Faculty Notebook - April 2024

Vol. XXIX, No. 2

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Yasemin Akbaba, Professor of Political Science, with co-authors Cigdem Kentmen-Cin and Burcu Saracoglu, published “Turkey’s Gender Gap in Higher Education: An Analysis of IR Doctoral Students” in Women’s Studies International Forum 102 (January–February 2024): 102863. This article explores gender differences in International Relations (IR) graduate students, the student-advisor match, and dissertation topics in Turkey. We found a statistically significant gender-based pairing among students and advisors, in addition to a higher number of male students and advisors, which suggests greater male visibility in graduate school and academia. Dissertation keyword analysis shows that similar topics are studied by both men and women, and reveals a noticeable absence of gender-sensitive issues, even in the work of female researchers.

Akbaba published “Religious Discrimination against Minorities: Theories and Findings” in Social Sciences 12.9 (2023): 522. The purpose of this article is to connect the theories and findings of religious discrimination studies of International Relations via the graphic method of systemism. Featured works engage with religious discrimination in a sub-group of states—Western democracies, and those with a Christian majority.

Abou B. Bamba, Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies, published “De l’ancrage d’une ville africaine: Abidjan, la mondialisation et le colonialisme tardif en Côte d'Ivoire” in Canadian Journal of African Studies/Revue canadienne des études africaines 58.1 (2024): 1–21. Centering on late-colonial Abidjan in the Ivory Coast, this article highlights the benefit of using historical analysis to understand the globalization of an African city. I conclude that while a world economy dominated by foreign capitalism seems to have shaped the cosmopolitanism of Abidjan, the city remained an African metropolis.

Josef Brandauer, Professor of Health Sciences, with student co-author Hannalyn Schwarzer ’24, alum co-authors Lauren E. Cooke ’23 and Cynthia Anyaoku ’23, and co-authors Candace N. Receno, Keith C. DeRuisseau, Caitlin M. Cunningham, and Lara R. DeRuisseau, published “Senescent Hearts from Male Ts65Dn Mice Exhibit Preserved Function but Altered Size and Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Pathway Signaling” in American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology 326.2 (February 2024): R176–R183. Down Syndrome is associated with heart defects at birth. We studied mitochondrial biology in the heart tissue of a mouse model of Down Syndrome and found reduced amounts of key molecules that are required for optimal cardiac function.

Alice Brawley Newlin, Assistant Professor of Management, with co-author Matthew P. Crayne, published “Driven to Succeed, or to Leave? The Variable Impact of Self-Leadership in Rideshare Gig Work” in International Journal of Human Resource Management 35.1 (2024): 98–120. Using survey data from rideshare drivers, we found that self-leadership in gig work (e.g., setting your own goals) can vary in how it impacts gig workers. It can be either helpful—if gig workers are already satisfied with their work—or detrimental—if gig workers are doing the job out of financial need.

Brawley Newlin published “Methodological and Demographic Variation in Estimates of Economic Dependence across Two Types of Gig Work” in Occupational Health Science 8 (2024): 161–190. Estimates of the rate of financial dependence among gig workers vary wildly—from single digits to over half of gig workers. This study explored how survey-item wording and demographic factors lead to those varying estimates, and found evidence that the majority of gig workers are indeed doing the work out of financial need.

Brawley Newlin published “On the Folly of Introducing A (Time-Based UMV), While Designing for B (Time-Based CMV)” in Applied Psychological Measurement 47.3 (2023): 253– 256. Commonly in social sciences, researchers are advised to separate their predictor and outcome variables across time in a research study, to avoid inflating the observed correlation between them by collecting both variables at the same time. In this paper, I showed that separating a single survey measure over time inappropriately reduced how well the single measure correlated with itself!

John Commito, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Studies, published “Population Dynamics of Soft-Shell Clams Mya arenaria” in The Soft-Shell Clam Mya arenaria: Biology, Fisheries, and Mariculture, edited by Victor S. Kennedy and Brian F. Beal (Bethesda, MD: American Fisheries Society, 2023). This chapter describes the population dynamics of the ecologically and commercially important soft-shell clam, Mya arenaria. It draws from empirical and theoretical research worldwide to analyze the factors that regulate egg production, larval dispersal and settlement, post-larval transport, and age-specific survivorship.

Chris D’Addario, Professor and currently Chair, Department of English, published “Metatheatre and the Urban Everyday in Ben Jonson’s Epicoene and The Alchemist” in Shakespeare Studies 51 (March 2024). This paper looks at Ben Jonson’s use of metatheater in his mid-career plays Epicoene and The Alchemist, both performed at indoor theaters.

