Neal Karlen, a mentor in Augsburg College’s Master of Arts in Creative Writing program, described the unlikely friendship he developed with music icon Prince in a recent Star Tribune column. Karlen is among an elite group of writers granted in-depth interviews with Prince in the mid-1980s. Over time, discussions between the print writer and the songwriter developed into something akin to friendship, according Karlen.
“I always told Prince I knew he really didn’t consider me a friend, but as one of the few people in Minneapolis who was probably awake, like he always was, in the middle of the night, and was ‘Willing and Able,’ as my favorite song of his is titled, to talk about loneliness and death,” Karlen wrote.
“I even rubbed it in, in the opening of my second Rolling Stone cover story on Prince, published in 1990.
‘The phone rings at 4:48 in the morning,'”
Read: Letters from Prince: A Minneapolis writer remembers his relationship with a lost star on the Minneapolis Star Tribune site.
The Tri-State Neighbor newspaper recently sought expert input from Kristin Anderson, archivist and professor of art history at Augsburg College, for an article about the history of Singsaas Lutheran Church, a historic Norwegian church in Brookings, South Dakota. The article points out many of the church’s historical connections, including its 1884 altar painting.
Occupying the central panel of the Gothic altar, the image was painted by artist Sarah Kirkeberg Raugland, who’s work Anderson has studied. Among the few women who were creating altar paintings during the period, “Raugland really stood out for both quantity and quality of her work,” Anderson said. The altar was one of the few furnishings retained when the church was rebuilt in 1921.
Read Norwegian church has place in history books on the Tri-State Neighbor site.
Scott Washburn, assistant director of Augsburg College’s StepUP® program, was one the experts interviewed by MinnPost for an article examining public figures’ right to privacy as well as the rights of the public figures’ significant others. The article examined an overarching theme that probed, “How much of a candidate’s own personal life should be made available for public debate?”
In responding to a question on whether it is appropriate for the mental health or addiction history of a political spouse or other family member to be made public, Washburn argued that sort of political playmaking goes over the line.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate at all,” Washburn said. “The candidate is running, not the family member. The electorate is voting for the candidate, not the family member. The family of a presidential candidate is going to be dragged into the public eye, but I think it’s important to respect some boundaries here. It’s an issue of respect and privacy. The candidate would be fair game from my perspective, but I don’t think family members should be. It just reflects how low things have gone in this political race.
All that being said, if the family member chooses to publically disclose his or her personal history, then that is a different conversation.”
Read additional responses from Washburn in “When is a public figure’s mental health or addiction status off limits?” on the MinnPost site.
MinnPost recently published an article covering efforts by the City of St. Paul to more strictly enforce crosswalk laws and change a driving culture that places drivers and vehicles ahead of pedestrians. State crosswalk laws dictate that drivers should stop for pedestrians at every crosswalk, marked or unmarked, but drivers in the city rarely comply. This has led to fatalities and, more recently, sting operations designed to ticket drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians.
Lars Christiansen, associate professor of sociology and urban studies at Augsburg College, feels that the problem is larger, and less easily addressed, than simply ticketing individuals. “This isn’t about an individual flouting the law, it’s a very real feeling of pressure from motorists,” he said. “One feels the heat of the other cars around you as you’re moving, so to do something unusual [like stopping for a pedestrian] feels dangerous.”
Read St. Paul launches effort to change the city’s driving culture — by enforcing crosswalk laws on the MinnPost site.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently published an article about the life and career of Phil Adamo, professor of history at Augsburg College and 2015 Minnesota Professor of the Year.
The article focuses on Adamo’s engaging approach to teaching history and his personal history with academia. As a young man, he decided to forgo a college education in favor of a career as a clown with the Ringling Bros. Circus. Eventually, the constant demands of performance wore him down. “I was exhausted by performing so much, and I started to think that I wasn’t funny,” he said. “That’s a bad thing for a clown.”
