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Fred Magdoff: Capitalism and Agriculture

On Monday, April 11, Fred Magdoff, emeritus professor of plant and soil science at the University of Vermont, will discuss capitalism, agriculture, soil, and soil health in two event.

He will give a talk, “Capitalism and Agriculture” at 7:30 p.m. in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101. Before the talk, Magdoff will lead a roundtable discussion about “Soil and Soil Health” at 4 p.m. in Noyce Science Center, Room 1022.

Grinnell College's Center for Prairie Studies is sponsoring the events, which are free and open to the public.

“When a leading soil scientist and a leading political activist are the same person, the results are bound to be interesting,” said Jon Andelson, Rosenfield professor of social science-anthropology and director of the Center for Prairie Studies. “Professor Magdoff will subject the capitalist context of American and world agriculture to critical scrutiny, as he has in much of his published work. If you believe capitalism is the best economic system for agriculture, come and hear an argument to the contrary.”

Numerous social and ecological problems arise from the way that agriculture functions within capitalist economies, according to Magdoff. These include hunger in the midst of plenty, lack of nutrient cycling, poor rotations, inhumane raising of animals on factory farms, poor treatment of farm and slaughterhouse labor, and environmental pollution with pesticides and fertilizers.

He asserts that these problems are outcomes of a system in which the overriding goal and motivating force is profit. In such a system, decisions that makes sense from the narrow economic standpoint, are frequently ecologically and socially irrational.

Magdoff's interests range from soil science to agriculture and food (science, production, economics, policy) to the environment to the U.S. economy. His science research has expored ways to improve soil fertility, especially focusing on the critical role of soil organic matter. He oriented his agricultural outreach activities to explaining the application of ecological principles to food production.

He is co-author of Building Crops for Better Soil: Sustainable Soil Management and What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism. He is co-editor of Agriculture and Food in Crisis: Conflict, Resistance and Renewal. His forthcoming book, Creating an Ecological Society, is due out later this year.

Mortal Tongues, Immortal Stories

Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company will present Mortal Tongues, Immortal Stories is a multimedia dance project that bears witness and celebrates the lives of poets and artists lost to AIDS. Based on the anthology "Persistent Voices: Poetry by Writers Lost to AIDS", this evening-length performance brings together spoken word, artists, dancers, and stunning visual designs in short vignettes that create an imaginary world inspired by the poems.

The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 9, 2016, in Flanagan Theatre, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. Tickets are required for this free event and are available at the Campus Box Office begin April 4.

The day before their performance, three members of Dakshina — Chris August, Daniel Phoenix Singh, and Gowri Koneswaran — will speak on the interdisciplinary nature of Dakshina’s work and how art can address social issues within the context of their upcoming performance of Mortal Tongues, Immortal Stories. The entire company of 11 will be present to contribute to the discussion and answer questions.

The event begins at noon, Friday, April 8, in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, Room 152, and lunch provided.

Grinnell College's Artists@GrinnellDepartment of Theatre & Dance, Center for International Studies, and Center for Humanities are sponsoring the free, public events.

About Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company

Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company is an emerging dance company based in Washington D.C. They perform and present Indian dance forms, such as Bharata Natyam, and modern dance, mirroring the multiple identities of second generation South Asians. The group combines the arts with social justice issues by incorporating the themes into their work and partnering with local community centers and schools.

With Photosphere, You are (Almost) There

Have cellphone, will travel: that’s the mantra in today’s device-driven world. Now, with a smartphone camera and a special app, a new project is providing virtual tours of archaeological sites in northern Arizona.

The Kaibab National Forest’s website now displays amazing 360-degree views of actual pueblos and rock art sites, old cabins and fire lookouts, and historic railroads, trails, and roads.

Using Google Camera on a phone, archaeologist Neil Weintraub [’86] snaps a picture at a site — or actually 41 images stitched together, to form a collage called a “photosphere.” On screen, users can rotate the view and gain a sense of the entire surrounding landscape. When that image is downloaded into the Tiny Planets app, a compressed and more artistic rendering can be created.

Neil feels this technique will provide an unusual perception on archaeological and historical sites.  It provides for him additional clues as to why people built pueblos where they did many years ago.  Also the near three-dimensional pictures show how significant the sky and landscape was to people who resided in the region many years ago.

While it is not the same as being there in person, Weintraub is confident that this method will provide people a preview, so that when or if they do visit it in person, they will see it from a new perspective.

Originally appeared in KNAU Earth Notes. Republished with permission.

The National Water Dance Comes to Grinnell

Ivy Kuhn ’16 and an ensemble will perform a dance as part of the National Water Dance project at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 16. Kuhn organized the event and choreographed the community-dance project as part of a Mentored Advanced Project with Celeste Miller, assistant professor of theatre and dance.

Kuhn's performance, which will feature the Tai Chi Women's Group, Grinnell Community Ensemble, and Pioneer String Quartet, will take place at the College's Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA). Sponsored by the Center for Prairie Studies, it is free and open to the public.

