Marta Effinger-Crichlow’s book, “Staging Migrations Toward an American West: From Ida B. Wells to Rhodessa Jones”, delves into a century of westward migration by African-American women – migration that’s both physical and symbolic. She chairs African-American Studies and is associate professor of theater and literature at New York City College of Technology.
James Hansen, environmental researcher and director of the NASA Goddard Institute, warns that man-made climate change is real, and it requires immediate action. Addressing critics who argue that the threats posed by climate change is exaggerated, Hansen says “it’s hard for people to realize we have an emergency, but we do.” At the first public event sponsored by City Tech’s new Center for Remote Sensing and Earth System Sciences, Hansen argues there is time to take action, but not much. “If we wanted to stabilize climate this century, it is still barely possible,” says Hansen, but only if there is a strong commitment to move toward non-fossil fuels and reforesting deforested areas.
The proper teaching of African enslavement in America as a central component of American history remains a great failure of primary and secondary education, according to Khalil Gibran Muhammad, the new director of Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Speaking to students at New York City College of Technology, Muhammad cited data showing only 2 percent of high school seniors know the basics of the long struggle for civil rights and that only 15 states require the inclusion of slavery as a key factor in the Civil War. “Slavery is not an aberration in the American story; it is the quintessential American story,” he said.
More than 200,000 Americans have volunteered for the Peace Corps since its inception in 1961, and for many of them it was a life-changing experience. “We really became more open, more interesting, and always better people than before we went,” says Aaron Barlow, an assistant professor of English at New York City College of Technology and editor of a new collection of essays entitled, “One Hand Does Not Catch a Buffalo: 50 Years of Amazing Peace Corps Stories.” Barlow, who served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo from 1988 to 1990, explained how his own experience mirrored other stories featured in the book. “We thought we were going to help all these people — the truth is, we helped ourselves.”
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Ayesha Siddiqui has a lot to be proud of. Graduating at the top of virtually every class she attended, including Karachi University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English and political science, and now at the New York City College of Technology. As the 2009 valedictorian, Siddiqui is the first Pakistani student in City Tech history to achieve this honor. “I would always work hard to be number one, ” said Siddiqui, who is married with two children. “I can’t compromise on my performance.” When Siddiqui first arrived in the U.S. from Pakistan to join her husband in 2000, she left behind not only a large extended family, but her dreams of becoming an ambassador in the foreign service. Now, armed with her newly-minted B.A. in advertising design and graphic arts, she has changed course: “I want to try something new and explore myself.”
As a veteran reporter for The New York Times, Joseph Berger has written about the city’s immigrants and how newcomers to areas like Astoria, Ditmas Park and East Harlem have improved these neighborhoods. In his book “The World in a City,” published by Ballantine Books in 2007, he took a deeper look at his subjects. “I could do interviews in exotic places like Ecuador, Uzbekistan, Guyana and Ghana simply by getting on the subway for the cost of a Metro card,” said Berger, discussing New York’s changing cultural landscape as part of the Jewish Faculty & Staff Association’s Distinguished Speakers Series at New York City College of Technology.
Public schools are pushing too much cutting-edge technology instead of focusing in the core mission of education, according to Internet guru Omar Wasow. Mr. Wasow, a former board president of the Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School in Bedford Stuyvesant and co-founder of the social networking website, BlackPlanet.com, keynoted the New York City College of Technology’s “Race and New Mediaâ€ conference.
In the first half of the 19th century, public dining options in New York City ballooned from a handful of taverns and “pleasure gardens” to thousands of oyster stands, short-order cafes, ladies’ lunch rooms and restaurants, including Delmonico’s Steak House, considered the nation’s first fine-dining establishment. “People forget that New York was not born with the Zagat guide,â€ observes cultural historian Cindy Lobell, “Restaurants have a history.â€ Speaking at an event sponsored by the New York City College of Technology’s Hospitality Management program, Lobell, an assistant professor at Lehman College, traces the evolution of restaurants and their vital link to economic, social and cultural growth in 19th-century New York City.
In his 2006 best-selling book “Forty Million Dollar Slaves,” New York Times sports columnist William Rhoden argues that black athletes, despite earning hefty paychecks, are still “programmed” to follow the directions of team owners. By comparing successful 20th-century black athletes to their contemporaries, Mr. Rhoden claims that today’s black star athletes still enjoy less freedom than do white athletes. Speaking at the New York City College of Technology’s Blacks in Sports event, Mr. Rhoden discusses the current controversy surrounding steroids in sports and uses Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens to demonstrate the racial divide in sports coverage.
For the Pulitzer Prize-winning classical composer John Corigliano, scoring music for the film “The Red Violinâ€ — a story that spans four centuries in five countries — presented a unique challenge. Before a screening of the movie that was held at New York City College of Technology as a part of the Brooklyn Philharmonic 2008 John Corigliano Festival, Corigliano discusses his use of seven simple chords as the foundation that connects the film’s various themes. A Distinguished Professor of Music at Lehman College, Corigliano, was presented with an Academy Award for best original score for “The Red Violin” and has also been the recipient of multiple Grammy Awards.