Matthew Payne will join Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television and Theatre (FTT) as an assistant professor this fall, bringing research and teaching interests that range from the rapidly evolving field of video games and interactive entertainment to convergent media, new media literacy, media representations of war, and ethnographic audience research. His book, Playing War: Military Video Games After 9/11, examines how games like the Call of Duty and Battlefield series “transform international strife into interactive fun."
Jennifer Jones, an assistant professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology, has received the Presidential Authority Award grant from the Russell Sage Foundation for her study of interracial coalitions and their effect on immigration policy in Mississippi and Alabama. Combining archival and media sources with interviews, “Enforcement or Embrace? The Determinants of State-Level Immigration Policy in New Immigrant Destinations” emerged from unexpected patterns Jones identified while researching race relations and immigration in North Carolina.
Z’étoile Imma, an assistant professor of English at Notre Dame, has received a prestigious Ford Foundation fellowship in support of her research in South Africa on 20th-century activist Simon Nkoli. Imma is one of 116 top scholars to receive an award through the foundation’s fellowship program, administered by the National Research Council of the National Academies. The program seeks to increase diversity among university faculties, maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and increase the number of professors who use diversity as a resource for enriching education.
Michael Hartney, who earned his Ph.D. in political science at the University of Notre Dame in 2014, has won the American Political Science Association’s Harold D. Lasswell Award—given annually to the best dissertation in the field of public policy. Hartney, whose research focuses on how politics shape educational opportunity, also won the Notre Dame’s Shaheen Award for the best graduate student in the social sciences.
The key to improving human memory, Notre Dame psychology graduate student Andrea Kalchik believes, is understanding the circumstances that cause us to forget. “Everyday forgetting is something that impacts everyone to some extent,” she said. “My research has the potential to help improve all people’s lives. I hope that I can make that difference.” Kalchik, a Presidential University Fellow pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Psychology’s Cognition, Brain, and Behavior Area, is focusing her research on brain processes—metamemory, episodic future thinking, and prospective memory—that are essential components of human brain function.
Jessica Payne never dreamed of becoming a rising star in the science of sleep. In fact, until midway through graduate school, she didn’t think much about the subject beyond her own off-and-on problems getting some shut-eye. Now, she can’t keep it off her mind. Payne’s tireless work recently earned her the "Psychonomic Society’s Early Career Award, given to individuals who have made significant contributions to scientific psychology early in their careers.
Disheartened by anti-Muslim rhetoric that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Anne García-Romero resolved to write a play that explored the intricacies and nuances of interfaith love, tolerance, and peaceful coexistence. After years in the making, that work has become a reality. Paloma—which received its West Coast premiere and ran for a month this summer at the Los Angeles Theatre Center—focuses on a romance between a Muslim man and a Christian woman.
John P. Welle, a professor of Italian in Notre Dame’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, has won a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies to finish his book, The Poet and the Diva: Print Media from the Golden Age of Italian Silent Film. Welle’s research examines discourses on stardom and celebrity from 1890 to 1920, when the Italian film industry flourished by promoting poets and divas.
Eugene Staples has a vision: Entertainment can be more than a distraction—it can be an inspiration. It can teach kids how to be better people. It can make the world a better place. That sense of responsibility—the desire to make things that make an impact—was sparked at Notre Dame, and was recognized this spring by the Television Academy Foundation, which honored him with a Mister Rogers Memorial Scholarship.
Meredith Chesson, an associate professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Anthropology, has been awarded a three-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to continue fieldwork in Italy’s Bova Marina region. Her project—examining how human landscapes of the Mediterranean have changed over millennia—is an outgrowth of 18 years of research by the Bova Marina Archaeological Project (BMAP). The project is co-directed by Chesson, John Robb of the University of Cambridge, and Lin Foxhall of the University of Leicester, working under the auspices of the Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Calabria.
Furiously strumming his jarana into the early morning hours of a stranger’s backyard birthday party in Austin, Texas, Alex Chavez was having fun with the hired musicians who had brought him along as an impromptu guest. He was also doing fieldwork. Chavez, who joined Notre Dame’s Department of Anthropology in 2014 as an assistant professor, studies “the aesthetic dimensions of contemporary lived politics”— sometimes referred to as cultural poetics. He focuses on the unfolding of this expressive grammar among Latino migrant communities in the United States.
