Karen Barzman, associate professor of art history, will spend the spring semester as a fellow at The Newberry, one of world's most renowned research libraries.
"I'm thrilled to have this fellowship because it comes from an extremely prestigious institution," she said. "It's an institution that has a venerable history."
Established in 1887, The Newberry is an independent library located in Chicago that specializes in early modern European history and art history. It contains more than 1.5 million books and 5 million pages of manuscripts.
Barzman will take residence at The Newberry in January 2013 and stay until June while finishing a book about Venice and Dalmatia. Funding for the fellowship is provided by the National Endowment of the Humanities and is extremely competitive. For example, only three NEH-Newberry fellowships are available for the 2013–14 academic year.
As part of the fellowship, Barzman will not only have her own office at The Newberry, but will participate in research seminars with other fellows.
"It's designed specifically as a research institute," Barzman said of The Newberry. "Rather than having open stacks or closed stacks, there are open rooms that have collections of books. It is really conducive to scholarly research in an intimate setting."
Barzman is now working on the final chapter of "The Limits of Identity: Venice, Dalmatia and the Representation of Difference," a book that examines shared identity in 15th- 16th- and 17th-century Venice.
"I'm interested in common threads that are stretched to their limits," she said. "The book essentially focuses on this notion of 'Venetian-ness' as measured against Venice's neighbors at the edge of the empire. Venice wasn't interested in amassing a lot of land. It wanted coastal territories where it could establish ports to extend its mercantile reach."
Those neighbors on the eastern side of the Adriatic Sea — Islamic Ottomans — were part of one of the most unstable borders in the early modern world.
"This was the western-most point where Christian Europe came up against the Islamic world," Barzman said.
Compounding the instability was the fact that lines were not drawn onto maps until the 18th century, Barzman said.
"Before the 18th century, they were constantly negotiating these borders by going out on horseback or mule," she said. "And the border was rugged terrain. It was mountainous. ... The Venetians didn't know what to do with this kind of land. It didn't conform to the urban or agrarian economics they were familiar with. It became like a blank space to them."
People in this area professed allegiance to both sides (Christian Venice and the Islamic Turkish Empire) depending on how it helped them."
"It was their version of the Wild West, where just about anything goes," she said.
Barzman is interested in how this "cartographic blind spot" was mapped and she will use some of The Newberry's 500,000 historic maps for her research.
"The Newberry is well-known as one of the most important map collections in the world," she said. "That's what drew me to The Newberry."
"The Newberry is excited about my project because it is about mapping the Balkans. It's the cartographic representation of an area that even today is so fragmented."
Barzman, who served as director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CEMERS) from 2006–11, spent part of the fall researching the libraries and archives of Venice, thanks to a grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.
She also spent a weekend on the Adriatic coast in Croatia, touring a number of small towns. Among them was the port city of Buccari (the Italian name for modern-day Bakar).
"Buccari was well-known as an unregulated hub for human trafficking and the sale of contraband goods — in the minds of Venetians, a disreputable and dangerous place in a barbarous land notwithstanding its proximity to Venice itself," she said. "Venetian merchants frequented Buccari; and as it figured in Venetian geo-political strategizing, it's key to my study of the limits of identity."
Barzman said she left Venice and Croatia with "more material than I'd imagined and will be heading off to The Newberry laden with exactly what I needed for the book."
Besides studying maps, Barzman anticipates looking at early newspaper and diplomatic reports from the era and doing a lot of writing. She hopes to have a completed draft of her manuscript by fall 2013 when she returns to teaching at Harpur College.
"I like to bring my research interests into my teaching," she said. "I think that keeps it more dynamic for me and the students."
For Barzman, the fellowship at The Newberry is a special recognition for both her and Harpur College.
"This is one of the most important honors and distinctions I have ever received in my career," she said. "There's no doubt about it. It places me in a very important arena of exchange with other scholars from other disciplines. I think it will bring a lot of prestige to Binghamton University, too."
Reaching Higher: February 2012 edition
By Steve Seepersaud
Spring semester recently began and the students brought their usual high energy level back to campus. In fact, even before classes started, our students were very busy.
During the winter recess, various alumni in the New York City area hosted students at their workplaces. These two-hour visits, coordinated through the school's Career Services office, provided opportunities for students to build their professional networks, obtain career development advice and get a window into a firm's corporate culture. Some employers also conducted first-round interviews for internships and jobs. Visits took place at Ackman-Ziff, American Express, Articula, BlackRock, BNP Paribas, Deloitte, Eisner Amper, Ernst & Young, Estee Lauder, FAO Schwarz, Garrison, Goldman Sachs, Grant Thornton, KPMG, Marcum LLP, Marlin & Associates, McGladrey, MSG, Nomura Secirities, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Protiviti, Reservoir Capital and Zenith Optimedia. We thank all the alumni who were gracious hosts; in total, about 130 students participated.
The Women in Business student organization sponsored a panel discussion in New York, where a group of successful alumnae shared their insights with students on getting started in a career, moving up the corporate ladder and achieving a work-life balance. The event took place at Deloitte's national office at Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan. Constance Olson '90, a partner at the firm, hosted the students. Panelists were Lisa Abbott, MBA '93, chief human resource officer for Weill Cornell Medical College; Laura Berland, chief marketing officer, StarTalk Radio; Tracy Caliendo '97, managing director for Goldman Sachs; Angelina Colombo '90, managing director, RBS Greenwich Capital; Debra Moss '99, principal, Acquis Consulting Group; Karen Roth '87, senior vice president for Element Financial Group; and Cristin Singer '96, partner, McGladrey & Pullen. A sincere thanks to the alumnae and students who helped make this event such a success.
