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The Roads Colloquium

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An International Interdisciplinary Colloquium


Friday, October 4, 2013
Carter Hall at USI
9 am - 4 pm



Roads Colloquium Preliminary Events

Monday, September 9, 6 p.m., Kleymeyer Hall, Liberal Arts 0101
Dr. Alan Kaiser, University of Evansville: “How Roman Roads Changed Roman Lives”
The ancient Romans are renowned for their roads, bridges, and other travel infrastructure. While impressive as engineering feats, the people, goods, and ideas that traversed these paths fundamentally changed the places the roads connected. Using examples from his more than decade long research into travel infrastructure from across the Roman Empire, archaeologist Alan Kaiser tells the tales of four ancient individuals whose lives changed because they had access to a Roman road. A road brought security to an engineer in what is now Israel, profit to a fast-food restaurant owner in Pompeii, a new hairstyle and a means to assert her social status to matron in what is now Spain, and a route to salvation from death to a soldier stationed along Hadrian’s Wall. The stories of these four people demonstrate that while the Romans made their roads, their roads made the Romans.

Thursday, October 3, 7 p.m., Carter Hall
Daniela Vidal, Director, Center for Applied Research and Economic Development, "A Road Back Home: How can I-69 stop the Braindrain in Southern Indiana?"

Roads Colloquium - October 4


Click on program name for abstract information

Session I
9:00 am

D. Bauer


Session II
10:00 am

P. Burnett
K. Scheller


Session III
11:00 am

S. Pritchard
S. Williams


Session IV
12:00 pm

E. Topper
O. Popescu-Sandu


Session V
1:00 pm

M. Rowser
E. Holt


Session VI
2:00 pm

K. Allton
J. Gibson
M. Graham
M. Wicker



3 - 4 pm


The Roads Colloquium will also feature photographs by Joan deJong, Katie Waters, and Kristen Wilkens.

The reception will include a screening of Dave Black’s documentary film, In Harmony’s Way: The Battle to Save a Bridge. A documentary film presenting a history of the closed toll bridge in New Harmony. The one-hour program traces the construction and operation of the bridge beginning in 1929, it's changes in government oversight, and the recent efforts led by former university president David Rice to find a permanent solution to its survival. The video features interviews with bridge experts, political leaders, and area residents discussing the governance of the bridge, its peculiar state of public versus private ownership, and its importance to the southern region of Indiana and Illinois. The program is narrated by Wayne Rinks, Chair of the Department of Communications and Pam Moore, senior administrative assistant in the College of Liberal Arts.

What is The Road Colloquium?

Roads provide a means of conveyance from one point to another. They have been used to exchange goods and services, ideas and information. Roads facilitate the movement of individuals and groups to and from destinations both nearby and distant. Whether well-trodden pathways or modern superhighways, roads and road networks have provided the thoroughfares that have expedited both war and peace, sparked cultural, political, and religious revolutions, and provided inspiration to artists, musicians, and poets. Moreover, our understanding of the human body and the universe, specifically the conduits permeating both, has been the catalyst for countless scientific revolutions.

This interdiciplinary colloquium will examine roads and pathways of all forms, their functions, and their impact through interdisciplinary approaches.  

Abstracts of Presentations

Session I

Dr. Casey Harison: “’Taking the Hard Road’: Migrants on the Road to Paris”
We use roads to get from one place to another. Depending upon the time and place, a road might be made of dirt or stone or pavement; persons on it might move by foot or by cart or seated in a motorized vehicle. Roads are sometimes “one way”: used to leave a place, perhaps never to return; or to get to another place that holds prospects better than where the road began. Sometimes roads are for the “round-trip”: to get to a place to work and earn money, and then use the same road to return to a home where the money can support a family. These are the ways that migrants think of the road. This presentation offers a glimpse of migrants and the road – specifically, stonemasons from the Limousin region of central France who, from the seventeenth century onward walked the roads of France seasonally to work in Paris on, among other things, the roads themselves. Somewhat famously (or infamously), the Parisian roads the stonemasons used and built were sometimes turned to other purposes: when, during times of revolution or rebellion in the nineteenth century, paving stones were dug up and used to construct the barricades behind which they fought the authorities. For these internal migrants, the road increasingly became one-way. By 1914, more-and-more migrants and their families were abandoning the road, taking the train and moving permanently to Paris, where they slowly assimilated and where the authorities and public gradually lost their apprehensions about the migrants from Limousin. But other migrants would replace them, and in doing so would naturally take their own roads – from Poland, Portugal, Spain and Italy in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and since 1945 from North or West Africa.

