Category: politics

Faculty in the Media, December 2014


Franklin College faculty provide a variety of expert and background source material to reporters and editors around the world. A sampling from the past month:

Why you shouldn’t be proud to be a workaholic – reports on research by UGA assistant professor of psychology Malissa Clark: “Scientists to busy professionals: You really need to stop humble-bragging about your insane schedule.”

U.S. weather satellite network hacked – China recently hacked into U.S. weather and satellite systems, reports USA Today.  “This illustrates that they understand the value of this data and information,” said UGA meteorologist Marshall Shepherd.

Fall of Berlin Wall still changing the world – ABH

(article quotes Martin Kagel, A.G. Steer Professor and Department Head of UGA Germanic and Slavic Studies)

Americans’ declining trust in others, institutions – UGA psychology professors Keith Campbell and Nathan Carter are members of a team of researchers studying a cultural shift in America.  Report filed in Journalist's Resource.

Scientist explains her research with a high-flying acrobatic dance routine – Washington Post (article mentions Uma Nagendra,  UGA PhD candidate in plant biology)

50 years later, Atlanta challenges Civil War ‘Myth’ – The Takeaway

(UGA history professor James Cobb is quoted in audio interview)

Doubts chip away at nation’s most trusted agencies – Associated Press

(UGA psychology professor Nathan Carter is quoted)

Study examines psychology of workaholism – “Even in a culture that lionizes hard work, workaholism tends to produce negative impacts for employers and employees, according to a new study from a University of Georgia researcher,” reports MedicalXpress.

Hurricane predictions – Marshall Shepherd, geography professor and former president of the American Meteorological Society, is quoted in a article that questions the U.S. ability to accurately predict the powerful storms.

New study aims to prove selfie-takers are more self-absorbed – A UGA study suggests fans of the self-portrait are more narcissistic, reports the UK Daily Mail.  Head researcher Keith Campbell, professor of psychology, says selfies are motivated by self-absorption and social connection. Article also in the Nigerian Tribune

Historians take a wider view of early America – UGA history professor Claudio Saunt is quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education in an article about how Americans think about early American history.   

What 'Gone Girl' does (and doesn't) tell us about mental illness – U.S. News & World Report (article quotes UGA psychology professor Keith Campbell)

New study uses DNA sequences to look back in time at key events in plant evolution, reports  “We developed new analysis tools to understand the timing of key innovations in plant evolution,” said study coordinating author Jim Leebens-Mack, associate professor of plant biology.

Selfies may reveal unflattering personality traits – UGA psychology professor Keith Campbell says there seems to be a main motive for selfies.  “One is narcissism, which is doing stuff to get attention from people…to look better than you are,” said Campbell.

Art professor inspired by American pop-art – R&B article features LDSOA parttime instructor Stanley Bermudez

Common Core State standards & the K-12 Challenge –

(article written by Christine Franklin, statistics professor)



Imagining America


Kandinsky-Tension-in-Red_1.jpgConnecting the arts and humanities to a democratic revivial in the United States is more than an intriguing idea - the future of the cultural and political ideals of a diverse nation hangs in the balance. And while that may sound like hyperbole, consider the headwinds of violence, apathy, low-voter turnout, politcal disillusionment and eroding trust in institutions into which American society has turned in recent years. As much as that 'decision' has been driven by choice, short-term corporate self-interest and a certain passive willingness, so to will solutions to re-engage be a matter of choice. And many of the leading voices in American arts and humanities education are making that choice clear: reviving the public square, where the work of democracy takes place, is the focus of Imagining America:

As a growing consortium of over 100 colleges and universities, IA’s central aim is to engage people in the work of democratizing civic culture in the United States and beyond. We place our primary focus on the transformational task of democratizing the culture of higher education institutions through scholars and practitioners who draw on the arts, humanities, and design in their work. As a means to this end, IA’s staff and NAB members have been developing a “Theory of Change” that represents our collective answers to three key questions: (1) What is our assessment of the world as it is? (2) What is our vision of the world as it should be? (3) What strategies can we use to close the gap between what is and what should be?

This is inarguably an effort of which we should be a part. In every crucial sense, the humanities and arts at UGA are fundamental to expanding our students' views of the world and helping them chart a course to engaged citizenship. Across disciplines, our scholars in the classroom take this role quite literally; and when a university education, even at a state flagship as in the case of UGA, equals a rarified, highly-sought experience, our graduates taking responsibility out in the world is a crucial part of the exchange. This elevated sharing of expectations is what the liberal arts learning environment is about - and ours is healthy and robust. What we learn about in literature, history, language, fine arts and all manner of cultural studies is ourselves. We build the world that we will inhabit and bequeath, and this work is never complete.

