Mark Your Calendar for the 2nd German-American Business Summit

LCWA is excited to announce the confirmation of the 2nd German-American Business Summit on February 8, 2018!

The College of Charleston German-American Business Summit targets German companies in South Carolina and the Southeastern US that are seeking to establish stronger ties to undergraduate education in the region and focuses on workforce needs for German industry in the state.

Details on the event can be found here.

The 1st German-American Business Summit was a booming success! It was held on February 2, 2017 and was attended by 186 students and 100 guests from industries and the community! Detail on that even can be found here. Photos from the event can be found here.

World Cultures Fair 2017

Despite the gray skies the 9th Annual World Cultures Fair was held on March 30, 2017. While the rain did come down and the event was cut short there was a great turn out! The fair’s aim is to bring various cultures and traditions from around the world to the Charleston community. The event showcased international cultures with over 30 tables displaying crafts, foods and information about student clubs and international programs at the College. Attendees were entertained by student, faculty, and community musicians and performers.





Give To What You Love

Midnight on February 28, 2017 ended the Give To What You Love campaign. This was the first year that LCWA participated in this campaign. LCWA’s goal was to reach a total of 40 donors by the end of the campaign and not only did LCWA reach 40 they surpassed it!

LCWA had a total of 43 donors give to various funds and programs throughout the month of February. During this initiative faculty, staff, students, and alumni were encouraged to give to the fund that was meaningful to them. By investing in the College of Charleston, they were helping support the students and programs that made an impact on their lives.

LCWA would like thank everyone who gave during the Give To What You Love campaign and congratulate you for helping LCWA reach their 40 donors goal!

Drs. Avendaño and Colomina Present Research in Cuba

Professors Nadia Avendaño and Lola Colomina participated in the 24th Conference of the International Association of Hispanic Feminine Literature and Culture at the National Hotel of Cuba in Havana on November 10-14, 2014.  Dr. Avendaño’s presentation was entitled “Negociando identidades: una experiencia femenina, judía y mexicana,” and Dr. Colomina’s was “El cuerpo como locus performativo y enunciativo de lo marginal en Impuesto a la carne de Diamela Eltit.”

After 15 Years, Cuba Study Abroad Program is as Vital as Ever

After 15 Years, Cuba Study Abroad Program is as Vital as Ever

When the College of Charleston launched its study abroad program in Havana, Cuba in summer 2000, travel and relations between the U.S. and Cuba were already difficult. Maintaining the program, which sends about 12 students to Havana each spring, has been challenging and often unpredictable, but it has always been rewarding.

cuba study abroad

Students studying abroad in Havana. Photo by Britton Holmes.

“My time in Cuba impacted me in more ways than I can count,” said Britton Holmes, a junior international studies and political science double major who studied abroad in Havana during the spring 2014 semester. “The culture is so rich, whether it’s the music, the art, the dance, etc. The people love being Cuban. They’re proud of their culture and they want to share it with everyone.”

 RELATED:Learn more about the College’s study abroad program in Cuba

The program that Holmes speaks of, though, is vastly different than the program the first 100 students to study in Havana experienced. In 2000, when International Studies Department Chair Douglas Friedman and Professor Emeritus of Hispanic Studies Jose Escobar launched the program with 20 students, participants spent four weeks and lived in what was essentially a hotel. When the embargo in Cuba was tightened in 2004, it required that those visiting with an education license must spend a minimum of 10 weeks. That was when the program went from a summer study-abroad experience to a full semester.

Photo taken in Cuba by Douglas Friedman

Photo taken in Cuba by Douglas Friedman

These restrictions caused many universities to end their own programs in Cuba, but the College’s commitment to sharing the educational and cultural opportunities in Cuba kept the program alive. “In 2004 there were more than 100 universities with programs in Cuba,” Friedman said. “In 2005 there were three.”

RELATED: Check out the department of international studies

2007 marked the first spring semester in Havana – after attempting a hurricane-filled fall semester in 2005 – and the program has remained in the spring since. Students now live in apartments on the outskirts of Havana, allowing them easy access to the city without the round-the-clock distractions of Havana in such close proximity. It also makes students clean up and cook for themselves, providing them a more immersive experience.

“We’ve progressively tried to make the experience more genuine,” Friedman said. “Now we’re able to rent apartments for short-term use, and students have full kitchens – they’re actually living there. They have to deal with the same food shortages that Cubans deal with, they have to learn the different currencies, and they have to learn to navigate Havana. It’s a much more immersive experience.”

