Agustín Fuentes finds the four predominant arguments that seek to explain human evolution and human nature to be compelling but extremely simplified. Years of research and an emphasis on cross-disciplinary conversations has instead led him to a more complete story of human evolution. Creativity and collaboration, he argues in The Creative Spark, are the most important explanations for why we are the way we are.
David Campbell, the Packey J. Dee Professor of American Democracy at the University of Notre Dame, has been selected as an Andrew Carnegie Fellow for his creative thinking and innovative research on the rise of secularism in the United States and its political implications. Campbell, chair of the Department of Political Science, will use the prestigious grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, announced Wednesday, to study the growing number of people in America who identify as nonreligious and the political force they could become.
Alvin Plantinga, the John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, was named the 2017 Templeton Prize Laureate on Tuesday (April 25) by the John Templeton Foundation. Over his 50 years of research in philosophy of religion, epistemology and metaphysics, Plantinga has advanced landmark arguments for the existence of God, returning the questions of religious belief to the common discourse of academic philosophy.
The collaborative global research project, Under Caesar's Sword, is co-directed by political scientist Daniel Philpott. “In Response to Persecution,” a report on the UCS project’s findings, was launched April 20 in a day-long symposium at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Irla Atanda and Abigail Awodele have been awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to study abroad during the summer 2017 term. Awodele will participate in the China Language Program and Atanda will study in South Africa.
The first Notre Dame App Challenge concluded with presentations by each of the four final teams to the judging committee and the public in Mendoza’s Jordan Auditorium on campus. South Bend City Connect, an app aimed at reducing the additional cost of poverty for South Bend residents, took the top prize of $7,500. The idea for the app was created by graduate students Miriam Moore and Robbin Forsyth, who are both pursuing Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees in design.
Kiera Duffy, associate professor of the practice in Notre Dame’s Department of Music, recently received the 2017 Hunt Family Award for Emerging Artists from New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The award honors the soprano’s outstanding artistry and promising future. “Lincoln Center has such meaning in my life — as it does for every classical musician. It is the cultural hub of North America,” she said. “So for Lincoln Center to honor what I’m doing is very humbling and a lovely validation.”
Jessica Collett, an associate professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology, has been chosen to receive the 2017 Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award. The highest teaching honor in the College of Arts and Letters, the Sheedy Award was created in 1970 to honor Rev. Charles E. Sheedy, C.S.C., who served as dean of Arts and Letters from 1951 to 1969. Collett will accept the award at a reception in her honor in December.
Four faculty members in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have been awarded 2017 fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies. The pre-eminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and social sciences, the ACLS offers up to a year of funding for in-depth exploration of a topic that expands the understanding of the human experience. Three historians — Mariana Candido, Deborah Tor, and Evan Ragland — were among the 71 ACLS fellows selected from a pool of nearly 1,200 applicants. Katherine Brading, a professor of philosophy, is a member of one of nine teams to win a collaborative research fellowship.
Carlos Lozada ’93, an associate editor and nonfiction book critic at The Washington Post, majored in economics and political science in the College of Arts and Letters. “What the liberal arts education at Notre Dame really did for me was it helped me to learn how to think, how to marshal my arguments, and how to learn from people around me,” he said. “To be a journalist you have to have this inherent curiosity and inherent skepticism, and I think those two qualities were really stoked and inspired at Notre Dame.”
Notre Dame junior Rebecca Blais, a political science major from New Smyrna Beach, Florida, has been named a 2017 Truman Scholar. Blais is one of just 62 college juniors to be selected for the prestigious scholarship this year, from a pool of 768 candidates nominated by 315 colleges and universities nationwide. Established in 1975 as a living memorial to President Harry S. Truman, the award includes $30,000 in graduate study funds, priority admission and supplemental financial aid at select institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and internship opportunities within the federal government.
The NSF GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate and graduating undergraduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and social science disciplines who are pursuing research-based degrees.
Barry Lopez believes we are on the verge of global upheaval — in the way democracies function, in the way economies work, in the way countries cope with unprecedented numbers of refugees and the effects of climate change. But he also believes that Notre Dame students are “unusually qualified to do something about it.” A renowned essayist, fiction writer, and former Department of American Studies faculty member, Lopez received his bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters in 1966 and a master’s degree in 1968. He returned to his alma mater last month to give a lecture on sustainability — and to offer his encouragement to current students.
Fr. Emmanuel Katongole, a Notre Dame associate professor of theology and peace studies, will spend a year studying three predominant forms of violence in sub-Saharan Africa after being named a Henry Luce III Fellow in Theology for 2017–2018, one of six scholars selected from members of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Katongole will begin a yearlong study in January aimed at looking at ethnic, religious, and ecological violence in African countries south of the Sahara.
Notre Dame associate professor Heather Hyde Minor specializes in the history of European art and architecture from 1600 to 1800. Her current research project examines the life of Johann Joachim Winckelmann, an 18th-century German art historian and archaeologist whom many consider to be the founder of the modern discipline of art history.
The College of Arts and Letters and the Notre Dame International Security Center (NDISC) will launch a new certificate program in international security studies in fall 2017. Open to political science majors, the program will offer rigorous training for students interested in exploring career opportunities in international security and foreign policy. To earn the certificate, students must take the U.S. National Security Policy gateway course and two relevant electives, finish a two-semester senior thesis research project, complete an approved internship in the world of international security policy, and participate in NDISC’s seminar series and other events.
Peter Holland, the College of Arts and Letters’ associate dean for the arts and the McMeel Family Chair in Shakespeare Studies, has been named chair of the International Shakespeare Association. Holland, a professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, was selected by the association’s executive committee from candidates nominated worldwide for the prestigious position. The association, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, the birthplace of Shakespeare, seeks to further the study of the playwright’s life and to connect Shakespeareans and Shakespeare societies around the world.
Roy Scranton, who joined the Notre Dame faculty in fall 2016, doesn't write about war the way most Americans do. In his acclaimed debut novel War Porn and in his nonfiction writing in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and the LA Review of Books, the Iraq War veteran pushes back against what he calls "the trauma hero" — the trope of making the American soldier the victim of American military aggresion.
Whether their research explores community-led initiatives, national trends, or international issues, Ph.D. students in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology produce outstanding research that is leading to grants, fellowships, and job offers. “Our students benefit from the fact that our faculty is unusually large and strong and covers almost the entire range of sociology,” said Lyn Spillman, director of graduate studies. “They enjoy not only our excellent faculty/student ratios but also the wide range of expertise we offer. The result is that our students produce new knowledge across the entire disciplinary range.”
“It's very easy to lose track of how to form arguments in a way that can really change minds. At Notre Dame, this ability is really drilled into you from day one,” said Katie Beirne Fallon ’98, senior vice president and global head of corporate affairs at Hilton Worldwide. A governemnt and international studies major at Notre Dame, she previously served as director of legislative affairs at the White House for President Barack Obama, working to improve the relationship between Congress and the Office of the President.