So UGA would also be an important partner in the concert of IA efforts. It is empowering to think of the future of our country being a product of what is happening right here on our campus, every day.

Because it is.

Georgia Sea Grant planning for port expansion


SHEP.jpgUGA faculty members and Georgia Sea Grant are doing important work along the Georgia coast, helping communities plan for a major expansion of the Savannah Harbor:

"Most of the regional attention to the Savannah Harbor deepening has focused on the ecological effects to the river and adjacent wetland ecosystems," said Charles Hopkinson, Georgia Sea Grant director. "We want to shift the focus to local communities so that they are prepared to handle the secondary impacts that are likely to accompany the port expansion, such as new transportation and parking needs or the school and housing needs of an expanded workforce."

As the country's fourth busiest container port and creator of $18.5 billion annually in personal income from port-related jobs, much is riding on the success of Savannah's port expansion. Plans include dredging 32 miles of the harbor's navigation channel to allow the port to accommodate supersized freighters from Asia and the Pacific coast of Latin America that will come to the east coast through the newly expanded Panama Canal, due to be completed in 2015.

"The changes will affect the entire coastal corridor between Georgia's two main maritime ports, and we want to help each community benefit from the development," said Stephen Ramos, assistant professor in UGA's College of Environment and Design, who received funding from Georgia Sea Grant to conduct research and consult with the coastal communities.

An enormous project that will impact the Georgia coast in a multitude of ways, the harbor expansion is also great opportunity for broad engagement with the public. UGA expertise, on everything from economics and social policy to ecology and physical infrastructure, has an important role to play that help make this project an enduring success.

Women's History Month keynote address: Robin Morgan


RM 2013 head shot.A special Blue-card and First-year Odyssey event will take place tonight at 6:30 p.m. in MLC 101, the keynote address for Women History Month at UGA - "A New Sisterhood for the Age of Twitter" by noted political theorist, activist and writer Robin Morgan:

award-winning poet, novelist, political theorist, feminist activist, journalist, editor and best-selling author, Robin Morgan. She is the founder and president of The Sisterhood is Global Institute, co-founder of, and co-founder of The Women’s Media Center, with Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda. She has published more than 20 books, including the now-classic anthologies Sisterhood is Powerful and Sisterhood is Global.  Sisterhood is Powerful was cited by the New York Public Library as “One of the 100 most influential books of the 20th Century.” In 1990, as Ms. Magazine Editor-in-Chief, she re-launched the magazine as an international, award-winning, ad-free bimonthly.  She is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Prize in Poetry and numerous other honors. Robin Morgan is considered one of the founders and leaders of contemporary feminism in the United States and a leader in the international women’s movement for 30 years.

Reception to immediately follow the lecture.

This event is free and open to the public. Kudos to our Institute for Women's Studies for not just this event but for being a dynamic campus unit that fosters crucial discussions on topics important to our entire community. It's one of the many things that makes campus a mainline conduit to the wider cultural life all around us. It runs through UGA.


Faculty in the Media, March 2014


Our faculty continue to do an outstanding job of offering comments and quotes in a variety of media. A sampling from this month:

Chimps outsmart kids at computer games – News Track India article quotes professor of psychology Dorothy Fragaszy, director of UGA’s Primate Cognition and Behavior Laboratory

 Athens Banner Herald article, Little flying machine is new research tool for UGA scientists , quotes Tommy Jordan, director of the Center for Geospatial research in the department of geography

Marietta Daily Journal article on the film, "12 Years A Slave," mentions history professor Stephen Berry

Associate professor of sociology and senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America David Smilde continues to be quoted widely in media reports on political violence in Venezuela

Huffington Post interview with professor of art Imi Hwangbo by UGA alumnus and artist Ridley Howard

She Blinded Me with Science: Why can Coca-Cola be used to clean rust? – R&B article quotes chemistry professor Norbert Pienta

Rocket launch to collect global weather data ‘big deal for Earth’ – ABH article quotes professor of geography Marshall Shepherd

Assistant professor of history Akela Reason was quoted in a Philadelphia Inquirer article detailing a planned sale of artworks in the collection of the St. Charles Borromeo Seminary

Franklin Visiting Scholar: Jennifer Fluri


fluri exteriorThe Franklin College Office of Inclusion and Diversity Leadership brings to campus visiting feminist political geographer Jennifer Fluri from Dartmouth to give an important talk on gender, security and violence in south and southwest Asia:

Fluri, an associate professor of geography and chair of the women's and gender studies program at Dartmouth College, will discuss "The Beautiful ‘Other:' A Critical Examination of ‘Western' Representations of Afghan Corporeal Modernity."


