Rachel Ganson’s path in the College of Arts and Letters led her to China, India, Iceland, Italy, and Spain. And to exactly where she is meant to be. “Visiting these places challenged me and helped me grow — intellectually, spiritually, emotionally,” she said. “When you experience different cultures and talk with people from different backgrounds, you start to figure out what you’re most passionate about and what you hold dear.” For Ganson ’17, who majored in political science, that passion is global food security and sustainability.
When Kacey Hengesbach began her undergraduate career at Notre Dame, she didn’t imagine that it would include traveling 8,000 miles to Ahmedabad, India. But thanks to a new course created by Neeta Verma, she had the chance to spend three weeks there last summer, working collaboratively with students from India’s National Institute of Design. Hengesbach and the other students in Verma’s Social Design course continued their partnership with the NID students throughout the fall semester, hosting them for a two-week visit to Notre Dame in September and communicating via Skype and email for the remainder of the course.
One visit to the Hesburgh Library’s medieval manuscripts collection, and Luke Donahue ’17 was hooked. “I saw them and thought, ‘This is it.’ This is what I want to study,” Donahue said. “I was intrigued that there are all these manuscripts from the Middle Ages that no one has researched, and I was determined — I wanted to help fill that intellectual gap.” While he initially planned to study physics, Donahue decided to major in theology and German and add a minor in medieval studies.
When he got to Notre Dame, Corey Robinson ’17 didn’t know what to major in — because he wanted to major in everything. He met with advisers in more than 20 departments, considering everything from Arts and Letters pre-health to Irish language and literature to aquatic biology. And he still wasn’t sure. That’s when his advising dean suggested the Program of Liberal Studies.
Deak, an associate professor in the Department of History, was awarded the 2018 Austrian State Prize in History for his book, Forging a Multinational State: State Making in Imperial Austria from the Enlightenment to the First World War. The Karl von Vogelsang State Prize, awarded by the federal minister for science and industry, recognizes outstanding achievements in the field of the history of social science.
With renowned musicians on the faculty, new opportunities to participate in student-led music groups, and a beautiful new home for the department in O’Neill Hall, it is an exciting time for piano students at Notre Dame. The program is full of extremely students who possess not only exceptional performance skills but also outstanding intellectual ability and a strong desire to pursue the balanced blend of performance and scholarship that makes the Notre Dame music major distinctive.
Now a program of the Los Angeles Times Foundation, the prizes are dedicated to honoring literary luminaries, championing new voices and celebrating the highest quality of writing from authors at all stages of their careers.
The Department of Film, Television, and Theatre is broadening the scope of its theatre program with two new faculty members — Tarryn Chun and La Donna Forsgren. Chun specializes in the modern and contemporary periods in Chinese theatre, as well as the intersection between technology and the arts. Forsgren focuses on African American theatre and performance, dramaturgy, and black feminist theories.
In anthropology, “snowball sampling” refers to growing the number of participants in a research study by asking subjects to refer friends and acquaintances. For senior Candice Park, it was her research experiences at Notre Dame that snowballed, as each opportunity led her to the next — culminating in her senior thesis for the Department of Anthropology.
Notre Dame graduate student Mallika Sarma has done fieldwork in the mountains of Nepal and the forests of Congo. She’s traveled to remote villages accessible only by helicopter, speedboat, or days of hiking. She dreams of conducting research in space. All in search of data on how humans adapt to extreme environments.
It started two years ago with a handful of Notre Dame undergraduates and a desire to share their love of music. Today, that passion has resulted in two thriving student groups — the Classical Music Club and the Composers’ Consortium — with more than 200 members.
In this Q&A, Paige Ambord discusses her research on how local artists use social media to rebrand South Bend, why she's interested in the process of urban revitalization, and why she hopes to highlight the role of average citizens in urban redevelopment.
The College of Arts and Letters is launching a new, interdisciplinary minor in data science. Housed in the Department of Sociology with support from the College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering, the program will be open to students in any college. “Data science impacts every industry today,” said Sarah Mustillo, professor and chair of sociology. “It is becoming increasingly important for solving problems and making decisions."
For a team of Notre Dame psychologists, virtual reality is more than a game — it is the next frontier in mental health treatment. Nathan Rose, Jennifer Hames, and Michael Villano are conducting research on the use of virtual reality environments in exposure therapy for participants with a fear of heights. The technology also holds promise for treating phobias like the fear of flying and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Agustín Fuentes, the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Endowed Chair in Anthropology, has been selected to deliver the 2018 Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Founded by the jurist Adam Lord Gifford, the renowned lecture series invites pre-eminent scholars to address topics related to theology, philosophy, and science. Fuentes is the second consecutive College of Arts and Letters faculty member to be chosen.