Veronique Delesalle, Professor and currently John McCrea and Marion Ball Dickson Endowed Chair, Department of Biology, with staff co-author Greg Krukonis, Associate Fellow, Department of Biology, and alum co-authors Leigh H. Magness ’22, Albert C. Vill ’16, Madison S. Strine ’18, Brianne E. Chaudhry ’16, Katherine B. Lichty ’16, Alexandra A. Guffey ’18, and Jenna M. DeCurzio ’18, published “Bacillus subtilis Phages Related to SIOphi from Desert Soils of the Southwest United States” in PHAGE 4.4 (December 2023): 165–172. This and the next two papers describe bacteriophages isolated by our lab from soil samples collected in American Southwest deserts. They provide comparative genomic analyses of these phages, situating them with respect to other phages that can lyse the bacterial host Bacillus subtilis.

Delesalle, with Krukonis and alum co-authors Albert C. Vill ’16, Leigh H. Magness ’22, Brianne E. Chaudhry ’16, Katherine B. Lichty ’16, Madison S. Strine ’18, Alexandra A. Guffey ’18, and Jenna M. DeCurzio ’18, published “Comparative Genomics of Bacillus subtilis Phages Related to phiNIT1 from Desert Soils of the Southwest United States” in PHAGE 4.4 (December 2023): 173–180.

Delesalle, with Krukonis, student co-author Michael McCarty ’24, alum co-authors Rachel E. Loney ’20, Brianne E. Chaudhry ’16, Megan Czerpak ’23, Alexandra A. Guffey ’18, Madison S. Strine ’18, Natalie T. Tanke ’17, Albert C. Vill ’16, and co-author Leo McCall-Goubet, published “A Novel Subcluster of Closely Related Bacillus Phages with Distinct Tail Fiber/Lysin Gene Combinations “ in Viruses 15.11 (2023): 2267.

Delesalle, with Krukonis, alum co-author Jenna M. DeCurzio ’18, and co-authors Catherine A. Hernandez and Britt Koskella, published “Genomic and Phenotypic Signatures of Bacteriophage Coevolution with the Phytopathogen Pseudomonas syringae” in Molecular Ecology (January 18, 2023, online). This paper describes the changes in infectivity ability and their genetic underpinnings in a bacteriophage that can lyse a bacterial species that is a plant pathogen.

Delesalle, with Krukonis and alum co-authors Albert C. Vill ’16, Brianne E. Tomko (Chaudhry) ’16, Katherine Boas Lichty ’16, Madison S. Strine ’18, Alexandra A. Guffey ’18, Elizabeth A. Burton ’18, and Natalie T. Tanke ’17, published “Comparative Genomics of Six Lytic Bacillus subtilis Phages from the Southwest United States” in PHAGE 3.3 (September 2022): 171–178. This paper describes six novel phages isolated by students in my lab. These phages form a unique genetic group with no close relatives.

Delesalle, with Krukonis and alum co-authors Brianne E. Tomko (Chaudhry) ’16, Albert C. Vill ’16, and Katherine B. Lichty ’16, published “Forty Years without Family: Three Novel Bacteriophages with High Similarity to SPP1 Reveal Decades of Evolutionary Stasis Since the Isolation of their Famous Relative” in Viruses 14.10 (2022): 2106. This paper describes the first three phages closely related to Bacillus phage SPP1, one of the better studied phages. Comparative genomics provide insight into the evolution of SPP1 under lab conditions compared to these “wild” phages.

Dan DeNicola, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, published “Rik Peels’ Ignorance: A Philosophical Study” in International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 13.3 (2023): 239–254. Dutch philosopher Rik Peels has proposed a detailed epistemology of ignorance. In the context of contemporary scholarship, this invited essay critiques his theory and application to several thorny problems, as presented in his recent journal articles and synthesized in a new book.

Felicia Else, Professor of Art and Art History, with Robin O’Bryan, co-edited Giants and Dwarfs in European Art and Culture, c. 1350–1700: Real, Imagined, Metaphorical (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2024). This volume offers new insights into the vogue for giants and dwarfs that flourished in late-medieval and early modern Europe. From chapters dealing with the real dwarfs and giants in the royal and princely courts, to the imaginary giants and dwarfs that figured in the crafting of nationalistic and ancestral traditions, to giants and dwarfs used as metaphorical expression, scholars discuss their role in art, literature, and ephemeral display. Some essays examine giants and dwarfs as monsters and marvels and collectibles, while others show artists and writers emphasizing contrasts in scale to inspire awe or for comic effect. 

Else published “Biancone: Giants, Dwarfs and the Rise of a Popular Nickname” in Giants and Dwarfs in European Art and Culture, c. 1350–1700: Real, Imagined, Metaphorical, co-edited by Else and Robin O’Bryan (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2024).

Else published “The Sign of the Southern Cross: Borghini’s Peru in the Maritime Arch of the 1565 Entrata of Johanna of Austria into Florence” in Charity, Medicine, and Religion in Late Medieval and Early Modern Italy: Essays in Memory of Philip R. Gavitt, edited by Beth Petitjean and George Dameron (Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies Essays, 2024). This study examines an ephemeral painting of Peru for a sixteenth-century wedding entry into Florence. I argue that the image combines the iconography of the constellation of the Southern Cross with imagery of conversion and the literary tradition of Dante, presenting this imagined personification of this territory as one worthy of salvation and liberation from enslavement.

