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‘The Trials of Spring’ screening and discussion to focus on political and social justice

In a time of cultural and political upheaval in her home country, Hend Nafea will visit campus to share her story with the UT community.

“The Trials of Spring” tells the story of 21-year-old Nafea’s indomitable spirit, and her journey after being arrested for speaking out against her country’s military rule.

“The film shows, not only the actions taken, but the suffering that existed before and after,” said Dr. Asma Abdel Halim, associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. “Autobiographical and biographical stories are detailed and inspiring. I think the film tells us about the fear that was instilled in the people through decades of oppression and the unbelievable courage that overcame that immense fear.”

Nafea traveled from her village to Cairo, where she advocated with thousands of Egyptians for the end of military rule. She was arrested, beaten and tortured by security forces. After her release, Nafea was shunned by her family for bringing shame to their name.

All are invited to attend a free screening and discussion of the film Wednesday, March 22. Refreshments will be served starting at 6:30 p.m., and the film will begin at 7 p.m. in the Driscoll Alumni Center Auditorium.

The discussion with Nafea will be moderated by Abdel Halim and Dr. Renée Heberle, professor and honors adviser in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration.

“It is important for every woman that participates in an action that leads to change to tell her story. Even within those seeking change, one cannot ignore the gender aspect of activism. It is also necessary for documenting such events for women’s history, as most of the time this history is ignored,” said Abdel Halim. “Real heroism is seen in actions taken by the powerless, as such actions are taken by the most unexpected actors, such as women. It is really empowering for people everywhere, to see that everything is possible and the biggest obstacles are surmountable.”

The event, one of many scheduled at UT for Women’s History Month, is sponsored by the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies; School of Interdisciplinary Studies; Office of Diversity and Inclusion; Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women; Program in Law and Social Thought; and Office of Student Services.

For more information, contact Abdel Halim by calling 419.530.2233.

Eberly Center for Women slates lunches to spotlight research

The Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women’s Lunch With a Purpose brings together students, faculty and staff to support UT’s women researchers.

All are welcome to bring lunches and hungry minds to find out what researchers are working on and to contribute to interdisciplinary discussions. The lunches are held in Eberly Center, Tucker Hall Room 0152, from 12:10 to 1 p.m. throughout the semester.

The next Lunch With a Purpose will take place Wednesday, March 22, and focus on “Being Mary Willing Byrd: Race, Property and Widowhood in Revolutionary Virginia.” Dr. Ami Pflugrad-Jackisch, associate professor of history, will discuss her research on Byrd, who became a widow in wartime and interacted with the state, the occupying military and the market in ways that were considered out of the ordinary for women of the time.

On Wednesday April 5, Dr. Karie Peralta, assistant professor of sociology, and Dr. Shahna Arps, lecturer of anthropology, will present their research, “Becoming Globally Competent Through a Community-Based Approach.” This research was not only used to develop an international field school to be used in the Dominican Republic this summer, but also demonstrates how community-based principles may guide the development of global competencies for professors and students.

“By encouraging women researchers to participate in Lunch With a Purpose, we are promoting interdisciplinary discussion, showing support, and offering critical feedback that strengthens the work being produced at The University of Toledo,” said Dr. Shanda Gore, associate vice president of the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women and the Minority Business Development Center.

Winners announced for 2017 Shapiro Essay Revision Contest

On its 28th anniversary, the participants of the 2017 Shapiro Essay Revision Contest went head to head for one of the 15 cash prizes.

“Over the past 10 years, the participation in this contest has grown from 100 students to 200 participants with an increase in contestants every year,” said Dr. Deborah Coulter-Harris, senior lecturer in the UT Department of English Language and Literature, and director of the contest for the 10th year.

