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Maine Studies


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Maine Studies Featured Faculty

Maine Studies instructors Katherine O’Flaherty and Robert Gee have won a Digital Humanities Award in the category “Best Professional Resource for Learning About or Doing Digital Humanities Work” for their Digital Humanities Toolbox. http://www.scoop.it/t/digital-humanities-tool-box
Katherine and Robert teach two Maine Studies courses, MES 101, Introduction to Maine Studies, and MES 201, The Maine Coast. Katherine is also designing a new course titled “Researching in the Digital Age” to be offered fall, 2013.


Katherine O’Flaherty, who teaches MES 101, Introduction to Maine Studies, and MES 201, The Maine Coast, presented her research titled “Toy Len Goon of Portland, American Mother of the Year, 1952: A Chinese Immigrant’s Experience During the Exclusion Era and Early Cold War” at the University of Maine’s Women in the Curriculum and Women’s Studies lunch series on December 5, 2012. Katherine, who has a Ph.D. in history and a CAS in Education, recently presented a guest lecture, “Digital Humanities” in the MALS graduate seminar, LIB 500, Exploring Interdisciplinarity, a core course for the Maine Studies interdisciplinary Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program. She teaches Maine Studies courses both online and on site.

Rhea Cote, author of the award winning book Wednesday’s Child, teaches Maine-related courses on the Franco-American experience. Rhea also created FAWI, Franco American Women’s Institute, a website that publishes the work of Franco-American women, including her students. The Portland Press Herald published this article to recognize the 15th Anniversary of FAWI.  Portland Press article on Rhea Cote.

Pauleena MacDougall, Director of the Maine Folklife Center and Faculty Associate in Anthropology, interviews Penobscot/Passamaquoddy musicians James Neptune (left) and Waite Akins at the American Folk Festival in Bangor, August 2010. Akins is a master in the area of collecting and performing Native American music, and Neptune is his apprentice. MacDougall teaches two online Maine Studies courses: ANT 426/MES 520, Native American Folklore and ANT 431/MES 520, Folklore, the Environment, and Public Policy.


Professor Warren Riess is lead investigator on the discovery of an old ship buried beneath the World Trade Center site in New York City.  Professor Riess teaches several online courses that count toward the Maine Studies minor or certificate, including HTY211, Maine and the Sea, HTY315, Shipwreck Sites: Archaeological and Historical Investigations, and HTY398, Revolution in Maine. Click Here for the Washington Post story about the archaeological find.

Kenneth Palmer, Professor Emeritus, Political Science, recently delivered the Maine Heritage Lecture, “Maine’s Paradoxical Politics.” Professor Palmer, a member of the interdisciplinary team that teaches a Maine Studies graduate course, MES 530, Maine Politics and Public Policy, is the co-author of Changing Members: The Maine Legislature in the Era of Term Limits.

Sandra Hutchison (Left) and Judy Hakola recently presented a talk titled “Women Writing Maine” at the Women in Curriculum lunch series. Sandra has taught a Maine Studies graduate course, MES520, Maine and the Maritimes: Sea Stories and Songs, and is preparing a new Maine Studies course on Rachel Carson. Judy teaches ENG244, Writers of Maine, and ENG429, Maine Women Writers and a Sense of Place.

In their WIC lunch presentation, Sandra focused her remarks on Rachel Carson while Judy spoke about Sarah Orne Jewett, Ruth Moore, and Cathie Pelletier. Judy titled her section of the presentation “When ‘Where’ Becomes ‘Why’: Maine Women Writers and a Sense of Place” and summarized her presentation this way:

The title says it all–When “Where” Becomes “Why.” I looked at the works of three Maine women writers spanning several generations for whom “place” was a determining factor in how people lived their lives, especially in how it limited their possibilities. In general, literature of place takes as important such dimensions as geographical location (think of the differences between living on the open plain and in a narrow, tree-filled valley); details of physical setting; community, family, and individual historical roots; economic condition—what people do to earn a living and what impact that work has on them, again in terms of the community, the family, and the individual; and personal and community culture, values, priorities, and expectations. Critic and editor Louis D. Rubin, Jr. wrote: “In the best fiction, place is not only geography and history; it is a way of looking at the world”—and, I would add—the way the world may look at you. The three Maine writers and the specific works I referred to are: Sarah Orne Jewett, who wrote in The Country of the Pointed Firs about an isolated coastal village in the 19th century; Ruth Moore, whose setting in The Weir is an island three miles at sea; and Cathie Pelletier, whose fictional Mattagash—the setting for The Funeral Makers and several other novels—butts up against the great stretches of northern Maine forest. Significantly, all three are both insiders and outsiders in relation to their places, a position that gives them both intimate knowledge of a place and some perspective on it.


Jennifer Pickard recently addressed an audience at Orono’s Dirigo Pines Inn. Her paper examined Maine during the Depression, focusing on Mainers’ response to federally funded aid. Drawing from newspaper accounts, the annual reports from towns, and personal accounts, Jennifer argued that despite the myth of Mainers’ resistance to aid, many Maine people welcomed assistance from New Deal Programs and a surprising number voted for FDR in all four elections. Jennifer teaches MES101, Introduction to Maine Studies, and MES201, The Maine Coast, in the Maine Studies program. She also teaches WGS201, Maine Women, and HTY210, Maine History.

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Maine Studies
Chadbourne Hall, Room 323
Orono, ME 04469
Phone: (207) 581-3147E-mail: Carol.Toner@umit.maine.edu
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1865