Thursday, August 28, 2008

Distinguished English Scholar to Discuss 'Shakespeare and The Canterbury Tales' at Washington College

Chestertown, MD — Washington College's 2008-2009 Sophie Kerr Lecture Series begins with a presentation by Helen Cooper, one of England's foremost medieval and Renaissance literary scholars, on "Shakespeare and The Canterbury Tales: The Case of A Midsummer Night's Dream," at the Casey Academic Center Forum on Tuesday, September 9, at 4:30 p.m.
Helen Cooper is Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English at the University of Cambridge, and fellow of Magdalene College, Cambridge. She was an undergraduate, research student and research fellow at Cambridge before being appointed as the first woman fellow at University College, Oxford, in 1978.
In 2004 she returned to Cambridge as Professor of Medieval and Renaissance in English—a post originally created for famed Chronicles of Narnia author and Christian philosopher C.S. Lewis.
Professor Cooper is essentially interested in the continuity of literature across the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The author of numerous works of scholarship, her most recent book (the theme of which is reflected in her forthcoming Washington College presentation) is on romance, from its invention in the 12th century to the death of Shakespeare. She also has published extensively on The Canterbury Tales.
The Sophie Kerr Lecture Series honors the legacy of the late Sophie Kerr, a writer from Denton, Md., whose generosity has enriched Washington College's literary culture. The 2008-2009 series includes poetry readings, fiction readings, lectures and, as its culmination in March 2009, a special appearance by two-time U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser.
Admission to "Shakespeare and The Canterbury Tales" is free and open to the public. For more information, call 410/778-7879.
August 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

'Slave Ship' Author Rediker, 2008 George Washington Book Prize Winner, to Make Special Appearance at Washington College

Chestertown, MD — Washington College's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience will host Marcus Rediker, winner of the 2008 George Washington Book Prize, during a two-day celebration of the $50,000 award for the best book on the founding era in American history.
The celebration of Rediker's winning book, The Slave Ship: A Human History, begins Thursday, Sept. 18, at 4:15 p.m., with a booksigning at Bethel A.M.E. Church, 237 N. College Ave, adjacent to the Washington College campus. Then, at 5 p.m., Rediker will deliver the Book Prize Lecture, "The Floating Dungeon: A History of the Slave Ship." The lecture will take place in the Bethel A.M.E. Church sanctuary, and the program will include a musical performance by vocalist Karen Somerville, with Stefan Scaggiari on piano and Tom Anthony on bass.
On Friday, Sept. 19, at 10:30 a.m., Adam Goodheart, the Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the C.V. Starr Center, will interview Marcus Rediker onstage at the Casey Academic Center Forum on the Washington College campus in a program titled, "Making History: A Public Conversation on the Historian's Craft." The event will also include a question-and-answer session with the audience.
All events are free and open to the public.
Chair of the History Department at the University of Pittsburgh, Rediker is widely celebrated for his books about maritime life and the people—pirates, sailors, slaves, indentured servants—who crossed oceans to create the earliest versions of a global economy. The Slave Ship is his fifth book—a sweeping and evocative account of the floating prisons that carried an estimated 12.4 million Africans across the "Middle Passage" of the Atlantic to help build a new America.
"I wanted to make our understanding of the slave trade concrete," says Rediker, "to see it as a human history—hence the subtitle of my book—because I believe that the human capacity to live with injustice depends to some extent on making it abstract. The existing scholarship on the slave trade is outstanding, but a lot of it is statistical, which can occlude the horror of what one group of people is doing to another for money."
For more information about the George Washington Book Prize, which is co-sponsored by Washington College, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and George Washington's Mount Vernon, visit the C.V. Starr Center website at, or call 410-810-7165.
August 27, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Benefit Concert for Gibson Center for the Arts, September 8