This year, the winners are:

• Celine Schreidah, sophomore biochemistry major, $500;

• Judy Daboul, senior biology major, $400;

• Isabel Abu-Absi, sophomore global studies major, $300;

• Dustin Johnson, senior chemical engineering major, $200;

• Colleen Anderson, junior paralegal studies major, $100;

• Logan Brooker, freshman pharmacy major, $75;

• Amy Beerbower, freshman nursing major, $75;

• Patrick Dillon, freshman finance major, $75;

• Allison Fair, sophomore adolescent young education major, $75;

• Matthew Goldman, junior film/video major, $75;

• Riley Goodell, freshman mechanical engineering major, $75;

• Jenna Lykins, senior bioengineering major, $75;

• David Morris, freshman exercise science major, $75;

• Jacob Watson, freshman civil engineering major, $75; and

• Philip Zaborowski, junior English major, $75.

Winners of the competition will be invited to attend the Shapiro Festival gala in April.

“Dr. Sara Lundquist, Dr. Anthony Edgington, and I are so heartened and pleased that so many students who entered the contest represented a great variety of academic disciplines and departments across campus,” Coulter-Harris said. “Accurate, strong, creative and analytic writing is at the forefront of all academic research and expression.”

Lundquist is associate professor and chair of English, and Edgington is associate professor of English and director of the Composition Program.

Named after Dr. Edward Shapiro, professor emeritus of economics, the Shapiro Essay Revision contest seeks to recognize students for the craft of good writing. Prize money from the contest helps to defer the cost of tuition, fees and books for UT students.

UT scholars to host forum March 16 titled ‘Immigration in the Time of Trump’

The University of Toledo’s fourth post-election forum since President Donald Trump was elected focuses on the topic “Immigration in the Time of Trump: The Executive Orders and Shifting Deportation Priorities.”

The free, public event will take place Thursday, March 16, at 6 p.m. at the West Toledo Public Library, 1320 W. Sylvania Ave.

“Toledo is known for providing a warm welcome to refugees and representing the best of the American values of diversity and inclusion,” said Shelley Cavalieri, UT associate professor of law. “This forum will provide community members a chance to learn from local experts about how the new executive order and the shifting deportation priorities of Trump’s administration will alter the important work we are doing here in our city, and give all citizens a chance to engage in an informed dialogue about how we can continue to make Toledo a place of welcome.”

Additional speakers will be Dr. Joel Voss, UT assistant professor of political science; Eugenio Mollo, managing attorney at Advocates for Basic Legal Equality; and Corine Dehabey, resettlement coordinator for US Together in Toledo.

The event is sponsored by the UT College of Law and the School for Interdisciplinary Studies in the UT College of Arts and Letters.

Art by UT students in spotlight at juried exhibition

More than 30 works of art by UT students are on display in the 2017 Juried Student Exhibition in the Center for the Visual Arts Gallery on the University’s Toledo Museum of Art Campus.

An opening reception and award ceremony will take place Thursday, March 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the gallery.

“Girl With Meat” by Clairissa Martin, right, and “Political Balance” by Valerie White are included in the 2017 Juried Student Exhibition.

This year’s juror is Clara DeGalan, who was born and raised in Detroit. She attended the Detroit High School for the Fine and Performing Arts, earned a bachelor of fine arts degree at the University of Michigan, and a master of fine arts degree in painting at Wayne State University. She teaches drawing and painting at Wayne State University and Madonna University, and writes art criticism for Detroit Art Review and InfiniteMile Detroit.

The awards ceremony will coincide with the Arts Commission 3rd Thursday Loop as the Center for the Visual Arts is one of the galleries on the route.

The free, public exhibition will be on display through Friday, March 24. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

For more information on the exhibition, contact Brian Carpenter, UT gallery director and lecturer in the Art Department, at brian.carpenter@utoledo.edu.

Flutist to present master class March 15

Internationally renowned flutist William Bennett will visit the UT Music Department Wednesday, March 15, to present a master class.

The free, public event will be held at 7 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall.


Students performing in the master class have been selected.

