NCIS Partner NEWS Fall-Winter 2020-2021

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. Recent and upcoming programs include:

  • July 26, 2 p.m. Bert Gordon: “Exploring the Links between Tourism and War.”
  • August 16, 2 p.m. Guest speaker Elizabeth Pepin Silva: “Harlem of the West: The Fillmore Jazz Era and Redevelopment in San Francisco.” (Ms. Silva is a documentary filmmaker, photographer, writer, and former day manager of the historic Fillmore Auditorium.)
  • September 20, 2 p.m. Marilyn Geary: “Black History in Marin County— From the Spaniards to the Great Migration.”
  • September 26. Susan D. Anderson: “Revealing San Francisco’s Hidden 19th-century Black History: A tour of California Historical Society Artifacts.” This IHS-sponsored event “sold out,” with an audience of 100, who viewed rare photos and documents from Black pioneers in Northern California.
  • October 18, 2020, Anne Evers Hitz: "Lost Department Stores of San Francisco: Six Bygone Stores That Defined an Era”
  • 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 was held on October 16, 2020, on the UC Berkeley campus.
  • (The November program on Zoom had to be cancelled due to insufficient bandwidth.)
  • December 20, 2020: 40th anniversary celebration with a talk by Oliver Pollak, "The Arc of Our Own History, 1980-2020"

- Writers Group met on Zoom on July 12 for a presentation by Pam Peirce on her biography of Katherine Gibson. In August, Dan Kohanski presented the opening chapter of his book, “After God.”  At the September gathering, Katya Miller read from “Lady Freedom” her work on the Capitol Dome statue in Washington, DC.

For further information  on IHS activities consult the website:


Independent Scholars’ Association of Australia
ISAA 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, explores 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.

- In response to recently passed legislation “Jobs Ready Graduates” which revises funding and investments in Australian higher education, ISAA is sending letters to government ministers to advocate for support of both humanities programs and academic careers in general.

- ISAA National Conference 2020 was held via Zoom on 23-24 September 2021, on the theme “No Place Like Home.”  Professor Bruce Scates, historian, documentarian, and Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, gave the ISAA Annual Lecture 2020, “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.  On Nov. 5, Professor Richard Kemp, cognitive scientist and forensic psychologist presented his work, “The Psychology of Eyewitness Memory.” On September 22, Quentin Dempster spoke at the NSW 2020 Seminar on The Right to Know: Journalism, in a talk on “Still Waiting … for Your Right to Know.” On September 20, Professor Gary Sturgess held an evening conversation on the topic “Australia: Nation or Commodity” at 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.

September 26, 2020: Sue Hunter Weir gave 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.

November 21, 2020, Patrick Coleman gave a Zoom presentation to MSIF members on “Sinclair Lewis: The Centenary of Main Street.” Mr. Coleman is acquisitions librarian at the Minnesota Historical Society.

January 23, 2021, via Zoom, Alan E. Johnson, retired lawyer and independent historian, will present “The Electoral College—Time for a Change?” The intentions of the 1787 framers of the Electoral College will be juxtaposed with current proposed statutory mitigations.

February 27, 2021: Denise Pike and Marguerite Mills will give a Zoom presentation, “Mapping Prejudice” exploring the history of racial covenants in Minneapolis and their exhibit, “Displaced” with which they use digital cartography to visualize the impacts of Indigenous and Black community displacement.

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 September 9, 2020,  NISA member Barbara Canavan gave a presentation about her work in virology, epidemiology, and ways it relates to Covid-19. Thanks to Zoom technology, members of the San Diego Independent Scholars’ Association were also able to attend the talk.

- On November 11, 2020, Margaret DeLacy gave a presentation about her research, “The Early 18th-century Apocalypse: Some Origins, Confluences, ad Questions.” This study makes fascinating connections between political and military history with the spread of disease, and uncovers parallels for our experiences with Covid-19.

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.

The PRF Poetry Group, chaired by Winifred Hughes, meets twice a month (by Zoom at present). They have recently taken an in-depth look at poems by Gary Snyder and Alice Oswald.

The PRF Science / Science History Group, hosted by Boris Katz, meeting online using Zoom conferencing software, is discussing Life's Engines: How Microbes Made Earth Habitable by Rutgers professor Paul. G. Falkowski. On our invitation Prof. Falkowski joined our discussion of his book. 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 (SDIS) 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.

• Saturday, Nov. 21. General meeting & lecture “The Future of Humankind: Two Views” lecture was given by Dr. Willard Wells and by Dr. Ron Peterson. Dr. Wells spoke from the perspective of his career in physics and engineering; his theory analyzes hazards such as genetic engineering and robotics. Dr. Peterson’s career in physics underlies his predictions about societal and technological trends, and humans’ ability to recognize and avoid points of irreversability.
• Dec. 6, 2-4 pm: Covid-19 Writing and Art Project. A gala Zoom gathering was held to present excerpts from these reflections, gathered into a pamphlet by SDIS. Titled COVID-19: getting through with wit and grit,” the booklet gathers 31 essays and drawings by independent scholars across the area and the US.
• October 2020: A new group, SDIS Voices, has been organized to foster focused discussion and written responses on timely topics. Their first topic has been “US-China Relations”; four members contributed essays which were distributed to SDIS members in November.  
Colloquy Café meets on the third Wednesday of every month. During their October meeting, they discussed the concept “Self deception.” In November, the group will explore the concept of “protest.”
• The Film Group met on Nov. 4 to view A Man for All Seasons. Their December holiday showing will be Cleo from 5 to 7 (1961), chosen for its excellent music.
• The General Relativity Group, which meets every other Wednesday, is evaluating future reading plans, which may include David Griffiths Introduction to Elementary Particles.
Neuroscience Study Group is exploring the topic of Artificial Intelligence, and comparisons of ways that computers and children learn.
• The Reading Experience Group meets on the third Monday morning of each month. Their October gathering discussed “The Day of the Locust” by Nathanael West; their Hollywood Influence series concluded in November with discussion of “The Sun and Her Stars: Salka Vertel and Hitler’s Exiles,” by Donna Rafkind.
Inside Politics, meet on the first Saturday of every month. During their Oct. 3 gathering, they focused on hot political topics of the national election.

Upcoming in Winter 2021
• Saturday, Jan. 16, 1:30   "Indonesia and the Origins of Modern Humans."  Dr. Christopher Wills,  U.C. San Diego.
• Saturday, Feb. 20, 1:30:  Is "DNA Editing" in Brain Cells a Cause of Alzheimer's Disease? Dr. Jerold Chun, Sanford Burnham Prebys Research Institute.

"COVID-19: getting through with wit and grit” is being published online and may be downloaded after January, 2021 from

For more information on SDIS, go to 

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