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Lan-Chang Fellowship Opportunity

The purpose of the Lan-Chang Fellowship is to promote cultural understanding of China and award initiative, originality, and creative exploration. 

Two Grinnell College students shall be awarded support for the expenses of traveling to and from and living in China for six to eight weeks during the summer (each $3,500). Recipients will complete a Mentored Advanced Project (MAP) or other independent research project focused on China with a strong experiential component, requiring interaction with a variety of Chinese individuals and sites.

Students of any major who have completed their second year with at least one remaining semester to be completed on the Grinnell College campus before graduation are eligible. Knowledge of Chinese language or culture is not required; in fact, those without such experience are encouraged to apply. 

2015 recipient, Rosie O'Brien ’16 shares her experience: 

“My inquiry into rural  anesthetics was informative, life-changing, and successful. There are many ways to say that a thing is beautiful, and many ways to achieve a particular kind of beauty, but 21st—century China’s rate of exchange from rural to urban apace is too quick for artists and viewers to settle on any one of them. ... Thanks to the Lan-Chang Fellowship, I was able to center myself in the confusing world of contemporary art and the capitalist rhetoric of development and growth.”

Learn more about the Lang-Chang Fellowship (login required). 

A Conversation about the Iowa Caucuses

Grinnell College will host "A Conversation about the Iowa Caucuses with E.J. Dionne Jr. and David Shribman" at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.

The Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights is sponsoring the event, which is free and open to the public.

"We are so lucky to be in a position at Grinnell to hear from these distinguished journalists as part of our preparation to participate in the historic Iowa Caucuses," said Sarah Purcell, director of the Rosenfield Program and professor of history.

E.J. Dionne Jr.Dionne is a syndicated columnist, National Public Radio commentator, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a noted author. His books include Why Americans Hate Politics and Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond, scheduled for release this week by Simon & Schuster.

His new book "provides a sweeping, sophisticated and shrewd analysis of the radicalization of the Republican Party from the defeat of Goldwater to the rise of the Tea Party and the bizarre twists and turns of the GOP's presidential contest in the fall of 2015," according to a review by Glenn Altshulter in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

David ShribmanShribman has been executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette since 2003. Before joining the Post-Gazette, he covered politics for several other distinguished newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. His column, "My Point," is nationally syndicated. He received the Pulitzer Prize in journalism for his coverage of Washington in 1995.

This will be Shribman's second appearance at Grinnell in recent months. He served on a panel with a Des Moines Register political reporter and political columnist at another Rosenfield event on Dec. 7 titled "Journalists Talk About The Iowa Caucuses."

Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Rosenfield Center has accessible parking in the lot to the east. Room 101 is equipped with an induction hearing loop system. You can request accommodations from the event sponsor or Conference Operations and Events.

Bridging Scholarship and Activism

BlainGrinnell College's celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day will feature a speech on Tuesday, Jan. 26, by University of Iowa Assistant Professor of History Keisha N. Blain.

Although Jan. 18 was the King Holiday, the College is celebrating it on Jan. 26, the day after classes begin for the 2016 spring semester.

Blain's speech, titled "Bridging Scholarship and Activism: Reflections on the #Charlestonsyllabus," will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center Room 101. Immediately following the talk, Blain will join attendees in a buffet dinner. Both the speech and dinner are free and open to the public.

"Dr. Blain is a rising academic whose work demonstrates how scholarship and activism for social change can and must be connected," said Professor of History Sarah Purcell, who also directs the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights

"She will speak about connections in her own work on African American history," Purcell added, "and her work to educate the public about historical context necessary for understanding the Charleston shootings and continuing to combat white supremacy. Anyone with an interest in racial justice, current affairs, or history should not miss this talk."

Blain is one of the co-developers #Charlestonsyllabus, a Twitter movement and crowdsourced list of reading recommendations relating to the history of racial violence in the United States. It was created in response to the racially motivated shooting that took place in June 2015 during a Bible study class in a church in Charleston, South Carolina. The reading list has drawn international media attention from news outlets such as PBS, BBC, NPR, The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times.

Blain also is a co-editor of "Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism and Racial Violence," forthcoming later this year from the University of Georgia Press. In addition, she is completing her first solo-authored book, "Contesting the Global Color Line: Black Women, Nationalist Politics, and Internationalism," which is forthcoming from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Grinnell College's Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights is sponsoring Blain's speech and the buffet dinner. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is co-sponsoring the events.

Satisfactory Academic Progress and Financial Aid

A new Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy related to student financial aid takes effect beginning with the 2016 spring semester.

If you receive any form of financial aid, including work-study and loans, we encourage you to carefully review the policy in its entirety.

Contact the Office of Financial Aid if you have any questions.

2016 SCMS Undergraduate Conference

The January 29th deadline is fast approaching for submissions to the 2016 SCMS Undergraduate Conference, to be held April 14-17 on the University of Colorado Boulder campus.

This is a wonderful opportunity for students to experience the intellectual and social exchange that professionals enjoy at conferences. Please email your submission to Tiel Lundy.

Find the proposal form and more information on the SCMS Undergraduate Hub

Scholars' Convo: Katherine Verdery

Katherine VerderyLeading anthropology scholar Katherine Verdery, who studied her own surveillance file from Romania’s secret police force, will discuss the anthropology of the Romanian secret police during the first Scholars’ Convocation of the spring semester on Thursday, Jan. 28.