Joel Tse, an instructor in flute at the University and principal flute for the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, studied under Bennett. “He is truly amazing, and I am glad our students and the public will have the chance to meet him and learn from him.”

In addition to recording the standard flute repertoire of Bach, Handel, Vivaldi and Mozart, Bennett has made pioneer recordings of many neglected 19th century works, such as music by Ries, Romberg and Taffanel. He also has recorded with artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Wynton Marsalis. He has made more than 100 discs as a soloist.

He premiered the Concerto by William Mathias, the Concerto by Diana Burrell, and the Concerto for Flute and Orchestra by Venezuelan composer Raymund Pineda. Each of these was specially written for him.

Bennett has been principal flute in many orchestras, including the London Symphony, the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and the English Chamber Orchestra.

He has been professor of flute in the Freiburg Hochschule of Music in Germany, and he teaches at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

In addition to making a balalaika and a guitar while in school, he has made and improved flutes from an early age and has done a lot of work on refining the tuning of the flute; several makers in the world now manufacture flutes on the “William Bennett Scale.”

UT professor to discuss ‘Muslims in America: Where Do We Go From Here?’

“Muslims in America: Where Do We Go From Here?” is the topic of the annual Imam Khattab Lecture on Islamic Thought by Dr. Ovamir Anjum, UT Imam Khattab Endowed Chair of Islamic Studies.

The free, public lecture will take place Wednesday, March 15, at 7 p.m. in the Driscoll Alumni Center Auditorium.

“The talk will address the multiple challenges and threats Muslims in America face in the new political climate,” Anjum said. “Most American Muslims have no ‘back home’ to which they can go. The majority of Muslims in America are American citizens. Many are born here and have no substantial ties to another country. Nearly half are African-American, and a growing minority are Caucasian and Latin-American.”

The lecture is part of the UT Center for Religious Understanding’s annual lecture series, which has been active for more than a decade. The center promotes a deeper understanding of religion on campus and throughout greater Toledo.


“The new political climate has increased threats to Muslims in America significantly, but keep in mind that Islamophobia has been at an all-time high for several years now,” Anjum said. “What it also has done is brought these threats into the limelight — at least temporarily — and that is an opportunity to educate. These threats are significant, but the greatest threats come from within. The American Muslim community is a microcosm of the American society, and the rifts that threaten its thriving are those of racial tensions, economic inequality, inter-generational rupture, and breakdown of family and community. The lecture will invoke historical and contemporary examples to inspire hope for intellectual and social action.”

Tickets are required for the event. RSVP at cfru.eventbrite.com.

Last year’s Imam Khattab Lecture on Islamtic Thought given by Anjum was titled “Is ISIS Islamic?”

Artist to speak on portraiture and disability

The Disability Studies Program and the School of Visual and Performing Arts will present acclaimed artist and writer Riva Lehrer Monday, March 13, at 6 p.m. in University Hall Room 4410.

Lehrer, whose work has been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., will speak on “Presence and Absence: The Paradox of Disability and Portraiture.”

Her interest in this subject comes from living with a visible disability. “Being stared at, and looking back, has colored my work for 20 years,” she said in a 2016 interview. “Most of my collaborators have been people with impairments, visible or not. Some have no impairments but qualify for other reasons. We start with long interviews, in order to get a strong narrative sense of the relationship between their body and their life.”

“Riva Lehrer’s award-winning work focuses on issues of physical identity and the socially challenged body,” Dr. Jim Ferris, professor and Ability Center of Greater Toledo Endowed Chair in Disability Studies, said. “She is best known for representations of people with impairments, and those whose sexuality and/or gender identity have long been a subject of stigma.”

Lehrer’s work has been exhibited at the United Nations, the Arnot Museum, the DeCordova Museum, the Frye Museum, the Chicago Cultural Center, and the State of Illinois Museum. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council.

Lehrer’s free, public talk is cosponsored by the Department of Art.

