Joseph Blenkinsopp, the John A. O'Brien Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at the University of Notre Dame, died March 26 in South Bend. He was 94. Although he retired from Notre Dame in 1999, he continued to pursue academic research until nearly the end of his life. His last book, Luke’s Jesus: Between Incarnation and Crucifixion, was published in October 2021.
For centuries, the official history of Ireland was held in British archives, and the unfiltered Irish perspective was lost — except in its poetry and folk songs. For that reason, among others, poetry holds a higher status in Irish culture than in many other countries, said Brian Ó Conchubhair, an associate professor of Irish language and literature. Ó Conchubhair and co-editor Samuel Fisher are bringing that history to a wider audience on St. Patrick's Day in the most comprehensive collection of Irish poetry to date, Bone and Marrow/Cnámh agus Smior: An Anthology of Irish Poetry from Medieval to Modern.
A full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russia seems unlikely in the next few weeks, according to University of Notre Dame military history expert Ian Ona Johnson. More likely, Johnson said, are continued hybrid warfare measures designed to persuade the U.S. and its partners to minimize their commitments to Ukraine and to recognize Russia’s special interest in the country.
Many associate philosophy with the study of abstract theories of logic, human nature or the universe. But for Notre Dame philosophers Meghan Sullivan and Paul Blaschko it is also a practical approach to the issues of everyday life. Philosophy, they say, offers a sustainable, holistic and battle-tested approach to setting goals and finding meaning. In their new book, The Good Life Method: Reasoning Through the Big Questions of Happiness, Faith, and Meaning, Blaschko and Sullivan examine how the tenets of philosophy can help readers chart their course and ultimately determine what it means to live a good life.
In the drive to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19, many question where faith communities stand. A new study by Notre Dame sociologist Kraig Beyerlein found that 30 percent of congregants in the United States heard solely encouraging messages about vaccination from faith leaders or fellow members. Another third heard both encouraging and discouraging messaging, and 32 percent heard no messaging at all. Notably, only 5 percent of American congregants received only discouraging messages concerning vaccination from their faith communities.
When Reginald Dwayne Betts hears the word prison, his first thoughts aren’t about violence or distance or time — he thinks about books. Betts, an artist-in-residence at the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study and the Notre Dame Initiative on Race and Resilience, was sentenced to nine years in prison as a 16-year-old. It was there that a book, slid under the door of his cell, changed the course of his life. Now an acclaimed poet, graduate of Yale Law School and 2021 MacArthur Fellow, Betts presented the debut of his solo show Nov. 17 and 18 in the Regis Philbin Studio Theatre at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.
Fall Saturdays on Notre Dame’s campus are filled with familiar touchstones. Helmeted competitors preparing to face off. A glint of sunlight reflecting off a majestic wing. Cherished objects brought out for admiring fans. Spectators reveling in the pageantry of it all. But this year, some of those displays predate American football by centuries. Thanks to the Medieval Institute — which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year — home game Saturdays have featured medieval objects and traditions, from fencing demonstrations to falconry, blacksmithing, astronomy, and more.
“The Middle Ages are amazingly important to understanding the modern world,” said Thomas Burman, the Robert M. Conway Director of the Medieval Institute. “That’s part of the reason we say they are ‘the crossroads of everything.’ There are all kinds of things about modern culture that are medieval in origin, including scientific traditions, universities and representative democracy.”
As a managing director in Accenture's Information Security group, John Blasi ’90 is constantly evaluating new security technologies. His goal is to stay ahead of would-be hackers and other malicious activity and to protect the company’s more than 500,000 employees worldwide. To do so, the Chicago-based executive needs more than just technical skills in the people he hires — he needs a multidisciplinary team that is creative, adaptive, and responsive. He needs liberal arts majors.
In an academic convocation at the University of Notre Dame’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Thursday evening (Oct. 28), His All-Holiness Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, received an honorary degree from the University and offered an address on environmental sustainability and the COVID-19 pandemic.
For nearly 1,000 years, there has existed a sad division between two branches of the Christian family. Another step on the long path toward reconciliation between the Orthodox and Catholic Churches will be taken this month, when His All-Holiness Bartholomew, Orthodox Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome, visits the University of Notre Dame. “His coming here is, first and foremost, a sign of solidarity among Christians, between East and West,” said Alexis Torrance, the Archbishop Demetrios Associate Professor of Byzantine Theology. “And because Notre Dame is a global university, it is also an indication of how members of the academy, across disciplines, want to address the crises we all face — at the level of human relationships, economic injustice and environmental tragedy — in solidarity.”
