Mentors Karen Garner and Robert Congemi, of the Northeast Center, Named Scholars Across the College for 2012-13
By Alan Mandell, mentor and college professor of adult learning and mentoring, Metropolitan Center
July 6, 2012
Karen Garner and Robert Congemi, both of the Northeast Center, have been named as Scholars Across the College for 2012-13, according to Alan Mandell, college professor of adult learning and mentoring The decision, which Mandell calls “exciting,” was made by a committee comprising members of the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Adult Mentoring and Learning.
The focus of Garner’s work is on topics such as women’s roles in U.S. foreign policymaking, especially during the Clinton administration, Middle Eastern women after the Arab Spring, U.S. foreign policy, Afghan and Iraqi women and how global women’s activism transformed the United Nations’ agenda. She will be available to make presentations on these topics.
Garner, an associate professor, has been teaching history and women’s studies courses to undergraduate students for more than 15 years. She has taught U.S. history and the histories of modern China and Japan, as well as U.S. women’s history and the histories of women in Europe, East Asia and the Middle East at several institutions including Texas A & M University, Alma College, Florida International University and the University of Vilnius Gender Studies Centre (as a Fulbright Fellow in 2003). She also co-chaired the Women’s Studies Program at Alma College and directed the Women’s Center (where she designed co-curricular programs for female students and faculty) at Florida International University from 1998 to 2005.
She is the author of two books, “Precious Fire: Maud Russell and the Chinese Revolution” (University of Massachusetts Press, 2003) and “Shaping a Global Women’s Agenda: Women’s NGOs and Global Governance, 1925-85” (Manchester University Press, 2010). She is currently researching “U.S. Global Gender Policy in the 1990s: Rhetorical and Institutional Change.”
Karen Garner will be available to offer presentations to students and colleagues on any of these topics.
The focus of Congemi’s work is on a significant body of short stories (now five volumes) and three novels that he authored, including “Millennium Blues,” “Dreaming Mother Into Existence and Other Short Stories,” “Vagaries of Fate and Other Stories,” “The Absurd Heart: A Collection of New York Stories” and “Temple of a Thousand Buddhas and Other Albany Stories.”
He was born in Brooklyn and was raised there and on Long Island. He has long been attracted to ideas describing life as absurdist and indeterminate, but he says, “I have also held out for the possibility that these ideas are not necessarily correct.”
He is interested in the attempts of people to bring meaning and beauty into their lives, as well as resistance to what they feel is unacceptable.
His books present epiphanies and transformations, paradoxes and tragicomic variations on principal themes. Stories concern re-evaluations of the past in order to create present meaning, the seductiveness of religious need and the often mystifying behaviors of loving. He also shows how rebellion leads to self-actualization and punishment, pain to wisdom.
Congemi will be available to offer short story readings to faculty and students, and to provide workshops open to both mentors and students on the conceiving, developing and writing of short stories.