NCIS Partner NEWS June 2019

Prepared by Barbara Ellertson from newsletters and website listings posted by each partner organization.


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 Events, Spring 2019:

  • On March 1-3, IHS members attended the San Francisco History Days events at the Old Mint and connected with potential new members.
  • On Sunday, March 17, Chris Webber gave a fascinating talk on the oratorical mastery of Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. Chris discussed classical oratorical skills, and compared the styles of these two famous Americans, whose stirring speeches separated by a century moved people of all colors.
  • In March, the Writers Group met at the home of Louis Trager to discuss the overview of his projected work, tentatively titled, “Pivotal People: How Plutocrats Enlisted Liberals and Government to Dominate America and the World.” In April, the Writers Group met at the home of Cathy and Rob Robbins to discuss a chapter of Cathy’s book on Calabria: “A Torrid Splendor.”
  • In March and April, the Play Readers Group concluded their reading of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia.
  • May 19, 2019 at the Richmond Museum of History, Prof. Oliver B. Pollak gave a talk in connection with the exhibit:  Pioneers to the Present, The Jews of Richmond and Contra Costa County.
  • Tuesday, May 28: Play Readers Group met at the home of Ross and Phyllis Maxwell in San Francisco to read Curtmantle by Christopher Fry, a play about Henry II of England and his conflict with Thomas Becket.
  • Sunday, June 9: Writers Group met at the home of Jim Gasperini in Kensington. Jim presented a portion of his manuscript on the cultural history of fire.
  • Sunday, June 16: Monthly Program, at the home of Georgia Wright in Berkeley. Bonda Lewis, visiting from Washington State, spoke on "Jenny in the World," describing the latest in her series of historical novels about a girl who went west on an Orphan Train and eventually got involved in the women's suffrage movement.

For further information  on IHS activities consult the website: www.instituteforhistoricalstudy.org


ISAA: 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 latest issue of the ISAA Review, on the theme  of International Relations," contains articles by John Moses, John Ramsland, and Graeme Gill and opinion pieces by Amin Saikal and Alison Broinowski.

ISAA National Conference 2019, 3–4 October. Call for Papers. The Shaping of Lives, this year’s ISAA conference theme, encourages scholars from all disciplines to examine an aspect of how people, as individuals, groups, or societies, have been shaped. Papers should focus on explaining why and how these influences have occurred and must meet the scholarly objectives of ISAA. Proposals will be considered by a committee and decisions made as soon after the closing date as possible. Abstracts of 100 words should be submitted by 14 June to cjennett@ozemail.com.au

ISAA Research Grants.Two research grants at $500 each are available for current members of ISAA . Applicants, who must not be in full-time employment, are invited to submit an application to ISAA’s Administrative Officer Meredith Hinchcliffe at info@isaa.org.au

Congratulations to Robert Lehane for winning the 2018 ACT Publishing Award in the non-fiction category for his book Verity. A Remarkable Woman's Journey. For details about his many other books go to his website http://robert.lehane.id.au

As a follow up to the recent 2018 Conference members can access Catriona Bryce’s fascinating insight into the potential of Trove in her presentation ‘The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: coverage in Trove's digitised collections’ and the full version of Trevor Parmenter’s ‘Human Rights and Disability: The Promise and the Reality’.

New South Wales ISAA Chapter holds two work-in-progress meetings and two open forums per year. Its Bulletin is published six times per year. The NSW Chapter will hold its next Annual Seminar in collaboration with State Library of NSW in the Metcalfe Auditorium on Saturday 14 September 2019. The seminar, titled: ‘Spare the Rod’: The Convention on the Rights of the Child Thirty Years On will mark the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in November 1989.

The ACT ISAA Group meets monthly at the National Library in Canberra.

  • For the July 18 noon meeting, John Warhurst will speak about the appointment of Governors-General, both generally and from a republican perspective.
  • In the evening, on 12 June, Helen Topor spoke on the life of Johannes Vermeer.
  • In July Sarah Macneill will talk about being an Anglican bishop.
  • On August 14, Stephen Foster will give a talk on "History, fiction and the pursuit of truth: a case study from Guernsey in 1825."

