Grad Student Hardin Invited Back to NYU’s Cultures of Finance Group

Grad Student Hardin Invited Back to New York University’s Cultures of Finance Group


After attending a week-long symHardinPicposium last summer hosted by the Cultures of Finance Working Group at NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge, graduate student  was invited back in March of 2014 to present her original research as part of the group’s ongoing work on financial derivatives and culture. The Cultures of Finance Working Group made up of leading scholars in multiple fields including Arjun Appadurai, Randy Martin, Edward Lipuma, Benjamin Lee, Bob Meister and Robert Wosnitzer has been working towards a collective book project in recent months and hosted a full day conference entitled “Gifts, Derivatives and Socialities” at NYU on March 21st to bring together other scholars to further the conversation on culture and finance. Hardin presented her research on value and arbitrage alongside members of the Cultures of Finance Working Group and other invited guests Dick Bryan, Fiona Allon, and Martijn Konings of the University of Sydney.

Hardin’s research on arbitrage is derived from her dissertation project, entitled “Arbitrage: A Critique of the Political Economy of Finance,” in which she investigates this financial trading strategy. Arbitrage is the practice of buying something in one market for a low price and selling it in another. This practice is the central organizing logic of contemporary financial markets and was at the heart of the market for subprime mortgage-backed securities that fueled the financial crisis. Yet, arbitrage has received relatively little attention in critiques of finance. Her research fills this gap by examining arbitrage from multiple perspectives: its role in economic theory, its history, its place in the broader economy, and its role in the financial crisis. This analysis puts arbitrage at the center of efforts to rethink and reconstruct post-crisis financial markets. Hardin has recently been awarded a Dissertation Completion Fellowship from UNC’s Graduate School to complete the project in the next year.

4/23: Prof Perucci’s COMM 564 Performance



Professor Parker Wins UNC Diversity Award

Parker wins University Diversity Award


Patricia Parker, an AssPatricia Parkerociate Professor of Communication Studies and Director of Faculty Diversity Initiatives in the College of Arts and Sciences, has won a 2014 University Diversity Award.

The annual Diversity Awards are considered the University’s highest recognition for diversity efforts.  They recognize individuals and organizations for exemplary service or scholarship in promoting diversity, equity, social justice, community engagement and cultural awareness. The awards are presented by the UNC Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and the University Diversity Awards Committee. Parker won in the faculty member category.

Honorees will be recognized at a spring reception.

As Director of Faculty Diversity Initiatives, Parker leads College-wide efforts to enhance recruitment, retention and advancement of diverse faculty, working with the Dean’s Office and Diversity Liaisons in each department.

Upon her appointment in 2012, Parker said, “Through our efforts we can change the conversation about diversity. We can begin to speak clearly, often and confidently about the centrality of faculty diversity to the College’s mission in research, instruction and engagement.”

Parker has been a member of the UNC faculty since 1998, and is an expert on race, gender and class in organizational and collaborative processes.

She has been an advocate for diversity equity, underrepresented groups and social justice throughout her career. Some of her initiatives include:

  • Serving as founder and executive director of The Ella Baker Women’s Center for Leadership and Community Activism, which engages teen-age girls in vulnerable communities as leaders and advocates for positive change in their neighborhoods and beyond.
  • Encouraging diverse students to seek academic careers, as a frequent faculty fellow and mentor in UNC’s Moore Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (MURAP), which encourages minority students interested in academic careers.
  • Hosting a two-day diversity education event last August called “Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter,” in conjunction with Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and the Center for Faculty Excellence. The event brought together more than 40 people, including Diversity Liaisons and other faculty, staff and administrators across the University campus. Participants engaged in conversations about their roles as diversity leaders and learned new tools for engaging others in their efforts.
  • Convening and meeting individually with Diversity Liaisons in the College to gather different perspectives on innovative ways to improve faculty diversity.

Parker received a Ph.D. in communication studies from the University of Texas at Austin, an M.A. in speech communication from California State University, Long Beach, and a B.A. in speech, theater and journalism from Arkansas Tech University.

