UW-Green Bay

Category: faculty (page 1 of 3)

Knitting Code: A Tale of Two Very Different Disciplines

Recently I had the opportunity to sit-in on a lecture of Dr. Rebecca Nesvet’s for her class “The English Novel: 1850’s to the Present.” The reason why this lecture was particularly interesting was because it covered the topic of binary knitting, or knitting code – an idea of two very different disciplines fusing together. Professor Alison Gates, Chair of the Arts program and well-versed in the world of textiles, assisted in the lecture by discussing her knowledge about different types of knitting around the world and the commonalities between knitting and writing codes. A way that this can be done is by simply using a pattern between knitting and purling.

We have all heard a variation of the phrase “Knit one, purl two.” When it comes to knitting a code, it isn’t very different than using a pattern of ones and zeroes as we would for computer coding. Even more interesting that this strategy was discovered long before the first computer. How this ties together with Dr. Nesvet’s English Novels class is in the interest of Madame Defarge in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Madame Defarge was introduced as the wife of a shopkeeper, knitting in the corner, as that was a common activity for women of that time period to be doing. What was not immediately prevelant, however, was the fact that she was knitting code. As if the idea of an old woman knitting a secret cipher was not interesting enough, the message that she was knitting was what we would, by today’s standards, call a hit list.

Madame Defarge seated with her knitting in the wine shop.  Courtesy of Wikipedia / Fred Barnard

Madame Defarge seated with her knitting in the wine shop.
Courtesy of Wikipedia / Fred Barnard

The interest revolving around this topic has not been limited to just Dr. Nesvet’s class; here are some additional sources to look at:

Madam Defarges Cypher – Montgomery Bell

Steganographic Knitting – Sky Fish Knits



Great Books Discussions schedule Fall 2014!

Please come to the Brown County Central Library on the second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. The Great Book Discussions are held in the Board Room (2nd Floor).

September 9

Apocryphal New Testament


Professor Brian Sutton

October 14

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Professor Kevin Kain

November 11

Letters to a Young Poet and Selected Poems

Rainer Maria Rilke

Professor David Coury

December 9


Toni Morrison

Professor Rebecca Meacham

Come on out to the Philosopher’s Cafe

Green Bay Area Philosophers’ Café – A meeting of minds

What is the Philosophers’ Café?
Faculty from UWGB and St. Norbert College are collaborating to initiate a series of Philosophers’ Cafés in the Green Bay area. Philosophers’ Cafés are public forums held at local coffee shops and pubs in which community members engage in open, friendly, and respectful dialogue in a relaxed and informal setting. We will discuss topics ranging from traditional philosophical problems to pressing contemporary issues. Topics will be introduced and discussions moderated by faculty from either St. Norbert College or UWGB.

Who should attend?
All are welcome and a diversity of views and approaches are encouraged. No formal training in Philosophy (or anything else) is required – just an interest in good questions and good conversation.

Check out this year’s schedule at:

Great Books Discussions: Schedule for Fall 2013

Please come to the Brown County Central Library on the second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. The Great Book Discussions are held in the Board Room (2nd Floor).

September 10

Madame Bovary

Gustave Flaubert


Luisa Etxenike

October 8

The Dream of the Red Chamber/Story of the Stone

Ts’ao Hsueh-ch’in

Professor David Coury

November 12


Nella Larsen

Professor J. Vincent Lowery

December 10

The Blue Hour

Alonso Cueto

Professor Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz

Faculty Forum: Virginal Grandmothers and Nutty Professors

Of Virginal Grandmothers and Nutty Professors:
Social Satire in the Works of Rodolfo Santana and Juan Rivera Saavedra

Professor Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz

Friday, April 30
2:00-3:00 pm
University Union
Phoenix A
UW-Green Bay Campus

This work-in-progress lecture will discuss the major themes in two plays: Rock para una abuela virgen (1988) by the Venezuela playwright Rodolfo Santana and Los profesores (1958) by the Peruvian Juan Rivera Saavedra.  Both of these works have enjoyed an unexpected resurgence in popularity in the last few years: Santana’s social farce was recently adapted to the silver screen garnering rave reviews, while Rivera Saavedra’s previously banned absurdist commentary on Peruvian academia was finally staged in Lima three years ago.

Great Books Fall 2010

The Department of Humanistic Studies and the Brown County Library invite you to participate in the spring semester’s Great Books Discussion series.  On the second Tuesday of each month, a member of UW-Green Bay’s Humanitistc Studies faculty will lead a discussion on one of the “great books” of western and world culture.  The schedule for the fall semester 2010 is…

September 14, TOPIC: NATURAL LAW/RELIGION, Leviathan, Hobbe Chapters 6, 12 and 14, Presented by Professor Derek Jeffreys

October 12, TOPIC: UTOPIANISM, Utopia, Thomas More, Presented by Professor Kevin Kain

November 9, TOPIC: LATIN AMERICAN HISTORY, Open Veins of Latin America Presented by Professor Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz

December 14, TOPIC: RUSSIAN DRAMA, The Cherry Orchard, Chekov Presented by Professor Heidi Sherman

The discussions are free and open to the public.  Faculty, students, and community members are encouraged to attend.  Of course, we encourage you to read the “great book” before attending the discussion, but even if you cannot finish the work, you may find the session enlightening.

