Affiliate News Archive

Winter 2016

Early in 2016, CIS members Therese Dykeman and James Clement Van Pelt presented at the American Philosophical Association. Teri’s paper was "The Dynamic Non-substantialistic Turn in Field-Being: a Pivot Point for Theories of Global Rhetoric." James presented "Fields of Consciousness: Exploring Thoughts, Feelings, and Sensations."

Also in 2016, CIS will host two Sunday salons: one on immigration, and one on independent scholars.

2015 in review   In addition to helping host the 25th anniversary NCIS conference in New Haven, CIS offered several events during 2015. Some highlights:

  • A tour of the exhibit "No One Remembers Alone: Memory, Migration, and the Making of an American Family," guided by the exhibit’s creator Patricia Klindienst.
  • A Sunday salon entitled "Abigail’s Revenge: How the Women’s Movement Shook Up America." CIS member Rhea Hirshman presented some history we didn’t learn in school, and led a discussion of how modern feminist activism has challenged and changed us.
  • A showing and discussion, led by CIS member Gwen Heuss-Severance, of the film "Xmas Without China," which “explores the intersection of consumerism and immigration in America through the experiences of two Southern California families.”
  • Co-sponsorship of a talk by Nancy Ellen Abrams —  "A Coherent Big Picture for Our Time" — examining how a philosopher of science linked recent astronomical discoveries with deeply personal reflections.
  • A tour, led by CIS member Richard Yanowitz, of the Peabody Museum exhibit "Samurai and the Culture of Japan’s Great Peace," which brought to life the many-layered history of the samurai and those they ruled.
  • A discussion, led by CIS members Constance Sherak and Lauren Pinzka, of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. A book in the forefront of national conversations, it has been described as  “a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son….”

For ongoing activities, see the CIS website: http://cistudy.homestead.com
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IHS: Institute for Historical Study (San Francisco)

IHS held their annual meeting on Feb. 27, 2016, at the North Berkeley Public Library.

Recent activities include Works in Progress presentations:

  • Bonda Lewis read from her second book of historical fiction, Jenny Again. Based on life in Nebraska in after 1912, Jenny Markov encounters the orphan train movement and becomes involved with the local suffrage movement.
  • Peter Meyerhof reviewed his research into the location of the Sonoma Mission Cemetery.
  • Edward Von der Porten, a nautical archaeologist, presented "Ghost Ship: The Manila Galleon San Felipe of 1576” which describes some of his 16 years of research into the silver, porcelain, and other artifacts from a 1576 or 1578 wreck off the coast of Mexico.
  • Ann Harlow presented “Art Capital of the West”: Real and Imagined Art Museums and Galleries in Berkeley. Harlow’s work on the history of what is now the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive was part of an exhibition she curated for the Berkeley Historical Society. 

The Institute for Historical Study continues to host Works-in-Progress reports and member feedback gatherings, as well as coordinated study groups in such areas as "California and the West"; "History Play Readers"; "Medieval Studies"; and a "Writers Group.”

Find out more about IHS ongoing activities and see recent newsletters.
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Independent Scholars’ Association of Australia
ISAA Celebrates TWENTY years.

In October 2015, the Independent Scholars’ Association of Australia held its 2015 Annual Conference on the theme, “Celebrating Twenty Years of ISAA.” During the opening panel, long-term ISAA members, including its founder, Ann Moyal, reflected on the importance of the organization over the years. Subsequent presentations included a thought-provoking lecture by Prof. Julian Disney on “Independence and Integrity in the Public Domain.”

Issues of publication were explored in a panel ‘Scholarship of the Future’, led by Emeritus Fellow Colin Steele (ANU) who spoke on ‘Academic publishing futures.’ Other speakers were Roxanne Missingham, University Librarian, ANU and Dr Katherine Bode, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Digital Humanities Research, ANU, on the future of libraries and scholarship in the digital age. Such issues as ‘Publish or Perish’ and Open Access were explored.

Christine Jennett was re-elected to her third year as President, and Susan Steggall and Alan Roberts were elected as Ordinary Members of the ISAA National Council. Other officers include: Vice President David Headon; Immediate Past President Janet George; Secretary Christine Yeats; and Treasurer Wal Collins.

ISAA has lively state chapters in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, as well as five other informal state groups. ISAA publishes an annual newsletter, a bulletin, and the ISAA Review. ISAA holds “work-in-process” reviews for members who seek feedback on their research.

Find out more information about ISAA.
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Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum

At the April 23, 2016, meeting of MISF, Ellen Kennedy spoke about genocide prevention in the 21st century.

On March 26, James Hart presented "Sad Stories of the Death of Kings,” a survey of the kings (and some queens) who ruled England between Edward the Confessor and Elizabeth I, with an emphasis on how each died. Some are prosaic, but others are more remarkable – even dramatic and embarrassing – terminations.

During March 2016, the MISF History Study Group met to discuss Empire’s Crossroads: A History of the Caribbean from Columbus to the Present Day by Carrie Gibson.

In two sessions during February 2016, the MISF Philosophy Study Group discussed chapters of Arthur Herman’s book, The Cave and the Light: Plato versus Aristotle and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization.

At the January 23, 2016 general meeting of MISF, Carol Veldman Rudie presented "War and Art: Russian Artistic Expression during World War I,” examining the experience of Russian artists during the war and the revolution that ended Russian participation in the war.  Rudie is lead docent and the coordinator of outreach education at The Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis.

Find out more information about MISF

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Northwest Independent Scholars Association
During 2015, NISA members heard presentations from four members, and held an additional scholarly research session at the Multnomah County Library.

