Thomas E. Burman, an esteemed scholar of medieval Christianity and Islam, has been named the Robert Conway Director of the University of Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute. Burman, currently a professor of history at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will begin his new role in January 2017.
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Notre Dame alumna Ray’Von Jones ’16 wants to make a difference in the world of education. And her sociology and Spanish majors are going to help her get there. “Education doesn’t only happen inside schools,” Jones said. “It happens in communities and in neighborhoods. So it’s important for me to have a larger understanding of what’s going on in our country in terms of racial climate, what different communities look like, and how they interact.
Peter Casarella, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame and interim director of Latin American/North American Church Concerns (LANACC), is a scholar of Latino theology. Before joining the Notre Dame faculty in 2013, he served as professor of Catholic studies at DePaul University where he was director of the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology. In an interview, he discusses his research, Pope Francis, and the future of Latin American/North American Church Concerns, of which he is interim director.
A member of the University of Notre Dame political science faculty since 2012, Patrick Deneen is the David A. Potenziani Memorial Associate Professor of Constitutional Studies. He teaches and writes about the history of political thought, American political thought, religion and politics, and literature and politics. Books he has published on these subjects include The Odyssey of Political Theory, Democratic Faith, Democracy’s Literature, The Democratic Soul, and Redeeming Democracy in America.
The Center for Theology, Science and Human Flourishing at the University of Notre Dame has named Rev. Terrence P. Ehrman, C.S.C., its assistant director of life sciences research and outreach. Ehrman will expand the center’s portfolio of life sciences research projects and oversee the center’s outreach efforts across campus and more broadly.
Christina Wolbrecht, associate professor of political science, C. Robert and Margaret Hanley Family Director of the Notre Dame Washington Program, and director of the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy at the University of Notre Dame, teaches and writes about American politics, political parties, women and politics, and American political development. Now at work on a study of the first 100 years of women as voters in American politics, she is co-author, with J. Kevin Corder, of the recently published book Counting Women’s Ballots: Female Voters from Suffrage through the New Deal.
For his book pulling together the complex history of philology and how Western humanistic learning split into the modern humanities that we know today, Notre Dame historian James Turner has received the Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Award. The honor is given for books in literary scholarship or criticism and is named for a distinguished Princeton University scholar, teacher, and dean. Turner’s book, Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities, looks at how learned researchers once included languages, history, and texts in a single broad field of study that came to be known as philology.
“Early literary encounters with the Holocaust tended to tell you about the whole event, but now when the Holocaust appears, generally speaking, it appears in small moments, in kind of passing glances,” said William Collins Donahue, the John J. Cavanaugh, C.S.C., Professor of the Humanities and chair of the Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame. Donahue has researched extensively in the areas of literary realism and modernism, especially the work of Elias Canetti. Now focusing primarily on Holocaust literature, Donahue is developing an analogy for how the Holocaust appears in contemporary narratives. These small episodes, Donahue said, are similar to the Stolpersteine, a worldwide movement of small pavement stones, each commemorating a victim in the Holocaust.
“I tend to gravitate towards doctrines that seem inexplicable, and I try to understand what motivated the early Christians to formulate these doctrines in just these ways,” said Khaled Anatolios, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame. Anatolios specializes in the theology of the early Church. As a Byzantine Catholic priest, he has a special interest in the doctrines of the Greek fathers as well as complementary ideas between the Eastern and Western traditions. His current research focuses on the doctrine of salvation, particularly the disconnect between classical sources and modern experience.
Seven students in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have been awarded graduate fellowships from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for 2016. Another six have been recognized with honorable mentions. The NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) honors and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based degrees in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and social science disciplines. The award provides a stipend, tuition support, and research funds for three years.
“It’s my conviction that the best way to know about how early Christians worshipped — even what they believed — is to try to get as much information as we can about where they lived and what they saw, not just what they wrote and what they read,” said Robin Jensen, the Patrick O’Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. Jensen researches topics at the intersections of Christian art, architecture, liturgy, and theology. Her forthcoming book examines the history of the cross from a variety of liturgical and social perspectives, both in ancient times and in contemporary culture.
Evolutionary science stresses the contributions biology makes to our behavior. Some anthropologists try to understand how societies and histories construct our identities, and others ask about how genes and the environment do the same thing. Which is the better approach? Both are needed, Notre Dame biological anthropologist Agustín Fuentes argues in a forthcoming paper in the journal Current Anthropology.
Notre Dame historian Darren Dochuk’s research primarily focuses on the United States in the long 20th century, with emphasis on religion, politics, and the rising influence of the American West and Sunbelt Southwest in national life. His current project examines religion and politics in North America’s age of oil, 1890 to the present, through the lens of two prominent oil families, the Rockefellers and the Pews. “Oil sparked a certain imagination of progress, a certain ambition for American dominance in the world in the twentieth century, and then religion helped frame that imagination,” he said.
Augustine of Hippo is recognized as one of the most important church fathers and greatest thinkers of Christianity. While many theologians and philosophers study his work, Hildegund Müller, associate professor of classics and associate vice president for research at Notre Dame, takes a different approach to reading Augustine’s texts. Müller’s research is influenced by her philological background and study of literary detail in texts, especially in her current project, A Reading of Augustine’s Sermons, which includes an edition of a selection of his preaching on the Psalms.
Notre Dame and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, or Vatican Library, formalized a unique agreement of collaboration and exchange in a ceremony May 9 in the Hesburgh Room of the Morris Inn, where Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., and Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, O.P., archivist and librarian of the Holy Roman Church, together signed a memorandum of understanding.
Imagine you’ve got one arm tied behind your back to help understand what the daily life of an amputee feels like. How would you squeeze toothpaste out of a tube to brush your teeth? Assistant Professor of Design Ann-Marie Conrado’s first- and second-year course Design Matters, a gateway course to the Department of Art, Art History & Design’s new Collaborative Innovation Minor, considers questions such as this and looks for solutions.
Notre Dame Research has provided awards to more than a dozen College of Arts and Letters faculty members from its Internal Grants Program for 2016. The grant awardees spanned the University in four program categories: Faculty Research Support (Initiation), Faculty Research Support (Regular), Equipment Restoration and Renewal, and Library Acquisitions.
Sponsored by the Hesburgh Libraries and the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE), the ULRA competition honors those who conduct original research and draws focus to the extensive sources and methods of scholarly inquiry that modern-day research libraries offer today’s students.
Twenty-four Notre Dame students who study in the College of Arts and Letters have received 2016-17 grants from the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program, offering students grants to conduct research, study, and teach abroad. The total number of finalists from Arts and Letters alone surpasses the previous University-wide Fulbright record of 17, set last year. In all, 30 Notre Dame students were named Fulbright finalists for 2016-17.
Tanisha Fazal, associate professor of political science and peace studies, has been awarded a research grant from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation to investigate the human and financial costs of war. Those costs are escalating, she says, despite a reduced fatality count.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.