Blackface refers to the cultural practice of covering the face of a white (or black) performer to create a caricature of a black person. Although usually associated with nineteenth-century minstrel shows, blackface can still be found today both in theatrical performances and sometimes also in Halloween costumes.
The debate about the racist implications of blackface continues today. In national news, the NBC "Today" host Megyn Kelly's show was cancelled following her on-air remarks expressing acceptance of blackface. In local news, a registered nurse at St. Luke's was fired after she posted pictures of herself and a friend on facebook in blackface.
UMKC Professor Matthew W. Osborn and UMKC Diversity Director Makini King were interviewed on 30 October 2018 for local television about the history, politics, and ethics of blackface. Their comments aired at 5 PM on KCTV5 and Fox4.
Lucite Plains is a new performance collaboration between Kansas City-based artists and UMKC professors Ricky Allman and Barry Anderson. Combing elements of Allman's paintings and installations with Anderson's work in video and animation, and adding music composed for analog synthesizers and guitars, the performances create a psychedelic futurist experience. The concept came from a melding of themes they have been working on individually for the past few years including eco-futurism, geological ritualism, ancient mythology and retro utopian visions.
For their first extended performance residency, they will be presenting a series of seven events October 19-21 at SubTropolis
as part of Open Spaces
where they will be joined by guest musician, artist, and fellow UMKC colleague Davin Watne
Learn more about about the complete performance schedule and ticket info.
Exceptional is just one word to describe Kameswara Mantha, doctoral student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Department of Physics and Astronomy.
He is one of five individuals who are vying to be the first physics doctoral graduate at UMKC specializing in astrophysics. He’s making a name for himself through his dedication to physics research, scholarship and mentorship.
Pure determination and talent brought Mantha to where he is. While physics is Mantha’s passion, the path to a career in the field hasn’t been easy. Owing to the very limited opportunities to pursue physics degrees in his native India, Mantha earned a bachelor’s degree in electronics and communication engineering instead. In order to apply for graduate schools, “I self-taught to take the physics GRE,” Mantha said, and applied to top graduate schools in the United States. However, he was denied admissions by several institutes due to a lack of the right undergraduate degree.
So, armed with an engineering degree, Mantha joined the UMKC School of Computing and Engineering as a master’s student in August 2014. One day before the scheduled UMKC engineering student orientation, he learned about the UMKC Physics and Astronomy program, which stoked his hopes to pursue astrophysics. In a desperate search for an opportunity, Mantha pondered, “I’m going to try one last time” before approaching Professor Daniel McIntosh in the UMKC Physics and Astronomy Department.
Congratulations to iPhD candidate Annie Derrell for being selected as a fellow in the Doctoral Scholars Program (DSP). According to the sponsoring Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), “the goal of the DSP is to increase the number of minority students who earn doctorates and choose to become faculty at colleges and universities.”
Since its founding in 1993, the DSP has supported over a 1000 scholars at numerous institutes across the country. It offers direct services for doctoral students such as academic, personal, and motivational support, career counseling, networking, job recruitment, and continued advocacy into their early careers as faculty members. Derrell will be a part of the inaugural cohort of scholars from the University of Missouri System.
One of the most exciting aspects of DSP is the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, an annual meeting which serves as the largest gathering of minority Ph.D. scholars in the country. The Institute provides workshops as well as recruitment and networking opportunities to give new scholars the tools to successfully complete their doctorates and enter into a faculty career in higher education.
Derrell is “extremely honored and very excited for this opportunity to meet and collaborate with other minority scholars.”
The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) is a nonprofit organization that works to improve education and provide policymakers with reliable data to make sound educational policy decisions. There website is: www.sreb.org.
Congratulations to Dr. Rebecca (Mowry) Egli on receiving a post-doctoral Residential Fellowship at Linda Hall Library. During her two-month stay, she will conduct research for her current project, "Seeds of Misfortune: Food, Crop Diversity, and the Simplification of American Nature," a history of America’s plant explorers that examines the impact of plant introduction and breeding on agricultural biodiversity and innovation.
Rebecca grew up in Kansas City and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from UMKC's History Department in 2008. She earned a Master of Arts degree in history from King’s College London in 2010 and a doctorate in history from the University of California, Davis in 2018.
Exploring intersections between agriculture, science, and the environment, her dissertation, "The World of Our Dreams: Agricultural Explorers and the Promise of American Science," looks at federal scientists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, exploring developments in plant biology and the ecological consequences of importing non-native plants into the United States.
We are so proud to have Dr. Egli conducting research again in Kansas City!
Congratulations to K. David Hanzlick, alumnus of the History iPhD program, on the publication of his book, Benevolence, Moral Reform, Equality: Women’s Activism in Kansas City, 1870-1940, with the University of Missouri Press.
Hanzlick traces the rise and evolution of women’s activism in a rapidly growing, Midwestern border city, one deeply scarred by the Civil War and struggling to determine its meaning. Over the course of 70 years, women in Kansas City emerged from the domestic sphere by forming and working in female-led organizations to provide charitable relief, reform society’s ills, and ultimately claim space for themselves as full participants in the American polity. Focusing on the social construction of gender, class, and race, and the influence of political philosophy in shaping responses to poverty, Hanzlick also considers the ways in which city politics shaped the interactions of local activist women with national women’s groups and male-led organizations.
K. David Hanzlick is Director of Program and Development for Sheffield Place, a treatment and transitional living program for homeless mothers and children. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Nonprofit Leadership Program at Rockhurst University and the Hauptmann School of Public Affairs at Park University.
Prof. Diane Mutti-Burke, Chair of the History Department, was quoted in an article in the New York Times on 6. August 2018 entitled "On a Civil Rights Trail" because of her research into the history of slavery in Missouri.
During the nineteenth century, large numbers of German migrants settled in the state of Missouri. In this three-credit online course in public history (HIST 400B/5500B), students from the universities of Missouri in Kansas City and St. Louis will collaborate with German peers from the University of Hamburg in researching and writing short interpretive essays on the everyday lives of German migrants before, during, and after their migration.
For more than 20 years, Chris Harris has devoted his time to transforming urban land into green spaces and recreation areas.
He developed the Harris Park Midtown Sports and Activities Center in the late 1990s, which turned a vacant lot in urban Kansas City, Missouri, into a beautiful park with a playground and basketball court. Since then, Harris has built the park into not only a recreational facility, but also an educational environment that helps youth and adults cultivate basic life skills, self-esteem, and respect for others and property.
He is also working on building a state-of-the-art, nine-hole putting green as a way to bring golf to the urban area. At UMKC, he was awarded the Bernard Osher Reentry Scholarship, which gave him the opportunity to advance his philanthropic initiatives and his career. Harris currently serves as a housing locator at Truman Medical Center.
His career achievements led him to be named the 2018 Alumni Achievement Award winner for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
The cost of higher education is an issue, and one the University of Missouri-Kansas City is addressing.
As part of the four-campus University of Missouri System, UMKC has had one of the lowest rates of tuition increase in the U.S. during the past decade. And despite this year’s tuition increase of 1 percent, efforts to keep the overall cost of education are continuing, and are working.
For example, in June 2017, the University of Missouri-Kansas City joined UM System in the Affordable & Open Educational Resources (A&OER) program to save students money on textbooks and other course materials.