  • Dick Etulain has a new book, his second on Calamity Jane: Calamity Jane: A Reader's Guide (University of Oklahoma Press, August 2015).
  • On November 8, 2015 Rosemary Lombard presented her paper on the first stages of teaching symbolic communication to turtles at the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA) conference in Portland.
  • Gerald Willams was elected as a distinguished fellow of the Forest History Society at an award ceremony in Portland on October 30, 2015. Gerry gave a Powerpoint show and talk on the history of the USFS lands and the 100-year history of summer homes in the national forests in Vancouver as part of the National Forest Homeowners Association annual meeting and repeated the talk for a summer home meeting in Denver on September 26. On July 28, 2015, Gerry presented an illustrated talk on the World War I Spruce Production Division at the Wilsonville McMenamins.
  • Michael Helquist's book, Marie Equi: Radical Politics & Outlaw Passions will be published by the Oregon State University Press in Fall 2015.  Michael has also published “Criminal Operations”: The First Fifty Years of Abortion Trials in Portland, Oregon," in the Spring 2015 issue of the Oregon Historical Quarterly. More information can be found on his website at Michaelhelquist.com.
  • Don Blanchard's paper, "Iceland Spar and Early Polarizing Theories of Light" was published in the "2015 Proceedings" of the Cogan Ophthalmic History Society.  In April 2016, Blanchard presented a paper on "Henry Gray's (Eye) Anatomy" to the Washington University Medical School during a meeting of the Cogan Ophthalmic History Society in April.
  • In 2015, Margaret DeLacy's 1986 book, Prison Reform in Lancashire, was featured in a Harvard Law Library exhibit, "Where Mis'ry Moans: Four Prison Reformers in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century England." In 2016, DeLacy's book, The Germ of an Idea: Contagionism, Religion, and Society in Britain, 1660-1730 will be published by Palgrave-Macmillan, both in paper and online.
  • David Ritchie's play, "A Little Horseplay in the Library" was staged on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at the West Slope Library as part of library's celebration of Read Aloud Month.
  • In April 2016, Rosemary Lombard read at Multnomah County's NW Library from her Turtles All the Way: Poems, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Also in April she will be a panelist on a Conversations with Writers program discussing ways writers can target new audiences for issues of importance. She will read from examples including Sharon Appleman's Coyote Willows, an eco-thriller about dangers from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, published the month before Appleman's death in August 2015.

Find out more information about NISA and its bi-monthly meetings.

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Princeton Research Forum
Founded in 1980, Princeton Research Forum is a community of independent scholars in the greater Princeton area. Monthly meetings are held at the Institute for Advanced Study and PRF members share their interests in study groups focused on the humanities, poetry, and science, as well as through works-in-progress sessions and presentation seminars.

A sample PRF newsletter is available here

Member News:

  • PRF member Shelly Frisch is being widely hailed for her English translation of Karin Wieland’s German language book Dietrich and Riefenstahl: Hollywood, Berlin, and a Century in Two Lives. The book has received a National Book Critics Circle Award nomination.
  • PRF member Bob Craig’s publication, Starting from Scratch: The First Building Tradesmen of Middlesex County, about seventeenth-century building tradesmen in Middlesex County, New Jersey, is the culmination of several years’ research.
  • PRF member Maureen Mulvihill’s work on early modern emblem books, as published in Appositions, August 2015, is featured here.
  • Legendary geneticist and PRF member Evelyn Witkin reflects on the earliest days of a new science and her groundbreaking work on how DNA responds to damage in an interview in the New York Times, December 15, 2015.
  • Local broadcaster and PRF member Joan Goldstein interviews fellow PRF member Lara Freidenfelds on her work as an historian of sex, reproduction and women’s health in America on Back Story with Joan Goldstein. They discuss Freidenfelds’ book The Modern Period: Menstruation in Twentieth-Century America and her book-in-progress, Counting Chickens Before They Hatch? An Historian’s Take on Pregnancy and Miscarriage in Contemporary America.

Find out more about the PRF.
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San Diego Independent Scholars

San Diego Independent Scholars holds ongoing meetings of eight study groups, in addition to monthly general meetings. Study groups include Colloquy Café, Culture One, Culture Two, Film Group, Literature Group, and Science Group. Topics presented at recent general meetings included:

April 2016
Dr. Jonah Cool, a scientist in the therapeutics group of Organovo Inc., gave a presentation about biological applications for 3D printing, commonly referred to as bioprinting. He focused on various methods of in vitro fabrication using human cells to form tissue-like structures that resemble native tissues in form and function. 

March 2016
Dr. Wayne Saunders presented “Counter Intelligence” A Brief History of Table Games.” In his talk, Dr. Saunders shows that table games, which at first glance may seem a marginal aspect of human creativity, have instead a rich history and complexity that should make us rethink their cultural importance.

February 2016
Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman together direct the UCSD Cross-Border Initiative. Their talk, “Where Is Our Civic Imagination? Border Regions as Laboratories to Re-think Citizenship” described the urgent need for construction of new conceptions of citizenship, beyond the arbitrary jurisdictional boundaries that too rigidly define cityhood, and beyond the identitarian politics of the nation-state.

January 2016
Dr. John F. Asmus presented “Of Lasers and Art: The Fascinating Application of Lasers and other Scientific Technologies to the Analysis and Restoration of Art.” Dr. Asmus has worked on Ice Age paintings of Lascaux; the discovery of the hidden Mona Lisa “pendant”; the restoration of the Whitney museum’s DeFeo masterpiece, "The Rose"; the laser restoration of the surface of marble edifices in Venice; as well as reconstituting the color of Qin–Dynasty Terra Cotta Warriors by reversing chemical decomposition.

Find out more information about SDIS.