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College faculty and staff integral in coordinating this year’s regional Community College Humanities Association conference, ‘Exploring Histories in the Humanities’

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History gets the center stage spotlight this week, thanks to the dedication of many faculty and staff from Portland Community College.

Clio, the muse of History, is seen holding a book in which she records events as they unfold – as she looks back in time. Her winged chariot represents the passage of time, with the wheel being the face of a clock. Created in 1819 by artist Carlo Franzoni, this marble sculpture is among the oldest art pieces in the U.S. Capitol.

With the headline of “Exploring Histories in the Humanities,” the biannual Pacific-Western division conference of the Community College Humanities Association will take place Oct. 25-27 at The Nines Hotel in downtown Portland. More than 25 faculty and staff from throughout PCC are serving as moderators, panelists or organizers of the conference.

“We are thrilled to be hosting the event in Portland this year,” said Jane Zunkel, an English instructor with Cascade Campus whose 10-year reign as the president of the Pacific-Western division concludes at the end of the conference.

“The slate of panels and sessions is outstanding, both in terms of the sessions and the presenters – and this is the first time we’ve focused on history instead of English content-related themes, so we’re tackling new territory which is exciting,” Zunkel said. It also may help to explain such a high pre-registration: at last count, 90 faculty members from nearly 40 colleges in 12 states are confirmed to attend.

Founded in 1979, the CCHA is the only national organization of its kind for humanities faculty and administrators in two-year colleges. Dedicated to preserving and strengthening the humanities in two-year colleges, the organization has five regional divisions, which includes the Pacific-Western division. In even years, the regional divisions host conferences; in odd years, the national conference takes place.

Following are some of the sessions to be showcased at this year’s, “Exploring Histories in the Humanities”:

Plenary Session Speakers:

  • Katy Barber – History professor, Portland State University, and author of Death of Celilo Falls
  • James Harrison – History and Humanities professor, Cascade Campus, Portland Community College, on research for his upcoming book on the history of Vanport, Ore.
  • Bill Lang – History professor, Portland State University, and author of many environmental history publications
  • Martha Barnette – Longtime journalist and co-host of the public radio show, “A Way with Words”
  • Anthea M. Hartig – Executive Director, California Historical Society

Concurrent Sessions (a sample from more than 30 sessions being offered):

  • “Incredible India: The CCHA/National Endowment for the Humanities 2011 Institute,” which includes panelist Bryan Hull, Sylvania Campus
  • “Revisioning the Maya World,” moderated by Alan Cordle, Cascade Campus
  • “Thomas Jefferson: Legacies and Landmarks,” which includes panelist Kristin Bryant, Sylvania Campus
  • “Why We Forget, How We Remember,” moderated by Jeffer Daykin, Rock Creek Campus, with panelists Patrick Walters, Sylvania Campus, and Martha Bailey, Cascade Campus
  • “History in African American Art, Literature, and Theater,” which includes panelist Benjamin T. Foster, Sylvania Campus
  • “History, Film, and Pedagogy,” which includes panelist Tara Foster, Rock Creek Campus
  •  “Women and History,” which includes panelist Terri Barnes, Rock Creek Campus
  • “Refreshing Approaches to Teaching History and Composition,” moderated by Benjamin T. Foster, Sylvania Campus, with panelist Melissa Tennyson, Cascade Campus
  • “Builders, Bakers, Cowgirls, and Hell-Raisers: Gender in the Art History Classroom,” with panelists Julianne Sandlin and Christine Weber, Sylvania Campus; Prudence Roberts, Rock Creek Campus; and Elizabeth Bilyeu, Cascade Campus
  • “Literature Reflections: Race, Class and Gender,” with panelists Christopher Rose, Rachel Stevens and Melody Wilson, all from Cascade Campus
  • “Not Literature: Sneaking History into the Literature Classroom,” moderated by Ron Ross, Sylvania Campus, with panelists Elissa Minor Rust, Nick Hengen Fox and Chris Jensen, all from Rock Creek Campus
  • “A Story Based on the Partition of India – 1947,” moderated by Sylvia Gray, Sylvania Campus
  • “Georgia O’Keefe: Santa Fe, Abiquiú, and the New Mexico Landscape, CCHA/NEH Institute,” moderated by Cathy Croghan Alzner, Sylvania Campus, with panelist Nancy Casciato, Sylvania Campus

In addition to plenary and concurrent sessions, the conference will include an opening reception with a greeting from Chris Chairsell, PCC’s vice president of Academic and Student Affairs; exhibits; a Columbia Gorge tour; an oral histories workshop; a downtown Portland walking tour; and a guided exhibit tour of the Portland Art Museum.

For more information and to review the conference schedule, visit its website. Advance registration has closed, but on-site registration will take place; see Cherie Maas-Anderson, operations manager, on site.


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