Welcome to the Center for International Engagement's web-based journal, Global Insights. Faculty members, administrative staff, visiting international scholars, and students are invited to share their research, conference papers, travel experiences and personal observations on a wide-range of global topics. Global Insights seeks to create a vibrant on-line community dedicated to the sharing of international views and perspectives with others both on campus and outside the campus. The Center for International Engagement is committed to global education and global interaction; this new web-based journal is the next step forward as Bridgewater State University expands its ties to the world.
April 20, 2011
InSight-s: A Multimedia Installation in Three Continents
Prof. Magaly Ponce
Department of Art
InSight-s: A Multimedia Installation in Three Continents is the culmination of two years observing whales off the coast of Plymouth, MA while assisting the Humpback Whale Ethogram Project conducted by Carol Carson at BSU's Biological Sciences Department, and New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance (NECWA), a non-profit organization that dedicates their efforts to the protection and conservation of marine wildlife.
The collaboration has compelled me to better understand these enormous and complex creatures and inspired me to incorporate them in my artwork. Using sculpture, digital photo-collage and video, I celebrate their beauty and humor, reflect on their likely extinction, and consider the industries that have developed around them.
Whaling once sustained the economy and enriched the cultural life of Portugal and the New England colonies. In this spirit, I have been coordinating the traveling of the works to whaling locations on three continents, starting in Providence, RI; to Praia, Santiago Island/Mindelo, São Vicente Island, Cape Verde; and to Lisbon/the Azores, Portugal.
Around 600 glass chemistry tubes were individually taped and
suspended with fishing line, to represent sound wave patterns from
whale songs. (Photography by Frank Mullin, with assistance from
Vannessa Rodriguez, BSU intern.)
The other prominent element utilized in the exhibit is visible, yet immaterial -- light. I was interested in illuminating spaces with a variety of light intensities and purpose, to utilize a metaphor for the depletion of whale oil for light.
Sculpture of donated chemistry glass as a "shadow" of a Striped Atlantic Dolphin skeleton provided by NECWA, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and conservation of marine wildlife. (Photography by Frank Mullin.)
Artist Magaly Ponce surrounded by art student
volunteers from Mindelo-Escola Internacional
de Artes M_EIA, Mindelo, Cape Verde,
after a two-day exhibition install.
The students are: Maria do Rosário Andrade,
Jean-Pierre Tavares, Emily Morais, Karine
Gomes, Arciolinda Fortes, Lavinea Monteiro,
Ellen Cilene Santos, Anisia Silva, Suzy Reis,
Amélia Coronel, Davitson Almeida, Suzana
daCruz, and Carlina Andrade.
Artwork in its third location:
Ponte d'agua, Mindelo,
Dec.29, 2010 - Jan.15, 2011.
Detail limited edition
Gampi paper and
digitally printed translucent
on mahogany custom
The New Bedford Whaling
video stills and photography
by Frank Mullin
One of 6 artist's guided educational tours of the exhibition.
Second location: Palacio Da Cultura, Praia, Santiago Island,
Cape Verde. Nov. 22 - Dec. 12, 2010.
March 3, 2011:
Reflections on India
Ms. Sarah Manteiga
Sarah Manteiga is an anthropology major at BSU, who will be graduating in January 2012. In January 2011, she took part in a study tour to India led by Dr. Martin Grossman of Management and Dr. Madhu Rao of Geography. The following are excerpts from her blog of the experience.
Shilparamam, located in Hyderabad, is a tribute to India's natural beauty, richly diverse cultural heritage and vibrant ethos. Spread over 65 acres, it's a place where artisans from across India showcase their individual skills in a variety of arts, crafts and culture. Our group visited the location twice: once for a shopping spree, and the second time to get henna for those who wanted it (including the men!), and to our delightful surprise, a performance in celebration of Pongal. It had such a festive spirit to it and was one of my favorite experiences of our trip.
Preserving traditional practices and cultural identity is important to people in times of change -- a societal glue, if you will, to resolve tensions and provide a sense of self-actualization. Shilparamam is a recognized place for artisans to sell their craft officially; in this way it's good for both the seller and for the buyer. On the streets it's hard for the foreigner, or local for that matter, to determine what's legitimate and what isn't. At Shilparamam there's no question, and structure is established in a positive working relationship between the people and government.
Be > Think > Innovate
Grundfos, established in 1998, is a worldwide company specializing in part manufacturing. It has grown eleven times its size in a twelve-year span, growing even during the recession. The buildings, located in Chennai, are "green," and the company prides itself in being environmentally responsible and producing efficient products. India in general wants to be at the leading edge and have smart buildings and products; Grundfos is a perfect example that Green is the future. The domestic sector of the company is growing most, because of all the construction in India and the rise of a middle class. A ~30% growth is expected over the next decade.
Discussing the company itself and touring the building were interesting enough, but what really captured my attention was the engaging conversation that we had with the chairman of the company, Ranganath. His perspective was fresh and interesting, as he brought Eastern philosophy into the dialogue about everyday life, as well as business. Rather than getting from Point A to Point B, the Eastern philosophy is that of cycles and trying to predict them. He spoke about his travel experiences, noting that despite our cultural differences, we share a common humanity and should embody a basic respect for all people. He also challenged us by being honest and saying that the common person is more brainwashed in America than in India. This is mostly because the press is freer and less polarized there. The U.S. can't be a world leader without knowing the world, he told us. We must look outward rather than inward at this time, and walk the talk.
