Latest News

Latest News » Research

English professor’s novel named finalist for PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Author: Josh Weinhold

Categories: Research, General News, and Faculty News

Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi, an assistant professor of English at Notre Dame, has been named a finalist for the 2019 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the country’s largest peer-juried prize for novels and short stories. The honor is for Van der Vliet Oloomi’s second novel, Call Me Zebra, which follows a young heroine as she leaves New York and retraces the path she took with her father from Iran to the United States. Literature is at the heart of the novel — the protagonist, Zebra, considers books central to her identity, has personal literary theories, and at times literally devours certain pages of books.

Read More

The Good Class: How an innovative Notre Dame philosophy course gets undergrads excited about contemplating — and constructively debating — life’s big questions

Author: Josh Weinhold

Categories: Undergraduate News, Research, General News, Faculty News, and Catholicism

An innovative Notre Dame course, God and the Good Life, is not only transforming the way students are introduced to philosophy — it is changing their perspectives, trajectories, and lives. Nearly 1,200 students have enrolled in the course since philosophy professor Meghan Sullivan launched it two years ago, and for many, it has become a defining experience in their undergraduate education. It's also drawn an array of prominent guest speakers — including an upcoming appearance by Michael Schur, creator of the philosophy-focused NBC comedy The Good Place.

Read More

Breastfeeding can erase effects of prenatal violence for newborns

Author: Colleen Sharkey

Categories: Research, General News, Faculty News, and Centers and Institutes

How infants adjust in their first months of life depends on many factors, including what their mothers experienced while they are in utero — 1 in 4 women in the U.S. will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime, and that risk increases during pregnancy, but surprisingly few longitudinal studies have been conducted on the effects of IPV during pregnancy. William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families Assistant Professor of Psychology Laura Miller-Graff led a novel study examining the role of breastfeeding as a potential protective factor against detrimental outcomes for infants associated with IPV during pregnancy. 

Read More

Video: Theologian Gerald McKenny on the ethics of biomedical technology

Author: Todd Boruff

Categories: Research, General News, Faculty News, and Catholicism

Gerald McKenny is Walter Professor of Theology. His research interests include moral theology, Christian ethics, and biomedical technologies. In this video, he discusses his interests in how human beings respond to vulnerabilities and limitations, issues he studies as an ethicist and theologian, and why it's important for humanities scholars to be involved in questions of biotechnology.

Read More

Women Lead 2019: Historian Elisabeth Köll paints intricate picture of China's economic systems

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Research, Internationalism, General News, and Faculty News

Growing up in Germany, it wasn’t just unusual that Elisabeth Köll wanted to study Chinese. It was so rare for students at Bonn University to focus on it, there was even a term for it — an “orchid subject.” Nevertheless, Köll was fascinated by China, and her decision to spend two years as an undergraduate in a government exchange program at Fudan University in Shanghai deepened her interest in Chinese history — and launched her global career.

Read More

Notre Dame psychologist elected chair of American Psychological Association’s Commission on Accreditation

Author: Josh Weinhold

Categories: Research, General News, and Faculty News

David A. Smith, a Notre Dame professor of psychology, has been elected chair of the American Psychological Association’s Commission on Accreditation. His term, which began in January, involves leading the 32-person commission, which is charged with the accrediting of nearly 1,200 doctoral, internship, and postdoctoral programs in clinical, counseling, and school psychology.

Read More

Theology Ph.D. students to spend six weeks in Holy Land learning geography, history, and archaeology

Author: Brian Wallheimer

Categories: Research, Internationalism, Graduate Students, General News, and Faculty News

The Notre Dame Department of Theology is hosting an academic experience in the Holy Land this summer for graduate students in Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity and History of Christianity, adding a sense of place for those studying ancient scriptures. Abraham Winitzer, the Jordan H. Kapson Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, and Robin Jensen, the Patrick O’Brien Professor of Theology, will lead the trip for up to 10 students. They will spend four weeks at Notre Dame’s Jerusalem Global Gateway and Tantur Ecumenical Institute learning the geography and history of the Holy Land, then spend two weeks at a nearby archaeological site.

Read More

Inspired by service experience, psychology major’s research aims to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Author: Hailey Oppenlander

Categories: Undergraduate News, Research, General News, and Catholicism

For junior Alice Felker, it only took eight weeks for a service experience to turn into years of research and volunteer efforts for people with disabilities. The summer after her freshman year, Felker participated in the Summer Service Learning Program, an eight-week service opportunity within marginalized populations run by Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns. The following summer, the psychology and applied and computational mathematics and statistics major conducted a study to examine the daytime programs offered for people with disabilities.

