NCIS Partner NEWS Spring-Summer 2021

FIRE-UK: Forum for Independent Research Endeavours – UK is a newly formed Partner group of independent researchers in the United Kingdom. FIRE-UK holds and has held a series of successful online events. FIRE-UK is planning our programme and activities for the rest of 2021 and into 2022.

To start the ball rolling FIRE-UK held a Networking event at 19.30 (UK time) on Thursday 10 June 2021. This was an opportunity to meet and network with other independent researchers, meet the FIRE-UK Steering Committee, tell us about your ideas about how FIRE-UK could help you, the kinds of activities you would like to join, find out how you can get involved in FIRE-UK, and help shape FIRE-UK's future plans. The free event was held online and lasted for approximately 1.5 hours.  
For more information, write to fireuk@ncis.org

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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 are being held on the Zaoom platform.

  • On Sept. 4, IHS members had a lively discussion during their annual (virtual) picnic.
  • On Sept. 19, Taryn Edwards spoke on "Out of the Fog: The Surprising Origin Story of the Cable Cars of San Francisco.”
  • On October 17 at 7 pm we will have a guest speaker, Jonathan Marshall, on "Organized Crime, Big Business, and the Corruption of American Democracy."

Other 2021 programs included:

  • On August 15: Christopher Webber presented “George Templeton Strong, the Civil War Sanitary Commission, and the Women’s Movement.”
  • July 22: A talk by member Stephen Barton about J. Stitt was co-sponsored with the Berkeley Historical Society.
  • July 18 program was "Solomon Schocken: Sonoma's Preeminent Jewish Entrepreneur” by Peter Meyerhof.

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

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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, as well as the technical and vocational education sector.

- ISAA National Conference has been re-scheduled for 23-24 September 2021 with the theme “No Place Like Home.”

New South Wales ISAA Chapter holds two work-in-progress meetings and two open forums per year. 
- On  4 February 2021, Christine Yeats spoke on the topic, “Doing Research: Shedding Light on the Australian Joint Copying Project.” The National Library of Australia has digitized over 10,000 reels of microfilm, covering 1560 to 1984.
- On 19 May 2021, at the second open forum, Professor Shirley Randell AO and Dr Hilary Yerbury made a presentation on their forthcoming publication: Gender and Learning in Rwanda: Reflections on feminist pedagogy and technocratic governance on empowerment of women

Australian Capital Territory (ISAA-ACT) holds monthly meetings in the National Library, Canberra.
- 16 May: Heather Jenks on Rebuilding ANU Library’s collections lost in the flood
- 20 June: Martha Sear on current developments in the National Museum of Australia
- 10 July: Sarah Macneill on being an Anglican bishop.

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

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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.

Recent & upcoming events include:

September 25, 2021: Erica Nutzman gave a brief overview of the history of the Minnesota State Law Library as well as describing the unique resource collections available there for research. In particular, there are a number of different resources about court personnel, particularly oral history resources and other materials about specific judges. There are many historical sources as well, such as legal briefs, lawyer roll books, books on court history, and other unique resources.

          Erica Nutzman has been a librarian for over twenty years, with experience working in nearly every type of library and position, starting in public libraries, spending many years as an academic librarian and for the last six years has been Head of Technical Services at the Minnesota State Law Library, where she oversees the collection, including the rare books and the archives. 

October 23, 2021: Nancy Sims will explore copyright issues. How long does copyright protection for fictional characters last? Why are people still suing about Sherlock Holmes whose last appearance in an Arthur Conan Doyle story was in 1927. What is in the public domain and free to all and what can land you in court? Join us for an excursion into the wonderful world of intellectual property and the laws that seek to protect and control it.

           Nancy Sims is the Copyright Program Librarian at the University of Minnesota and a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.

November 20, 2021James Brewer Stewart will talk on the "Racial Paradox of the Twin Cities." Why has our famously liberal political culture been at the same time so brutally hard on minorities? Looking at wealth gaps, incarceration, life expectancy etc. we vie with Mississippi. How to explain how the land of Humphry, Mondale, Wellstone, Gene McCarthy has turned out to treat dark skinned people the way it has? Answers date back to pre-Civil war days and have much to do with Swedes, Germans and Irish immigrants as well as Indian removal and the "great migration" of Black people from the South. 

        James Brewer Stewart is a Professor of History Emeritus  at Macalester College, author of books on abolitionists, slavery, and racism, and Founder of Historians Against Slavery.

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

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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 Sept. 29, Morgen Young spoke about the work of Historical Research Associates (HRA), a group that has provided historical research, heritage interpretation, and cultural resource management services for public and private clients since 1974. HRA is a women-owned small business, with offices across the country. HRA staff assist government entities, communities, and staff at historic sites in creating interpretive plans as well as master plans for culturally sensitive sites. 


