Enhancing Creativity • Fall 2011 • Volume 7
Why our name changed
No doubt you noticed a new college name on the cover of Kaleidoscope. On July 1,
2010, the College of Arts & Sciences became the College of Humanities & Social
Sciences. This is the first issue since the change, so an explanation is in order.
For more than two years, a new name for our college
had been discussed, first by the Provost, then by a
faculty committee, with input from various departments. Some wanted to keep “Arts & Sciences,”
while others favored “Humanities & Social Sciences.”
Still others offered additional alternatives. No name
pleased everyone, and none accurately described
the exciting variety of scholarship and creative
activities pursued by our faculty. In the end, the
Office of Academic Affairs recommended and the
LSU System approved our new name, the College of
Humanities & Social Sciences.
Our new name does not change who we are, rather
it acknowledges changes in LSU’s structure that
have occurred over the last seventy years. When
created in 1908, LSU’s College of Arts & Sciences, like most such units across the country, included the
departments that formed the academic core of the university — the arts, the humanities, the physical sciences and the social sciences. Three decades later, LSU undertook the first of several reorganizations. In 1938,
Chemistry and Physics left to form their own college; in 1983, with the addition of four other science departments from our college, it became the College of Basic Sciences. Last year Mathematics joined that college,
which has now been renamed the College of Science. Our college has not only lost most of the “science”
components that commonly constitute a College of Arts & Sciences, but some of the traditional “arts” programs as well. In 1966, the Department of Fine Arts moved to what was then the School of Environmental
Design (now Art and Design); in 1998, Theatre became part of a new College of Music and Dramatic Arts.
The cumulative effect of seventy-two years of reorganization renders our old name far less descriptive of
our constituent departments than is our new one.
LSU is not alone in having a College of Humanities & Social Sciences; Carnegie Mellon and North Carolina
State, for example, have adopted that name. Our peers who continue to use the name “College of Arts &
Sciences,” contain the types of science and art departments we no longer have. For academics at other
institutions and most people outside of academia, who assume the College of Arts & Sciences would
contain arts such as music and theater and sciences such as physics and biology, our old name confuses
rather than identifies who we are. It has even confused some of our students when they first arrive at LSU.
“College of Humanities & Social Sciences” makes it easier for them to know where to seek help and find an
The new name changes neither who we are nor what we do. The College continues to have the rich diversity
of interests and scholarship it has always had — and that makes finding the perfect name for our college
impossible. Some members of the College’s faculty are scientists and others artists, and their contributions
will continue to be rightly acknowledged and their achievements justly celebrated.
Our College has been around since 1908, our social science disciplines for well over a century, and the
humanities for millennia. We will survive a change in name. In the final analysis, we will be known not by
our name but by the quality of our teaching and our scholarship. The College of Humanities & Social
Sciences maintains its commitment to excellence in both.
IN This Issue...
Crossing the Divide
Internships connect the classroom to the
Fifteen years after its founding, H&SS’s
thriving Film and Media Arts Program
enters a new era.
History professor conducts landmark oral
history project on Louisiana women.
On the Cover:
Film & Media Arts
students explore the
2 Letter from the Dean
13 Focus on: Students
15 Focus on: Alumni
15 James Clifton de Brueys
17 Zack Mitchell
18 Roselyn B. Boneno
19 Development Update
20 Department News
editor Maggie Heyn Richardson
editorial board Gaines Foster, Janet McDonald, Malcolm Richardson, Ann Whitmer
design Sydney Nakashima
Kaleidoscope is a publication of the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Louisiana State University.
For corrections, omissions, or submissions, please contact [email protected]
Message from the Dean
Return on investment?
Various magazines and groups have recently compared the cost of college tuition
with the amount of a graduate’s life-time earnings to determine if college is a good
investment. Others may not perform such calculations but still talk as if higher education’s value lies primarily — if not solely — in training for a career. To those of us in
the humanities and social sciences who have a profound commitment to a liberal arts
education and see college as an opportunity for students to gain a better sense of self
and develop a deeper understanding of their world, such conceptions of education are
unsettling. However, if we place the current debate into the history of higher education
in America, we find reassurance.
In colonial America, colleges stressed a curriculum centered on the humanities with
an emphasis on classical languages, rhetoric, history, and philosophy. Since churches
often sponsored these colleges, developing a student’s morals and character became one of their central goals. In the
early nineteenth century, American colleges continued to see the development of their students’ character as part of
their responsibility and, in an increasingly democratic society, they added another goal, preparation for citizenship.
As society became more complex in the late nineteenth century, a new emphasis emerged in American higher education.
Harvard University pioneered an elective system that replaced the classical curriculum, and professional education
became more central as the modern research university emerged. By the early twentieth century, schools of business
and engineering were established, but other parts of the university did not escape the new emphasis on professionalism.
Even colleges or programs that specialized in the liberal arts were expected to provide “certification” of their students;
colleges vouched for their graduates’ basic skills and preparation to become successful middle class professionals.
The complex social and economic environment in the late nineteenth century, in which people became increasingly
aware of living in an interdependent society and feared that common sense and old explanations no longer sufficed,
gave rise to the social sciences, disciplines that trained professionals with expertise in how societies and economies
worked. These new professionals — economists, sociologists, psychologists, among others — became an important part
of the modern research university, joining humanists in the search to understand the human condition and behavior as
well as to analyze societies and cultures in the United States and around the world.
Our College was founded in 1908 as many of these trends culminated. Throughout its history, its faculty members
have pursued such questions in their scholarship and teaching. We continue to believe that the study of the humanities
and social sciences helps develop character and prepares students to be better citizens. These goals exist alongside a
responsibility to graduate students prepared to pursue a career. In fact, we have long argued that our College’s emphasis on critical thinking and communication skills excels at preparing students for a wide variety of careers. Preparation
in these fundamental skills is particularly valuable in an economy where our graduates may have several very different
jobs in their lifetimes. We continue to add opportunities to improve their preparation, which is why we encourage
students to pursue high quality internships, some of which are described in this issue.
Our College remains committed to preparing students to be better citizens and better people. We will continue to bring
new ideas to the pursuit of a very old conception of what education is all about — transforming lives.
Gaines M. Foster
FEATURE | Internships
Crossing the Divide
Internships Connect the Classroom to the World Beyond
Internships are a powerful element in connecting college students to the texture and
rhythms of the professional world. Like early apprenticeships, they enable young people to
experience specific fields while allowing employers a glimpse at the work ethic, talent, and
skills of potential hires. Internships help students confirm their career interests — or prompt
them to hone their search. They play an important role in shaping students’ experiences
and in feeding a pipeline of qualified problem-solvers into the world of work.
“We’re seeing internships expand both in terms of
numbers and in fields we previously hadn’t seen before,”
said Joan Gallagher, LSU Career Services associate director
of student services. “There are a lot of good options for
students in the humanities and social sciences.”
Gallagher adds that more LSU students are exploring internships earlier in their college experience, an
important step in building a resume in a challenging
economy. Moreover, a growing number of internships
are paid. Results from the Career Services’ annual Work
Experience survey in 2010 revealed that 51 percent of
internships completed by College of Humanities & Social
Sciences students were paid positions. Some students
may also participate in multiple internships throughout
their college experience.
“Students have so much to gain from a good internship,”
said Gallagher. “It helps them confirm whether they’re
headed in the right direction, grows their skill sets and
develops a network of contacts in a field they find compelling. It can be a great launch pad for a career.”
In their own words, these current and former College of
Humanities & Social Sciences students share how interning
bridged the gap between the classroom and the world
Margaret Looney (on left)
Major: Journalism Minor: International Studies
Graduation Date: May 2010
Internship: United State Embassy, Paris, France
What she’s doing now: Intern, International Center
for Journalists in Washington, D.C.
I zoomed past le Jardin des Tuileries (pictured above left) in
an unmarked black SUV with a driver named Oscar. I’ve got
a bag of thank you gifts to deliver from First Lady Michelle
Obama. First stop: Musée du Louvre. This expedition was one
of my first tasks as a summer intern with the U.S. Embassy
in Paris, France.
Returning back to the embassy, I passed through the
daily security check and headed upstairs to the Cultural
Affairs office where I worked on educational and cultural
programs promoting understanding between France and
the U.S. Over the course of my internship, I wrote content
for a now-launched website on Franco-American exchange,
researched information for a film proposal, and worked
high-profile events like the July 4 celebration at the ambassador’s residence.