Yury Avvakumov, an associate professor in the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Theology and a faculty fellow in the University’s Medieval Institute, has been appointed by Pope Francis to the Vatican’s International Theological Commission. The commission, established under Pope Paul VI in 1969, is tasked with examining doctrinal questions of great importance and advising the pope and the Holy See through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The University of Notre Dame will host the 31st annual meeting of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium on Oct. 7-9, featuring two public lectures and an inculturated Mass led by Cardinal Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the Department of Africana Studies and Department of Theology, the event also includes two days of private meetings for symposium members and an invitation-only listening session for Black Catholic students, community members, faculty, and staff.
Daniel Philpott, a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, and Katharina Westerhorstmann, a professor of theology at Franciscan University, will host a public lecture and a day-long consultation session at Notre Dame on Thursday and Friday (Sept. 23 and 24), examining the Church’s sex abuse crisis and the lessons that may be derived from national truth and reconciliation processes for healing and restoration.
While many scholars have examined the early connections between Europe and the Americas, most approach the issue from one perspective or the other. Americanists tend to emphasize that the Spanish influence was an imposition and that indigenous culture was destroyed, while scholars of European history focus on evangelization and acculturation. Notre Dame Medieval Institute Ph.D. student Carlos Diego Arenas Pacheco seeks a balance between the two, however, arguing that indigenous culture in Mexico did not disappear — it was remade into something different, not only by the hands of the Europeans, but also by the hands of the indigenous peoples themselves.
Abigail Jorgensen ’16 first began exploring women’s relationships with politics for her senior thesis in the College of Arts & Letters. That experience not only sparked a passion for research, but also laid the foundation for her career in academia. Now a Ph.D. candidate in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology with a graduate minor in gender studies, she is finalizing her dissertation on motherhood, fertility intentions, and political behavior, titled “Becoming the Mommy Politic.” While existing research on voting behavior often divides women into “mothers” and “non-mothers,” Jorgensen argues that scholars should take a more expansive view of when the shift into motherhood begins and how long it takes.
Nina Glibetić, an assistant professor in the Department of Theology, and Gabriel Radle, the Rev. John A. O’Brien Assistant Professor of Theology, have been appointed by Pope Francis as consultors for the Congregation for the Eastern Churches. The congregation assists in the development and protects the rights of the Eastern Catholic Churches, while maintaining the heritage of the various Eastern Christian traditions alongside the liturgical, disciplinary and spiritual patrimony of the Latin rite.
In new research that is the first to elucidate exactly what occurred at secret facilities in the USSR, Ian Ona Johnson, the P. J. Moran Family Assistant Professor of Military History at the University of Notre Dame, details the inner workings of the German-Soviet alliance that laid the foundation for Germany’s rise and ultimate downfall in World War II. His book, Faustian Bargain, traces the on-again, off-again relationship from the first tentative connections between the sworn enemies in 1919, made “almost before the ink had dried on the treaties ending the First World War,” to Hitler’s betrayal of Joseph Stalin and invasion of the USSR in 1941.
The research fellowship, which promotes international academic cooperation among distinguished scholars from Germany and abroad, will enable Miseres to spend the 2022 calendar year writing and researching at the Freie Universität in Berlin. “This fellowship is both an honor and a great opportunity to advance in my second book and to strengthen the dialogue between Notre Dame faculty and other distinguished international institutions,” she said. “It is also a meaningful recognition for women with a diverse background in academia — and in particular, for those of us who work with foreign languages and are underrepresented among awardees.”
Aldo Tagliabue is fascinated by the power of a great narrative to draw the reader in. An assistant professor in the Department of Classics, Tagliabue wants to ensure that the study of ancient narratives encompasses not just the intellectual aspects of literature, but that experiential side, as well. “For many years, there has been a more intellectual approach to ancient narrative, which has had great results. But I think it has missed another vital aspect,” he said. “My research tries to recapture the importance of the full experience of what it means to be a reader — now and in the ancient world."
Jay David Miller, who received his Ph.D. in English from Notre Dame in spring 2020, has been awarded a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies for his project, Quaker Jeremiad. Miller, currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, focuses his research on early American literature. His dissertation traces the development of Quaker rhetoric on agrarian labor and justice, examining the ways that rhetoric shifts from the beginnings of the Quaker movement in 17th-century England as it moves across the Atlantic and confronts agrarian issues like enslavement and indigenous dispossession.