- See more at:

4/15: Prof Craft Presentation on Digital Portobelo


The Devil is in the Details:
Engaged Qualitative Research and the Digital Humanities

Start Time:

April 15, 2014 – 3:00pm – 5:30pm



University Room and the Incubator Room – Institute for the Arts and Humanities

This two-part lecture/presentation focuses on the “front stage” and “behind the scenes” processes that created Digital Portobelo, an interactive online collection of ethnographic interviews, ph

otos, videos, artwork, and archival material that illuminate the rich culture and history of Portobelo — a small town located on the Caribbean coast of the Republic of Panama best known for its Spanish colonial heritage, its centuries old Black Christ festival, and an Afro-Latin community who call themselves and their cultural performance tradition “Congo.”

Front Stage:

Digital Portobelo: Art + Scholarship + Cultura

l Preservation

Renee Alexander Craft
Assistant Professor in Communication Studies & Curriculum in Global Studies
Digital Portobelo, Primary Researcher and Research Team Manager

Tuesday, April 15
3 PM – 4:15 PM,
University Room, Institute for the Arts and Humanities. Light refreshments provided.

Launched in December 2013, Digital Portobelo ( is a collaborative, interdisciplinary, digital humanities project that represents the second phase of Alexander Craft’s performance-centered critical ethnographic project that began in 2000. The first phase is represented through her monograph entitled When the Devil Knocks: The Congo Tradition and the Politics of Blackness in 20th Century Panama. Digital Portobelo aspires to serve as a digital repository and public platform that might allow researchers and community members to engage and address pertinent questions collaboratively.

Pam LachBehind the Scenes:
The Making of Digital Portobelo

Pam Lach (MSIS ’12)
Digital Innovation Lab Manager & Digital Portobelo Project Manager

Tuesday, April 15
4:30 PM – 5:30 PM,
Incubator Room, Institute for the Arts and Humanities

In this workshop, Digital Innovation Lab Manager Pam Lach (MSIS ’12) will uncover the process of creating Digital Portobelo — from the technical requirements to the workflows the team developed. Building from the example of Digital Portobelo, she will illustrate how participants might undertake similar digital humanities projects using DH Press, the digital humanities visualization toolkit developed by the Digital Innovation Lab and RENCI. Lach will provide advice about how to prepare content and data, and will share the requirements and workflows for those interested in creating similar projects.

This project received support through an inaugural Digital Innovation Lab/Institute for the Arts and Humanities Faculty Fellowship, a program of the Carolina Digital Humanities Initiative, which is supported by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

4/17: Professor Kindem Reitrement Gathering

Attention Current and Former StKindemudents of Hap Kindem:

Hap Kindem is retiring from his position at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Communications Studies Department at the end of this semester. He requested a low-key event, getting together for drinks in the late afternoon, as a way of marking this transition with us. Us being his faculty colleagues and you his students.

What we in Communication Studies are planning for him is this: to meet him for drinks and finger food at the Top of the Hill (100 E Franklin St #3, Chapel Hill, NC 27514) on Thursday, 17 April @ 5:30 PM. The COMM department is paying for the finger food for this event. You will need to pay for your own drinks or any full-out meals you might want to eat.

We need to have an at least somewhat accurate headcount before the actual event and, so, if you are interested in attending please RSVP to Marcus: by Tuesday April 15 by 9 AM.

If you have any questions, you can e-mail Edward Rankus:

If you want to send regrets for not being able to attend, you should e-mail Hap directly:

Fall 2014 Course Flyers

COMM 160H 2014-1



769 flyer

COMM 364453_Page_1650_Page_1


COMM 450: Media & Popular Culture Offered SS1


Grad Student Nadia Dawisha Published in HuffPo

Kahindo Mateene: An African Designer Making a Difference


Nadia DawDawishaisha
PhD Student, UNC-Chapel Hill and Blogger,


When designer Kahindo Mateene came to the United States at the tender age of seventeen to attend college, her classmates couldn’t stop asking where she got her clothes. A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo who had also lived and traveled extensively in Africa, Europe, and North America, the global nomad was a little taken aback by the attention she received for her vibrant, multi-cultural hand-made designs. After studying fashion at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago, Kahindo was finally able to pursue her dream of creating a line that would fuse her African heritage with Western design sensibilities. In 2009 she launched Modahnik, a sophisticated, sexy couture collection that features bright colors and bold prints for the every-day, modern woman. Besides earning her respect in the fashion industry and a spot in season twelve of Project Runway (yes, the Project Runway), Modahnik has also given her a platform to share her culture with the world and give back to women in Africa.

