Directives – The 9/11 edition

You’d think that after 20 year I’d have the hang of things. But this week and last I’ve been behind, scrambling even to get ready for class. This column, for example, is going in past deadline and so may be too late for publication.

I can’t help but be flattered by the fact that I have at least two readers: Pearl is back and the anonymous annotator of last week’s Directives. Thanks to Pearl and others for filling me in on Anis Mojgani. Clearly I am not hip enough (some might say at all). I do hope, Pearl, that you (and others) come to some of the Edible Education session. I may continue the series next semester. If I do and you take, I’ll include a group project in your honor.

BOEP met again on Sunday and had another good turnout. Michel Chaouli from Germanic Studies and talked to us about extending the reach of the Center for theoretical studies in the humanities to undergraduates, specifically with two seminars this year at Collins, one on Marx and one on Freud. More info to follow.

The Food themester is going full steam ahead with the visit today from chef Edward Lee from 610 Magnolia in Louisville, a Korean-Southern fusion restaurant. I haven’t been but look forward to going next time I visit the home of the slugger and derby. Today was also Big Red Eats Green. Good crowds and no rain. I hope you could make it.

I guess you saw today’s front-page piece in the IDS about the fates of Brown and Green. I’ve already had e-mails about some of the factual errors. But I guess it was generally a useful and well-done piece. There will be one more Town hall meeting about the future Clubhouse in Hillcrest and then we leave everything in the hands of the architects and space planners. I’m hoping the change will be a positive one and draw both more people to the Clubhouse and Hillcrest more into the life of Collins. Keep an eye out for details.

Tomorrow is 9/11. I could write a column just on that. Our history since 2001 has been a troubling one (when is history not troubling?) and I wonder when we (and the world) will get beyond both the event and the miss-steps that have been made since. Enough said.

Carl Ipsen
Professor of History
Director, Collins LLC

Directives – The don’t drink the punch issue

As some of you know IU Bloomington is one of 55 US universities being investigated as part of a nationwide inquiry regarding of sexual harassment on college campuses. As far as I know the criteria used for compiling the list have not been released. One could imagine that schools with particular or frequent problems might be included or alternatively schools perceived to have a good record of dealing with assault cases. Either way the problem is out there at any large (or small for that matter) university, and the federal investigators will be on campus soon. A recent study I heard cited on NPR found that 6% of university men confessed in a survey that they had carried out sexual assault, many of them repeatedly. That is a distressing figure: 6% of IU male undergraduates comes to about 1000 men. Some may argue that sexual assault is in the (bleary) eye of the beholder, but what the study found was that these men readily confessed to having supplied women alcohol (often disguised in very strong sweet punches) for the purpose of overcoming potential resistance to sexual advances, i.e. to rape them. Women, you may want to drink and have sex – that is your business – but be aware that these predators (many of them doubtless cute boys) are out there. Men, don’t be part of that 6% and monitor those acquaintances of yours who are. Peer pressure may be the most effective remedy to this sort of behavior. Anyway, sex is more fun when both partners want it (and frankly still more fun when you are sober).

On to other things. Arts Council and BOEP both met on Sunday and as far as I can tell each got the year off to a good start. BOEP will meet again next Sunday at 4 and every other Sunday more or less after that. AC meets on the alternate Sundays. BOEP is already organizing an event with our visiting scholar, Francesco Bianchini, and talking about a Casino Night. Both councils have been alerted to a visit to Collins by Jade Sylvan, Collins alum and performance artist who recently published her novel Kissing Oscar Wilde. She will be here on Sept. 25 for a writing workshop and reading. On the Collins calendar for this week instead is a visit from George Chakiris who starred as Bernardo in the 1961 film version of Bernstein/Sondheim’s West Side Story (10 Academy Awards). He’ll be at Collins for lunch on Friday and speaking at the IU Cinema that afternoon at 3pm. West Side Story will be screened there at 7. Compliments to Yara for pulling off this coup for Collins and IU.

And as if that weren’t enough, the Pacifica Quartet, IU’s resident and wonderfully talented string quartet, will be performing Beethoven and Carter Saturday evening at 8 in Auer Hall (admission is free). Famed pianist Menahem Pressler (and also IU faculty) will also join them for a Brahms quintet. And so I finish on a cheerier note than I started.