Individuals needing access accommodations may call 419.530.7244.

Toledo Repertoire Theatre to feature play written by UT senior lecturer

Dr. Deborah M. Coulter-Harris has always been intrigued by a good mystery. When she came across the story of the biblical Queen of Sheba, she found herself fascinated by the myth and legend that surrounds her.

“I have relished discovering the many tales of her upbringing, her genetic ancestry, linguistic variations in her name, her cross-dressing, the extent of her empire, and her relations with human men. I believe Sheba could have been Pharaoh Hatshepsut, the first female pharaoh of Egypt,” said Coulter-Harris, senior lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature.


Coulter-Harris’ project on the queen began with a full-length academic study titled “The Queen of Sheba: Legends, Literature and Lore,” published in 2013 by McFarland Publishers. The book went on to receive worldwide distribution, and is now followed by a play, “Sheba Rules.”

“Of course, there are well-known tales of Sheba in the Bible, Qur’an and Kebra Negast, and all of these major tales have different stories about her,” Coulter-Harris said. “In my play, Sheba is a demigod who historically began the tradition of female demigods in classical literature, such as Medea, Niobe and Helen. She is the archetypal Amazonian warrior queen, who even dressed like a man when dealing with politicians and during public appearances.”

If theater-goers are looking for a play with a strong female lead and the ancient struggles of authority, land, gender and sexuality — and how these topics relate to the current political and cultural climate — they need look no further. Sheba’s road to becoming pharaoh and avoiding marriage is described by the Toledo Repertoire Theatre as “a juicy biographical extravaganza.”

Queen Sheba

“I have made her a ruthless, vengeful, ambitious, brave, skillful and brilliant queen who was single-minded in her duty to her empire and her citizens,” Coulter-Harris said of her protagonist. “I have written a violent play, but the reported murders in the play are symbolic of the feminine overthrowing and eliminating the threat of destructive masculine actions: female abuse, greed, and obsession with power.”

The Toledo Repertoire Theatre will host a staged reading of “Sheba Rules” as part of its “Toledo Voices” series, showcasing unproduced works by local playwrights.

The reading will take place Saturday, March 11, at 8 p.m. at the 10th Street Stage, 16 Tenth St., Toledo. After the play, the audience is invited to stay to talk with Coulter-Harris, the cast and director.

Tickets are $5 and may be purchased by calling 419.243.9277 or at toledorep.org.

UT to host series of events examining life on autism spectrum

The University of Toledo Libraries in partnership with Student Disability Services and the UT Disability Studies Program is shining the spotlight on adult autism through a monthlong program of free, public events beginning Thursday, March 16, ahead of Autism Awareness Month in April.

UT teamed up with Bittersweet Farms and the Autism Society of Northwest Ohio to focus on challenges adults diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder face as they transition out of high school and into the community, including housing, employment, health care, transportation, financial management, and social and leisure supports.

“Life on the Autism Spectrum: Home and Community” features a four-part lecture series, an art show of works created by adults with autism, and a fundraiser.

“University Libraries is excited to continue our work with organizations assisting those on the autism spectrum in northwest Ohio,” said Barbara Floyd, interim director of University Libraries and director of the Canaday Center for Special Collections. “The Canaday Center has worked with both Bittersweet Farms and the Autism Society of Northwest Ohio for more than a decade to collect, preserve and make available the records that document the history of these two groups. The records of these two organizations are part of a larger effort by the Canaday Center to document the lives of people with disabilities in our community.”

More than 3.5 million Americans are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

“The autism spectrum is large,” Jessica Morales, UT assistant professor and collection management librarian, said. “We want to raise understanding, empathy and patience.”

According to local experts, research on autism and the development of services and support have largely focused on children, and people with autism have the lowest employment rate of all disability groups.