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, assistant professor in the University of Notre Dame’s Department of English, has joined a prestigious group of writers that includes Jonathan Franzen, Alice McDermott, and David Foster Wallace. In March, Van der Vliet Oloomi was named a 2015 Whiting Award winner for “early accomplishment and the promise of great work to come.” Other past winners of the Whiting Award, established in 1985, include Jeffrey Eugenides, Ben Marcus, Mona Simpson, and Suzan-Lori Parks.
Douglas Duhaime, Ph.D. student in Notre Dame’s Department of English, is busy expanding the possibilities of humanities research in the digital realm. Very busy. While embarking upon a dissertation project that will use computational models to improve our understanding of early modern book culture, Duhaime has also taken a position with ProQuest, a global information content and technology company, to develop a text and data mining service for researchers.
Notre Dame psychologist Gitta Lubke will serve as one of the senior statisticians in an international research consortium investigating the genetics and environmental contributions to the development of childhood aggression, which will provide the basis to develop more personalized treatment and intervention strategies.
Ask 10 macroeconomists why we have recessions and you’re likely to get 10 different answers. This lack of consensus might seem frustrating, but for Eric Sims, Michael P. Grace II Associate Professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Economics, it’s also exciting.
Matthew Wilkens, an assistant professor in Notre Dame’s Department of English, recently won a prestigious fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) for his groundbreaking digital humanities research. In naming Wilkens one of seven scholars to receive its 2014 Digital Innovation Fellowship, ACLS described his Literary Geography at Scale as “one of the largest humanities text-mining projects to date and the first truly large-scale study of 20th- and 21st-century literature.”
Notre Dame’s Department of History has significantly broadened and deepened its coverage of China with the appointments of Elisabeth Köll and Liang Cai, two scholars “who are doing extraordinarily exciting and complementary work,” said Madden-Hennebry Professor of History Patrick Griffin, chair of the department. “These two historians enjoy established reputations in their subfields,” Griffin said. “They are also committed to teaching, and they will fit in beautifully to a department that prides itself on its scholarly and teaching prowess.”
Luis Ricardo Fraga, a heralded scholar and pioneer in the field of Latino politics, joined the faculty of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters this fall. Fraga has been named the Arthur Foundation Endowed Professor of Transformative Latino Leadership in the Institute of Latino Studies and a professor in the Department of Political Science.
The University of Notre Dame’s Department of Romance Languages and Literatures offers majors in French, Italian, and Spanish, and a minor in Portuguese, but students also have access to the less widely studied languages of Creole, Quechua, and Catalan. The ability to communicate in these languages is crucial to understanding the cultures, histories, and modern-day complexities of the societies in which they are spoken, said Thomas Anderson, department chair and professor of Spanish.
Yasmin Solomonescu, an assistant professor in Notre Dame’s Department of English, was recently awarded a residential fellowship at the National Humanities Center (NHC). The NHC is a leading independent institute for advanced study dedicated to the humanities. The North Carolina-based center selects 40 fellows annually from a pool of more than 500 applicants from around the world.
Jeff Spoonhower ’99 has been appointed assistant professor of film and digital media production in Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television and Theatre (FTT). A 12-year veteran of the video game and animation industries, Spoonhower shares with students the very same production techniques and tools he uses in his award-winning professional work.
Peter Casarella, associate professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Theology, has been awarded two prestigious grants for a book project that will explore the idea of God from the perspective of Latino Catholicism, including the complex challenges of “translating” God in a modern world.
With the support of two major awards, Jaimie Bleck, Ford Family Assistant Professor of Political Science at Notre Dame, will intensify her research on the political turbulence and democratic recovery in Mali.
Two University of Notre Dame professors—Scott Monroe, an expert in depressive disorders, and Donald Crafton, who holds Notre Dame’s first endowed chair for film studies—have been awarded 2014 fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Faculty members in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have won 15 Guggenheim fellowships in the past 14 years.
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.
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.
From the tropical rainforest of the Amazon to rural villages in Japan, Christopher Ball has traveled to study how language and other forms of communication fit into people’s lives. Now he has brought his work to Notre Dame as an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology.
Notre Dame’s Department of Economics is at the forefront of several initiatives that exemplify the University’s commitment to innovative research that can make a difference in the developing world.
Structural equation modeling and factor analysis might be difficult concepts to grasp for most people outside the world of statistics, but one thing should be crystal clear: Professor Ke-Hai Yuan’s groundbreaking work in these areas is a driving force behind the nationally recognized success of the quantitative psychology program in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.