For more information: http://www.isaa.org.au


MISF: Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum

The Minnesota Independent Scholars Forum (MISF) exists to foster scholars, whatever their formal credentials or academic involvement. MISF strives to be encouraging and critical, always aware of what distinguishes good scholarship. 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 MISF Philosophy Study Group is reading Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations.
  • The MISF History Study Group is concluding their reading of John Adams by David McCullough.

Recent and upcoming monthly forums, all at the Washburn Library, Minneapolis: 

  • June 22, 2019: Lucy Brusic, Scholars without Walls: The History of the Minnesota Independent Scholars' Forum.  The book, which will be available for purchase at this event, tells how a group of unemployed academics became a current-day organization with monthly meetings, study groups, a regular newsletter, and fiscal agency assistance. 
  • September 28, 2019: The Woodcut Art of Wolfgang Klein. Evelyn Klein will give a brief description of the history of creating woodcuts and then focus on Wolfgang Klein’s art of creating woodcuts from their inception to their completion, including materials and tools needed in the process.

For more information about MISF, http://www.mnindependentscholars.org


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.

2019 Meetings:

January 23, 2019: Richard W. Etulain presented a talk on "Presidents Who Shaped the American West.” Etulain is the winner of the 2018 Thomas J. Lyon Award for the Best Book in Western American Literary and Cultural Studies for his biography Ernest Haycox and the Western (University of Oklahoma Press).

March 13: Irene Hecht gave a talk entitled "Under Manila Skies: A Memoir on the Art of Survival,” about her childhood experience as an internee in Manila during World War II. Her memoir of the same name has been published by University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, in Manila. 

May 29, 2019:  David Ritchie spoke on "What Do You Call Your Sword?" a discussion of pet names for weapons, and how patterns of those names change over time. David Ritchie is a professor of History at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA).  He will present a version of this talk at the International Committee for the History of Technology (ICOHTEC) conference in Poland in July.

For more information about NISA and their bi-monthly meetings, see http://www.northwestindependentscholars.org


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.

Recent member activities:

  • This year, Linda Arntzenius celebrates the tenth anniversary of her work as an oral historian with the Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center at the Institute for Advanced Study. She serves as consulting editor for the Center of Theological Inquiry’s magazine Fresh Thinking.
  • Jeannette E. Brown’s latest book, African American Women Chemists in the Modern Era published by Oxford University Press, is the second of two she has written on African American women chemists.
  • Lara Freidenfelds has been nominated to serve on the Council of the American Association for the History of Medicine. Her book, The Myth of the Perfect Pregnancy: A History of Miscarriage in America, will be coming out as a crossover trade book from Oxford University Press in January of 2020.
  • Shelley Frisch’s book Maybe Esther is shortlisted for the Pushkin House Russian Book Prize.
  • Ellen Gilbert’s article “The Prescient Librarian: Ilse Bry and Sociobibliography,” has been accepted for publication in an upcoming issue of Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals. Her paper “Opening Doors to Literature: People & Stories / Gente y Cuentos,” has been published by The International Journal of Information, Diversity, & Inclusion (IJIDI) in a special issue on Diversity & Reading (vol. 3, iss. 2, April 2019).
  • Joan Goldstein, host/producer of “Back Story with Joan Goldstein” on Princeton TV30, invited PRF President Linda Holt to discuss her latest book Invictus, a fictional account of the life, trials and times of the composer Beethoven. View the show at: https://vimeo.com/329114277.
  • PRF President Linda Holt’s latest research leads the way to the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth next year with the Harvard Square Editions April release of her novel, Invictus. The book offers a fictional view of Beethoven’s childhood from birth until age 16.
  • Winifred Hughes’s chapbook, Frost Flowers, which won honorable mention in the Finishing Line Press competition, can be ordered at www.finishinglinepress.com.
  • Joyce Irwin presented a paper entitled “Poetry, Music, and Religion in the Works of August Hermann Niemeyer” at the annual meeting of the Society for Christian Scholarship in Music in Toronto in February 2019.
  • Past PRF President Ashwini Mokashi is delighted to report that her book Sapiens and Sthitaprajna: A Comparative Study in Seneca’s Stoicism and the Bhagavadgita has now been published by D. K. Printworld, a leading publisher in Indological studies. It will soon be available on Amazon.
  • Don McNeill’s article, “US nuclear proliferation policy during the Clinton administration,” was published in April in the book Foreign Policy in the Clinton Administration (p. 55-72), edited by Rosanna Perotti, Nova Science Publishers, New York, 325 pp.
  • Donn Mitchell was selected to be a lead presenter at the May 10 Labor History Conference in New York, examining the labor movement and climate change. Donn's paper focuses on UAW leader Walter Reuther as an environmentalist before his time. Donn is the author of Tread the City's Streets Again: Frances Perkins Shares Her Theology. Donn is Editor & Publisher, The Anglican Examiner: www.AnglicanExaminer.
  • Roger Moseley’s book Morality: A Natural History will shortly be available on Amazon. For more information, visit: www.rogervmoseley.weebly.com
  • Karen Reeds gave a talk in March to the Columbia University Seminar on the Renaissance on: “Seeking Snakeroot in Eden: John Parkinson’s Theatrum Botanicum (1640) in Colonial Virginia.” Her article on “Vitamin B Complexities” was published online, open-access (https://remedianetwork.net/2019/03/04/vitamin-b-complexities/ March 4, 2019) as part of the series, ‘What Should I Eat? Why?’ commissioned by RemediaNetwork in collaboration with H-Net Nutrition by series editors Kristen Ann Ehrenberger and Lisa Haushofer.  
  • Beverly Jerold Scheibert lists among her more recent books and articles: “Tartini and the Two Forms of Appoggiature,” Eighteenth Century Music 16/1 (2019): 83-86; “Pascal Boyer: A Pioneer in Journalistic Music Criticism,” Fontes Artis Musicae, 65/3 (2018): 146-56; “A Vindication of Ferdinand Hiller,” Journal of Musicological Research 37/2 (2018): 141-65. While most of Beverly’s titles concern music, both “Vindication of Ferdinand Hiller” and “Zukunftsmusik/Music of the Future: A Moral Question,” treat anti-Semitism in the 19th century.


