As a linguist, artist, semiotician, and interdisciplinary scholar committed to social action, graduating senior Mary Atwood is a Notre Dame original. Drawing on seven weeks of research in Peru, the theology major recently completed a senior thesis that included original oil paintings and English translations of three Inca legends gleaned from interviews with Quechua speakers in Cusco’s central market.
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Though the social barriers of race and gender were largely overcome during the last U.S. presidential campaign, religious affiliation (in this case, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormonism) is still a significant hurdle, according to a new study by University of Notre Dame Political Science Professor David Campbell and colleagues from Brigham Young University and the University of Akron.
Grant Mudge has been named the Ryan Producing Artistic Director of the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival. Mudge succeeds Jay Paul Skelton, who departs after the conclusion of 2012 season of the Festival to pursue a research degree in England. “We chose Grant after an extensive national search,” says Peter Holland, associate dean for the arts in the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame. “His success in building the Richmond Shakespeare Festival shows that he has the track-record and the talent to help us take the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival forward to an ever more exciting future.
The Notre Dame Graduate School recently announced the winners of the 2012 Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Graduate School Awards, the highest honors bestowed on Notre Dame graduate students. Nominated by their departments, Shaheen Award winners are chosen for their superior ability as exhibited by grades, research, and publication records, fellowships and other awards received during the course of study at Notre Dame, as well as teaching ability. English Ph.D. recipient Hilary Fox won in the humanities category and Carlos Gervasoni, who received his Ph.D. in political science, won in the social sciences category.
The Fulbright Exchange Program, National Science Foundation, and other national and international organizations have awarded postgraduate scholarships and fellowships to 13 members of the University of Notre Dame’s Class of 2012, 10 of whom are students in the College of Arts and Letters. Two Arts and Letters graduates of earlier classes also received prestigious fellowships and scholarships this year.
Theologian James VanderKam and historian John Van Engen have been named co-recipients of the University of Notre Dame Graduate School’s annual James A. Burns, C.S.C., Award. Named after the first Notre Dame president with an advanced degree, the award recognizes exemplary contributions to graduate education. The two College of Arts and Letters faculty members will be presented with their awards during the Graduate School’s Awards Dinner on May 18, 2012.
In the spirit of ubuntu, or “togetherness,” University of Notre Dame faculty, students, and alumni, Kgosi Neighbourhood Foundation, and Pellegrino Collaborative have joined forces to develop together+, a multifaceted campaign designed to unite a South African community divided by xenophobia, and to inform, inspire, and empower its most marginalized citizens.
College of Arts and Letters students made a strong showing at Notre Dame’s 5th annual Undergraduate Scholars Conference, which showcased more than 250 research, scholarship, and creative projects from across the University. At the May 4, 2012, event, senior art history honors student Caroline Maloney won first prize in the Undergraduate Library Research Awards sponsored by Hesburgh Libraries and the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement.
Notre Dame historian Olivia Remie Constable has been awarded a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for her book project Christian Perceptions of Muslim Identity in Medieval Spain. Among other things, her work will examine Christian attitudes toward Muslim dress and appearance and whether Muslims could engage in public religious expressions, teach Arabic to their children, and maintain bathhouses, schools, cemeteries, and other separate spaces important to the continuity of their culture and religion.
Seven University of Notre Dame students and two faculty members traveled to Northern Ireland this spring to explore the role of digital technology in peace building. As part of a new Center for Social Concerns (CSC) seminar, the Notre Dame team worked with eight students from Lismore Comprehensive School, a Catholic school in Portadown, and four students from Lurgan Junior High School to help create a website. Lurgan Junior High is a Protestant school about 20 minutes from Portadown.
It is widely known that Spanish missionaries played a significant role in introducing Catholicism to the peoples of the Andes throughout the colonial period. Notre Dame senior history major Joseph VanderZee traveled to archives in Lima and Rome to dig a little deeper and find out what these early missionaries thought of the indigenous population—and how their attitudes affected the development of the Peruvian Church.
Gary Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology at the University of Notre Dame, has been named a fellow of the American Academy of Jewish Research (AAJR). The AAJR is the oldest organization of Judaic scholars in North America, and fellows are nominated and elected by their peers. The group has approximately 100 members in the United States—and Anderson is one of a select few who are not Jewish.
Robert Goulding, an associate professor in the University of Notre Dame’s Program of Liberal Studies, was recently awarded a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) to support a research project that combines mathematics, philosophy, and Renaissance science. Goulding, who also teaches in the History and Philosophy of Science graduate program, says his work focuses on English scientist and mathematician Thomas Harriot (1560–1621), whom he calls “a really unusual figure” in intellectual history.
Large-scale microfinance programs are widely used as a tool to fight poverty in developing countries, but a recent study by University of Notre Dame economist Joseph Kaboski and MIT colleague Robert Townsend suggests that microfinancing can have varying results for participants and may not be the most cost-effective use of funds for many situations. The study was published in a recent issue of Econometrica. Kaboski and Townsend used the Thai Million Baht Village Fund, one of the largest government microfinance initiatives of its kind, to evaluate and understand the benefits and disadvantages of microfinance interventions.
Michel O’Brien, the valedictorian for the class of 2012 has enjoyed a full and rich Notre Dame experience. He will graduate this month with a political science major, a philosophy minor, and an International Business Certificate. Originally from St. Charles, Ill., O’Brien lived in Keenan and Siegfried halls during his years at Notre Dame. In addition to copious research and many academic pursuits, O’Brien also served as the president of the College Democrats, a vice president of Circle K, and an editor of a journal, Beyond Politics. Here he answers a few questions and reflects on his time at Notre Dame.
