In the fall of her first year at Notre Dame, Stephanie Fitzhugh ‘91 sat nervously at her desk in an O’Shaughnessy Hall classroom, awaiting the start of her Composition and Literature class. Fitzhugh, who always excelled in math and science, felt uneasy taking a course focused on subjects that usually gave her trouble: literature and writing.
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Exploring an essential human virtue. Whether it’s the gift of time, money, or a helping hand, everyone has the capacity to transform someone else’s life. But, in a world where millions struggle to put food on the table, millions more struggle either to keep their jobs or to find jobs that pay a living wage, and millions still struggle with either preventable or treatable diseases, why do some people give so much and others so little? The University of Notre Dame’s Science of Generosity initiative is leading an international effort to uncover the causes, manifestations, and consequences of generosity.
Networking with industry insiders, watching highly anticipated films, walking the red carpet, and seeing stars was all part of the job for a group of University of Notre Dame students who jetted off to the 2012 Cannes International Film Festival this summer. Working with Assistant Professor Aaron Magnan-Park, the students from the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre (FTT) were granted the exclusive right to make a documentary about the internship program at the festival’s American Pavilion—an opportunity that provided a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the premier event in international film.
The European Union received the Nobel Peace Prize—despite current economic woes and social unrest—for transforming most of Europe from “a continent of war to a continent of peace.” But political scientist Joshua Bandoch, who received his Ph.D. at Notre Dame this year and is now a post-doctoral fellow at Brown University, argues that the 27-member-nation European Union is trying to form too close of a union. “This is problematic because the diverse peoples of this union are more different than their leaders seem to want to acknowledge.”
When Catherine Bolten first considered studying the city of Makeni in Sierra Leone, many people—government officials, professors, the U.S. ambassador—warned her to stay away. It’s a dangerous and immoral place, they told her, infamous because residents refused to fight the rebels who occupied Makeni for three years (1998-2002) during the decade-long civil war.
Notre Dame Political Science Professor David Campbell recently received a grant of more than $300,000 from the Spencer Foundation for a three-year project called “Family Matters: How Home and Family Life Affect Youth Civic Engagement.”
The Varieties of Democracy project (V-Dem), an ambitious international research collaboration based at Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies, has been awarded €475,000 (about $616,500) in research support from the European Commission. Led by Notre Dame political scientist Michael Coppedge, Staffan Lindberg of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and John Gerring of Boston University, the multiyear project aims to produce better indicators of democracy, helping to illuminate why democracies around the world succeed or fail.
In Performance Analysis, a Notre Dame theatre course taught by Anton Juan, senior professor of directing and playwriting in the Department of Film, Television and Theatre (FTT), this fall, majors from a cross-section of the FTT’s disciplines are guided to the sources of performance. It’s more than just “What’s My Motivation 101.” The goal, says Juan, is for student actors to develop critical thinking.
Project Hopeful, a documentary 2012 University of Notre Dame graduates Grace Johnson and Kelsie Kiley made for a course in the Department of Film, Television and Theater (FTT), is about a new kind of modern family: one where an Illinois couple with seven biological children doubles the size of its family by adopting orphans with HIV/AIDS and special needs.
In an effort to differentiate himself from President Barack Obama on foreign policy in tonight’s debate, Mitt Romney may be forced to exaggerate what few differences actually exist, as he faces a formidable challenge in scoring points against the president, according to a University of Notre Dame political scientist.
When Caitlin Crommett was 15 years old, she founded DreamCatchers, a club she created to grant the last wishes of terminally ill hospice patients. Now a University of Notre Dame sophomore majoring in business entrepreneurship and film, television and theatre, Crommett recently expanded DreamCatchers, which began as a high school club and is now a national organization with chapters in California and Indiana.
Dr. Bob Arnot ’70 has worked as an Olympic physician, served on the boards of Save the Children and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, worked as the chief medical correspondent for NBC and CBS News, covered most major humanitarian disasters, served as MSNBC’s chief foreign correspondent in Iraq and Afghanistan, and written a dozen best-selling books on health and nutrition. As host of the television show Dr. Danger, he navigates treacherous assignments in Somalia, Sudan, and other global hotspots. Arnot also spends four months a year on humanitarian projects in Africa and the Middle East, and just completed a PBS documentary on starving children. His passions, he says, took root in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.
Collaboration among University of Notre Dame faculty and students, Sedlack Design Associates, and Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns has resulted in a $50,000 Sappi Ideas that Matter grant to together+, a campaign to combat xenophobia in South Africa.
Of the many lessons Kathleen Blatz ’76 took from Notre Dame, the one she says mattered most was not learned in a specific class or from a certain professor. Rather, it was the entirety of her educational experience—from studying abroad in Rome to diving into art history to exploring anthropology—that broadened her perspective on life and helped shape her own path.