My international studies minor proved indispensable
throughout my summer abroad. Taking French as part of
my curriculum’s foreign language requirements enabled me
to speak fluently and build a better rapport with Foreign
Service nationals. Through global diplomacy courses, I
learned the political jargon and knowledge to thrive in this
My internship bridged the daunting divide between
college life and what comes next. It was a chance to see how
professional settings work and it helped me gain confidence
in my ability to be a team player among adults. I have only
one regret, and it’s not the weight gain from crêpes and
baguettes! It’s missing President Obama and his family’s
visit to the Embassy by just three days. Delivering thank you
gifts around the city from the First Lady is as close as I’ll get
Major: Disaster Science and Management
Graduation Date: December 2013
Internship: Livingston Parish Office of Homeland
Security and Emergency Preparedness
What he’s doing now: LSU Student, Intern
Securing the Future
Of all the ways to be offered an interview, the last place
you’d think of is Facebook. But one day while perusing the
Facebook pages of local government agencies, I got a message
from the Deputy Director of the Livingston Parish Office of
Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness asking if
I was interested in interviewing for an internship. After a
face-to-face interview, I was offered the position on the spot.
It has turned out to be one of my greatest experiences.
I’m still interning with the office, where I do everything
from administrative work to reviewing emergency/hazard
mitigation plans and participating in Emergency Operations
Center activations during emergencies. This occurred when
Tropical Storm Lee hit in early September. From basic to
specialized tasks, I am learning the field from the ground
up. My boss has given me more and more responsibilities
and duties along the way, and every day I discover more
about this particular career path. Everything I’ve learned
in my classes, such as emergency planning, human resource
management, and weather analysis is applied hands-on
through my work. No matter what comes next in life, I know my experiences at the Livingston Parish Office of Homeland Security
and Emergency Preparedness will serve me well.
Logan Sacco (on right)
Major: Communication Studies
Graduation Date: May 2011
Internship: Baton Rouge General
What she’s doing now: Community Representative,
American Cancer Society, Baton Rouge
Giving Her All
While a senior at LSU, I had the chance to volunteer at the
Annual Gala for the Baton Rouge General Hospital. I loved the
experience so much I contacted the event director to see how
I could become more involved. The next thing I knew, I was
interning at the Baton Rouge General Foundation.
Immediately, I knew fundraising was a great fit for me.
I could use my creative skills in event coordinating, and I
appreciated that I worked for an organization that raised
money for a good cause. I was able to work with three
amazing women who taught me the ins and outs of fundraising. They became my role models. I experienced a great
work environment and was given important responsibilities, not
just mindless tasks.
I assisted in the planning and execution of several events,
including the Excellence in General Gala and the 18th
Annual Father Daughter Sweetheart Dance. My biggest
accomplishment was helping to plan “You, Me & BRG,” an
employee giving campaign that raised more than $104,000
in 2010. I designed event themes that were implemented in
the campaign on both of the General’s Baton Rouge campuses. All of the events I worked on helped raise money for
My experience interning at the Baton Rouge General
Foundation truly shaped my career path. I found my calling
and learned many valuable skills. Today, I hold a professional
position in fundraising, which I credit to the experience I
gained through my internship.
Now I’ve begun my career as an environmental consultant.
Every day I use the lessons I gained through my internship to
help solve problems in my work.
Major: Disaster Science and Management
Graduation Date: May 2011
Internship: Supporters of Intercontinental
What he’s doing now: Environmental Consultant,
The Logistics of Hope
Arriving at a farm in rural Kenya, it hit me that I was about
to live in a mud hut for the next three weeks. I now realized
why we all stayed in a five-star hotel the night before in
Nairobi. The comforts we were used to back home were nonexistent here. I embraced the moment because I knew living
this way and researching logistics for the nonprofit medical
organization, Supporters of Humanitarian Intercontinental
Projects (SHIP), was going to be the greatest challenge I had
ever embarked on.
Each day our group set out to rural villages in Kenya
to provide medical assistance to those who lacked access
to conventional care. My mission was to help this new
organization better organize and track its distribution of
medications and supplies. The year prior to this mission
SHIP had been to the same areas, but with little experience
in record-keeping, they had purchased and taken donations
of any medicines and supplies they could get. They quickly
realized the need to plan better in order to prevent waste and
increase efficiency. I was invited to track inventory of the
Each day I served as the group’s pharmacist, handing
out prescriptions while recording a patient’s age, sex, and
diagnosis and the medicines he or she was given. When I
returned to Baton Rouge, I began my research on logistics in
disaster science and management and used this trip as my
case study. I spent the next two months compiling the data I
had recorded as a reference for a return to Kenya I’m planning in 2012.
My time in Kenya was unlike anything I had ever experienced. It was a tragedy to see people living in such poor conditions, but their upbeat attitudes and spirits stuck with me.
Now I look back and realize that no matter how hard things
seem there is joy to be found. My fellow volunteers and I took
these lessons with us to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, another of
my once-in-a-lifetime experiences in Africa.
Major: Political Science Minor: History
Graduation Date: May 2011
Internship: Louisiana Supreme Court
What she’s doing now: First-year law
student, LSU Paul M. Hebert School of Law
I was fortunate enough to spend two summers at the Louisiana Supreme Court (LASC) in downtown New Orleans.
The first summer I served as an intern in the Clerk’s Office,
working closely with a deputy clerk on editing and updating
the court’s filing rules before they were proposed to justices.
It was such an inspiring environment to work in. The professionals around me were always willing to answer all of my
Even before my internship, I knew I wanted to go to law
school. But what I wasn’t aware of was how much I didn’t
know about the law. It’s hard to quantify how much I gained
over that summer learning terms and procedures and simply
working in a legal environment.
My success as an intern led to a student worker position at
the LASC the following summer. I was given greater responsibilities. Anytime someone filed a document they had to
come through the Clerk’s Office. I worked with the clerks
to make sure the filing precisely followed the court’s rules.
When filings did comply, we prepared them for distribution
throughout the court. Every day I walked the halls of a
historic, French Quarter building that could make anyone — interns and student workers included — feel part of
I took away a lot from the experience. Now in my first
year of law school, I realize how much there is still to learn,
but there’s no doubt I got a head start from my summers at
the Louisiana Supreme Court. v
FEATURE | film & MEDIA ARTS
Film & Media Arts students and faculty meet to discuss their current project.
Fifteen years after its founding, H&SS’s thriving Film
and Media Arts Program enters a new era.
By Maggie Heyn Richardson
French director Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 film Breathless about a petty thief on the lam in
Paris is a classic example of the cinematic genre known as French New Wave, the low-budget
style defined by unrehearsed performances and the use of “jump cuts” that resemble cheap
editing. Like other New Wave films, Breathless is influenced by Hollywood and Italian
neorealism, but it also captures the spirit of guerilla filmmaking in France from the late
fifties to the mid-sixties. It was a time when young artists with handheld cameras were
determined to challenge traditional cinematography and film narrative.
It’s hard not to find parallels between the French New Wave and the current era of accessible technology — in which
making a film is almost as easy as making a phone call. LSU students will have an opportunity to explore those and
other connections in a new course under design by Ubaye Valley Associate Professor of French Studies Kevin Bongiorni
and Associate Professor of Communication Studies Patricia Suchy. Both scholars are part of the interdisciplinary Film
and Media Arts program and are proposing 2012-2013 classes that explore the New Wave’s techniques and cultural
Bongiorni and Suchy taught similar courses in 2009 and 2010 that examined the work of Italian director Federico
Fellini and included a trip to Italy where students visited relevant sites and made their own short films. This time, they
hope to take students to Paris.
“Being able to study these films and go the places where they were shot creates an entirely different learning experience,”
said Bongiorni. “To study a filmmaker in his own milieu adds a level of coherence that doesn’t exist otherwise.”
That sort of immersive, comprehensive approach to understanding film is typical of LSU’s Program for the Study of
Film and Media Arts, established as an interdisciplinary minor by the College of Humanities & Social Sciences in 1996.
The program has steadily grown in popularity. In response, Humanities & Social Sciences introduced a new opportunity
for students to major in it as a concentration within the Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree. In December 2012, the Program
in Film and Media Arts will graduate its first class of students with this major.
The FMA curriculum focuses heavily on theory and
history, said Program Director and Professor of English
“The program has grown into a comprehensive, tight
course of study that gives students a large scale sense of
the industry,” Catano said. “It’s not only a paraprofessional
program. Our intention is to turn out students who have
a sense of the whole spectrum of what constitutes film, a
130-year art form.”
Catano adds that preparing students in this manner
will provide them a solid base, priming them for “abovethe-line” positions in the industry like producing, directing,
writing, editing, and cinematography.
The program began when LSU Philosophy Professor
Gregory Schufreider realized that students who had
discovered the university’s smattering of film classes
wanted to know what to take next. Several scholars were
offering film courses, including Schufreider, who began
teaching his popular Philosophy and Film course in 1982.
Schufreider and a graduate student compiled a list of
available classes in film, television, and other media and
undertook steps to create a minor. He served as the
program’s first director.
Schufreider recalls discussing the program with LSU
alum and Hollywood director Steven Soderbergh at a
dinner party shortly after its creation. Soderbergh verified
the importance of a program that focused on history and
theory rather than technique.
“Soderbergh commented that students could always
learn the mechanics of filmmaking, but that this kind of
curriculum would feed their ability to do something more
difficult — to generate ideas — and to understand the
context for those ideas,” said Schufreider.
