Excerpt: “Erika Meitner … is a professor at Virginia Tech. … This is a book that really is dealing with raising kids in difficult environments and also kind of facing down the epidemic of gun violence in this country — which makes it sound like it might be kind of a depressing book. But what really impressed me about it is how beautiful and tender it is. It’s really just a live wire. She’s a Jew in Appalachia raising an African-American adopted son. She is and isn’t at home. She’s kind of meditating on these things but she does so in this very incantatory, almost prayer-like way.”
Excerpt: “The PLACE districts use a common gifted education framework developed by the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented at the University of Connecticut. Co-investigators of the project, Carolyn Callahan, an education professor at the University of Virginia, and Amy Price Azano, an assistant education professor at Virginia Tech, surveyed educators in all of the participating districts in Kentucky and Virginia about local folklore, history, and landmarks, as well as the businesses and resources available and how connected the community is to other areas. The results were used to tweak curriculum plans for local contexts…”
Excerpt: “Virginia Tech History Professor LaDale Winling, and a team from the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond created an interactive map of U.S. congressional districts. It illustrates how the political landscape has changed over time.
“‘We can know not only how congressional boundaries have changed,’ said Winling, ‘but we can do all kinds of evaluations — population density, strength of victory — and we can evaluate the process in an overarching comprehensive way.’”
Excerpt: “The idea of the ‘nation’ is one that’s bounded — it begins and it ends. We recognize that the limits/borders of the nation might shift over time but out there somewhere is a line that separates ‘us’ from ‘them.’ And how people draw those borders effects how we even define ‘us’ and ‘them’ — how, or even if, ‘they’ can become ‘us.’ But it hasn’t always been that way. In fact, throughout the period known as the European Middle Ages, there were no borders at all.”
Excerpt: “As my friend, Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein, reminded many of us on the day of the Pittsburgh tragedy, our texts teach that prayer is not enough — we must ‘Demand peace and pursue it’ (Psalm 34). Or to put it as Deborah Lipstadt, noted scholar of Holocaust studies, has: ‘Silence in the face of bigotry is acquiescence.’”
Excerpt: “In recent decades, however, a collision of social forces appears to have reshuffled the balance of hate crimes in America, according to research by Levin and others.
“The shift began after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which ‘changed everything,’ Levin said. The prevalence of defensive hate attacks connected to threatening events began to increase, Levin noted in a 2015 study he co-authored with Ashley Reichelmann, a professor at Virginia Tech, that was published in American Behavioral Scientist.
“Using FBI data in that study, the authors found that the number of crimes targeting Muslims and Arabs quickly skyrocketed, from 28 hate crimes in 2000 to 481 in 2001.
“The same happened when Massachusetts became the first state in 2004 to allow gay marriage, the study said, showing the number of hate-motivated assaults against gay people rising from two in 2002 to 24 in 2004.”
Excerpt: “Edgar Allan Poe’s horror stories are scary enough on paper, but what about when they’re literally all around you, surrounding you with dread. That’s what the people at Virginia Tech’s School of the Performing Arts are looking to do, by immersing you in two of Poe’s scariest works, his poem The Raven and his short story The Tell-Tale Heart.”
Excerpt: ”It’s sometimes argued that calls to violence are simply ‘rhetoric,’ that they’re just language. But words have meaning. Language, and the ideas it conveys, influences actions. There’s much more to say about later crusades — and the phenomenon of ‘the Crusades’ as a whole — but it is not too much to say that words made the First Crusade.”
Excerpt: “One of the most interesting such transformations is happening in New Orleans, according to Katie Carmichael. The linguistics researcher and assistant professor at Virginia Tech has been researching the Southern Louisiana city’s unique drawl for years. ‘It changes every six months, who lives there and what they’re arguing about,’ she said. ‘Every time I go back there, it’s such a different place.’
“In years of conversations with New Orleans residents, however, Carmichael has noticed one thing that’s always the same. ‘There’s not a single person who doesn’t bring up Hurricane Katrina,’ she said. That observation led Carmichael to develop a unique hypothesis: Maybe the hurricane that devastated New Orleans in 2005 did more than just change the city’s physical and cultural landscape. Perhaps it altered how New Orleanians speak, too.”