Driven by a commitment to Catholic social teaching and a strong belief that a liberal arts education can transform lives, Notre Dame and Holy Cross College faculty are teaching college-level courses for inmates at Indiana's Westville Correctional Facility. Since 2013, nearly 100 inmates have earned college credit and 11 have earned associate degrees as of this month. But developing a strong foundation in reading, writing, research, public speaking, and critical thinking offers benefits that go far beyond the professional opportunities a degree might one day provide.
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The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has awarded two of its prestigious 2016 fellowships to faculty in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters. The fellowships, which fund a diverse group scholars, artists, and scientists, will go to Anjan Chakravartty, a professor in the Department of Philosophy, and Stephen Fallon, the Rev. John J. Cavanaugh, C.S.C., Professor of the Humanities in the Program of Liberal Studies and the Department of English.
With a $1.2 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation, Ebrahim Moosa, professor of Islamic studies at the University of Notre Dame, has launched a three-year project to enrich scientific and theological literacy among recent graduates of Islamic seminaries in India.
A major new book of essays on the music of the early 19th-century composer Franz Schubert, Schubert’s Late Music: History, Theory, Style, is dedicated to to Susan Youens, J. W. Van Gorkom Professor of Music at the University of Notre Dame. Published by Cambridge University Press and edited by Lorraine Byrne Bodley and Julian Horton, the anthology features essays from Youens and other top scholars in the field.
Notre Dame sociology graduate students are getting a rare inside look at the academic publishing process—and valuable experience that will give them an edge in their own research and careers. The students serve as assistant and coordinating editors of the American Sociological Review (ASR)—the flagship journal of the American Sociological Association (ASA)—under the direction of Professor Omar Lizardo, Professor Rory McVeigh, and Professor Sarah Mustillo.
George Marsden, the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, has been elected a member of the 2016 class of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). He will be formally inducted at a ceremony at the AAAS headquarters Oct. 8 in Cambridge, Mass.
Two juniors in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, Caleb “C.J.” Pine and Christa Grace Watkins, have been named 2016 Truman Scholars. 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. Just 54 college juniors have been selected as Truman Scholars this year from a pool of 775 nominees. Six Arts and Letters students have received the Truman Scholarship since 2010.
When Elizabeth Troyer began diving into her senior thesis research, she wasn’t alone. She was one of 17 seniors in Notre Dame’s Department of English honors concentration—all of whom participated in a colloquium as they embarked on their senior thesis projects. Students in the class discussed their thesis research in small groups, offered feedback, completed outlines and bibliographies, and shared presentations on their main ideas with the class. It’s just one example of how faculty members have worked to build a sense of community in the department and in the honors concentration.
Dr. Patrick Lyons ’08 doesn’t ask his patients if they have questions when he’s finished talking with them about a diagnosis. There’s a good chance they’ll say no. Instead, he asks what questions they have. Looking at how he practices medicine now, especially in his interactions with patients, Lyons realizes his time as an English major had a profound effect on how he communicates. “English prepared me well because I have the ability to think critically and organize and analyze the information in front of me,” he said. “Word choice and the way you’re addressing patients can be really powerful.”
Michael Rea, a professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Philosophy, has been named the 2017 speaker for the prestigious Gifford Lectures at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. The 128-year-old lecture series, described as “the highest honor in a philosopher’s career,” invites pre-eminent thinkers to address topics related to religion, science, and philosophy. In a series of six lectures, Rea will take a theologically informed approach to the topic of “divine hiddenness,” the idea that God’s existence is far less evident—and vivid, unambiguous experience of God’s presence is much less frequent—than one might expect from a perfectly loving deity.
The University of Notre Dame’s Division of Student Affairs honored five students—Maggie Skoch, Colleen McLinden, Preston Igwe, Meredith Fraser, and Maggie Bowers—from the College of Arts and Letters at its 30th-annual Student Leadership Awards Banquet on April 7. These annual awards recognize current students who have made exceptional contributions to the Notre Dame community.