Carl Ipsen
Professor of History
Director, Collins LLC
2 September 2014

Directives – The heat wave edition

Favorite new thing at IU: the bike lane along the north side of the auditorium; now if pedestrians can just figure out that the main walkway is for them… Hopefully this is the start of improved bike access to/on campus. The master plan has Woodlawn converted to a major bike and pedestrian friendly N-S axis: a straight shot from Collins to the football tailgate parties.

As always, it seems, the first week of classes has been blistering hot. There is a reason that summer break is meant to continue till Labor Day. I have suggested more than once that IU should really start in late September and continue through to late May. That change would significantly lower energy consumption from air conditioning (except of course at those few remaining un-named places at IU without a/c) since it is all sweltering in August-Sept and always delightful in May.

You may notice that the six buildings along 8th and Park, just south of Collins and Theta, have been vacated. They will presumably soon be either demolished or moved to make way for the new Fiji house (unless better sense prevails). The city is renovating the brick streets in front of the site, surely a coincidence. A source does tell me that it is highly unlikely that city officials, who are more or less enraged with the Fiji plan, will authorize city parking permits for the future residents.

For the first time I am going to offer a course at Collins this semester (as an unpaid overload in case any history colleagues are reading!). With the encouragement of the Edible Schoolyard Project I will host the projection of 13 lectures from the first Edible Education 101 offered at UC Berkeley a couple of years ago. The series includes luminaries like Michael Pollan, Alice Waters and others. Enrolled students will have assigned reading and writing assignments, but all are invited to attend the projections and discussions to follow each lecture: 6-8:30 in Ed basement on Wednesdays. The first (public) session will be Sept. 3 with Carlo Petrini (founder of Slow Food). For more details contact me at cipsen@indiana.edu.

Best weekend event?: Obvious Child at the IU Cinema Th and Fr nights. I saw it on Monday. An engaging, funny, heartwarming film about America’s most fraught issue: abortion.

Welcome Week was a great success, I thought. Compliments to co-Chairs Cleo and Rachel as well as to all the WW assistants, and the RA’s and GS’s for a good start to the year. I was of course happy to see both old (relatively speaking) and new faces and look forward to meeting more of the latter. To that end I am, as in the past, holding “office hours” Monday afternoons in the Coffeehouse (2-4). Feel free to stop by say hello. Or for that matter any other time you pass by in the dining hall and other Collins spaces.

Btw, regarding the WW Columns, anuyone know who Anis Mojgani is? Don’t find that name on the roster.

Carl Ipsen
Professor of History
Director, Collins LLC
27 August 2014

Directives – The back to school edition

I’m glad to see that the Columns is getting off to a vigorous start this year. It may seem anachronistic to have a print only publication, but that feature should appeal to both the retro-minded among you as well as to those of us who remember when getting the daily paper was the only option. Print only also makes the Columns’ liberal editorial policy – basically printing anything you’d like to contribute – less likely to be disastrous by keeping Collins business in house.

Over the past three years I have contributed a column to most editions of the Columns. As I am the Collins director, I have called it not very originally “Directives.” You may or may not find guidance in these paragraphs. What, you might ask, is the director? The director is a faculty member from the College of Arts and Sciences who oversees the activities of the LLC staff (Yara, Lindsay, Leigh). Those activities include administering the courses offered at Collins (Q class and Collins seminars plus a few others), overseeing the activities of a number of student groups (Board of Educational Programming, Arts Council, Sustainable Food Committee, Board of Programmers), and monitoring the Student Organization Account (via fee committee). The LLC staff also cooperates with the RPS staff in the areas of student government.

Who, then, am I? I am a history professor and have been teaching at IU since 1994. I’m originally from the west coast and earned all of my university degrees at UC Berkeley. I work on the history of Italy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I have published books on the history of Fascist population policy (Dictating Demography, Cambridge, 1996) and of marginalized children in the decades leading up to World War I (Italy in the Age of Pinocchio, New York, 2006). This summer I completed a manuscript on the history of smoking in Italy. It is under review with Stanford University Press. I teach a variety of courses including a usually very large one on the history of the Sicilian mafia (next offered in Spring 2015). This semester I am teaching “Modern Italy” and, at Collins, “Edible Education 101.” The latter will be held Wednesday evenings in the Ed basement classroom and follows a series of lectures on the food movement held at UC Berkeley by Michael Pollan and a host of other luminaries. Keep an eye out for a poster as all are welcome to attend.

