Women of Courage


Date: Dec.1st   Number of participants: 30s

Today's Center Event was actually an opening ceremony for the Exhibit Women of Courage, we had Dean Monique and distinguished Nebraska guests from Center in Xi'an joined us. Professor Butcher began the event with a brief introduction towards the Exhibit, which included 72 African American women who were born between the late 1870s and the second decade of the twentieth century (with the exception of one). These 72 women represent a "cross section of the many women of African descent who made significant contributions of varying kinds to American society in the early and middle decades of the twentieth century". Dean Monique then talked about her ideas about those women of courage and further introduced some background information of the era. She began with a book named "But Some of Us Are Brave", which drew our attention to black women. She said that black people's civil rights, especially those of a black woman are a problem tightly related to he 150 years of history. She also introduced the two cases of Plessy vs Ferguson and Brown vs Board, facts of which we beginners and learners have to understand when we talk about race problems and post-racialism. Her introduction was very professional yet not difficult for learners to understand. After Dean Monique, one of the assistants had Rosa Parks introduced, who is, one of the most famous civil rights activists of all time. It was a successful kick-off for the Exhibit.

Video Game Literacy

Date: Nov. 25th   Number of Participants: 50
Tonight's English Corner featured a grande crowd of about 50 people, Professor Christopher, who was the leading professor for the night, began the EC with a question, or rather, a survey that how many participants were "gamers", luckily we didn't have many addicted gamers and the Corner went on. Professor Christopher showed us a couple of games that he had played or experienced, which aroused students interests, he also showed us some supporting details about the fact that gamers are not as bad as we assume them to be and games can also be a kind of art in many ways. Professor Christopher also came to the conclusion that game culture has become more "male". After the professor's talk, he left us some questions for discussions, questions related to further understandings towards the contents he had covered, about which students and two other professors talked and debated. One thing interesting was that there were some English major students of NUPT involved in our Corner tonight and they talked about their opinions about whether games can be a kind of literature and art. Students participated also talked about their experiences with games and expressed their understandings of balancing between games and academic performances. It was a fantastic night.

Changing Foodways in Gentrifying Harlem


Date: Nov.13 Number of participants: 40s

Today we had our every honor to have Dean Monique, who had done her research about foodways and gentrifications in Harlem, give us a lecture about the subject. After Professor Butcher's brief intro, Dean Monique began her lecture and told us geographic and cultural background of Harlem, then she brought us the idea of "an incredible renaissance of arts", which introduced us the jazz and music culture developments of Harlem and a map with specific notes of entertainment in the area. Dean Monique then told us what foodway is --"why we eat what we eat and what it means" as well as knowledge about foodvoice, both of which are relatively new concepts.  Dean Monique emphasized on the food diversity in today's Harlem, the renaissance of food and restaurants, and that Harlem has always been a place of diversity. Dean Monique also showed us some of the dishes she had had and the interesting restaurants she had been to during her research, and this really aroused our participants interests. Actually after the lecture Professor Carter did ask Dean about the very dish, or rather, the salad she showed to us during her presentation and students were all very amused Dean Monique also wished that we could go and explore Harlem one day on our own, she even showed us how to get to Harlem by taking the A Train. It was a great kick-off event and everyone was impressed.


Date: Nov.20  Number of Participants: 50



Today we had our every honor to have Professor Christopher Dewart to give us an opening lecture, who has taught Furniture Making in the Department of Architecture at MIT since 1987. Professor Christopher began the lecture with a brief introduction to MIT, he showed us some amazing designs he had come across through his experiences and told us his reasons for the passion towards furniture making, he said great furnitures are a combination of both hand and mind work. Professor also showed us some interesting videos about furniture making, which aroused students' desire towards this delicate subject. What surprised students most was the collection of different works made by Professor Christopher's students, Professor said he had always encouraged his students to practice by hand and that MIT always encourages students to explore. Professor Christopher also told us about his personal experiences, his educational background and his understanding of an innovative education, which led to a discussion later. After the lecture, Professor Christopher and our NYIT professors discussed about their hopes and ideas of innovative education and educational reforms in China and Professor Christopher said it was important for students to learn, to experiment, to practice and to have fun, when he said those words, he emphasized that he meant them, which won great applause from our participants. It was a great event in which every participant was delighted to have been involved.