Else published “Straightening the Arno: Artistic Representations of Water Management in Medici Ducal and Granducal Florence” in Disaster in the Early Modern World: Examinations, Representations, Interventions, edited by Ovanes Akopyan and David Rosenthal (New York: Routledge, 2023). This article examines artistic representations of water management created during the sixteenth century in Florence for the Medici Dukes and Grandukes. They are highly sophisticated and complicated, intended to give an idealized image during a time of great problems with floods and water management.

Björn Freter, Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy, published “Decolonial Philosophical Praxis Exemplified through Superiorist and Adseredative Understandings of Development” in Essays on Contemporary Issues in African Philosophy, edited by Jonathan O. Chimakonam, Edwin Etieyibo, and Ike Odimegwu (Cham, Switzerland: Springer, 2022). The violence which colonialism brought into reality must not only be processed by those who suffered from it, but also by those who committed it. We claim that this process of becoming decolonial has two parts: Africans can engage in continued adseredition—derived from the Latin expression reditio ad se, to come back to oneself—and the Western world has to desuperiorize its self-understanding and actions. To demonstrate this, this chapter juxtaposes two texts: the Congolese Manifesto of Conscience Africaine (1956), and The New European Consensus on Development (2017). The Manifesto exemplifies the African commitment to its own liberation, while the superioristic understanding of development permeates the neoliberal solutions which the New Consensus offers. Philosophically speaking, development is a non-issue, in its superiorist understanding for African philosophers. It is a philosophical issue solely because the Western world continues to impose itself on Africa. The author argues that it is time to write a Manifesto of the Western Conscience in which the West studies itself and initiates a new philosophical Enlightenment that would force its praxis to adhere to its moral theories and foster an Africa-centric approach to development.

Freter published “Eröffnende Bemerkungen zum 44. Sokratischen Treffen „Afrikanische Philosophie” (“Opening Remarks to the 44th Socratic Meeting ‘African Philosophy’”) in Mitteilungen der Sokratischen Gesellschaft 61 (2022): 8–10.

Tim Funk, Professor of Chemistry, with alum co-authors Bryn Werley ’23, Xintong Hou ’18, and Evan Bertonazzi ’20, and co-author Anthony Chianese, published “Substituent Effects and Mechanistic Insights on the Catalytic Activities of (Tetraarylcyclopentadienone)iron Carbonyl Compounds in Transfer Hydrogenations and Dehydrogenations” in Organometallics 42.21 (2023): 3053–3065. My students and I have been developing iron compounds that catalyze an important class of organic reactions: alcohol oxidations and carbonyl reductions. Our goal is to improve the sustainability of these processes. We performed a series of detailed mechanistic studies to understand how these iron catalysts work, and we and others can use our conclusions to design more active catalysts. Our discoveries are presented in this article, which was featured on the cover of the issue containing it.

Steve Gimbel, Professor of Philosophy, published “It Ain’t Necessarily So: Boltzmann’s Darwinian Notion of Entropy” in Entropy 26.3 (2024): 238. In 1877, Ludwig Boltzmann stunned the physics world by putting forward a statistical version of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. At the same time, he was a vocal advocate for Darwin’s Theory of Evolution—did Darwin’s work suggest the move in physics?

Gimbel, with alum co-author Thomas Wilk ’05, published In On the Joke: The Ethics of Humor and Comedy (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2024). Who is allowed to tell what jokes and when? This book, Volume 4 in De Gruyter’s Studies in Philosophy of Humor series, sets out an intricate theory of humor ethics that takes into account the joker, the joke, the audience, and the context.

Gimbel published “Mackie, Martin, and INUS in the Morning: Explaining Mackie's INUS Conditions through the Comedy of Demetri Martin” in Inquiry: Critical Thinking across the Disciplines (December 14, 2023, online). While necessary and sufficient conditions are standard fare in logic classes, J.L. Mackie’s notion of INUS (insufficient but necessary parts of necessary but insufficient conditions) can be tricky for students to understand. But using jokes from comedian Demetri Martin, clear and memorable examples allow these notions to be clearly conveyed.

Gimbel, with co-author Richard Lambert, published “Bild-ing Science: The Multiplicity of Bild-types in Boltzmann” in Foundations of Science (April 8, 2023, online). Central to Ludwig Boltzmann’s approach to science is the concept of “Bild,” a term that was important beyond the scientific context in the greater intellectual world of late-nineteenth century Vienna. Boltzmann uses the Bild concept in a range of ways in science and epistemology.

Gimbel, with faculty co-author Stephen Stern, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and currently Chair of Judaic Studies, published “Fiddler on the Roth: A Post-Charlottesville Reinterpretation of Fiddler on the Roof” in Popular Culture Studies Journal 11.1 (2023): 48–70. The Talmudic method encourages multiple interpretations of sacred texts to fit changing contexts. The musical Fiddler on the Roof can be radically re-understood in terms of the flare-up of antisemitism in the current social political context.