Read More

‘Ways of seeing and changing the world’: Gender Studies Program marks 30 years of rigorous, interdisciplinary study and a commitment to social justice

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Undergraduate News, Research, General News, Faculty News, and Alumni

Three decades after its founding, the Gender Studies Program is thriving, with more than 70 students currently pursuing gender studies majors, supplementary majors, and minors at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as more than 50 associated faculty across campus. Hundreds of students have found a home in the program over the years — including Sarah A. Mustillo ’96, the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters.

Read More

Notre Dame among top producers of Fulbright students and scholars

Author: Erin Blasko

Categories: Undergraduate News, Research, Internationalism, Graduate Students, General News, and Faculty News

The University of Notre Dame is among just 11 institutions to be named a top producer for both the Fulbright U.S. Student and Scholar programs for the 2018-19 academic year, a first for the University, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Of the 24 students to receive Fulbrights, 20 were College of Arts and Letters students and alumni. Arts and Letters alone produced more Fulbright student winners than Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, Emory, and Duke.

Read More

Lost voices of slaves, sung and spoken, to be featured during London panel  

Author: Joanna Byrne

Categories: Research, Internationalism, General News, and Faculty News

On Feb. 14, Sophie White, associate professor of American studies at Notre Dame, together with a group of musicians, activists and academics, including the composer Odaline de la Martinez, will participate in a panel discussion at the London Global Gateway titled “Voices of the Enslaved: Tales of Love and Longing."

Read More

Political scientist Guillermo Trejo continues push for transitional justice in Mexico

Trejo, an associate professor of political science and faculty fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, helped draft a major proposal for a truth commission that was presented to the federal government at a press conference in Mexico City on January 22. If implemented, the truth commission would investigate alleged human rights atrocities committed by the government or organized criminal groups during Mexico’s war on drugs between 2006 and 2018.

Read More

Fewer unintended pregnancies contribute to all-time low U.S. fertility rate, new research says

Author: Colleen Sharkey

Categories: Research, General News, and Faculty News

The U.S. birth rate has been decreasing for the last decade, reaching a historic low in 2017. New research from a team of economists suggests that much of this decline is due to reductions in unintended births. Kasey Buckles, the Brian and Jeannelle Brady Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame, and her co-authors found that the number of births that were likely unintended has fallen 16 percent since 2007. This drop accounts for more than a third of the overall decline in births in the U.S. over that period, and is driven by declines in births to young women.

Read More

Anthropologist’s exploration of migration, music, and poetics wins trio of book awards

Author: Brian Wallheimer

Categories: Research, Internationalism, General News, Faculty News, and Centers and Institutes

Notre Dame anthropologist Alex Chávez’s first book, Sounds of Crossing: Music, Migration, and the Aural Poetics of Huapango Arribeño, has certainly caught the eye of his peers. The in-depth look at Mexican migrants’ cultural expression through music has earned three prestigious awards in the fields of anthropology and ethnomusicology.​​​​​​Chávez’s work has earned the 2018 Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology Book Prize and 2018 Association for Latina and Latino Anthropologists Book Award, and now the Alan P. Merriam Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology. 

Read More

Historian Paul Ocobock awarded American Historical Association prize for book on the role of age in Kenyan violence

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Research, Internationalism, General News, and Faculty News

Kenya has been troubled by ethnic violence for many years, especially surrounding elections, and most histories of the country focus on the issue of ethnicity. But there is another factor that is just as important, Paul Ocobock argues — age. He was awarded the 2018 Morris D. Forkosch Prize for his exploration of the centrality of age and masculinity in the lives of young men in his book, An Uncertain Age: The Politics of Manhood in Kenya.

Read More

Three faculty awarded NEH fellowships, continuing record funding for humanities research

Author: Amanda Skofstad

Categories: Research, General News, and Faculty News

Three University of Notre Dame faculty members — Rebecca Tinio McKenna, Sarah McKibben, and Vincent Phillip Muñoz — have been offered fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities in the 2018 award cycle. With 65 total awards, scholars in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have received more NEH fellowships any other private university in the United States since 1999. 

Read More

How an English and German major combines her academic interests with a love for theatre

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Undergraduate News, Research, Internationalism, General News, and Centers and Institutes

In the past three years alone, Notre Dame student Mary Elsa Henrichs’ passions for theatre, English literature, and German have converged in many memorable ways. She’s attended performances of Hamlet in Berlin. She’s worked as a research assistant to two German professors, helping to bring book projects to publication. And she’s spending next semester studying in Heidelberg, Germany, where she hopes to secure a theatre internship. The arts, she said, are a through line between her majors in German and English.