Fluri's research focuses on the geography, politics and economics of gender, security and violence in conflict and post-conflict societies. Her lecture will look at the role of the female body, gender and the Western ideal of beauty during and after the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan. Fluri examines how the female body is used to reconstruct new forms of political meaning, social value and economic opportunities in post-conflict Afghanistan.

"Gender, security and violence are tightly linked in post-conflict societies, such as those in southwest Asia," said Amy Trauger, an assistant professor of geography and Fluri's host during her visit. "International aid, popular representations of Afghan women and capitalism work together to create a post-conflict nationalism that may not empower the most vulnerable populations. Dr. Fluri will share some new insights from her research in these areas."

March 17 at 3:30 p.m. in Room 214 of the Zell B. Miller Learning Center. Free, open to the public and not to be missed.

Former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa to give Chapel lecture


James-Joseph silhouette, dark backgroundJames A. Joseph, former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa in the immediate wake of the release and election of Nelson Mandela in the late 1990's, will present a talk this afternoon at 4 pm in the UGA Chapel. The talk is “Leadership as a Way of Being: Reflections on Nelson Mandela, Servant Leadership and Personal Renewal.”

Joseph has served in the administrations of four U.S. Presidents. He was the only holder of the office of U.S. Ambassador to South Africa to present his credentials to President Nelson Mandela. In 1999, President Thabo Mbeki awarded Joseph the Order of Good Hope, the highest honor the Republic of South Africa bestows on a citizen of another country. He is currently Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Studies at Duke University and executive director of the United States – Southern Africa Center for Leadership and Public Values at Duke and the University of Cape Town.

If you heard Dave Marr's radio interview with Ambassador Joseph yesterday on WUGA, I don't have to encourage you to attend this lecture. Great man, with great experiences and lessons to share. Thanks Willson Center for Humanities and Arts and J.W. Fanning Institute for bringing us this terrific (and free) public event.

Image: Courtesy of the International Leadership Association

Brazilian Student Association Symposium


Did you know that that first time the seat of an empire was transferred to a colony happened in 1808? It was from Portugal to Rio de Janeiro, under the duress of the Napoloenic wars in Europe. And when Brazil gained its independence in 1822, the first country to recognize it was the very young United States of America and the two countries have been closely linked ever since.

This and more I learned at the inaugural Brazilian Student Association Symposium - Collaboration  & Academic Production: Stimulating Research and Partnership between UGA and Brazil, on Friday, April 5. Brazil has solid support on our campus and we have many, very talented Brazilian students at every level. The day-long event featured student panels focussed on substantive issues and research across campus, faculty that have long-supported the Portuguese language program on campus, and a terrific keynote speech by the Consul General of Brazil in Atlanta, Ambassador Hermano Telles Ribiero.

Ambassador Telles Ribiero offered a quick but informative rundown of Brazil's growing role as a leader among the family of nations. Its quickly growing economy and strong links with other regions and countries in the world make it one of our most important partners in terms of trade, energy, technology and tourism, as well as a host of issues that focus decentralized cooperation between Brazilian and U.S. cities.

Find out more about the Brazilian Student Association here. My thanks to BSA President Fernanda Guida for the very kind invitation. Congratulations on a great symposoium. Muito bem feito.

Rosenbaum mural dedication


The new mural by art professor emeritus Art Rosenbaum, depicting the political history of Georgia, will be officially dedicated in its new home inside the Richard B. Russell Special Collections Library with a reception at 5:30 p.m. today in the 2nd floor Russell Gallery. There will be remarks by curators and the artist about the tremendous new work by the tireless Rosenbaum, who has given so much to the university over his long career. This mural, "Doors," has been of particular interest to me as I've been doing interviews with Art at the mural throughout the painting process. Here's one of the early ones.




For more videos on the mural visit,


Cobb in New York Times


Spaulding Distinguished Research Professor of History James Cobb takes to the pages of the New York Times to describe Republican support in the South:

Lest we go overboard in emphasizing the peculiarities of working-class white Southerners, we should remember that racially tinged, working-class white conservatism is a fixture throughout much of rural America. Also is it really all that striking that nearly 6 in 10 working-class whites in the South complained of federal favoritism toward blacks when nearly 5 in 10 responded similarly in the Northeast and the Midwest?

An authority in his field (and friend of the blog), Cobb is a favorite of reporters and opinion editors across the nation. He does a great job for UGA and the Franklin College bringing his scholarship into the sphere of popular media, where it is sorely needed.