How should a concerned mother discuss issues of diet and weight with her daughter? Very carefully, according to Erin Hillard, a developmental psychology doctoral student at the University of Notre Dame. In an article recently published in the journal Body Image, Hillard and her colleagues reported on results from their study of a representative group of sixth- through eighth-grade girls and their mothers.
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Did you receive affection, play freely, and feel supported in childhood? Childhood experiences like these appear to have a lot to do with well-being and moral capacities in adulthood. In a forthcoming article in the journal Applied Developmental Science, University of Notre Dame professor of psychology Darcia Narvaez and colleagues Lijuan Wang and Ying Cheng, associate professors of psychology, show that childhood experiences that match with evolved needs lead to better outcomes in adulthood.
Three faculty from the University of Notre Dame received fellowships this week from the National Endowment for the Humanities, continuing the University’s record success winning support for humanities research. Receiving the grants are Julia Douthwaite, a professor of French; Amy Mulligan, an assistant professor of Irish language and literature; and Gabriel Said Reynolds, a professor of Islamic studies and theology. Since 1999, College of Arts and Letters faculty have won 57 NEH fellowships—more than any other private university in the country.
After nearly 40 years of pop culture relevancy, the Star Wars saga is continuing this month with the December 18 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Fans are lining up to see beloved characters return to the screen, including Han Solo and General Leia, and to welcome several new ones, including a variety of droids. The enduring popularity of and interest in C-3PO and R2-D2 speaks to the fascination many people have with robotics and artificial intelligence. Although no one will have their own C-3PO soon, a number of University of Notre Dame researchers are working to make droids more science fact than science fiction.
Ballot initiatives, those petition-driven public votes on contested issues, are often disparaged by liberals and conservatives alike for their avoidance of conventional representative democratic processes and their vulnerability to manipulation by well-financed and organized special interest groups. Nevertheless, according to Benjamin Radcliff, professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, people in states that rely more heavily on such initiatives are, on average, happier than people in other states.
During the summer of 2015, Notre Dame history and political science major Matt Souza interviewed laborers in multiple Chinese cities. The goal of his research was to determine whether the official ideology of the Communist Party is still influential amongst Chinese citizens. “All of my findings, they’re actually quite different from all the previous research, and I really want to get my ideas and all my findings out to the public,” he said. Souza’s research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program in the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts.
Notre Dame economics major Melanie Wallskog walked into her professor’s office hours with a question. She walked out with a job. That simple act of reaching out to a professor led to research opportunities in Nicaragua, Ireland, and Chicago. The senior from Bloomington, Indiana, and Glynn Family Honors Scholar has now co-authored a paper with two of her professors and is working on her senior thesis.
Jessica Payne never dreamed of becoming a rising star in the science of sleep. In fact, until midway through graduate school, she didn’t think much about the subject beyond her own off-and-on problems getting some shut-eye. Now, she can’t keep it off her mind. Payne’s tireless work recently earned her the "Psychonomic Society’s Early Career Award, given to individuals who have made significant contributions to scientific psychology early in their careers.
The Notre Dame International Security Center has received a five-year, $3.5 million grant from the Charles Koch Foundation to further develop and expand its role as a forum for broader scholarship on U.S. foreign policy. The grant builds on the significant and wide-ranging support the center has received since it was founded seven years ago—including two grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to research how American scholars can contribute to the formation of U.S. national security policy.
Notre Dame Research, together with Notre Dame International, have awarded three new grants for faculty to complete research at the University of Notre Dame’s Rome Global Gateway. Alexander Beihammer, associate professor in the Department of History, will explore the relationship between the Vatican and the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Heather Hyde Minor, associate professor of Renaissance and Baroque Art in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design, will conduct archival research for a book on Johann Joachim Winckelmann.
For married couples, the odds aren’t good when one partner has anxiety or depression. The presence of such a mental issue significantly increases the risk that the couple will get divorced. Notre Dame psychology Ph.D. student Judith Biesen wants to find a way to improve the outcomes for those couples. With an American Dream grant from the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, Biesen is completing a longitudinal study of mental health—specifically, anxiety disorders and depression—and how it relates to marital functioning and satisfaction with the relationship.
In a new book, Education and Empowered Citizenship in Mali (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015), Jaimie Bleck, an assistant professor of political science, explores the relationship between schooling, political knowledge, and political participation in Mali, where access to education nearly tripled in the two decades following the country’s 1991 transition to multiparty democracy.
Three medievalist scholars presented a range of papers on medieval women and religious writings during the Holy Water and Saintly Ink seminar at the London Global Gateway on Nov. 24. Leanne MacDonald and Marjorie Harrington, doctoral students from the College of Arts and Letters and graduate fellows at the London Global Gateway, organized the seminar, while Hetta Howes of the Queen Mary University of London School of English and Drama was also invited to talk.
Emmie Mediate, a 2015 graduate of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters, has been selected to the American Rhodes Scholar Class of 2016. A native of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Mediate was one of 32 Rhodes Scholars selected from a pool of 869 candidates who had been nominated by their colleges and universities. She is Notre Dame’s 17th Rhodes Scholar and the University’s second in two years.
Science and folklore alike have long suggested that high levels of testosterone can facilitate the sorts of attitudes and behavior that make for, well, a less than ideal male parent. It has long been known that among humans (and some other species as well), males who cooperate amicably with their female mates in raising and nurturing offspring often have lower testosterone levels than their more aggressive and occasionally grumpy counterparts. But two University of Notre Dame anthropologists are looking beyond the nuclear family for such effects.
Police are less likely to show up at protests involving religious actors or organizations — unless the protesters are fundamentalist Christians, according to a new study. Notre Dame sociologist Kraig Beyerlein, the lead author of the study, analyzed protest-event data from daily editions of The New York Times published between 1960 and 1995 and found that, in general, police were more likely to leave alone protests from religious groups. However, fundamentalist Christian groups were more likely to be policed than secular groups were.
