The University of Notre Dame has long traditions in the research and teaching of Dante and is considered one of the leading centers in the world for the study of the great Catholic poet. As we approach the 700th anniversary of his death, Dante’s work still speaks powerfully, says Ted Cachey, professor of Italian and the Ravarino Family Director of Italian and Dante Studies. “I am often asked how Dante is relevant for today,” he said. “The answer is very simple: Dante confronted a world that was culturally, politically, and spiritually in profound crisis.”
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Notre Dame senior Augustine Pasin will study at the Yenching Academy of Peking University next year as one of 117 global Yenching Scholars. He is Notre Dame’s seventh Yenching Scholar since 2017. Yenching Scholars participate in an interdisciplinary master’s degree program in China studies at Yenching Academy, a postgraduate college of Peking University that brings together young people with a demonstrated talent for leadership and innovation.
Jorge A. Bustamante, the Eugene P. and Helen Conley Professor Emeritus of Sociology, died March 25. He was 82. A sociologist whose research centered on the dynamics of international migration, Bustamante’s work advanced public and academic discourse regarding circumstances at the U.S.-Mexico border. His devotion to advocating for human and labor rights for immigrants worldwide led to his native Mexico nominating him for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.
Julian Bonds loves helping young people, so it’s only natural that the English and history major would seek a career in education. Through his interdisciplinary Arts & Letters courses, research, and interests outside of the classroom, Bonds has developed his knowledge of the education system, its benefits and flaws, and his potential role in it. “Three things have been embedded in almost all of my Arts and Letters classes — creativity, passion, and a relentless drive to learn more about a subject,” he said. “Regardless of the career path I ultimately choose, I hope to always remain willing to be creative, eager to engage with things I am passionate about, and relentless in learning more about everything in order to better help the young people I work with.”
Two virtual events hosted by the University of Notre Dame will examine the recent rise of discrimination and violence against Asians and Asian Americans in the United States, including the shooting deaths in Atlanta on March 16. Under the organizing theme “Anti-Asian Violence in Context: Histories, Connections, Coalition,” these events will feature Notre Dame faculty and students as well as guest activists.
Katie Bugyis, an assistant professor in the Program of Liberal Studies, has been awarded the American Society of Church History’s Franklin S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize, which honors outstanding scholarship in the history of Christianity by a first-time author. She received the prize for her work, The Care of Nuns: The Ministries of Benedictine Women in England During the Central Middle Ages, which reconstructs the history of Benedictine nuns through examination of their own liturgical documents — and recovers evidence of their liturgical functions, including preaching, reading the gospel liturgically, hearing confessions, and pronouncing absolution.
The Notre Dame London Global Gateway, along with partners from the United Kingdom and the University of Notre Dame campus, is launching a year-long exploration of Shakespeare. Professor Peter Holland will kick off this ThinkND series offering the 10th annual Notre Dame London Shakespeare Lecture in honor of Professor Sir Stanley Wells at 1 p.m. EDT April 7 on Zoom. Holland, the McMeel Family Chair in Shakespeare Studies and associate dean for the arts, will present “On the Shakespeare Trail,” exploring an often overlooked area of Shakespeare marketing — the film and theater trailer. Holland will explore how trailers conceptualize and lure audiences into watching on-screen and live versions of Shakespeare's plays.
With majors in design and computer science through the Reilly Center Dual Degree Program, Hind Zahour knew very little about DNA — but she didn’t let that stop her from joining a COVID-19 research team last summer. When Zahour’s consulting internship was shortened due to the pandemic, she sought out an opportunity related to the global crisis and was invited to work with with an engineering professor, running code code to determine what genes are affected by COVID-19. The tangibility and creativity of Zahour's design major and concentration in industrial design have become the perfect balance to the technical coding work she does in computer science — and the combination has given her a more holistic way of thinking.
Perin Gürel, an associate professor of American studies and concurrent associate professor in gender studies, has won the Jack Rosenbalm Prize for American Humor for her essay, “Amerikan Jokes: The Transnational Politics of Unlaughter in Turkey.” Gürel said she is thrilled to win the award — considered the top prize in the field of American humor studies. “It confirmed to me the importance of interdisciplinary, transnational research investigating the intersections of culture and politics,” she said. “I was also excited to have the official recognition because I felt it gave my personal interest in jokes — especially bilingual jokes and anti-jokes or ‘dad jokes’ — a scholarly veneer.”