Nathalie Goubet, Professor of Psychology, with alum co-authors Tyler Keohan ’20 and Kasey Higgins ’20, and co-authors Janique Walker and Pamela Moye, published “An Investigation of Black and White College Students’ Knowledge about the Long-Term Effects of ACEs” in Journal of Trauma Studies in Education 2.2 (2023): 38–63. In this work, we documented college students’ awareness and understanding of the long-term effects of childhood adversity. We found that students were in general aware of the risk for later mental and social health problems, but often ignored the effects on physical health (e.g., cardiovascular disease). Our results could be helpful to develop targeted interventions to raise awareness of the lingering impact of childhood trauma.

Caitlin Hult, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, with co-authors Paula A. Vasquez, Ben Walker, Kerry Bloom, Daniel Kolbin, Neall Caughman, Ronit Freeman, Martin Lysy, Katherine A. Newhall, Micah Papanikolas, Christopher Edelmaier, and M. Gregory Forest, published “The Power of Weak, Transient Interactions across Biology: A Paradigm of Emergent Behavior” in Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena 454 (2023): 133866. Weak, transient interactions at local scales facilitate functionality at larger spatiotemporal scales across varied biological systems.

Alvaro Kaempfer, Professor and currently Chair, Department of Spanish, published “El retorno del oprimido: ‘La pasión y el interés de los agentes secundarios’” in Cultura Letrada en Chile y América Latina del Siglo XIX: Problemas y Tendencias Actuales, edited by Marina Alvarado, Eduardo Aguayo, and Claudio Véliz (Concepción, Chile: Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, 2023). By revising two fictional reconstructions of the independence process in Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Santiago (Chile), this book chapter looks into slaves in domestic service playing a major role in secret communications leading to the irruption of autonomous and political sentiments in Chile and Argentina, as well as a reaction to their importance motivating the rancor of the local elites against the colonial authorities.

Benjamin Kennedy, Professor of Mathematics, published “Periodic, Nonperiodic, and Chaotic Solutions for a Class of Difference Equations with Negative Feedback” in Opuscula Mathematica 43.4 (2023): 507–546. This paper explores a class of discrete-time models that approximate certain continuous time models closely, but nevertheless exhibit dynamical properties that the continuous-time models cannot share.

Brian Meier, Professor of Psychology, with co-author Christopher P. Barlett, published “Schadenfreude in the Context of Opposing Vaccination Statuses” in European Journal of Social Psychology 53.7 (December 2023): 1593–1604. Schadenfreude (experiencing pleasure at others’ misfortune) has been found in a variety of contexts and settings. In three studies, we found Schadenfreude in relation to COVID-19 vaccination status. Vaccinated participants reported more pleasure in the misfortune of an unvaccinated individual.

Meier, with alum co-author David J. Hauser ’08, published “Unvaxxed and Unafraid: Unvaccinated Americans Perceive Less Disease Risk than Do Vaccinated Americans” in Social and Personality Psychology Compass (April 25, 2023, online). In three studies involving 1,466 participants, we found that people who are unvaccinated against influenza or COVID-19 felt less at risk of catching or spreading influenza or COVID-19 compared to people who were vaccinated. Overall, those who choose to be the most vulnerable to disease feel and act the least vulnerable.

Meier, with co-authors Sara Konrath, Adam K. Fetterman, Amanda J. Dillard, Carrie James, Emily Weinstein, and Brad J. Bushman, published “Development and Validation of the Single-Item Mindfulness Scale (SIMS)” in Journal of Personality Assessment 105 (2022): 807–819. We conducted eight studies involving 3,125 adult and adolescent participants to develop the single-item mindfulness scale (SIMS).

Salma Monani, Professor and currently Chair, Department of Environmental Studies, with co-author Stephen Rust, published “‘Dirtying’ Ecocinema Studies: A Decade of Reflection” in LIFE: A Transdisciplinary Inquiry, edited by Jeremy Swartz and Janet Wasko (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2023). This article overviews the evolution of the scholarly field of ecocinema studies over the twenty years since its inception.

Joanne Myers, Professor of English, published “Manuscript Devotional Culture in Eighteenth-Century English Convents: A Case Study” in Eighteenth-Century Life 48.1 (2024): 113–133. In this article I outline some ways in which English Poor Clares living in continental convents in the 1600s and 1700s used and created books in their communities. I focus on the books written by one nun in particular, Sister Cecily Cornwallis of the Rouen convent, to argue that “devotional authorship” looks different from what we might expect—that it’s not about asserting one’s creativity or laying claim to ideas, but acting out a loss of the self that is the fulfillment of a religious vocation. The article was published in a special issue on the manuscript book in the eighteenth century.

Douglas Page, Assistant Professor of Political Science, with co-authors Vera Mironova and Samuel Whitt, published “Does Pro-Gay Messaging from a Celebrity Athlete Work in Conservative Contexts? Evidence from the Republic of Georgia” in Politics, Groups, and Identities (March 4, 2024, online). We examine the efficacy of celebrity pro-gay endorsements. In an original survey experiment in Tbilisi, Georgia, involving randomized pro-gay endorsements from a prominent Georgian football star, we find that a pro-gay celebrity endorsement reduces tolerance toward gay people.