Film colloquim poster

Halloween Party 2014

Cultures of the American Gulf Coast: Work and Play in Story and Song from Louisiana to Florida

On Thursday, May 15, 12:30 – 1:30 pm, Sandra Parks, M.A., Independent Scholar, spoke on “The Life and Work of Floridian Folklorist Stetson Kennedy,” to an audience of approximately thirty-five students and faculty. Her presentation largely consisted of stories of growing up in St. Augustine, Florida during the early to mid-twentieth century in which Jim Crow laws were in place. She explained that her late husband was inspired to risk his life to change such thinking specifically by his infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan as described in his book The Klan Unmasked (University of Alabama Press, 2011).

On Thursday, May 15, 12:30 – 1:30 pm, Sandra Parks, M.A., Independent Scholar and prolific author of numerous Critical Thinking books (The Critical Thinking Company) spoke on “Critical Thinking About Assumptions: Their Eyes Were Watching God,” in which she provided a model lesson demonstrating uncovering unstated assumptions which explored racial stereotypes in the Gulf South at mid-twentieth century. The audience was composed of professors, administrators, and an attentive thirty students, many of whom had read portions of this book as part of their Multicultural Literature Cultures of the American Gulf Coast course. Ms. Parks began her talk by describing the attitudes about beauty that predominated in early twentieth century Florida especially, but not only, in relation to skin color.

Students speak at an event

On Thursday, May 15, 1:45-3:45 pm, Sandra Parks, M.A., Independent Scholar, spoke with Professor Zhang Dongmei (Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology) informally on the life and work of Florida authors Zora Neale Hurston, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and Stetson Kennedy in Dr. Beverly Butcher’s Multicultural Literature Cultures of the American Gulf Coast: Work and Play in Story and Song from Louisiana to Florida class. Three sections of this course had read chapters from Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God (HarperPerennial, 1999) and the first chapter of Kennedy’sThe Klan Unmasked (University of Alabama Press, 2011). They will be reading chapters in Rawling’sThe Yearling (Scribner, 2002) during the final weeks of class.

The Campbell Brothers joined by erhu player Cao Jiawang play at the NYIT-NUPT Overseas Education Building The Campbell Brothers joined by erhu player Cao Jiawang play at the NYIT-NUPT Overseas Education Building The Campbell Brothers joined by erhu player Cao Jiawang play at the NYIT-NUPT Overseas Education Building The Campbell Brothers joined by erhu player Cao Jiawang play at the NYIT-NUPT Overseas Education Building

Thursday evening, May 15, 7:00 – 8:15 pm, The Campbell Brothers, based in Rochester, New York, but with strong Florida connections, where their family has a history of performing expressed their sacred steel guitar music in Concert on the first floor of the NYIT-NUPT Overseas Education Building before an audience or 150 students, faculty, administrators as well as the public. Erhu player Cao Jiawang, a graduate student at the Guangzhou Xinghai Conservatory of Music joined these artists for several pieces. NYIT-NUPT students especially were enthralled by this music which inspired many to participate not only with their voices but also with the waving of hands and jumping to the music.National Public Radio American Routes radio show creator and host Nick Spitzer, Ph.D., and Josh Kohn organized and narrated the highly successful program with Chuck Campbell (pedal steel guitar), Phil Campbell (electric guitar, bass), Darick Campbell (lap steel guitar), Carlton Campbell (drums), Daric Bennet (bass) and gifted Tiffany Godette (vocals). Many of the students proclaimed the event to be “fabulous” while professors used such words as “uplifting” to describe the spirit of the music as well as the quality of the interaction between the band and the audience members.