Private school voucher programs are becoming more common, with more than a million U.S. families participating in these programs across the country. A new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, “Where Does Voucher Funding Go? How Large-Scale Subsidy Programs Affect Private-School Revenue, Enrollment, and Prices,” authored by Notre Dame economist Daniel Hungerman and graduate student Kevin Rinz, provides the first study of how school choice programs affect the finances of private schools and the affordability of a private education.
Anthropologist Rahul Oka has been working with UNHCR and the World Bank on a new refugee camp being built, helping create a template for refugee resettlement. “All the data we’ve collected, both qualitative and quantitative, will inform the new camp. My job is not to tell them that they need a paradigm shift," he said. "My job is to make sure that any development project in which I am involved is informed by on-the-ground analysis and is based on observed reality of local events and behaviors.”
A football game isn’t the only thing Notre Dame is bringing to Boston in late November. As part of a weekend of events surrounding the Shamrock Series, Notre Dame’s annual home-away-from-home football game, the College of Arts and Letters will host a pair of academic conversations the day before the Fighting Irish face Boston College at Fenway Park. Notre Dame historians will offer an interdisciplinary look at the impact of Irish immigration on American religious and political structures, as well as the role of the U.S. in the 1916 Easter Rising, while economists will discuss research initiatives that aim to change the way humanitarian services help the poor both domestically and abroad.
Notre Dame faculty from the Department of Psychology have been awarded grants from the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI). Julie Braungart-Rieker, the Mary Hesburgh Flaherty and James F. Flaherty III Professor of Psychology and director of the William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families, was awarded a Community Health Engagement Program (CHEP) Community Based Research Pilot Award for a study, “Reducing Obesogenic Home Environments in Low-Income Households with Mothers of Pre-school-Aged Children.” Jennifer Burke LeFever, assistant research professor in the Department of Psychology, is a co-primary investigator on the grant.
What’s going on in your head while you sleep? The research of Jessica Payne, associate professor and Nancy O’Neill Collegiate Chair in Psychology, shows that the non-waking hours are incredibly valuable for your day-to-day life, especially for helping to commit information to memory and for problem solving. If you ever thought sleep was just downtime between one task and the next, think again.
Rev. Robert Dowd, C.S.C., assistant professor of political science, is a fellow of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and director of its Ford Family Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity. A popular teacher and scholar of religion’s impact on development and political institutions, he has conducted extensive research on communities and societies throughout Africa. His recently published book, Christianity, Islam and Liberal Democracy: Lessons from Sub-Saharan Africa, provocatively argues that religious diversity in Nigeria and other African countries actually encourages, rather than inhibits, religious tolerance.
They bring expertise in subjects that span physical borders and chronological boundaries. They bring passion to their research and energy to their classrooms. And the six new faculty members joining the Department of History this fall bring additional prestige to an already elite group of academics. “For a long period of time, we’ve been working to assemble a group of scholars that could work across national boundaries, redefining the department and what it does," said Patrick Griffin, chair of the department.
An interdisciplinary symposium hosted this week by the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies aims to facilitate conversation and collaboration between scholars from the United States and Italy who are researching issues related to immigration. “Transnational Migration in Comparative Perspective: Italy and the United States” offers the chance for academics to learn from one another about immigration experiences and discuss ways that research can better inform policymakers.
There are 60 million displaced people in the world, and every day, an estimated 40,000 people flee their homes in search of safety elsewhere. For many, a temporary stop in a refugee camp becomes a lifetime of dependency and desolation. Notre Dame anthropology professor Rahul Oka believes there is a better way to provide aid to these residents. For several years, with colleagues in the Department of Anthropology, the Interdisciplinary Center for Network Science and Applications and the Ford Family Program, he has studied the evolution of trade and commerce, focusing on the formal and informal economies that develop within these camps.
Notre Dame historian Linda Przybyszewski has been selected as one of the first winners of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ new Public Scholar Grant Program, which aims to bring the humanities to larger audiences and make scholarship relevant to contemporary life. Her forthcoming book will tell the story of the Cincinnati Board of Education’s decision to stop Bible reading in public schools and the ensuing court battles that riveted the nation in the late 1860s and early 1870s.
The way Andrew Flatley sees it, his liberal arts education and the work he’s done in the hard sciences are surprisingly similar. “They both, from different starting points, move toward the same goal of trying to come up with a solution that can help humanity,” he said. That sentiment was echoed in the work Flatley did this summer. A senior anthropology major, he spent 10 weeks interning at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, studying mice with Down syndrome.
An interdisciplinary research collaborative between the University of Notre Dame and Cornell University has awarded nearly $2 million to 18 projects in five countries. The researchers will examine the theoretical, empirical, and practical dimensions of hope and optimism. The project, Hope and Optimism: Conceptual and Empirical Investigations, is funded through a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation and additional money from Notre Dame and Cornell.
The projects took them them to Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and England. The research offers new insights into the Renaissance, Protestantism, immigrant religiousness, monks, and begging practices. Eight graduate students from Notre Dame’s Department of History received competitive fellowships or grants in support of their research—awards including a Rome Prize, a Fulbright, and Louisville Institute, Newcombe, and Schallek fellowships.
Indiana’s school choice program is one of the largest in the United States. Until now, little has been known about how this initiative to increase parents’ educational options for their children is affecting either the schools or the students. A Notre Dame sociologist will now get to examine a range of those effects, thanks to a $1 million grant from The Spencer Foundation. The award will fund a three-year study in a ground-breaking initiative with data allowing for comparisons among traditional public, charter, and private schools.