Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Sustaining Global Goals

Pamela and I were pleased to be invited to speak about the use of the U.N. Global Goals in our teaching as part of a series of online workshops sponsored by NERCOMP. Here we provide our presentation abstract as well as our slides, for those who wish to follow up on any of the links that are included in our presentation.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

New Blog: #SOSNicaragua

 Followers on various platforms -- and certainly anybody who has seen me much in person the past few years -- know that I am deeply concerned about the multiple crises that have unfolded in Nicaragua since a government crackdown on peaceful protests in April 2018.

Today I started a blog to share information about the problems Nicaragua faces and the ways friends of Nicaragua can learn more and support the ongoing efforts of Nicaraguans themselves.

To learn more, please visit #SOSNicaragua, noting that I use ApoyoNicaragua (SupportNicaragua) in the actual address.

Coffee World: A BSU Senior College Course

BSU's Senior College offers non-credit classes to learners of a certain age (that is, 50 or better). Although I'm apparently more than old enough to take a class, I will participate first as an instructor. My four-week class Coffee World begins September 8, 10am each Wednesday for the rest of that month.

From the catalogThis course is an exploration of the world that is concealed in a cup of coffee, beginning with suggestions for brewing better coffee. We continue to the community geography of the corner café, without which the beverage itself might never have become a global favorite. We then follow coffee from its origins in Abyssinia to the $100 billion global industry it is today and examine ways to ensure that those who grow the coffee earn a fair share of that wealth. Finally, we learn how researchers are working with farmers to protect both quality and production from changing climates. Upon registration, participants will receive a guide describing some options for purchasing coffees to enjoy during the sessions. 

This is a virtual class delivered via Zoom, so I am teaching coffee without serving coffee. This is a challenge for me, but I had plenty of practice during my regular university coffee classes last year.

Best news: the $85 fee for BSU Senior College pays for one course or many. So if you sign up for my coffee class, you can choose from dozens of other courses with no additional fee. Because each course lasts only 4-8 sessions and there are no exams, some people sign up for quite a few.

Lagniappe: My favorite librarian is returning to Senior College by popular demand look for Pamela Hayes-Bohanan's course Free Speech, Banned Books and Censorship, offered Wednesday evenings beginning November 3.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Sodade: Cape Verde Is Migration


Cidade Velha: Detail from the Grand Panorama at New Bedford Whaling Museum

I was very pleased to be invited by friends and colleagues at Framingham State University to be one of ten presenters in The Age of Migration: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, a summer content institute for teachers. 

My modest contribution to this course is a presentation Sodade: Cape Verde Is Migration, which I will be sharing with eight in-service teachers on Monday morning, July 19. 

As visitors to this blog will see, such links usually include links to my own slides, which in turn connect to other online resources. In this case, I provide links to slides that have been prepared by other colleagues and a BSU Honors student.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Geographies of MENA

 My brief presentation on MENA Geographies was part of a MENA Institute for in-service teachers sponsored by the MENA Program at Bridgewater State University and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.

July 5 update: We did not capture a recording of this presentation. Fortunately, my colleague Dr. Jabbar al-Obaidi -- who was one of the organizers of the event -- has invited me to give the presentation again on his InFocus program on Bridgewater TV. This gives me the opportunity to include a few amendments to the original presentation. Return to this post for a link to the program and its recording. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Qahua for Educators

 I am most grateful for the opportunity I have had to speak about coffee at 12th International Conference on Education and Educational Technology. I last presented to this group in July 2017, when it was held in Tafila, Jordan. My participation today is online, though I look forward to presenting again when the conference is held next year in Morocco.

My presentation Qahua: Arabica in the Arab World discusses the absence of coffee cultivation in the region that developed coffeehouse culture as we know it and that gave coffee its scientific name. Because the focus of the conference is on teaching technologies that have been effective during the global pandemic, I devote some attention to how coffee lends itself to teaching and learning, and how challenges to learning at a distance can be overcome.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Secret Life of Coffee 2021 Tasting

A coffee tasting event at the end of the spring semester is a second-year seminar tradition that predates the seminar requirement. Every spring since 2007, students in The Secret Life of Coffee have served up coffee and knowledge from around the world, in something like a science fair of coffee

In 2020 and 2021, these are virtual events -- presentations to be enjoyed online. We offer a pre-tasting buying guide for visitors who wish to prepare something appropriate to sip while enjoying the presentations.

Before you go, enjoy this light-hearted take on coffee and justice:
Dean Cycon is a roaster and coffee activist based in Orange, Massachusetts. His book Javatrekker is one of the main texts used in this course.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Qahua to Coffee

Thanks to everyone who attended my presentation "Qahua to Coffee: Ancient & Modern Geographies of MENA's Signature Drink." I was pleased to be invited to speak as part of MENA Awareness Week at BSU, sponsored by the Middle East and North Africa program and the U.S. Department of Education.

Meanwhile: spotted on the Internet, so it
might be true.

I am especially grateful for the questions and comments from colleagues that were offered at the end of the presentation. If you missed the program, I hope you will take the time to watch and to stay for the contributions of these colleagues -- it was very much a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary exchange.

In addition to the video, you are invited to view the slides -- anything on a slide that looks like a link is a link that leads to further information.

During the talk I mentioned three books. In honor of National Library Week, I offer links to my reviews of these titles: Javatrekker, Uncommon Grounds, and Where the Wild Coffee Grows.

Among other things, "Qahua to Coffee" touches on the significance of the café shown below, which is situated in a neighborhood known as "Paris on the Nile." Café Riche has been serving coffee and conversation in Cairo since 1908.


The MENA program that sponsored this event has also provided a small research grant for me to learn more about coffee in the region. Stay tuned: the Coffee Maven will have more to say on this subject!

After I gave this presentation, I turned to our copy of Yashim Cooks Istanbul in order to prepare a MENA-themed dinner. The resulting Hazelnut and Lemon Pilaf (findikli ve limonlu pilav) scored very high on our nutritious-delicious-easy-cheap trade-off matrix. 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Thanks a Thousand!

On March 8, author A.J. Jacobs visited (virtually) my Secret Life of Coffee class. This affable writer is the author of a handful of very interesting books, in which he sets himself rather ambitious personal challenges and then writes about the experience.

His visit was sponsored by Bridgewater One Book One Community, which has been organizing community-wide reading and associated activities since 2006. 

Jacobs was introduced to me and the entire community by my favorite librarian, who has reviewed a couple of his books on her "Library" Books blog, which features hundreds of books (and a few films) whose common element is some mention of a library. In 2012 she reviewed Jacobs' Drop Dead Healthy, but she first learned of his work as part of her "Year of" Books project, in which she wrote about his works throughout her year of reading a particular kind of book. I do not write about books nearly as much as Pamela does, but I describe my appreciation for this book in a Goodreads review

We already had the March 8 visit scheduled when I happened to hear Jacobs on the TED Radio Hour, in which he explores many additional aspects of what he calls the gratitude chain. This is an hour well spent, in which he mentions another of my favorite TED Talkers, Chimamanda Adichie. Jacobs also mentions author Mark Pendergrast, who long ago visited my Secret Life of Coffee and Geography of Coffee classes.


Unlike. A.J. Jacobs and Chimamanda Adichie, my TED Talk has not made me famous. I did, however, speak about campus coffee at a local TEDx event. I invite readers to listen to my Coffee Belwethers talk [sic: my misspelling is part of the talk] and to advocate for ethical coffee at BSU if it inspires them.