Mona Berman (President)
Mona Berman is an artist, art dealer, curator, educator, and consultant specializing in both contemporary art and material culture. Her primary interests are ethnographic jewelry and textiles of Asia.
Mona received her B.F.A. from the University of Illinois and her M.F.A. from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Tufts University.
Mona received an artist grant from the CT Commission on the Arts. Her work has been published internationally and widely exhibited.
As art dealer, Mona's clients include major Fortune 500 corporations, national museums, architects, designers, and private collectors. She has provided curatorial services for Yale Art Gallery, Wesleyan University's Mansfield Freeman Center for East Asian Arts, the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and for major corporations such as General Electric and The Travelers where she was Gallery Director.
Mona helped draft Connecticut’s first Arts Advocacy Legislation (VARA), has been a reviewer for the US Dept of Higher Education Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Competition, and a juror for Connecticut’s Per Cent for Arts Program. She currently sits on New Haven's Cultural Affairs Commission. She also served on panels that help third world artists create economically viable, well designed, indigenous products and spent five years on the Board of Directors of a Khmer NGO women’s development center in Cambodia.
In addition to her membership in NCIS, Mona is a member of the American Council for Southern Asian Art, College Art Association, and the Textile Society of America. She has taught at Hampshire College, Fairfield University, and other CT institutions.Read more
Susan Breitzer (Board member)
Susan Roth Breitzer completed her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, and is currently revising her dissertation, “Jewish Labor's Second City: The Formation of a Jewish Working Class in Chicago, 1886-1928,” and working on a book proposal. She has published essays in History Compass, the Indiana Magazine of History, and Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts. She has presented papers at the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Labor and Working-Class History Association. She has recently served on the Board of Directors of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars, for which she organized the organizations first affiliated society panel. She has taught United States and world history at Fayetteville State University, and is currently teaching Western Civilization and United States History for the Fort Bragg Extension Campus of Campbell University.Read more
Joan Cunningham (Board member)
Isabelle Flemming (Board member)
Isabelle Flemming, BA, MA, MLS, is a retired Reference Librarian/Computer Specialist . Prior to holding this position she was the Business Reference Librarian at Mount Prospect Public Library in Mount Prospect, Illinois. She received her MLS from the University of Illinois and MA in history, majoring in History of Science, with a minor in Early Modern Europe, from the University of Florida. She obtained her BA in Psychology from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.
She has had the articles: “Universe, Closed or Open”, and “Time, Cosmic”, published in the Encyclopedia of Time: Science, Philosophy, Theology, & Culture, (Los Angeles: Sage, 2009), and the chapters: “Ethnography and Ethnology” and “Magic and Science” published in 21st Century Anthropology: a Reference Handbook, (Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2010), editor, H. James Birx. Her chapter “Reference Interview in Real Time and Virtual Time” appears in a reference book for librarians, Using Qualitative Methods in Action Research: How Librarians can Get to the Why of Data, edited by Drs. Douglas Cook and Lesley Farmer.
Her short stories have been published in a local newspaper, after receiving first place awards at a writers’ workshop, and a short story excerpt from a novel in progress was published in the New England Writers’ Network periodical. She is currently writing a fiction novel of the supernatural/mythological in ancient Celtic culture.
She is a member of the American Library Association, serving a term on the History Committee for RUSA (Reference and User Services), the Public Library Association, PCA/ACA Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association and MAPACA (Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association). She presented a paper “Steampunk in American Popular Culture” at the MAPACA Conference in November 2013, and a paper on Costume Jewelry as a Reflection of American Popular Culture at the 2011 Joint Conference of the National Popular Culture Association &...Read more
Amanda Haste (Vice President)
Amanda Haste (b.1957) is an Anglo-American researcher and academic translator currently based in France. She was raised and educated in England, gaining teaching and performance diplomas from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama (London) and the London College of Music. Having worked as a professional musician and music educator for 20 years she went on to study for an MA in Musicology (gained with Distinction in 1997) at the University of Exeter, and in 2009 was awarded her PhD in musicology from the University of Bristol. Since then she has been mainly engaged in ethnographic research, specialising in the intersections between music and spirituality in contemporary society. This multidisciplinary work encompasses many fields including identity, gender studies and performativity.
Dr Haste is active as a peer reviewer and editor, and has presented her work at conferences in Belgium, Austria, France, Germany and Great Britain, She has also given invited lectures in Paris, and gave a keynote paper at the 2014 History of Women Religious conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Her work has been published in Culture & Religion, the Journal of Religion, Media and Digital Culture, and Music and Arts in Action; her article on authenticity of the musical product has also appeared in The Paradox of Authenticity in a Globalized World, ed. Russell Cobb (Palgrave MacMillan, 2014). Dr Haste recently co-edited (with Professor James Block, DePaul University, USA) a collection of essays on identities entitled Constructing Identity in an Age of Globalization for Ars Identitatis (April 2015), for which she was delighted to be able to include several independent scholars among the authors.
As a freelance translator (French-English) and proofreader (French-English and English-English) Dr Haste specialises in academic, musical and social sciences material. She copy edited and proof read Villa-Lobos, the Music: An Analysis of His Style by L.M. Peppercorn, transl....Read more
Nhi Lieu (Board member)
Nhi T. Lieu is author of The American Dream in Vietnamese (University of Minnesota Press, 2011). Her other works have been published in journals such as Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, Journal of Asian American Studies, and Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies. She is currently lives in Austin, Texas and is a full-time parent to two children. As an independent scholar, she is working on two research projects: one book currently under contract with the University of Illinois Press which explores how the strategies of consumption in private and personal choices in fashion and beauty reconstitute Asian American cultural and racial identities; and another examining gender and visual culture in Asian American weddings and bridal photography. She has taught courses in U.S. history, Asian American studies, immigration, popular and consumer culture, comparative beauty, and transnationalism.