This is the third installment in an ongoing Q&A series with Arts and Letters graduate students. Brandy Sky Martinez, a Ph.D. stduent in the Department of Psychology, discusses her research on stress and coping strategies.
For Ross Jacobucci, quantitative psychology is a chance to invent, to improvise — and to create new tools to answer complex questions. As a new assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, he wants his students to see that side of it, too. Jacobucci, who joined Arts and Letters in the fall after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, specializes in structural equation modeling and data mining.
John Liberatore is captivated by the glass harmonica, an archaic 18th-century instrument invented by Benjamin Franklin. And he is fascinated by how the latest technological innovations are changing music composition and performance. The juxtaposition of the two is at the heart of his next composition — titled “In White Spaces” — which has been commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University. He is one of just 12 composers to receive the prestigious commission this year.
Jessica Payne, the Nancy O'Neill Collegiate Chair and Associate Professor of Psychology at Notre Dame, has been named a 2017 Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences. She was one of 12 scholars invited to present their research at the Kavli’s Japanese-American-German Symposium in Germany in September. Kavli Fellows are chosen from among young scholars who have received prestigious national fellowships and awards and who have been identified as future leaders in science.
This is the second installment in an ongoing Q&A series with Arts and Letters graduate students. Maryann Kwakwa, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science, discusses her research on how undergraduate college experiences impact levels of civic engagement.
Why Russian literature has a lot to say about the medical humanities, narrative medicine, and the value of proper medical treatment.
Notre Dame political scientist Susan Collins has been awarded a 2018 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities, extending the University’s record success with the NEH. Since 1999, faculty in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have won a total of 62 NEH fellowships — more than any other university in the country.
Why researching and understanding the economics of the family is essential for government and military policy.
The first social psychology course that Jessica Collett took as an undergraduate left her wanting more. While the topic was fascinating, the examples in the textbook were dated and didn’t resonate with her or her fellow students. Now an associate professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology, Collett has won the 2017 Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award, the highest teaching honor in the College of Arts and Letters. And she’s now the co-author of that same textbook from her first sociology class.
Four students in Notre Dame’s Ph.D. program in theology have received 2017-18 research grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Ashley Edewaard, Stephen Long, Andrew O’Connor, and Joseph Riordan, SJ, are among 30 students from the College of Arts and Letters to receive awards in another record-breaking year for the University and the College.
The first edition of Laura Dassow Walls' new biography, Henry David Thoreau: A Life, sold out even before the official publication date of July 12, 2017, Thoreau’s 200th birthday. And Walls has been interviewed by NPR and the BBC, along with receiving positive book reviews from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The Wall Street Journal. “Laura’s book is quite remarkable, and it’s been exciting to see it getting such a wonderful reception,” said John T. McGreevy, the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “It’s certainly gotten more attention than any book of ours in recent memory.”
Informally, the 175-seat LaBar Family Recital Hall inside Notre Dame’s O’Neill Hall is known as the “jewel box” because of its elegant, classic design and intimate size. But in fact, all of O’Neill Hall is a jewel box — expertly and beautifully designed as a home to the students and faculty, the artists and instruments in the University’s Department of Music and Sacred Music at Notre Dame (SMND) program. The 100,000-square-foot, seven-story building on the south side of Notre Dame Stadium was made possible by a gift to the University from Helen Schwab and her husband Charles, in honor of her brother, Notre Dame alumnus and trustee Joseph I. O’Neill III.
Barry McCrea — the Donald R. Keough Family Professor of Irish Studies and a professor of English, Irish language and literature, and Romance languages and literatures — has been awarded a prestigious fellowship from the Princeton University Humanities Council. McCrea will spend the spring 2018 semester at Princeton as a visiting professor in the Humanities Council and the Faber Fellow in Comparative Literature. While there, he will continue work on his upcoming novel, tentatively titled Thorn Island, and will teach an advanced literature course to a mix of undergraduate and graduate students.
Lessons from Breaking Bad: Why being an avid fan of the groundbreaking series inspired him to study negative representations of Latinos in popular culture.
For Thomas Anderson, it’s hard not to be fascinated with Cuba. Anderson, a professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, has written two books on Cuban literature and culture and has published an edited volume of a leading Cuban author’s letters. Currently, he is working on a book that focuses on images of the U.S. civil rights movement in Cuban poetry. “I think for a lot of people, Cuba has always been seen as this forbidden country, and it’s something people are drawn to,” he said. “But it’s also a country with an incredibly rich literary and cultural history.”