The Campbell Brothers meet with over students at the NYIT Center for Humanities and Culture at NUPT The Campbell Brothers meet with over students at the NYIT Center for Humanities and Culture at NUPT

On Friday, May 16, 12:30 – 1:30 pm; 2:45 - 4:15 pm The Campbell Brothers had an Informal Meeting with fifty students, faculty, and administrators in the NYIT Center for Humanities and Culture at NUPT during which time the musicians and American Routes host Nick Spitzer explained the function of the music they play within the tradition of their church. The audience learned that the music is traditionally not only a means of spiritual expression but also complements the words of the preacher and enhances his message. They were also informed as to how the sacred steel guitar tradition evolved from the Hawaiian steel guitar. At least several of the students in the audience had read articles about the sacred steel guitar tradition in general and the Campbell Brothers family in particular. Guangzhou Xinghai Conservatory of Music graduate student Cao Jiawang accompanied the musicians and vocalist intermittently. All of the artists remained in the Center for the afternoon where they conducted a Workshop for Dr. Deran Browne’s Directing class during which they explored the appropriate use of music in filmmaking.

On Friday, May 16, 4:30-6:30 pm the NYIT Center for Humanities and Culture at NUPT presented a film colloquium during which Robert Stone’s documentary film Sacred Steel (2001) was screened. The experience was an enlightening and fascinating one as the film is largely about the Campbell Brothers and the history of their musical tradition and who also composed the audience of approximately thirty. The question and answer session began with Tulane University Professor of Anthropology Nick Spitzer, Ph.D., asking the Campbell Brothers how their situation had changed since the late 1990s when most of the film was shot. They indicated they are no longer House of God church members.

NYIT Artist-in-Residence documentary filmmaker Joanna Arong screened her award winning film Yugang Yishan (The Old Fool Who Moved the Mountains) (2007) mainly concerned with the music scene in Beijing juxtaposed with that of the outlying rural areas. American Routes Nick Spitzer, The Campbell Brothers, visiting Guangdong Xinghai Conservatory of Music Cao Jiawang, students and faculty were moved by the struggles of the musicians portrayed in the film.

Nick Spitzer, Ph.D. introduces students to French Louisiana through Cajun music

April 10, 12:30 - 1:30 pm: Nick Spitzer, Ph.D., NPR’s American Routes creator and host, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, introduces French Louisiana through Cajun music.

April 10, 6:30 - 7:30 pm: Jesse Lége, Joel Savoy, and The Cajun Country Revival perform.

April 11, 12:30 - 1:30 pm: Informal meeting of assigned students with Jesse Lége, Joel Savoy, and The Cajun Country Revival; Louisiana folklorist and filmmaker Conni Castille.

April 11, 4:30 - 6:00 pm: Filmmaker Conni Castille presents I Always Do My Collars First (2006) and her Cajun/Creole cowboy film T-Galop: A Louisiana Horse Story (2012)

6:30 - 8:00 pm: American Routes host Nick Spitzer presents his film Zydeco (1986) about African-French Louisiana musical traditions and identity (1-207)

Cultural Center Introduces Louisiana Cajun Music, Culture to Chinese Students

American Routes Official Website

March 20-21, Thursday and Friday

Cultures of the American Gulf Coast: Work and Play in Story and Song from Lousiana to Florida

Actors on stage performing 'Woody Sez'

March 20th, Thursday, 6:30 - 8:00 pm

"Woody Sez", a play about the life of the musician Woody Guthrie

Students meet with the actors of Woody Sez

March 21st, Friday, 12:30 - 1:30 pm

Assigned Students met informally with actors of "Woody Sez"

The performers of Woody Sez play their instruments

March 21st, Friday, 6:30 - 7:30pm

An informal concert and lecture on the life of Woody Gutherie

Sing with Your Lives

A Review of “Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie”

- by Ryana Yin, Center for Humanities and Culture Assistant

On 20th March, 2014, I stood at the NUPT Administration Building Auditoriumwaiting for our musician guests. I knew they had arrived even before I saw anything when I heard their lively and beautiful tunes flowing into my ears. They are a group of people who sing with their lives, and they are DAVID M. LUTKEN, DARCIE DEAVILLE, HELEN JEAN RUSSELL and ANDY TEIRSTEIN (1). As the performers warmed up, I was totally amazed by their proficiency in instrument playing, as well as by their talent in improvising. Upon completion of their warm up, the audience was given a lively audio-visual feast.

