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"So you want to start a podcast?" Publishing Spoken-Word and Oral Histories with New Media

Friday, October 7, 2016 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm
The Digital Liberal Arts Lab (DLab), in the Forum
Veronica Pejril
Interim Director of Instructional and Learning Services of DePauw University

Attendees will learn about podcasting's short history, gain perspective into what creates a compelling web-based audio product, and practice the kinds of audio editing and production techniques necessary to make great audio stories. This workshop is open to all students.

Games Help New Students Connect

apjacob18 avatar screen showing 21635 XP at Level 7 with Team MysitcFirst-year student Ayyad Jacob ’20 found a pretty cool ally to help him navigate Grinnell College — Pokémon Go.

“It’s cool to see a lot of the residence halls and buildings as PokéStops. It helps me visualize campus much more,” Jacob says. “I hope it does the same for downtown Grinnell.”

The insanely popular location-based augmented reality game by Niantic, downloaded by millions of smartphone users, urges players to explore the outdoors and capture virtual creatures called Pokémon. It’s also helping college students at Grinnell and elsewhere connect.

“The Lure Module feature can help you find other players on campus. The more people you know the better,” Jacob says. “It can help you identify important landmarks around campus and downtown. It’s a great way to come across new places.”

Jacob is certain to meet fellow Pokémon Go players in Grinnell’s class of 2020, which consists of about 419 students. 

Growlithe in front of Noyce Science Center, Grinnell CollegeHere are some preliminary statistics about the new first-year class:

  • 24% are U.S. domestic students of color.
  • 15% are first-generation college students.
  • 60% graduated from public high school.
  • 80% participated in community service.
  • 30% participated in student government.
  • 23% were members of literary organizations/wrote for high school publications.
  • 68% participated in fine arts (music, theatre, dance, visual art).
  • 30% were active in debate, speech, or forensics.
  • 40% were varsity athletes.
  • Incoming first-year students represent 35 states and the District of Columbia.
  • Included in the class are 99 international students (24 percent of the entering class), representing 25 countries.

The College’s social media sites highlight PokéStops on campus and remind students to use caution when playing the game — especially around campus construction projects.

Prerana Adhikjari ’20 wanted to play Pokémon Go this summer, but the app was unavailable at her home in Kathmandu, Nepal, so there was no Pikachu-catching for her and no Poké Ball-throwing. Now that she’s on campus and poised to begin the academic year, she is eager to make new friends, meet professors, and play the game with other Grinnellians.

Screen from pokemon go showing avatar on map, with gym in background“Pokemon Go is one of the many things that gets me excited about college,” says Adhikjari.

The game isn’t just for students. Jacob is certain some of his professors are playing, too.

“The game is a phenomenon that is touching all generations. Even my dad plays Pokémon Go,” he says.

Jacob spent the summer working as an intern at a social service center in his hometown of Chicago. He also biked around the Chicago Lakefront Trail. He said an old high school teacher gave him a valuable piece of advice about preparing for college. 

“Never be afraid to sit with someone in the dining hall or talk to the guy in the dorm next to you. Everyone feels awkward at first,” Jacob says. “Be the one to break the silence. You never know when you might need one of them to have your back.” 

Or band together and coordinate an attack on the gym at Clark.

Ayyad Jacob ’20 is from Chicago.

Prerana Adhikari ’20 is from Kathmandu, Nepal.

Spark Tank Kickoff

The kickoff event for the Spark Tank Innovation competition will be held in Alumni Recitation Hall, Room 102 from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016.

Community members will present social justice issues to be addressed by teams of students.

This competition will start on Sept. 13 and will end on Feb. 2 when teams will present their proposals to a live audience and a panel of judges for a prize of up to $15,000 to fund their work in the Grinnell community.​

Lunch will be provided at the kickoff event. 

Sponsored by the Donald L. & Winifred Wilson Center for Innovation and Leadership.

Building Local Food Systems: 2 Case Studies

Thomas Nelson ’91How do you create a local food system? Two speakers will answer that question on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016. They have experience in creating local food systems in two very different locations: the Bay Area of San Francisco and the Meskwaki Settlement in Iowa’s Tama County.