Holmes, who lived in the apartments, is a testament to this. “There is not a better place I could think of to get a full experience of pure Latin American culture,” she said. “I feel like a gained a Cuban family as well as a College of Charleston family.”

Holmes’ account of her time in Havana reflects the many unique opportunities provided through the program – not only is the Cuba program very small, allowing for students to form a tight-knit community, but also living in an embargoed country for 11 weeks is something that few Americans can experience.

cuba study abroad

Photo taken in Cuba by Britton Holmes

This is unlike any of the other programs we have,” Associate Provost for International Education Andrew Sobiesuo said. “In terms of the experience, the facilities and the adjustment that students have to make. They really learn to appreciate the advantages they have as Americans when they see what Cubans go through on a daily basis. It makes their experience much richer.”

Becoming immersed in the Cuban lifestyle can be jarring for some students. Holmes described ideal participants as “adventurous people who like to experience new cultures.” She went on to say that people interested in political science and/or Latin American history, culture and society as well as those interested in vintage cars, architecture, dancing and nightlife would also enjoy the program.

The next round of students considering studying abroad in Havana have a few months to apply – the deadline is December 1, 2014 – and in the meantime Friedman and Sobiesuo are working to get the program director in Cuba, Humberto Miranda, to Charleston in November for a 15th anniversary celebration and to teach his usual express II courses, Social Movements in Comparative Perspective and Cuban Politics and Society.

During his annual visits to Charleston, Miranda helps recruit students for the program both by providing information on the fascinating classes taught by his fellow University of Havana and Instituto de Filosofia faculty members and telling students about the unique and storied culture that awaits them in Cuba.

For Holmes, the description of daily life and friendly locals in Cuba was the selling point. “Their culture is super inclusive… I feel really lucky to have been able to experience it.”

Field and Lab technician position open with Brockington and Associates in their Mt. Pleasant, SC office

(applications due June 18, 2014)

Brockington and Associates is seeking an experienced archaeological field and lab technician based in our Mt Pleasant, SC office. The position requires an individual with a bachelor’s degree in archaeology, anthropology, or a related field, and a minimum of field school or the equivalent field experience.
This job will require the successful applicant to perform both field and laboratory duties as needed.
Work schedule will include 40 hour weeks. No overtime is expected on these assignments. We will provide vehicles for daily travel between the project area and the office. Single- occupancy hotel rooms and meal allowance are provided when traveling is required. Brockington offers benefits including, health and dental insurance, 401K and paid vacation

About the Job:

Field responsibilities include the ability to conduct shovel testing and/or other unit excavations, artifact identification, note-taking, recording soil and other observations, field photography, use of handheld Global Positioning Systems devices, and general tasks under the direction of the Project Manager. Travel, physical labor, and time spent in outdoor conditions are a requirement of this job.
Lab responsibilities include complete processing of archaeological specimens (washing, labeling, cataloging, etc.) The successful applicant conducts all aspects of the management of archaeological collections including inventorying and preparation for long-term curation: primary sorting and preliminary analysis of archaeological artifacts, maintaining and verifying specimen logs and other documentation on archaeological projects, data entry, updating and verification of the archaeological database. Other responsibilities include assisting with and becoming familiar with more detailed artifact analysis, monitoring and upkeep the ongoing electrolysis conservation projects, artifact photography using digital imaging system, preparing related archival materials for long-term curation, and performing other related duties as assigned.

Full/Part-time: Full-time

Driving required: Yes

Application due date: Applications must be received no later than 5:00 pm on June 18 or they will not be processed or considered.


Director Proud of Avery’s Role in Celebrating Black Life

Director Proud of Avery’s Role in Celebrating Black Life

30 May 2014 | 10:29 am By:

Patricia Williams Lessane has served as executive director of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston since August 2010.

Patricia Williams Lessane

Before joining the College, Lessane was a faculty member at Roosevelt University and a consultant for The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. She holds a bachelor’s in English from Fisk University, a master’s in liberal studies from Dartmouth College and a Ph.D in Anthropology from University of Illinois at Chicago.

Q: As a cultural anthropologist, one of your research focuses is on Black life in popular culture. Can you talk about this topic in the context of what you have accomplished at Avery?

A: I think our public programs — specifically the conferences, film screenings, and public lectures — best reflect my interest in Black life in popular culture and the intersection of race, class, and gender in Black life. We’ve been able to bring some of the best minds to the College, including Drs. Harry and Michelle Elam (Stanford University), Dr. Joyce Ann Joyce (Temple University), Dr. Cathy Cohen (University of Chicago), filmmaker Julie Dash, and Dr. Johnetta Cole (Director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art) to name a few.