As more people migrate to urban areas where they hope to find employment, there will be increasingly large numbers of people living in makeshift homes and poverty. Projects like this one are invaluable to society and the betterment in the quality of people's lives. Having benefited by the excellent all round development at a premier educational institution in the State, members of Association Saikorian (alumni of Sainik School Korukonda) set up this self-sustaining organization to concern itself with the neglected children of society. Since Project Krushi is a non-profit organization and intentional in nature, it's guaranteed to produce some very positive outcomes in the lives of the boys who attend and are able to stick with the program.
Our visit to the Home was such a touching experience. While I felt sad that the kids were even born into such conditions that they had to be removed from their families, each was fortunate to be given the opportunity to do something more with their lives. They all seemed so grateful to have visitors; they loved the male students in our group and wanted to hold their hands, as if they were their heroes. We all played sports and had the special opportunity to eat lunch with all of them. I will remember the event fondly forever!
Sarah Manteiga, Cynthia Odiah, Erica Harding, with Krushi boys
This study tour to India was the farthest I've ever been from home. Before departing, a friend told me that soon I'd discover whether or not I'd develop an insatiable hunger to explore the world, or that I'd rather stick to a general area. I knew the answer, but for the length of the trip simply perceived my surroundings and feelings. By the last day, I recognized the beginnings of that incurable Travel Itch. It's only in the face of differences that we truly begin to see ourselves. There's a time to look inwards and a time to look outwards; this trip confirmed that it's time to leave my comfort zone and get out into -- and embrace -- the great unknown, and try to do it as often as possible.
People watching is one of my cherished pastimes. In India there is no shortage of possibilities to do this. One of my favorite experiences of the trip was gazing out of our bus -- window open to feel the wind on my face -- observing the world. In Chennai, I saw a sticker on the back of a car reading Count your blessings, not your troubles. It stuck with me. Later on in the day, a number of us went for a walk around our 4-star hotel. Among the sights were street dwellers, feral children running around naked, and lines of people sleeping on the sidewalks. Across the street was an alleyway filled with makeshift homes; Dr. Rao signaled that we were going there. Never having experienced slum life, I was hesitant, but went forward.
What I saw was people going about their daily lives, as I would mine. An old woman came to her front door smiling and shook my hand; a man washing a fish wanted his picture taken; a little boy introduced himself and acted as our tour guide; women from a balcony above us laughed as they took pictures of Americans touring the slums. I saw that this life was normal; this life was about tight-knit community and being resourceful, each home a small business. I saw people grateful for what they do have, embracing life for what it is rather than resenting that it isn't something else. What touched me most were the kids playing marbles and blowing bubbles, smiling and laughing in the filth. My heart grew double in size as I choked back tears.
Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. Gandhi once said, Do not be lifted off your feet, do not be drawn away from the simplicity of your ancestors.
To read more of Sarah's experience in India, visit her blog: http://sarahindiaexperience.blogspot.com/
March 2, 2011:
Dr. James Hayes-Bohanan
Department of Geography
month, President Bill Clinton and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will travel to
Manaus, the first city I ever visited in Brazil and the center of the vast
Amazon basin. The hub of the aviamento rubber-tapping system and the
focus of accumulated wealth during the rubber boom, Manaus is also the site of
the Wedding of the Waters,
where the Amazon proper begins.
The confluence of a river carrying twenty percent of the world's flowing fresh water -- and in the center of a forest that contains an abundant share of the planet's remaining biodiversity -- is a fitting location for O Fórum Mundial de Sustentabilidade (World Sustainability Forum). No place on earth has brought differing priorities of the global North and South into sharper relief, as I well remember from a heady summer I spent in Rondonia, a bit upstream, in 1996. For the leading edge of research on the human-environment interface in the lower reaches of the Amazon, see the amazing work of my friends at Piatam.
The meeting in Brazil has added significance, though, as many in the United States are coming to realize not only the ecological but also the growing economic and social importance of the country. In addition to having the occasional opportunity to travel and study in Brazil, I am very fortunate to live in a region that is a major focus of Brazilian migration and commerce.
To read more of Dr. Hayes-Bohanan's writings, visit his blogs:
January 31, 2011:
Observations from Cambodia
Dr. Kevin Curry
During a recent study tour to Cambodia, Dr. Kevin Curry of the Biological Sciences Department visited the infamous Tuol Sleng Prison, where the radical Khmer regime of Pol Pot imprisoned and tortured thousands.
Tuol Sleng Survivor: One of Seven
We arrived at Tuol Sleng early on the morning of Jan 7. I had been there before so I was standing outside the first set of buildings while the BSU students learned about the atrocities that were committed in this first wing. The older gentleman in the photo walked up to me and handed me a card. His name was Mr. Chum Mey and he is one of the seven survivors that were not killed by the Khmer Rouge before the Vietnamese Army invaded and pushed the Khmer Rouge out of Cambodia in 1979. Our student chaperone from Pannasastra University helped to interpret the conversation between us.
Suddenly he offered to personally take us through the facility and tell his story and show us where they had "kept" him.
It was quite sobering but I believe Mr.
Chum Mey was honored that we were
personally interested in what
happened to him and the many
Cambodians that lost their lives at Tuol Sleng and willing to be with
him that day so he could tell his
story. He just "happened" to be
there, at the same time we arrived,
on Victory over Genocide Remembrance
To read more of Dr. Curry's observations, visit his blog: www.curry508.wordpress.com
Last Modified: August 30, 2011