The free, public event, “Surveillance Techniques of the Romanian Secret Police” begins at 11 a.m. in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101.

Verdery is the Julien J. Studley Faculty Scholar and Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. In addition to CUNY, she has taught at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Michigan.

A past president of the American Association of Slavic Studies, Verdery is considered one of the world’s leading anthropologists of Eastern Europe and has been doing fieldwork in Romania since 1973. Her work, emphasizing themes of inequality, nationalism, and political economy, has earned seven book prizes, including the 2013 Society for Romanian Studies Biennial Book Prize.

Her research on the secret police began in 2008 when she obtained a copy of her own surveillance file from the Securitate, Romania’s secret police force. She read the files as if they were field notes of an anthropologist, seeking to reproduce the attitudes, worldview, and goals of the officers and informers who spied on her.

Verdery noted that the Romanian secret police always assumed she was a spy, not a scholar, because her research methods closely resembled their own tactics. She concluded that the methods of the police in tracking suspects and seeking dissidents often closely resembled the modern technique of social network analysis, since the police force was extremely interested in disrupting the social networks of potential dissidents and reincorporating them into the more politically acceptable sphere of Romanian life.

Verdery has published a book on her findings, Secrets and Truth: Ethnography in the Archives of Romania's Secret Police, and is working on a second, My Life as a Spy: Memoirs of a Cold War Anthropologist.

Humanities Center Film Festival

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 - 7:00pm to Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - 9:30pm
Harris Center


Dudley Andrew, Professor of Film and Comparative Literature, Yale University will give a talk on French cinema of the 1930s and 40s leading to the New Wave a decade later as an instance of the collaboration between artistic creation and political movements.  In speaking to our theme for the year: “Sites of Creativity,” he will describe the collaboration between filmmakers, their sense of the people, the popular, and everyday life that led to the socially committed work of the New Wave Cinema. We will screen A Day in the Country, Zéro de Conduite, and The Lower Depths. These three films are representative of the Poetic Realist movement of the 1930s in France. The depiction of the proletariat, the tensions between the upper and the lower classes, or the education system show how these directors are fully engaged as a group in the contemporary social issues. See complete schedule below.

Tuesday, February 16, Harris Center Cinema, 7:00 p.m.
A Day in the Country

This film is an adaptation of a short story by Guy de Maupassant, it depicts a brief and passionate love affair between Henriette, the daughter of a Parisian ironmonger, and Henri, an unoccupied boater. In many ways, this film is an homage to Renoir’s father, Auguste Renoir, and to Impressionism. One scene, of Henriette standing on a swing, is a direct cinematographic quote of Renoir father’s painting La Balançoire. Everywhere else, Impressionist themes or images are omnipresent: the play of light on water, the lunch on the grass, or the rowboat gliding on the river. Director, Jean Renoir, France, 1936, 41 minutes, black & white.

Zéro de Conduite

Vigo’s film describes the daily routine and the revolt of students living at a boarding school under repressive rules. Despite its short length, about 40 minutes, it is one of the most influential film in cinema history, a precursor to the French New Wave. It is also a perfect example of the poetic realism movement in the sense that the plot is grounded in social reality, but at the same time the revolutionary moment is aesthetic, particularly the film’s most epic scene, when insurrectionist students in pajamas engage in an epic slow motion pillow fight. Director, Jean Vigo, France, 1933, 44 minutes, black & white.

Wednesday, February 17, Harris Center Cinema, 7:00 p.m.
The Lower Depths

Voted 1936's best picture by a circle of prestigious French critics, Jean Renoir's The Lower Depths (Les Bas-Fonds) is based on the gutter play by Russian author Maxim Gorky. Louis Jouvet plays The Baron, forced by circumstance to give up his life of luxury and to set up residence in the slums of Paris. As Jouvet observes the passing parade, he bears witness to the frustrated romance between Jean Gabin and Junie Astor, the thwarted dreams of actor Robert Le Vigan, and the oppressive cruelties of landlord Vladimir Sokoloff. The Lower Depths surprised Renoir's admirers, who weren't used to seeing the director involve himself in so sordid and depressing a tale. Actually, the project was brought to Renoir by a producer friend of his, who secured the director's services by promising to provide Louis Jouvet and Jean Gabin as the leading actors. Director, Jean Renoir, France, 1936, 90 minutes, black & white.

Festival Keynote speaker: Dudley Andrew, Professor of Film and Comparative Literature, Yale University
Thursday, February 18, JRC 101, 7:30 p.m.
From Ciné-Liberté (1936) to Film Maudit (1949): Fever, Contagion, and Caution in the Avant-Garde

Dudley Andrew is Professor of Film and Comparative Literature at Yale. Biographer of André Bazin, he extends Bazin’s thought in What Cinema Is! (2011) in the edited volume, Opening Bazin (2012), and in his translation of a new collection, André Bazin’ New Media. Working in aesthetics, hermeneutics and cultural history, he published Film in the Aura of Art in 1984, then turned to French film with Mists of Regret (1995) and Popular Front Paris. He co-edited The Companion to Francois Truffaut (2013). For these publications, he was named Officier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.

All events are free and open to the public. French pastries will be served at the film showings.