SDIS: San Diego Independent Scholars

San Diego Independent Scholars holds ongoing meetings of five study groups, in addition to monthly general meetings. Study groups include Colloquy Café, Culture One, Film Group, and Neuroscience Group, and the General Relativity Group.

Sam Gusman, SDIS former President, died April 16. In addition to heading SDIS from 2010 until 2014, his influence on the organization resulted in two new study groups, the Colloquy Café and Culture One. They exemplify Sam’s strong belief in participatory learning. He stressed the importance of conversation, of sharing various points of view and thus learning from one another. He will be greatly missed.

On May 18, 2019, at UCSD, Michael Seidel presented  “Slow Reformation in Martin Luther’s Backyard,” his research on the survival of  “Catholic” looking altar pieces and shrines in the Lutheran parish church in  Themar, Germany. Their survival of the Reformation has to do with the personal histories of local sovereigns, the Counts of Henneberg in the 16 century, and with lucky breaks in 1634 and 1905. Michael Seidel, SDIS member since 2012, is a retired industrial chemist and is a prior winner of the SDIS Helen Hawkins Grant.

  • Colloquy Café’s recent meetings have discussed “the worthwhile life” as presented in David Brooks’ recent book, “The Second Mountain.” Who is to judge a life, the self or others? Does the sense of worth come from within or without?
  • Culture One is discussing "China Rules," which examines how "China's Economy Became No. 2 (Superpower) by Defying No.1(US Power)". This reports how Chinese reforms fueled growth and state control resurged within the contemporaneous past.
  • The Film group has recently watched BlacKkKlansman, director Spike Lee's unflinching look at white supremism during a dark period in American history. Earlier in the spring, the group viewed Free Solo, a 2018 National Geographic documentary about one man’s free solo ascent of El Capital in Yosemite.
  • The General Relativity group recently finalized their discussion of the Schwarzschild geometry and Spherically symmetric Black Holes.
  • Neuroscience Study Group is reading Gazzaniga’s book "The Consciousness Instinct.”
  • The next general meeting of SDIS will be held on Sepember 21, 2019

For more information on SDIS, go to http://www.sdscholars.org

Contact us

National Coalition of Independent Scholars