Notre Dame’s Department of English has solidified its reputation as a top graduate program in the Medieval and Early Modern periods with the appointment of Laura Knoppers, an esteemed Miltonist who arrives in fall 2014. The department has also strengthened its focus on transnationalism, ethnicity, gender, and race studies with the appointments of three emerging young scholars: Nan Z. Da, Jesús Costantino, and Z’étoile Imma.
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With a $3.8 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation, Notre Dame philosopher Samuel Newlands and Cornell philosopher Andrew Chignell will co-direct a new research project called “Hope and Optimism: Conceptual and Empirical Investigations.” The three-year, interdisciplinary effort will explore the theoretical, empirical, and practical dimensions of hope and optimism, funding new research in the social sciences, philosophy, and analytic theology.
“I’ve definitely learned a lot about the publishing industry and what it’s like to put together a book,” says Meghan Thomassen, a senior English major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters. During the summer of 2013, Thomassen interned at Sheffield Marketing Partners, a boutique agency based in Downers Grove, Illinois, specializing in narrative message development and visual storytelling.
Last summer, Notre Dame senior Marianinna Villavicencio brought the perspective and research skills she gained as an anthropology major to her home country of Guatemala, exploring issues facing the country’s ethnic minority for her senior thesis project. With the help of a grant from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), Villavicencio focused on the governmental policies geared toward indigenous populations in Guatemala and the cultural factors that prevent their upward mobility.
“How do you define the English language in a very complex world in which native English speakers account for less than a third of the number of people who speak English today?” says Tim Machan, professor of English in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.
Despite knowing very little about finance at the time, Kevin Becker landed a choice position as an analyst at Morgan Stanley after he graduated from Notre Dame in 1988. Becker had majored in the Program of Liberal Studies and his academic background was centered on the Great Books, from Plato to Euclid to Dostoyevsky. That training in analytical thinking, he says, was exactly what Morgan Stanley wanted.
As a college student, Erin Metz McDonnell wanted “to experience a world view as completely different from my own as possible, a way of life that would take me out of my Midwestern comfort zone.” She chose Ghana and fell in love with the country. Now a Kellogg Assistant Professor of Sociology at Notre Dame, McDonnell continues to explore the region in her research and teaching.
Sociologist Sarah Mustillo ’96 combines real-world experience and statistical expertise to explore the social origins of child mental health issues. This fall she returned to Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters to continue her innovative research as a professor in the Department of Sociology.
Anthropologist Arlene Dávila will visit the University of Notre Dame next week as the inaugural recipient of the Institute for Latino Studies’ Virgilio Elizondo Distinguished Visiting Professorship. A professor of anthropology and American studies at New York University, Dávila, “is one of the country’s leading Latino studies cultural anthropologists,” says ILS Director José Limón, the Notre Dame Professor of American Literature and Julian Samora Professor of Latino Studies.
Olivia Remie Constable, Robert M. Conway Director of the Medieval Institute and professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, died of cancer at home Wednesday (April 16). A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1995, Constable had directed the Medieval Institute since 2009.
The genocide in Rwanda, whose 20th anniversary is being observed worldwide this month, began only a few days after Easter. That the hatred that cost the lives of a million people in this overwhelmingly Christian country could be unleashed so near to Holy Week seems paradoxical, ironic, or even blasphemous. But for Jean Bosco Rutagengwa, it is most of all a searing mystery. “This country went through what Jesus Christ went through,” he says of his homeland. “Life, death, and resurrection.”
Rwanda is one of the few countries to have met the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals—which include reducing childhood mortality, improving maternal health, and combatting HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. In her research, Notre Dame senior Catherine Cichon explores how Rwanda’s success may be repeated in other developing countries.
What would make a patient withhold information from his or her doctor? How do class, race, and ethnicity affect the quality of health care a patient receives? What social factors help determine the illnesses we contract and the best treatment plan for them? A growing number of Notre Dame students who pursue a career in medicine are finding the answers to these questions through a combination of sociology and Arts and Letters Pre-Health coursework.
