The Libraries joins our Mason community in welcoming Dr. Washington!
On Wednesday, July 1, 2020, Dr. Gregory Washington begins his tenure as Mason’s 8th president. Throughout the day, he will host virtual meet and greets with students, faculty, staff, and alumni, which will be broadcast live on GMU-TV.
The University Libraries and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) are pleased to announce the newly established Center for Mason Legacies (CML) at George Mason University. CML will be led by George Oberle (History Librarian and faculty member in the Department of History and Art History), along with two associate directors, Wendi Manuel-Scott (professor of history, integrative studies, women and gender studies, and African and African-American Studies) and Benedict Carton (faculty member in the Department of History and Art History), and an advisory board of CHSS faculty.
This joint initiative unifies scholarly research, public history, teaching innovation, and community outreach by engaging student researchers in studying the past and present influences of the university’s namesake. Carton underscores the value of such exploration: “We are uncovering hidden histories of George Mason IV, the legal visionary, family man, and slaveowner. His life and example inform our nation’s founding concepts of liberty, justice, and property. What can we learn about his institution-building, opportunities and limitations, social and commercial networks, and what our Patriot intentionally and unintentionally imparted to America?”
CML is building and curating a
significant archive of unique records generated by and about George Mason IV,
his family, and their many associates. The historical coverage of this archive
will span the period of the Virginia Colony through the Early Republic and
Antebellum era to Jim Crow, civil rights, and the establishment of George Mason
University. The pool of materials will include
archaeological reports (e.g. plotting remnants of field dwellings, burial
grounds, etc.); cultural artifacts; oral interviews with
possible descendants of enslaved people from Gunston Hall and surrounding
plantations in Virginia and Maryland; the collected testimonies
of early African-American alumni remembering their experience at
Mason and the meaning of their university namesake; and other sources.
Building on these historical examinations, CML will look at the present and
host events to facilitate critical conversations about freedom, slavery, and
race in America and how we reckon with our past.
George Oberle, CML director, is
enthusiastic about the prospects of engaging more university students in
archival-based research and the center’s efforts in guiding and supporting
historical and cultural documentation. He observes, “I love the work the center
is exploring because it shows great potential to sustain years of
student-driven research. Our initial experience with the Enslaved Children of
George Mason (ECGM) pilot project led by Professor Manuel-Scott shows that
undergraduates are excited to uncover and present histories with immediate
meaning to wider audiences on campus and in communities beyond. We have not and
are not defining topics. On the contrary, students are developing their
interests and, in the process, broadening critical-thinking skills, for
example, by conducting fieldwork in local archives. Their initiative promises
to enhance the understanding of our university’s diverse, complicated, and
Wendi Manuel-Scott, who is also
affiliated with the John Mitchell, Jr. Program for History, Justice, and Race
at the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution, is deeply
committed to scholar-community partnerships. She views the new center as a
means of engaging student researchers in a critical dimension of university
outreach, which seeks to connect and enrich the knowledge of wider worlds.
“When pursuing public history such as the Enslaved Children of George Mason
research,” she reminds us, “it becomes our institutional responsibility as a
public university to engage with as many people as possible on and beyond the
campus. Our student-faculty-administrative research has influenced not only
Mason but also those around us. That is why we are committed to making our
findings accessible – both in content and format – to our university and alumni
as well as to scholars everywhere such as K-12 school teachers. The center
should have lasting, meaningful impact that will embrace and inspire many
others.” In this vein, CML will provide opportunities for research, teaching,
and engagement with Northern Virginia communities around the history of slavery
and its legacies in modern society.
John Zenelis, Dean of Libraries and
University Librarian, signals the vital importance of the shared goals
animating the partnership of CHSS and the Libraries, “The center is a natural
outcome of student success and scholarly research. I am pleased that the Libraries’
faculty and staff are both leading and supporting our university in a way that
brings greater visibility to our institution’s premier academic contributions.
The Libraries offer an ideal, curated repository for the center’s archive of
collected materials, community records, and academic products, which will
enhance administrative, faculty, and student commitments to diversifying and
deepening collaborative learning at Mason.”
Ann Ardis, Dean of CHSS, notes that
“this exciting new partnership between CHSS faculty and the University
Libraries is bringing George Mason’s complicated legacies to digital life for a
new generation of student-scholars and enabling important new dimensions of
community engagement and K12 outreach. The work that Dr. Oberle, Professor
Carton, and Professor Manuel-Scott and their teams of student researchers are
undertaking is a great example of Mason’s trademark commitments to
collaborative, project-based learning and research of consequence.”
For more about the CML’s ongoing projects and future plans, visit https://library.gmu.edu/legaciesofgeorgemason. The website showcases student analyses and projects, primary sources, and will be the home of an online academic journal promoting relevant scholarship.
Questions? Contact George Oberle, Director of the Center for Mason Legacies, at email@example.com; or Jessica Clark, Development & Communications Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Office of the Dean of Libraries and University Librarian is
looking for three instructional faculty, including former Fenwick Fellows, to
evaluate the 2020 Fenwick Fellowship proposals this summer. The exact time
frame will be determined once the review committee is formed; however, the goal
is that the Fellow selection process be completed by the first week in August.
Ideally, we seek individuals from the university’s various schools and colleges
(especially those that have been under-represented on the panel in the past),
to work alongside three librarian evaluators.
The Fenwick Fellowship is awarded annually to a Mason faculty member to pursue a research project that uses and enhances the University Libraries’ resources while advancing knowledge in his/her field. Up to two Fellowships of $5,000 each may be awarded for research materials and assistance; program guidelines include funding for a second fellowship for a project proposal that specifically aligns with the Libraries’ initiatives in the area of digital scholarship.
Judging proposals will not take up much of your time. This year faculty members are requested to review the applications and then virtually attend or call into a meeting lasting no more than one hour to choose the winning proposal(s). Please contact your subject specialist librarian if you would like to be considered or if you have any questions.
The Libraries has compiled a research guide on social justice, which highlights Mason Libraries’ holdings (including databases, books, journal articles, relevant catalog subject headings, and more) as well as statements and resources from our university colleagues. The guide also provides links to external websites, materials, and other academic institutions’ library research sources. For more resources or help, ask a librarian.