McGillicuddy Humanities Center awards spring faculty grants

The Clement and Linda McGillicuddy Humanities Center at the University of Maine has announced the Spring 2021 faculty awards. The Center’s mission includes demonstrating the immediacy and applicability of humanities studies, and it supports programs and projects fostering intellectual curiosity, critical reflection and creative innovation.  

Susan Camp, adjunct associate professor of art, received funding for ”Duet,” a collaborative project melding original poetry by Kay Retzlaff, a University of Maine at Augusta professor of English, with photographs of Camp’s ephemeral sculptures to investigate the concept of the Feminine Divine while bringing ancient myths into present times.

Assistant professor of history Mary Freeman received funding support for two projects examining the historical legacy of nineteenth-century Black political activism in Maine. A July 22 virtual panel, presented in collaboration with the Maine Historical Society will feature discussion by historians, a descendant of a prominent Black activist family in Portland and the president of the Abyssinian Meeting House Restoration Project. Freeman also will investigate nineteenth-century Black politics in Maine from the perspective of Reuben Ruby, an abolitionist and central figure in the founding of the Abyssinian Meeting House.

The center awarded tuition and fees for assistant professor of Spanish Zachary Ludington to participate in a Portuguese language summer school course at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth to develop of proficiency in Portuguese. This course will facilitate the completion of a new book, tentatively titled ”A Pastoral Avant-Garde: Paradoxes of Modernity in Iberian Poetry.”

Margo Lukens, a professor of English, received publication support for “‘Still They Remember Me’: Penobscot Transformer Tales, volume 1,” which she co-authored with Penobscot language master Carol Dana and Conor Quinn. The book, which is copyrighted by the Penobscot Nation Cultural and Historic Preservation Office, will be published by the University of Massachusetts Press in June 2021. A separate grant from the Maine Community Foundation will insure the distribution of a copy of the book to every Penobscot household.

Professor of history Liam Riordan received funding for image reproduction and publication rights to two images that he analyzes in his essay, “Loyalist Exile and Opportunity: Forced Migration and Colonial State Formation in the Wabanaki Homeland,” in the forthcoming volume ”Moving under Pressure in an Age of War and Revolutions (c. 1750–1830). The images are “We Walk On Eternally” (2020), by James Eric Francis Sr., a multimedia artist and director of cultural and historic preservation for the Penobscot Nation; and Fitz Henry Lane’s “Castine from Fort George” (1856) from the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Professor of anthropology Daniel Sandweiss received funding to support the translation and historical analysis of documents compiled by Spanish scribe Francisco de Alcocer in 1580. Alcocer was the earliest eyewitness to document the environmental and agricultural impacts of torrential rains and altered oceanic patterns characteristic of El Niño weather events in northern Peru. His writings include information on Native coping strategies as well as the physical, biological and economic effects of the events. Sandweiss will collaborate with Heather Landazuri, a bilingual, Mexican-American graduate student in the Climate Change Institute’s Master of Science in Quaternary and Climate Studies program.