Jennifer Vazquez-Koster will speak about “Beginning a Local Food System at the Meskwaki Settlement” at 4 p.m.

At 7:30 p.m. Thomas Nelson ’91 will discuss “Community-based Strategies to Scale Up Sustainable Food.”

Both presentations, which are free and open to the public, will take place in room 101 of Grinnell College’s Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, 1115 Eighth Ave., Grinnell. Refreshments will be served. Grinnell College’s Center for Prairie Studies is sponsoring the speeches.

More and more people are interested in eating food raised near where they live because it is fresher, tastes better, and is often more nutritious, says Jon Andelson, professor of anthropology and director of the Center for Prairie Studies. 

Local foods are produced on a smaller scale and are more likely to be raised using organic methods, which make it healthier, Andelson adds. Purchasing food grown near where you live also contributes more to the local economy than buying the same food from big retail grocers.

But “buying local” can involve many challenges:

  • Is supply adequate to meet the demand?
  • How do consumers connect with farmers?
  • Are the types of food being raised locally also the types that consumers want?
  • Is local food out of the price range of many consumers?
  • If locally raised food is normally available for only part of the year, can anything be done to lengthen the growing season or make the food available year-round?

Answers to many of these questions can be found through the creation of local food systems. Going beyond ad hoc relationships and even such worthy organizations as farmers’ markets, a local food system is a coordinated, planned set of institutionalized relationships among farmers, consumers, businesses and communities, structured in a way that maximizes the availability of affordable local food to members of a community.

Jennifer Vazquez-KosterVazquez-Koster has been working on local food initiatives in Iowa for 10 years. As manager of the 2-year old Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative, she oversees three garden-farm operations at the Meskwaki Settlement in Tama County.

These operations consist of a senior garden affiliated with the senior living center at the Meskwaki Settlement, a school garden and Red Earth Gardens, a large-scale commercial organic operation that sells produce through a Tribally Supported Agriculture (TSA) program, a farm stand and area grocery stores. The concept behind “food sovereignty” is for the Meskwaki to reclaim their food system from the national industrial food and agriculture system.

Nelson has been instrumental in advancing the local food system in the San Francisco Bay Area. He launched a community-based social enterprise, Capay Valley Farm Shop, which connects 54 farms and ranches in the Capay Valley to Bay Area families and enterprises such as tech companies, online grocery and neighborhood businesses. 

He is also a business advisor at Kitchen Table Advisors, a nonprofit that works with beginning farmers to help them market their products. In addition, he serves on the board of California FarmLink, which has created a statewide program of economic development support for beginning, limited-resource, immigrant and other underserved farmers across the state.

Exhibition of Nature Photographs

Owl perched on brown vegetation in a snowy field“Nature photography is my passion,” says Ken Saunders II, who retired from a long career with the College’s facilities management department in 2015.

“Looking at his photographs, one is compelled to add that nature photography is also his forte,” says Jon Andelson, professor of anthropology and director of the Center for Prairie Studies. “Ken’s striking photographs show us nature at its most beautiful. His favorite subjects are individual animals and plants, captured in their natural habitat at rest or in motion, with close-up or telephoto lens.”

Saunders took all of the photographs in this exhibit, titled “Portraits of Nature in Iowa,” within 40 miles of Grinnell. The exhibit will open Aug. 25 and run through Oct 15 in Burling Gallery on the lower level of Burling Library, 1111 Sixth Ave., Grinnell.

It may surprise some viewers that this diversity of wildlife can be found so close to our community, Andelson adds.  

It seems likely that Saunders would agree with Henry David Thoreau’s statement, “What’s the need of visiting far-off mountains and bogs if a half-hour’s walk will carry me into such wildness and novelty?” — though in fact he also photographs in other parts of the country, especially in the mountain west.

Saunders recalls getting his first camera — a Kodak 104 Instamatic, which retailed for $15.95 – when he was about 7 years old. Many years later he advanced to a 35mm film single-lens reflex camera, a Pentax, and then in 2003 began experimenting with digital photography.  He got his first digital single-lens reflex camera in 2006, a Nikon D200, and has been working in this vein ever since.