“Everything changed on October 3, but nothing really changed,” says Maurizio Albahari, assistant professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Anthropology. In October 2013, several major media outlets covered two tragic shipwrecks off the coast of the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, which killed more than 400 Eritrean and Syrian migrants trying to reach Europe. Following the first incident, CNN reached out to Albahari for a quote.
Notre Dame’s Department of History is a place where undergraduates aren’t just invited to attend lectures by world-renowned visiting scholars—they also get opportunities to converse one-on-one and even share meals with them.
In 2012, SportsPro Magazine named Jimmy Small ’08 one of 10 top sports executives under the age of 30. And in December, Small was appointed president of Iowa Speedway, a racetrack purchased by NASCAR last year. At 28, he is believed to be the youngest president of a major racing facility in the nation. At Notre Dame, Small was an economics major in the College of Arts and Letters and a member of the Irish Guard.
Three Notre Dame researchers—combining expertise in psychology, religion, and peace—have been awarded a grant from Notre Dame International’s Global Collaboration Initiative to study the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The researchers will join with a team of scholars from universities in Israel and Palestine.…
In 1961, Fidel Castro described Cuba’s policy towards the arts: “Within the Revolution, everything; against the Revolution, nothing.” In the recently published Cuba Inside Out: Revolution and Contemporary Theatre (Southern Illinois University Press), Notre Dame’s Yael Prizant examines how Cuba’s contemporary playwrights have used theatre to challenge the traditional understanding of the Cuban Revolution.
Danielle Fulmer, a Notre Dame Ph.D. student in sociology and peace studies, has received a three-year graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the impact of women on community-level peacebuilding efforts in Rwanda.
Darcia Narvaez, a professor of psychology in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, and Nancy Snow, a professor of philosophy at Marquette University, are co-directing a new, interdisciplinary research initiative on virtue, character, and the development of the moral self. The three-year project is supported by a $2.6 million grant from the Templeton Religion Trust, which funds “discoveries relating to the big questions of human purpose and ultimate reality.”
Notre Dame’s annual Graduate Research Symposium on Feb. 27 showcased the accomplishments of Notre Dame graduate students in the Graduate School’s four divisions: humanities, social science, engineering, and science.
“Not only is medieval studies the history behind the things that we do every day and the way that we do things, but it’s also a way of thinking. It presents a new perspective,” says senior medieval studies major Mairead Mumford.
“I’ve really learned a lot this summer: finding ways to make Shakespeare … really relevant, and understanding the work that goes into putting a production on stage,” says senior Samuel Evola, an English and Spanish major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.
The University of Notre Dame’s Division of Student Affairs recognized seven students with awards at the annual Student Leadership Awards Banquet on April 1. Five of the student leaders are completing majors in the College of Arts and Letters.
Samantha Lessen, a junior in the College of Arts and Letters, has been awarded the second annual Monteverdi Prize through Notre Dame’s Program of Liberal Studies (PLS). The Monteverdi Prize, a scholarship created by the Cioffi family for PLS juniors, will provide Lessen with funding to conduct research this summer for her senior thesis. As part of the prize, she will live at Monteverdi Tuscany, a hotel and center for the liberal arts in Italy, founded by PLS alumnus Michael Cioffi ’75.
Margaret Atwood, award-winning and best-selling author of novels that peer into a dystopian future, will be speaking at McKenna Hall at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9.
Timothy Miller, a Ph.D. student in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, was awarded a Mellon Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Dissertation Completion Fellowship for the 2013-14 academic year.
“It’s really been a chance to learn and grow in my faith and to also be challenged by it,” says senior Jenna Ahn of her theology major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters. “It’s been the best fit for me.”
The healing power of music, the joyful celebration of faith—Teach Bhríde (the House of Brigid) seeks to enrich these elements of the Notre Dame spirit in a people who helped form this institution’s mission and heart: the Irish themselves. The House of Brigid began in 2009, when recent graduates of Notre Dame, aided by generous donors from the Notre Dame community and the Notre Dame Folk Choir, started a yearlong service program to assist in spiritual ministry and liturgical music in the Catholic Church in Ireland.
As presiding judge of the Marion County Superior Court, David Certo ’93 doles out his unique brand of ministry from inside a courtroom that is turning heads in Indianapolis for its innovative and compassionate approach to criminal justice.