Friday, February 17, 2017

New Event! Sacco & Vanzetti Brown Bag Lunch 2/21

You are invited to bring your lunch to the following free events:
Discussion-- 12:15 pm, Husted Hall, Room 014, University at Albany Downtown Campus
Moderator: Frankie Bailey, Ph.D. – Professor of Criminal Justice
Panelists: Gerald Zahavi, Ph.D. – Professor of History, “The Anarchist World of Sacco and Vanzetti”
Richard Hamm, Ph.D. – Professor of History, “What the Sacco and Vanzetti Case Meant to One Legal Liberal”

Picture:  Ben Shahn's Sacco and Vanzetti
Sponsored by the School of Criminal Justice’s “Crime and Multiculturalism in the 21st Century”

series in association with Friday’s free upcoming film event:

February 24 (Friday): SACCO AND VANZETTI
Film screening followed by a conversation with director Peter Miller and film editor Amy Linton — 7:00 p.m. [note early start time], Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus
Directed by Peter Miller (United States, 2006, 80 minutes, color)
This documentary, winner of the American Historical Association’s best film award, tells the story of two Italian politically radical immigrants charged with the 1920 robbery of a Massachusetts shoe factory and the murder of two of its employees. As it recounts their trials, public protests, and appeals on their behalf the film offers insights into present-day issues of civil liberties and immigrant rights. Ken Burns called it “A wonderful film, as timeless as the struggle for human justice, as relevant as today’s headlines.”
Peter Miller is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose films include the theatrically-released A.K.A. DOC POMUS, JEWS AND BASEBALL, and SACCO AND VANZETTI. He has directed numerous documentaries for PBS and has been a producer for documentaries by Ken Burns and Lynn Novak including THE WAR and JAZZ, and the Peabody Award-winning FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT.
Amy Linton has edited numerous award-winning films including Julie Dash’s DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST, a Sundance winner that was selected for the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. She has worked on dozens of documentaries, feature films, and music videos in her 25-year career.
Sponsored by the Writers Institute in conjunction with UAlbany’s School of Criminal Justice’s Justice & Multiculturalism in the 21st Century: Crime, Justice, and Public Memory Film Series

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A Silent Film Speaks Loudly

Read Amy Biancolli's article about the rediscovered and restored African American silent film classic, Within Our Gates, to be screened tonight at Page Hall at 7:30:
"Within Our Gates" was made almost a century ago, but its message still trembles with urgency. All people are equal. All races are human. All children deserve a good education, and all parents deserve a hope and a chance.

None of that should classify as revolutionary, should it? None of it should need to be said. And yet it's impossible to watch Oscar Micheaux's germinal work — the earliest surviving feature by an African-American filmmaker — without finding immediate and manifest parallels with issues still facing the nation.

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Nancy Jo Sales on Girls and Social Media

February 16 (Thursday):  Nancy Jo Sales, journalist and nonfiction writer
Reading/discussion — 8:00 p.m., Campus Center Room 375

Nancy Jo Sales is known for work that focuses on youth culture and crime, and pop-culture icons. Her book American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers (2016) is an investigation into how social media has presented girls with unprecedented challenges. USA Today said Sales, “… offer[s] a harrowing glimpse into a world where self-esteem, friendships and sexuality…are defined by the parameters of social media.” Newsday recommended “If you have a teenage daughter, read American Girls. Have her read it, too.” Sales is also the author of The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World (2013, see February 10 Classic Film Series listing).

Sponsored in association with UAlbany’s Sexuality Month, a program of the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program of Counseling and Psychological Services

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Thursday, February 9, 2017


Unfortunately, today's events with Helen Czerski will be cancelled due to weather.
We have no information at this time about a rescheduled appearance.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Helen Czerski on Hyenas and Their Sense of Smell

Helen Czerski, the BBC's female face of science TV, talks about hyenas and their sense of smell, and what engineers can learn from them. Czerski visits Albany from London this coming Thursday.

Video courtesy of University College London's UCLTV.

More about her upcoming visit:

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Book Trailer for Storm in A Teacup

Watch Helen Czerski's book trailer for Storm in a Teacup on YouTube.

You can also make a lava lamp with lemonade and raisins.

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Shaka Senghor's visit to UAlbany on Feb. 1st is featured in The Alt.

As much as Senghor’s story is the personal journey of one man seeking redemption and hope, it is also much larger than one single man. “Mr. Senghor’s story provides us with insight into the challenges faced by many young African American men in urban communities and American prisons,” said Frankie Bailey, UAlbany criminal justice professor and chairperson of the event committee. “His emergence as a leader in the criminal justice reform movement illustrates the capacity of those same men for redemption and growth. His message is about becoming a force for positive change.”