The Center for Prairie Studies and the Faulconer Gallery are co-sponsoring the exhibit of Saunders’ photography. An opening reception will take place at Burling Gallery) at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2. Refreshments will be served.

Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.




Share the Joy of Choral Music

John RommereimStarting Monday, Aug. 29, the Grinnell Oratorio Society will begin rehearsals for a December performance of Handel’s “Messiah” with a professional orchestra and soloists. The chorus is open to all — Grinnell students, faculty, staff, and community members, and does not require an audition.

Rehearsals will be held from 7-9 p.m. Mondays at Sebring-Lewis Hall in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell. The performance of the “Messiah” will start at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, in Sebring-Lewis Hall. For more information, email John Rommereim, Blanche Johnson Professor of Music at Grinnell College. 

“The Grinnell Oratorio Society provides a wonderful opportunity for area singers to rehearse and perform exciting music with others who are passionate about singing,” says Rommereim, director of the group.

Originally founded in 1901, the Grinnell Oratorio Society was, in the early decades of the 20th Century, one of Iowa’s most auspicious musical institutions. Edward Scheve (1865-1924), a composer of symphonies, concertos, oratorios and chamber music, established the choir as an outgrowth of the music conservatory that was then part of Grinnell College.

In 2010, the Grinnell Community Chorus was renamed the Grinnell Oratorio Society as a way to draw attention to this proud history. The choir draws together students, faculty, and staff of the College, people from the town of Grinnell, and nearby communities such as Newton and Malcolm. 

Rethinking Global Cultures

The Center for the Humanities would like to extend a warm welcome to the new academic year.

We have an exciting and still developing roster of public events on tap for this year’s theme, “Rethinking Global Cultures.”

Our visitors will give us new perspectives on the global dimensions of geographic roaming, transfer and exchange of knowledge, relationships of power, and the less known lives of communities, societies, and marginal groups.

Students, interested in global cultures?

Why not earn a credit per semester and get the most out of the series? Register for the center’s year-long seminar, Rethinking Global Cultures (HUM-SOC 295-03/SST 295-04). You’ll read and discuss a selection of each visitor’s work and contribute writing for a public-facing digital humanities project.

Faculty and staff, see something you'd like to be a part of?

We encourage you to participate in the seminar as well! Do some speakers pique your interest? Please get in touch with Elizabeth Prevost or Caleb Elfenbein if you would like to join for a session or more.

As always, the center will also be supplementing this programming with other kinds of events geared toward nurturing intellectual life in our community.

Thank you — and we look forward to seeing you at humanities center events this year!

2016-’17 Center for the Humanities Events

Chen Yi, September 13

Professor Chen will discuss how she blends Chinese and Western musical traditions in her musical compositions.

Natalie Rothman, September 26

Professor Rothman will explore cultural mediation in the early modern Mediterranean, tracing movements and developments across cultures and empires.

Webb Keane, November 1

Professor Keen will discuss his work on social and cultural theory around questions of ethics, morality, and media across cultural and disciplinary boundaries.

Sahar Amer, November 16

Professor Amer will speak on cultural borders/relations between Arab and Muslim and Western societies, especially around gender and sexuality.

Humanities Film Festival, February 19 -21

Come join us for an exciting lineup of films and discussions exploring our theme for the year, Rethinking Global Cultures!

Kathleen Newman, February 22

Professor Newman will explore film and transnational social movements, focusing especially on the relation between fiction and politics.

Mimi Sheller, March 1

Professor Sheller will speak on cultures of mobility in the modern era, particularly as they relate to questions of sustainability and Justice.

Khurram Hussein, April 11

Professor Hussein will discuss the intellectual dynamism of modern philosophy in a global setting, highlighting Islamic traditions of thought.

Shape Your Experience, Shape Your Community

Got a minute?

Your feedback shapes our themes.

At the Center for the Humanities, we are looking ahead (already!) to 2017-18. We want to know what our students, faculty, and staff think are the most pressing issues facing our community. What do you think we should be talking about?