Read More

Army ROTC cadet blends history and political science research to study causes of human trafficking in home state

Author: Hailey Oppenlander

Categories: Research, Internationalism, and General News

Senior Mary Ninneman has been to Thailand, Greece, and Washington, D.C., studying the causes and effects of human trafficking — and those experiences inspired her to further study the issue in the place she knows best. A history and political science major, Army ROTC cadet, and member of the Glynn Family Honors Program, Ninneman’s four years of academic, internship, and international experiences have culminated in a senior thesis analyzing how the issue she’s most passionate about impacts her home state of Nebraska.

Read More

Emergency financial assistance reduces homeless shelter entry and violent crime, Notre Dame economists find

Author: Colleen Sharkey

Categories: Research, General News, Faculty News, and Centers and Institutes

Homelessness in the U.S. is a persistent and complex problem. Each year more than 2.3 million people experience homelessness, 7.4 million people live “doubled up” with friends or family for economic reasons, and many more are on the brink of homelessness. A new study conducted by researchers at the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities shows that emergency financial assistance for people facing homelessness not only reduces shelter entry, but also reduces criminal behavior.

Read More

For musicologist studying the ‘middlebrow,’ interdisciplinary opportunities make PLS the perfect home

Author: Emily McConville

Categories: Research, General News, and Faculty News

For Christopher Chowrimootoo, there’s nothing unusual about a musicologist teaching in the Great Books program. That’s because, like his research, the Program of Liberal Studies is fundamentally interdisciplinary. He primarily tries to bring music into wider conversations about the “middlebrow” in literature, film studies, and cultural history. This originally pejorative term implied cultural aspiration, using “highbrow” art to achieve a higher social and aesthetic status. 

Read More

Small changes to cafeteria design can get kids to eat healthier, professor of psychology and architecture finds

Author: Amanda Skofstad

Categories: Research, General News, and Faculty News

Assistant professor Kim Rollings’ research examines how built and natural environments impact mental and physical health. In collaboration with Nancy Wells, professor of design and environmental analysis at Cornell University, she recently developed an assessment tool that scores elementary school cafeteria environments, suggesting improvements that promote healthier eating.

Read More

‘Cultural maintenance’: 2017 art history alumna restores classic works at Vatican Museums

Author: Andy Fuller

Categories: Research, Internationalism, General News, Arts, and Alumni

Sophia Bevacqua ’17, an art history major now serving a five-year fellowship at the Vatican Museums, works with seven laboratories dedicated to preserving and restoring the site’s vast collections. She works with the laboratories to determine which works of art will be restored, which methods will be used to do the work, and how much each project will cost. She then works to match upcoming restoration projects with benefaction from the museums’ pool of approximately 2,400 donors.

Read More

Scholars of Spanish and Italian culture and literature join Arts and Letters faculty

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Research, General News, and Faculty News

The Department of Romance Languages and Literatures has added expertise in modern Spanish and Italian culture and literature this year with two new faculty hires — Pedro Aguilera-Mellado and Charles Leavitt IV. Aguilera-Mellado, who comes to Notre Dame from the University of Michigan, focuses on modern and contemporary Spain. Leavitt, who received a Ph.D. from Notre Dame in 2010, returns to the University after teaching Italian studies at the University of Reading.

Read More

Sociologist Christian Smith wins book award for research building innovative theory of religion

Author: Josh Weinhold

Categories: Research, General News, and Faculty News

Christian Smith, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology at Notre Dame, has won the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion’s 2018 Distinguished Book Award. The honor, conferred upon the most outstanding book published by an SSSR member in the past two years, lauded the “impressive accomplishment” of Smith’s Religion: What It Is, How It Works, and Why It Matters. Smith’s book aims to help the social sciences better understand and explain religion by building an innovative theory of religion that builds on developments in science, theory, and philosophy.

Read More

Economist awarded NSF grant to explore effectiveness of preschool programming and parent education

Author: Carrie Gates

Categories: Research, General News, Faculty News, and Centers and Institutes

By the time children are 5 years old, there is already a distinct gap between those ready for kindergarten and those who aren’t. And for the children who lag behind — most often those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds — that gap may never close. Chloe Gibbs ’00 wants to determine how preschool can best prepare those children for kindergarten and for success later in life. An assistant professor in the Department of Economics, she has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation for her project, Parenting, Preschool, and the Production of School Readiness and Later Academic Outcomes.

Read More