Welcome to theologian Valerie Abrahamsen, who has been co-opted onto the NCIS Board of Directors, effective February 2017. Valerie was in fact voted onto the Board in 2016, but could not attend board meetings due to a timetable clash. Following a change in the meeting schedule, we are delighted to be able to welcome Val to office, and look forward to her contribution. Val is already working on the searchable online Membership Directory, which we hope to see going live on our redesigned website before too long.
New members joining NCIS include scholars from Bulgaria as well as Puerto Rico and elsewhere in the United States, with disciplines ranging from architecture to engineering.
Daniel S. Brown, an adjunct instructor at several universities and colleges, including the University of Toledo and Oakland Community College, earned his Ph.D. in English with a specialization in Victorian British Literature from the University of Florida in 2012. He worked as a visiting instructor at the University of South Florida in Tampa from 2012–2015. Brown’s research interests include realism, Pre-Raphaelitism, masculinities, and the interactions between verbal and visual representation.
Roberta Cohen is a specialist in human rights, humanitarian, and refugee issues, and a leading expert on the subject of internally displaced persons and on human rights conditions in North Korea. Cohen has published more than 100 articles on human rights and humanitarian issues. She has received numerous awards, including the Diplomatic and Consular Officers, Retired Fiftieth Anniversary Award for Exemplary Writing on Foreign Affairs and Diplomacy and the Washington Academy of Sciences Award for Distinction in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Cohen has been a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of International Migration, and an adjunct associate professor at the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law in American University’s Washington College of Law. She holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Bern Faculty of Law, a master’s degree “with distinction” from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a bachelor’s from Barnard College (Columbia University), which awarded her its Distinguished Alumna Award in 2005.
After receiving a Ph.D. in history from Texas A&M University in 2012, David Conley Nelson published Moroni and the Swastika: Mormons in Nazi Germany with the University of Oklahoma Press in 2015. Conley holds bachelor’s degrees in journalism from the University of Oregon and French from the University of Houston and served six years as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. He combines his focus on small religious denominations and totalitarian governments with research on collective memory—how groups and even whole societies choose to remember their past.
Miriam Díaz-Gilbert, author of English for Pharmacy Writing and Oral Communication, publishes on spirituality and healing and teaches theology/religious studies. Her unfinished dissertation topic focused on modern ultrarunning in the context of desert asceticism. She has directed a writing center has lectured on first-year writing and rhetoric, and academic ESL. Diaz-Gilbert is a Huffington Post blogger who has written on a variety of topics, including ultrarunning and spirituality, and has been teaching in higher education nearly 25 years and running ultramarathons since 2005.
A director of project management at Celldex Therapeutics in Needham, Massachusetts, James M. Huebner has more than 20 years experience in drug development project management, competitive intelligence, clinical operations and discovery and basic research. He is a frequent invited lecturer on drug development and project management at national professional meetings and has served as a course director and faculty member for the Pharmaceutical Education & Research Institute (PERI) since 2005. Huebner holds masters degrees in Biological Sciences from Western Michigan University and in Ethics & Public Policy from Suffolk University in Boston and publishes in academic journals.
Perry Miller in November 2016 defended his dissertation on the application of psychoanalytic concepts to mental health self-help literature. His research interests include the contributions of interdisciplinary cultural studies to institutional and public humanities, especially in the areas of community mental health and medical humanities.
Priya Parrotta Natarajan, a writer, musician and facilitator, is committed to fostering empathy, curiosity, and responsibility across geopolitical divides in the interest of our shared, brilliant planet. She is the author of The Politics of Coexistence in the Atlantic World (forthcoming), which brings to light what is arguably the Caribbean’s greatest gift to the world: centuries of experience in living together, under dizzyingly complex conditions. Recently featured as one of Washington, D.C.’s “Outstanding Millennials,” Natarajan was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Scott Pellegrino’s current research concentrates on the logical analysis of language and knowledge by investigating the nature, structure, and limits of world description and quantification. His secondary research interest includes historical biographical, architectural, and geographical research of St. Louis during the Second Industrial Revolution.
With a doctorate degree in Marriage and Family Studies and several graduate degrees in Literature, Library Science, Theology, James Sauer has published more than 250 articles and reviews as well as essays in anthologies. Sauer, a Buffalo, New York, native, plans to begin significant research on topics in politics and theology with a focus on specific authors such as C. S. Lewis, John Newton, John Bunyan, Pascal, and Chesterton.
