In this issue, we celebrate the accomplishments of faculty and staff in art, communication, dance, English, religious and ethical studies, and sociology.
The Meredith Dance Program led three professional development workshops for Wake County high school dance educators in September and October. Dance faculty members facilitated sessions in Contemporary Dance Technique (Courtney White), Diversity in Dance (Carol Finley and Sarah Bean), and Yoga and Mindfulness (Alyson Colwell-Waber). In November, Meredith Dance will offer a virtual High School Day of Dance, directed and edited by Finley, with instruction by Bean, Colwell-Waber, White, and Eleanor Smith.
Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies Steven A. Benko and Religious and Ethical Studies/Sociology & Criminology major Scout Burch had an article published in Dave Chappelle and Philosophy: When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong. Their article, “Dave Chappelle Does Not Trust Us” takes the position that comedians are playing a confidence game with their audience that is guided by shared assumptions about truth-telling, social critique, and irony. They argue that comedians become fatigued and agitated when they feel like the audience no longer gets the joke they are telling. When this happens, comedians cease telling jokes and instead explain their point of view to the audience (which isn’t nearly as funny). Benko and Burch examine Chappelle’s exit from Chappelle’s Show, his criticism of his audience and cancel culture in Sticks and Stones, and the short piece he released on YouTube following the murder of George Floyd. They argue that Chappelle’s desire to say socially relevant truths and not be misunderstood is at odds with the audience’s desire to be entertained in a way that does not cost them social capital for laughing at jokes that might stigmatize or further marginalize different communities; as has been made clear by his most recent special, Closer, Chappelle blames the audience for the negative turn in their relationship with him (and other comedians). Their collaboration grew out of a funded summer Undergraduate Research project on race in America.
Benko was also interviewed for the WUNC podcast Tested. He answered questions about the ethical dimensions of rationing health care in emergency and non-emergency situations so that vaccinated patients would receive care and people who have so far refused COVID-19 vaccines would be moved “to the back of the line.” Some of the conversation that focused on the historical context of rationing care for people with infectious diseases was used for this piece on growing frustrations with those who refuse to be vaccinated.
Professor of Sociology Lori Brown was quoted in an October 21, 2021, article in The 19th about the additional costs women in the military and law enforcement incur for their uniforms. The article was about an effort in Congress to correct this issue. Read the article on The19thNews.org. The 19th* is an independent, nonprofit newsroom reporting on gender, politics, and policy. The story was also published by USA Today.
Assistant Professor of Communication Alan Buck was chosen to be a mentor for the Central and Eastern Europe Journalist Fellowship Program this fall. He has been paired with a journalist from a television network in Croatia for the virtual mentorship program, which runs from November 1-December 15. The Central and Eastern Europe Journalist Fellowship Program, funded by the U.S. Department of State through the U.S. Embassy in Paris and implemented by Meridian International Center, expands the capacity of professional journalists and improves the sustainability of citizen-generated media in Central and Eastern Europe. Through virtual conferences, skills-building workshops, networking, and professional fellowships, journalists increase professional standards, advance the credibility and accuracy of their reporting, build cross-continental partnerships, and bolster the sustainability of an independent media sector in the region. Participation in this program, for the selected participants, is fully funded.
Beatles scholar Kenneth Campbell (Monmouth University) interviewed Meredith Professor of English Rebecca Duncan at length and included her responses in the recently published The Beatles and the 1960s: Reception, Revolution, and Social Change (Bloomsbury Academic Press). She was happy to see her name listed in the index beside that of Bob Dylan. Dr. Duncan has written about pop culture topics, and she co-teaches an OLLI course on the Beatles at NC State with professor emerita Jane Barnes.
Assistant Professor of Art Holly Fischer is having an exhibition of her artwork at the City Market Artist Collective at 300 Blake Street in downtown Raleigh. The show runs from October 1 – November 28 with a First Friday reception on November 5 from 6-10 p.m. Learn more on the gallery’s guest artist page.
Professor of Communication Teresa Holder served as a judge for the 2021 Public Relations Society of America Golden Spikes Awards for professionally produced public relations campaigns and tactics.