With the help and oversight of Dr. Kaitlin Briggs and dozens of USM faculty advisors, Honors students defend their year-long, interdisciplinary thesis research projects. As you can see from the diverse list of topics, our students represent the whole of USM. We are extremely proud of their work and invite you to participate. They are free and open to the public!
Franklin Kendrick- The Shadow Makers: Exploring the Relationship Between Literature and Film
Thurs April 29th @ 12 noon; Honors House: 102 Bedford Street- Portland Campus
Karine Odlin- More Than a Box of Food: An Autoethnographic Discourse on Food Pantries in Southern Maine
Tues May 4th @ 4pm; location TBA
Lee Carleton- Changing Agrarian Knowledge Structures: The Effects of the Grange and the Impacts of the Land Grant College on the Autonomy and Adaptability of Maine’s Agrarian Vernacular Practices and Information Sharing
Wed May 5th @ 9am; 315 Bailey Hall, Gorham Campus
Emily Artesani – Mental Preparation Strategies, Behavioral Routines and Superstitions: A Look at the Awareness Level and Use of Techniques in Track and Field
Wed May 5th @ 12 noon; Honors House: 102 Bedford Street- Portland Campus
Jessie Leighton= Libation: A Modern Re-Telling of the Oresteia
Mon May 10th @ 12 noon; Honors House: 102 Bedford Street- Portland Campus
On Halloween, Fred Greenhalgh’s Final Rune Productions, along with actors from the Mad Horse Theatre Company, staged a live radio performance in the USM Talbot Auditorium. The event was a fundraiser for the WMPG Power Up campaign, but was also another stop on Fred’s journey to bring back Radio Drama and grow a new listening audience not only in Maine but around the world. Of today’s article, Fred says, “What a killer day for the art form, and of course my work personally!”
This week his work is featured in a Wall Street Journal article about the revival of Radio Drama. Where did Fred’s journey begin? With his Honors Thesis, of course! You can stop by the Honors House at 102 Bedford Street to see how his first ideas on Radio Drama Revival took shape, along with over 100 other thesis projects spanning the past 20 years.
Daniel’s Garden is the first novel by 2004 USM and Honors alumna Meg (Fletcher) North [left with Honors Director, Dr. Rose Cleary]. It is a coming-of-age story about a young man giving up his social status, education and success to join the Civil War as a Union Army soldier in 1862.
Meg says the idea for the book first came to her when she was 16 and read The Red Badge of Courage in an interdisciplinary history and literature class at Rockland District High School. Mr. Wright and Mr. Mogen discussed the Battle of Chancellorsville, which intrigued her and resulted in a preliminary first draft. But a trip to the Northeast Regional Honors Conference in Gettysburg, PA in 2003 placed Meg right in the middle of the world she had been envisioning. “You never know when a Civil War trip will change someone,” she says. It was on Little Round Top that she decided to develop the character study of her main character as her interdisciplinary Honors thesis.
The process required a tremendous amount of research into the battles Daniel Stuart would have participated in, as well as how soldiers dressed, cooked and passed the time. She became an expert on the politics of the 1860’s, as well as the philosophies that may have inspired Daniel. She feels that the genre of historical fiction can be misinterpreted as being only about one place in time; instead she views it as a backdrop for themes of life. “Reading classics and studying philosophy in Honors brought depth and complexity to Daniel’s character,” Meg says. “The story is an allegory of Paradise Lost, among other things, but above all it is a story of camaraderie in the midst of war.”
After graduation, Meg returned to Gettysburg for more in-depth research. She moved back to Maine, met her husband, and has been a docent for the Maine Historical Society where she gives summer tours of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow house. All along she has been developing her Honors thesis into a completed novel. When asked what Honors at USM brought to her life she says, “You don’t stop thinking in an interdisciplinary way when you graduate. It’s a paradigm shift in your world view. You develop a personal philosophy at a deep level.”
Daniel’s Garden will soon be available for purchase on Amazon.com or you can contact the author directly.
Congratulations to Professor Kaitlin Briggs of Honors and LAC on the publication of her article: Thesis as rhizome: a new vision for the honors thesis in the twenty-first century. in the JNCHC (Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council).
