NCIS Partner NEWS Spring-Summer 2020

IHS: Institute for Historical Study (San Francisco) is an active, independent community of researchers, writers, and artists who share a devotion to history in its many forms. Through wide-ranging programs, IHS members share research, ideas, and practical advice and provide a public forum for the discussion of history. 
- Although the 40th anniversary celebration of IHS had to be postponed, members will gather and commemorate the past four decades as soon as pandemic conditions allow. The IHS Newsletter includes notes about the first organizational meeting, in February 1980, under the leadership of Paula Gillett.

- May 24, 2020: Oliver Pollak made a Zoom presentation about his research: “The Treatment of the Black Death, Bubonic Plague, Epidemics and Pandemics in World Civilization Textbooks and Other Sources.”

- Writers Group met on Zoom on July 12, for a presentation by Pam Peirce. In April 2020, Jim Gasperini hosted a Zoom session of this group. Earlier Writers Group meetings in 2020 included presentations by Rose Marie Cleese and Cathy Robbins.

- Play Readers Group continues to reflect on its recent reading of Eugene O’Neill’s "Long Day’s Journey into Night.

- IHS members mourn and remember Carroll Winslow Brentano, long-time member and editor of the nine-volume series History of the University of California. A memorial symposium will be held on October 16, 202, on the UC Berkeley campus.


Independent Scholars’ Association of Australia 
publishes a National Newsletter several times a year and the ISAA Review twice a year plus the proceedings of the Annual conference. The upcoming issue of the ISAA Review, edited by Lesley Vick and Christine Jennett, is being organized around the theme of “Law and Life.”

- E-resources: The June 2020 ISAA Newsletter presents a concise guide to electronic research resources from national, state, and territorial libraries.

- ISAA National Conference 2020, has been rescheduled on 23-24 September 2021, still with the theme “No Place Like Home. The ISAA Annual Lecture 2020 will be given via Zoom on 24 September. Professor Bruce Scates, historian, documentarian, and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, who will speak on “Monumental Errors’: Contested Commemoration across Australia’s Civic Landscape.”
- New South Wales ISAA Chapter holds two work-in-progress meetings and two open forums per year.  Since March its meetings were held on Zoom; on 21 May, after the AGM Cathy Perkins, author of The Shelf Life of Zora Cross, spoke about her work as editor and biographer.
- NSW member Wendy Michaels has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia ‘for service to women, and to the dramatic arts.’
- NSW Public Affairs Reading Group met on June 16 via Zoom to discuss Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing out of Catastrophe by Antony Lowenstein. 

-On 1 September, Dr Alan Roberts will speak at a NSW Open Forum on “Faction, Fiction and History” in connection with the recent biography of Esther Abrahams by Jessica North.

- On 15 August, the NSW Annual Seminar will feature “The Right to Know” with presentations by Quentin Dempster, Professor Catherine Lumby, and Jeff Morris. The seminar convenor is Christine Yeats; co-sponsor is the State Library of NSW.

For more information:


MISF: Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum
The Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum (MISF) exists to foster scholars, whatever their formal credentials or academic involvement. We encourage all projects of disciplined intellectual inquiry. In an age of ever more sophisticated means of communication, MISF promotes face-to-face interaction among scholars as an irreplaceable means to scholarly excellence. Our membership is open to anyone who supports these goals.
To achieve its mission, MISF provides scholars with
(1) opportunities to collaborate with other scholars of similar interests;
(2) regular opportunities to exchange ideas on designated topics in small groups;
(3) opportunities to present, to the critical eye of other scholars and to the public, the fruits of study, both in oral and written form*;
(4) fiscal agency for scholarly grant submissions.

*The semi-annual journal The Minnesota Scholar, accepts articles of scholarly interest of up to 1800 words from both members and would-be MISF members.

May 30, 2020: MISF Annual Poetry Day was held on the Zoom platform, featuring two distinct poets:
Vicki Mickelson, a retired educator with thirty-eight years experience in the classroom, most of them in the Minneapolis Public Schools, has published seven books of poetry, including Island Attitudes, nominated for a Minnesota Book Award in 2016. Vicki’s work is inspired by life’s feats and daily observations and resonates human frailties and achievements.
Joseph A. Amato has written more than twenty-five books in European intellectual and cultural history, family, local, rural and regional history, and two memoirs. In the last decade, he completed a major work of magic realism, Buffalo Man: A Boy Giant on the Minnesota River, and four books of poetry.

June 24, 2020: Betty Folliard, Founder – ERA Minnesota, presented “Bold Vision: ERA 2020.” On the 100th anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote, another 100-year struggle to gain constitutional equality through ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment for women is one state away from passage. Modern-day suffragists around the country have united to make equal rights legal in 2020. Using the Zoom platform, we explored efforts both here in Minnesota and around the U.S., finally, to amend an ERA into our state and federal constitutions.
The honorable Betty Folliard is a well-known Minnesota thought leader. In 2019 she helped pass the state ERA bill through the Minnesota House. She is currently helping organize a Women’s Economic Security Task Force on behalf of the new Minnesota State Attorney General.

September 26, 2020: Sue Hunter Weir will give a presentation on “Saving Lives: Stories from Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery.” It is the final resting place of abolitionists, veterans, members of the city’s early African-American community, and several thousand immigrants. During 20 years researching the cemetery and its 22,000 residents, Sue Hunter Weir has written more than 160 “Tales from the Cemetery,” columns in the Alley newspaper.