The Great Books Discussion series is held on the Lower Level of the Brown County Library (Central Branch – 515 Pine St., Downtown Green Bay).  Discussions begin at 6:30 p.m.

See you there!

Aldrete-Guided Linothorax Project in the News

The Discovery Channel recently reported on Professor Greg Aldrete’s linothorax faculty/student collaborative research project.  The poster referred to was designed by UWGB graduate Scott Bartell (history and humanistic studies) and last week won the Best Poster Prize at the Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America. More info, including the poster and video, can be found on the project’s website.

Faculty Forum: Spinoza’s Chunky Clumps

Spinoza’s Chunky Clumps:
Spinoza and the problem of Individuation

Professor Christopher Martin
will discuss what it is about any thing that makes it the thing that it is and not something else!

Friday, November 13
2:00-3:00 pm
University Union, Alumni A
(in back of Cloud Commons)
UW-Green Bay Campus

New Faculty Profile: Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz

Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz is a new faculty member in Humanistic Studies and Spanish.  We thought you might like to know a little more about your professor and colleague, so we asked him a few questions about himself.

Where did you go to college?

Virginia Tech; University of Tennessee

Who was your favorite professor and why?

Luis Cano – he has a wonderful sense of humor, and was not afraid of including Science Fiction/Hard-boiled Detective Novels in “serious” PhD seminars.

You have a PhD in what field?

Modern Foreign Languages (major: Spanish; 2nd concentration: French Studies; 3rd concentration: Applied Linguistics)

What did you do your research on?

Contemporary Peruvian Narrative and Political Violence

What are your current research interests?

I will be presenting a paper (tentatively titled) “Political science fiction in the plays of Juan Rivera Saavedra,” at the Jornadas Internacionales de Teatro en Puebla, Mexico next July.  I am also interested in translating some recent Peruvian novels/short stories.

What courses do you teach?

Spanish Language, Culture and Literature courses

How would you describe your teaching style?

I enjoy classes that are interactive.   I prefer having my students express themselves and relate the texts they read to their own reality.  I try not to lecture for an hour and fifteen minutes.

What do you like to do for fun?

I love to play and watch soccer…I support Club Deportivo Universidad César Vallejo (Peru).  Music – I was a College Radio DJ and worked at a record store…but I don’t wear Kurt Rambis glasses. Cooking – I am the cook in the house – I tend to prepare lots of Peruvian and Spanish dishes.  Family – I love spending time with my wife and kids.

What was the last good book you read?

La paz de los vencidos by Jorge Eduardo Benavides (Tree of Smoke translated by Denis Johnson).

If we looked at your playlist what would we find?

  1. Thirteen – Big Star
  2. God Loves You, Michael Chang – Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele
  3. Ando Meio Desligado – Os Mutantes
  4. Shoot You Down – Stone Roses
  5. Ain’t Got No/I Got Life – Nina Simone
  6. The Concept – Teenage Fanclub
  7. Here Comes Your Man – Pixies
  8. Town Called Malice – The Jam
  9. If We Can Land a Man on the Moon, Surely I Can Win Your Heart – Beulah
  10. Candy – Morphine
  11. Northern Sky – Nick Drake
  12. The Journey To Serra da Estrela – The Phenomenal Handclap Band
  13. I’m So Tired Of Being Alone – Al Green
  14. Staring At The Sun – TV On The Radio
  15. This Life Makes Me Wonder – Delroy Wilson
  16. Lo que ves es lo que hay – Rubín y los Subtitulados
  17. Anything by the Beatles, Beach Boys, Stevie Wonder and Paco de Lucía…

New Faculty Profile: J. Vincent Lowery

Vince Lowery is a new faculty member in Humanistic Studies and History.  We thought you might like to know a little more about your professor and colleague, so we asked him a few questions about himself.

Where did you go to college? 

University of Mississippi

Who was your favorite professor and why?

Ted Ownby – open to anything, always thinking outside the box – and Winthrop Jordan – the most challenging professor I have ever encountered who transformed my analytical and writing skills.

You have a PhD in what field?


What did you do your research on? 

Popular Memories of the Ku Klux Klan, 1870s-1920s

What are your current research interests? 

Popular Culture/Memory; New South Boosterism

What courses do you teach? 

US History, African American History, Ethnic Diversity

How would you describe your teaching style?

Energetic, Passionate

What do you like to do for fun? 

Golf, moviegoing (neither of which are done with great frequency), and getting to know Green Bay with my family

What was the last good book you read?

Amy Wood’s Lynching and Spectacle and John Coski’s The Confederate Battle Flag.

If we looked at your playlist what would we find?

Jim James (of My Morning Jacket), Grizzly Bear, The Swell Season

Older posts

© 2024 Humanities

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