About 28 percent of recent Notre Dame sociology majors go on to graduate or professional school, according to data from The Career Center’s First Destination reports. Some pursue advanced degrees in law or medicine, but others—like Annalise Loehr ’09 (Indiana University) and Maryann Erigha ’07 (University of Pennsylvania)—enroll in prestigious sociology Ph.D. programs. It’s a trend that continues with the Class of 2016, as sociology majors Shannon Sheehan (University of Michigan) and Nicolette Bardele (Harvard University) plan to begin graduate programs in sociology this fall.
Kara Donnelly wants to know why you read what you read. Many people pick up a book because they heard it was great, either from a friend or through the media. But how did they know? Who is it that makes the decisions about which books are worth our time?Donnelly, a post-doctoral fellow in Notre Dame’s Department of English who completed her Ph.D. in 2015, has researched British literature from the 1950s to the present trying to find answers to those questions. Her scholarship has focused largely on the Man Booker Prize, which recognizes excellence in fiction writing published in Britain.
Two faculty members from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have won 2016 fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies. Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, the Notre Dame Professor of English, will pursue a book project that explores the notes that medieval readers made in the margins of historic texts and books in order to rediscover sophisticated early reading practices for understanding the self. Christopher Ball, an assistant professor of anthropology, will spend time with an indigenous tribe in Brazil studying local history and culture through connections between language and nearby rivers.
About seven years ago, Mary Celeste Kearney began noticing how much “sparkle” had become part of girls’ culture—in makeup and clothing, as well as in girl-oriented media. She began compiling a “taxonomy of sparkle” in contemporary films and TV series to explore its sociocultural significance. The resulting essay, “Sparkle: Luminosity and Post-Girl Power Media,” has been honored with the Katherine Singer Kovács Essay Award from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.
Pope Francis released his apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”) in Rome on April 8. The document addresses such areas of Catholic Church doctrine as the admission of divorced and remarried Catholics to the sacrament of the Eucharist, same-sex relationships and cohabitation, all issues that arose, often controversially, during the Synod of Bishops in Rome in October. Here is what some people on the Notre Dame faculty are saying and thinking about “Amoris Laetitia.”
Tim Machan believes the English language is far more than the order of letters and words. It’s the highly personal, situational expressions we use to convey our ideas and feelings. It’s how we connect with or distance ourselves from everyone around us. We use it to define ourselves. Machan, a professor in Notre Dame’s Department of English, has spent 30 years researching and teaching English in its many forms and functions. His journey has pulled him further from grammatical conventions into how people around the world use English in their daily lives.
Notre Dame junior Allison Emeott didn’t just study Korean this summer. She was immersed in it. “You get to use what you learn and talk to people,” she said. “It’s really inspiring because when you’re surrounded by people speaking a language, you want to learn more and you just want to become a part of the community." Emeott, an applied mathematics and Asian studies major, spent the summer of 2015 intensively studying in Seoul, South Korea. Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures in the College of Arts and Letters, she received a grant from the Summer Language Abroad program, which provides funding up to $5,500 for individual summer foreign language study abroad.
The young people of war-torn northern Colombia want their homes and their lifestyle back. Displaced from their villages by guerilla and paramilitary groups, they have spent the last 10 years in urban centers—making them prime targets for recruitment by those same criminal enterprises. But rather than falling prey to a violent cause, they’ve founded a successful peace-building movement. Notre Dame Ph.D. student Angela Lederach ’07 wants to know why. She’s spent the last two summers living in Cartagena, Colombia, researching the Peaceful Movement of the Alta Montaña, and plans to return in August for at least a year to continue researching the organization for her dissertation.
Jennifer Jones, an assistant professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology, has received the Presidential Authority Award grant from the Russell Sage Foundation for her study of interracial coalitions and their effect on immigration policy in Mississippi and Alabama. Combining archival and media sources with interviews, “Enforcement or Embrace? The Determinants of State-Level Immigration Policy in New Immigrant Destinations” emerged from unexpected patterns Jones identified while researching race relations and immigration in North Carolina.
