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Faculty update: Journal examines Muslims and the state, post-9/11

May 21, 2009

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.- Courtesy of the president's office, here's a look at recent publications and other accomplishments by Middlebury faculty members, and in some cases their students.

Erik Bleich's
(Political Science) guest edited special issue of the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies titled, "Muslims and the State in the Post-9/11 West," was published in March 2009. In addition to his introduction, the issue also includes his article, "State Responses to 'Muslim' Violence: A Comparison of Six West European Countries" (JEMS, 35:3, 361-79). This special issue is the culmination of an April 2007 workshop of the same title held at Middlebury College, which brought together 20 scholars and policymakers from the United States and Europe thanks to funding from over a dozen campus sources, including departments, centers, commons, and student groups. Erik would like to thank everyone who supported this workshop and encourages anyone interested to access the table of contents and abstracts.

Jeremy Ward (Biology) has received a CAREER (Faculty Early Career Development) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support a five-year program of research with undergraduates and outreach to local public schools: Toward the genetics of Meiosis: Integration of Meiotic Molecular Biology and Public School Science Outreach. The CAREER program offers NSF's "most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars." This grant will involve more than 20 undergraduate students in research that combines genetics, cell biology, and molecular biology to determine the structure and function of a mouse gene that is important to the sexual reproduction process. The students will also be actively involved in developing a mobile genetics lab called the "Gene Wagon" that will be used in an outreach program for middle and high school teachers and their students. [ Read more ... ]

Jim Berg, (English & American Literatures), has published a book chapter, "The Properties of Character in King Lear," in the volume, Shakespeare and Character: Theory, History, Performance and Theatrical Persons, edited by Paul Yachnin and Jessica Slights (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).

Jeffrey Byers (Chemistry & Biochemistry) has received a fifth NSF-RUI grant from the National Science Foundation's Research in Undergraduate Institutions activity. In this project, Radical Reactions of Transition Metal-Arene Complexes, Jeff and his students will be modifying the behavior of a wide variety of hydrocarbons by binding them to transition metals to see if they might be developed into more synthetically useful building blocks for more structurally complex substances. Recent discoveries in his lab indicate that this approach might be useful for a variety of applications ranging from conducting polymers to pharmaceutically relevant substances.

Sandra Carletti (Italian) has received a fellowship from the Marion & Jasper Whiting Foundation in support of a project, A Day in the Life of Italy. The grant provides funding for travel to Italy during her 2009-2010 leave. She plans to collect audio-visual materials that will enhance the teaching of Italian in the classroom and support the development of a textbook.

Michael Katz (Russian) has been selected for a grant from the Fulbright Scholar Program to teach literature courses in Brazil during Spring 2010 at the Univerdidade Federal de Santa Catalina in Florianopolis, which is one of the sites for Middlebury's School in Latin America. He will offer a graduate seminar (in English) in the Program in English Literature, "The Realist Novel in the Old World and the New," and he has also been invited to conduct a translation workshop for faculty members of English and other languages.

Christian Keathley (Film and Media Culture) has had an article, "Otto Preminger and the Surface of Cinema," appear in World Picture 2 (Autumn 2008).

John Maluccio (Economics) has been awarded a fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education's Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad program that will provide support for his 2009-2010 leave. He will spend four months examining the relationship between remittances and child nutrition in northern Guatemala and directing the follow-up portion of a World Bank study, Migration and Food and Nutrition Security in Guatemala. This project aims to measure the effects of migration on a wide variety of individual- and household-level outcomes, including poverty. He will be based in the northern town of Huehuetenango, at a satellite campus of the Universidad Rafael Landívar. His ultimate goal is to bring this experience back to Middlebury by offering an economic development course taught in Spanish.

Jason Mittell (Film and Media Culture) has had two publications appear recently: A book, Television and American Culture, was published by Oxford University Press. A book chapter has also recently appeared: "Lost in a Great Story: Evaluation in Narrative Television (and Television Studies)," in Reading LOST, edited by Roberta Pearson (I.B. Tauris, 2009).

William Poulin-Deltour (French) has received funding from the Spencer Foundation to support research during his 2009-2010 academic leave which he will spend in France carrying out ethnographic research for a project, "A 'Double Bind': Diversifying France's Grandes ecoles." He will examine recent French efforts to foster socio-economic diversity in educational institutions traditionally reserved for a small and homogeneous elite. While the focus of this project is France, he hopes that his work can provide a backdrop to shed light on the taken-for-granted assumptions shared by various actors in other national contexts, particularly the United States, who shape public policies that attempt to diversify and democratize higher education.

Emily Proctor (Mathematics) has been awarded a NSF Mentoring Travel Grant by the Association of Women in Math. This grant funds travel expenses for her to visit a senior colleague at The University of Notre Dame while she is on leave in fall 2009. Emily, along with colleagues from Swarthmore, Wellesley, and Rhodes, has also received funding from the Mellon 23 Faculty Career Enhancement Program for a Collaborative Workshop that will focus on topics in Riemannian geometry that form the basis of their research programs. The workshop will be held in Middlebury during fall 2009 and will bring together more than 20 liberal arts college faculty members to brainstorm and catalyze scholarly collaborations and to share methods of introducing these topics to undergraduates.