Returning from the circus, he enrolled as a medieval studies major at Ohio State University, where a senior project involving a summer in a monastery led to an award-winning dissertation and propelled him toward a career in academia.
The article also depicts Adamo as an ardent supporter of having a liberal arts education, which he says “gives the benefit of having a better life, a more interesting life, a better understanding of who you are as a human.”
Read Augsburg professor left circus to bring history to life on the Star Tribune site.
Michael Lansing, associate professor of history at Augsburg College, was interviewed by Minnesota Public Radio for a segment that compared political movements from the early 1900s with the contemporary political landscape. Lansing is the author of “Insurgent Democracy: The Nonpartisan League in North American Politics,” which presents the history of The Nonpartisan League and describes its continued influence in the upper Midwest.
Lansing describes the League as a grassroots organization started by farmers who were discontent with large grain milling and transportation corporations in the region. He told MPR News host Tom Weber that The Nonpartisan League is the reason for the large number of co-operatives in North Dakota today, and the party was comprised of farmers who sought candidates that supported their platforms, regardless of party.
Listen to: ‘Insurgent Democracy’ the demise of The Nonpartisan League (14 minutes) on the MPR site.
The Star Tribune recently published an overview of the forthcoming Norman and Evangeline Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion. Augsburg College will break ground on this new academic building featuring classrooms, offices, and laboratories in April.
The article said, “The inclusion of scientific and religious disciplines within the same building is meant to express ‘a firm belief in the intersections and fluidity of boundaries’ on Augsburg’s campus.”
Learn more about Augsburg’s campus improvements in Hot Property: Hagfors Center for Science, Business and Religion in Minneapolis on the Star Tribune site.
On February 25, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and retired astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, co-founders of Americans for Responsible Solutions, joined Minnesota leaders at Augsburg College to announce a new bipartisan organization, the “Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense.” The coalition’s members – which include leaders from across sectors and parties – will urge their elected officials to advance policies that help keep guns out of the wrong hands.
Giffords was wounded severely during a 2011 shooting that resulted in six deaths. She and husband, Kelly, have announced similar coalitions in New Hampshire and Oregon during the past several months.
Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow welcomed the event’s guests to campus and offered opening remarks at the press conference.
Media coverage of the event includes:
Jeanne Boeh, professor of economics at Augsburg College, was one of several experts quoted in a recent Star Tribune article on the current state of Minnesota’s economy. She attributes Minnesota’s steady economy to its diversity, which makes it less dependent on agriculture than neighboring states.
“Because we’re a diversified economy, we will keep trudging along at a lukewarm pace and eventually the labor shortages will happen and employers will raise wage rates more in order to get good workers,” Boeh said. “I think we are OK.”
Read Main Street’s mood is resilient despite rocky markets on the Star Tribune site.
Pioneer Public Television (PPT) recently included an interview with Michael Lansing, associate professor of history at Augsburg College and author of Insurgent Democracy: The Nonpartisan League in North American Politics, in an episode of Compass, a program that focuses on public policy and other issue of importance to PPT’s community.
Lansing’s book details the history of the Nonpartisan League, a political movement active in North Dakota, neighboring states, and some Canadian provinces in the early 1900s. The interview is available online on the PPT website.
Additionally, Lansing wrote an article for MinnPost that examines the trend of comparing the current sociopolitical climate with the “Gilded Age” of the late 19th century. He argues that the results of recent presidential primaries in New Hampshire, which overwhelmingly rejected candidates viewed as having ties to the political establishment, reflect an important change in voter attitudes.
“American voters now believe they are living in a second Gilded Age,” he writes. “This shift has the potential to transform our nation’s politics.” He adds that regardless of the final outcomes of the nomination processes, this change is a noteworthy signifier of Americans’ rejection of the status quo.
Watch History Collaborative & Agrarian Revolt on the Pioneer Public Television site.
Read A second Gilded Age at last? on the MinnPost site.