For 75 minutes every fall Tuesday afternoon, junior Grace Ryan steps, slides, marches, smiles, and laughs. The business analytics major who’s pursuing a career in aerospace was hesitant to sign up given her already busy schedule, but she eventually agreed to try it out. Now she’s hooked — and that combination of having fun while becoming proficient in Irish traditions is exactly why the Department of Irish Language and Literature began offering 1-credit old-style Irish dancing course and tin whistle courses this year.
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Researchers know that experiencing a high number of adverse events in childhood correlates with worse health outcomes in adulthood. These studies have led to an emphasis on trauma-informed practice in schools and workplaces in an attempt to mitigate the harm of early adversity. At the other end of the spectrum, focusing on wellness, Darcia Narvaez, emerita professor of psychology, has helped identify humanity’s baseline for childhood care. In a first-of-its-kind study conducted by Narvaez and doctoral student Mary Tarsha and published in the journal Anxiety, Stress and Coping, results show that positive childhood experiences can help buffer the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on physiological health in adult women.
Three faculty members in the College of Arts & Letters — philosopher Sara Bernstein, theatre scholar Tarryn Chun, and historian Katie Jarvis — have won National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, extending Notre Dame's record success with the federal agency committed to supporting original research and scholarship. The University also received a significant grant for a digital scholarship project that will develop a new platform that makes digital archives easier to analyze, present, and reuse. Since 2000, Arts & Letters faculty have received more NEH fellowships than any other private university in the country.
The Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy is launching The January 6th, 2025, Project — a research, teaching, and public engagement initiative devoted to understanding and averting looming threats to U.S. democracy. Through in-depth study and analysis of the social, political, psychological, and demographic factors that led to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the project’s members hope to offer insight into how to protect and strengthen the American electoral system before a likely attack on Jan. 6, 2025, the day the results of the 2024 presidential election will be certified by Congress.
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.
The University of Notre Dame has been awarded nearly $1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to equip students in the Master of Divinity Program (M.Div.) and Master of Arts in Theology program to better serve in and learn from a diverse, ever-changing world. The grant will support cultural immersion programs and Spanish proficiency courses for 13 to 18 lay and seminarian students, as well as opportunities to meet with and learn from peers at other colleges.
Carmen-Helena Téllez, a professor of conducting in the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Music, died Friday (Dec. 10) after a battle with cancer. She was 66. A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 2012, she served for several years as head of the Graduate Conducting Studio in the Sacred Music at Notre Dame program and was the first to lead its doctoral program in choral conducting. At Notre Dame, she conducted and designed a series of musical works with new modes of interdisciplinary presentation.
Six projects led by faculty in the College of Arts & Letters at Notre Dame, along with their collaborators at partner universities, have been awarded funding through Notre Dame Research’s Internal Grants Program. The program seeks to support faculty researchers and programs with the goal of advancing the University’s research enterprise, scholarly output, and creative endeavor.
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.
On her first day teaching at Notre Dame in the late 1990s, then-doctoral student Kathleen Sprows Cummings asked her undergraduates in Ethnicity and American Identity to share why they were taking the course. “Nothing else was open,” was the first reply. It wasn’t the only one.
Times change. Cummings, now the Rev. John A. O'Brien Collegiate Professor of American Studies and History and director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, is the winner of the 2021 Sheedy Excellence in Teaching Award, the highest teaching honor in the College of Arts & Letters. “She has shaped me into a better student, Catholic, woman, and member of society,” one senior wrote in her letter recommending Cummings for the award. “I strive to become the type of woman and professional that she is.”
Using new data, Notre Dame sociologist Joel Mittleman analyzed how sexuality shapes academic performance in unprecedented detail. Mittleman found that gay men’s academic success doesn’t just subtly outshine straight men’s. Roughly 52 percent of gay men in the U.S. have a bachelor’s degree, while the overall national number for all adults in the U.S. is 36 percent. Six percent of gay men in the U.S. have an advanced degree (J.D., M.D., or Ph.D.), which is about 50 percent higher than that of straight men.
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.”
Christopher Chowrimootoo recently traveled to London to research the history of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ opera The Pilgrim’s Progress. Based on Paul Bunyan’s 1678 allegorical novel, the opera began as a one-act production in 1921 before evolving into a motet in 1940 and a radio dramatization in 1942. In 1951, The Pilgrim’s Progress premiered at the Royal Opera House. Supported by an ISLA Small Grant for Research and Creative Work, Chowrimootoo worked at the British Library for two weeks during the summer of 2019, studying librettos, scores, and photographs of the original production. The research yielded valuable insight into Vaughan Williams’ process and the reception of the work as reported in contemporary newspapers.
Lauren Groff’s bestselling historical novel Matrix captures a medieval world that Notre Dame Program of Liberal Studies assistant professor Katie Bugyis has always imagined. “It’s an extraordinary gift,” said Bugyis, a historian of Christian theology and liturgical practice who reconstructs the lived experiences of religious women in the Middle Ages. “She saw what has been in my mind and that I always hoped other people might see.” Bugyis’s research on routines and rituals of medieval nuns might not seem like an obvious storyline for a National Book Award finalist, but it immediately garnered Groff’s attention.
Notre Dame is launching a dynamic new minor in sport, media, and culture (SMAC), a program designed for students interested in careers in sports media and diving deep into critical analyses of sports, representation, and power. Led by the Department of American Studies in partnership with the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, the SMAC minor focuses on the intersection of sports and culture in all forms of media — art, history, journalism, radio, TV, film, and social media. Through an interdisciplinary, scholarly approach to sports studies, students will analyze issues of race, gender, sexuality, class and inequality that shape the modern athletic, business, cultural, and political landscapes.
