Embassy London from 2008 to 2010 and at Embassy Moscow from 2005 to 2008. In Moscow, London and particularly in Berlin, Ambassador Melville frequently served as Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Ambassador Melville’s first Foreign Service assignment was in the U.S. Embassy to the German Democratic Republic from 1986-1988. He has also served in Seychelles, St. Petersburg, at the U.S. Mission to NATO, and in Paris. In Washington, he has worked in Legislative Affairs, as a Senior Watch Officer in the Operations Center, and at the Foreign Service Board of Examiners.

Mr. Melville speaks Russian, German, and French. He graduated from Boston University with an honors degree in history, has a J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law, and is a member of the bars of New Jersey and New York. He is originally from Bradley Beach, New Jersey.

 

Ron Menchaca with The College Today posted an outstanding article about Ambassador Melville and his new responsibilities here in LCWA. Check out the full article HERE.

In Banned Books class at College of Charleston, Salman Rushdie meets Captain Underpants

The Post and Courier article “In Banned Books class at College of Charleston, Salman Rushdie meets Captain Underpants” was posted on September 26th. It discusses the importance of CofC’s course on banned books in the United States taught by Professor Marjory Wentworth.

Check out the full article here! 

Adeyemi Oduwole’s internship at the Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology, at the University of Pennsylvania

In 2013, the remains for 36 likely African and African-descendant individuals were found during renovations at the Gaillard Center.  These burials date to the 1760s-1800.  Dr. Ade Ofunniyin (African American Studies) and Joanna Gilmore (Sociology and Anthropology), adjuncts at the College of Charleston and Gullah Society staff, are now working with Prof. Theodore Schurr and Raquel Fleskes, molecular anthropologists at the University of Pennsylvania, to explore the ancestry of the Anson Street individuals, prior to their reburial and the construction of a monument.

The Gullah Society is supported by the City of Charleston in this project and, with our colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania, has applied for a grant from the National Geographic Society, to conduct ancient DNA research to learn more about the individuals buried at Anson Street and to take DNA samples from 36 living individuals to try to find any ancestral ties between those buried at the site and those living in Charleston today. The Gullah Society is currently researching 18th century property owners for the land at George and Anson Street to try to identify and offer DNA tests to living descendants of the deceased.

This summer, a student from the College of Charleston, Adeyemi Oduwole, will complete a four-week internship with Dr. Theodore Schurr & Raquel Fleskes at the Laboratory of Molecular Anthropology, at the University of Pennsylvania.  Adeyemi is a junior, majoring in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry – Pre-medicine.  During his time in Pennsylvania, Adeyemi will learn how to characterize the mitochondrial DNA diversity of 36 contemporary individuals from Charleston.

Olivetti Posy – Critical Language Scholarship recipient

Miss Olivetti Posy was awarded the Critical Language Scholarship Program, 2018. Miss Olivetti is a intelligent and hard working students. She has been taking Chinese language courses for four semesters. She majors in mathematics with a concentration in actuarial studies. She would like to apply her language skill in work with the numbers used to calculate currency exchanges, money transfers between businesses in China and the United States, or analyze the data of the Chinese and United States economies. Posy will enroll in a program in Shanghai this summer.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains.

 

Lecturer Dr. Daniel Hsieh

On Monday, March 12th the Asian Studies program hosted Dr. Daniel Hsieh. He is Chair of the East Asian Language Department and Associate Professor of Chinese at the School of Languages and Cultures at Purdue University. He presented the lecture “Love and Women in Chinese Records of the Strange.”

More than fifty students and faculty attended the event, which was more than was expected. It was a successful and wonderful event!

New African American Studies Course: The Life and Writings of James Baldwin

The African American Studies Program will be offering a new course in the Fall 2018 semester, “The Life and Writings of James Baldwin.” This is a pilot course for a variable topics seminar, “The Africana Intellectual Tradition,” which will be added to the curriculum in the next couple years.

AAST 300: “The Life and Writings of James Baldwin”
The literary and cultural icon James Baldwin was a prophetic and radical voice for racial justice at the height of the Civil Rights Movement and in its aftermath. This seminar examines Baldwin primarily as a writer through his essays, novels, and plays, but also analyzes his role as a ‘witness’ to the Black freedom struggle in the US and abroad. Major themes in the course include race and sexuality, diasporic connections, history and memory, impiety (religious and otherwise), and the role of the artist in public life. Reading assignments from his body of work will be paired with critical texts and films by his contemporaries and scholars from Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, and Ralph Ellison to David Leeming, Raoul Peck, and Douglas Field. Discussions and essay assignments will provide students with an opportunity to closely analyze Baldwin’s work while offering a lens to understand and confront issues of power and justice in our times.

Please contact the professor for this course, Mari N. Crabtree, with any questions at crabtreemn@cofc.edu.

Statement Condemning White Supremacist Violence in Charlottesville – African American Studies Faculty

White supremacist mob in Charlottesville, VA (2017)

 

Lynch mob in Marion, IN (1930)

The white supremacist and white nationalist violence that erupted in Charlottesville last weekend made visible, with terrifying clarity, a truth at the heart of US history: white power, when confronted with threats, real or imagined, reacts with violence and death. As scholars who study the history and culture of African Americans, we recognize that black life is far richer and far more beautiful than a litany of abuses. We choose to frame black life beyond the reach of what Toni Morrison called “the white gaze,” but the fury of a white mob in 2017, wielding torches, brandishing pipes and assault rifles, spewing hate-filled rhetoric, and ramming a car into a peaceful anti-racist march threatens to impinge upon life beyond the white gaze. With images of that furious mob flooding our televisions and news feeds, we could not help but see in those faces a hatred tinged with arrogance reminiscent of the smiling white faces gazing out of lynching photographs from the Jim Crow era. This family resemblance reminds us that what happened in Charlottesville is as American as that small college town’s favorite son, Thomas Jefferson, which is to say, what happened in Charlottesville is as American as enslavement and lynching and convict leasing and debt peonage and mass incarceration.

The African American Studies Program condemns the white supremacist, neo-Confederate, and neo-Nazi ideologies harbored by the mob in Charlottesville as well as the violence these ideologies breed. We mourn the dead, and we wish healing to those anti-racist protesters who have suffered injuries of all stripes. We also recognize that what happened in Charlottesville was not exceptional or unique, after all, we remember all too well the massacre that happened just blocks from our offices two summers ago. Our students have already begun to return to campus in advance of the fall semester, and as much as recent events have shaken and disgusted us, we are deeply concerned for our students who are grappling with these acts of violence and their political aftershocks. In moments like these, the value of African American Studies as a discipline cannot be overstated. We, as educators, remain steadfast in our responsibility to provide the analytical tools, conceptual frameworks, and historical contexts to make our contemporary moment legible, if not comprehensible. We also remain committed to supporting our students, most especially those students of color for whom the violence in Charlottesville is no mere abstraction but a threat to their very existence. This violence may be a harbinger of even more terrifying things to come, but the tradition of radical protest that undergirds so much of African American history and culture keeps us pushing back and pressing forward.