More than fifteen years later, the FMA program continues to spark interest among students, especially now as
Louisiana has become the third most popular location for
filmmaking in the United States, behind California and
The curriculum includes the history of cinema, national
and international cinemas, film genres, film and media
theory, video art, screenwriting, media in popular culture,
the rhetoric and aesthetics of visual communication, and
digital video production. About 30 faculty members, most
from the humanities and social sciences, comprise the
Catano says LSU’s FMA program stands out for its rich
international film focus. In the last two years, for example, coursework has featured the study of Chinese and
Russian cinema, Bollywood, and French, German, and
Italian films and directors.
“Film is a global phenomenon with vast socio-cultural
implications and connections,” said Catano. “There is
nothing like it in terms of cultural exchange.”
Indeed, the Fellini Project directed by Bongiorni and
Suchy revealed the threads between technique, historical
context, and “place.”
Film & Media Arts students and faculty recreate a scene
related to the filming of Louisiana Story.
Bongiorni had routinely taught a course on Italian
film and culture. Three years ago he proposed an idea
to Suchy about teaching a class on the work of Federico
Fellini and taking students to Italy to see where the
influential director worked.
Suchy, then the Film and Media Arts program director,
A Film & Media Arts student documents his own experience overseas.
agreed. Soon after, they began planning a 10-day Spring
Break trip to Italy that linked two of their courses.
The students and professors began in Rimini, the
coastal city on the Adriatic Sea and Fellini’s birthplace,
where they visited sites featured in Fellini’s films like the
Grand Hotel and the Fulgor Theatre.
Later that week in Rome, they visited other prominent
Fellini sites, including the film studio Cinecittà, Piazza del
Popolo, the Spanish Steps, the Colosseum, the Forum, St
Peter’s basilica, and the Trevi Fountain, an indelible
image in La Dolce Vita.
The students also worked in teams and shot footage in
many of these locations. Back home, they completed their
own films as their final class project. Bongiorni and Suchy
offered the course again in 2010.
“It was a huge success,” said Bongiorni. “Once students
begin to understand the influences behind films and the
contexts in which they were made, it’s like they have a
key for unlocking their secrets.”
It wasn’t the first hands-on project for FMA students.
Suchy believes the program reached a new level in 2006
when students and faculty revisited the documentary film
classic Louisiana Story (1949), the final film of director
Robert Flaherty. The pioneering filmmaker is also known
for Nanook of the North (1921) and Man of Aran (1934),
but Louisiana Story is often seen as his most important
Funded by Standard Oil, the film depicts the oil
industry’s arrival in Louisiana through the experience of
the Cajun boy, J.C. Boudreaux. Flaherty scripted Boudreaux’s performance and asked him to enact stumbling
upon drilling rigs while carrying out routine activities like
fishing and boating. Thus, the film presents fascinating
opportunities to explore the representation of Cajuns,
the arts of mythmaking and docudrama, and the way
in which Flaherty presented the collision of man and
Suchy, Catano and French Studies Professor Adelaide
Russo added another dimension to the study of the film
when they teamed with international documentarian Rob
Rombout on a project that enabled students to retrace the
making of Louisiana Story in the field. Students visited
sites where Flaherty filmed and created their own film in
response to the original work.
Revisiting Flaherty’s Louisiana/Story was first screened
in November 2006 in the LSU HopKins Black Box Theatre.
Last year, writings and film excerpts from the project
were accepted to the online journal, Southern Spaces,
where they remain.
Suchy says the FMA program was been further strengthened by its use of the physical space known as Studio 151.
A Film & Media Arts student at work in prototypical Louisiana scenery.
Located in 151 Coates Hall, the studio includes audiovisual equipment for students from FMA and from the
interdisciplinary program, Communication across the
The studio features a professional audio recording
sound booth, a writing center, workstations for individual
or group editing, and an extensive DVD library for faculty.
It also includes audio-visual equipment available for
student check-out, like camcorders, tri-pods, and flip
“The challenge with interdisciplinary programs is
that they exist in the virtual realm,” Suchy said. “Having
physical space has been very important.”
FMA students flock to the hub to edit digital films or
work on group projects. Tuesdays are usually screening
nights for film classes like Suchy’s Introduction to Film
and others. A special topics class in spring 2011 on Bollywood met in the studio to watch influential Indian films,
culminating in a festival night with Indian food and live
A number of FMA students have successfully pursued
careers in film or enrolled in graduate film programs.
FMA graduate Mark Landry earned a Master of Fine Arts
from the University of Southern California School of
Cinematic Arts. His thesis film aired on the Independent
Film Channel, and one of his scripts was recently accepted,
or green-lighted, by Disney. Graduate Kenny Reynolds
went on to earn an MFA from the University of New
Orleans Department of Film, Theatre and Communication
Film & Media Arts students abroad.
Other FMA graduates have been busy working in
Louisiana’s burgeoning film and media industry. Jordy
Wax formed the Baton Rouge-based videography and
equipment rental company Contrast Films. Kenny Benitez
is a director and designer at Locke Bryan Productions in
Houston. Erica Martin works for the Baton Rouge boutique live action studio, River Road Creative.
Meanwhile, faculty members have experienced an important by-product of the program as well: collaboration.
Suchy says her own work has benefitted from exposure
to LSU scholars in disciplines like biology, where she
recently found a surprising joint research opportunity.
“Working in an interdisciplinary program like this
really makes you a citizen of the university,” said Suchy.
“It’s one of the best experiences I’ve had teaching.” v
Wes Shrum, pictured second from right, working on his
documentary, Brother Time.
The ethnographic documentary film Brother Time,
directed by LSU Sociology Professor Wesley Shrum,
is the gripping story of the violence that erupted after
Kenya’s 2007 presidential election. Months of hostility
between some of the country’s indigenous tribes over
a land dispute resulted in the deaths of more than
1,500 Kenyans with many others injured or displaced.
The film returns to sites of violence and explores the
catastrophe through the experiences of former friends
from competing ethnic groups, one a Kikuyi, the other,
After violence exploded in Kenya in 2007-2008,
Shrum began plans to reveal the tragedy through
ethnographic documentary, which combines high-quality
filmmaking with traditional sociological research, like
surveys, observations and interviews. The National
Science Foundation’s Division of Political Science
provided Shrum a grant to support on-the-ground
research. The completed film explores the roots of
Kenya’s ethnic discord in a provocative, but accessible
Brother Time has been used stateside as a teaching
tool. Now the film could serve a powerful humanitarian
purpose as well. Audiences in Kenya who saw its rough
cut commented on its potential to deter future violence.
Shrum says plans are underway for Brother Time to be
shown in Kenya in 2012 prior to the next election cycle.
The Brother Time project fused major components
of Shrum’s scholarship. He has studied Kenya’s cultural
landscape for the past 17 years and began using videographic methods in 2002. He is a co-founder of the
Department of Sociology’s Video Ethnography Lab.
Shrum has also spent the last six years documenting
the impact of another catastrophe, Hurricane Katrina. A
new film stemming from his Hurricane Katrina research,
Women of the Storm, will chronicle a group of civic
activists who are calling attention to the city’s ongoing challenges and to the restoration of the wetlands
whose loss makes South Louisiana more vulnerable to
– Maggie Heyn Richardson and Chandler Rome
FEATURE | ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
Women participate in a forum organized by Alecia P. Long, pictured above in purple, at the Louisiana State Museum.
History Professor Conducts Landmark Oral History
Project on Louisiana Women
By Maggie Heyn Richardson
Some of their stories were heartbreaking. Others were hopeful. Different as the women who
told them, they were consistently compelling and provocative. Louisiana women from diverse
backgrounds shared their personal experiences about family, relationships, healthcare,
sexuality, careers, and more in a landmark oral history project led by LSU Associate Professor
of History Alecia P. Long.
Listening to Louisiana Women began in 2009 for the
purpose of documenting how gender has affected the
lives of Louisiana women from diverse backgrounds.
Long and more than thirty of her undergraduate students
interviewed women who ranged in age from 22 to 92.
They asked subjects about issues like access to healthcare,
reproduction, financial stability, work, and family. Many
of the interviews will be housed at the T. Harry Williams
Center for Oral History at LSU.
Long received a $200,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to support the project, whose partners included the
College of Humanities & Social Sciences, the Department
of History, Women’s and Gender Studies, the T. Harry
Williams Center for Oral History, the Louisiana State
Museum, and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.
Long also organized the Listening to Louisiana Women
Symposium, held in May 2011, to explore themes that
emerged from the interviews. Community leaders, civic
activists, healthcare advocates, and others attended the
forum at the Louisiana State Museum. Political strategist and LSU alum Donna Brazile delivered the keynote
Long says the idea for the project first emerged
when she attended a seminar through the LSU Center
for Community Engagement, Learning and Leadership
(CCELL) on how to integrate service learning into teaching. Service learning affords teachers and students the
opportunity to conduct research on projects that also
benefit the community.