In 2011 Kahindo created a line in Kenya using fair trade practices, and just recently she launched a Kickstarter campaign for Mamafrica, an amazing organization (which I wrote about here) that provides economic opportunity, education, and healing arts programs for women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. These women, or ‘mamas,’ most of whom are recovering from trauma as both rape and war survivors, will be making clutches from the repurposed fabric left over from previous Modahnik collections. As Kahindo cites in her moving story about Aswifewe, one of the Mamafrica women who is a rape survivor, “the support of this Kickstarter project gives Aswifewe and other women like her the chance to have a new life, escape sexual violence, and support her family by finding work with Mamafrica in making our clutches.”

I talked to Kahindo more about her project with Mamafrica, her perspective on ethical fashion, and her aesthetic inspirations. Her passion and energy is contagious, and I felt like we could have easily chatted for hours. It was fascinating to learn about her design process, and from where she draws ideas for her collections. She cites traveling to new places as a guaranteed form of inspiration for her, since it opens her mind and creativity to new tastes, sounds, culture, architecture, and people. She also mentioned menswear, the shows Game of Thrones and Mad Men, and the sharp architectural edges of the Louvre in Paris as recent inspirations for her line. Of course she frequently draws from Africa, particularly the avant-garde art and culture of the Congo. She grew up admiring the spirit of the ‘Sapeurs,’ a sartorial subcultural group celebrated for their elegance, originality, and flair.

The fashion world has long been fascinated by Africa, with designers from Louis Vuitton to Gwen Stefani pulling inspiration from the continent for their collections. While the clothes have often been gorgeous, some have questioned the potentially exploitative practice of using African aesthetics for the “financial and cultural benefits of the West,” especially if they are not incorporating African textiles in their designs or giving back to the communities from which they are derived. Even though Kahindo does think this can be problematic, she also sees the benefits of someone with as huge a platform as Stefani bringing attention to African fashion. Still, she does not want Africa to become a ‘trend.’ This is why she creates her bold prints from tailored pieces of silk that are sophisticated and classic. As she put it, “We’ve made fashion into this disposable thing, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I made a dress for a friend six years ago, and she wore it to an event a couple of months ago. The colors and cuts are truly timeless.”

She also believes in the importance of using her privileged position to give back to the women in her home country. This partnership with Mamafrica is important to her because as she puts it,

“I know that I’m blessed to be in the States to pursue my dream, and I know if it wasn’t for circumstance, it could have been me. My hometown of Goma has been the epicenter of the conflict in the Congo since 1994 and is where a lot of women have been raped. I truly believe in the healing power of the arts, and I would love to use my craft to help empower women healing from trauma. This collaboration will be empowering them with job skills while allowing them to take part in the design process with me. It touches on so many issues that I’m passionate about: job creation, the healing arts, creative expression, ethical consumerism, and empowering women.”

Indeed, Kahindo believes that along with creating sustainable jobs, educating and empowering women is the key to poverty reduction in the Congo and Africa. Her late father instilled the importance of education in her, and pushed for all of his children to attain life’s possibilities regardless of their gender. It is no wonder then that the Brigham Young quote, “You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation,” resonates so deeply. She hopes that this partnership will help create and strengthen educational and economic opportunities for the mamas that will allow them to provide for their families and give their children access to a better life.

As for the future of ethical fashion, Kahindo believes times are changing. In the wake of global factory fires in countries like Bangladesh, companies are beginning to bring production back stateside as they are faced with human rights violations and growing costs overseas. With that shift in consciousness she hopes that there will also be more of a demand for African-owned brands that put money back into the local economies. The continent is not short of entrepreneurs (and boasts the highest rate of female entrepreneurship in the world), and it is certainly not short of tailors and creative people! Since almost 99% of African textiles are imported from overseas, she dreams of one day helping to revitalize the industry by producing quality clothing for export. And with her ties to different countries throughout the continent, she hopes to collaborate with other co-operatives in the future.

For more on this story, you can check out my blog.

Follow Nadia Dawisha on Twitter:

Summer 2014 Course Offerings

Summer14 SS1

Summer14 SS2

COMM/ENST 375 Environmental Advocacy Offered SS1

375 poster