A full time as an engineer since 1990, Steven Sawyer holds Ph.D. and master’s degrees in Economics and works periodically as an adjunct professor as well as on other projects, such as analyzing Nigerian price data. Sawyer’s research has been published in the Journal of Economic Issues.
James Stout teaches in the San Diego Community College system and his dissertation “Breakaway Nations: The Use of Sport and Physical Culture to Create a Cross-Class Catalan Identity during the Second Republic,” examines youth groups in the Second Republic, the role of sport in empowering republican women and the use of cycle races to define and united a diverse community. A former professional athlete, Stout also is founder and executive director of a nonprofit organization that works with people in the Native American community.
Architect and an independent researcher Iva Stoyanova works in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and holds a M. Arch. (2011, UACEG, Sofia, Bulgaria) and a Ph.D. with merits, Doctor Europaeus, in Preservation of Architectural Heritage (2015, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy). She upgrades her doctoral studies “Gallery Vittorio Emanuele II. The iron-glass cover: conservation, innovation, continuity” and develops her research interests as an independent scholar. She is interested in historical building techniques, conservation and preservation of heritage architecture (19th/ 20th c.). Her passion is to study the building technology of threatened heritage architecture and to reconstruct it virtually.
NCIS welcomes two new members, Dr. Claudia Keenan and Dr. Sarah Weaver.
Dr. Claudia Keenan is an historian of American education and culture with interests ranging from progressive education to the symbolization of U.S. First Ladies. In recent years, her publications have focused on local history in Westchester County, N.Y., and Atlanta, and continues to research in American history and culture circa 1870–1920. After growig up in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., Keenan graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in cultural anthropology. In 1995, inspired by the story of the Bronxville, N.Y., public schools (among the few progressive school districts in the nation during the 1920s), she entered NYU’s doctoral program in History of Education. Keenan’s thesis, P.T.A. Business: A Cultural History of How Suburban Women Supported the Public Schools (2002), explored the manipulation of local PTA initiatives to affirm social hierarchy, manage flaming youth, and otherwise enforce conservative values. Subsequently, she taught at Emory & Henry College and published articles and chapters on various topics. Keenan lives in New York City and blogs about little-known historical figures at “Through the Hourglass.”
Dr. Sarah Weaver is a scholar of nineteenth-century British literature. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Cambridge in 2015 for a dissertation that examined the influence of Victorian philology on Alfred Tennyson's poetry.
NCIS is pleased to welcome four new members whose diverse scholarship--public health, religion and philosophy--highlight the broad spectrum of academic foci in our association.
Phronie Jackson, Ph.D. specializes in issues relating to the impact and improvement of situations involving health disparities in chronic disease prevention and management, health equity, social determinates of health and health literacy. Jackson has more than 20 years of public health, community health, population health and worksite wellness experience. She recently completed a Ph.D. in Public Health and holds a master’s degree in Public Health from Walden University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Services from Spelman College.
Race MoChridhe (MRS, Nations University) is an independent scholar of religion writing from a Traditionalist perspective whose current research focuses on the intersections of New Religious Movements, feminist theology, and the sophia perennis. His most recent activities include work on the Encyclopedia of Women in World Religions, a featured response for The Religious Studies Project, and a forthcoming presentation at the conference of the Pagan/Academic European Associates Network (PAEAN). More about his work can be found at his website, www.racemochridhe.com.
Ashton T. Sperry-Taylor (Ph.D. University of Missouri) specializes in the philosophy of science, the epistemic foundations of decision and game theory, and logic.
David White taught philosophy for 40 years using the performative format. White’s focus on Joseph Butler, an 18th century bishop, theologian, and philosopher included a doctoral dissertation, a comprehensive bibliography, website, and the first new print edition of the Butler’s complete works in more than a century. White founded the Bishop Butler Society Ltd. and the Bishop Butler Digitization Project.
NCIS welcomes three new members and one associate member!
While building a career in business, Ken Gorfkle also earned a doctorate in Spanish literature, graduating from University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2014. At UNC, he focused on semiotics, poetics, and contemporary Latin American literature and gained expertise on the work of the internationally recognized contemporary Chilean poet, David Rosenmann-Taub. Dr. Gorfkle has written received a grant and multiple awards from the foundation that preserves and promotes the work of this gifted and multifaceted artist and has been reworking his doctoral dissertation, “The Intersection of Life and Death in David Rosenmann-Taub’s Tetralogy Cortejo y Epinicio” for publication. He is preparing a series of articles based on an interpretative approach to the poet’s work for academic audiences and also is preparing to disseminate the poetry to a lay audience.