The performance at CERA is one of more than 100 National Water Dance sites around the nation that will join together April 16 for a simultaneous event to bring awareness to the pressing issues of water. This event will be live-streamed on the National Water Dance website

National Water Dance is an organization that creates opportunities for dancers of all ages to experience the power of art and performance as a vehicle for social change by collaborating on the formation of a nationwide movement choir.

“Water is so obviously precious to human life — and to all life — that we shouldn’t need a dance to make us realize it. But this dance is taking place at locations all around the country on the same day and at the same time as a statement that we need to achieve an even more profound realization,” said Jon Andelson ’70, Rosenfield professor of science – anthropology and director of the Center for Prairie Studies. 

Each site of the National Water Dance project features a dance that is specifically choreographed to reflect a local water issue.

“I centered my choreography,” Kuhn said, “on the sensory elements of the prairie playing with the imagery of the extensive roots, gravity and sinking, the exchange between breath and contact, in contrast to the internal and external sense of water's fluidity and ability to flood and alter when there is nothing holding it in place.”

Audience participation will be invited at the April 16 event at CERA. “If you can move,” Andelson said, “you can participate in this dance.”

Those interested in participating in the dance are encouraged to attend one of the following workshops, which are open to all ages with no dance experience required:

  • Saturday, April 9, 10:30-11:30 a.m., North Room of the Grinnell Arts Center, 926 Broad St.
  • Saturday, April 9, 1-2 p.m., Caulkins Community Room at the Drake Community Library, 930 Park St.
  • Sunday, April 10, 3:30-4:30 p.m., room 209 of Grinnell College's Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, 1115 Eighth Ave.
  • Tuesday, April 12, 2-3 p.m., Carmen Center, Mayflower Community, 616 Broad St.

Free, round-trip bus transportation to CERA on April 16 will be provided at 2:15 p.m. at the Rosenfield Center. Reservations can be made by contacting Jan Graham, 641-269-4384, by noon, Tuesday, April 13.

To drive to CERA, take Interstate-80 west from Grinnell to Exit 173. Go north on Highway 224 and turn right on the first gravel road (South 12th Avenue East), following it east about 1.5 miles to the main entrance of CERA.

Exploring Radical Politics in Jerusalem

Michael TeutschA free, public screening of "Café Ta´amon," light buffet dinner, and talk by the documentary's director, Michael Teutsch, will start at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, in Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101. No reservations are needed.

The Ta´amon on King George Street is one of the oldest cafes in Jerusalem and it is world famous. Golda Meir, the fourth prime minister of Israel, drank coffee there, and so did Noble Peace Prize-winner Shimon Peres, former prime minister and president of Israel.

The cafe has been a meeting place for radical Leftist-political-activists, artists, politicians, and the literati. Israel and its political development have been fervidly debated here — in the past as well as today. The cafe, established in 1936, is history in a microcosm.

A Jewish family took the cafe over again in the 1960s. Together with Hamis, a Muslim, they cater to their guests day after day. The director precisely documents their everyday life. He shows the bistro, its owners, and customers. He moves away from them to investigate stories and comes back again — to Ta'amon and its record of contemporary history.

Movie poster for Cafe Ta'amon"This film takes us through the living history of a movement, the movement for peace and social justice," said K. Gibel Mevorach, professor of anthropology and American studies and Chair of the Cultural Films Committee: "It leaves us with the questions: 'What do activists do when the movement stalls, bogs down, or begins to fade away?' and 'What is revolutionary and transformative?'

"These are urgent questions for our times, not just there but here and everywhere," Gibel Mevorach added. "The path toward the fullest expression of rights and realization of potential for all human beings is fraught with challenges, full of unexpected successes and devastating or exhausting failures."

The Cultural Films Committee is sponsoring the event in conjunction with the Department of German.

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 Conference Operations and Events.

The National Water Dance Comes to Grinnell

Saturday, April 16, 2016 - 3:00pm to 3:30pm
CERA

Featuring live music from the Pioneer String Quartet, dance performance by Ivy Kuhn and Ensemble, Tai Chi Women's Group, and the Grinnell Community Ensemble.

Over 100 sites in 35 states are coming together to bring attention to the pressing issues of water in the United States through embodied action! Come celebrate and bring awareness to the importance of water in our lives!

Bus transportation leaving from the JRC at 2:15 p.m. Please reserve a spot by emailing Jan Graham by noon, Tuesday, April 13th.

Come Dance With Us! Seeking dancers of all ages!

Saturday, April 9, 2016 - 10:30am to Tuesday, April 12, 2016 - 3:00pm
The National Water Dance Comes to Grinnell!

Seeking dancers of all ages! No previous dance experience necessary!

Come learn a simple dance phrase to be performed as part of the National Water Dance at CERA on Saturday, April 16th at 3:00 p.m.

This is a unique opportunity to bring attention to the pressing water issues in the United States through embodied action! Over 100 sites in the United States are participating now!