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi is an associate professor in the Department of English, director of the Creative Writing Program, and the author of the novel Call Me Zebra, winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. In this interview, she discusses how her writing examines how patterns of migration have shaped literature, how history imprints itself on physical landscapes, and her new novel, Savage Tongues, which looks at questions of nationhood, identity, memory.
When Stacy Manrique joined a group of Notre Dame students visiting Mexico’s prestigious Monterrey Institute of Technology two summers ago, it felt like a homecoming. It wasn’t just the fact that Manrique is a native of Monterrey. She was also delighted to connect with students from “El Tec” — young women and men just as passionate about technology and social responsibility as she is. Manrique, who is majoring in computer science and film, television, and theatre through the Reilly Center Dual Degree Program, looks back at this and many other experiences she’s had through the Institute for Latino Studies as touchstones in her educational journey.
With 29 finalists — including 24 from the College of Arts & Letters — Notre Dame ranked 7th this year in a tie with New York University, according to the U.S. State Department, which administers the Fulbright Program via the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Notre Dame senior Margaret “Meg” Burns, an art history major from San Antonio, Texas, has been awarded a 2021–22 Luce Scholarship. The scholarship provides a stipend, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia, with a goal of enhancing the understanding of Asia among potential leaders of American society. Burns is Notre Dame’s 10th Luce Scholar in total and its third since 2014.
Patrick Griffin, a scholar whose work explores the intersection of colonial American and early modern Irish and British history, has been named the Harold Vyvyan Harmsworth Visiting Professor of American History at the University of Oxford. The prestigious fellowship, created in 1922, is awarded to a distinguished American historian who then spends a year teaching, researching and leading seminars at Oxford’s Queen’s College and Rothermere American Institute.
Seven Notre Dame students with majors or minors in the College of Arts & Letters have been awarded spring Gilman Scholarships to study abroad, for a total of 15 students so far for the 2020-21 academic year. Two Notre Dame students, both Arts & Letters majors, have been named alternates for the award.
Notre Dame theologians from the World Religions World Church program will embark on a virtual teaching series examining the Catholic Church in a global religion context starting Jan. 26 and running through October. This program, hosted by ThinkND, will enable learners to enrich their understanding of the Church’s relationship with believers of other faiths around the world. Gabriel Reynolds, the Jerome J. Crowley and Rosaleen G. Crowley Professor of Theology, will lead the first four sessions that delve into the overlap between the Bible and the Quran, the historical relationship between the Church and Islam, and the theological tensions and harmonies between believers in both traditions.
What’s senior Liam Karr’s secret to juggling three majors, writing a thesis, and still finding time to practice and perform with the Notre Dame Glee Club? A little time management and a lot of love for what he does.“I just totally do the whole ‘study what you love’ thing, and don’t really care if my schedule looks a little busy,” he said. A self-described “history nerd” with an interest in politics, Karr quickly discovered how much natural overlap there is between his first two majors. Deciding to pursue a third major — Arabic — was more of an unexpected development.
When Lily Falzon ’18 started at Notre Dame, she thought she wanted to be a doctor. But a course on culture in medicine she took while studying abroad gave her a different perspective on health care and inspired her to study sociology and Chinese instead. It also led her to research China's success in building an integrative health care system — and her own Chinese ancestry. After graduation, Falzon was named a Yenching Scholar at Peking University in Beijing.
Francie Shaft has discovered intersections between her theology and Japanese majors through her classes and research — both on campus and in Japan. Those opportunities would not have been possible, she said, without the support she found at Notre Dame. “Notre Dame wants you to start pursuing what you’re passionate about, even as a freshman. If I didn’t have these people who have believed in me from the start, I don’t think I would be as creative and as bold in the sorts of experiences I want to have.”
Patrícia Rodrigues is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology and a fellow in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies focusing her research on the historical and anthropological bases for indigenous claims to territory and legal protection of archaeological sites and ecological resources in Brazil. In this interview, she discusses her research on the Wauja people in Brazil, why she chose Notre Dame, and how the anthropology program's emphasis on transdisciplinarity makes it distinctive.