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Monday, February 6, 2017

Author Phyllis Bennis on ISIS and Terror 2/8

“Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror”
a lecture by writer and activist Phyllis Bennis.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017
10:30 a.m.
Campus Center 375, University at Albany
(uptown campus)


Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.. She has written and edited eleven books, including Understanding ISIS & the New Global War on Terror: A Primer,  Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict,  Before& After: US Foreign Policy and the War on Terror and Challenging Empire: How People, Governments and the UN Defy U.S. Power. She has served as an informal adviser to several top UN officials on Middle East and UN democratization issues.

UUP Albany Chapter
UAlbany Department of Communications
Women against War

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Regina Carter on Saturday, MacArthur Genius & Jazz Violinist

Sat. Afternoon 2/11: WAMC's Joe Donahue live in conversation with MacArthur Genius, Jazz
Violinist Regina Carter, FREE EVENT
February 11 (Saturday):
Regina Carter, jazz violinist
Conversation — 4:30 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, UAlbany Uptown Campus, 1400 Washington Ave., Free Parking.
Classically trained, Regina Carter is considered the foremost jazz violinist of her generation. She studied at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and Oakland University. She lived and played in Germany and Detroit before moving to New York City to play with the New York String Trio for six years. She then launched her career as a band leader, releasing several albums of contemporary jazz, and drew attention for her work on the recording of Wynton Marsalis’s composition “Blood on the Fields” which won a Pulitzer Prize. She toured with Marsalis in 1997 and went on the road with jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson in 1998. In 2001, Regina became the first jazz musician and the first African-American to play the 250-year-old Guarneri violin once owned by Niccolo Paganini when she performed in a special benefit concert and recorded her CD, Paganini: After a Dream, a mix of classical music and jazz. In 2006, she was selected as a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius Award.” Her current project is “Simply Ella,” celebrating the centennial of Ella Fitzgerald’s birth, which she will perform at The Egg at 8 p.m. on February 11.
For more about the conversation contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620.
(For ticket information contact The Egg Box Office at 518-473-1845.)

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Paul Grondahl to Lead NYS Writers Institute

Paul Grondahl Tapped to Lead Writers Institute

The New York State Writers Institute and the University at Albany are very pleased to announce the appointment of award-winning writer and reporter Paul Grondahl as the new director of the New York State Writers Institute.
Grondahl, who earned a master’s degree in English at UAlbany in 1984, was selected after a national search for a successor to Donald Faulkner, who retired last year.
“Paul is one of the best-known and most-loved writers in our community. I am confident that under Paul’s leadership, the New York State Writers Institute will reach new heights,” UAlbany’s Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Darrell P. Wheeler said. “I look forward to collaborating with him and the Institute’s many friends and supporters.”
William Kennedy, Founder and Executive Director of the Writers Institute said “Paul is a great choice for director of the Writers Institute for a lot of reasons. Above all, he’s a serious writer. He’s very savvy about literature and writers, and as a journalist, he’s nonpareil – maybe the best we’ve had in this town in 30 years or more.  He’s written two well-received biographies of major political figures on our local stage – Teddy Roosevelt, and Erastus Corning, the singular mayor of Albany for 42 years.  Paul also got his masters in English at UAlbany and he’s covered many of the major writers who have visited the Institute.” 
Grondahl, an award-winning journalist and biographer, has been a staff writer at the Albany Times Union since 1984, where his projects on domestic violence, death and dying, mental illness in state prisons and the problems facing sub-Saharan Africa have won local, state and national journalism awards.
The author of four books, Grondahl also leads writing workshops for students ranging from elementary school to college. He has taught as writer-in-residence at the Albany Academy and Albany Academy for Girls since 2005, and is an adjunct professor in the Africana Studies Department at UAlbany.

“I feel like I’m coming home,” Grondahl said about the appointment, and indeed in some ways he is.
Paul himself appeared twice as an author in the Institute’s Visiting Writer Series—in 1997 with his book Mayor Corning: Albany Icon, Albany Enigma, and in 2004 to discuss his biography of Theodore Roosevelt, I Rose Like a Rocket. Beginning with Saul Bellow’s inaugural reading in 1984, Paul has attended hundreds of Institute programs, not only as journalist, but also as a reader and a passionate supporter of the art of the written word.

Paul Grondahl Biography
Paul Grondahl is an award-winning journalist and author. Grondahl has been a staff writer at the Albany Times Union since 1984, where his assignments have taken him from the Arctic to Antarctica; from Northern Ireland to Africa; from New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina and Haiti after its catastrophic earthquake in 2010; and across New York State, from Ground Zero on 9/​11 to the Adirondack wilderness.

His in-depth newspaper projects on domestic violence, death and dying, mental illness in state prisons and the problems facing sub-Saharan Africa have won a number of local, state and national journalism awards.