With words such as “aggressive” and “attack,” President Barack Obama’s aides prepped him for his “comeback” Tuesday night, asserting that his first debate was “too polite.” But if the president of the United States was deemed “too polite,” where does that leave the notion of civil discourse in political debates?
A partnership between the University of Cambridge and Notre Dame’s Italian program in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures is giving graduate students at both institutions the opportunity to work directly with leading scholars in their areas of interest.
Notre Dame’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures expands its faculty by two this year with the addition of Sarah Ann Wells, assistant professor of Brazilian and Spanish-American literature and culture, and Diana Roxana Jorza, an assistant professor of modern peninsular literature.
Two essays published in Notre Dame Magazine last year have been named to the “Notable Essays of 2011” in this year’s collection of The Best American Essays, edited by David Brooks and Robert Atwan. Both essays were written by graduates of the University’s College of Arts and Letters.
Two professors of French and Francophone studies in Notre Dame’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures are bringing recognition to little-known literature of the past and present. Through individual and joint research projects, Professor Julia Douthwaite, a specialist in 18th and 19th century French literature, and Associate Professor Alison Rice, an expert in French-language texts from the 20th and 21st centuries, are working toward this common goal.
Associate Professor Daniel Hobbins’s arrival at the University of Notre Dame this fall is a homecoming of sorts. A cultural and intellectual historian of the late middle ages, Hobbins received his Ph.D. in medieval history from Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute in 2002 and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University in 2004.
Novelist Mo Yan today became the first Chinese writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. If you have ever read any of his work in English, you probably have Howard Goldblatt to thank. Big Breasts and Wide Hips, Red Sorghum, The Republic of Wine, The Garlic Ballads, Shifu, You’ll Do Anything for a Laugh, and Selected Stories by Mo Yan are among the author’s works translated by Goldblatt, a professor of Chinese in Notre Dame’s Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures from 2002-2011.
As a member of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Policy Planning Staff in Washington, D.C., Matthew Walsh ’06 conducts policy research, makes policy recommendations on Africa and development strategy, and contributes to speeches for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “One of our jobs is to provide the Secretary of State with second opinions on policy issues,” says Walsh, who majored in political science and peace studies at Notre Dame. “It’s an exciting job that goes to the heart of almost every foreign policy debate and can have a real influence on policy.”
Some may look at Dante’s Divine Comedy and see just a dusty trilogy of poetry written by a long-gone Florentine. But for others, Dante and his opus are immortal. For them, Dante is now. In that spirit, Italian Studies at Notre Dame and the College of Arts and Letters’ William and Katherine Devers Program in Dante Studies will host “Dante Now!”—a series of public readings from The Divine Comedy. Readings will occur simultaneously at various locations around campus on November 2, beginning at 2 p.m.
Eileen Hunt Botting, an associate professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Political Science, and one of her former Ph.D. students, Sarah L. Houser, recently won the Society for the Study of American Women Writers Edition Award for their book Hannah Mather Crocker’s Reminiscences and Traditions of Boston. The triennial prize recognizes excellence in the recovery of American women writers.
As an undergraduate economics major in the College of Arts and Letters, Bill Kennedy ’90 took an Asian history class to fulfill one of his academic requirements. That class, he says, is part of the reason he is now a top portfolio manager at Fidelity Investments in London. “I fell in love with international business because I’d taken government requirements and then a fascinating Asian history class,” he says. “My professor got me really excited about the opportunities in Asia. My career grew right out of my Arts and Letters degree; I became fascinated with things that are now relevant to my career and what I do every day.”
Edward A. Goerner, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Notre Dame, died October 2 at Memorial Hospital in South Bend. He was 82 years old. A political theorist with a particular interest in religion and politics, Goerner was one of the University’s most popular teachers, once described in a student publication as “one of those unique individuals you can build an education around.”
University of Notre Dame historian Brad Gregory has been awarded the inaugural Aldersgate Prize for Christian Scholarship for his latest book, The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society. Presented by Indiana Wesleyan University’s John Wesley Honors College (JWHC), the prize recognizes a published book’s ability to reflect the highest ideals of Christian scholarship.
With a $400,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of Notre Dame announces the launch of the Sacred Music Drama Project, a four-year, cross-disciplinary initiative designed to engage people more deeply with the power of shared creativity, performance, and scholarship. The project will draw on humanistic, artistic, and sacred topics from a variety of musical traditions to develop new coursework and to stage the production of a major dramatic performance each year. The Mellon grant will also bring both eminent and emerging guest artists to campus and will fund the commission of a new work of sacred music drama at the end of the project.
Christopher Porter, who recently completed the joint Ph.D. in logic and foundations of mathematics at the University of Notre Dame, has been awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation International Research Fellowship.