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Prof. Foroughi’s epistolary book a window into wartime

Posted on Jan 30, 2008

“Go If You Think It Your Duty” by Andrea Foroughi, History Dept.

James Madison Bowler was 23 in 1861. Lizzie Caleff was 21. They courted, married, had children and bought a farm. They attended dances, talked politics, confided their deepest fears – all separately, through hundreds of letters, as the American Civil War raged around them.

From the first “Dear Lizzie” in April 1860 to the final “Ever Yours, Madison,” in September 1865, the relationship between James and Lizzie “has an intimacy that’s beguiling,” says Andrea Foroughi, associate professor of History.

“In many ways, their struggles are universal, as parents, as lovers courting and then conducting a long-distance marriage. They’re about to be parents. They tease each other. She hounds him about smoking. It’s the stuff we all face.”

Foroughi’s annotated book, “Go If You Think It Your Duty: A Minnesota Couple’s Civil War Letters,” recently was published by Minnesota Historical Society Press. The book chronicles America’s deadliest war through the eyes of the Bowlers, who shared more than 230 letters while James Bowler served in the Third Minnesota Volunteer Regiment and Lizzie stayed in Nininger, Minn.

Prof. Andrea Foroughi, HIstory

“There are no big name battles,” Foroughi said. “The Third Minnesota is the runt of the seven Minnesota regiments. Their officers surrendered at Murfreesboro, Tenn. (the infamous ‘Tennessee Surrender’). They had a shameful reputation; they were paroled as prisoners.”

James and Lizzie were both northerners; she from New Brunswick and he from Lee, Maine. He moved to Minnesota, where Lizzie’s family had relocated, and became her schoolteacher.

“His letters reveal a teacherly tone. He clearly sees himself in charge,” Foroughi said. For her part, Lizzie “goes from school girl to instant wife and mother. She starts to stand up for herself.”

The couple’s separation challenged their commitment to the war and to each other, said Foroughi, who spent eight years immersed in the words, private thoughts and personal stories of the Bowlers. In 1991, her first term as a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, she was conducting research at the Minnesota Historical Society when she discovered the Bowlers’ correspondence. Descendents of their 10 children had donated the letters to the archives in 1973.

“It’s been a real treat. The letters were so rich in so many ways, and the historical society was interested in having them published,” Foroughi said. While the Civil War is a perennial favorite among scholars and historians, “there’s been a greater public interest in common people’s experience of the Civil War, especially since Ken Burns’ documentary,” she noted.

Foroughi holds Ph.D. and master’s degrees from the University of Minnesota. At Union, she teaches courses in American women’s history, Civil War and Reconstruction, American Indian and frontier history, and race and gender in the Civil War, among others. The Union Summer Research Fellowship made it possible for two students, Christopher Hartnett ’03 and Gina Markowski ’02, to help with primary-source research for “Go If You Think It Your Duty.”

Since the book’s publication last month, Foroughi has heard from some Bowler descendents, including great-great grandson Kirby Law – who sent an e-mail. It’s given her pause about what materials will be available to future authors and biographers.

“Nobody writes letters like these anymore. It was the only way to communicate,” she said of the Bowlers’ ongoing epistolary exchange. “How do you capture text messages, cell phone conversations, e-mail correspondence?”    

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Music Department offers winter performances

Posted on Jan 30, 2008

The Department of Music is offering a variety of exciting events this term. Except where noted otherwise, all performances are free and will be held in the Fred L. Emerson Foundation Auditorium, Taylor Music Center. Here’s a quick guide:

Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company

Friday, Feb. 15, 8 p.m.: Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company of Albany presents “Branches of Words” a Persian poetry, Middle Eastern music and American modern dance piece. Tickets are free with Union ID; $15, general admission; call (518) 408-1341 for more information.

Sunday, February 24, 2 p.m. Indian Classical Dance and Music Recital featuring Shivani Pathak ’10  

Saturday, March 1, 8 p.m.: Musicians of Ma’alwyck presents “Moonstruck,” music of Schoenberg, Strauss and Prof. Hillary Tann. Tickets are free with Union ID; $20, general admission, $10, area seniors.