Morgen Young leads HRA's interpretive services program. She is based in their Portland office. Her expertise includes historical research, writing, editing, exhibition development and curation, interpretative planning, oral history, digital history, and documentary videos. She has a background in nineteenth and twentieth century United States history, the history of the Pacific Northwest, community history, and the history of health sciences. Prior to joining HRA in 2016, she ran her own historical consulting business.

May 5, 2021, Martha Bailey spoke on "Science, Skepticism, and the Unknown: Educating Community College Students about Science." Many students arriving at the community college today have not had sufficient education in and about science to understand scientific procedures and findings, much less make good judgments about information that purports to be scientific. They are unable to separate science from pseudo-science. This talk will discuss one class that seeks to address the issue, PHL 195 at Portland Community College, and the challenges educators have today, in countering the anti-science rhetoric in the broader culture.

On March 31, 2021, Barbara Canavan gave a presentation on “Zoonotic Disease: Past and Present.”

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

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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. PRF publishes a newsletter three times a year (Karen Reeds, Editor; Grayson Barber, Associate Editor) and a calendar that appears monthly except in the summer (Connie Goddard, Editor). Linda Holt is PRF president.

The Humanities Group was chaired for many years by Ashwini Mokashi. In recent years, she led in-person and then Zoom discussions of such books as Just Us by Claudia Rankin, the Enchiridion of Epictetus, and Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Catherine Boos. Ashwini has moved to Oxford, and Jeffrey Spear has assumed the chair in her place. The meeting time of the group has moved to the third Saturday of the month from 10 a.m. to noon ET. The first Zoom discussion with the new chair and time was of Aristotle's the Poetics. The reading for October will be Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia. Until it is safe to do otherwise, all meetings will be via Zoom.

The PRF Poetry Group, continues meeting on Zoom twice a month on the first Sunday and third Monday. Members read and discuss poems on the spot; the current reading is from a selection of the work of Theodore Roethke. Poets recently discussed include A.R. Ammons, Alice Oswald, and Gary Snyder. Contact for the group is Winifred Hughes.

The PRF Science / Science History Group, hosted by Boris Katz, is meeting online using Zoom conferencing software. Among the books the group has recently discussed are: Morality: A Natural History by PRF secretary Roger MoseleyEnlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker and Life's Engines: How Microbes Made Earth Habitable by Rutgers University's professor Paul Falkowski, who participated in the meeting. 

Recent PRF Work-in-Progress events included "From Independent Scholarship to the Practical World," led by Ashwini Mokashi on February 28, and "Visualizing Wisdom: The Mindful Brush of Confucian Moral Artistry," presented by Terri McNichol on March 31.  The Zoom format enabled non-members (including members of NCIS) to participate in these sessions. Ellen Gilbert is Chair and contact.

For more information, go to http://www.princetonresearchforum.org

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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, Film Group, Bioscience Group, Physical Science Group, Reading Experience, and Inside Politics. Because of Covid-19, all meetings are currently being held via Zoom video-conferencing.

Fall 2021
Saturday, October 16. Lecture given by Dr. Faye Girsh, “The Worldwide Search for a Peaceful Death” explored laws for assisted dying in other parts of the world, compared to those in California. A former President of the Hemlock Society, founder of the Caring Friends program, and a clinical and forensic psychologist, Dr. Girsh has lectured extensively both abroad and in the U.S.
Colloquy Café meets on the third Wednesday of every month. During their September meeting, they wrestled with the concept “pandemic,” starting with history from the 1500s. In October their topic is “the role of the military in a democracy.”
• In September, the Film Group viewed Frida by Julie Taymoor, which evoked many positive reactions. Alfred Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent was their October program. In November, the Film Group will begin a new series with The Jazz Singer (19927), considered the first talky. 
Biosciences Group is the new name for the for the Neuroscience group. During the  October meeting, members explored concepts from the book Thinking Fast and Thinking Slow by Daniel Kahneman. This is part of their fall focus on “cognitive bias.”
• The Physical Science Study Group is studying Griffiths’ Introduction to Elementary Particles and are using newly developed tools to carry out Feynman Diagram calculations.
• The Reading Experience group meets on the third Monday morning of each month. Their September gathering discussed “The Rainbow Comes and Goes” correspondence between Anderson Cooper and his mother Gloria Vanderbilt. In October they are examining A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.
Inside Politics meets via Zoom on the first Saturday of each month. Their September gathering discussed the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan; the October topic is the domestic view of the Biden Administration.
• A new Works in Progress group is now forming to share scholarship written by members, to provide feedback, and to act as a sounding board. Organizers are Ken Krauss and Dorothy Parker.

For more information on SDIS, go to http://www.sdscholars.org. For questions or to be placed on the SDIS mailing list, contact sdisask@gmail.com

Contact us

National Coalition of Independent Scholars