Also during the winter break, 24 students participated in the school's annual trip to India as part of the Doing Business in India course. Professors Vishal Gupta and Surinder Kahai led the tour, which is intended to help students learn about the Indian culture, economy and society. The group made professional visits to Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, PwC, Oxigen and Fortis. This trip reinforces lessons learned in the classroom and serves as a forum for networking between our students and their counterparts based in India.
We are already reaching higher in 2013 and are confident that, with your support, this year will be enormously successful. We encourage you to be engaged with us as speaker, mentor or advisor. Learn more about how to get involved as a volunteer.
Watson School to offer MS program in Manhattan
From staff reports
Beginning in April, the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science is offering a 12-month Executive Master of Science in Health Systems degree program in Manhattan. This program is designed to provide individuals with a bachelor's degree in any field sufficient knowledge and skills for modeling, analyzing and/or designing healthcare delivery systems and processes.
The focus will be on improving safety, cost, quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery processes. If you would like to speak with a faculty member via Skype or phone, complete the online form.
To receive immediate feedback, you will need to provide as many of the following materials as possible at the time of the meeting: transcripts, a personal statement and GRE scores. (A GRE waiver may be requested.) To learn more, visit the program's website. If the April class does not fit your schedule, you can get a head start for the fall 2014 class. The program is sponsored by the Binghamton University Alumni Association.
Nutrition Lecture Series planned for March
From staff reports
On Thursday, March 7, Alexa Schmidt, dietician at Binghamton University, will present "Meal Planning for Optimal Metabolism" at 7 p.m. in University Union, Room 120, covering strategies and meal planning guidelines for increasing metabolism. Schmidt is a registered dietician with Sodexo Campus Services at Binghamton University. A member of Binghamton University's Eating Awareness Committee, she serves as an adjunct faculty member for the Health and Wellness Studies Department where she teaches online nutrition courses.
On Tuesday, March 19, Lina Begdache will present "The 3 As; Imprints of College Social Life: Adderall, Alcohol and Addiction to Nicotine" at 7 p.m. in University Union, Room 120. The event will explore the effects of substance and nicotine abuse on metabolism, brain and body. Begdache is an adjunct lecturer with the health and wellness studies and biological sciences departments at Binghamton University. Her research areas include nutrition, obesity, cell and molecular biology, and neuroscience. She is also a member of the Eating Awareness Committee at Binghamton University.
All of the sessions are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Jennifer Wegmann.
Department of Social Work establishing links with Cuban social workers
From staff reports
Due to President Obama's loosening of travel restrictions to Cuba for U.S. citizens engaged in education and research, U.S. citizens are now able to visit Cuba in limited numbers for the first time since the 1962 Cuban embargo. As part of this initiative, the Department of Social Work has begun the process of establishing important research partnerships with Cuban social workers and academics.
In March 2011, Social Work Associate Professor Cassandra Bransford joined fellow delegates from the National Association of Social Workers on a week-long trip to Havana to learn about Cuba's system of healthcare for older adults, to begin developing collaborative research partnerships with Cuban social workers. This trip provided opportunities to visit a number of healthcare facilities in Havana that provide integrated healthcare to older adults, as well as social services organizations that provide opportunities for older adults to come together for socialization and community-building.
A description of the trip and a summary of Cuban achievements and ongoing challenges in providing healthcare to older adults are available on the National Association of Social Workers' website.
In June, Bransford plans to return to Cuba with a delegation from the Council on Social Work Education to meet with faculty and administrators at the University of Havana regarding their development of a new MSW program. They hope to explore opportunities for a possible student and faculty exchange program between the University of Havana and Binghamton University. This trip will offer unique opportunities to help Cuban social work academics develop a rigorous MSW program, as well as allow Binghamton's Department of Social Work to import valuable lessons about community-based integrated approaches to health and mental healthcare.
Currently, the social work education curriculum in Cuba focuses primarily on an applied community-based practice model. However, Cuban social work educators at the University of Havana are turning to their social work colleagues in the United States for consultation in developing more academically rigorous social work curricula and to assist them in the development of a master's degree program in social work.
This trip will also enable Binghamton University to access and develop collaborative research and working relationships with Cuban social work educators, community leaders and other stakeholders. In addition to exploring the possibility of developing future student and faculty exchange programs between the two universities, Bransford plans to develop a research agenda focused on examining cross-cultural correlates of depression among older adults.
21st Annual Couper Lecture planned
From staff reports
The 21st Annual Couper Lecture will take place at Binghamton University's Anderson Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, April 12. This year's guest lecturer will be Jean Anyon, professor of social and educational policy in the urban education doctoral program at the City University of New York.
Graduate School of Education alumni are asked to save the date for this event. A reception will be held at 3:30 p.m. to introduce newly admitted doctoral students and to recognize incoming and outgoing Couper Fellows. The lecture will begin at 4:30 p.m. followed by a dinner at 6 p.m. Updates on this event will be posted to the GSE website.