Ideas in Unexpected Places: Why a Marketplace Intellectual Life Still Matters – By Davarian L. Baldwin
Black Perspectives [publication of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS)]
This post is a condensed version of Davarian L. Baldwin’s keynote address at the 2017 AAIHS conference at Vanderbilt University:
“I want to express what an honor it is to offer a keynote to you here at the African American Intellectual History Society’s second annual conference. The very legacy of this organization is historic in itself. Here we have mostly junior faculty assessing the limits of how the academy imagines and institutionalizes “intellectual history.” Instead of just offering critique, these young scholars moved forward to create a space where we can cultivate new directions and pathways within the field. It must be noted that this is no small feat, when the academy tells us that the only thing a junior faculty member should be concerned with is getting tenure.
In the spirit of this year’s theme “expanding the boundaries,” I am going to offer a bit of personal intellectual genealogy to explain how and why I needed to come up with the seemingly anachronistic idea of a marketplace intellectual life. I hope this bit of biography can serve as a useful primer for folks trying to think about how to do intellectual history differently, especially when our people’s stories have not been held within the traditional archives nor fully embraced by the likes of the Society of Intellectual Historians…”
Davarian L. Baldwin is the Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut…

Only Part of the ‘Guernica’ Story – By Michael FitzGerald
The Wall Street Journal
To mark the 80th anniversary of the most famous painting of the 20th century, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is presenting “Pity and Terror: Picasso’s Path to ‘Guernica’” through Sept. 4, a reinterpretation that is both deeply enthralling and strangely detached from the roots of Picasso’s art. Curated by two eminent art historians, T.J. Clark and Anne M. Wagner, the exhibition aspires to the nearly impossible task of stripping away decades of critical debates and opening direct access to the painting and Picasso’s creative process…
Mr. FitzGerald teaches the history of modern and contemporary art at Trinity College, Hartford, Conn.

Feeling the beat: West Hartford’s Eric Galm founded Samba Fest at Trinity College
West Hartford Life
…The culmination of Eric Galm’s study, practice and passion has resulted in his founding the annual Samba Fest.
The festival began when Galm, an associate professor of music and ethnomusicology at Trinity College, was teaching a class and hoped to have his students collaborate with local musicians…

In the Age of Trump, We Need to Protect Map Databases
No one would blame you for missing the early January introduction of two identical bills known as H.R. 482 and S.103. Sponsored by Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, both bills held the distinctly unremarkable title of the “Local Zoning Decisions Protection Act of 2017.”
In the chaos of the Trump administration’s first couple of months in office, most people have continued not to notice these two bills. But many American geography and mapping professionals as well as fair housing advocates and academic researchers, are sitting up and paying attention. That’s because these bills include language that would actively prevent federal funds from being used to create and maintain geospatial databases covering affordable housing access and racial disparities—cutting off a key source of accessible and easy-to-use information for researchers and communities. (Geospatial data is data that’s associated with a particular geographic location)…
…There’s another possible rationale behind these bills: If you don’t collect data on a certain problem, it makes it easier to deny a problem exists at all. “I can’t find a reason for this bill other than to make all these other issues go away,” says Jack Gieseking, a cultural geographer and assistant professor at Trinity College in Connecticut. “If you don’t have the data, you can’t prove it. I’ve heard people say ‘it’s not about the data.’ And I agree: It’s not about data, it’s about the fight for justice this supports. And housing and race are linked.”

Hartford Archdiocese announces parish consolidations, church closings
National Catholic Reporter
The Hartford Archdiocese announced May 7 that its 212 Connecticut parishes will be consolidated into 127 by June 29, downsizing the archdiocese by about 40 percent.
It may be the most massive effort of its kind in a series of consolidations that have taken place in dioceses in the Northeast and the Midwest over the past decade as the number of priests and Catholic Massgoers in those regions decline…
…The response so far to the plan has been muted, said Mark Silk, director of the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College in Hartford. Connecticut’s cities have long struggled, and Catholics have left them over the decades into its thriving suburbs.
“They’ve done it in a fairly careful way,” he said of the archdiocese’s process, which in the end offered few surprises to those who were paying attention.

Labor Market Bounces Back With 211K New Jobs
Inside Sources
The labor market was able to bounce back from its lackluster growth the previous month by adding 211,000 new jobs in April, according to a federal report Friday. … The labor force participation rate and underemployment have also been a point of concern. The participation rate tracks the number of employed and those actively seeking work as a percentage of the total population. Workers experiencing underemployment are stuck in part-time positions or can’t find roles that match their skills.
The participation rate has declined rapidly in the decade since the last recession. The concern by some is that too many working age adults are among those who have dropped out. Trinity College Prof. Josh Stillwagon contests the participation rate shouldn’t be as big a concern since most of the decline is due to retirees and student adults.
“There is too much focus on labor force participation,” Stillwagon, who teaches economics, said. “These numbers are skewed by the fact that you have baby boomers retiring now and more young adults attending college. It is better to look at the employment-to-population ratio for prime age workers.”
The employment-to-population ratio for prime age adults has shown steady growth since the recession. The ratio dropped from 81 percent of the population to 74 percent when the recession hit. It is approaching where it was before the recession.
“I do worry about underemployment though,” Stillwagon said. “There have been a large number of part-time workers, which was a serious concern, but that is less so the case now. There is also a worry of underemployment in the sense of workers entering jobs below their qualifications.”…

Syrian Refugees Speak About New Life In Connecticut
Hartford Courant
Zeyad Al Abas, a Syrian refugee recently relocated to Glastonbury, told his story to the crowd at the Community Conversation on “The Muslim Ban: An Examination of the Underlying Factual, Legal, Religious, Humanitarian, Policy and Economic Consideratins,” on May 11 at the Riverfront Community Center…
…Giving a historical perspective was Dr. Abigail Fisher Williamson, an assistant professor of political science and public policy and law at Trinity College, who said that the United States has had a long history of ambivalence toward immigration and dramatic pendulum swings toward immigration restrictions.
In the 1830s, she said, there was outcry against of Irish and German Catholic immigrants, but little or no government restrictions. The 1917 Immigration Act started to tip the country toward restriction, in the shadows of World War I. Limits established then stayed in place until 1965.
“We see the concerns about Catholics, and they are certainly parallel to the concerns about Muslims today,” she said, adding that while refugees make up a very small portion of immigrants, the American public has, historically, felt threatened by both refugees and other immigrants…