Ben Marchant '01 will bring his Los Angeles-based rock band The Kings Royal to Annapolis on Monday evening, September 8, for a benefit concert with proceeds supporting the renovation of the Gibson Center for the Arts at Washington College. The 9:00 pm concert will take place at The Whiskey, 1801 West Street in Annapolis. Advance tickets may be purchased online.
Ben is graduate of Severn School and was a music major at WC as well as a lacrosse player and a midfielder on the 1998 NCAA Championship team. Since graduating in 2001, Ben has developed his repertoire as a singer/songwriter, first in Nashville and since 2006 in Los Angles. In 2007 Ben formed The Kings Royal, and the band has been playing to enthusiastic crowds in and around Los Angles including a month-long residency at the famed Viper Room.
This summer, Ben and his band have been on a national tour, opening for the multi-platinum rock band Candlebox. This is Ben's first return to Maryland since he left for Nashville in 2003. The tour will play The Recher Theatre in Towson, MD on Sunday, September 7 and The NorVa in Norfolk, VA on Tuesday, September 9. The break in the schedule gave Ben the opportunity to bring The Kings Royal to Annapolis for this exclusive WC benefit appearance. Join your fellow WC alumni, faculty, staff, and friends in welcoming Ben back to Maryland on September 8 and help benefit the renovation of our own Gibson Center for the Arts.
August 22, 2008

New Visiting Historian Speaks on 'Jefferson and Slavery' at Washington College

Chestertown, MD — Award-winning historian Henry Wiencek, newly arrived in Chestertown for a year's residence as Washington College's first-ever Patrick Henry Fellow, will share little-known stories about the daily experience of slavery at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello on Monday, September 8, at 4:30 p.m., in the Casey Academic Center Forum.
Wiencek, whose honors include the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography and theLos Angeles Times Book Prize in History, is the first recipient of the highly competitive new fellowship, which is provided by the College's C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, and co-sponsored by the Rose O'Neill Literary House.
The Patrick Henry Fellowship offers a yearlong residency to authors engaged in innovative work on America's founding era and its legacy. As part of the fellowship award, Wiencek and his wife, writer Donna Lucey, are residing in the heart of Chestertown's colonial historic district, in the newly restored 1735 Buck-Chambers House, now the Patrick Henry Fellows' Residence. He will use the fellowship year in Chestertown to complete his forthcoming book about the master of Monticello and the men, women, and children whose labor was the lifeblood of the estate.
"We've seen Jefferson's relations with slaves entirely through the eyes of Sally Hemings and her family," Wiencek said. "But she was just one of 600 slaves at Monticello. Life for the Hemings family was one thing. Life for those laboring farther down the hill was quite different."
For the past three years, Wiencek has immersed himself in Jefferson's papers and plantation documents, in the oral histories of slave descendants, in Ablemarle County court records, and in the papers of Jefferson's extended family. Drawing also on recent archaeological discoveries at Monticello, he has documented the everyday realities of life on Jefferson's mountain. The book is under contract with Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
A resident of Charlottesville, Va., Wiencek is perhaps best known for An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America, which was published in 2003 to superlative reviews and named Best Book of that year by the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic. The historian Gordon Wood, writing in the New York Times, called it "superb" and the Washington Post said, "It must be read by all who wish to understand early America."
Wiencek has written and/or edited more than a dozen books. The Hairstons: An American Family in Black and White (St. Martin's, 1999)—the epic story of two extended southern families who share a surname and a legacy, though one is black and the other white—was a selection of the Book of the Month Club and the History Book Club. "Not since Mary Chesnut's Civil War has nonfiction about the South been as compelling as fiction," wrote a reviewer for Time magazine.
"I can't think of a better person to be the inaugural recipient of the new Patrick Henry Fellowship than Henry Wiencek," said Adam Goodheart, Hodson Trust-Griswold Director of the Starr Center. "His work exemplifies everything that we had hoped the Henry Fellowship would stand for: innovative research, brilliant writing, and a commitment to grappling with some of the biggest and most difficult subjects in American history." The Henry Fellowship's funding will be permanently endowed as part of a $2.5 million challenge grant package that the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded last year through its nationwide "We the People" initiative, dedicated to strengthening the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and culture. Wiencek will teach a spring course at Washington College.
Wiencek's September 8 lecture, "A Paradox to Posterity: Jefferson and Slavery at Monticello," offers a unique opportunity to hear from one of the most insightful commentators on the American past—and present—writing today, as well as peek inside the process of researching a major work of history. A book signing and reception will follow; admission is free and open to the public.