Dr. Daniel Bauer: “The Road to Representation: Becoming Indigenous in Coastal Ecuador”
Roads mark the landscape and serve as conduits for economic exchange and the passage of information. As pathways that lead to destinations, sometimes anticipated, sometimes unknown, roads are symbolic of life trajectories. In Ecuador, E15 is the main coastal highway and the only direct link between the coastal north and south. E15, known locally as the “Ruta del Spóndylus”, represents a means of connection for numerous rural hamlets and villages and it is on E15 that the goods and services from urban centers including Guayaquil and Quito flow to the Ecuadorian coast. To have access to E15 means access to the outside world. To control E15 means to command the attention of the outside world. Based on ethnographic research conducted in coastal Ecuador from 2002 to 2013, this paper examines the role that Ecuador’s E15 played in the growth of an Indigenous political movement and the assertion of a collective identity that questions Ecuadorian identity politics.

Session II, 10:00 am

Dr. Perry Burnett, “Roads, Reasons and Rumblings”
Physical space is expensive. Think about the effort it takes to help a friend move across town or the time it takes to drive to Indianapolis or even to USI, the grocery store, the movie theatre, etc. Now imagine if you had to do all those things on foot. Roads, along with the automobiles they carry, exist to decrease the cost of physical space, and by reducing this cost substantially, the options and activities in our lives have exploded. Roads have changed the way we organize ourselves in the world. Instead of spreading out on family farms, we concentrate in cities and have the farm brought to us. We can engage in activities that used to take months without roads into a single day.

On the other hand, roads are not costless. Overuse causes congestion; concentration leads to pollution. Forests are torn down; mountains are leveled. Nature and its beauty pay a hefty price. The lower cost also attracts the less desirable as telephone poles and wires line our streets and obstruct our skies. Hideous signs and billboards attempt to capture and deny our freedom of thought. Roads, however, are not the only advancement in the market of physical space cost reduction. Roads face competition as air travel, the Internet and other developments have entered into the market and are lessening the importance and value of roads in our lives. The questions to ask now are: what does the future hold for roads, and do they even have one?

Dr. Kent Scheller: “One Road, Many Vehicles—Our Path to Scientific Knowledge”
One of the greatest distinctions between man and other life forms is the inherent need to learn and to know. In science, the road to discovery has been filled with multiple vehicles for learning. Some have been fast, others more pedantic, but all have been necessary to forward us on our path to scientific enlightenment.

Some of the first and most well-known travelers down this road were the great thinkers. Without specialized equipment and advanced technology, ancient giants like Socrates and Democritus laid the groundwork for future scientific discoveries. Socrates gave us logic and rules of argument in order for us to consider natural phenomenon without human emotion—while Democritus employed these techniques to posit the existence of the atom. It was clear to many of the early pioneers of scientific thought that the natural world obeyed certain physical laws that could be explained by mathematics. The development of mathematics as a vehicle for scientific discovery took us down new roads previously unknown—with inventions whose applications were over a thousand years in the making. Much later the early Church traveled the same roads, but used faith and the Bible as their source of knowledge of the natural world. While the geocentric theory of the universe was supported by biblical passages and their world view, it was obviously in error. Even so, while any wrong turn in a trip can cause delay, it can also bring about learning. Efforts to support this flawed theory brought about some of the most complete astronomical data known to man, using only the naked eye.

With the advent of early inventions and technology, our pace quickened as did our acquisition of knowledge. From Galileo’s telescope and Van Leeuwenhoek's microscope to today’s spaceships and accelerators, our road now leads us to understanding of the building blocks of matter and life—as well as the beginning of the universe. And so our journey continues…

Session III, 11:00 am

Dr. Shannon Pritchard: “Caravaggio’s Madonna di Loreto and the Symbolic Pilgrimage to Loreto”
One of the greatest legends to arise at the end of the Crusades in the late thirteenth century was the divine transportation of the Virgin Mary’s small brick house in Nazareth to Loreto, Italy.  The need for such intervention was to ensure its safety against potential destruction at the hands of the Turks as this small house was one of the most holy relics in Christendom. It was the location where the Virgin Mary bore the Christ Child and where Christ spent the first years of his life. The house (known as the Casa Santa) quickly became a venerated site for Christian pilgrims in Italy.  For those who could not make the sacred trek to Loreto, there was in Rome, a symbolic “second” of sorts: Caravaggio’s 1604 altarpiece, the Madonna di Loreto, in the pilgrimage church of Sant’Agostino.  In it, two road-worn pilgrims kneel at the open doorway of the humble Casa Santa, where Mary has miraculously materialized before them, holding the infant Christ Child in her arms.  As Sant’Agostino was one of the most important pilgrimage churches in Rome, those who arrived here and knelt at the altar of the Madonna di Loreto found themselves reflected in the pilgrims in the altarpiece and they were thus able to symbolically travel the road to the Casa Santa via Caravaggio’s corporeally visionary painting.  This paper will explore the roads taken both literally, and figuratively, in Caravaggio’s Madonna di Loreto within the culture of pilgrimage at the beginning of the seventeenth century.