Thursday, March 6, 6 p.m.: Union College Taiko Ensemble performance with Prof. Jennifer Matsue directing 

Sunday, March 9, 3 p.m. Union College and Community Orchestra performs “Midnight in Moscow”; Prof. Victor Klimash conducting (Memorial Chapel)

Monday, March 10, 5 p.m. Student recital 

Prof. Victor Klimash, Music

Tuesday, March 11, 8 p.m.: Union College Madrigal Singers with Prof. Dianne McMullen conducting (Memorial Chapel)

Wednesday, March 12, 8 p.m.: Union College Jazz Ensemble with Prof. Tim Olsen, director 

Sunday, March 16, 3 p.m.: Union College Choir performs “Bach to Bacharach” with Prof. Victor Klimash conducting (Memorial Chapel)

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Posted on Jan 30, 2008

Thursday, Jan. 31, 7 p.m. / Nott Memorial / HAPA Project Director and artist/author/filmmaker Kip Fulbeck will present a lecture, “What are You? Multiracial Claiming Their Voice Through the Arts”; reception and book signing to follow. Fulbeck is professor and chair of art at University of California, Santa Barbara..

Thursday, Jan. 31, 7 p.m. / Reamer Campus Center Auditorium / Chi Psi Leadership Speaker Series presents, “Career Insights and Networking: Opportunities in the New Media Landscape” with Jim Spanfeller ‘79, CEO of Forbes.com; Peter Handy ’79, general partner of Star Media Group; and Mark Walsh ’76, CEO, GeniusRocket and venture capitalist in digital communications

Thursday, Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m. / Arts 215 / A Writer Returns: Alumni Writers Series; English Department presents poet, fiction writer, teacher and editor Julianna Spallholz ’98

Friday, Feb. 1, 7 p.m. / Messa Rink at Achilles Center / Men’s hockey vs. Princeton

Friday, Feb. 1 – Monday, Feb. 4, 8 and 10 p.m. /Reamer Campus Center Auditorium / Film: American Gangster

Saturday Feb. 2, 2 p.m. / Alumni Gymnasium / Men’s and women’s swimming vs. Hamilton

Saturday, Feb. 2, 6 p.m. / Old Chapel / Lunar New Year festival, sponsored by ASU and UProgram

Saturday, Feb. 2, 7 p.m. / Messa Rink at Achilles Center / Men’s hockey vs. Quinnipiac

Saturday, Feb. 2, 9:45 p.m. / Messa Rink at Achilles Center / Union club hockey vs. County College of Morris

Monday, Feb. 4, 3 p.m. / Reamer Auditorium / Counseling Center presents a screening of the documentary, “CUT: Teens and Self Injury”

Tuesday, Feb. 5, 12:50 p.m. / Everest Lounge / Committee on Teaching presents: “Mini-Terms: Global, Innovative and Diverse?”   

Tuesday, Feb. 5, 4 p.m. / F.W. Olin Center, Room 115 / Thomas Werner, the Florence B. Sherwood Professor of Physical Science Emeritus discusses “Steroid Use in Sports: How Chemists Catch the ‘Cheaters’ (Sometimes)”

Tuesday, Feb. 5, 5 p.m. / SSCI 016 / Lecture with Wendell Wallach, educator, artificial intellgienceI researcher and author of the forthcoming “Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong," presents “Robot Minds and Human Ethics” 

Wednesday, Feb. 6, 4:45-6:30 p.m. / Reamer Campus Center Auditorium / Guest speaker Ramzy Baroud, veteran Palestinian-American journalist, former Al-Jazeera producer, and founder and editor-in-chief of the Palestine Chronicle to address issues of language in media reporting on Palestine and Israel

Wednesday, Feb. 6, 8 p.m. / Memorial Chapel / Ash Wednesday Catholic liturgy and distribution of ashes, featuring guest speaker Lucrecia Oliva of Catholic Relief Services in Guatemala

Wednesday, Feb. 6, 10 p.m. / Old Chapel / Comedian Rodney Lanley

Thursday, Feb. 7, 4:30 p.m. / Schaffer Library, Phi Beta Kappa Room / Philosophy Speakers Series presents “Social Identity, Rationality, and Epistemic Agency” with Linda Martin-Alcoff, Syracuse University

Friday, Feb. 8 – Monday, Feb. 11, 8 and 10 p.m. / Reamer Campus Center Auditorium / Film: Enchanted

Friday, Feb. 8, 6 p.m. / Viniar Athletic Center / Women's basketball vs. St. Lawrence

Friday, Feb. 8, 7 p.m. / Messa Rink at Achilles Center / Men’s hockey vs. Harvard

Friday, Feb. 8, 8 p.m. / Viniar Athletic Center / Men's basketball vs. St. Lawrence

Friday, Feb. 8, 10 p.m. / Memorial Chapel / Magician Norman NG

Saturday, Feb. 9, 2 p.m. / Viniar Athletic Center / Women’s basketball vs. Clarkson

Saturday, Feb. 9, 4 p.m. / Viniar Athletic Center / Men’s basketball vs. Clarkson

Saturday, Feb. 9, 7 p.m. / Messa Rink at Achilles Center / Men’s hockey vs. Dartmouth

Saturday, Feb. 9, 8 p.m. / College Park Hall / Winter Ball. Ballroom dancing lessons begin at 8 with the Swing Club; other music begins at 9. With help from UNITAS, this will be a fundraiser to support the Diana Legacy Fund. Tickets are $5 for students, $15 for individuals, $25 for couples; dress is semi-formal.