Jessica Scanlan Bailey ’01 is the sustainable development program officer for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund in New York, where she focuses on climate change. Her position involves allocating funds for research, advocacy, communications, and other efforts to organizations focused on advancing clean energy policies at the state and federal level. Bailey graduated from Notre Dame with degrees in government and anthropology and a minor in peace studies.
University of Notre Dame engineer James Schmiedeler received the 2012 Rodney F. Ganey, Ph.D., Faculty Community-based Research Award for a project that uses the Nintendo Wii Fit platform to assist individuals dealing with weakness, paralysis, or impairments in balance and mobility as a result of strokes, accidents or illness. Schmiedeler, associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, developed “WeHab” with colleagues from the College of Engineering and College of Arts and Letters, working in collaboration with the therapy staff at Memorial Hospital in South Bend.
Art. Sacred music. Medieval history. And the digital humanities. Margot Fassler, Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy at Notre Dame, brings them all together in her current research on Hildegard of Bingen—research for which she has been recently awarded fellowships from both the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Adding to these accolades, Fassler, who co-directs the Master of Sacred Music program in the College of Arts and Letters, today received the 2012 Otto Gründler Book Prize for The Virgin of Chartres: Making History Through Liturgy and the Arts (Yale University Press, 2010).
Wikipedia is often in the top results when people search for information online, but it isn’t always the most credible source. Enter a group of advanced Notre Dame undergraduates in psychology who have taken on the challenge to update, correct, or, in some cases, write new entries for the online encyclopedia. It’s all part of the new Association for Psychological Science (APS) Wikipedia Initiative—and Assistant Professor Gerald Haeffel’s Science and Pseudoscience in Psychology class is one of a select few across the country selected to participate.
A two-day working conference titled Learning In and Out of School: Education Across the Globe will bring a dozen researchers to the Notre Dame campus May 22–23 to share and discuss a broad range of perspectives on the nature of learning. “We’re taking a critical look at conventional schooling and bringing insights from other domains to understand human learning and to improve schooling—which is one of my goals as a teacher and researcher,” says organizer Susan Blum, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology.
Junior Ellen Carroll and senior Rian Dineen from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters were among a select group of students invited to the national Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) Undergraduate Colloquium this spring. “This was a great opportunity for our students to broaden their intellectual networks through seminar work with their peers from other universities, including Duke, North Carolina, Penn, Tulane, Virginia, and Yale,” says John Roos, director of Notre Dame’s PPE minor.
Prominent in both Greek mythology and Catholicism, the labyrinth remains one of the most enigmatic and elaborate structures in history. Notre Dame senior Maria Martellaro traveled to Italy and France this past summer in attempt to unravel this mystery for her senior thesis on the labyrinth and its role in late medieval religious architecture. “How did this [element of a] classical, very pagan myth,” she asks, “work its way into becoming a Catholic symbol?”
During his time at Notre Dame, Tom Hampson ’71, ’73 M.A., thought he would become a photographer, a mathematician, or a marine biologist. He never expected to be able to turn his passion for social justice—or his two College of Arts and Letters degrees in theology—into a career. But that is exactly what he has done during nearly 30 years at Church World Service, a career that has taken the Elkhart, Ind., resident to more than two dozen countries around the world.
A new book by University of Notre Dame Anthropology Professor Agustín Fuentes titled Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You: Busting Myths about Human Nature counters these pernicious myths and tackles misconceptions about what race, aggression, and sex really mean for humans. Presenting scientific evidence from diverse fields, including anthropology, biology, and psychology, Fuentes incorporates an accessible understanding of culture, genetics, and evolution, requiring us to dispose of notions of “nature or nurture.”
Rev. Daniel G. Groody, C.S.C., associate professor of theology and director of the Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies, has received the 2012 Touchstone Award from the National Federation of Priests’ Councils (NFPC). In announcing the award, the NFPC, which represents 26,000 priests nationwide, praised Father Groody’s work in the Latino community and his scholarship in migration issues and theology.
Anthropology majors at the University of Notre Dame took their studies from the theoretical to the practical last summer, completing internships that had them doing archaeological fieldwork in Mongolia, cataloging artifacts in Chicago’s Field Museum, and collecting the oral histories of Irish immigrants on Beaver Island, Mich. Through these internships, students did more than gain experience in the field; they also had invaluable opportunities to work alongside experts and get insider looks at a variety of careers paths.
College of Arts and Letters alumnus and current Notre Dame law student Colin Littlefield’s late-night job at the Notre Dame Observatory has led to a one-in-a-billion discovery of a rare type of star—a Wolf-Rayet. Littlefield ’11 discovered the exceptional star, named WR 142b, this past summer, and he and his colleagues announced the discovery in a paper accepted for publication in The Astronomical Journal.
José E. Limón, one of the country’s foremost scholars of Latino literature, has been tapped to lead the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS). As the new director of ILS, he will hold the Julian Samora Chair in Latino Studies. Timothy Matovina, a leading expert on Latino Catholicism, will serve as executive director of the institute, which is housed in the College of Arts and Letters. Both appointments take effect July 1, 2012. Established in 1999, the Institute for Latino Studies supports a variety of interdisciplinary initiatives to foster understanding of the U.S. Latino experience.
Twelve College of Arts and Letters faculty members have received 2012 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.
Robert C. Johansen, who retired this year as professor of political science and peace studies and a founding faculty member of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, was recently honored with a conference titled “Global Governance and the Future of Strategic Peacebuilding.” It focused on a central theme of Johansen’s scholarship and teaching: the importance of strengthening ethical and legal norms and international institutions that contribute to peace and justice.