“I wanted to do something that helped a nonprofit
organization,” said Long, whose major areas of research
are Louisiana, New Orleans, and the intertwined histories
of gender, race, and sexuality in the United States. Her
course, History of Sex in the U.S., explores how sex is
Long approached Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast
about a project that would enable women to speak about
issues like gender and access to healthcare. Long and
Planned Parenthood Director of Public Affairs Julie
Mickelberry believed it would reveal important information
about women’s experiences that had been underreported
“We asked, ‘how can we collect women’s stories in a
meaningful way, and what subthemes would emerge in
the process?,’” recalled Long.
She wondered how easy it would be to encourage
women to speak frankly about issues considered taboo
and said that it took time for women to volunteer to
be interviewed. Gradually, they responded to Long’s
announcements about the project, published in regional
Throughout the planning and execution of Listening to
Louisiana Women, Long invited students to be part of the
project and learn more about oral history research methods. Students from Long’s History of Sex seminar helped
develop interview questions and conduct interviews.
They also extracted excerpts they considered useful for
Planned Parenthood, the project’s community partner.
Moreover, five Department of History graduate students
assisted Long in administering the project, processing
interviews, and planning the symposium.
The interviews generally took place in seminar rooms
at LSU or in participants’ homes. Long, who undertook
special training in oral history before launching the
project, says she was committed to making participants
“Our intention was to invite women to tell stories in
their own way,” she said. Participants understood that
the interviews were ultimately theirs, and would only be
archived with their permission, said Long.
Stories emerged about domestic violence and the
difficulty some women had in getting authorities to
respond. Other women discussed the complexities of
unplanned pregnancies. One subject recounted the experience of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy and her family’s
reaction of shame. She was asked to relocate to an aunt’s
house out of state.
Some women also discussed how a lack of formal
education made them more economically vulnerable
than men with the same level of schooling. If neither had
attended college, men were usually better positioned to
T. Harry Williams, pictured above with Russell Long,
who is in turn, holding a photograph of Huey Long.
T. Harry Williams wrote an award winning biography
on Huey Long, using oral histories, that are housed in
T. Harry Williams and Russell Long. Russell B. Long Papers,
Mss. 3700, Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections
The T. Harry Williams Center for Oral
LSU Professor of History T. Harry Williams was a
respected scholar best known for his Pulitzer Prizewinning biography of Huey Long. He was also a
pioneer in the use of oral history — his work on Long
included taped interviews with many of the former
governor’s supporters and opponents. Williams
believed that such first-person accounts would help
historians fill in gaps left by traditional methods of
“It’s no secret that I am a great believer in oral
history,” Williams once said. “Trained researchers
using a tape recorder ought to interview people to
get the information that is in their heads and no
In 1991, the LSU Libraries Special Collections
established the T. Harry Williams Center for Oral
History to record and preserve the oral history of the
university and Louisiana. The Listening to Louisiana
Women project interviews join dozens of collections
compiled by the Center over the last 20 years. They
document the perspectives of men and women
representing diverse aspects of Louisiana history,
including Acadian culture, folklore, race relations,
civil rights, music, landscape architecture, natural
disasters, politics, agriculture, and more.
The Center is also dedicated to promoting the
practice of oral history by providing technical assistance to LSU students and faculty and to individuals
and groups outside the university. It is housed at Hill
Memorial Library on the LSU campus.
access higher paying trade positions. Educated women
also discussed the ongoing challenge of pay inequity in
Louisiana, said Long.
After the interview team completed each transcript,
participants were invited to read them and strike any information that preferred to keep private. The interviews were
donated to the T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History
with their permission.
The themes that emerged throughout the interviews
were discussed in the day-long Listening to Louisiana
“The Ford Foundation grant required that we engage
in social dialogue about the project,” said Long. “Our
goal was to get different people in conversation about
The conference included a presentation by Tulane
University Professor Beth Willinger, former executive
director of the Newcomb College Center for Research
on Women, who discussed findings from her extensive
research on the political, economic, and educational
status of women and girls in Louisiana.
Political strategist and LSU alum, Donna Brazile.
Pamela Tyler, Associate Professor of History at the
University of Southern Mississippi, presenting her talk
on Creating Change for Louisiana Women.
Three panel discussions followed Willinger’s comments.
“How Can Oral History Help Transform Our Communities” explored the power of oral history in preserving
the memories of everyday people for future historians.
Panelists Jennifer Abraham Cramer, director of the T.
Harry Williams Center for Oral History, LSU School of
Social Work Assistant Professor Elaine Maccio, environmental activist Peggy Frankland, and Long discussed
how oral history can also bring stories to life for current
students of history.
Another panel examined the topic, “Educating Young
People about Sexual Health and Healthy Sexuality: Priorities and Prospects.” Planned Parenthood’s Mickelberry,
Raegan Carter Jones from the Louisiana Department of
Education, and obstetrician-gynecologist Swati Shah
discussed startling statistics related to the sexual health of
Louisiana women. The state has the fifth highest rate of
AIDS cases and the thirteenth highest rate of teen births
in the U.S.
The final panel, “Creating Change for Louisiana Women:
Past, Present & Future,” discussed the historic challenges
women have faced in their professional endeavors and
what the future portends for younger women. Panelists
included McNeese State University Associate Professor of
History Janet Allured, University of Southern Mississippi
Associate Professor of History Pamela Tyler, Assistant
Vice President of the firm R. Christopher Goodwin &
Associates Mary Kathleen Coyle, and Kathleen Richard
Callaghan, staff attorney with the Louisiana Department
of Health and Hospitals.
Brazile concluded the symposium with a talk about
her experiences as a woman successfully advancing in a
male-dominant field and the tendency for women to ask
for what they want less often than men.
“The caliber of participants was incredible,” said Long.
“It added another dimension to our work.”
Listening to Louisiana Women interviews will continue
through spring 2012. v
Focus on | Students
Focus On: Students
Senior Laura Pignato is a double major in psychology and sociology with a minor in political
science. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and the
law fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta. Pignato originally planned to apply to law school, but will now
pursue a PhD in criminology, a shift that occurred when she took Associate Professor Edward
Shihadeh’s criminology course. Pignato was fascinated by how social structures impact crime
and went on to score the highest grades of any student ever in the course. Criminology is one
the LSU Department of Sociology’s principal areas of research and Shihadeh is co-coordinator
of the department’s Crime and Policy Evaluation Research Group (CAPER), which encourages
interdisciplinary collaboration in the field. Pignato plans to apply to LSU for graduate school.
Senior Jayd Buteau is a history major and a native of Iberia Parish who recently transferred to LSU from Sweet Briar
College in Virginia. Buteau plans to pursue a career in education and hopes to specialize in coordinating educational
programs for museums and cultural institutions. She is president of the LSU chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national
honor society for history majors. Under Buteau’s leadership and with assistance from faculty advisor Assistant Professor
Carolyn Lewis, the Zeta Eta chapter has distinguished itself as one of the most active and successful in the state. Buteau
is also a mentor for the Tiger Transition team, helping freshmen adjust to college life.
Arquavious Gordon, a history major from Sunflower, Mississippi, represented LSU on the
College Week edition of Wheel of Fortune in May 2011. He reports that he was “ecstatic and
nervous all at the same time,” but the nervousness did not seem to inhibit him. He won cash,
a Mini Cooper and a trip to Hawaii. “It was most definitely a dream come true and is still very
surreal,” Gordon said.
Stephanie Elwood, general studies major with a Women’s & Gender Studies minor, won the Sociologists for Women in
Society 2010-2011 Undergraduate Social Action Award for a paper she wrote about her work with LSU student Marguerite Green on the Old South Baton Rouge Garden Project, which the two co-founded. The project helps residents of an
historic African American neighborhood build community and increase fresh food supply through organic gardening.
Sophomore political science major Anthony Myles also had the opportunity to compete on
Wheel of Fortune in August 2011. The show’s producers selected Myles after meeting him at
auditions held at LSU earlier this year. Myles cannot reveal his winnings until his episode airs
in January 2012, but he is proud to report that he wore purple and gold during the filming.
Andrea Berringer, PhD candidate in political science with a Women’s & Gender Studies
minor, served as associate editor for an issue of the International Journal of Climate Change:
Impacts and Responses and published an essay in it as well. In 2010, Berringer attended the
Summer Academy for the UN University Institute for Environment and Human Security in Schloss
Hohenkammer, Germany. She was an invited delegate to the June 2011 Nansen Conference,
Climate Change and Displacement in the 21st Century, in Oslo, Norway. She also presented her
work on climate change at the International Studies Association Annual Convention.
Graduate Students continued...
Christopher Gearhart, a PhD candidate in Communication Studies, was recognized for
two Top Four Paper Awards at the 2011 National Communication Association Conference. He
also earned a competitive dissertation stipend from the International Listening Association.
Monica Miller, PhD candidate in English and a graduate minor in Women’s & Gender Studies,
wrote a guest blog about plagiarism for Inside Higher Ed’s “University of Venus” column. Miller
presented papers at three conferences in 2011, including the College English Association
Conference, the Mildred Haun Conference, and the Southern American Studies Association.