Geneveive Newman, a recent alumna of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts MA program in Cinema and Media Studies. Her research interests include decolonial and Third Cinema, horror and science fiction media, transnational Irish cultural production, and critical cultural studies. An independent scholar, her current research focuses on marginalization, decolonialism, and formal experimentation in horror media and literature.
Angela E. Roe, Ph.D, is a cultural anthropologist, writer and filmmaker of Curaçaoan, Surinamese and Dutch descent. Dr. Roe’s passion is to conduct solid anthropological research and to make her academic work accessible to large, non-academic audiences. Therefore, in 2012 she launched the Warwarú ImageNation Foundation, a nonprofit research, media and event organization that spotlights (Dutch) Caribbean tangible and intangible heritage, and that pursues ideological decolonization through a wide variety of events and research projects. Her foundation's first project was the award-winning documentary Sombra di Koló/The Shadow of Color (2014), on race and racism in Curaçao.
NCIS Associate member Gary Rubin is a financial services professional with more than 30 years experience. He holds a masters degree in Applied and Professional Ethics from the University of Leeds and is a published author in the areas of financial advisers and ethics. He currently is researching applied and professional ethics with a focus on business ethics in the field of financial services.
NCIS welcomes Marilyn J. Andrews and Chris Lezotte, among recent new members.
Marilyn J. Andrews is an independent scholar who earned her doctorate in Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She also holds master's degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Education. Her dissertation research examined how the Mapuche people of South America utilize the Internet as a tool of self-representation to foster a national identity and how that usage reflects traditional understandings of socio-territorial identity. As a full-time secondary school teacher of Spanish, Dr. Andrews is exploring indigenous identity expressions in online media, social media (globally), and how speech communities form in online environments. She is the co-editor of "Online around the World: A Geographic Encyclopedia of the Internet, Social Media, and Mobile Apps" to be published in 2017 by ABC-Clio.
Chris Lezotte, a Detroit native, worked for many years in advertising, writing car commercials. This life experience led to her research into the relationship between women and cars, an interest she pursued as part of her doctoral studies in American Culture Studies at Bowling Green State University, as a 2015–2016 BGSU Center for Popular Culture Studies Research Fellow and in a master's degree in Women's and Gender Studies at Eastern Michigan University. She is currently researching non-hegemonic car cultures in general with a specific focus on alternative constructions of the “woman driver.”
Seven independent scholars living in six countries recently joined NCIS, and their diverse expertise includes pharmacology, psychoanalytic literary criticism and Early Modern European History.
Pintu Das has taught English at university level for more than a decade in India. In addition to his expertise in English and English literature, he is an expert in linguistics, phonetics and several European languages including Ancient Greek, Latin, German, French, etc. He teaches English Philology and Prosody as part of B.A. English Honors and M.A. courses. He has published Vibrant Voices from American Poetry, a reference book recommended for the Calcutta University Syllabus, and is writing a textbook on English Philology for several universities in India. He currently is an independent scholar focusing on research and writing.
A clinical pharmacologist, Immanuel Freedman also is a registered patent agent and systems, signals and algorithms consultant with more than 30 years experience of modeling, simulation, systems analysis, design, development and testing. Dr. Freedman has served as expert consultant providing technical analysis related to patent infringement, patent validity, and the research tax credit. He also integrated knowledge using pharmacometric models and quantitative systems pharmacology to design clinical trials by translating exposure-response relationships across diseases, phases and species. Dr. Freedman has published and presented at conferences in Babylonian mathematical astronomy.
Ellen Yutzy Glebe, Ellen Yutzy Glebe holds a B.A. from Guilford College in history and German studies and a Ph.D. in Early Modern European history from the University of California-Berkeley, where she focused on the history of religious dissidence in Germany during the late Middle Ages and Reformation. Since completing her doctorate in 2008, she has transitioned into a career as a freelance translator (German>English) and editor of academic texts. To learn more about her professional qualifications and the modern-day fairy tale (including a castle) that led her from her native North Carolina to her current home in central Germany, please visit www.writinghistory.de/about-me
John Holland is an independent scholar and French-to-English translator working in the social sciences and humanities. His research focuses on Lacanian psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic literary criticism. An American living in France since 1994, Dr. Holland has taught courses in French and American universities and has pursued his research at a variety of psychoanalytic schools. His recent projects include editing the 2015 issue of S: Journal of the Circle of Lacanian Ideology Critique and upcoming projects include a presentation at the European Society of Jamesian Studies conference in October, 2016. Dr. Holland holds a Ph.D. in English from Princeton and a D.E.A. (Master’s level) in Psychoanalysis from Université Paris 8.
