The conference titled “The Whole is Greater than its Parts: Christian Unity and Interreligious Encounter Today” will be held at the University’s Rome Global Gateway Jan. 8-10. This is the second such international gathering hosted by Notre Dame’s World Religions World Church program.
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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.
Philosophy faculty members Michael Rea and Samuel Newlands have been awarded a grant from the John Templeton Foundation to pursue questions related to the nature of the self. The grant supports the planning phase of a large, interdisciplinary project Rea and Newlands are developing — “Narrative Conceptions of the Self in Psychology, Philosophy, and Theology.” In January, the philosophers will bring together scholars in philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, and theology to present cutting edge research from their fields toward answering the question, “how can we understand and make sense of the narrative conceptions of the self?”
“The medieval Mediterranean world is the one really impressive laboratory we have for studying how Jews and Christians and Muslims interacted with each other over a long period of time,” said Thomas Burman, professor of history and Robert M. Conway Director of the Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame. Burman’s research focuses on the scholars of the Middle Ages in Spain and the Middle East. His current project is on Ramon Marti, a Dominican priest who was proficient in Arabic and read extensively on Islam, yet almost exclusively engaged with Judaism in his writings.
Led by Jason Ruiz, associate professor of American studies, the two-day seminar brought local educators together with Notre Dame Professors to examine a variety of cultural objects, from early textbooks to modern dramas, to understand how media and popular culture shape “ideas about race” in America. The seminar, part of the Teachers as Scholars program, also provided practical strategies for approaching sensitive topics of race in the classroom setting.
Lee Anna Clark, the William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Professor of Psychology, along with a small team of other experts, wants researchers and clinicians to revisit how mental illnesses are approached. In a new paper published in the invitation-only journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, Clark and her team present the challenges in using three major diagnostic manuals from a scientific perspective and offer some recommendations for re-conceptualizing the mental disorders they describe.
Notre Dame anthropologist Alex E. Chávez published a new book, Sounds of Crossing: Music, Migration, and the Aural Poetics of Huapango Arribeño through Duke University Press this week. Chávez came to his research not only as a trained scholar, but also as a performer, trained in classical and jazz. At an early age, he was also exposed to huapango arribeño. This understudied folk music originates in Guanajuato, San Luis Potosi, and Queretaro, in the heart of Mexico.
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.
Associate Professor of English Matthew Wilkens is fascinated by the use of geography in literature over time. How, for example, did the Civil War affect the importance of certain places in American literature, and what can literature tells us about Americans’ sense of place? The answer can be found in books written during that period — potentially thousands of them, many more than Wilkens could ever read and analyze himself. He was recently awarded a $325,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to bolster Textual Geographies, a database and suite of tools he is developing that allow users to find, map, and analyze more than 14 billion place name mentions from books and journals in English, Spanish, German, and Chinese.
Debra Javeline, associate professor in the Department of Political Science and affiliated faculty member of the Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative, applies her knowledge to the “responses of ordinary people to hardship.” She spoke about her perspective in this Q&A session with ND-ECI.
The Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities at Notre Dame has received $275,000 in funding to continue its work reducing poverty and improving lives through evidence-based programs and policies. LEO, a research lab housed in Notre Dame’s Department of Economics, received this award to evaluate the impact of an innovative program, Stay the Course, which utilizes specialized case management to support persistence and completion among low-income community college students.
In Vanguard of the Revolution: The Global Idea of the Communist Party (Princeton University Press, 2017), author A. James McAdams seeks to understand how such a significant institution could be so different from country to country and still flourish. To find the answer, McAdams traveled to every location with a history of communism to research this book, including China, Cuba, Vietnam, North Korea, and the former Soviet Union.
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.”
Working to advance the mission of the Church in service of development, peace, and disarmament, attendees will address such topics as the July 2017 United Nations treaty banning nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons and the environment, and the role of Church and civil society in promoting disarmament. The speakers and panelists include Nobel Prize winners, senior diplomats, and leaders from the United Nations and NATO, as well as academic experts and religious leaders.