The degree, conferred at CTU’s virtual commencement ceremony on May 20, was given in recognition of Hilkert’s teaching and research that deepens in others an awareness and understanding of the mystery of our loving God. “Professor Hilkert’s work resonates deeply with the mission of Catholic Theological Union, which is to prepare effective leaders for the church, ready to witness to Christ’s good news of justice, love, and peace,” said Rev. Robin Ryan, an associate professor of systematic theology at CTU. “This is particularly evident in three areas of her research and writing — preaching, feminist theology, and the mystery of suffering.”
Seven seniors in the Department of Economics have secured highly competitive pre-doctoral positions for after graduation — three with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, two at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and one each at the National Bureau of Economic Research and Northwestern University's Global Poverty Research Lab. “These positions are both prestigious and highly competitive,” said Eric Sims, professor and chair of the department. “In these roles, individuals work as research assistants — and often as coauthors — with leading professional economists on cutting-edge research aimed at solving some of the most pressing issues facing society.”
Luiz Vilaça is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology and a Ph.D. fellow in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies. His research focuses on the sociology of law, organizations, and politics. In this interview, he discusses how state organizations build the autonomy and capacity to investigate corruption, how Brazil startled the world by dismantling multiple schemes of bribery and kickbacks, and why it's important to examine these anti-corruption investigations from a sociological perspective.
Alexander Beihammer, the Heiden Family College Professor in the Department of History and a faculty fellow in the Medieval Institute, has been awarded a $480,000 research grant from the Austrian Research Foundation for his project, “Medieval Smyrna/Izmir: The Transformation of a City and its Hinterland from Byzantine to Ottoman Times.” The project examines the development of the medieval city of Smyrna — now Izmir, Turkey — from its last heydays under Byzantine rule in the 13th century to the Ottoman conquest in the 15th century.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Matt Hawkins wanted to teach his students the value of resilience — and the power of performance art. At a time when nearly all live theatre has been suspended for more than a year, Hawkins found a way to safely bring back the musical his students had spent months planning for and rehearsing during spring 2020. Last month, he directed a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar at Notre Dame Stadium, featuring most of the original cast.
Claire Scott-Bacon is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Psychology’s clinical program and was recently awarded a Distinguished Graduate Fellowship from the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study. Her research focuses on issues related to the structure and assessment of criminal personality in clinical, forensic, and legal settings. In this interview, she discusses her work and its impact on the high rate of wrongful convictions and criminalization of mental health-related crimes in the United States.
Katie Bugyis, an assistant professor in the Program of Liberal Studies, has been awarded the American Society of Church History’s Franklin S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize, which honors outstanding scholarship in the history of Christianity by a first-time author. She received the prize for her work, The Care of Nuns: The Ministries of Benedictine Women in England During the Central Middle Ages, which reconstructs the history of Benedictine nuns through examination of their own liturgical documents — and recovers evidence of their liturgical functions, including preaching, reading the gospel liturgically, hearing confessions, and pronouncing absolution.
Perin Gürel, an associate professor of American studies and concurrent associate professor in gender studies, has won the Jack Rosenbalm Prize for American Humor for her essay, “Amerikan Jokes: The Transnational Politics of Unlaughter in Turkey.” Gürel said she is thrilled to win the award — considered the top prize in the field of American humor studies. “It confirmed to me the importance of interdisciplinary, transnational research investigating the intersections of culture and politics,” she said. “I was also excited to have the official recognition because I felt it gave my personal interest in jokes — especially bilingual jokes and anti-jokes or ‘dad jokes’ — a scholarly veneer.”
For Arienne Thompson Plourde ’04, the first step toward a successful journalism career was to study history and Japanese. Although it might seem an unlikely combination for an aspiring journalist, it gave her a strong foundation to build on — and just as importantly, four years to study what she loved. “For me, I always knew that I wanted to be writing and thinking and reading — and being immersed in the world of letters. It was almost like breathing. What else could I have done?”
Notre Dame senior Margaret “Meg” Burns, an art history major from San Antonio, Texas, has been awarded a 2021–22 Luce Scholarship. The scholarship provides a stipend, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia, with a goal of enhancing the understanding of Asia among potential leaders of American society. Burns is Notre Dame’s 10th Luce Scholar in total and its third since 2014.