I am grateful that an organization such as NCIS exists for scholars working outside academic institutions. In the past few years, we have garnered some momentum and I hope to expand this network with what we have in place. With the existing resources and energy, I believe we can continue to provide support, dialogue, and engagement to individuals seeking to further their research and scholarship. I wish to serve as a Board member to further these goals and to collectively work with others to strengthen membership and fortify the organization.
Klara Seddon (Communications Officer)
Klara Seddon is an art historian and food studies scholar specializing in East Asian material culture and foodways. In 2009 Klara co-founded the Institute of Cultural Research, NY, a scholarly research organization providing research services in the humanities. Klara is the ICR’s Research Director, specializing in projects relating to visual and performing arts. She received her Master’s degree from the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture in New York City, where she focused on Ming dynasty tea culture in private scholars’ retreats and public teahouses. Her research interests are in the areas of material/visual culture, women’s studies, performance culture, and food studies. Klara is the author of the blog, the five o’clock teaspoon, featuring analysis of contemporary and historical foodways. Her current research on women’s media arts in Japan and Korea examines the intersections between art and craft production and women’s traditional labor roles in digital communities on the Internet. She is currently the NCIS Communications Officer and has served on the NCIS Board of Directors since 2010.Read more
Gary Shapiro (Board member)
Gary Shapiro earned his A.B. in Classics at Harvard University and his J.D. at Columbia. He is a former contributing editor for the quarterly journal, The American Scholar. Shapiro wrote a column for The Forward (the national Jewish newspaper) and The New York Sun. He has since written for The Wall Street Journal and The Villager. He is a licensed tour guide in New York City. Research interests include the history of anthropology and the history of New York City.Read more
Shelby Shapiro (Board member)
San Francisco-born, I grew up on Guam. Returning after earning my BA in Anthropology, I worked for 19 years in a law office writing trial memoranda and appeal briefs, doing land title examinations, pursuing photography part-time, while hosting a Jazz & Blues program on various AM and FM stations for 9 years.
Self-taught in Yiddish, I went back to school when I came to the Washington metro area, earning an MA and PhD in American Studies studying the Yiddish press and acculturation of women immigrants. I am presently toiling to turn the dissertation into a book. I am the Associate Editor for Connecticut Public Records, Vol. XXI; a copy editor for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.; and a Yiddish-to-English translator.
I served as editor for the newsletter and later the small magazine of Yiddish of Greater Washington for more than a decade, continue to serve on its Board, as well as that of Operation Understanding-DC.Read more
David Sonenschein (Membership Officer)
Early Member of NCIS, has served as NCIS Board Secretary, Book Review Editor, and adjunct member of the Board as Database Manager. Academically trained and with field experience in anthropology, sociology, and psychology, Sonenschein fled the academia and has been writing and publishing as an Independent Scholar since 1973. His areas of research are human sexualities and American popular culture.Read more
Edward Wall (Board member)
I graduated in 1963 from the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) with a B.S. in Mathematics (with minors in the physical and biological sciences). Subsequently, working as an applied mathematician and attending graduate school at the University of Maryland (College Park), I received a M.A. in Mathematics in 1968. Returning to academics I received a Sloan Foundation Grant from the University of Chicago in 1969 and spent a number of years as a graduate student in Mathematical Biology.
For various reasons I began to question a possible future career in academics and moved in the 70s to Wisconsin where, while self employed as a system analyst, I would, in 1989, receive a B.S. in secondary mathematics education at the University of Wisconsin (Stevens Point) with certification in Learning Disabilities. I taught in both Wisconsin and Colorado and in the 90s returned to graduate school at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). I received a Ph. D. in Secondary Mathematics Education in 2003 and in the same year became faculty in Childhood Education (which I preferred for various reasons over Secondary Education) at the City College of New York. I was tenured in 2008 and I retired from City College in 2014.Read more
Janet Wasserman (Secretary)
JANET I. WASSERMAN is the founder and executive director of the Schubert Society of the USA (2003) and has been a member since 1999 of the Schubert Institute-United Kingdom (SIUK). She is a published independent scholar in the fields of music history (with an emphasis on Franz Schubert), music iconography, art history, and biography. She is a graduate of City College of City University of New York (CUNY) with BA and MA degrees in Modern History; she reached candidacy for a Ph.D. in Modern German History (ABD) at the CUNY Graduate Center; and has a J.D. degree from CUNY Law School. She has over forty years of administrative and executive experience in the nonprofit sector, government and academia. She has been a member since 2001 of the National Coalition of Independent Scholars and was elected Vice President for 2005-2006, then served as interim President until she was elected President in 2008, serving one term. She was appointed Secretary in 2013 to fill the unexpired term of the former Secretary. Her publications are available at the NCIS website member pages where they are cited in full in her CV and at her personal site “An Independent Scholar’s Voice” (www.janetwasserman.com).Read more
Mary E Zimmer (Treasurer)
Mary Zimmer is a unique blend of academic scholar, high-level university administrator, and accomplished entrepreneurial leader. She has published and taught in her fields of 17th century British poetry and prose, medieval thought and literature, and early modern science. She has held executive administrative positions at Rice University, where she received her PhD. In 2007, after almost twenty years in academia, she took the helm of a family business with a nearly four decade history. In her time there, she has doubled the size of the business and diversified its operations into different markets. Read more