Dr. Steven Williams: “The Open Road and Rock n Roll: White, Male, Middle-Class Adventure”
The “open road” is a powerful image in American culture. It speaks of adventure, romance, and freedom. It is entwined with the entire sweep of American history from the Atlantic crossing to the exploration of the frontier; from the building of the railroads to the power of the American “muscle” car. This compelling image of individual freedom through individual mobility is perhaps most effectively expressed through the various media of popular culture, particularly television, film, and popular music. In this presentation I will explore the glamour of the open road as portrayed in popular music, particularly rock n roll. In this analysis I will examine the social construction of the open road as a quintessentially American phenomenon that has largely avoided direct commentary on its tight demographic parameters of gender, ethnicity, and class. The romance of the open road is, in reality, only open to white men, or more precisely, young, white, middle-class, heterosexual men. So while the representation of open road adventure remains a rich source of American cultural expression, it may also be read as another form of ideological discourse which excludes traditionally marginalized groups.

Session IV

Ellen Claire Topper: “The Road to International Human Rights”
Within domestic systems, philosophies and laws of human rights can trace their roots to ancient Greece and Rome, most notably flourishing during the Enlightenment. Although strides were made by the Romans, Greeks and Enlightenment philosophers paving the way for individuals to assert rights as a result of the changing conceptions of the relationship between individual and the state, individuals were still under the exclusive jurisdiction of their state of residence or nationality. It was not until the nineteenth century that international law protecting the rights of peoples beyond domestic boundaries took shape in the form of treaties banning slavery as well as the slave trade, protecting the rights of workers and certain minorities. Modern conceptions of human rights developed after WWII, which shifted the focus of protection of rights of certain groups of peoples to the protection of rights of individuals. In many ways, the international community’s push for protection of human rights were paved by one of the most horrific events of human history, the Holocaust. This paper will address the “road” to institutionalized international protection of human rights in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, focusing on the changing conceptions of individual responsibility in international law, the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the seven core human rights treaties, human rights protection as customary international law and therefore binding on all states, as well as international human rights enforcement mechanisms.

Dr. Christopher Rivera: “InterCultural Crossroads: Narrating the Migratory Experiences of Objects and Subjects in Motion”
Literally roads connect people to places and other communities. Metaphorically roads refer to a journey that can either be just starting or about to finish. The destination, experience, and end result rely not just on the contexts provided along the path but rather they also are contingent upon the roles key actors play. That is to say that as subjects, objects, both, and/or neither, bodies in motion do not always stay in motion nor are they always authorized to move. Migration is particularly limited in his Post-9/11 climate when considering issues of national security and the stories connected with the bodies moving or those bodies denied the ability to move. Louis Althusser argues that word fundamentally do things. Through language people learn how to communicate ideas but also how to follow specific rules. By looking more closely at international migratory policies and practices, this paper will discuss how Bhabha’s notions of liminal/interstitial spaces are ripe sites/cites to demonstrate how first-third world borders produce ambivalent subjects and objects on the international stage. The sensationalized Arab terrorists and the militant Mexican drug cartels both are exaggerated versions of polemical subjects and objects that can and do cross borders. Primarily concerned with how and why certain subjects and objects can cross more easily than others in different times in U.S. imperial history will provide the framework to better understand how all roads do not lead to predetermined locations; simultaneously the streets no longer seem to be metaphorically paved with gold in the U.S. To the contrary, many roads function as obstacles that reinforce just how uncertain the path is for socio-politically marginalized potential travelers.

Dr. Oana Popescu-Sandu: “When Odysseus Needs No Visa: Space and Culture in the Global World”
“Tell me, O muse, of that ingenious hero who traveled far and wide after he had sacked the famous town of Troy. Many cities did he visit, and many were the nations with whose manners and customs he was acquainted.” So begins Homer’s Odyssey, a road trip home slowed 'only' by unknown peoples and their customs, mythical creatures, storms, and Odysseus own temptations. However, he knew precisely were home was and that guided his inner GPS. How different is Odysseus‘s trip from our global travels today and do advanced technology, the increased speed of modern travel, as well as online maps and translators help us better find our way home? This presentation argues that literary and visual texts become cultural roadmaps – overlapping, amending, challenging real life boundaries and spaces - and guiding us in our individual search for home – a concept increasingly harder to define in a world of constant movement.