Le’Brian Patrick, a PhD candidate in sociology and a Women’s & Gender Studies graduate
minor, was selected for the 2011 Charles Harrington Outstanding Graduate Student Award by
the LSU Black Faculty and Staff Caucus.
English PhD candidate Martha Pitts, a graduate minor in Women’s and Gender Studies, was
chosen for one of the 2011 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institutes. Pitts
participated in “The Role of Place in African American Biography,” sponsored by Massachusetts
College of Liberal Arts, Williams College, and the Upper Housatonic Valley African American
Heritage Trail. The four-week institute examined recent research and scholarship on the experiences of African Americans in New England from colonial days to the early twentieth century.
Communication Studies PhD candidate Joe Rhodes guest-lectured at two theological seminaries in India, presented research on Reinhold Niebuhr’s prophetic pragmatism in Boston at
the International Communication Association Conference and was asked to review J.P. Diggins’
Why Niebuhr Now? for The Quarterly Journal of Speech. He is presenting six papers at the
2011 National Communication Association Conference.
Communication Sciences and Disorders PhD candidate Jessica Richardson, a native
speaker of Gullah Geechee, participated in a panel discussion entitled, “Geechee ConnectionsWhere Have Our Traditions Gone?” at the 2011 Gullah Geechee Nation Music and Movement
Festival in August. Gullah/Geechees living along the southeastern coast traveled from Atlanta
to New Orleans and Donaldsonville, La. to reconnect with Geechees who had previously
migrated there. v
Focus on | ALUMNI
Focus On: Alumni
LSU alum James Clifton de Brueys is believed to have passed away November 26, 2010,
while traveling by boat between Arno Atoll and Majuro in the Marshall Islands.
De Brueys grew up in Kenner and attended Brother Martin High School in New Orleans
before coming to LSU. He graduated in 2009 with an anthropology major and Spanish minor.
In the fall of 2010, de Brueys went to the Marshall Islands as a volunteer teacher with
WorldTeach, an affiliate of the Center for International Development at Harvard University.
He was assigned to Bikarej Elementary School on the Arno Atoll.
The unedited selections below are from letters de Brueys wrote home to his family and describe some of his experiences there. The words in brackets have been added for explanation.
August 16, 2010
[From Majuro on the main island during initial training]
It’s pretty cool here — great snorkeling and nice people. Bikarej has a population of 200, 60
kids at the school (which is only three rooms). I am teaching primarily English class, and I
have 3 lagoons. And that is all I still know. All the WorldTeach people are cool, and all of us
live in a non-A/C school building. I am learning the art of bucket showers — I use about 2
gallons. I am trying to get it lower. It’s so beautiful under this water. It’s so blue and crisp.
August 20, 2010
I have been on the Bikarej for only a few days…been busy helping clean and organize the
school. It is a huge mess. Every day I walk through the jungle to go to my school (about 1
mile away) and am often met by chickens, pigs, and children (and today, rain). I do have
plans for the school [to] repaint the outside, start a garden, create a mascot (The Fighting
Pandanus?) [a tropical plant in the Pacific.]. I will be teaching grade 7/8 from 8:30 — 10,
and 4/5/6 from 1 — 2:30, everyday. We are trying to figure out where K/1 and 2/3 will
go (hence “build” another classroom — put up a plywood wall?). I have a mama (Imita), a
baba (Kyotok), tons of brothers and sisters, a cat, two dogs, five chickens, and a pig or two.
August 27, 2010
But it’s not all work here, my friends! Oh, no! The other day two of my brothers and I went
on an adventure for clams. These things were gi-normous. You have to shuck with a
machete. These kids are my, according to custom, brothers and sisters. Life here is so simple.
(I know what I’m about to say sounds like it’s from a cheesy movie). He (one of my babas)
asked me, “Why do Americans carry guns? Why murder?” I just stared at him for a second
and said, “I don’t know.” He said, “This is why I live here. Simple. Good. No murder.” Everyone
here is so nice and giving. I am a part of their family.
August 29, 2010
I cannot wait ‘til I get better at Marshallese so I can speak about things on a deeper level.
Speaking slowly and on “surface level” for the last few weeks is becoming, honestly,
annoying. Being relegated to “I ate a breadfruit last night. Yum.” is just not that stimulating…paradise is not always what it seems. There are, like anywhere, a lot of issues. If there
weren’t, I would not be here, right?
September 8, 2010
I also teach an afterschool writing class twice a week, I start a “Life Outside of Bikarej”
class on Fridays, and may start an adult class on Wednesdays. My island is beautiful. I can
hear the ocean all the time. The ocean is so blue, the coral is awesome, and I eat like a king
(which I did not expect). Lobster, fish, clam, crab, coconut crab, turtle, coconut, breadfruit,
and pandanus. I mix my “hanging out” with my little brothers and sisters, my students,
and a bunch of men ranging in ages 19 to 65. I have gone all over the island on “jambos”
(walkabouts). The jungle is so awesome. It’s so lush, the browns and greens clashing in such
a dark area. The canopy blocks out a lot of sun, making all of the lizards and spiders well
hidden. Which is scary, cuz they are huge. I was the “guest of honor” at a Kemmem, a one
year old birthday extravaganza. I got to sit next to the baby, which as we all know, I just love
to do at all parties: I sit next to the baby. Culturally it’s the biggest thing besides a funeral.
The one year celebration basically means “you survived, so you’ll probably make it here!”
September 17, 2010
I don’t miss too much like t.v. or certain foods (although a burger would be nice) or even liquor
(although a beer with the burger would be nice). I really miss good conversation and the
chums I would have it with. At the same time, I think about this stuff the most when I write
letters. I get reminiscent at times, sure. But mostly I enjoy myself and appreciate how
lucky I have been to get an opportunity like this.
November 4, 2010
Everything here is shared. It’s funny how I didn’t prepare myself for the truest sense of this
word. Even the few things I brought to the Marshalls — my room is like a mystical palace.
So my little siblings like to come in and explore all the goodies I possess. It’s really trying
on my cultural upbringing. Not the sharing, but the constant proximity of everybody. The
family sleeps on the floor, and I tell you they are on top of each other. And they don’t wake
up from it. It is so weird not having privacy. I don’t think about it often, but there are times
when I realize that even when I shower, half of me is still exposed. The good half, so don’t
worry. Things are great, life is wonderful, teaching is tough but I am noticing some progress.
November 18, 2010
Going spear fishing on Saturday, reading, writing, and of course: Thinking! All the time! I
have been, strangely enough, getting little pieces of alone time. I go get lost in the jungle or go
to the lagoon and contemplate all the while (or sometimes, just exist in those places). When
the light is just right, and I am in the jungle…the greens just explode, there are these gorgeous
red flowers that juxtapose the greens and browns. And these beautiful white birds will often
roost in the trees, ever watchful of their jungle. Or… sometimes. They are tasty too. I feel
healthy. I feel happy. I have no worries (or, at least, none of the kind of worries I had back
home). Ok, this is far enough. My hand hurts. I love you, and I’ll talk to you soon! Love,
James (I’m fading away…) [James’s pen was running out of ink.]
Zack Mitchell, pictured center, at the Teacher of the Year ceremony.
By Lindsay Newport
One of the greatest benefits of an education in the humanities and social sciences is the
diversity of career options awaiting driven, curious students. Zack Mitchell is living proof.
His experience as a history major led him to some unexpected places; first, to Kyrgyzstan,
and later, back to his hometown, New Iberia, where he has become an award-winning
Mitchell says he majored in history at LSU because he liked stories. He perceived history as the story of humanity,
a fascinating tale of cultures and people and their decisions. He had a deep appreciation for the discipline thanks to a
few exceptional history teachers from his past, and he was motivated to learn more as an LSU undergraduate.
Mitchell completed his history degree in 2004 and was preparing to apply to law schools when he had a sudden change
of heart. A man of strong faith, Mitchell followed his instincts and embarked upon a new path: education. He enrolled
in LSU’s Holmes Program, graduate program in education, with the intention of following in the footsteps of the
history teachers he had admired as a student, hoping to mimic their success with his own students someday.
While in graduate school, Mitchell attended a conference in conjunction with the LSU chapter of Chi Alpha Christian
Fellowship in which a speaker challenged attendees to include a year of service abroad in their post-graduation plans.
Mitchell already felt compelled to teach overseas, so when the speaker cited a need for educators in Kyrgyzstan, Mitchell
jumped at the opportunity.
“In that instant, I knew what I needed to do,” Mitchell recalls.
He completed a master’s degree in social studies secondary education in 2006 and traveled shortly thereafter to
Bishkek, the Kyrgyzstan capital, to teach seventh through tenth grade social studies and physical education at Hope
Academy. The school is a K-10 multinational, English-language school that uses American-based curricula to educate
students from several nations, including Korea, Australia, Romania, Ecuador, Scotland, and Uganda.