About the C.V. Starr Center

The C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience explores our nation's history—and particularly the legacy of its Founding era—in innovative ways. Through educational programs, scholarship, and public outreach, and especially by supporting and fostering the art of written history, the Starr Center seeks to bridge the divide between past and present, and between the academic world and the public at large. From its base in the circa-1746 Custom House along Chestertown's colonial waterfront, the Center also serves as a portal onto a world of opportunities for Washington College students. Its guiding principle is that now more than ever, a wider understanding of our shared past is fundamental to the continuing success of America's democratic experiment. For more information on the Center and on the Patrick Henry Fellowship, visit
August 22, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Statement from Washington College President Baird Tipson regarding the Amethyst Initiative

Along with more than 100 college and university presidents nationwide, I have signed my name to the Amethyst Initiative statement. Launched this past July, the Amethyst Initiative is made up of higher education leaders from across the United States who support a thoughtful, measured public debate on lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18.
Alcohol is a pervasive aspect of American campus life, an integral part of student socializing. A significant number of our underage students—men, women, Greek, non-Greek—drink, drink often, and believe they have a right to drink. To them the current law is hypocritical, and its existence undermines the respect that all citizens ought to have for any law.
The 21-year-old drinking age has created a dangerous student culture of clandestine drinking. I believe that young people old enough to defend their country and to vote are old enough to consume alcohol responsibly. The 21-year-old drinking age prevents us from modeling responsible drinking. We need to begin a conversation about the legal age at which people may purchase and consume alcohol.
Baird Tipson
Washington College
August 19, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pre-Orientation Trip Documentary Premier Screening

August 20
7:00 pm Social Time Cash Bar///Hors d'oeuvres
7:30 pm Documentary Screening
Sponsored by the Student Development Office and Orientation
This year we have four trips that a portion of our new students are participating in. For the first time a documentary will be created of all the trips by students under the direction of Brian Palmer. The following trips are happening this year and will be featured in the documentary:
  • "Sail the Sultana - History on the Water"
  • "Land and Sea Adventure - Kayaking, Fishing and Boating and Rock Climbing"
  • Echo Hill Outdoor School "Experience the Chester River Eastern Shore Style"
  • "Filmmaking and Photography Bootcamp"
Come and meet new students and their parents and see our first Pre-Orientation Trip Documentary!
To assist in planning enough food for the event, please kindly RSVP to Beth Anne Roy by Monday, August 18 if you are able to attend.
August 14, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

Oyster Float Workshop August 9

Chestertown, MD — The Center for Environment & Society at Washington College and the Friends of Eastern Neck, Inc, will host an Oyster Float Workshop on the lawn of the Custom House in Chestertown on Saturday, August 9, at 10:00 AM. Program coordinator Mark Wiest will go over all of the basics on how to start an "oyster garden" on local tributaries.
The creation, maintenance and monitoring of oyster floats—known as Taylor floats—are part of oyster restoration projects on the Chester River and at Eastern Neck Island. The floats provide an ideal habitat for oysters as they grow from a small "spat on shell" to a year-old oyster. At that point, hundreds of oysters from each float will be introduced to existing oyster bars on upper Chesapeake Bay.
If you do not have waterfront access from your own property, but still want to get your feet in the water, then come aboard as a volunteer monitor. Volunteers are needed to help with data collection on oyster growth and mortality at the College's test sites in Comegys Bight and at Eastern Neck Island. Opportunities are also available through the Adopt-A-Spat program, where people can feel great about supporting oyster awareness and stewardship on the Chester without dealing with the barnacles, algae and flatworms.
The event is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required by August 8. To register, and for more information, call 410/778-7295 or contact
August 4, 2008