“Toi, toi, toi” is a superstitious invocation of opera singers, meant to encourage a winning performance before taking the stage. “We don’t say, ‘Break a leg,’” fifth-year senior and University of Notre Dame Chorale member Joshua Diaz explains. Diaz might be hearing that old stage charm at an extraordinary venue later this month—the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome—where he and about 50 other members of the Notre Dame Chorale are scheduled to perform for Pope Benedict XVI and the bishops and pilgrims in attendance at a general audience on May 25, 2011.
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Edward Larkin, a biological sciences major from East Lansing, Mich., has been named valedictorian of the 2011 University of Notre Dame graduating class and will present the valedictory address during Commencement ceremonies May 22 (Sunday) at Notre Dame Stadium. Larkin, who also carries a supplementary major in classical civilization, earned a 4.0 grade point average. He is an active member of the Haiti Working Group at Notre Dame and writes a bi-weekly column for the Observer student newspaper in which he expounds on the intersection of science, technology, and society with a special focus on the cultural and social implications of modern scientific advances.
It has been “a blessing and a journey”—and one that happened almost by chance, says Notre Dame senior Ryan Belock, whose passion for the arts led him to pursue majors in music and graphic design and theatre.
In the Department of Art, Art History, and Design, graphic design students learn to combine visual arts and technology in a way that transcends words and pictures. Recently, several of those students flexed their technical and creative muscles in the Poster Clash contest hosted by the American Institute of Graphic Arts. The results were impressive.
“Most people who are interested in the Troubles focus on the 4,000 deaths,” says Christian Davenport, professor of peace studies, political science and sociology at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. “I thought much of the story was being missed.” An expert on political conflict, human rights violations, genocide, and government repression, Davenport for the past five years has been using quantitative research methods to study the ethno-political conflict that took place in Northern Ireland between 1968 and 1998.
A new suite of promotional cards showcasing academic majors in the University of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters has won a certificate of excellence in the 2011 American Inhouse Design Awards (AIDA).
Maria Rogacheva, a doctoral candidate in Notre Dame’s Department of History, is working to reveal the secrets of “invisible” communities that once housed the former Soviet Union’s scientific research facilities.
A group of advanced industrial and graphic design students at Notre Dame dove into commercial design this semester, working with Kenneth Cole and Heritage Travelware to develop new luggage concepts, many of which will be put into production for retail sale.
Sean Walsh, a graduate of Notre Dame’s departments of philosophy and mathematics, has been awarded a Kurt Gödel Research Prize Fellowship—one of the most prestigious honors in the field of logic.
The last 24 human inhabitants of the Irish island of Inishark departed together on October 20, 1960—a solemn end to a slow, steady decline. This small community’s collapse more than 50 years ago now offers Anthropology Professor Ian Kuijt and his students “a window” to Irish life in the 19th century. “These people were living little differently than they were in the 1860s,” he explains.
Whether stirring troops to battle or appealing for peace, the power of persuasive speech has played a pivotal role in armed conflicts throughout history. Analyzing speeches by figures ranging from Pericles to Winston Churchill to Osama Bin Laden helps students in Associate English Professor John Duffy’s Rhetoric of War and Peace seminar learn how to become better orators themselves.
No one would dispute that religious convictions can lead to conflict—even violence and war. Yet how is it that so often adversaries use their faith to justify opposing stances in the same dispute? That’s the question that intrigues Christopher Morrissey, a doctoral candidate in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology.
The University of Notre Dame Alumni Association honored the achievements of seven distinguished graduates—including several from the College of Arts and Letters—during its annual Alumni Senate events last week.
The Notre Dame Alumni Association honored the academic, service and character achievements of three current College of Arts and Letters students during its Alumni Senate activities last week.
The recent detention of Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, along with several other government critics—including Ai’s accountant and driver—are signs that the Chinese government is becoming increasingly insecure, according to Lionel Jensen, associate professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Notre Dame.
Twelve College of Arts and Letters faculty members have received Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and one was honored with a Dockweiler Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising.
For the first time since their discovery in 2005, archival records chronicling police violence during the Guatemalan Civil War have been made available to academic researchers. And Ph.D. candidate Christopher Sullivan has become one of the first scholars to investigate the collection of more than 80 million documents at the National Police Archives in Guatemala City.
You can find Notre Dame graduates with degrees in English almost everywhere—and not just working in the classroom as teachers or professors. Indeed, according to a survey of alumni, they are thriving in a broad range of professions including medicine, publishing, and business.
Pursuing three majors in the College of Arts and Letters while also participating in the Glynn Family Honors Program doesn’t leave Notre Dame senior Soeren Palumbo with much free time. But it’s been just enough to launch a global campaign to eliminate the use of the “R-word,” get published in the Huffington Post, rub shoulders with President Barack Obama, and travel the world for speaking engagements.
Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith’s latest book is one of two winners of the 2010 Cheryl Frank Memorial Prize from the International Association for Critical Realism (IACR). What is a Person?: Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and the Moral Good from the Person Up (University of Chicago Press) presents a new model for social theory that embraces the best of our humanistic visions of people, life, and society.
As interest in cultural sociology has risen in recent decades, so too has Notre Dame’s investment in its faculty. “We’ve been growing over the past 20 years, but in the last five years it has all come together,” says cultural sociologist Lyn Spillman, an associate professor who has studied American political and economic culture. "We’re just about at a point where we are in the top handful of departments in cultural sociology.
Discovering, collaborating on, and promoting new ideas in the humanities is the focus of the first-ever TEDx conference at Notre Dame, set for Friday, April 15, 2011.
Although talk of extinction is often focused on plant and animal life, graduate student Myles Beaupre is researching what it means when extinction applies to an entire race of people. Beaupre, a doctoral candidate in the Department of History, is studying government policies on Native Americans throughout the development of the United States—from the British Empire-controlled colonies to the mid- to late-1800s of the newly formed country.
Sudan has been torn by religious, social, and economic strife for decades. Seeking to ease these tensions, the Sudanese people voted to divide the country in two—north and south. But the referendum has left a host of unresolved issues in its wake. Through the Office of the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan, Peter Quaranto ’06 is working with the African country’s residents to help reach a successful and sustainable resolution to the division.
American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us has been named the Best Nonfiction Book by the Religion Communicators Council (RCC). David Campbell, John Cardinal O’Hara, C.S.C., Associate Professor of Political Science at Notre Dame, and his co-author, Robert Putnam of Harvard University share this 2011 Wilbur Award for “excellence in the communication of religious issues, values, and themes in the secular media.”
Even the most carefully planned humanitarian and development efforts are often stymied by the chaotic realities on the ground in war-torn zones such as Sudan and Northern Kenya. Notre Dame Economic anthropologist Rahul Oka aims to improve the success rate of these critical relief missions by studying how local trade networks are able to operate in the same areas with remarkable resilience and efficiency.
At a time when the battered economy caused many sociology programs to freeze hiring for a second consecutive year, the University of Notre Dame doubled down. “I am pleased to say that we hired four of the very best young scholars in the nation and each one will be joining us in the fall of 2011,” says Professor Rory McVeigh, chair of the Department of Sociology. “These scholars, as a group, not only build on our preexisting strengths but also help us to establish strength in some new areas of research.”
Trouble with algebra? Notre Dame Psychologist Nicole McNeil’s research shows that basic math may be to blame. The new study suggests that even though adults tend to think in more advanced ways than children do, those advanced ways of thinking don’t always override old, incorrect ways of thinking—especially in the domain of mathematics. The study was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Cognition and Development.