Mitchell’s first days in Kyrgyzstan were tough. He had only one week before school to assemble lesson plans, gain a
working knowledge of the Russian language, familiarize himself with his new city, acquire a taste for local cuisine, and
acclimate to the intensely dry Central Asian weather. To complicate matters, Mitchell’s luggage was lost during his trip
abroad, leaving him with only three days’ worth of clothing.
Mitchell refused to let these initial challenges diminish his enthusiasm. He focused on bonding with fellow Hope
Academy staff members and quickly found them to be invaluable sources of guidance and support.
“It could have been much worse,” Mitchell said. “The staff
at the school was a close-knit group, and they welcomed
me with open arms and showed me the ropes. They even
showed me where I could get a bacon cheeseburger! I
couldn’t ask for better colleagues.”
Mitchell also found his Hope Academy students to be a
constant source of inspiration. A small group of young
men who were interested in learning more about football
approached Mitchell for help, and over time, he also had
the opportunity to mentor them. “Several of the young
men I worked with were new to Bishkek and had left
behind friends, comforts, and family,” Mitchell said. “In
the process of coaching them in football, I was also able to
coach them in life.”
Mitchell found the experiences of one of his football players
“One young man had lost his father the previous year,”
Mitchell recalled. “Before I left to return to the United
States, he tearfully said to me, ‘Mr. Mitchell, you don’t
know what this year has meant to me.’ That’s all he could
manage to say, but that said it all.”
“The small things I did and the time that I worked with
him changed his life, and that’s an accomplishment I will
never forget,” Mitchell said.
After spending nearly a year abroad, Mitchell returned
to the United States and accepted a position teaching
seventh grade American history in New Iberia, a post
he still holds today. He considers himself to be a better
teacher thanks to his time in Kyrgyzstan.
“It made me a more compassionate person and, therefore,
a more compassionate teacher,” Mitchell said. “You never
truly know what is going on in the life of your students, so
a little compassion goes a long way.”
Mitchell’s experiences abroad also gave him valuable
insight into the critical role that parents can play in the
educational process. He found that parents in Kyrgyzstan
believe that education is a privilege and are thus more
involved in their children’s education than many parents
in the U.S.
“The biggest difference between my work overseas and
here in Louisiana is the strong bond between the parents
and the school,” Mitchell said. “Parents [in Kyrgyzstan]
were always keen to help and were so appreciative of every
effort. In Louisiana, it is different. We are strengthening
the bonds between schools and home, but there is a long
way to go, and too often education and teachers are taken
LSU Alum Roselyn B.
When she wrote her dissertation acknowledgments, Roselyn B. Boneno used lines from
Walt Whitman’s poem“A Noiseless Patient
Spider” to exemplify the task of writing.
“Ceaselessly...venturing ...the spheres to connect them;
Till the bridge you will need be form’d....”
These lines also describe Boneno’s life. The common
thread that forms the bridge, as Whitman’s reference
implies, is education — education not only for Boneno,
but as a means of inspiring a love for learning in all who
have come under her tutelage. She frequently makes
reference to the lack of high quality education as the core
of the problems plaguing Louisiana. Boneno believes
education gives the ultimate advantage, and she credits
her maternal grandparents, parents and secondary school
teachers as her primary motivators. From them, she
learned that nothing is impossible and that no goal is out
of reach if one has the desire and the access.
When it comes to educational pursuits, Boneno has put in
her time. She earned an undergraduate degree from Our
Lady of Holy Cross College in New Orleans and a Master
of Arts from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Tex. As
a member of the Catholic order, the Marianites of Holy
Cross, Boneno began her career as a teacher.
Motivated by a thirst for knowledge and a desire to teach
at the university level, she began doctoral studies at LSU.
She says she selected LSU “because of its excellent history
faculty and because it provided the opportunity to
continue working as a secondary school administrator.”
To accomplish her goal and avoid placing a financial
burden on her religious community, Boneno received a
Governor’s Board of Supervisors Scholarship through
the generosity of then board member Murphy J. “Mike”
Foster. She also received an assistantship in the LSU
Department of History after completing course work for
In 1986, she was awarded a PhD from LSU. Her dissertation, “A Study of Italian Immigrants in New Orleans,
1880-1910,” was inspired by her maternal grandparents,
Antonio and Eleanora Bologna, first generation immigrants to the United States.
Whitman’s “venturing” took new meaning when Boneno
decided to leave the religious community that she had
been so proud to serve to pursue another career. As she
was completing her dissertation in the early eighties,
Boneno accepted a position in the insurance industry.
At the time, State Farm Insurance Company had begun
hiring female college graduates as agents in Louisiana.
Boneno’s first love was the classroom, but the chance to
own her own business as one of the first women agents in
Louisiana presented another rewarding opportunity.
Her career change did not diminish Boneno’s role as a
teacher. Education was still part of her life, though this
time it was in educating clients to understand the often
complex scenarios before them. Never was this more
evident than in 2005 when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast, New Orleans, and most
of South Louisiana. Katrina destroyed Boneno’s office
in New Orleans, forcing her to relocate to the suburbs.
Heartbroken over the destruction of her hometown, she
used her education and insurance industry experience
not only to handle claims, but to comfort and console
those who had lost everything.
Today Boneno is retired and living in Baton Rouge. She
works part-time, assisting a local State Farm agent. The
remainder of her time is spent working with organizations
aimed at improving life in Louisiana communities. She is
a member of her neighborhood homeowners association,
takes continuing education courses, and indulges her love
for music through her support of the New Orleans and
Baton Rouge symphonies. She also chairs the LSU College
of Humanities & Social Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council.
Since earning her doctorate, Boneno has been an invaluable supporter of the LSU Department of History, College
of Humanities & Social Sciences and the university as a
whole. In 2004, she established the Roselyn B. Boneno
Award for Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching in
History, which encourages and rewards history faculty
members who exhibit excellence in the classroom. Most
recently, she pledged a significant portion of her estate
as a planned gift to the university to establish the Roselyn
Bologna Boneno Professorship in American History.
Boneno says her support of LSU isn’t an option. Rather,
she believes it’s an important personal responsibility.
“For as long as I can remember, there existed the idea that
whatever success one achieves, with that came the obligation
to assist others,” she said. “I hope that more people will
come to understand how much LSU needs every one of
us to contribute to the university’s success by whatever
Boneno’s gifts to LSU reflect her passion for learning.
One might say that the university is a conduit through
which she hopes to achieve her ultimate goal: improving
education in Louisiana. Boneno considers this enormous
task to be her response to Whitman’s call, ceaselessly
venturing till the bridge is formed. v
Dear H&SS family,
There has never been a better
time to be a Tiger! As a third
generation LSU student and
Baton Rouge native, I am
proud to say that I definitely
Love Purple and Live Gold.
Since 2008, I have had the
privilege of working at LSU, at
the Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute in the E. J. Ourso
College of Business. Now, I am delighted to come
home to the college of my undergraduate years,
the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. It
is an exciting time here in H&SS as we continue to
celebrate the diversity of interests of our students
and the commitment to excellence of our faculty
and staff. To continue to grow and succeed, we need
your help! Please stay in touch with us so that we
can keep you informed about our achievements and
future goals. Send us your news and accomplishments as well as any information changes via email
at [email protected] or postal mail at 132 Hodges
Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. I look forward to meeting
you and thank you in advance for your support.
Jill Roshto, Director of Development
Communication Sciences and Disorders
The Language Development and Disorders Laboratory
in the Department of Communication Sciences and
Disorders hosted Erica Roberson, a California native
and an undergraduate at Alabama Agricultural and
Mechanical University, as part of LSU’s Predoctoral
Scholars Institute. One of the objectives of the institute is to recruit academically stellar undergraduates
from under-represented backgrounds to LSU in the
hope they will consider LSU’s graduate programs. As
part of Erica’s one-month stay at LSU, she completed
a research project entitled “Differences in the Dialects
of Black and White Children as Measured by Listener
The fall 2011 semester marked a new collaborative
effort with the Department of Communication
Sciences and Disorders and Pediatria Health Care
for Kids, an Atlanta-based company that delivers
health services to medically complex and fragile
children at its facilities. Pediatria provides skilled
professionals in nursing, physical therapy, speech
therapy, occupational therapy, and respiratory care.
LSU instructors Courtney Gonsoulin, M.S. CCC-SLP
and Shannon Farho, M.A. CCC-SLP provide speech
pathology services at the center where they also
mentor and train COMD graduate students. This
gives LSU graduate students experience in providing therapy in a multidisciplinary framework and
enables them to collaborate with other medical
paraprofessionals. They will also be responsible for
implementing parent and staff education programs.
Professor James Honeycutt (second from
the right, with panel
participants and James
scholar in residence
at the University of
back row on the right.)
was honored at the
spring Southern States
Communication Association Convention in
Little Rock on a special panel spotlighting the legacy
of scholarship in intrapersonal communication and
cognition. His fourth book, Scripts and Communication for Relationships (Cresskill) with co-author
Suzette P. Bryan, was published this year.
