Humanities Department News 2007-09

January 2009

Bill Doyle (Humanities) has been elected by his Republican colleagues in the Vermont Senate as minority leader for this session. He has served in the Senate since 1969. His latest historical documentary, “Life in Chittenden County," produced by students in the Vermont History and Government class in conjunction with filmmaker Vince Franke, premiered at JSC's Stearns Cinema on December 9 and at the Essex Outlets Cinema the following evening. A new version of his book, The Vermont Political Tradition, has been published by Leahy Press Inc. in Montpelier. The new edition incorporates important aspects of the 2008 election.

November 2008

Frederick Wiseman has kept up a busy schedule of Quadricentennial activities. During fall break he was in the field in Jamestown, VA conferring with the Historic Jamestown archaeologists regarding their sealed context 1610-era archaeological deposits. This was to get the best empirical data on European material culture from the Champlain QUAD era in North America. He also visited the Sultana Projects at Chestertown, MD regarding their replica shallop (a small 1600-period sailboat) that was equivalent to one used by Champlain. On October 29 Fred was on Vermont Public Radio's Vermont Edition talking about the Vermont Quadricentennial and native participation
in it. On October 21, he was on the Mark Johnson Show (WDEV) doing the same. He was filmed by a professional photographer for inclusion in an exhibit on Abenaki leaders, has been working with Vermont Life on the magazine's portrayal of the Abenakis in their Quadricentennial issue, and was invited to the screening of “The Lake Between," a VPT production on Lake Champlain. Closer to campus, Fred was filmed at Johnson State College with his First Year Seminar students on October 23 for a movie— being produced by Muskeg Media for Canadian (APTN) television — that deals with the revitalization of the Abenaki language.

October 2008

Fred Wiseman has been busy. A movie he produced called The Changeling is being submitted to Sundance Film Festival. It deals with Euroamerican/Abenaki relations in the 1770s. Fred helped to secure a grant to produce a film on the 10,000 year history of Lake Champlain. Filming is about one-third complete, and the hope is to premiere the film
in the spring, 2009. Meanwhile, his 1609, the Other Side of History, on the discovery of Lake Champlain, will premiere in the Grand Maple Ballroom, Davis Center, UVM on November 5. He is also co-producing a play for school
children at the Flynn concerning the discovery of Lake Champlain. Other activities include organizing a conference
on the Native Experience in the Lake Champlain Basin 1550-1650, to be held at St. Michael's on May 2-3, 2009. His current work with producer Jay Craven and the City of
Burlington aims to have a native program for the climax of the VT Quadricentennial in July, 2009. Back in July, Fred co-produced, with the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, a reenactment weekend celebrating native and French life in the 1600s in the Champlain Basin. He also presented on French and Native Arms and Armor at the Crown Point (NY) Historic Site's “Festival of Nations" on September 13. In the
works is a seven-minute movie with the Title VII Indian Education Program, dealing with Native American smoking cessation. Fred continues to work with the White Pine Association on their Abenaki Language Revitalization Project, specifically developing content and imagery for the website, and providing archival tapes of the Abenaki language. Finally, Professor Wiseman is the major consultant on the ECHO Center's extensive Native American exhibit redesign that will open next spring.

In observance of U.S. Constitution Day, Bill Doyle and his students in State and Local Government opened the class to the campus community. Bill screened a twenty minute
video and then led a brief discussion on the fight to ratify the U.S. constitution.

Also part of the College's commemoration of Constitution Day was a special event held at the Lamoille County Courthouse in Hyde Park. Jeffery Amestoy, former Chief Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court, spoke on
“Judicial Independence" on September 18. This was the second lecture in an annual speaker series focused on encouraging public service. The Cashman and Sylvester families generously created an endowment in support
of this annual event, as well as a student scholarship, to honor Judge Sylvester and Chief Justice Benjamin Hulburd. As its title indicates, the focus of this year's presentation
was the role of the judiciary in maintaining the rule of law. The event also includes an annual award to a Lamoille County resident (or a person with strong Lamoille County ties) who has given outstanding public service to
the County over the years. This year's recipient was long time Eden resident, Sharon Anderson, who served as Court Administrator for Lamoille District Court. Last year's award
went to Professor and Senator Bill Doyle.