Gretchen Reydams-Schils, a professor in the Program of Liberal Studies, has begun a 10-month fellowship at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, as part of a multidisciplinary research project that studies expressions of the self among philosophers, lawmakers, representatives of religious traditions, and biographers in ancient Greece and Rome. The project brings together scholars of philosophy, law, literature, early Christianity, Jewish Hellenism, and Judaism to understand classical thinkers’ concept of the self and how that conception manifested itself in Jewish, Christian, and Roman culture.
Mark Sanders is pushing the geographical boundaries of the study of English literature. Through his scholarly work, he aims to expand the traditional English canon beyond the United Kingdom and United States and to broaden the corpus of black writing, particularly that of black Atlantic authors. Sanders, who joins Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters this fall after 25 years at Emory University in Atlanta, specializes in early 20th-century American and African American literature and culture, as well as Afro-Cuban and Afro-Latino literature and culture.
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.
Brad S. Gregory, the Dorothy G. Griffin Professor of Early Modern European History at the University of Notre Dame, explains how Martin Luther's 95 Theses eventually, but unintentionally, led to a world of modern capitalism, polarizing politics, and more.
Patrick Griffin, the Madden-Hennebry Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, has been appointed director of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, effective Jan. 1, 2018. Griffin, who joined the Notre Dame faculty in 2008, explores the intersection of colonial American and early modern Irish and British history, focusing on Atlantic-wide themes and dynamics.
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.
Mark Golitko, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, worked with colleagues from the Field Museum in Chicago and institutes in Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea to study the Aitape skull and the area it was found in.
“People think that if you are given a problem, that you can have a successful outcome. However, what if you were solving the wrong problem?” asked Scott Shim, professor of industrial design at the University of Notre Dame. Shim’s research is in contextual application of design thinking, examining all the components of a specific problem by conducting in-depth studies of users, environments, and circumstances. His primary method of research is “co-creation,” where end users are directly engaged in the design process. Shim will invite participants to build with Legos or re-enact certain scenarios in order to develop new ideas.
Lessons from Breaking Bad: Why being an avid fan of the groundbreaking series inspired him to study negative representations of Latinos in popular culture.
Paloma Garcia-Lopez — an educator, nonprofit leader, and manager with more than 15 years of experience — has been appointed associate director of the Institute for Latino Studies (ILS) at the University of Notre Dame. In her new role, Garcia-Lopez will manage and oversee all of the activities and staff of the institute. Garcia-Lopez will focus on enhancing annual programming, special events, communications, fundraising and budgeting. She will be a central figure in the development of a strategic plan to support scholarly initiatives in Latino studies as a key component of Notre Dame’s academic mission.
“We need to have much more proactive policies to include more women in the political process,” said Lakshmi Iyer, associate professor of economics and global affairs at the University of Notre Dame. Iyer’s research focuses on development economics and political economy. She is currently examining the consequences of electing women to political office in India as well as why certain minority groups there do not get into leadership positions.
The Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economics Opportunities (LEO) at the University of Notre Dame has received a nearly $350,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health in support of a major research initiative on homelessness prevention. The funding will support LEO’s efforts to measure the impact of emergency financial assistance on those at risk of homelessness. By studying the aid provided by homelessness prevention call centers, which process more than 15 million calls each year, LEO’s research will allow policymakers to make more informed choices in directing limited resources to the most effective programs.
Michelle Karnes believes imagination is the key to understanding medieval meditations about the life of Christ. When readers picture themselves holding Jesus as a baby or feeding him, it evokes powerful emotions, she said. “There are good cognitive reasons why imagining yourself participating in Christ’s life helps you engage with the narrative,” she said. “It causes you to invest yourself in a more profound way.” Karnes joins the faculty in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters this fall as an associate professor of English, after eight years at Stanford University.
“What difference can faith make for morality when people today recognize that people of various or no faith can live a virtuous, honorable, moral life?” asked William Mattison, associate professor of theology in the College of Arts and Letters. Mattison is a Catholic moral theologian with particular interest in virtue. His latest book, The Sermon on the Mount and Moral Theology: A Virtue Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2017), examines the approach to morality that Jesus presents in Chapters 5-7 of the Gospel of St. Matthew and compares it to conceptions of happiness found in the works of classical philosophers such as Cicero and Aristotle.
New research from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Louisville shows that the number of men in the field has risen substantially since 1960, a marker of changing economic and social trends.
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.”