Alauna Safarpour, Assistant Professor of Political Science, with co-authors Kristin Lunz Trujillo, Jon Green, David Lazer, Jennifer Lin, and Matthew Motta, published “COVID-19 Spillover Effects onto General Vaccine Attitudes” in Public Opinion Quarterly 88.1 (Spring 2024): 97–122. Skepticism regarding the COVID-19 vaccine has spilled over into attitudes towards other vaccines (e.g., flu vaccines, standard childhood vaccines like MMR, and even vaccines still in development). In other words, the hesitancy to become vaccinated for COVID also predicts hesitancy to being vaccinated for many other diseases. This raises serious public health concerns, both for the spread of preventable diseases and for our ability to respond to the next pandemic.

Safarpour, with co-authors Kristin Lunz Trujillo, Jon Green, Caroline Pippert, Jennifer Lin, and James Druckman, published “Divisive or Descriptive?: How Americans Understand Critical Race Theory” in Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics (January 11, 2024, online). This article examines American attitudes towards Critical Race Theory (CRT). We find partisan asymmetries not just in familiarity with CRT, but also in valence largely due to effects of elite messaging.

Safarpour, with co-authors Roy H. Perlis, Kristin Lunz Trujillo, Jon Green, James N. Druckman, Mauricio Santillana, Katherine Ognyanova, and David Lazer, published “Misinformation, Trust, and Use of Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19” in JAMA Health Forum 4.9 (2023): e233257. In this survey study of US adults, endorsement of misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic, lack of trust in physicians or scientists, conspiracy-mindedness, and the nature of news sources were associated with receiving non-evidence-based treatment for COVID-19 (Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine).

Safarpour, with co-authors Roy H. Perlis, Kristin Lunz Trujillo, Alexi Quintana, Matthew D. Simonson, Jasper Perlis, Mauricio Santillana, Katherine Ognyanova, Matthew A. Baum, James N. Druckman, and David Lazer, published “Community Mobility and Depressive Symptoms during the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States” in JAMA Network Open 6.9 (2023): e2334945. In this survey study, we find that individuals who lived in communities where fewer individuals left home on a daily basis during the pandemic reported greater levels of depression on average. These differences were not directly attributable to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, nor to county-level differences in COVID-19 cases or deaths, weather, or county-level economic features; the association persisted after widespread COVID-19 vaccine availability.

Divonna Stebick, Associate Professor and Director of Educational Studies, with alum co-author Jonathan Hart ’04, and co-authors Lauren Glick, Jaime Kindervatter, Jenna Nagel, and Cathy Patrick, published “Teacher Inquiry: A Catalyst for Professional Development” in Networks: An Online Journal for Teacher Research 24.1 (February 2023, online). In this paper, we articulate the learning of a cohort of certificated professionals engaged in a year-long project that included asking research questions, designing data collection tools, and developing an independent study to examine their questions. The participants’ questions varied by discipline and years of experience, e.g., “How can I promote social emotional learning in the classroom?” to “How can I create effective and challenging word lists?” Data was collected through teacher reflections and professional development evaluations.

Stephen Stern, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and currently Chair of Judaic Studies, with faculty co-author Steve Gimbel, Professor of Philosophy, published “Fiddler on the Roth: A Post-Charlottesville Reinterpretation of Fiddler on the Roof” in Popular Culture Studies Journal 11.1 (2023): 48–70. We look at the meaning of Fiddler on the Roof for American Jewry in relation to Phillip Roth's The Plot Against America after Charlottesville, and to the incomprehensible increase in US antisemitism.

Kerry Wallach, Associate Professor and currently, Chair, Department of German, published Traces of a Jewish Artist: The Lost Life and Work of Rahel Szalit (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2024). This is the first-ever book on Rahel Szalit (1888–1942), one of the best-known Jewish women artists in Weimar Berlin. Szalit was a sought-after illustrator and painter who was murdered in the Holocaust and all but lost to history. Szalit’s fascinating life demonstrates how women artists gained access to Jewish and avant-garde movements by experimenting with different media and genres. Drawing on a range of sources from 35 archives in seven countries (Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Austria, France, Israel, and the US), this biography recovers Szalit’s life and presents a representative collection of her art.

Janelle Wertzberger, Assistant Dean and Director of Scholarly Communications, Musselman Library, with faculty co-authors Salma Monani, Professor and currently Chair, Department of Environmental Studies, and David Walsh, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, published “Care and the Funny Business of Unsettling Land Acknowledgements” in Environmental Communication 18.1–2 (2024): 88–93. Land acknowledgements can be funny business. In this article commentary, we meld humor with seriousness to interrogate land acknowledgments, expose the perplexing dilemmas of Indigenous and colonial contexts, and push past to work towards responsible relationality between Indigenous communities and settler institutions.

Hakim Mohandas Amani Williams, Associate Professor of Africana Studies, and currently Wallach Endowed Chair of Peace and Justice Studies, with alum colleagues Hana Huskic ’22 and Christina M. Noto ’19, co-edited Disrupting Hierarchy in Education: Students and Teachers Collaborating for Social Change (New York: Teachers College Press, 2024). This book documents examples of students and teachers working together on social change projects, including the editors, who modelled this as well. We argue that disrupting hierarchy in education is an ongoing form of decolonization.


Björn Freter, Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy, published “African Metaphysics or African Existentialism?: Some Critical Remarks on Aribia David Attoe’s ‘Groundwork for a New Kind of African Metaphysics’” in Ar¿mar¿ka: Journal of Conversational Thinking 2.2 (2022): 34–40. A critical review of Attoe’s work on metaphysics.

Jack Ryan, Associate Professor of English, reviewed Moving the Chains: The Civil Rights Protest that Saved the Saints and Transformed New Orleans, by Erin Grayson Sapp, for the Sports Literature Association (March 23, 2024, online). Moving the Chains contains little about the Saints; this is a book about what key figures in New Orleans and the NFL did to establish an NFL team by committing to more inclusive social practices.

Ryan reviewed Rickey: The Life and Legend of an American Original, by Howard Bryant, for the Sports Literature Association (March 23, 2024, online). Speed, strength, and style defined Rickey Henderson as a baseball player. These professional skills created a unique Hall of Fame career. However, certain sportswriters suggested Henderson’s career was marred by nettlesome behavior.


Björn Freter, Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy, posted “Contempt Begets Contempt” at Striped Insights (January 27, 2022). A short reflection on speciesist violence.

Stephen Stern, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and currently Chair of Judaic Studies, with faculty co-author Steve Gimbel, Professor of Philosophy, posted “Dead Heads and Parrot Heads” at Beyond Belief (September 15, 2023). We compare the Grateful Dead to Jimmy Buffett, as well as compare their fan bases.

Stern, with Gimbel, posted “ChatGOD: Rise of the E-Prophets” at Aletheia Today: The Intersection of Philosophy, Theology & Science (September 1, 2023). We philosophically evaluate if chat bots are the new prophets or God.

Stern posted “Beagles, Beasts and the Bible: From Bondage to Nazi Europe to Baltimore Alleys” at The Times of Israel (August 29, 2023). This piece showcases the gift dogs receive in the Bible, and how it plays out biblically, in the Holocaust and in Baltimore city alleys.

Stern, with Gimbel, posted “Is Karl Marx Woke?” at Beyond Belief (August 23, 2023). We evaluate the role Marx plays in “wokeness” and whether Marx was woke through his essay “On the Jewish Question.”

Stern posted “How Religion Can Save Democracy from Religion: Inclusivity vs. Exclusivity” at The Times of Israel (July 30, 2023). Showing a counterintuitive role for religion as an aid to democracy, I rely on some of what I learned at an NEH Democracy & Levinas seminar at the University of Buffalo in August 2022.

Stern, with Gimbel, posted “The Titan Implosion and the Human Condition” at Beyond Belief (July 19, 2023). We existentially evaluate the motivations of those who went down and died in the Titan submersible.

Stern posted “Thaddeus Stevens, Daring Students and the 4th of July” at The Times of Israel (June 29, 2023). Justice Clarence Thomas cited Thaddeus Stevens in his opposition to affirmative action. Stevens would have supported affirmative action, as evidenced by his role in the Freedmen’s Bureau. This is a shout-out to one of Gettysburg College’s founders.

Stern posted “Turning a Kind Bar into a Kind Gift for the Stranger in your Midst” at The Times of Israel (May 30, 2023). This concerns how to ready oneself to be hospitable to houseless people one may encounter while out and about.


Yasemin Akbaba, Professor of Political Science, participated in a panel titled “Creating Classroom Conversations: Practical Concerns and Ideas for Fostering Discussion” at the Annual Conference of the International Studies Association (ISA) South, Atlanta, GA, October 6–7, 2023. This roundtable focused on classroom strategies to generate meaningful conversations among undergraduate students.

Akbaba participated in a panel titled “The Promise and Peril of a Career at a Liberal Arts Institution” at the Annual Conference of the International Studies Association (ISA) South, Atlanta, GA, October 6–7, 2023. This panel focused on opportunities and challenges related to working at a teaching-centric institution.

Akbaba participated in a panel titled “Saving Compatriots: What States Do to Support and Protect their Citizens Abroad” at the Annual Conference of the International Studies Association (ISA) South, Atlanta, GA, October 6–7, 2023. This roundtable employed a comparative perspective to systematically analyze actions undertaken by both Western and non-Western governments to protect their citizens abroad.

Rimvydas Baltaduonis, Associate Professor of Economics and currently Chair of International and Global Studies, presented a paper titled “The Price of Good Health: An Experimental Analysis of the Role of Price Transparency in the Level and Variation of Prices of Healthcare,” co-authored with faculty colleague Brendan Cushing-Daniels, Associate Professor of Economics, and alum co-author Tsvetomir Petkov ’22, at the eighth Workshop in Behavioral and Experimental Health Economics, Vienna, Austria, July 28, 2023. The paper reports experimental evidence of how price transparency affects healthcare provision and prices in simulated healthcare markets. 

Baltaduonis participated in a panel titled “After the War in Ukraine: Prospects and Implications for Europe and South Caucasus” as part of the UG Security Platform (UGSP) Conference, University of Georgia, Tbilisi, Georgia, June 9, 2023. Prof. Baltaduonis was part of a working group discussing post-war security architecture in Europe, security guarantees for Ukraine and other post-Soviet states, energy security of the region, and other topics related to European security.

Baltaduonis presented a paper titled “Behavioral Interventions and Market Efficiency: The Case of a Volatile Retail Electricity Market,” co-authored with Jurate Jaraite and Andrius Kazukauskas, at the Center for Research in Regulated Industries (CRRI) Advanced Workshop in Regulation and Competition, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, June 1, 2023. The paper reports the findings from a laboratory economics experiment that analyzes behavioral effects of different informational interventions on consumer decisions and overall market efficiency in a market reminiscent of a retail electricity market.

Michael Birkner, Professor of History, presented a keynote lecture titled “‘Laying the Foundation of a Superior Education’: Samuel Simon Schmucker’s Pragmatic Vision and the Future of Gettysburg College” at the Schmucker 225 Conference, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA, February 24, 2024. Schmucker’s principal role in founding a Lutheran-related college has tended to obscure his commitment to liberal learning and openness to multiple perspectives at Gettysburg, with no religious tests for hiring faculty or admitting students. Schmucker early on embraced the 1828 Yale Reports in highlighting learning as a process, not simply as mastery of specific information. In this way, his vision remains relevant in the twenty-first century.

Alice Brawley Newlin, Assistant Professor of Management, presented a poster titled “Psychological ‘Types’ of Gig Workers: Synthesis and Future Research Directions for Organizational and Vocational Behavior” at the 14th International Work, Stress, and Health Conference, Miami, FL, November 8–11, 2023. In this paper, I synthesized evidence for several “types” of gig workers (e.g., working out of financial need, working for professional or personal development) based on a comprehensive literature review.

Brawley Newlin, with student colleague Madalyn Filetti ’24, presented a poster titled “Gender Role Stereotypes and the Work-Life Interface” at the 14th International Work, Stress, and Health Conference, Miami, FL, November 8–11, 2023. Maddy analyzed the correspondence between respondents’ gender-role beliefs and work-life balance, finding that results varied depending on the way gender-role beliefs were measured.

Tina Gebhart, Associate Professor of Art and Art History, was a “Clay Doctors” panelist—diagnosing and providing solutions for materials science and chemistry problems in clay bodies (mixes) for artists and engineers—at the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) Conference, Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, OH, March 17, 2023.

Sarah Principato, Professor and currently Thompson Endowed Chair, Department of Environmental Studies, with faculty colleague Salma Monani, Professor and currently Chair, Department of Environmental Studies, presented a paper titled “Indigenous Perspectives in the ES Classroom: From Climate Change to River Management” at GSA Connects, the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, Pittsburgh, PA, October 15–18, 2023. We strive to incorporate diverse perspectives, including Indigenous voices, in Environmental Studies (ES) courses. We provide examples from two sophomore-level required courses for the ES major, Earth System Science and Environmental Humanities. The paper was published in GSA Abstracts with Programs 55.6 (2023).

Jack Ryan, Associate Professor of English, presented a paper titled “Teaching Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai” at the third virtual joint conference of the Literature Film Association (LFA) and the Association of Adaptation Studies (AAS), February 22, 2024. This paper offers a method for students to connect with and study Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai. This approach begins with the final credits, when director Jim Jarmusch’s “personal thanks” list appears onscreen: “Tsunetomo Yamamoto, Mary Shelley, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Seijun Suzuki, Jean-Pierre Melville, Miguel de Cervantes, Akira Kurosawa, and the Wu-Tang Clan.”

Ryan presented a paper titled “Martin McDonagh’s Aran Island Trilogy and its Cinematic Environments” at the Literature Film Association (LFA) Conference, University of Montana, Missoula, MT, September 22, 2023. Filmmaking and filmmakers seem to hold more currency than theater and playwrights for McDonagh, who stated recently that he plans to spend much of his remaining creative time making films rather than writing plays. This paper explores how McDonagh’s film knowledge informs and speaks back to his theatrical work by focusing on the cinematic environments that have influenced the plays The Cripple of Inishmaan and The Lieutenant of Inishmore, and the film The Banshees of Inisherin.

Stephen Stern, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and currently Chair of Judaic Studies, with faculty colleague Steve Gimbel, Professor of Philosophy, presented a paper titled “Jerry Seinfeld: The Assimilated Sage of New Chelm” at the annual meeting of the Popular Culture Studies Conference, San Antonio, TX, April 5, 2023. Our paper connected the show Seinfeld with Jewish tradition.


Tina Gebhart, Associate Professor of Art and Art History, exhibited Push Up Pull Up Teapot and Permutation Sequence Mugs: 5 Days a Week in “Off Center: An International Ceramics Competition,” Blue Line Arts Gallery, Roseville, CA, April 8–May 20, 2023. The teapot combines wheel-throwing with more subtle altering, distilling a signature design approach to an extremely minimal state, while continuing to demonstrate harmony and tension of the combined parts. The mugs showcase a mathematical variations-on-a-theme approach to form as a series development. The competition was juried by Garth Johnson. A high-quality exhibition catalog of the exhibited artworks was published.

Gebhart exhibited Poked Tea (teapot) and Lunch Stack (stacked plate, bowl, mug ensemble) in “Shapes of Influence,” M.G. Nelson Family Gallery, Springfield Art Association, Springfield, IL, April 7–29, 2023. These pieces combine multiple forming processes while functionalizing and aestheticizing the integration of parts into a cohesive whole. Both artworks were exhibited directly under the exhibition title in the gallery. The exhibition was juried by Jennifer Holt.

Gebhart exhibited Lobed Budvase in “CripClay,” a We’re-Not-Invisible Invitational, the first exhibition of artists with disabilities, at the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) Conference, Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, OH, March 15–18, 2023. This piece is the result of a conceptual strategy to compact the design process into the smallest possible form (budvase) with a minimum of procedural logistics (no multiple parts, no post-throwing assembly), in order to form a single artwork within (nearly) a single “dose window” of movement-disorder medication. Lobed Budvase was purchased by Hieronymus Objects, esteemed collection of the Richard and Alita Rogers Family Foundation.

Gebhart exhibited Surfed Rumblestrip Teapot in “I Contain Multitudes” (aka the NCECA Annual International), Weston Art Gallery, Cincinnati, OH, March 14–17, 2023. This teapot demonstrates design elegance of combined forms, soft patterns, and undulating rhythms, while embracing movement disability modifications for EOPD. The exhibition was juried by Garth Johnson for the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). A high-quality exhibition catalog of the exhibited artworks was published.

Gebhart exhibited Workin’ the Wonk (mug-n-saucer) in “Small Works, Big Ideas,” Clay Studio of Missoula, Missoula, MT, February 3–24, 2023. The exhibition was juried by Richard Notkin. As the artist learns to work with the ever-changing movement wonkiness of Early Onset Parkinson’s Disease (EOPD), this mug-n-saucer exemplifies intentional design around “the wonk” in both the making process and the aesthetic: wheel-thrown, vertically stretched with a rib, reshaped on the wheel, a quiet saucer with its own slight wiggle, and a handle with just enough “tweek” to match the wonk of the cup. All the design nuance of the artist’s larger (and earlier) work is packed into a smaller wiggly package.


Tina Gebhart, Associate Professor of Art and Art History, was awarded Third Prize for her artwork Push Up Pull Up Teapot in “Off-Center: An International Art Competition,” exhibited at Blue Line Arts Gallery, Roseville, CA, April 8–May 20, 2023. She was also featured in the promotional video for the show.


September 20, 2023 – April 12, 2024

Rimvydas Baltaduonis, Associate Professor of Economics, with co-principal investigators Tyler Svitak and Serena Kim, received a $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The project, SAI: Integration of Electric Vehicles and the Electric Grid,” explores how people can benefit from improving the flow of energy and information between electric vehicles (EVs) and the electric grid.

Natasha Gownaris, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, received a $149,814 grant from the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation. Providing for student researchers and summer fieldwork, this grant funds continued research on seabird foraging plasticity in the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

Alauna Safarpour, Assistant Professor of Political Science, received a $75,000 grant from the Russell Sage Foundation. This grant funds research into online interventions to reduce prejudice and increase support for racial policies.

Safarpour received a $2,500 grant from the American Political Science Association for “Taking Perspective: The Durability of Interventions to Reduce Racial Prejudice,” a project to develop and test Engagement, Perspective-Taking, and Re-calibration (EPR), a theory of how to reduce prejudice and its effects on political attitudes.

Kim Spayd, Associate Professor of Mathematics, received a $34,360 grant from the Mathematical Association of America, Inc. In the project, National Research Experience for Undergraduates, Dr. Spayd and four students from backgrounds underrepresented in the field will conduct summer research using ordinary differential equation models of brain chemistry during the early stages of romantic love, based on fMRI experiments and addiction models from the literature. The students will also participate in training, mentoring, and educational and career exploration.

Allison Yurasek, Assistant Professor of Psychology, received a $39,660 grant from the National Institutes of Health. This sub-award (shared with the University of Florida) is part of a project that explores a digital motivational behavioral economic intervention to reduce risky drinking among community-dwelling emerging adults