Collins faces a number of challenges this year. The first is the demolition of Brown and Greene, slated to take place next summer. As you can read on the BOEP bulletin board in the Edmondson foyer, that will mean moving the Clubhouse facilities, currently housed in the ground floor of Brown, into Hillcrest. We have been meeting with the architects and space planners already but vitally need student input as plans need to be finalized by the end of September. We may or may not want (or be able) to reproduce exactly what we currently have in Brown and so we need to know what your priorities are in the this regard. The Collins president, Jack Hreha, will be putting together a committee and you are encouraged to offer your opinions on this important change.

That is probably enough for now. I look forward to meeting many of you during Welcome Week, and feel free to stop me and introduce yourself this week and throughout the semester. I can normally be found Monday afternoons (2-4) in the Coffee House and many other times as well.

Carl Ipsen
Professor of History
Director, Collins LLC
18 August 2014

Directives – The Little 5 edition

I probably shouldn’t admit that during my 20 years in Bloomington I have never attended the Little 500. It is no defense but I wonder how many of my colleagues in History and other departments have. So I finally went this past weekend (and didn’t run into any other faculty as far as I could tell). I may never miss another one. It is really a great sporting event. As you doubtless know by now, both the Collins women and men put on valiant efforts, overcoming collisions to achieve entirely respectable results (12th and 23rd respectively). Happily the level of inebriation I encountered in the bleachers was well below what I’d expected. Only once was I concerned that a fellow spectator might fall over me (or worse). Cycling myself to and from the races I did of course see the usual plethora of parties including that curious group that enjoys drinking while perched on porch roofs. Natural selection I call it. Anyway, it was a glorious weekend and two exciting races. Congratulations to all the riders. We also held the first Little 500 alumni brunch Saturday morning in the Coffee House. Alumni turnout was light (5) but I’d like to keep doing this and maybe see it grow.

We are also of course in the midst of the poorly-named dead week. Things lighten up a bit for me at this point but every student I talk to complains about papers to finish and exams to take (that aren’t supposed to be given this week by the way, but don’t tell your instructors I told you so). At Collins the week will end with a bang including a Town Hall Meeting, the Faculty Curriculum Committee Meeting, a Fee Committee Meeting, the Publications Release Party, the Sustainable Food Committee’s Last Supper, and the BOEP dinner.

The Town Hall (Th at 11) meeting is intended to address discontent about the Awards selection procedure. I’ll confess that I’ve always been a bit mystified by it. The staff gets together and attempts collectively to evaluate 500 or so Collinsites without any specific criteria. One major question is whether to award involvement in paid positions in the same way as involvement in non-paid ones. So hopefully we can come up with a better system. I’d be happy to have student involvement in the selection process, though of course that raises the problem (if indeed it is a problem) of awards selection becoming something of a popularity contest.

The FCC (F at noon) will evaluate the BOEP course proposals for next spring; don’t forget if you are going to be there to present a course. Fee Committee (F at 3) will consider the state of the budget and possibly new methods for constructing budgets. The Publications Release Party (F at 5) will of course celebrate the arrival (and hard work behind) the Dancing Star, Lantern, and Pipe and Barrow. The CSFC for its Last Supper (F at 6) is planning a menu that emphasizes several sustainable food categories: local, organic, and non-industrial meat. We’ll have posters and literature as well as food prepared by the collaborating incoming and outgoing co-chairs (and others). BOEP meanwhile is planning a dinner chez moi on Saturday, though we are still working out the details.

Sunday I may do something radical and have a day without Collins.

I don’t know if there will a Columns during finals week. If not, so long. See about half of you again next year and best wishes to all for a wild summer.

Carl Ipsen

Professor of History

Director, Collins LLC

Directives

For whatever reason I have failed to submit a column for a few weeks now. Hopefully I’ll make the deadline this time around.

The end of the year is upon us, but ends are beginnings. Grads are looking forward (?) to life after IU and Collins. While those of us who stay behind are already planning for next year (Welcome Week is only 18 weeks away). BOEP elected new officers on Sunday (while going through the end of semester ritual of final cuts), and the Sustainable Food Committee should live to see another year as we have a new slate of co-chairs and potential kitchen coordinator. Arts Council too has new officers. BOEP is still working out the details of its year-end dinner (maybe Sat. May 3 at my house), and the CSFC is planning a last supper in the courtyard for May 2.