“Studying Chinese opens the doors to different ways of thinking,” said junior John Fox. “It helped a lot to be able to come here and study abroad this summer and to experience such a great city.” Fox was one of several Notre Dame students to participate in the 2015 China Summer Language Program through the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures in the College of Arts and Letters. Students honed their Chinese language skills at Peking University in Beijing, both in the classroom and one-on-one with an instructor. Students in the program typically advance the equivalent of one full year of study in just eight weeks.
Gary Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology at Notre Dame, will spend a year in Jerusalem working with an international group of scholars to better understand how early Jews, Christians, and Muslims read, understood, and interpreted the stories told in the Bible’s early chapters. Anderson is part of a team of scholars from North America, Israel, and Europe accepted this fall to conduct research at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Susan Youens, J. W. Van Gorkom Professor of Music in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, has been named an honorary member of the Society for Musicology in Ireland, a distinction awarded for extraordinary contribution to musicology in that country. Youens, widely considered one of the world’s foremost authorities of German song, particularly the work of Franz Schubert and Hugo Wolf, said the honor was especially sweet because of a long-standing relationship she’s had with a group of Irish musicologists dedicated to Schubert’s work.
Robert Vargas, an urban sociologist whose research focuses on violence and health care, is joining Notre Dame’s Department of Sociology this fall as an assistant professor. Vargas, who will also be a faculty affiliate in the Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame, was previously on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation at Harvard University. Vargas’ first book, Wounded City: Violent Turf Wars in a Chicago Barrio (Oxford University Press), will be released May 1. In it, Vargas argues that competition among political groups contributes to the persistence of violence just as much as the competition among street gangs.
For the first time ever, the University of Notre Dame will host the world premiere of an opera—a commissioned production of As You Like It, the classic Shakespearian comedy. The four-show run is a highlight of “Shakespeare: 1616-2016,” a yearlong series of campus events commemorating the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Given the location of its premiere, the production features numerous Notre Dame touchstones.
How do we form abstract concepts—like “dog”—given that we only experience concrete, particular objects—like “Fido”? Therese Scarpelli Cory, a Notre Dame assistant professor of philosophy, examined Aquinas’ answer to this question in her article, “Rethinking Abstractionism: Aquinas’ Intellectual Light and Some Arabic Sources.” Her work, published in the Journal of the History of Philosophy, was awarded the publication’s 2015 best article prize in January.
Z’étoile Imma, an assistant professor of English at Notre Dame, has received a prestigious Ford Foundation fellowship in support of her research in South Africa on 20th-century activist Simon Nkoli. Imma is one of 116 top scholars to receive an award through the foundation’s fellowship program, administered by the National Research Council of the National Academies. The program seeks to increase diversity among university faculties, maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and increase the number of professors who use diversity as a resource for enriching education.
Their subjects are separated by hundreds of years and thousands of miles, yet two recent books by Notre Dame anthropologists have striking similarities on the driving forces behind human migration. Living and Leaving: A Social History of Regional Depopulation in Thirteenth-Century Mesa Verde, by Associate Professor Donna Glowacki, untangles the web of reasons why an entire culture simply packed up and left the Four Corners region nearly 800 years ago. Crimes of Peace: Mediterranean Migrations at the World’s Deadliest Border, by Assistant Professor Maurizio Albahari, examines why African and Middle Eastern migrants and refugees risk their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. The books have played a major role in establishing Notre Dame’s Department of Anthropology as a source of insight and perspective on significant social issues.
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 the René Wellek Prize by the American Comparative Literature Association for the best book in the past year in comparative literature. McCrea’s Languages of the Night: Minor Languages and the Literary Imagination in Twentieth-Century Ireland and Europe explores how the decline of rural languages and dialects in 20th-century Europe shaped ideas about language and literature and exerted a powerful influence on literary modernism. The prize is generally considered to be the most prestigious award in the field of literary studies.
The neuroscience and behavior major is a collaboration between the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Science. Students combine coursework in psychology, chemistry, biology, and other fields to study the nature of mind, brain, and behavior. The interdisciplinary approach prepares neuroscience majors to pursue medical school, graduate school, lab work, or clinical research. “Neuroscience really allows you to explore your options, and you certainly have a lot of them,” said junior Maureen Tracey.