Political science major Oneile Baitlotli spent most of her junior year planning the summer research project abroad she needed to earn a minor in International Development Studies: a study of how to help low-income families in her native Botswana gain access to affordable early childhood education. But in March, the coronavirus largely suspended overseas travel and closed international borders. And Baitlotli and nearly a dozen other juniors in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies’ IDS program were forced to abandon their original capstone projects. With help from their faculty advisors and the Kellogg Institute, they developed new research projects they could do virtually within a matter of weeks.
Sociologist Erin McDonnell and psychologist Nathan Rose have received National Science Foundation Early Career Development (CAREER) Awards for 2020. They are among nine University of Notre Dame faculty members to receive the awards this year. “This is the most prestigious award granted by the NSF to early-career faculty and reflects the quality of Erin McDonnell’s and Nathan Rose’s research,” said Sarah Mustillo, the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “I am thrilled that they are continuing the College’s strong record of success with these awards.”
Whether he’s studying in Uganda or France, South Africa or South Bend — or speaking English, Luganda, French, or Swahili — Trevor Lwere has one topic at the forefront of his mind. No matter where he is, the economics and global affairs major is driven to investigate what different cultures and perspectives can teach each other about forming the best society. “Every time I move to a different place, I get curious about how different societies imagine how they should be organized and how they approach life,” he said.
Dana Moss is an assistant professor of sociology at Notre Dame whose research interests include collective behavior and social movements, global and transnational sociology, international migration, and political sociology. She's currently working on a book project on the "Arab Spring abroad" — how Libyan, Yemeni, and Syrian communities, spread from as far away as Los Angeles to London, mobilized to support the Arab Spring revolutions that were happening in their home countries. She also developed a theory of transnational repression on how regimes constrain and pressure their diasporas.
The Notre Dame Dublin Global Gateway and the Notre Dame-Newman Centre for Faith and Reason have launched a new, four-part international series to celebrate the first anniversary of the canonization of St. John Henry Newman — theologian, poet, convert and founder of the Catholic University of Ireland. “Thinking with Newman: Educating with Intention Today” will explore Newman’s seminal work, “The Idea of a University,” and its contemporary relevance to educational challenges faced today during the coronavirus crisis. The series launches on Oct. 7, and registration is required.
Most of the research on the biology of fatherhood has focused on fathers in the U.S., Europe and some Asian countries. In these settings, levels of some hormones, such as lower testosterone and higher oxytocin, have been linked to more nurturing fathering. A Notre Dame research team wants to take a wider view. The role of fathers can vary greatly across cultures, and the researchers aimed to test whether the biology of fatherhood did, too. To get a more complete picture of hormones and fatherhood that includes different cultures, social support systems, and social hierarchies, Lee Gettler, associate professor of anthropology, led a team that worked with the BaYaka and Bondongo societies in the Republic of the Congo. The team’s paper was published this week in Nature magazine’s Scientific Reports.
Rawls' work A Theory of Justice has had a lasting and far-reaching influence on the fields of economics, political science, philosophy, and law — and nearly 50 years after its publication, it remains one of the greatest works of political philosophy ever produced, said Paul Weithman, the Glynn Family Honors Professor of Philosophy. With funding from a Collaborative Research Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Weithman is planning a conference commemorating the 50th anniversary of the book’s publication in September 2021.
Senior Meg Burns says that the tagline to her experience at Notre Dame could be, “It’s OK to change your mind.” After three semesters majoring in biochemistry, Burns decided to follow her passion and major in art history. Then, during her junior year, she dramatically shifted the focus of her senior thesis after having completed research in Dublin. Looking back, Burns said these moments became valuable learning experiences themselves.
A small but growing number of tenure-track faculty have roots in Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS), a program of the Division of Student Affairs at Notre Dame that provides access to opportunities and resources for historically underrepresented students to thrive at Notre Dame and beyond. “Because of MSPS, I was lucky enough to have professors that took an interest in me and pointed me in the right direction to come to the idea that graduate school was something that I could do,” said Camille Suarez, a 2013 Arts & Letters graduate.