For more information about MISF,


NISA: Northwest Independent Scholars Association NISA meets five times per year (every other month except July) to encourage and promote scholarly discussion, research, writing, and publication outside of formal institutions of higher education, for individuals who are actively pursuing serious scholarly research.

  • On November 30, 2019, Josey Cooper spoke on "Dancing with ideas: the personal essay as a vehicle for challenging assumptions about aging.” Josephine Cooper is experimenting with ways to write about social inequities that attract the reader's interest through a human-interest story. She finds that it is delicate to balance between the storyline and statistics. We discussed two sample essays, one that is short and light in nature and a longer one that includes supporting statistics and other research.
  • Spring 2020 program had to be postponed, due to the Coronavirus. When we’re once again able to gather, Anne O’Neill will speak on "Researching and Writing Pre-Oregon Trail Historical Fiction." Her current novel explores the lifetime adventures of an orphaned French voyageur and a widow in the Willamette River area as they balance the demands of the beaver trade with social and cultural challenges. O’Neill finds that historical fiction focuses research while releasing the author to characterize theories of fundamental humanity. Her focus on first peoples has been a fresh topic for her. She finds fiction as a genre less constraining than verifying documentation for often illiterate, trappers and their life.

For more information about NISA and their bi-monthly meetings, see


Princeton Research Forum (PRF) offers a diverse group of scholars in the Princeton area the opportunity to share their research interests, expertise, and creative endeavors in a supportive environment with other independent scholars. In addition to meeting monthly during the academic year, PRF members participate in ongoing study groups in the humanities, science/history of science, and poetry as well as annual general meeting in early summer and a social kickoff event in the fall.

Ashwini Mokashi reports that the PRF Humanities Group has continued to meet through the pandemic using Zoom software provided by Terri McNichol. In May they reviewed and discussed God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. Upcoming readings are: Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin (July); Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (August); and Quichotte by Salman Rushdie (September).

The PRF Science / Science History Group, hosted by Boris Katz, began meeting online using Zoom conferencing software in April, when they discussed the book, Morality: A Natural History, by PRF secretary, Roger Moseley, M.D. The next book will be Life's Engines: How Microbes Made Earth Habitable  by Paul. G. Falkowski, a professor at Rutgers. The group plans to invite Prof. Falkowshi to the discussion. Anyone interested in joining the group should contact Boris Katz.

Robert W. Craig, architectural historian, has been awarded the 2020 Paul E. Buchanan Award by The Vernacular Architecture Forum (VAF). The award honors exemplary projects that illustrate the highest standards for meticulous documentation and rigorous study of historic vernacular architecture and cultural landscapes. Bob was honored for his studies of New Jersey buildings with  patterned brickwork in his reports for the Office of Historical Preservation, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and his recent, open-access article, article, “Traditional Patterned Brickwork in New Jersey.”

With great sadness, PRF reports the passing of mathematical physicist and PRF Advisory Board member, Freeman Dyson; architectural historian Constance Greiff ; and longtime PRF Treasurer and philosopher Stephanie Lewis.

Karen Reeds, PRF member, has compiled a useful compendium of research resources for “those stuck at home during the Covid-19 pandemic.” It can be found in the PRF Newsletter for Winter-Spring 2020 at

For more information, go to


SDIS: San Diego Independent Scholars 
San Diego Independent Scholars holds ongoing meetings of six study groups, in addition to monthly general meetings. Study groups include Colloquy Café, Culture One, Film Group, Neuroscience Group, General Relativity Group, Reading Experience and Inside Politics. Because of Covid-19, all meetings are currently being held via Zoom video-conferencing.
Colloquy Café meets on the third Wednesday of every month. During their June meeting, they discussed the concept “Philanthropy.” Upcoming meetings will be held on August 19 and Sept. 16
• The Film group screened the film Parasite on June 10. Upcoming meetings on August 5th and Sept. 2.
• The General Relativity group, which meets every other Wednesday, is reading Gravity by Hartle and doing calculations.
Neuroscience Study Group is exploring the topic of Artificial Intelligence, and comparing how computers and children learn.
• The Reading Experience group meets on the third Monday morning of each month. This summer they’re exploring the theme of friendship by reading The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay
• A new group, Inside Politics, meets on the first Saturday of every month. Upcoming meetings will be held on August 1 and Sept. 5.
• The Theater Group met on June 10 to discuss “This House” and “Coriolanus” two plays from the National Theatre of England.
• On June 4, 2020: SDIS member Faye Girsh interviewed famous author Estelle Gilson upon the publication of Estelle’s new book Foundlings and other Misfits, a book of poems and short stories. The interview was recorded by Ken Watson and distributed via a YouTube link.

Saturday, Sept. 19. September general meeting & lecture “China Inc.”: The Political Economy of China’s Outward Investment, by Weiyi Shi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Global Policy & Strategy, UCSD. As the expansive reach of China’s multinational firms grows, so does skepticism about the intent and consequences of China’s brand of global capitalism. This talk unpacks the political economy of China’s outward investment.
Saturday, Oct. 17.  October general meeting & lecture: “What’s in the Air We Breathe?” by Vicki H. Grassian, Ph.D., Chair Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCSD. This talk will highlight some of the more recent updates on aerosols and their impacts, including how they impact the Earth’s climate, human health and the transmission of pathogens such as viruses.

For more information on SDIS, go to 

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