SOC Faculty Research and Creative Work
Dr. Lisa Merrill, Ph.D., delivered a lecture entitled "Same-Sex Networks of Affection, Affiliation and Advocacy Against the Background of the Civil War" at Harvard University in November 2012. She spoke as part of Harvard's year-long 2012-13 Gender and Sexuality Seminar. Dr. Merrill was invited to deliver this hour-long public lecture on her original archival research (both past and on-going) at the invitation of Prof. Michael Bronski, Professor of the Practice for Harvard University's Committee on Degrees in Women, Gender, & Sexuality.
This year seminar is devoted to the theme, "Perfecting Friendship/ Perfecting Democracy: Same-Sex Romantic Pairings as the Basis for American Freedom" Dr. Merrill has published widely in the fields of Performance History, Gender Studies, Cultural Studies and American Studies. Professor Merrill's talk at Harvard drew upon and connected her work on nineteenth-century American actress and cultural icon Charlotte Cushman with her current work on networks of support for the antislavery cause in the United States and Great Britain. Dr. Merrill presented new unpublished archival work on the overlapping friendship circles that unite these projects.
Harvard University has invited Dr. Merrill and the other seminar presenters to return on April 12, 2013 to participate in and present at the F. O. Matthiessen Symposium to celebrate Harvard's new F. O. Matthiessen Chair in Gender and Sexuality Studies. That symposium will also feature lectures by Jonathan Ned Katz, Blanche Wiesen Cook, and Henry Abelove.
Professor Mary Ann Allison is just completing the second major report on community revitalization in New Cassel, New York. This report will be published by the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University® and available to the researchers, government officials, and the public on their website.
The purpose of this continuing research is to contribute to the understanding of what maintains or, when necessary, revitalizes communities, and of the ways in which groups of people—whether in government, community organizations, business, or neighborhoods—can address complex problems in a sustainable way.
The first research report was commissioned by Sustainable Long Island, an organization which acted as a catalyst and facilitator in the early days of this renewal process. The results of the first phase of this research are documented in a paper which is available online.
Professor G. Stuart Smith is in the research stage of a possible documentary and or book tentatively titled The Code Couple about William Friedman, who led the U.S. Army team that broke the Japanese diplomatic “Code Purple” months before the Pearl Harbor attack. It revealed Japanese intentions to break relations with the United States government, and hinted at attacks on both U.S. and British facilities. Now known as the dean of American cryptologists, Friedman started on his code-breaking path with the help of his wife, Elizebeth Smith Friedman. She was also a code breaker, helping the U.S. government catch rum runners and spies. They are both enshrined in the National Cryptologic Museum outside the National Security Agency headquarters in Maryland.
Film professor Pamela Corkey has completed all shooting for her 16mm narrative short film, The Breeder. She is currently editing the film and hopes to soon move into the sound design phase of post-production. The Breeder tells the tragicomic story of Shawna Greeley, a single mother who once pushed her son, Blair, into the kiddie-circuit of talent contests, dance recitals, and pageants. Now he has grown into a shy, homely teenager and Shawna has lost interest, focusing instead on the little dogs she breeds and a string of foster kids she takes in and trains up in Blair’s stead. When he suffers a freak accident, Shawna sees a diabolical way to reclaim control over her son.
For the past 15 years Professor Susan Drucker has been researching and writing about Cyprus with the primary focus on the “Communication Division” of modern Cyprus. She discovered a neglected piece of Cypriot history which led to the making of Memories in Cypriot Soil, a documentary film about the British detention of Jews on Cyprus between 1946 and 1949. Jewish survivors from Europe on their way to Palestine, were incarcerated. 39 boats were captured by British military transporting 53,000 Jews to two detention camps on the island of Cyprus.
The locations of these former camps are unmarked today. Public knowledge about these camps is almost non-existent, certainly as generational change occurs. The film seeks to explore how public memory can be lost in a relatively short period of time, especially in a place with such respect for history as Cyprus. Memories in Cypriot Soil is collaborative work with Professor Gary Gumpert (Professor Emeritus, Queens College, CUNY) and Cypriot director Nektarios Vilanides. This film is in post production.
For the last 17 years, Professor Bob Papper has conducted the RTDNA/Hofstra University Annual Survey on the state of local radio and television news. The Survey is conducted in the fourth quarter of each year, and the results are published in a series of (seven) articles … focusing on staffing (employment), news, news web sites, social media, salaries, profitability and women and minorities. First published at rtdna.org, the information is picked up and published by newspapers and trade journals across the U.S.
Assistant film professor Skip Blumberg is in the editing stage of On Dream Street… (19:40), a lyrical non-fiction movie about Dreamstreet, a professionally directed collaboration of performers with developmental disabilities as they create, rehearse and perform in Central Park.