“As the prevalence of autism has increased and the population has aged, communities and governments are beginning to look at the needs of older adults on the autism spectrum,” said Linell Weinberg, executive director of the Autism Society of Northwest Ohio. “Housing will be an issue for individuals as they age. Some individuals can live on their own, but many will need some level of support.”

“My stepson, Ben, is 33 years old, but his functional intelligence is around the age of 7 or 8,” said Thomas Atwood, UT associate professor and coordinator of information literacy and library instruction. “He is very sweet, but doesn’t have the critical thinking skills to make rational decisions to keep himself safe. This is a very vulnerable population who often cannot speak for themselves and feel trapped on the inside.”

Ben DeVorss, who is one of the speakers in the lecture series, lives at Bittersweet Farms located on 80 acres of fields, pastures, gardens and woods in Whitehouse, Ohio. It’s renowned for redefining what is possible by creating and providing services for adults with autism that allow them to find meaning and dignity in the activities they do. Bittersweet’s agriculture, art and culinary programs produce products that are sold in the community.

“We provide self-paced, distraction-free activities, such as planting, harvesting, art education, animal care, grounds keeping, vocation and therapy, that participants perceive as meaningful work and feel a reinforced sense of dignity and worth,” said Vicki Obee, executive director of Bittersweet Farms. “We are thrilled that UT’s Carlson Library is sharing Bittersweet’s story and the story of adults with autism in northwest Ohio. We hope that our community — through the artwork, artifacts and lecture — will see the amazing spirit and beauty of those we serve at Bittersweet.”

“We have roughly 30 students at UT with autism who are registered with Student Disability Services, and there are likely more on campus,” Enjie Hall, director of campus accessibility and student disability services, said. “The difficulty is that many students choose not to register or do not know to affiliate with Student Disability Services, so it is hard to get an accurate count of students with autism at UT. We are committed to removing barriers and strive for full inclusion; therefore, universal design will help all students whether they are registered with Student Disability Services or not.”

Events in the monthlong adult autism programming will include:

Thursday, March 16

• Bittersweet Farms lecture by executive director Vicki Obee, board member Jane Atwood and resident Ben DeVorss titled “Neurodiversity and Community Synergies: The Efficacy of Bittersweet Farms and Preserving a Spectrum of Choices for Adults With Autism,” from 7 to 9 p.m. on the fifth floor of Carlson Library.

• Bittersweet Farms fundraiser featuring artwork and crafts created by Bittersweet residents, from 5 to 9 p.m. on the first floor concourse of Carlson Library.

Wednesday, March 22

• Lecture by Linell Weinburg, executive director of the Northwest Ohio Autism Society, and Kristy Rothe, chair of the Family Advisory Council at ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital, titled “Creating a Compassionate Community: A Dialogue for Autism,” from noon to 1 p.m. in Carlson Library Room 1005.

Thursday, March 30

Lecture by Enjie Hall, UT director of campus accessibility and student disability services, and Dr. Jim Ferris, UT professor and Ability Center Endowed Chair in Disability Studies, titled “Autism, Culture and Higher Education,” 11 a.m. in Carlson Library Room 1005.

Thursday, April 6

• Two visiting scholars, who are professors with autism, will give a lecture titled “Autistic People Speak Back: A Conversation With Professors Ibby Grace and Melanie Yergeau.” Dr. Melanie Yergeau, assistant professor of English at the University of Michigan, and Dr. Elizabeth Grace, assistant professor of education at National Louis University, will speak from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Carlson Library Room 1005.

An exhibit of Bittersweet artwork, artifacts, photos and murals will be on display from Sunday, March 12, through Thursday, April 6, on the fifth floor of Carlson Library. Library materials relevant to the series of lecture topics also will be on display during that same period.

“The library is the perfect place to start an important dialogue about the wide range and abilities of persons from the entire spectrum of autism disorders and take an in-depth look at resources and services available to help them live independently, whether it be through employment, higher education or support programs,” David Remaklus, director of operations at Carlson Library, said.