Q: What are some of your current projects?

A: I teach every semester. It gives me the opportunity to connect with our students, and I enjoy talking to them and discussing the topics I am passionate about. I teach courses in African American Studies and Anthropology, including African American Society and Culture, Black Bodies in Television and Film, and The Peoples and Cultures of Africa. Next spring (2015), I will teach a First Year Seminar course on the Great Migration.

Patricia Williams Lessane with U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn.

I am co-editing with Dr. Conseula Francis, an anthology of essays on the work of filmmaker Julie Dash, and co-editing with Dr. Violet Johnson (University of Texas College Station) and Dr. Gundolf Graml (Agnes Scott College) a volume of essays, Deferred Dreams, Defiant Struggles: Critical Perspectives on Blackness, Belonging and Civil Rights (part of the FORECAAST Series by the Collegium of African American Research).

I am working on an essay about the 50th anniversary of Nothing But a Man, a film by Michael Roemer and Michael Young. And, I am so excited about our recent NEA award to develop a documentary about the remarkable life and work of Vertamae Smart-Grovesnor. So I will be making a film with Julie Dash!

I am equally thrilled that our 2014 symposium, “The Marrow of Tradition: The Black Film in the American Cinematic Tradition,” will screen and highlight the work of African American filmmakers and generate critical dialogue about the Black film tradition and the salient ways issues of race, class, gender, oppression, resistance, and liberation struggles have historically inculcated in the work of radical pioneers of race film and many that followed.

We take our name from Charles Chestnutt’s remarkable novel of the same title. A fearless commentator on racial violence and injustice, Chestnutt’s novel chronicles the events, which lead up to a fictional race riot in Wellington, North Carolina.

RELATED: Read a 2011 profile of Lessane in The Post and Courier.

Q: What object, story, or person associated with Avery has had a strong impact on you and why?

A: I have spent a good deal of time on the papers of Dr. Millicent E. Brown, so I’ve gotten to know a great deal about her life and work in civil rights and as a Black pedagogue. While I haven’t done any research on the Septima P. Clark collection, I am just so proud to be able to say that we have it. She is such an important figure in African American history, the Civil Rights Movement, and Black Charleston.

Most recently, I used the Joseph Towles Collection for my Anthropology 322 course — The Peoples and Cultures of Africa. It’s such a rich collection. As an anthropologist, having the work of anthropological luminary Colin Turnbull -a brilliant but unsung African American anthropologist — at my fingertips is truly an added bonus of working here. My dream is to develop a mixed media traveling exhibit about Towles.

Q: Anything else you’d like to share about Avery?

A: Three of our Avery staff members are headed to the Ivy Leagues this summer! I am headed to the Harvard Institute of Higher Education Management Development Program, and Mary Battle and Shelia Harrell-Roye will both be at Yale for the Yale Public History Institute.

 RELATED: Watch a 2011 video interview with Lessane.

Students Present Research at Colonial Academic Alliance Undergraduate Research Conference

17 April 2014 | 3:03 pm By:
Contact: Vince Benigni, communication professor, 843.953.7019

Ten College of Charleston students presented research April 11-12, 2014 at the annual Colonial Academic Alliance Undergraduate Research Conference in Towson, Md.  These scholars represent the best research papers submitted by students from all majors. The conference is the signature academic and outreach event sponsored by the Alliance, under the auspices of the Colonial Athletic Association, of which the College is a new member in 2013-14. 

The conference included a keynote presentation by Don Thomas, a former NASA astronaut who now heads the Hackerman Academy of Mathematics and Science at Towson University.

“The Colonial Academic Alliance Research Conference provided an excellent opportunity for us to showcase the different types of research and creative projects on which College of Charleston students and faculty collaborate,” said Dr. Trisha Folds-Bennett, dean of the Honors College. “The group of students chosen to represent us were energetic, engaged, and professional. Professor Andrea DeMaria and I were both impressed with their contribution to the conference, and thank the Office of Academic Affairs for funding the trip.”

