Massive catastrophes, the globally televised images of human suffering they generate, and the innate compassion of ordinary people invariably combine to unleash impressive feats of giving, but a new University of Notre Dame study suggests that generosity, at least among American Catholics, may be more complicated than that.
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By agreeing to increase public transportation fares just two weeks before hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup, coupled with the repressive reaction to protesters by military police in Sao Paulo, Brazilian authorities have transformed a struggle for free transportation into a major wave of protest against political corruption and inequality, according to Guillermo Trejo, University of Notre Dame political scientist and fellow in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies.
Jennifer Jones, the newest faculty member in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology, focuses her teaching and research on the ways in which immigration policies affect the experiences and identities of various minority groups in the United States. “I liked observing the dynamics around race in other countries and that got me interested in comparing race relations and how race works here,” she explains.
Alex Coccia, an Africana studies and peace studies major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, has been named a 2013 Truman Scholar. Established in 1975 as a “living memorial” to President Harry S. Truman, the prestigious scholarship includes $30,000 in graduate study funds, priority admission and supplemental financial aid at select institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and internship opportunities within the federal government. Nationwide, just 60 to 65 college juniors are selected as Truman scholars each year, based on leadership potential, intellectual ability, and likelihood of “making a difference.”
“Why do we read novels and why do we write novels? We live inside of our heads, which is a place of dreams and fantasies and wishes and desires, but we live out our lives in this shared real world,” says Barry McCrea, the Donald R. Keough Family Professor of Irish Studies in Notre Dame’s Department of English. “Novels offer us not just a map of the human mind but a way to understand how the individual human mind interacts with the world outside.”
Notre Dame junior Stephen Zerfas has a motto that he likes to share only somewhat jokingly: “If you wanted to make a difference in the world 400 years ago, you did it through religion,” he says. “200 years ago, you did it through government; today, you do it through business. Clearly, you do not need to work in business to make a difference today,” Zerfas says, “but the statement does reflect my belief that there is great potential at the intersection of the efficiency of the private sector and the often more noble and substantial aims of the public sector.” The search for that sweet spot, he says, is what led him to pursue an economics major and the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) minor in the College of Arts and Letters.
Aaron Willis, a Ph.D. candidate in Notre Dame’s Department of History, has been named the 2013-2014 Murphy Irish Exchange Fellow. In its second year, the Exchange Fellowship was established to promote research in Irish Studies through a greater understanding between graduate students at Notre Dame and the University College Cork in Cork, Ireland.
An engineer with a strong liberal arts background is a valuable asset in today’s business world, says Craig Simon, president and chief executive officer of FedEx SupplyChain and a 1989 alumnus of Notre Dame’s distinctive Arts and Letters/Engineering Dual-Degree Program. “When you get into the business world, you’re going to stand out because you will have the ability to use both sides of your brain,” says Simon, who spoke at a recent event honoring the top students in the program.
Mallory Meter, a psychology major from Beverly Hills, Mich., has been named valedictorian of the 2013 University of Notre Dame graduating class and will present the valedictory address during the University Commencement Ceremony on Sunday, May 19 at Notre Dame Stadium.
Catherine Reidy, a University of Notre Dame senior majoring in psychology with a minor in anthropology, has been awarded a Clarendon Scholarship for graduate study at the University of Oxford. Reidy, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, will use the scholarship to study for her master’s degree in African Studies starting in October.
Just as the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas on January 1, 1994, was a turning point in Mexico’s history, it was a turning point for Guillermo Trejo, associate professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Political Science and a faculty fellow in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies.
The American Council of Learned Societies has awarded a 2013 fellowship to Katherine Brading, William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Collegiate Professor of Philosophy in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters and director of the History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) graduate program in the University’s Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values.
Xiaoshan Yang, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in Notre Dame’s Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, has been awarded an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship for the 2013-14 academic year. “Chinese poetry is a significant component of Chinese culture. It is known both for its antiquity and for its continuity,” says Yang, who specializes in classical Chinese poetry and poetics. “ So I was both excited and humbled to receive the award.”
Brad Gregory, professor of history and Dorothy G. Griffin Collegiate Chair at the University of Notre Dame, has been selected as the new director of the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study (NDIAS). He succeeds Vittorio Hösle, the institute’s founding director for the past five years and the Paul Kimball Professor of Arts and Letters in the Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures and concurrent professor of philosophy and of political science.