The show is named “Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie”(2), which combines different pieces of music created by Woody Guthrie -- the noted twentieth century singer, songwriter, and folk musician -- along with the story of his life journey.

The audience learns that after a big fire burned down Woody’s home when he was just a little boy, his family moved to a smaller place. A song with a rising and fallingtune mainly sung by Helen expressed the sorrow of Woody’s mother. Woody lost his sister, Clara, in another fire, and Woody believed that both fires were caused by his mother. Later, he learned that his mother had Huntington's Disease, a terrible sickness that can cause uncontrollable rage and mental illness. In this song, we learned that day after day, his mother was drowning in her own tears. A description given by little Woody focused on his mother’s eyes; even though she opened her eyes, there was no glitter in them. The melody expressed the mother’s sadness, and Woody’s words reflected what sorrow looked like in a little boy’s eyes.

On 14th April, 1935, there was a dust storm falling on Woody’s hometown in Oklahoma. Throughout the night, dust covered everything. When the sky dawned, the people witnessed the horrible situation of their homes, and they decided to leave --never to return. The tune rose in intensity to represent the gravity of the dust stormwhich, of course, caused fear among the villagers. Later on, the melody turned into calm mixed with despair, which showed the feeling of the people.

In a subsequent act, we learn about a train heading toward California in 1937. I still remember the wonderful melody of the song “This Train.” The line “This train carries no liars” suggests that this group of people was honest and lovely. That California was deemed to be promising and filled with hope by the westward travelers was communicated by a high tune with a fast rhythm. Again, with the coordination of both the melody and the lyrics, the audience was able to picture wonderful scenery using their imaginations.

Studnets and actors from Woody Sez in a conversation

The Second World War (1939-45) was depicted in the play which darkened the world. People dying and running without having any place to call home created tension among the members of the audience. Moreover, the play illustrated that the police made it harder for the masses, and the working men were dramatically poor. “Mr. Banker came and took our farm away,” and “We don’t deserve to be treated this way” are lines from a song sung in the later acts which reveal the situation of people in The Great Depression (1930-41) in America, which is worth pondering by historians. Folk music often compliments the words that are written in history becauseit presents the lively life of folks in reality with the emotions of the people included. Through this performance, the audience learned that in 1945 Woody Guthrie was married and lived in Brooklyn, New York. His life was decorated with happiness, and, as a result, there came forth the bright “Car Song.” However, the happiness was destroyed by his daughter Cathy Ann’s death on her fourth birthday in an accidental fire. “What you truly fear just comes upon you,” and the show – through song -- delivered sorrow once again. Fortunately, Woody was able to uplift his spirit and start his journey of exploring and creating folk music again. The entire show “Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie” was touching, vivid, and full of passion enhanced by the musicians use of a variety of instruments including the guitar, fiddle, jaw harp, dulcimer and even spoons to play those wonderful Woody Guthrie musical creations. After the performance, the actor-musicians also improvised several songs according to the audience’s warm request. By attending this excellent performance, we not only enjoyed the beauty of music and stories, but also understand the significance of folk music towards human history and culture. References: (1) The introduction of the musicians: (2) The introduction of Woody Sez:

Fulbright Scholar and Cabrillo College Professor David Allen Sullivan speaks to students

March 6th, Thursday

Fulbright Scholar Presentations

Fulbright Scholar and Cabrillo College Professor David Allen Sullivan (Ph.D., University of California, Irvine) gave two presentations at the NYIT Center for Humanities and Culture at NUPT on March 6, 2014 to audiences consisting of approximately two hundred students, faculty, and administrators.

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