Freelance musician Valerie Langfield is a teacher, accompanist, composer, writer and editor. Her primary research interests are British music of the 19th century and early 20th century, especially opera and song. Dr. Langfield’s Ph.D. thesis/biography of the English song composer Roger Quilter established her as the authority on his life and work. Her editions of numerous British operas have been recorded or performed; and in addition to publishing numerous articles, she has contributed to leading music dictionaries and national biographies. She is a founding member and trustee of Retrospect Opera, which records British operas representative of their period, and is also a trustee of the Carl Rosa Trust, which promotes research into the leading British touring opera company of the late 19th and early-20th centuries. Current research projects include an edition of the diaries of the Cambridge musicologist Edward Dent, and one of Dent's letters to Jack Gordon, staff producer at Sadler's Wells Opera between the two World Wars; and the life and music of Dora Bright.
Joshua Matacotta earned his doctorate in clinical psychology with an emphasis in health psychology. He conducts research and program evaluation at the Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Los Angeles, and manages a team of senior and junior research analysts. He is also a member of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the American Evaluation Association, and the American Psychological Association. His current research areas include: Behavioral health & health psychology; the impact of technology on health and social issues; public health/mental health and policy; chronic disease and quality of life; LGBT and gender issues; psychology of men and masculinity; data science, and replication science.
Masato Okamoto worked for Japanese statistical offices for 36 years, most recently as Director and Lecturer of the Statistical Research and Training Institute (2005–2015). Prior to that post, he was charge of compiling the family budget survey and the Consumer Price Index (1997–2002). He studied several statistical issues as the population-subgroup decomposition method of the Gini coefficient and analytic expression of the Gini coefficient for lognormal and double-Pareto-lognormal (dPLN) mixture distributions were published as articles in peer-reviewed journals. I will continue research activities after leaving office.
NCIS welcomes new members Amy Absher, Michel Accad, Lisa Cardyn, Elizabeth Everton, Thomas E. Kail, Angela Shaw-Thornburg, and Steven Williams.
- Amy Absher is a historian, writer, and teacher specializing in the 20th century African American Experience.
- Michel Accad, M.D., a physician practicing cardiology and internal medicine, holds a part-time faculty appointment at the University of California San Francisco-Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Dr. Accad’s areas of scholarly interest focus on the philosophy of nature and the philosophy of medicine (ontology, epistemology, and ethics of medical care). As an independent scholar, Dr. Accad has been publishing reports and full-length scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals since 2010.
- Lisa Cardyn, Ph.D., J.D., is a U.S. historian whose work has focused on the history of sexualized racial violence and sexual trauma from the Reconstruction through the mid-20th century. Dr. Cardyn received her Ph.D. and J.D. degrees from Yale and is an adjunct professor at Berkeley and Stanford.
- Elizabeth Everton holds a Ph.D. from UCLA in modern European history, with subfields in French history, cultural history, and women's history/women's studies. After completing her degree in 2011, Dr. Everton worked as an adjunct professor in history, liberal studies, and women's studies for five years. In May 2016, Dr. Everton began working full time as a training program manager for a large corporation and plans to continue to research, write, and publish in history as an independent scholar.
- Thomas E. Kail, Ph.D., has served in a variety of leadership roles in higher education, including as founding dean of the College of Continuing and Professional Studies (2003-2008) at Mercer University and as associate provost for adult programs (1995-2003) at Westgate Center for Management and Development in the School of Business and Public Administration at the University of the Pacific, where he served as interim dean, associate dean, and founding director (1985-1995).
- Angela Shaw-Thornburg teaches and writes about African-American and American literature and culture. She also works as an educational consultant and freelance editor.
- Steven Williams is an independent scholar with more than 20 years research experience, including two archeological excavations. His area of focus is the “deep past” of Bronze Age/Iron Age societies of Northern Europe. Originally trained as a literary historian, Williams has broadened his expertise to include archaeology and history. In particular, he has studied and written about Roman literature, early British history, and the history and archaeology of “Celtic” Britain and Ireland. Mr. Williams holds an MBA in Organizational Behavior from the Harvard Business School, an M.A. in Medieval English literature from Princeton University, and a B.A. in Medieval Studies from Queens College, CUNY.
NCIS is crossposting the following discussion from our Facebook page which reflects upon Julie Enzer’s article in Inside Higher Ed, “What Shall I Call Myself?”