Next year could bring all sorts of changes. Among other topics to discuss as a community is how to confront the inevitable demolition of Brown and Green, probably sooner rather than later. I’ve started a conversation with the College on possible options and hope to have a Town hall meeting early in the fall semester. Meanwhile it does look as though the Fijis are coming, which is to say that there will be a large fraternity built on Eighth St. between Woodlawn and Park (just the other side of Theta). It may be too late to influence IU’s decision to give them this land, though community opposition has been vocal and the funding is apparently not in place. We can hope. It might make sense in any case to combine our forces with Theta in hopes of influencing some of the choices made regarding design, parking etc. I met with their house mother – I think that’s the term – the other day and will pursue with residents of Theta and Collins creation of a dialog in the fall. At the least we can alert one another of our events and so avoid unfortunate incidents like the Collins call that apparently went to the police complaining about Theta’s recent grilled cheese sandwich fundraiser (for local child advocates in the courts). We should be inviting one another to events, not complaining about them (it ended at 9pm).

Congratulations to Holly and everyone else responsible for Collinsfest. A really successful event. I continued my tradition of neither feeding at the ice cream trough nor submitting to pie-ing – I did make my own contribution for the right not to pie or be pied – but had a great time just the same. I suppose you really can’t take full credit for the perfect weather, but you can for everything else.

As should appear elsewhere in this issue, we’ll have dinner with Hillcrest guest Tiziano Bonazzi on Monday (6pm). An emeritus professor of US history from Bologna, he is in Bloomington working on a biography of Abraham Lincoln. All are welcome.

Carl Ipsen

Professor of History

Director, Collins LLC

Directives – The Sex Edition

Busy Collins weekend for me. The Sustainable Food Committee met on Friday with John Galuska. John teaches a course for SPEA titled “Farming the City” and leads a summer course in Jamaica: “Roots, Fruits, and Jamaican Ecologies.” He’s also the director of Foster International. We mostly talked about his one-acre farm just south of Bryan Park. Maybe we can arrange a visit in the spring. High point of the culinary offerings, I’d say, was the asparagus risotto. Now that the weather is becoming marginally more spring-like, we’re planning a foray up to the campus garden next Friday. Meet on the veranda at 4 if you’re interested. Finally, the CSFC, like Arts Council, BOEP, Student Govt. etc., will soon be looking for new officers for next year. Let me or one of the current co-chairs know that possibility appeals to you. Co-chairs menu plan, promote, shop and cook. The hoped-for garden coordinator leads groups to the Campus Garden work sessions.

BOEP had a lively discussion on Sunday. I reported on some course issues: my conveyance of the Board’s lack of enthusiasm about a faculty-proposed course and the sad story of a grad student instructor who was pressured by his adviser to give up his Collins course in order to work as a course assistant for that adviser, only to be subsequently denied by the department (after we’d already given away his spot). That really shouldn’t happen, but IU grads don’t have a union or other pressure group to address injustices of this sort. We also discussed the proposed full-color pricetag on The Pipe & Barrow. Apparently this discussion (or lack of discussion) has dragged on long enough now that such it will be. But it is certainly an issue to take into consideration in the upcoming Fee Committee (and BOEP) discussions about the budget.

For whatever reason, the issue of sexual abuse has impinged more than usual on my consciousness of late. A friend of mine, now in her 30s, blogged about her experience of being raped in high school last week (the first time she had spoken publicly about it), and I also came across a HuffPost piece titled “Why Are So Many Boys Leaving High School Thinking Rape Is Funny” (2/10/2014). The article includes the shocking estimate that “between 20-25% of women and 3% of men will experience an attempted or completed sexual assault in college.” That’s one woman in 4 or 5! If we apply that figure to the Collins population it comes to over 50 women. Equally troubling are the many anecdotes related in the article revealing a true rape culture among American male youth (though as we have seen recently, e.g. news from India, the US is far from alone in this). I’d like to think that Collins is a haven immune from these attitudes and behaviors, and while I’m sure that Collins is a safer place than most, I also know we have problems too. So to my fellow men let me just say: read the article and don’t be assholes.

 Carl Ipsen

Professor of History

Director, Collins LLC

24 February 2014