Patricia Saldarriaga (Spanish) has received a fellowship from the Marion & Jasper Whiting Foundation in support of a curriculum development project, Hispanic Religious Art of the Baroque. The grant provides funding for a trip to Mexico during her 2009-2010 leave during which she plans to visit museums, churches, and Baroque architecture.

Robert Schine (Religion and Classics) has been selected to participate in the Schusterman Center's Summer Institute for Israel Studies at Brandeis University this coming summer. This is an all-expenses-paid, three-week-long intensive interdisciplinary workshop; the first half of the workshop is on the Brandeis campus while the second half is held in Israel. As part of the workshop, he will be developing a new syllabus for his seminar on Zionist ideology. In addition, Robert had another article published: " 'Members of this Book': The Pinkas of Vermont's First Jewish Congregation," in The American Jewish Archives Journal 90 (2008), Nr. 1 & 2, 51-98.

John Schmitt (Mathematics) had a paper, "A sharp lower bound for potentially H-graphic degree sequences," recently published. It is co-authored with M. Ferrara (University of Akron) and appears in the S.I.A.M. Journal on Discrete Mathematics 23 (2009), 517-526.

Jonathan Schroeder (Geography) has completed his Ph.D. at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and was promoted to assistant professor of Geography.

Pavlos Sfyroeras (Classics) has been awarded a Howard Foundation fellowship for support of his 2009-2010 leave during which he plans to complete a book project, Aristophanes Sophos: Comedy and Philosophy in the Late Fifth Century. By arguing that Aristophanic comedy actively contributes to the intellectual debates of its time, this project invites historians of philosophy to expand their purview and broaden the definition of what counts as philosophy. In addition to revisiting Aristophanes' dialogue with the sophists, this book offers a reappraisal of the comic poet's influence on Plato.

Sallie Sheldon (Biology) and colleagues from the University of Connecticut have received a three-year research grant from the National Science Foundation for a project that will result in a thorough taxonomic revision of the widespread aquatic plant genus Najas, which includes both imperiled species and invasive species in the United States. At least six undergraduate students will be involved in this project, working in both field and lab in Connecticut and Vermont. The grant also provides funding for new equipment that will be used in this project as well as for academic year research and teaching.

Michael Sheridan (Sociology/Anthropology) has been selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Education's Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad program this summer. The award covers all expenses for the four-week seminar, Senegal: Gateway to West Africa. His goals are to get a more comparative perspective on African studies and to revise course syllabi to have more West African content. His independent project will be about forest management in southern Senegal.

Christopher Star (Classics) has been awarded a grant from the Loeb Classical Library Foundation at Harvard University to support his 2009-2010 leave. He will be working on a book project, The Empire of the Self: Self-Command and Political Speech in Seneca and Petronius, which will focus on the works of two of the Emperor Nero's closest advisors and how the language of imperial command structured the concept of the self.

Jacob Tropp (History) has received a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies to support his 2009-2010 academic leave. He will be working on a book project, Native American Administration and the Making of International Development Expertise, 1935-1960. Research for this project will take him to archives in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C. Jacob also has been selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Education's Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad program this summer. The award covers all expenses for the four-week seminar, Senegal: Gateway to West Africa. He plans to develop a case study for a new global environmental history course that he's creating and to study the transatlantic slave trade in that region in order to enhance existing and develop future African history courses.

Matty Woodruff (Philosophy) has published an article, "Katharsis Revisited: Aristotle on the Significance of the Tragic Emotions," in Newsletter of the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy 8.2. In addition, she gave a short live interview on CBC radio on the philosophical significance of gift-giving and generosity, especially in ancient Greece (broadcast on "The Current" on Dec. 23rd, 2008).

Phani Wunnava and Thierry Warin (both Economics), along with former student Hubert Janicki '04, currently in an Economics Ph.D. program at Arizona State University, appeared in the recent issue of Review of International Economics. The title of the article is "Testing Mundell's Intuition of Endogenous OCA Theory," Review of International Economics 17 (February 2009), 74-89. In addition, Phani reports that his paper investigating the determinants of internet diffusion rates with Daniel Leiter '06, an Economics graduate and a fixed income analyst at Morgan Stanley in New York City, appeared in the April 2009 issue of the American Journal of Economics and Sociology. An earlier version of this paper was also circulated as one of the IZA (Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn, Germany) discussion papers.

Don Wyatt (History) has been awarded a half-year visitorship in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, for 2009-2010. During his tenure he will begin work on a new project examining the early modern construction of Chinese racial identity. This book-length project is titled The Setting of a Race Apart, or How the Chinese Became Yellow.