Grondahl’s writing prizes include the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award for Feature Reporting; Scripps Howard National Journalism Award; New York Newspaper Publishers Association; two first place national feature writing prizes from The Society for Features Journalists; more than a dozen New York State Associated Press writing contest awards; and the Hearst Eagle Award, the highest recognition for a reporter in the Hearst Corp.

The author of four books, Grondahl also was named Albany Author of the Year in 1997 by the Albany Public Library and Notable Author of the Year by the Guilderland Public Library and East Greenbush Public Library, both in 2004. He has been featured on C-SPAN's "About Books" and "Book TV."

Grondahl also has been selected several times in recent years as Best Local Journalist and Best Local Author in Metroland and Times Union readers’ polls.

In addition, he received the 2006 Dr. James M. Bell Humanitarian Award from Parsons Child and Family Center.

His work has appeared in a number of publications, including Smithsonian magazine, Newsday, The New York Times Book Review, the Houston Chronicle and other newspapers.

His second book, That Place Called Home, was excerpted in Reader’s Digest and optioned to CBS, where it went into development as a made-for-TV movie but was never produced.

In addition to his own books, Grondahl has contributed introductions to A Collection of Poems by Lewis A. Swyer (The Swyer Foundation/​Mount Ida Press, 2004) and Stepping Stones by Marty Silverman (Whitston Publishing Co., 2003).

Grondahl is a veteran teacher who leads highly regarded writing workshops with students ranging from elementary school to college. For the past decade, he has worked with high school students through the Minds-On workshop program at the Rensselaerville Institute and with high school seniors in the New Visions Public Communications program at the Times Union. He has taught as writer-in-residence at the Albany Academy and Albany Academy for Girls since 2005. He also has been an adjunct professor in the Africana Studies Department at the University at Albany.

Grondahl received his bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington in 1981 and a Master’s degree in English literature from the University at Albany in 1984. He was honored in 2005 as a distinguished alumni in arts and letters from UAlbany.

I Rose Like a Rocket:  The Political Education of Theodore Roosevelt

University of Nebraska Press. (Paperback edition) May, 2007.

"A well-told new biography...Albany is Mr. Grondahl's turf, and here he gives free rein to his expertise."
-- The New York Sun
"What Mr. Grondahl makes clearer is how Roosevelt's principled stands on civil service reform and social responsibility periodically sidetracked his phenomenal career."
-- Washington Times
"An outstanding job of documenting Theodore Roosevelt's evolution from brash young political reformer to shrewd and pragmatic political operator...painted quite deftly by Grondahl."
-- Publishers Weekly

Mayor Corning: Albany Icon, Albany Enigma

Washington Park Press. Albany, N.Y., 1997.

(With an introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Kennedy.)

A rich and compelling political biography of Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd, the nation's longest-tenured mayor of an American city and head of Albany's vaunted Democratic machine. First elected in 1941, Corning served until he died in office in 1983 after winning 11 consecutive elections.

"A minor classic — a highly readable, meticulously researched and illuminating history of some fascinating and shadowy byways in the politics of the Empire State."
-- The New York Times Book Review
"Detailed, accurate and eminently readable."
-- Mario M. Cuomo, former Governor of New York

"Here journalism at its finest merges with the art of the novelist. The book indeed resembles a series of fascinating interlocking novellas."
-- R.W.B. Lewis, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer
That Place Called Home
Servant Publications. Ann Arbor, Mich., 2000.

(With a foreword by Eunice Kennedy Shriver)
This heartwarming story describes how Sr. Mary Ann LoGiudice, a Sister of Mercy in Albany, N.Y., gained approval from her religious order to adopt and raise a young girl named Barbara, both of whose parents died of AIDS. The nun and the young, HIV-positive girl formed an unlikely family and enjoyed many delightful, challenging and inspiring years together as mother and daughter.

"Her story is immensely moving and life-affirming."
-- Bob Keeler, Newsday religious writer
"One of the most moving testimonies to the power of love that I have ever read."
-- Sister Mary Rose McGeady, D.C. President of Covenant House, New York City
Now Is The Time:  A History of Parsons Child and Family Center 1829-2004

Whitston Publishing Company Inc. Albany, N.Y., 2006.

A narrative history of one of the oldest orphanages in the United States that draws on archival research and oral histories. Founded in 1829 and formerly known as the Albany Orphan Asylum and the Albany Home for Children, this is a powerful and emotionally charged chronicle of often forgotten children left in institutional care.

"Grondahl uses his storytelling skills to make readers curious about the institution, to draw them into the lives of children and staff -- and to inspire them to care about those lives.
-- The Sunday Gazette, Schenectady, NY

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at

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