Session V

Dr. Mayola Rowser: “University of Southern Indiana School-Based Community Health Center”
The University of Southern Indiana (USI) College of Nursing & Health Professions received grant funding to open and operate three school based health centers in 2011. Two health centers, the USI Community Health Center (CHC) at Glenwood and the USI CHC at Cedar Hall are now open and operational. Both are located in elementary schools in medically underserved areas.  These University of Southern Indiana Community Health Centers have established roads and pathways towards a healthier community.

The health centers provide primary health care services to an underserved and diverse population, and afford nursing and health professions students an opportunity for experiential and service learning opportunities. A full-time and a part-time nurse practitioner, a medical assistant, and an office manager staff the centers. The USI-CHCs will serve ultimately as interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP) sites.  Many of the clients served at the USI-CHCs have multiple health problems and psychosocial stressors. The IPCP model is based on evidence demonstrating that quality of care, patient outcomes, and patient safety are increased when health care professionals collaborate in teams to provide care. To date, more than ninety nursing & health professions students provided direct care and health education programs to approximately 550 patients.  The USI-CHCs meet the healthcare needs of the elementary school students and their families as well as the community by providing safe, effective, efficient and equitable care.

This project is funded by a grant from the Department of Health & Human Services, Health Resource Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions, Division of Nursing.

Emily Holt: “Oral Cancer Prevention Meets the Road to Recovery”
The purpose of this presentation is to share the outcomes of an ongoing service learning project. Individuals fighting addictions are at a higher risk of developing oral cancer due to their lifestyle factors, such as drug and alcohol abuse and unsafe sexual activity. This led to a community partnership between the University of Southern Indiana’s Dental Hygiene Program and the Women’s Addiction Recovery Manor (WARM) where women seek recovery from substance abuse.

Senior dental hygiene students and faculty members travel to the WARM facility each fall to educate the residents about oral cancer risk factors, signs and symptoms of oral cancer, and oral care instructions. They perform oral cancer screenings on the residents and a supervising dentist evaluates any suspicious oral lesions noticed by the students and faculty members. The skills necessary for this event are taught both in class and in the clinical setting prior to the event.

The residents and program directors of WARM have indicated that our visits have led to increased knowledge and awareness of oral health care amongst the residents as well as early intervention of oral problems.

The WARM project allows students an opportunity to utilize oral cancer screening techniques and assessments they studied in the classroom setting. They have stated that this experience has allowed them to be more comfortable when discussing sensitive topics such as drug and chemical use with their patients. They also express a better understanding of interpersonal skills needed when working with patients with mental health challenges, such as addictive personalities. After the experience, they reflect on what they gained from the event and many comment that they feel more comfortable working with individuals who come from varied backgrounds. Experiences such as this allow students to recognize that a community based setting, such as WARM, is within their scope of practice and professional service.

WARM provides an opportunity for professionals and USI faculty to incorporate service learning into their teaching model. This project provides several opportunities for faculty research, including research related to students, residents, and outcomes. This research can be performed through student surveys, follow-up conversations, and through review of personal risk factor information on the information sheets completed by the residents. Risk factor surveys provide information related to the risk factors found in each resident that could lead to the development of oral cancer. The surprising outcome found through the past 5 years of offering this program is that oral cancer has not been detected in the 500 WARM residents we screened, even with the high level of risky behavior seen in this population of women.

Session VI

Dr. Kevin Allton: “Dawn of the Sandman”
So it’s1992, but just barely, and a pallid dawn just starting to bleed through the holes in the dead screen of a deserted drive-in, when a big, throbbing Buick Electra noses into the lot and stops.   Two teenage girls get out.  They pop the trunk, lean in together and draw forth from the cellar darkness the pale form of another, younger girl, who stands swaying between them, damaged, doll-eyed and naked. 
“Have we got the gasoline?”  one of the older girls asks the other.
“In the car,”
“Get it.”

My story is called “Dawn of the Sandman,” and it is based on an actual horrific crime that happened here in the state of Indiana.  I will be reading sections from it about these girls and the midnight drive that brought them and their pathetic playmate to this zero point beneath the screen of an abandoned drive-in. 

John Gibson, Original Poetry
“Contrary to Fact”

The road is Outer Lincoln, named for Abraham,
Not for a settlement of Roman veterans.
My first time ride along this straight and narrow way
That undulates from west to east invokes
Another road that arrows north through Kesteven
To Lincoln and beyond.

This is not Ermine Street, nor do I wish
It were… and yet, sometimes unbidden thoughts
Still stir the thickets of the mind and prey
On my uncertain equanimity.

Matthew Graham, Original Poetry

Marcus Wicker, Original Poetry


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