Saturday, Feb. 9, 9:45 p.m. / Messa Rink at Achilles Center / Union club hockey vs. Southern Connecticut State University

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“30 Days” TV series back by popular demand

Posted on Jan 30, 2008

The “30 Days” reality television series, aimed at promoting tolerance and sparking discussions, returns to campus with a showing of “Muslims and America” in all first-year residence halls Monday, Feb. 18 at 6:15 p.m. It will be followed by a discussion at 7:45 p.m. in the West South Lounge (second floor).

The first of two episodes to be shown this term, “Muslims and America” depicts David Stacy, a Christian from West Virginia, who moves to Dearborn, Mich., to live for 30 days in a large Muslim community.

“Minimum Wage” will air Monday, Feb. 25 at 6:15 p.m., with a discussion at 7:45 p.m. in the Richmond Basement Lounge. This episode challenges Morgan Spurlock and his fiancé, Alex, to survive for 30 days earning minimum wage.

The shows will also be aired ahead of time on TVUC to enable more students to participate in the discussions, led by faculty and residence hall advisors.

Sponsored by the Office of Residential Life, “30 Days” was created by Academy Award-nominee Spurlock, the director of “Super Size Me.”

Each episode addresses topics relevant to campus and community life, such as homophobia, religion and binge drinking, with an eye toward fostering frank discussions of cultural awareness, diversity and tolerance. The show explores what transformations someone can undergo within 30 days.

Joe Martel ’08, a Mechanical Engineering major and West College head RA, was instrumental in bringing the program to campus last year. He, Beth Solomon ’09 and the rest of the first-year RAs encourage all members of the campus community to participate.

“We are looking for anyone who would like to become part of this extension to the classroom experience to help run or take part in the viewing and discussion,” he said.

More than 150 students and faculty have come together to watch and discuss six different episodes during the last two terms. Additional episodes are slated for spring term.

For more information, contact Martel at martelj@union.edu.

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Notables exhibit reception set for Feb. 8

Posted on Jan 30, 2008

A reception celebrating Union “Notables” Andrea Barrett, Baruch Samuel Blumberg and William Henry Seward will be held Friday, Feb. 8, 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the Schaffer Library Atrium. 

Union Notables at Schaffer Library

The event will feature remarks, beginning at 5:15 p.m., by President Stephen C. Ainlay and James Underwood, the Chauncey H. Winters Research Professor of Political Science. It is free and open to the public. 

Union Notables is a rotating exhibit that celebrates the great men and women who have studied at Union over two centuries and gone on to make leading contributions in their fields. 

Andrea Barrett '74

Barrett, Class of 1974, was a Biology major who won the National Book Award in 1996 for “Ship Fever and Other Stories” and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for “Servants of the Map” in 2003. In 2001, she received a MacArthur “Genius” award.

Dr. Baruch Blumberg '46. Class of 1946. Nobel Prize winner.

Blumberg, Class of 1946, is an internationally renowned physician, researcher and scholar who received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1976 (along with D. Carlton Gajdusek, M.D.) for the discovery of the hepatitis B virus.

William H. Seward

Seward, Class of 1820, was best known as the secretary of state under President Abraham Lincoln and the man who negotiated the $7.2 million U.S. purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. He also was a governor of New York and presidential candidate running against Lincoln in 1860.


The Schaffer exhibition will feature a new trio of notables every six months. This initial group of notables will remain on display through Feb. 29.

The next display, beginning March 3, will showcase Gordon Gould, Class of 1941, inventor of the laser; Lewis Henry Morgan, Class of 1840, the “father of modern American anthropology,” best known for his work on cultural evolution and Native Americans; and Phil Robinson, Class of 1971, screenwriter and director (“Field of Dreams,” “Sneakers,” “Sum of All Fears”).

The exhibits and reception are sponsored by the President’s Office, the Mandeville Gallery and the Union College Notables Committee.

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