To join please attend one of the following workshops:

Saturday, April 9th 10:30-11:30 a.m. at Grinnell Area Arts, North Room

Saturday, April 9th 1:00-2:00 p.m. at the Drake Community Library, Caulkins Community Room

Sunday, April 10th 3:30-4:30 p.m. at Grinnell College, JRC 209

Tuesday, April 12th 2:00-3:00 p.m. at the Mayflower Carmen Center

Performance: Saturday, April 16th 3:00-3:30 p.m. at CERA

Please contact Ivy Kuhn, organizer and choreographer for more information: kuhnivy[at]grinnell[dot]edu
 

Student and Faculty Exhibitions at Faulconer Gallery

Student and faculty exhibitions at Faulconer Gallery open with a combined reception at 4 p.m. Friday, April 8.

The student BAX Exhibition will be on view through May 1, while the Studio Faculty Exhibition will continue through June 19.

Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, and admission is free. The gallery will be closed for Memorial Day on May 30.

Bachelor of Arts Exhibition (BAX)

Caelum Froikin and Ezra Edgerton "Flipbook No. 1"

An electric flipbook created by seniors Caelum Froikin and Ezra Edgerton "Flipbook No. 1," 2016 Archival digital print, wood, power drill.

The Bachelor of Arts Exhibition features works in the creative arts by students at Grinnell College.

BAX is an exhibition of works by advanced third- and fourth-year art students. This year, the exhibition will feature works by 22 students in a variety of media including painting, photography, print, drawing, sculptures, textiles, interactive art, performance art, and installations.

Student-selected juror Jane Gilmor, professor emerita of art at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, will present awards at 4:15 p.m. during the opening reception. Gilmor is a nationally recognized artist from Iowa with work in the Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell College Art Collection.  Her project, “(Un)Seen Work,” was featured in the Faulconer Gallery exhibition “Culturing Community” in 2010.

Students on the art department's student educational policy committee organize the exhibition with support from the Faulconer staff. They manage all the exhibition details from the submission of proposals, to the selection of a juror, to the installation and awarding of prizes.

This year's organizers are  Hannah Condon ’16, Hannah Kelley’16, and Lauren Roush ’16.  

Studio Faculty Exhibition also opens April 8

BAX will be shown in conjunction with the Studio Faculty Exhibition, which will feature work by professors in the art department:

  • Jeremy Chen
  • Mary Coats
  • Andrew Kaufman
  • Matthew Kluber
  • Evan McLaughlin
  • Andrew Orloski
  • Lee Emma Running
  • Jill Davis Schrift

20 Minutes@11

The Studio Faculty Exhibition will feature six 20-minute talks by Grinnell faculty and staff starting at 11 a.m. in Faulconer Gallery.

Tuesday, April 19 — "Death and Drifting: Conversations Between a Poet and an Artist."
Hai-Dang Phan, assistant professor of English, and Jeremy Chen, assistant professor of art, will converse about poetry and art.
Wednesday, April 20 — "Friday I'm in Love."
Matthew Kluber, associate professor art, will investigate the intersection of painting and digital technology.
Friday, April 22 — "Culling the Herd."
Elizabeth Hill, Conard Environmental Research Area manager, and Lee Emma Running, associate professor of art, will discuss our relationship to the wild herd of whitetail deer in Iowa.
Tuesday, April 26 — "Rube Goldberg: Vintage Wine and Marathon Training."
Andrew Orloski, art technical assistant, will explore how complex, deeply philosophical notions can be found in simple, everyday objects and actions.
Tuesday, May 3 — "Series in Progress."
Andrew Kaufman, associate professor of art, will discuss the motivations and processes of his new series of artworks, which are based on forms of fracture.
Friday, May 6 — "Sunday Morning."
Evan McLaughlin, lecturer in art, will discuss how being raised in a religious household during the rise of video game culture inspired his fascination with creativity.

Capitalism and Agriculture

Monday, April 11, 2016 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm
Joe Rosenfield '25 Center Room 101
Fred Magdoff
Emeritus Professor of Plant and Soil Science, University of Vermont

4:00 p.m., Roundtable discussion, SCI 1022, Soil and Soil Health
7:30 p.m., Public Talk, JRC 101, Capitalism and Agriculture

Numerous social and ecological problems arise from the way that agriculture functions within capitalist economies. These include hunger in the midst of plenty, lack of nutrient cycling, poor rotations, inhumane raising of animals on factory farms, poor treatment of farm and slaughterhouse labor, and environmental pollution with pesticides and fertilizers. These are outcomes of a system in which the overriding goal and motivating force is profit. In such a system, decisions that makes sense from the narrow economic point, are frequently ecologically and socially irrational.

Fred Magdoff is Emeritus Professor of Plant and Soil Science at the University of Vermont. His interests range from soil science to agriculture and food (science, production, economics, policy) to the environment to the U.S. economy. His science research was on ways to improve the soil fertility, especially focusing on the critical role of soil organic matter. He oriented his agricultural outreach activities to explaining the application of ecological principles to food production. He is the co-author of Building Crops for Better Soil: Sustainable Soil Management and What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism. He is co-editor of Agriculture and Food in Crisis: Conflict, Resistance, and Renewal. Creating an Ecological Society is due out later this year.