Professor Renee Edwards presented her research
on hurricane-related communication at the Coastal
Community Resilience Team Meeting of the Gulf of
Mexico Alliance (GOMA) in Spanish Fort, Alabama.
GOMA is a partnership by the states of Alabama,
Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas to enhance
the ecological and economic health of the Gulf of
Mexico. Resilience of both human and physical systems to adapt and recover is one of its six priorities.
Assistant Professor Graham Bodie (above) received
the Emerging Scholar Award in Arts, Humanities
and Social Sciences from LSU’s Office of Research
and Economic Development as well as a grant from
the Louisiana Board of Regents to study listening as
Sharon Andrews has been awarded the 2011 GulfSouth Summit Award for Outstanding Contributions
to Service-Learning in Higher Education.
Professor Kevin Cope has been named LSU’s 2011
Distinguished Research Master in the Humanities.
Associate Professor Brannon Costello published
Howard Chaykin: Conversations (University Press of
Professional-in-Residence Zack Godshall was featured in a January 11 article in The Advocate, “BR
Filmmaker goes to Sundance,” about his second
consecutive invitation to the Sundance Film Festival,
to show his film, Lord Byron.
Associate Professor Mari Kornhauser was singled
out in the January issue of Baton Rouge’s 225
Magazine as one of the area’s 2011 People to Watch,
partly for her recent invitation to join the writing
team for David Simon and Eric Overmyer’s HBO
Robert Penn Warren Professor John Lowe was
keynote speaker for the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Society Conference in Deland, FL, giving the
talk “Backwoods Self-Reliance in 1933 and 1988:
Rawlings’s South Moon Under and Tom Franklin’s
Poachers.” He also gave an invited talk “Coyote
Games: Trickster Discourse in Short Stories by
Hughes, Menendez, and Gautraux” at the University
of Angers, France, and was featured in a PBS documentary on Ernest Gaines.
David Madden (Professor Emeritus) and Kris
Mecholsky (graduate student) have co-authored
James M. Cain: Hard-boiled Mythmaker (Scarecrow
Professor Michelle Massé has been elected to the
board of directors of the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society. She is also
serving as Second Vice-President of MLA’s Age
Studies Discussion Group and is incoming chair of
the Women’s Caucus in the Modern Languages.
Professor Laura Mullen’s sixth book, Dark Archive,
was published by the University of California Press
in April. Poems from the collection were featured
in the Academy of Women Poets’ Poem-a-Day site
and Poetry Daily. A recording of a poem from her
new collection was set to music by Jason Eckardt,
performed by the International Contemporary
Ensemble, and will be released by Mode Records
in fall 2011. She has been elected to serve as the
special delegate in Creative Writing for the Modern
Associate Professor Solimar Otero’s Afro-Cuban
Diasporas in the Atlantic World has been published
by the University of Rochester Press in its History
and Diaspora series.
Instructor Randolph Thomas won first place in the
Blue Mesa Review fiction contest with his story “The
Lost Arts,” due to appear in the next issue.
Instructor M.O. (Neal) Walsh has won the First
Annual Louisiana Arts and Film Commission
Screenwriting Contest for a short film adaptation
of his story “The Freddies.” This is the first project
undertaken by the Commission designed to incubate
films made entirely in Louisiana.
Professor Sharon Aronofsky Weltman gave a
plenary address entitled “’Tis an Idle Prejudice I
Grant’: Representing Race in Pitt’s The String of
Pearls” at the Politics, Performance, and Popular
Culture in Nineteenth-Century Britain Conference at
the University of Lancaster, UK.
LSU Board of Supervisors
Names New Boyd Professor
In March 2011, the
LSU Board of Supervisors named William
A. Read Professor
of English J. Gerald
a Boyd Professor.
Kennedy joins eleven
other active Boyd
Professors across the
The Boyd Professorship is the highest professorial rank awarded
by the LSU System
and is given only to scholars who have attained
national or international distinction for outstanding
teaching, research, or other creative achievement.
The LSU Board of Supervisors established the
professorship in 1953, which is named for brothers
David F. and Thomas D. Boyd, past presidents of LSU.
Kennedy received a PhD from Duke University
and arrived at LSU in 1973. Over the course of his
career, he has become an internationally acclaimed
scholar of American literature, short fiction, literary
nationalism, and modernism, publishing widely
on Edgar Allan Poe, Ernest Hemingway, American
expatriate writing, and other topics. The 14 books
he has written or edited include Modern American
Short Story Sequences (paperback, 2010), The
Portable Edgar Allan Poe, ed. (2006), the Oxford
Historical Guide to Edgar Allan Poe, ed. (2001),
Imagining Paris: Exile, Writing, and American Identity (1993), and Poe, Death, and the Life of Writing
(1987). He has published dozens of scholarly essays,
reviews, and articles. Kennedy taught in France for
one year at the Université de Lille as a Fulbright
Because of the wide respect for his scholarship,
Kennedy has been asked to serve as a consultant and
commentator on several documentaries, including
the Paris The Luminous Years: Towards The Making Of The Modern for PBS, Hemingway in Cuba
for Florida Public Television, Poe’s Tales of Terror
for The Learning Channel “Great Books” series,
and The Mystery of Edgar Allan Poe, for the A & E
He has served as president and vice president of
the Poe Studies Association and vice president and
member of the board of directors of the Hemingway
Foundation. He is a past recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and the National Endowment for
the Humanities Fellowship. In 1981, he founded the
LSU in Paris program, and in 1998 was named LSU
Distinguished Research Master.
Kennedy is currently at work on his latest book,
Writing America’s Narrative: Literary Nationalism in
the Age of Poe.
Oliver Awarded Alumni
Professorship for Excellence
Professor of English Elisabeth
L. “Lisi” Oliver was named
Greater Houston Alumni
Chapter Endowed Alumni
Professor in 2011. The honor
recognizes LSU tenured
full professors who have
reputations of excellence
in instruction, especially in
undergraduate teaching. A
recipient of the Alumni Professorship also demonstrates an outstanding professional relationship with
other faculty and staff members; a dedication to his
or her academic field; and a record of active participation in areas of professor/student relations.
A well-known scholar of comparative law, medieval
languages and linguistics, and opera libretti, Oliver
earned a PhD from Harvard University in Linguistics
and has been teaching at LSU since 1996. She has
written and edited several journal articles and books
that have contributed significantly to the understanding of medieval law and its social impact.
Oliver’s passion for her chosen field and her
talent in the classroom have made it possible for
a succession of diverse students to be inspired by
challenging subject matter that features arcane
languages and thousand-year-old texts. In 2010,
Oliver earned a Tiger Athletic Foundation President’s
Award, another university honor that recognizes
Oliver is known for integrating historical, literary
and linguistic evidence throughout her scholarship.
Her most recent book, The Body Legal in Barbarian
Law (University of Toronto Press, 2011) presents
new findings about medieval law and its influence
on early legal history. She received a significant
grant from the National Institutes of Health (National
Library of Medicine Division) to support completion
of the manuscript.
Oliver’s The Beginnings of English Law (University
of Toronto Press, 2002), is an influential work on the
earliest laws from Anglo-Saxon England. The laws
of Æthelbert of Kent (ca. 600), Hlothhere and Eadric
(685), and Wihtred (695) were the first Germanic
laws written in the vernacular and show the new
religion of Christianity’s growing influence on law
and legal language.
Oliver wrote the chapter on Anglo-Saxon legal
documents for the Cambridge History of Early
Medieval English Literature. She is also one of two
Americans and the only woman on the literary board
of the Early English Laws Project, sponsored by the
Institute for Historical and Cultural Research of Great
Britain, an international collaboration to re-edit all
the laws of Anglo-Saxon England.
She is currently at work on a new edition of the
laws of Alfred the Great.
Associate Professor Sue Weinstein has been selected
to receive the 2011 Brij Mohan Distinguished Professor Award, recognizing a faculty member who serves
as a model for the community in demonstration of a
commitment to peace, equality, and social justice.
Foreign Languages and Literatures
Associate Professor Emily Batinski has returned to
full-time teaching and research after fifteen years as
chair of the department.
Professor John D. Pizer, Professor of German, is
now chair. Pizer recently published Imagining the
Age of Goethe in German Literature, 1970-2010
Associate Professor Alejandro Cortazar and Assistant
Professor Rafael Orozco have co-edited Lenguaje,
Arte y Revoluciones Ayer y Hoy: New approaches to
Hispanic Linguistic, Literary and Cultural Studies, a
selection of revised and expanded papers originally
presented at LSU’s XXVII Louisiana Conference on
Hispanic Languages and Literatures.
Associate Professor Qiancheng Li has published
Xiyou bu jiaozhu (A Supplement to the Journey to
the West: An Annotated Critical Edition with Commentaries), as part of Kunlun Press’s prestigious
Series on Eastern Culture.
