Professor Theo Stavrou (history) will receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Athens on January 15, 2015.
The Humanities Action Lab (HAL), a national project that CLA has been involved in for the past three years, just received a $484,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Professor Jeani O'Brien (history and American Indian studies) and associate professor Kevin Murphy (history & American studies) contributed to the writing of the grant and Kevin currently serves on the HAL steering committee. HAL is a consortium of universities that works on historicizing and fostering civic engagement in the humanities and design on major and urgent social issues. HAL takes on a new theme every three years and participating universities offer related public history/humanities courses, engaging students (undergraduate and graduate) and community partners in analysis and dialogue. The inaugural effort was the Guantanamo Public Memory Project. With the next major project collaborators will explore the histories of incarceration in locations throughout the United States and public programming will engage these histories in contemporary debates about incarceration policies and the impacts of incarceration on individuals and communities.
Professor Ray Gonzalez's 13th poetry collection, Soul Over Lightning (University of Arizona Press), was published September 25. Ray's poem "One El Paso, Two El Paso" appears in Best American Poetry 2014, which was published in September by Simon and Schuster. It is his fourth appearance in the annual series.
Assistant professor Daniel Griffin (geography, environment & society) is co-author of a new study that links short-term reductions in growth and reproduction of marine animals off the California coast to increasing variability in the strength of coastal upwelling currents--currents that supply nutrients to the region's diverse ecosystem. To reconstruct the past 600 years of upwelling along the California coast, the team used tree ring data, collected by Dan, from long-lived blue oak trees. The researchers demonstrated that growth patterns in blue oak trees near the coast are highly sensitive to the same climate factors associated with upwelling. During the past 600 years, four of the 10 most extremely poor upwelling years occurred since 1950, and seven of 10 have occurred since 1850. Read the article in Science.
Professor Nabil Matar's British Captives from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, 1563-1760 (Brill) was published this past summer.
Research associate Ellery Frahm (anthropology & earth sciences) is co-author of a study published in Science that shows that groups of early humans (some 325,000 years ago) in the South Caucasus independently developed Levallois technology, an innovation in stone knapping techniques, to create tools out of obsidian. This finding contradicts a long-held belief that this way of making stone tools was brought to Eurasia via a human migration out of Africa. Ellery's contribution was chemically analyzing the stone tools using nondestructive techniques in the field to identify the volcanoes from which the obsidian originated, revealing information about the mobility of these early peoples.
Professor Paula Rabinowitz's (English) American Pulp: How Paperbacks Brought Modernism to Main Street (Princeton) will be published next week. In August, the University of Minnesota Press published Fashioning the Nineteenth Century, third in the Habits of Being series she co-edits with Cristina Giorcelli.
Regents Professor Madelon Sprengnether (English) wrote about her summer trip to the Middle East for the Minneapolis Star Tribune in an article entitled "Where Poetry Lives: In Iran." Madelon also wrote a piece in September for the Star Tribune entitled "Visiting Ground Zero with My Grandchildren"
Professor Josephine Lee (English) was interviewed by Seattle Public Radio KUOW on July 18 about the checkered history of Gilbert and Sullivan's play The Mikado, which was controversially staged this summer by the Seattle Gilbert and Sullivan Society. She was also interviewed by New York's WQRX on July 21. The Mikado is the subject of Jo's last book, The Japan of Pure Invention (University of Minnesota Press, 2010). Jo was instrumental in updating the opera for a local Mu Performing Arts staging in 2013, which is referenced in a MSNBC report on the Seattle controversy.
Doctoral student (and professional drummer) Davu Seru (English) was recently commissioned by the new music ensemble Zeitgeist to compose "Vernae." The piece premiered at the 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Festival in June 2014. He was also awarded a Metropolitan Regional Arts Council 2014 "Next Step Award" which followed his 2013 "Minnesota Emerging Composer Award," a nomination-only award offered by the American Composers Forum.
Alumna Dr. Juliana Hu Pegues (American studies), who received her Ph.D. this year, was awarded the American Studies Association's Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize for Best Doctoral Dissertation in American Studies, American Ethnic Studies or American Women's Studies. Her dissertation is titled Interrogating Intimacies: Asian American and Native Relations in Colonial Alaska. This is the major dissertation prize in American Studies and it is highly competitive; it's the fourth time the prize has gone to a Minnesota student since 1987, the inaugural year. Juliana's advisers were Jigna Desai and Erika Lee.