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College of Humanities & Fine Arts

Physically Distant/Socially Connected

    Letter from the Dean

    Greetings! We hope this message finds you well. We are writing to announce the College of Humanities and Fine Arts’ new #PhysicallyDistantSociallyConnected project and asking you to collaborate with us.  

    As we stay at home to help “flatten the curve” and slow the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, one of the major dilemmas we find ourselves facing is how do we remain socially connected while being physically distant. Normally, we would turn to theatres, concert halls, libraries, galleries, and museums to provide us with comfort and an avenue of escape. In the absence of physical access to cultural institutions, we have witnessed the emergence of virtual pop-up concerts, performances, museum tours, exhibits, readings, and master classes in their place.  

    These virtual activities reiterate not just the value of the arts and humanities but also the critical role they play in our lives. During these times, we are reminded of the ways in which the arts and humanities enable us to transcend time, space, differences, cultures, and borders; they help us stay connected and feel ourselves a part of a larger community. More importantly, these virtual activities are often free or low-cost, thereby ensuring access for most.  

    How are you remaining socially connected while practicing physical distancing? Share with us what you are reading, watching, viewing, listening to, writing, studying, contemplating, creating, or making. Send your submissions to in new window) and stay tuned for future emails. To view all posted submissions, visit in new window).  

    Your submissions may be shared on various College of Humanities and Fine Arts' Facebook(opens in new window)Instagram(opens in new window), and Twitter(opens in new window) accounts as well as the #PhysicallyDistantSociallyConnected webpage(opens in new window).

    It is our hope that the #PhysicallyDistantSociallyConnected project is both informative and educational, perhaps even entertaining at times, but ultimately collaborative.    

    Stay safe and we will see you on the internet!

    tracy butts signature 

    Tracy R. Butts, Ph.D.
    Interim Dean
    College of Humanities and Fine Arts
    California State University, Chico 

    #PhysicallyDistantSociallyConnected April 30

    1. Michelle Neyman Morris (Faculty Diversity Officer, Office of the President, and Professor in Dept. of Nutrition & Food Science) is remaining #physicallydistantsociallyconnected by sharing the free webinar on Octavia Butler's "Parable of the Sower" entitled "Octavia Tried To Tell Us: Parable for Today's Pandemic" with us. The webinar takes place Saturday, May 2 at 12 p.m. PT and is hosted by Monica A. Coleman and Tananarive Due.

    Monica A. Coleman: The days we are living in keep reminding me of Octavia Butler’s “Parable of the Sower” (1990) where she (black woman science fiction writer) near predicts the perilous times in which we are now living. Som I’m partnering with black science fiction writer Tananarive Due to host a free webinar to talk about prophecy, dystopia, theology and a way forward. Love for any of you to join us and share with any interested students or colleagues you may have.

    Octavia registration ad

    2. Asa Mittman (Professor and Chair of Art and Art History at CSU, Chico) is staying #PhysicallyDistantSociallyConnected by sharing an invitation to community college students to take an online class on Victorian Monsters this summer at U.C. Santa Cruz. The below letter is from Courtney Mahaney (U.C. Santa Cruz).

    Dear College/University/Community College Instructors:

    Although we won’t be hosting the Dickens Universe this summer, we will be sponsoring an online course, "Victorian Monsters." We invite community college students who may be interested in Victorian literature to join us. The class meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6-9:30 PM, July 27-August 28. More information about registration can be found at in new window)(opens in new window).

    LIT 116G: Victorian Monsters
    Through an examination of monsters in literature, course explores anxieties, fears, and ideals of Victorian society, paying close attention to issues of gender, sexuality, class, race, empire, scientific, and technology. Critical approach designations: Canons, Histories. (General Education Code(s): TA.)

    Thank you in advance for helping us to get the word out about this unique course.