Please let us know with this very brief anonymous survey. (Just one question!)

You can also Tweet your responses @GrinHum using #gcpublicsquare.

We will create a theme based on the feedback we receive and will plan humanistic programming that will help our community think through what is most on its collective mind.

In this way, we hope the humanities center becomes something of a virtual public square for our community.

Got an hour?

The center will hold its annual interest group meeting on Tuesday, September 6 from noon to 1 p.m. in ARH 120. We will provide light snacks and refreshments.

Come learn about the center’s work and participate in brainstorming about future programming.

We are always on the lookout for people interested in serving on the Center's advisory board, an all-campus service opportunity built around helping make interesting things possible on campus.


Global Politics of Migration and Refuge

Symposium: Global Politics of Migration and Refuge

Co-sponsored by the John Chrystal Fund for Distinguished Foreign Visitors and the Institute for Global Engagement.

Tuesday, Sept. 6

4 p.m., Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101

Grinnell Faculty Panel

  • Leif Brottem, assistant professor of political science
  • David Campbell, professor of biology; Henry R. Luce Professor of Nations and the Global Environment
  • Xavier Escandell, associate professor of anthropology
  • Sharon Quinsaat, instructor in sociology
  • *moderated by David Cook-Martin, professor of sociology. asst. vice president for global education

5 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101

Buffet Dinner

5:30 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101

Recent Immigrants and Refugees in Iowa

*Sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies

7 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101

Shouldering the Refugee Burden: Jordan and the Global Refugee Crisis

Rawan Arar, Doctoral Candidate, Sociology, UC, San Diego; graduate student researcher at Center for Comparative Immigration Studies

Wednesday, Sept. 7

4 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101

The New Drivers of Foreign Policy and International Relations: People on the Move

Kathleen Newland,  co-founder and senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute

7:30 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101

Global Production of Migration and Displacement: Insights on the Meatpacking Industry in the Midwest

Faranak Miraftab, professor of urban and regional planning, University of Illinois

Thursday, Sept. 8

11 a.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101

Scholars’ Convocation: From Undocumented to DACAmented: Understanding Legal Status in a New  Policy Context

Roberto Gonzales, assistant professor of education, Harvard University

4 p.m., Rosenfield Center, Room 101

Alumni Legal Perspectives

  • Charles Adkins-Blanch ’84, vice chairman, Board of Immigration Appeals, U.S. Dept. of Justice
  • Dree Collopy ’04, partner/attorney; Benach Collopy LLP
  • Deisy Del Real ’07, doctoral candidate, UCLA; invited doctoral researcher at the University of Buenos Aires
  • Jillian Kong-Sivert ’91, Law Office of Jillian Kong-Sivert, PLLC

Meet Our New Grinnell College Librarians

Mark Christel, Librarian of the CollegeMark Christel, Librarian of the College. Prior to coming to Grinnell, Mark worked as Humanities Librarian at Hope College, as Associate Director for Reader Services and Collections at Vassar College, and, for the past 8 years, as Library Director at the College of Wooster in Ohio. Mark holds Master’s degrees in library science from the University of Michigan and in English from Rutgers and a B.A in English with honors from the University of Wisconsin--Madison.


Liz Rodrigues, Humanities & Digital Scholarship LibrarianLiz Rodrigues, Digital Scholarship Librarian.  Liz returns to Grinnell as a library faculty member. During the 2008-2009 academic year she held a term appointment here as a reference and instruction librarian. Most recently, Liz served as a postdoctoral fellow in digital scholarship at Temple University.  She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Michigan, with a Certificate in African American & Diaspora Studies; an M.A. in Library & Information Science, University of South Florida; an M.F.A. in Poetry from Florida Atlantic University; and a B.A. in English from Kenyon College. 


Rebecca Ciota, Discovery & Integrated Systems Librarian

Rebecca Ciota is Grinnell’s new Systems Librarian. Rebecca holds an M.S. from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Graduate School of Library and Information Science and a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Oberlin College.