From the beginning of their joint research on political participation in rural Mali, Notre Dame political scientist Jaimie Bleck and Kellogg Institute for International Studies Visiting Fellow Kristin Michelitch were interested in the voices of voiceless citizens. Mali had experienced two decades of democratic rule but mass illiteracy, gender inequality, and elite control of political knowledge meant that many rural citizens, especially women, had little real role in the political process.
Since the fall of 2010, Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, through a joint faculty appointment, are extending student learning into the Latino community on South Bend’s west side. “Community-based learning brings the curriculum to life,” says Notre Dame senior Michael Thomas, a Spanish and finance major. “It’s an opportunity to put a face to the knowledge and the content that you gain in the classroom.”
What is the role of religion in rapidly developing societies? It is a hotly contested question among social scientists and theologians alike, with the prevailing view holding that global capitalism either makes religion irrelevant or produces a backlash of fundamentalism. Brandon Vaidyanathan, a graduate student in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology, is discovering a different reality as he focuses on the world of skilled professionals in multinational corporations in two rapidly globalizing cities—Bangalore, India, and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Notre Dame Professor of History Christopher Hamlin has been invited to study at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, N.J., for the 2013-14 academic year. While at the IAS, he plans to continue his research on the intersection of public health and economic policy in 19th century Ireland and Scotland.
John Van Engen, Andrew V. Tackes Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, has won the 2013 Haskins Medal for his book, Sisters and Brothers of the Common Life: The Devotio Moderna and the World of the Later Middle Ages. The Haskins Medal is the highest award granted by the Medieval Academy of America, the main professional organization for medievalists.
University of Notre Dame senior Taylor Thomas says she chose to major in psychology because it can help bring order to things that seem incomprehensible. “I’m interested in the ways we can explain systematically the very chaotic aspects of life.” In pursuing this interest, Thomas spent last summer studying how mothers who have experienced trauma engage their children in conversation.
Notre Dame students looking to investigate some of the pressing issues facing our country today can get support for their research through the American Dream Summer Grant program. Offered by the College of Arts and Letters’ Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, the grant is available to both undergraduate and graduate students to conduct an original research or creative project exploring some aspect of the “American Dream.”
The University of Notre Dame’s Department of English has strengthened its expertise across the historical spectrum and the globe with five faculty appointments that span medieval literature, Modernism, and digital media.
Every democracy is a work in progress. The degree to which some succeed and others fall short is at the heart of what sociologist Robert Fishman explores in his research and teaching at Notre Dame.
When tragedies strike, how do we recover? Last summer, senior psychology major Benjamin Pfeifer moved closer to an answer, thanks to a research grant from the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters.
“People have this idea that Japanese is really hard, that it is difficult to speak” says Matthew Donley, a senior Japanese and psychology major in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters. “But it’s not as hard as you think.” Japanese is a rewarding challenge, says the Houston native.
The University’s world-renowned fencing program brought student-athlete Alex Coccia to Notre Dame. By the end of his freshman year, the junior Africana studies major helped bring fencing around the world—specifically, to a group of schoolchildren in Uganda.
Alex Coccia and Nancy Joyce, both juniors in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, have been elected undergraduate student body president and vice president for the 2013-14 academic year. Coccia, an Africana studies and peace studies major, and Joyce, an Arabic and economics major earning a minor in peace studies, will take office on April 1.
Sociologist Robert Bellah will visit the University of Notre Dame on Tuesday, March 19. The Elliott Professor of Sociology emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, Bellah will present a lecture titled “The Modern Project in Light of Human Evolution.”
Researching, exploring, and seeking to understand other cultures are essential to anthropology—and a key part of a Notre Dame liberal arts education. Junior Greg Yungtum had the opportunity to do all of these things during a trip to Africa this past summer.
University of Notre Dame economist Joseph Kaboski has been awarded a $415,000 grant by the National Institutes of Health to lead a research project that will explore the poor’s motives and reasons for saving in developing countries. The study, now underway, is called “Unlocking the Black Box of Savings: Using Quantitative Theory and Microfinance” and will focus on the nation of Uganda, combining structural theory with experimental data.