The Upstate Institute announces the award of grants to support faculty scholarship on, or directly pertaining to, the upstate region of New York. The Upstate Institute serves to promote scholarly research that relates to the region’s social, economic, environmental, and cultural assets. Institute projects promote community collaboration and civic engagement through the creation of knowledge and enhance community capacity throughout the region. Faculty receiving an award will share their research at the Upstate Institute Research Symposium during the 2011-2012 academic year.
Charles “Pete” Banner-Haley, Professor of History and Africana & Latin American Studies, will conduct research on the history of African Americans in the Upstate counties of Broome, Chemung and Steuben to consider gender relations between African American men and women between 1890 and 1950. He will examine attitudes toward child-rearing and family structure, and the role that it played in the struggle for racial equality in these communities. He will also examine whether these attitudes paralleled those of white and ethnic communities, and if migrants from the South or the Caribbean presented different modes of gender relations that contrasted with the ways in which native Upstate men and women related. Once completed, this research will contribute to an understanding of African American experience in these counties, which is an important, and often overlooked, part of New York State history.
Joscelyn Godwin, Professor of Music, will write a manuscript on some the eccentric spiritualities in the Upstate New York, which was once known as the “Burned-Over District” for its history of religious revivals such as the Oneida Community. Godwin, whose relevant books include The Theosophical Enlightenment, will examine some of the lesser-known communities, and discuss the reasons these communities happened in their time and place, such as the opening of the western corridor through the Erie Canal and rapid growth of cities along the corridor, and a general awakening that favored women’s rights, the abolition of slavery and the temperance movement. He will also indicate how these eccentric spiritualities fit within the history of religions, and how they often involve a rejection of the Christian emphasis on sin and redemption in favor of a claim for perfection attainable in this life and follow the openness of 19th century science to a non-materialist world view. His goal in conducting this research is to create knowledge about this part of Upstate New York history, making it better understood, appreciated and enjoyed by residents and visitors of the region.
Beth Parks, Associate Professor of Physics, will conduct a project that will allow homeowners to learn the insulation levels in their homes and start the process of increasing the energy efficiency of their homes. For homeowners in a severe climate such as Upstate New York who spend over $1000 annually on heating, the product can prove beneficial, especially for homeowners who are unaware of what insulation exists in their homes. The project is part of the development of a device that will use a thermocoupler to measure the temperature difference between a wall surface and the interior air of a heated room. This temperature difference can then be used to calculate the wall insulation. With this grant, Parks can test the device in single-family homes in the village of Hamilton.