Notre Dame’s College of Arts & Letters has launched a new minor in health, humanities, and society, an interdisciplinary program designed to help students analyze the wide range of social and humanistic issues connected to health and medicine. Housed in the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values, the 15-credit minor will offer courses that give undergraduates interested in health-related careers an understanding of the historical precedent, ethical dilemmas, cultural nuance, social complexity, and political economy associated with medicine — and how to apply those lessons to social health in local, scalable, and transferable ways.
Amidst all the anxiety and upheaval created by the coronavirus pandemic, Opera Notre Dame faced a difficult and unique dilemma. How do you give a voice to voice students when their foremost skill — singing opera — poses a potential health risk to others? As uncertainty reigned, they got creative — to make an opera production that was artistically meaningful, educationally rich, and as safe as possible, they made a movie. Please Look: A Cinematic Opera Experience premieres this week at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s Browning Cinema.
An interdisciplinary team of Notre Dame faculty is leading an effort with institutions in Ohio and Kentucky to replicate an experiential learning model for attracting and retaining diverse STEM workforces in Rust Belt cities through university-community partnerships that strengthen quality of life. The three-year project, Replication of a Community-Engaged Educational Ecosystem Model in Rust Belt Cities, is supported by more than $2.5 million from the National Science Foundation’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education program, $1.1 million of which is directed to Notre Dame. Led by the Center for Civic Innovation — which uses technology and methods to address pressing issues in the South Bend/Elkhart area — the project also involves College of Engineering and Department of Psychology faculty in the effort to understand how CCI’s model for community improvement projects functions in other cities under varying circumstances.
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.”
Two faculty members in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have been awarded memberships at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, N.J., one of the world’s foremost centers for intellectual inquiry into the sciences and the humanities. Karen Graubart, an associate professor of history, and Gabriel Radle, the Rev. John A. O'Brien, C.S.C., Assistant Professor of Theology, are two of the 271 new and returning scholars of history, cosmology, mathematics, and countless other disciplines, with whom they’ll share seminars, meals, and conversations this year.
Nicole Woods, a Notre Dame assistant professor of art history, has received the Leonard A. Lauder Visiting Senior Fellowship from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, a world-renowned institution that brings scholars to Washington, D.C. She will spend much of the spring semester in the nation’s capital, working in the archives of the National Gallery of Art as well as the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress. Woods is studying the paintings of Bob Thompson, an African American painter from Kentucky who ran in the Beats' social circles in Greenwich Village after World War II.
Walter Nugent, the Andrew V. Tackes Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Notre Dame, died Sept. 8 in Seattle. He was 86. Nugent taught undergraduate and graduate courses primarily on U.S. migration, the Gilded Age and progressive era, and the U.S. West. His research focused on westward migration in the United States, populism and demography. He was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and Beinecke Fellowship, the Warsaw University Medal of Merit and two Fulbright Awards.
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.
The Department of Film, Television and Theatre mourns the death of its friend and colleague, professional specialist Karen Heisler. Heisler died Sept. 19. Heisler's Sports and TV class was legendary, as was her dogged insistence on proper grammar and proofreading. As the department internship coordinator, she shepherded countless students through their first experiences in the professional world.
“Ripe for Rivalry? U.S.-China Relations Under the Biden Administration” will feature a discussion of U.S.-China relations featuring a former senior diplomat and think tank president Ivo Daalder, business leaders Girish Rishi and Leo Melamed and a noted strategic analyst, Notre Dame professor Eugene Gholz. The panel will be moderated by Michael Desch, Notre Dame’s Packey J. Dee Professor of International Relations and the Brian and Jeannelle Brady Director of the Notre Dame International Security Center.
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.
Sept. 13 marks the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death. The great Italian poet is being celebrated around the globe and especially in Italy where gala concerts, exhibits, and dramatic readings are underway. In this interview with the University of Notre Dame Press, Theodore J. Cachey — a Notre Dame professor of Italian, the Ravarino Family Director of Italian and Dante Studies, and the founder and co-editor of the William and Katherine Devers Series in Dante and Medieval Italian Literature — discusses the Devers series' contribution to the study of medieval Italian literature and Dante studies, its new publications, and what's ahead in the future.
Entrepreneurial tycoons, inventors, and shop-floor workers are often celebrated throughout history, but the story of the engineer isn’t something that’s taught in school. Notre Dame historian Ted Beatty aims to change that, thanks to a $250,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation that will fund a book, several articles, and an interactive database that will showcase the critical-but-often-overlooked role engineers played in shaping society as we know it. He seeks to tell the story of the rise of engineers — not just at outdoor worksites and inside factories but also in corporate boardrooms and government agencies across the globe.
Throughout the College of Arts & Letters — and across Notre Dame’s campus — faculty and staff are launching podcasts to share engaging conversations with audiences everywhere. From the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture’s Ethics and Culture Cast to the Department of Theology’s Minding Scripture show to the Notre Dame International Security Center’s speaker series podcast, many programs have found the form to be an effective way of inviting the world into Notre Dame’s vibrant intellectual community. “I feel really committed to delivering content to a broad audience, especially to people who wouldn’t get it otherwise,” said Gabriel Said Reynolds, the Jerome J. Crowley and Rosaleen G. Crowley Professor of Theology. “It’s a gift to teach Notre Dame students, so I’m really grateful for the opportunity and I don’t take that for granted, but there are many people who will never have access to institutions like Notre Dame.”