Michael Desch is professor of political science and director of the Notre Dame International Security Center. His research interests include international relations, American foreign policy, and American national security.
Latest News » Faculty News
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.
Soprano Kiera Duffy, recently appointed as head of undergraduate voice studies in Notre Dame's Department of Music, will make her debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in late January 2018 in Ravel's opera L'enfant et les sortilegès. The Berlin Philharmonic is consistently rated among the preeminent orchestras in the world.
Why Russian literature has a lot to say about the medical humanities, narrative medicine, and the value of proper medical treatment.
Researchers from Notre Dame’s Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (LEO) and the University of Maryland evaluated a program that pairs undergraduates with trained social workers who can help them navigate important non-academic hurdles — including child care and transportation — that often lead students to drop out. Students who participated in the comprehensive case management program were significantly more likely to stay enrolled and to graduate within six years.
The legacy of Notre Dame philosopher Alvin Plantinga will continue on for years thanks to support from the John Templeton Foundation. He was named the 2017 Templeton Prize Laureate this spring — joining the ranks of previous winners Mother Teresa, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Charles Taylor, Jean Vanier, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama — and his work will now be chronicled in a series of 10 short, animated videos, which will present many of his central arguments in a visually captivating style designed to appeal to a wide audience. With funding from the Templeton Foundation, the project will be led by two Notre Dame philosophy professors.
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.
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.