    Courtney Mahaney
    The Dickens Project
    University of California, Santa Cruz
    1156 High Street, 327 Humanities 1
    Santa Cruz, California 95064

    Office: (831) 459-2103
    Mobile: (831) 332-7847 in new window)(opens in new window)

    UCSC Victorian Monsters course

    3. Asa Mittman is also staying #PhysicallyDistantSociallyConnected by sharing with us and any monster fans out there how to watch National Theatre's "Frankenstein" online for free. "I REALLY wanted to see this on Broadway, but couldn’t make it out there for it," said Mittman. "I’m really excited that it will be online, in both versions!" in new window)(opens in new window)

    Frankenstein actors in performance

    #PhysicallyDistantSociallyConnected April 29

    1. In honor of #NationalPoetryMonth, Professor Heather Altfeld (CORH) does a recitation of Jane Kenyon's poem, "Happiness":

     2. In honor of #NationalPoetryMonth, Professor Jeanne Clark (ENGL) does a reading of W.S. Merwin's poem, "Thanks":

    3. In honor of #NationalPoetryMonth, Professor Sarah Pape (ENGL) recites Ross Gay's poem "Sorrow Is Not My Name":

    4. Christine Connerly, retired associate director of the Student Learning Center, has been enjoying the stories of art and literature being created and enjoyed while we are staying at home. "Art has been an essential part of sheltering in place for me," said Connerly. "I’ve taken daily photos of backyard birds. I’ve taken online art workshops from Roxanne Evans Stout, Seth Apter, and Flora Bowley. I’ve worked on mixed media projects while listening to audio books and have needle felted some friendly creatures while watching movies. Art brings meaning and pleasure to this experience."

    Collage of birds
    Photographed by Christine Connerly
    Crochet created by Christine Connerly
    Photographed by Christine Connerly

    #PhysicallyDistantSociallyConnected April 27

    1. Here's what Christina Hammans (WellCat Health Center) is doing to remain #PhysicallyDistantSociallyConnected: 

    • Reading "The Great Influenza" by John M. Barry & "Travels" by Michael Crichton
    • Watching "The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez," "Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak," "Homeland," "Salt Fat Acid Heat" & "Survivor"
    • Listening to: "Killers of the Flower Moon" audiobook; "Women Who Travel" podcast; "Ted Talks Daily;" the "Hamilton" soundtrack; music from Ella Fitzgerald to Chris Stapleton to Missy Elliott and most importantly the wind in the trees, the rain on the roof, the hummingbirds, squirrels, bumble bees & daschunds in my backyard
    • Writing: end of semester assignments as well as updating my life list
    • Studying: Social Work and Diversity, assisting with the research & editing of my professor's upcoming book & Italian on Duolingo
    • Contemplating: My thesis/project topic & the impact this pandemic will have on our planet & future generations
    • Creating: A beautiful flower garden & an edible garden
    • Making: lots of tasty food, new relationships thanks to Zoom & every effort to maintain a positive attitude in these tough times

    "This picture is something I worked on years ago called 'Uniquely Chico.' I love this little town of ours so I went around and took photos of all the things I love and compiled this collage. It brings me peace and happiness just looking at it so I thought why not share it. The world is in a state of chaos at the present moment but our little town remains such a special place. We will be able to enjoy it and one another when the time is right."

    Collage of places in Chico

    2. On April 30, the Academy of American Poets will host "Shelter in Poems," a virtual reading of uplifting poems to bring us together. The event will raise funds to support our free publications and programs, including our K-12 education program.

    Shelter in Poems logo

    3. In the course "German Crime Fiction (Deutsche Krimis)," the semester of reading crime stories and watching crime films and episodes of popular series was supposed to culminate in a murder mystery roleplay. Christine Goulding (ILLC Chair) hasn't let COVID-19 stop this. The roleplay has gone virtual!

    "Each playing a character in the story, students are interacting extensively - and creatively! - in discussion boards to share and gather information to try to solve the mystery while also attempting to cast suspicion away from themselves. Accusations will be made and cases presented via Zoom. 

    Crime fiction novels and TV series are all the rage in German-speaking countries. Check out an episode of Tartort, the popular TV series that has been going strong since 1970 and has over 1100 episodes under its belt (available free in German at or with English subtitles with a free trial subscription to MhZ). Or read a German crime fiction novel in translation by a contemporary author. 

    Students in the course will finish the semester by writing their own piece of German crime fiction, exploring - and perhaps exploding - the conventions of the genre. Interested in trying your hand at writing your own crime fiction? Here are some tips from some crime fiction greats to get you started. Or set up your mystery-loving kid with this online mystery writing course for 8- to 12-year-olds."

    German brochure

    4. In honor of #NationalPoetryMonth, Eva Gonzalez (COMM/PR, '19) recites her poem "Dos Manos":

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