Student presenters from the College of Charleston included:

Jami Baxley (classics and archaeology; James Newhard, faculty adviser)

Alexandra Cattran (physics and astronomy; Linda Jones, faculty advisers)

Lance Cooper (political science; Gibbs Knotts, faculty adviser)

Colin Cotter (chemistry & biochemistry; Gamil Guirgis, faculty adviser)

Hannah Evans (English & African studies; Simon Lewis, faculty adviser)

Grace Moxley (chemistry and biochemistry; Andrea DeMaria and Beth Sundstrom, faculty advisers)

Jackelyn Payne (health and human performance and communication; Andrea DeMaria and Beth Sundstrom, faculty advisers)

Sarah Turner (biology; Allison Welch, faculty adviser)

Aleisha Walker (teacher education and sociology and anthropology; Christine Finnan, faculty adviser)

John Wise (religious studies; Katie Hladky, faculty adviser)

Gestures won’t defeat Boko Haram

Written by Professor Chris Day for the Post & Courier

Posted: Monday, May 26, 2014 12:01 a.m.

Nigeria does not have a kidnapping problem. It has a Boko Haram problem. The armed group’s abduction of hundreds of young girls is a shameless abuse of human rights. But the recent social media obsession with the issue misses that the four-year-old insurgency is a direct reflection of the country’s more fundamental ills – systematic corruption, failed development and grinding poverty.

This makes the decision by the United States to send 80 troops to Chad to help find the missing girls all the more frustrating. It is a nice gesture. But it is little more than a humanitarian fig leaf that masks the avoidance of more meaningful, albeit thorny political engagement needed to deal with Nigeria’s violence.

What distinguishes Boko Haram is its intersection with political Islam and its use of violence. The group is a splinter of a broader political movement that unsuccessfully sought to impose Sharia law in parts of northern Nigeria. It gained strength through linkages with al-Qaeda’s regional affiliates, and the group populated its decentralized structure with fighters recruited from northern Nigeria’s alienated, unemployed youth that were radicalized with anti-Western messages.

What started as attacks against government officials expanded to high profile bombings, shootings of civilians, and kidnappings – in other words, terrorism. In response, Nigeria’s security forces have been incompetent and ham-handed. Overtures towards dialogue are met with mistrust.

While Boko Haram’s leaders use radical Islamic discourse, it is a mistake to paint the group as “Islamist,” per se, as if violence is a manifestation of being Muslim. Prominent Muslim leaders worldwide have denounced the group. Either way, the motivation to deal with Boko Haram should not be based on the professed religion of its members, but on the violence that they commit.

The United States has a mixed experience with using military force for humanitarian ends. Operation Provide Comfort in 1992 saved thousands of Iraqi Kurds stranded on the Turkish border, setting the scene for more “operations other than war.” Later in the decade, the U.S. led NATO into the first “humanitarian war” in Kosovo. But interest in Africa was curtailed by the Somali debacle of “Black Hawk Down” fame, where the relatively successful Operation Restore Hope went off the rails when the army meddled in Mogadishu’s warlord politics. Soon after, Operation Support Hope helped Rwandan refugees in Zaire, but long after the genocide was over.

Africa has never been a priority for American foreign policy. But for the past decade the U.S. has entered into military partnerships with several African governments. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, the United States Africa Command, or AFRICOM, helps secure and stabilize Africa by building and training professional armies. African allies assist the U.S. in regional counterterrorism efforts. American boots hit the ground to provide logistical assistance for specific operations, like the current hunt for Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army.

In Nigeria the U.S. has several choices. The cold approach of doing nothing has obviously been ruled out.

Going in with guns blazing brings enormous risks. Nigerian politics is amongst Africa’s most incomprehensible and can chew up and spit out even the most seasoned analyst, policy maker, or soldier. Getting bogged down in shambolic Nigeria would be a nightmare. Any intervention must have clear goals, a reasonable chance of success, and guarantee it will not do more harm than good. And the American public is already worn down by a decade of war fatigue and is allergic to any military entanglement.

The current next-to-nothing humanitarian path is politically visible but actually meaningless. It is like delivering food aid to refugees fleeing violence instead of addressing the political causes of the violence itself. It has the self-absolving veneer of trying to “make a difference” but does little to solve the underlying problems deeply rooted in Nigeria’s decaying state.

A potential upside to the current approach is that troops could be using the mission as cover for something bigger – hopefully they are taking good notes.

Either way, Nigeria is a fragmented, violent country and Boko Haram requires more than reconnaissance for a rescue mission that may or not materialize. This is merely meddling with no strategy and is more reminiscent of a movie screenplay than good policy. Nigeria’s abducted girls, and indeed all the country’s victims of insurgent violence, deserve much more.

Christopher Day is an assistant professor of political science at the College of Charleston.