A national committee chaired by Assistant Professor of Greek Wilfred E. Major in 2008 created
the College Greek Exam, an annual test that uses
national standards to assess nationwide college
students in beginning Greek. Major is working to
pilot an online version of the exam.
Assistant Professor of Arabic Mark Warner has
been invited to participate in Middlebury College’s
Clifford Symposium, which will examine the spring
2011 uprisings in the Middle East.
The LSU Classical Studies program along with its
two related student clubs, Students for the Promotion of Antiquity and Eta Sigma Phi, initiated the
Kwirky Klassics Video Series during the spring 2011
semester. The series featured relatively short films
and episodes from classic television shows that treat
the ancient world in a peculiar way. They included a
1958 drive-in horror film about a murderous gladiator
brought back to life by atomic waste; an episode of
the original Star Trek television series, in which Kirk
and crew match wits with the god Apollo; and, a You
Are There episode in which the death of Socrates is
covered by Walter Cronkite and CBS News.
Geography and Anthropology
R.J. Russell Professor in Geography and Anthropology
Patrick Hesp earned the LSU Distinguished Faculty
Award in April 2011. He is one of five at LSU to receive
the award, which recognizes faculty members with
sustained records of excellence in teaching, research,
and service. Hesp was also awarded a visiting professorship to the National Research Group for Coastal
Environment issues (GNRAC - Gruppo Nazionale
per la Ricerca sull’Ambiente Costiero) in Italy in
summer 2011, where he delivered the course,
“Dynamics, Geomorphology and Management
of Coastal Dunes,” and researched coastal dunes
in Sardinia and various Italian coastal sites. Hesp
was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for fall 2011 to
spend three months conducting a detailed drilling
and dating program on two coastal barrier islands
in southern Brazil.
Associate Professor Michael Leitner is part of
a research team that was awarded a $2.1 million
(USD) grant from the Austrian Science Fund to establish a doctoral college in Geographic Information
(GI) Science at the University of Salzburg, Austria.
The research team consists of nine professors from
geography, geology, economics, and computer
science. Leitner’s research focus is in GIScience
and spatial crime analysis. The doctoral college
also provides full funding for a bilateral exchange
between LSU and the University of Salzburg’s GIScience doctoral students for one semester. Earlier
this year, Leitner also received a National Science
Foundation grant of $28,628 to assist young scholars
from the US to participate in the 25th International
Cartographic Conference (ICC) in Paris, France in
Lynne Carter, associate director of the Southern
Climate Impacts Planning Program (SCIPP) in the
Department of Geography and Anthropology and
associate director of the Coastal Sustainability
Studio at LSU, was one of 12 international experts
named to the ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA and will serve on its Climate Adaptation
Experts Advisory Committee. ICLEI is the leading
local government association addressing climate
change and sustainability.
Doris Z. Stone Professor of Latin American Studies
Heather McKillop is principal investigator on a
National Science Foundation collaborative grant
totaling $250,041 for a project entitled “Ancient
Maya Wooden Architecture and the Salt Industry.”
McKillop, a world expert on the ancient Maya, and
her colleagues are investigating a massive salt industry in Paynes Creek National Park, Belize.
The scientists are looking for evidence of how ancient
Maya in inland cities obtained a regular supply of
salt. McKillop will direct underwater excavations of
the Paynes Creek salt works.
Manship Professor Andrew Burstein and Professor
Nancy Isenberg have attracted significant attention
for their 2011 book Madison and Jefferson (Random
House). The authors were recently interviewed on
the nationally broadcast radio program, The Burt Cohen Show, which explores politics and social issues.
Boyd Professor William J. Cooper is finishing his
term as president of the Southern Historical Association. Cooper delivered his presidential address last
November, a preview of his much-anticipated book
on the onset of the Civil War.
Paul W. and Nancy W. Murrill Professor Paul Hoffman,
at work on the history of LSU, was featured in the
Louisiana Public Broadcasting documentary, “The
Treasures of LSU.”
At the American Historical Association’s 2011
annual meeting, Professor Suzanne Marchand was
awarded the George Mosse Prize for best book in
European intellectual or cultural history in the previous year. Marchand’s German Orientalism in the
Age of Empire: Religion, Race, and Scholarship, was
published by Cambridge University Press.
The History Graduate Student Association held its
second annual conference in March 2011, in which
students presented original research and received
feedback from peers. National and international
scholars presented papers and Professor Thomas
Sugrue of the University of Pennsylvania delivered
the keynote address.
Philosophy and Religious Studies
Associate Professor of Religious Studies Paula Arai
recently published Bringing Zen Home (University
Press of Hawaii), which reveals and explains a previously unrecognized but important ritual life among
Professor of Philosophy Edward Hugh Henderson
published a co-edited volume, C. S. Lewis and
Friends: Faith and the Power of Imagination, which
includes chapters on the use of imagination in
theology through the fiction of C. S. Lewis, Dorothy
L. Sayers, Charles Williams, J. R. R. Tolkien, Rose
Macaulay, and Austin Farrer. Recognized as a prominent Farrer scholar, Henderson was quoted in “Acts
of God,” an article by Nick Paumgarten in the July
12 & 19, 2010 New Yorker. Paumgarten explored
responsibility for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and
drew on the ideas of Farrer.
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Michael
Pasquier is one of 12 promising young scholars
participating in the Young Scholars in American Religion program for the years 2010-12. This program
is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Religion
and American Culture at Indiana University-Purdue
University Indianapolis, considered the nation’s
premier research institute for the study of American
religion. Pasquier was recently named editor of
the online Journal of Southern Religion and published Fathers on the Frontier: French Missionaries
and the Roman Catholic Priesthood in the United
States, 1789-1870 (Oxford University Press). He also
worked with a team of LSU professors on a study,
“Measured Change: Tracking Transformations in
Bayou Lafourche,” which was named the 2011
Place Research Award winner by the Environmental
Design Research Association.
Associate Professor Ed Shihadeh received an Atlas
Grant to finish his new book, A World Apart: Violence
and the New Latino Migration. The work examines
recent Latino migrants and demonstrates that those
who settled in new destinations are more vulnerable
to violence and anti-Latino resentment than previous
waves of migrants in traditional areas.
Associate Professors Troy Blanchard and Mark
Schafer received a grant to study the impact of the
oil and gas industry on the well-being of ethnic
groups on the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama
Associate Professors Tim Slack and Troy Blanchard
received funding from the BP Gulf of Mexico Research
Initiative for a unique household survey drawn from
South Louisiana communities affected by the BP
Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This research effort provides a novel opportunity to assess the impacts of
the catastrophe on the psychological, physical and
economic well-being of residents in spill-affected
Professor and Department Chair Wesley Shrum
established a permanent archive of English-language
performance art for future generations at the
National Library of Scotland, filming three dozen
shows annually at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Women’s and Gender Studies
Assistant Professor of Sociology and Women’s and
Gender Studies Sarah Becker’s collaborative work
on community resilience after the Deepwater Horizon
oil spill received support during the 2010-2011
academic year from the Gulf of Mexico Research
Initiative. Becker’s work on economic development
and community-based anti-crime coalitions was
supported by the Louisiana State Board of Regents
Economic Development Assistantship Program.
Associate Professor of Geography and WGS affiliate
faculty member Dydia DeLyser was an associate
producer for The Legend of Pancho Barnes, a documentary film on the life of aviation pioneer Florence
Lowe “Pancho” Barnes. The film was awarded the
2011 LA Area Emmy Award in the Arts & Culture/
History category at the Academy of Television Arts
and Sciences in North Hollywood, California, on
August 6, 2011.
Professor of French Studies and WGS affiliate faculty
member Kate Jensen published Uneasy Possessions:
The Mother-Daughter Dilemma in French Women’s
Writings, 1671-1928 (Lexington Books, 2011).
Assistant Professor of English and Women’s and
Gender Studies Benjamin Kahan has been awarded
the Early Career Fellowship to the Humanities Center
at the University of Pittsburgh for the academic year
2011-2012. This fellowship is awarded to a scholar
of “outstanding promise, at work on a major project in
any area of the humanities or allied areas of inquiry.”
Kahan will be in residence at the Center during fall
2011. Kahan was also offered an ATLAS grant from
the Louisiana Board of Regents for his project,
“Celibacies, 1886-1969.” In 2010, Kahan held the
Dorot Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship
in Jewish Studies at the Harry Ransom Center of the
University Texas at Austin, for his project “Sexual
Emergencies: A History of Acquired Sexuality.”
Assistant Professor Political Science and Women’s
and Gender Studies Heather Ondercin’s paper, “The
Changing Meaning of Being a Man or a Woman,”
has been selected to receive the Marian Irish Award
for the best paper in Women & Politics presented at
the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Southern Political
Science Association. v
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LSU Chancellor Michael Martin (far right), Provost Jack Hamilton (far left), and Humanities & Social Sciences
Dean Gaines Foster (second from left) with H&SS graduates who received University Medals at the spring
2011 commencement ceremony.