As Enzer writes:
"Many people use Independent Scholar. Perhaps I will settle on that designation as it seems to be an emerging convention for scholars outside of academia. For now, however, Independent Scholar feels like a statement of defeat: independent, because I was unable to secure an academic position. Though, of course, it is accurate."
Here is the ensuing comment thread on the NCIS Facebook page:
Freda Blake Bradley: I understand this author’s sentiments. I teach college history, yes, but they do not fund my research. That isn’t 100% bad, though, because they also have no vested interest in the outcome. In American history right now, gender history and “racial” histories are the most popular. Neither of those are my “passion” although I’ve taught in both areas. My passion is Appalachian history and environmental history—but it’s hard to find funding for the latter in my region. The former, however, is relatively easily funded by my state SHOULD I wish to do that and they don’t care if you’re a professional, have a PhD, or have a high school diploma IF you fit their needs.
So, as the author said, do I negotiate my title or leverage my topic? I’d prefer to leverage my topic. Therefore, I choose to “title myself” with a third option. I tell people I am a “professional historian” because that’s what I am. IF they ask who funds my research, I tell them that although I teach in higher education, they do not fund our research at my institution. (then I follow with, “. . .but I do accept donations to my work” which is usually followed by crickets—lol).
However, I’m also a historic reenactor. For many years, I’ve been researching and presenting two first person characters….begun before my degree. Many historic reenactors are not professional historians…….they are hobbyists. I’m also a genealogist. Many genealogists “feel” they are historians, but they are not….they are hobbyists. Again, do I leverage my degree or my topic? In this case, I DO leverage my degree. It’s necessary to set me apart—especially in the reenactor field.
What do I put on MY taxes? I use “adjunct faculty” because that’s where the lion’s share of my income comes from. To the IRS, that’s what’s important….they don’t care what my “title is.” All they care is does my blank on the IRS form match my W2 or 1099….and adjunct faculty matches.
So, I think the answer is what do you need to leverage and why? Am I professional? Yes. So, I choose professional historian. It fits all my needs currently. Am I an independent scholar? Yes, but that doesn’t leverage me in the boxes above, so I don’t use it. I WILL use it when I need it, but for the boxes above, other things fit better.
Joan Cunningham: I first came upon "Independent Scholar" when Googling the term "Private Scholar", encountered in a book by Alexander McCall Smith describing a female anthropologist character, who had no visible means of research or even personal support. As is typical of Smith's writing, she was treated gently and with respect, and I was endeared to her. Finding myself sometime later formally retired from academia, I thought that maybe I, too, could be a Private Scholar. The term has a certain dignity and sense of freedom from the politics and perversities of the academy. Of course this side of the pond the term turns out to be "Independent Scholar", which somehow does not have the same dignity.
But as I hear about more scientists,frustrated and disgusted with academic research, forming their own research companies and competitively obtaining funding from sources INCLUDING THE NIH, the term Independent Scholar becomes not one of defeat and failure but rather of, well, independence and pride. The meaning of the term should come from us. If we feel "less than", then we are. It is up to us. But for Independent Scholars to be respected by academics from the academy, we will need to uphold very high standards for our work.
Karen Garvin: Yes, "Independent Scholar" should be a badge of honor, not embarrassment. No one owns you, and as Freda Blake Bradley mentioned, if the current "hot topics" in your area of scholarship don't interest you then you can steer your research in whatever direction you want to go.
Of course funding is always an issue. I'd love to hole up in the British Library for a few months but it's unrealistic for me at this point in time. But I'm not writing the idea off!
Amanda Haste: Well said, Joan Cunningham. For me it's all about professional integrity. And as I used to tell my music students, you need to be professional, a term which has nothing to do with whether you're paid but has everything to do with how you conduct yourself, and how you approach your work, whether that be
performance or research.
Karen Garvin: I haven't really given much thought to a title. I suppose "Historian" is all I really need. I am an independent scholar, but that doesn't have to be my title.
I don't accept "Independent Scholar" as a defeat, though. Not everyone can or wants to work in academia, and the rarefied atmosphere can quickly become suffocating if you find that you don't meet others' expectations of what you should be researching -- or the conclusions you draw from your research.
So, "independent" means exactly that. Free to follow your own interests, research the sources you want to delve into, and ask questions -- and even question the ivory tower, too. Perhaps it's not a way to win friends in academia, but academia does not own scholarship. At least, it shouldn't.
Amanda Haste: I teach several courses at a university as a vacataire (equivalent to adjunct faculty) but as they're not really connected to my research, and as I have no job security and no funding for my research I still choose to describe myself as an independent scholar. And I'm proud of it! As you say, it represents freedom. ☺