May 2008

JSC's 15th annual Multilingual Poetry Jam, organized by Cynthia West, took place on April 22, 2008 in the Ellsworth Rooms of the Library and Learning Center. As April 22 was Earth Day, this year's theme was the Earth. Many world languages were represented at the jam. After a brief introduction, two readers presented each poem in its original form and then in its English translation.

Bill Doyle's "My Turn" columns ("State's citizen legislature at risk" 2/23/08 and "Vermont legislature did well" 5/11/08) appeared on the editorial page of the Burlington Free Press.

April 2008

Life in Orleans County, a new video documentary by Bill Doyle and students in his Vermont History and Government class in conjunction with videographer Vince Franke, was screened on Vermont Public Television on March 2.

December 2007

Professor Fred Wiseman played an important role at an October hearing held by the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs. The public hearing addressed legislative attempts to craft an amendment to a law passed in 2006. The law granted Abenaki state recognition, but stopped short of allowing Vermont Abenaki to meet federal rules for selling their arts and crafts as native made. The Commission met November 29 to complete wording of proposed legislation, then seek a sponsor in the Legislature, where several members have pledged to help change the law.

Part-time faculty member Cynthia West worked closely
with Sara Kinerson (Career Center) to coordinate and host a cultural Mask Making Project. This project paired each student in Cynthia's First Year Seminar, Cultivating the Cross Cultural Mind, with an international student at JSC. Working in pairs, the students learned to cast one another with plaster and created masks of their hands and/or faces. Prior to and during this event, the international students shared a bit about their culture with their partners and discussed what it is like to be a student in the United States.

JSC students with Professor Bill Doyle are working again in collaboration with professional videographer Vince Franke of Peregrine Productions to bring history alive through interviews with long-time residents and the use of local historical photographs, obtained with the help of the Orleans Historical Society. Orleans County, where the rivers run north, is defined by agriculture (including logging, woodworking, extensive maple orchards, dairy farming), by its stunning geography (including deep water, spring-fed lakes like Willoughby and Shadow Lake, mountains including Jay Peak), and the long, peaceful border with Canada. Capturing this history though the interviews with the county's elders is the goal of the project. The world premier of the film was on Friday, December 14, at 7 p.m. at the Barton Community House in Barton. The film will also be shown at JSC on Thursday, December 13, in the Ellsworth Rooms of the Library and Learning Center at 2:30 p.m., with all the student filmmakers in attendance.

October 2007

Professor Paul Silver performed this summer in the Vermont Philharmonic orchestra.  Paul has also published several reviews for Choice, a publication of the American Library Association, used by libraries to select books for their collections.

Professor Fred Wiseman uses his research to promote Native awareness in Vermont.  He is part of a Native American advisory team that is helping the museum at Fort Ticonderoga revamp its exhibits to portray the native participation in the history of the fort.  He gave a presentation regarding the Vermont Abenakis at the "Festival of Nations" held at Crown Point State Historic Site in New York on September 14.  A few days before, he attended a meeting at the ECHO Center in Burlington to discuss the creation of native exhibits and programming using his own collection of artifacts.

   Fred continues to advance the professional development of area teachers through activities such as a keynote speech at this December's, upcoming VASS conference; and November 5 he will be presenting his work on Abenaki history at a presentation for Vermont teachers during the Vermont Quadracentennial.  He also is working with the UVM Osher Institute to present Native-based programming to seniors in St. Albans and Barre, VT. 

   Professor Wiseman is co-producing a film with NY film producer Ted Timreck on the creation and natural and cultural evolution of the Lake Champlain Basin.  He will be filmed this October for Caro Thompson's (VPT) upcoming movie about native and European life in the Champlain Basin from 1609-1763.  He is the representative of the VT Native American Commission to the VT Lake Champlain Quadracentennial Commission.

Part-time faculty member Cynthia West wrote “The Long View of Foreign Language Teaching," which appeared in the recent issue of the Vermont Foreign Language Association (VFLA) Newsletter.  In it, among other themes, she discusses the way language study opens the way to wider thinking about cross-cultural teaching and learning.  In addition, Cynthia has served on the VFLA board of directors for over twenty-five years in various capacities.