Faculty Research and Creative Activities

people at the New Haven Green May Day Rally

History Professor Jamie Wilson

My spring 2014 sabbatical was productive. My most influential project was writing and editing my manuscript The Black Panther Party of Connecticut. It was published by the Amistad Committee, Inc., a Connecticut-based historical society, in May 2014, and traces the rise and fall the Party in the state. According to the organization’s president, “the Amistad Committee published the monograph to recognize the Black Panther Party as an important organization in the long struggle to rid our country of the cancer of racism. While it deals with the Black Panther Party of Connecticut, it is, undoubtedly, with different names and locations, a page in the national struggle for equality in our country.” The Black Panther Party of Connecticut is my third book published while at Salem State University. I also used my time away from teaching to review the manuscript, Harlem Doctor: Fifty Years on the Healing Front for Fordham University Press. Harlem Doctor presents the memoir of the pioneering healthcare provider and activist Beny Primm. In addition, I researched and wrote two encyclopedic articles “Black Islamism” and “Black Power” for the forthcoming reference guide Ideas and Movements that Shaped America (ABC-Clio, 2015).

During my time away, I became the only faculty member disc jockey at Salem State University’s 91.7 FM, WMWM Salem, a University institution and community service that has had a profound influence on the North Shore for decades. 91.7 FM also streams live online for those who want to listen through the World Wide Web. The title of my show, Makes Me Wanna Holler, comes from Marvin Gaye’s 1971 Motown release Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler). The radio show was featured every Thursday during the 12-2 pm time slot from January to July 2014 and played music from the African Diaspora with a focus on African American secular and sacred music.

Professor Caitlin Corbett

Sport and Movement Science Professor, Caitlin Corbett

My sabbatical was sublime. Enormously productive on many fronts, I feel deeply satisfied by my accomplishments during this time period. Although the majority of my time was spent choreographing, I also had the opportunity to address other areas. I made excellent headway on an archival project of my choreography dating back to 1989 (!!), I participated in an artist residency exchange, I traveled to South America, and I maintained an ongoing dialogue regarding Dance Program issues.

Throughout the spring and summer I created six of eight sections for a full-length work titled smashnightinfinity. While movement invention has consistently been at the forefront of my dance-making, I have always thrilled to the seduction of performance. More recently, however, I find my interests shifting to the thrill of the process. I cannot overstate the value of creating work unencumbered by the responsibilities required during a regular semester. Intensive rehearsals (by myself and with my dancers) provided me the luxury to experiment with ideas in a more substantive way. I am blessed to have a company of devoted dancers, most of whom have been dancing with me for over a decade. Because of the intensive nature of the rehearsals that my sabbatical afforded me, we were able to shift the focus of the project away from production and thus, experiment more deeply during the process, in particular, explore ways of generating movement vocabulary. Additionally, our longtime dialogue in conjunction with these intensive rehearsals allowed us to peel away layers without ado. This shift has been refreshing, oftentimes liberating, as expectations of what should be fall away, revealing a host of possibilities of what could be.

Since the fall we have been continuing our work in the studio, at a less intense pace. However, the discoveries that I made in the studio during this intensive work period are an invaluable part of my development as an artist and will remain with me always.

Last winter I applied for and was awarded an artist residency (one of six) at the Dance Complex in Cambridge: Integrated Artist Residency Exchange (I-ARE). We had the great fortune to work intensively at the Complex. In addition to these rehearsals at the Dance Complex, I also met regularly with the five other I-ARE artists to share ideas and feedback about each other’s work.

During this residency my company performed sections of smashnightinfinity at the Dance Complex October 24-25 in a shared concert.  

Professor Brad Hubeny on a boat on the Potomac River

Geology Professor Brad Hubeny

My Spring 2014 sabbatical allowed me to focus on collaborative research and publish two peer-reviewed papers. In collaboration with researchers from the Environmental Protection Agency, Brock University, and the University of Rhode Island, as well as four Salem State geology alumni, I reconstructed environmental and climate conditions for Massachusetts’ North Shore for the past 11,500 years using sediments from Sluice Pond, Lynn. 

I focused on past hydrologic conditions since hydroclimate is a major concern in light of modern climate change. By using an interdisciplinary approach that utilized geophysics, geochemistry, paleobiology, and limogeology I reconstructed water budgets for this region and was able to relate the findings to hemispheric influences over the period (Journal of Paleolimnology). 

 The North Shore has behaved in concert with previously studied locations in southern New England, but has been out of phase with hydrologic conditions in Northern New England for much of the study period. Our results have bridged a spatial gap in coverage of similar reconstructions, and assists in our understanding of hydroclimate variability as we project climate forward. Our group also published a paper in The Holocene that quantified the biologic response to climate influences over the past 11,500 years. This contribution revealed that humans are affecting the biota of Sluice Pond through eutrophication, a process that has not been seen in the pond for millennia.

On a more fun side of sabbatical I ran the 2014 Boston Marathon as part of Team Eye and Ear, and raised over $10,000 for research at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary!