Faculty Notebook - September 2023

Vol. XXIX, No. 1

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Michael Birkner, Professor of History, published “Lancaster in 1980” in Journal of Lancaster County Historical Society 123 (April 2023): 172–191. This article was crafted from drafts of a work in progress by Prof. David Schuyler of Franklin & Marshall College, who passed away in July 2020. I reorganized the drafts into an article which captures Lancaster in transition, with a new mayor and a community more accepting of diversity. I also wrote an introduction and afterward.

Vern Cisney, Associate Professor and currently Chair, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, with student co-author Ryder Hobbs ’25, published “To Have Done with the Death of Philosophy: Derrida’s Theory and Practice Seminar,” in Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy 27.1 (Spring 2023): 33–54. In this essay, we read Derrida’s Theory and Practice seminar against the backdrop of the theme of the “death of philosophy,” prominent in 1960s French philosophy, both its Nietzschean-Heideggerian form and its Hegelian-Marxian form. Engaging with Derrida’s reading of Louis Althusser, we argue that, prior to the distinction between theory and practice is the world itself, presenting itself to us as unthinkable and thus as demanding engagement.

Bret Crawford, Dr. Ronald J. Smith Professor of Applied Physics and currently Chair, Department of Physics, with co-authors F.E. Wietfeldt, R. Biswas, J. Caylor, B. Crawford, M.S. Dewey, N. Fomin, G.L. Greene, C.C. Haddock, S.F. Hoogerheide, H.P. Mumm, J.S. Nico, W.M. Snow, and J. Zuchegno, published “Comment on ‘Search for Explanation of the Neutron Lifetime Anomaly’” in Physical Review D 107 (June 23, 2023): 118501. The two methods of measuring the neutron lifetime disagree by about 4 standard deviations, which points to either exciting new physics or a lingering systematic error. This paper responds to comments from authors of a competing method about possibilities for such systematic errors.

Chris D’Addario, Associate Professor of English, published Urban Aesthetics in Early Modern England: The Invention of the Metaphysical (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023). This book examines the demonstrative aesthetic shift that occurred in literary writings of fashionable London in the late 1590s. The book argues that these new forms were intimately linked, arising out of a particular set of geographic, intellectual, and social circumstances that existed in 1590s London and its urban environs.

Steve Gimbel, Professor and William Bittinger Chair, Department of Philosophy, with alum co-author Chandler Wyman ’22, published “McTaggart, Whitehead, and a Virtue-Based Approach to Aesthetics in Genres of Psychedelic Music” in Response 8.1 (June 2023, online). We can distinguish between two distinct genres of psychedelic music. One creates a fixed world that the listener travels through, while the other is an emerging aural process that the listener is a part of creating. This distinction allows us to enumerate different artistic virtues connected with the different approaches and therefore different criteria of artistic judgment.

Gimbel, with faculty co-author Stephen Stern, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and currently Chair, Department 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. Fiddler on the Roof is a saccharine sop to Russian Jewish heritage that makes little sense in the shadow of the Holocaust. Using Philip Roth’s book The Plot Against America as a template, however, we can develop a new interpretation of the work in light of the antisemitic White Power march in Charlottesville through which to make sense of Fiddler for the current moment.

Hannah Greenwald, Visiting Assistant Professor of History, published “‘Improve Their Condition While Making Them Useful’: Colonia General Conesa and the Dynamics of Settler Colonialism in Nineteenth-Century Argentina” in Hispanic American Historical Review 103.1 (2023): 101–137. In 1879, as the Argentine army prepared a military campaign against Indigenous groups in the Pampas and Patagonia, the Argentine national government created an Indigenous colony called Colonia General Conesa. This article narrates the rise and fall of Colonia General Conesa, in order to better understand the development of settler colonial ideologies in Argentina and beyond.

Ian Isherwood, Associate Professor of War and Memory Studies, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, with Steven Trout, co-edited Serpents of War: An American Officer's Story of World War I Combat and Captivity, by Harry Dravo Parkin (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2023). Parkin’s previously unpublished memoir, housed in Musselman Library’s Special Collections and College Archives, tells the story of an American officer who was wounded and captured in World War I. Isherwood and Trout shaped a manuscript of nearly 250,000 words for publication, with a critical introduction and annotations which bring Maj. Parkin’s experiences in combat and captivity to print.

Ryan Kerney, Associate Professor of Biology, with co-author Elli Vickers, published “Screening Salamanders for Symbionts” in Methods in Molecular Biology (2023): 425–442. This is a techniques paper describing multiple ways to assay for microbial pathogens and mutualists in salamanders.

Kerney, with co-authors Zachary R. Lewis and James Hanken, published “Developmental Basis of Evolutionary Lung Loss in Plethodontid Salamanders” in Science Advances 8.33 (August 19, 2022, online). This paper describes an embryonic rudiment of lung formation in otherwise lungless salamanders.

Kerney, with co-authors Mathew Cherubino and Zoe Bender, published “Algae on the Brain in Bioengineering” in Trends in Biotechnology 40.30 (March 2022): 259–260. This is a review of the nascent field of artificial photosymbioses in synthetic biology.

Kerney, with co-authors Hui Yang, Baptiste Genot, Solange Duhamel, and John A. Burns, published “Organismal and Cellular Interactions in Vertebrate–Alga Symbioses” in Biochemical Society Transactions 50.1 (2022): 609–620. This is a review paper on the different types of algal symbioses found in vertebrates.

Matt Kittelberger, Associate Professor and currently Chair, Department of Biology, with alum co-authors Alex Allen ’11 and Elizabeth Heisler ’12, published “Dopamine Injections to the Midbrain Periaqueductal Gray Inhibit Vocal-Motor Production in a Teleost Fish” in Physiology and Behavior 263 (May 1, 2023): 114131. This paper is the result of a research project begun in 2010 (!) with Alex Allen (now a neurologist at NYU) and Elizabeth Heisler (now a physician’s assistant with a neurosurgery practice at the University of Pennsylvania). We provide evidence that dopamine inhibits social vocalization in a midbrain structure called the periaqueductal gray in a highly vocal fish, a finding that has broader ramifications for understanding the role of dopamine in regulation of brain circuits involved in vocal and social behavior across species.

Salma Monani, Professor and currently Chair, Department of Environmental Studies, with alum co-author Sarah Gilsoul ’22, published “Mapping for Accountability: Decolonizing Land Acknowledgments” in The Routledge Handbook of Ecomedia, edited by Antonio López, Adrian Ivakhiv, Stephen Rust, Miriam Tola, Alenda Y. Chang, and Kiu-wai Chu (New York: Routledge, 2023). What does it mean to map Indigenous presence onto lands that have been appropriated by settler colonial nation states? This chapter examines the challenges and potentials of re-inscribing Indigenous land relations through a digital mapping project, Indigenous Pennsylvania: Past, Present and Future.

Monani published “Ecocinema Studies’ Multiverse: Hollywood, Indigenous Cinema, and More” in Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities 10.1–2 (Winter-Spring 2022): 58–68. This article was written for the tenth-anniversary issue of the journal, and overviews ten years of Ecocinema Studies’ growth. In doing so, the article argues for a “multiverse” of scholarly practice—one that notes how scholars are moving from a predominant focus on Hollywood and other “first world” cinema to other loci for cinema production.

Joanne Myers, Associate Professor of English, published “Catholics, Property, and the Experience of the Penal Laws in Eighteenth-Century England: Evidence from the Vincent Eyre Manuscripts” in British Catholic History 36.1 (May 2022): 66–84. This article considers evidence from an archive of lawyers’ briefs to assess how eighteenth-century English Catholics navigated penal restrictions on their ownership of real property. The larger aim of the paper is to consider how English Catholics sought to cast themselves as good citizens when their rights were often constrained.

Yoko Nishimura, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies, published “Museum ‘Diaspora’ Collections for Archaeological Research: Edo-Period Shogun Family’s Funerary Lanterns Outside Japan” in Journal of Field Archaeology 48.6 (2023): 434–445. This paper advocates using museum collections for archaeological research by offering a new approach to generate questions on the sociocultural lives of ancient people. A case study to show this methodology comes from dedicatory lanterns currently stored outside Japan that were part of the shogun (Tokugawa) family’s graveyards in modern Tokyo during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries AD.

Nishimura published “Domestic Material Culture and Wealth Equality: Bronze Age Houses and Intramural Tombs at Titris Höyük, Turkey” in Near Eastern Archaeology 86.3 (September 2023): 176–184. This paper measures differential accumulation of material wealth between houses at the intra-site level. The dwellings measured are located in two separate residential neighborhoods at the urban settlement of Titris Höyük, in southeastern Turkey. The results show that occupants of the houses shared a similar economic status from about 2300 to 2100 BCE.

Douglas Page, Assistant Professor of Political Science, with alum co-author Taylor Paulin ’22, published “Revisiting the Lavender Vote” in Electoral Studies 80 (December 2022): 102543. Existing research suggests that sexual minorities are more politically left-leaning in their voting behavior. In our analysis of a Western European survey, we find comparable proportions of left- and right-leaning voting among sexual minorities (with greater proportions of sexual minorities among Green Party voters).

VoonChin Phua, Professor of Sociology, with co-authors Mehmet Seremet, Emine Cihangir, Ezgi Bayram-Öz, Ramazan Okudum, and Faruk Alaeddinoglu, published “Precarity and Patriarchal Bargain: Women’s Experiences in Post-Disaster Recovery Housing after the 2011 Van Earthquake” in Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography (July 3, 2023, online). In this paper, we frame women’s experiences in post-disaster recovery housing after the 2011 Van earthquake to highlight the differential distribution of their vulnerabilities. Using Butler’s concept of precarity, we argue that under the prevailing patriarchal system, the physical location and configuration of the new residence and women’s familial status continue to differentially pose challenges for displaced women, and worsen their vulnerabilities even years after their relocation.

Lindsay Reid, Assistant Professor of Political Science, with co-author Chelsea Estancona, published “Pro-Government Militias and Civil War Termination” in Conflict Management and Peace Science 39.3 (November 24, 2021): 291–310. Why do governments choose to fund pro-government militias (PGMs) if doing so could extend costly civil conflict? Our research finds that government-funded PGMs help governments ward off costly negotiations and encourage the gradual dissolution of armed opposition groups.

Tim Shannon, Professor of History, published “In the Bushes: The Secret History of Anglo-Iroquois Treaty Making” in New York History 104.1 (Summer 2023): 53–78. This article examines social interaction between Native and colonial participants in eighteenth-century treaty conferences in the mid-Atlantic region. It argues that despite the often contentious nature of such meetings, they remained peaceful because of adherence to social rituals and spaces aimed at keeping Native and colonial peoples apart as well as bringing them together.

William O’Hara, Associate Professor of Music, Sunderman Conservatory of Music, published “The Techne of YouTube Performance: Musical Structure, Extended Techniques, and Custom Instruments in Solo Pop Covers” in Music Theory Online 28.3 (September 2022, online). This article addresses creative solo performances on YouTube, analyzing trends and forms and arguing that their creative shortcuts both represent and convey a distillation of music-theoretical knowledge about the music being performed.

Sarah Principato, Professor and Thompson Chair, Department of Environmental Studies, with alum co-authors Halley Mastro ’22 and Ilana Sobel ’20, and co-authors Ívar Örn Benediktsson and Nina Aradottir, published “Morphometric Analysis of Ice Scour Lakes in Iceland: A Proxy for Ice Sheet Dynamics” in Earth Surface Processes and Landforms (2023): 1–14. This study evaluates ice scour lake morphology and density as a potential proxy for paleo-ice flow direction and basal thermal regime for parts of the Iceland Ice Sheet.

Jesse Cordes Selbin, Assistant Professor of English, with co-authors Michel Estefan and Sarah Macdonald, published “From Inclusive to Equitable Pedagogy: How to Design Course Assignments and Learning Activities that Address Structural Inequalities” in Teaching Sociology 51.3 (May 6, 2023, online). This teaching article argues that communicative strategies for making marginalized students more comfortable in the college classroom are valuable, but limited in their effects. Instead, we suggest, instructors must consider structural barriers to the success of these students and work to design assignments and learning activities that foster equity at a structural level.

Selbin published “Rethinking the Novel of Education” in ELH—English Literary History 89.4 (Winter 2022): 987–1018. This article argues that literature scholars have overestimated the historical importance of a narrative genre called the Bildungsroman (upon which much literary criticism is founded), and that they should instead regard it as a subgenre of an older, more diverse, and longer-lived generic umbrella category: the novel of education. The article observes that the novel of education is a genre widely utilized today by writers across the globe, and suggests that an expanded understanding of the education novel and its origins might explain its longevity and contemporary relevance.

Alex Trillo, Associate Professor of Biology, with co-authors Ximena E. Bernal and Richard J. Hall, published “Mixed-Species Assemblages and Disease: The Importance of Differential Vector and Parasite Attraction in Transmission Dynamics” in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 378.1878 (April 17, 2023, online). Individuals from multiple species often aggregate at resources, group to facilitate defense and foraging, or are brought together by human activity. While it is well-documented that host-seeking disease vectors prefer cues from some hosts more than others, the influence of mixed-species group cues on vector attraction and disease transmission has received limited attention. Here, we provide a conceptual framework describing vector host-seeking behavior as a two-stage process that encompasses attraction of these enemies to the group as well as their choice of hosts once at the group. We argue that differential attraction of vectors by hosts in a mixed-species group can have important consequences for disease transmission, with implications for wildlife conservation and zoonotic disease.

Mercedes Valmisa, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, published “Wang Bi and the Hermeneutics of Actualization” in The Craft of Oblivion: Forgetting and Memory in Ancient China, edited by Albert Galvany (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2023). What does it mean to understand others? What about understanding the words of those who are long gone? This chapter introduces Wang Bi’s (226–249) reception theory and hermeneutics, where, to truly understand the meaning of what words intend to convey to us, we must engage in a subtle dialectic of forgetting and remembering.

Valmisa published “What is a Situation?” in Coming to Terms with Timelessness: Daoist Time in Comparative Perspective, edited by Livia Kohn (St. Petersburg, FL: Three Pines Press, 2021). What is the role of attention in creating situations? Can we retrain our agency to illuminate blind spots and move beyond the narrowness of our own perspective in opening up worlds?

Kerry Wallach, Associate Professor and currently Chair, Department of German Studies, with Sonia Gollance, co-edited “When Feminism and Antisemitism Collide,” a special issue of Feminist German Studies 39.1 (Spring-Summer 2023). This special journal issue explores past and present-day tensions between feminist objectives and antisemitic sentiments. Wallach and Gollance also co-authored the introduction, which traces how women have navigated gender, Jewishness, Germanness, and discrimination through the centuries. It underscores the need for confronting antisemitism from a feminist perspective, which is complicated by the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and notions of how Jews fit into (or are excluded from) applications of intersectionality.

David Walsh, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, published “‘They Call Us Caribou Eaters’: Negotiating Tlicho Dene Relationships with Caribou” in Native Foodways: Indigenous North American Religious Traditions and Foods, edited by Michelene E. Pesantubbee and Michael J. Zogry (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2021). This study of the complex relationship between climate change and theories of indigenous relationships with the environment discusses how climate change has led to a dramatic decline in caribou populations, and how the Dene have responded according to their traditions.

Andy Wilson, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, with co-authors Roland Kays, et al, published “SNAPSHOT USA 2020: A Second Coordinated National Camera Trap Survey of the United States during the COVID-19 Pandemic” in Ecology 103.10 (October 2022): e3775. The Snapshot USA project is a huge collaborative effort to sample mammal populations with camera traps across all of the United States. The study is designed to sample sites in all fifty states stratified across habitats and development zones (suburban/rural/wild/urban) with an objective of at least 400 trap-nights in site.

Wilson, with faculty co-author Darren Glass, Associate Provost for Academic Assessment, Dean of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Professor of Mathematics, and alum co-authors Marisa A. Immordino ’20, Precious S. Ozoh ’20, Lauren B. Sherman ’21, and McKenzie D. Somers ’20, published “A Method for Estimating Songbird Abundance with Drones” in Drone Systems and Applications 10.1 (January 2022, online). Using a drone with two audio recorders, we estimated the distance to singing birds. This knowledge allows us to estimate abundances more accurately.

Randall Wilson, Professor of Environmental Studies, with co-author Yolanda Youngs, published “Public Landscapes” in The Routledge Companion to the American Landscape, edited by Chris W. Post, Alyson L. Greiner and Geoffrey L. Buckley (London: Routledge, 2023). This book chapter examines federal conservation lands (national parks, national forests, etc.) as part of the broader fabric of the United States’ landscape. It explores pertinent contemporary issues while offering a survey of current research trajectories in fields ranging from history and cultural studies to geography and resource management.


Michael Birkner, Professor of History, published “Winston Churchill in Manhattan, March 25, 1949” in the International Churchill Society Bulletin 178 (February 25, 2023, online). This essay draws on and contextualizes a substantial diary entry by Columbia University historian Allan Nevins, who attended a special dinner for the former British Prime Minister during his visit to the United States, at which Churchill laid out his views on the Cold War, NATO, and the atomic bomb.

Alauna Safarpour, Assistant Professor of Political Science, published “Americans in Former Confederate States More Likely to Say Violent Protest against Government is Justified, 160 years after Gettysburg” at The Conversation (June 28, 2023). This article examines modern support for political violence, finding the civil war loyalties of their state shape modern support for anti-government violence today.


Alice Brawley Newlin, Assistant Professor of Management, with staff colleague Heather Odle-Dusseau, Professor of Management and David M. LeVan Endowed Chair of Ethics and Management, presented a paper titled “Employee- and Supervisor-Rated FSSB: Congruence and Correlates” as part of the symposium “Work-Family Supportive leadership,” at the 37th Annual Meeting of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), Boston, MA, April 17–22, 2023. We examined how well employee ratings matched supervisor ratings of family-supportive supervisor behaviors, and also explored how other variables relate to that level of match (or mismatch).

Brawley Newlin, with colleague K.J. Black, presented a paper titled “Rejecting the Dull: Teaching Students to Know and Love Statistics” as part of an IGNITE! session at the 37th Annual Meeting of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), Boston, MA, April 17–22, 2023. Our session featured advice and lessons learned over the years from six seasoned statistics professors, at a range of institution types. Statistics is often not a popular course among students, but we offered ways we’ve developed to help students engage with the valuable material in these courses.

Luna Goldblatt, Assistant Professor of Management, with colleagues Ting Chen and Kun Yu, delivered a presentation titled “Sea Level Rise and Earnings Management” at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Academic Accounting Association (CAAA), Québec City, Québec, Canada, June 8, 2023. We studied the link between sea level rise (SLR) risk and the financial reporting of a crucial economic agent in the markets, the firm. We find that firms with locations exposed to sea level rise risk are more likely to manage their earnings than unexposed firms that are otherwise similar. We shed light on how firms’ financial reporting behaviors change in response to their risk environment.

Alvaro Kaempfer, Professor and currently Chair, Department of Spanish, delivered a paper titled “‘Como si se tratara de varias humanidades’: Valentín Letelier, raza, historiografía y globalización” at the Annual Conference of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), Vancouver, BC, Canada, May 24–27, 2023. In La Evolucion de la Historia—published first as a short university lecture in 1886, and then in 1900 as a two-volume book—Valentin Letelier traces the history, challenges, and expectations for a historiography redefined within a scientific (Positivist) approach to Latin American history.

Salma Monani, Professor and currently Chair, Department of Environmental Studies, delivered the keynote address, “Thinking Ecologies of/and Adaptation with Indigenous Cinema” at the annual conference of the Literature/Film Society, University of Montana, Missoula, MT, September 21, 2023. This talk offers scholars the practice of d-ecocinema criticism. Bringing ecocinema studies productively into conversation with Indigenous cinema studies, d-ecocinema criticism argues for studying the decolonial and ecological valences of Indigenous cinema. D-ecocinema criticism, I argue, allows for rich insights into the discursive and material relations between cinema, environment, and Indigenous peoples’ agency in addressing social and ecological issues.

Monica Ogra, Professor of Environmental Studies and Globalization Studies, delivered a paper titled “Geographies of Wolf-Dog Hybrids in the United States: Created, Commodified, and Caught between Worlds” at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG), Denver, CO, March 25, 2023. In this presentation, I outline key drivers of the trade in wolf-dog hybrid exotic pets in the USA in terms of factors such as demand, commodification, and disposability. I also draw on ongoing work about “lively capital” to propose a theoretical and analytical framework suitable for mapping pathways to de-commodification.

Randall Wilson, Professor of Environmental Studies, delivered a paper titled “Parks and Wildlife Restoration in the Global North: The Case of Wolves in the US and France” at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG), Denver, CO, March 25, 2023. This project offers a comparative examination of the role of protected areas (national parks) in supporting the reintroduction of endangered species—in this case, gray wolves—in France and the United States.


Jack Ryan, Associate Professor of English, reviewed The Olympics that Never Happened: Denver ’76 and the Politics of Growth (2023), by Adam Berg, for the Sports Literature Association (August 31, 2023, online). Berg’s book maps Denver’s unique place in Olympic history with overwhelming detail by explaining how an unlikely, unaligned collection of dissenters put common sense before Chamber of Commerce zeal.

Mercedes Valmisa, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, reviewed Language as Bodily Practice in Early China: A Chinese Grammatology (2018), by Jane Geaney, for Reading Religion: A Publication of the American Academy of Religion (2018, online). Geaney’s work invites us to rethink our notion of language.


Yasemin Akbaba, Professor of Political Science, was elected as an at-large member of the Teaching Centric Institutions Caucus (TCIC) of the International Studies Association (ISA) in March 2023. TCIC aims to support research and teaching-related works of ISA members who work at teaching-centric institutions.

Akbaba joined the editorial board of the Journal of Political Science Education in November 2022. The Journal publishes works on innovative teaching projects developed by Political Science scholars.

Sarah Principato, Professor and Thompson Chair, Department of Environmental Studies, was named a Fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA) in May 2023. The Fellowship is an honor bestowed on the best of our profession by election at the spring GSA Council meeting. Members are nominated by other members in recognition of a sustained record of distinguished contributions to the geosciences and the GSA through such avenues as publications, applied research, teaching, administration of geological programs, contributing to the public awareness of geology, leadership of professional organizations, and taking on editorial, bibliographic, and library responsibilities.

Andy Wilson, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, received the Earl Poole Award from the Pennsylvania Society of Ornithology in May 2023. The award is presented annually to a person or persons who have made significant contributions to the state’s ornithology. This may be in the form of research, volunteer efforts, publications, field work, or other pursuit that has increased our knowledge and understanding of birdlife in Pennsylvania.

Randall Wilson, Professor of Environmental Studies, was awarded a Research Fellowship at the Institute for American Universities, Aix-en-Provence, France. The fellowship provided support for research conducted on national parks in France during the Spring 2022 semester.


April 14, 2023 – September 15, 2023

Rimvydas Baltaduonis, Associate Professor of Economics

  • National Science Foundation, “Strengthening American Infrastructure: Integration of Electric Vehicles and the Electric Grid.” Sub-award (University of Colorado-Denver). Co-Principal Investigator ($179,639).