After graduating from USM with Honors in 2003, alumnus Nicholas Allanach went on to The New School in New York City where he now works. Recently he introduced a lecture by journalist Chris Hedges. To watch the lecture titled: Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle please visit the Youtube page. The following was taken from the New School Youtube post:
“Journalist Chris Hedges discusses his recent book Empire of Illusion: the End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle. In it, he charts the dramatic rise of a post-literate society that craves fantasy, ecstasy, and illusion. Hedges argues we now live in two societies: one, the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world and can cope with complexity and can separate illusion from truth; the other, a growing majority, is retreating from a reality-based world into one of false certainty and magic where serious film and theater, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins.
Chris Hedges, author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, is currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University. He writes for many publications, including Foreign Affairs, Harpers, The New York Review of Books, Granta, and Mother Jones. He is also a columnist for Truthdig.com.”
Honors will offer a hybrid course called Hon301B Internet Activism this spring. Half of the class will meet online and the other half will meet in person once a week. The class will be co-taught by Professor Dusan Bjelic and USM alumnus Alex Steed.
What is the class about?
The virtual activism field study will take students through the history of activism as aided by emerging communication strategies. Focusing on the earliest days of hacking/cracking culture in the United States and taking the class through more-contemporary examples of digital, grassroots activism as organized and expressed today, we will first focus on case studies through the lens of the theoretical examination offered in the previous semester. We will then turn our energies to a half-semester field study, in which we will participate in engaging in causes of our own interests, employing tactics we have learned about (and others, hopefully, that are learned about in independent research), and document this process in an electronic collaborative working document.
The individual elements of the final project will require the student to give background about their selected issue, an explanation of the activist’s approach(s) in the context of on-the-ground operation as well as theoretical contextualization. Students will then be required, after presenting their cause, to work together on this collaborative document in order to create a resource that can be used by and added onto by classes to come.
The in-class option is open to all USM students (Thursdays 4-6:30pm) and the online option is also open to students from outside USM. For more information please look up Class # 28407 on Mainestreet and/or contact Prof. Bjelic: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to Philosophy major Amanda Lynn Fickett who was accepted to Emerge Maine, the premier political leadership training program for Democratic women in Maine.
Participants meet one weekend a month for six months and participate in the following trainings:
- Campaign Strategy
- Public Speaking
- Labor & Endorsements
- Media Skills & Messaging
- Ethics in Politics
Participants will have the opportunity to meet women who hold elected office in Maine and discuss case studies of political leaders.
Jerry Conway, Professor of Philosophy and Honors will read and discuss two stories he wrote about teaching in the USM Honors Program on Tuesday, Nov. 10th from 9:30-11:30 am in 102 Wishcamper on Bedford Street. The event is sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute’s SAGE lecture series.
“You asked for him, now he’s back! Prof. Conway has been teaching philosophy at USM since the early Paleolithic Age. More recently, he has been writing a collection of stories about teaching. He’ll present two of these stories––one about witnessing the dynamite of philosophy in the lives of students and the other about the question of what makes a good teacher.”
Did you miss the live radio broadcast? Listen to it here!
USM and Honors alum Fred Greenhalgh produced and directed the first live radio drama at Luther Bonney’s Talbot Auditorium on the USM Portland campus Halloween night. The event was part of the fundraiser for WMPG’s “Power Up” campaign and audience members were invited to participate in the broadcast.
WPMG DJ and Radio Drama Revivalist, Fred Greenhalgh and his troupe performed five original plays in the style of classic radio. Actors performed while sound effects were created on the spot using things like macaroni and cheese to create the sound of flesh-eating zombies as well as an old-fashioned wind machine.
Check out Fred’s website Final Rune Productions for links to other productions and information about his mission to bring back radio drama. (below: Fred gets ready to start the show)
- The Ghost Behind the Black Door by Roger Gregg
A couple from the city moves to a mansion in the countryside only to find that things are not all as they expect… a spoof on the classic horror meme.
- Leaving You is Hell by Fred Greenhalgh
A dark retelling of the myth of Orpheus inspired by the classic jazz tune “St James Infirmary.” A man in New Orleans is doomed to keep falling in love with the same woman and seducing her to her death.
- Bone Lake by Mark LaFlamme
The ice fishing’s going well on Bone Lake, until a man comes from the winter’s night looking for a very strange catch.
- Third Shift by Kevin Anderson
A company will sell you very efficient workers at a bargain price. Just don’t send the living to check out their work.