The John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values at the University of Notre Dame has released its sixth annual list of emerging ethical dilemmas and policy issues in science and technology. The annual list is designed to get people thinking about the ethics of potentially controversial technology, but the 2018 list shows that many of these issues are already here.
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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.
Notre Dame senior Sarah Tomas Morgan has always had an interest in global issues. And the College of Arts and Letters has enabled her to explore that passion through her coursework and a variety of international and internship experiences. Coming into her first year, Tomas Morgan intended on majoring in political science. But after completing a University Seminar in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS), her plans changed.
Four students in Notre Dame’s Ph.D. program in theology have received 2017-18 research grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Ashley Edewaard, Stephen Long, Andrew O’Connor, and Joseph Riordan, SJ, are among 30 students from the College of Arts and Letters to receive awards in another record-breaking year for the University and the College.
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.
For his entire academic career, Sean Reardon ’86 has sought to use his passions — the humanities and quantitative research — to make a difference in the field of education. One of the nation’s leading experts on educational inequality, Reardon researches how opportunities and outcomes vary in the United States for students of different racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic backgrounds. Reardon’s path to his current position, Professor of Poverty and Inequality in Education at Stanford University, is long and sprawling. It includes stops on a South Dakota Indian Reservation, a New Jersey Quaker school, and further academic work at Harvard and Penn State — but it all began at Notre Dame.
Stefanie Israel de Souza, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology and a dissertation year fellow in the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, has been awarded a Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. She is one of just 10 students from across the country to win the prestigious award, which supports Ph.D. candidates in their final year of dissertation completion.
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.”
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.
University of Notre Dame alumnus John A. “Jack” Kelly and his wife, Gail E. Weiss, have made a $1 million gift to his alma mater to support initiatives within the University’s Notre Dame International Security Center (NDISC) and the Office of the President. Founded in 2008 and recently expanded with the addition of three new faculty members, the International Security Center is under the direction of Michael Desch, professor of political science. NDISC examines pressing international security issues facing the nation and world and conducts research that contributes to dialogue on global policy. The center supports faculty and student research projects, an endowed speaker series, an undergraduate fellows program and a seminar series featuring scholars and experts on national security.
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.
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.
The summer after his sophomore year, Notre Dame senior J.P. Bruno was packaging maple syrup, taking care of honeybees, and tending to an orchard on a biodynamic farm in Vermont. Three weeks later, he was sitting in the White House, interning for the Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) as part of a semester in the Notre Dame Washington Program. These contrasting experiences provided Bruno, an economics and applied and computational mathematics and statistics (ACMS) major, with an assortment of skills that eventually led him to developing his senior thesis and receiving a job offer in economic consulting at the beginning of his senior year.
Lessons from Breaking Bad: Why being an avid fan of the groundbreaking series inspired him to study negative representations of Latinos in popular culture.
“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.”
The retreat was sponsored by the International Network for Comparative Humanities (INCH), an interdisciplinary group of literary scholars from across the U.S. and Europe dedicated to promoting comparative study. Co-directed by Notre Dame professor Barry McCrea and Maria DiBattista of Princeton University, the organization seeks to develop a new model for networking and scholarly collaboration in the humanities — one that stresses the importance of collaboration across generational, national, and institutional boundaries.
Nicholas J. Teh, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, along with London School of Economics colleague Bryan W. Roberts, was awarded a National Science Foundation grant to study the nature of observables.
From the beginning, there’s an end in sight. For students in Notre Dame’s new Ph.D. in Italian and Ph.D. in Spanish programs — each of which launched in 2016 — the focus is on ensuring students complete their dissertations and earn their degrees within five years. The programs are attracting high-caliber students from around the world, helping to strengthen a flourishing community of scholars that includes students in successful master’s of arts programs already operating in each area.