Faculty Research & Creative Activity

Fellowships and Other Academic Honors

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Dr. Zsuzsanna Gulácsi

Art History Professor Receives a Guggenheim Fellowship for the 2016-2017 Academic Year

Dr. Zsuzsanna Gulácsi, Professor of Art History and Asian Studies in the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for her sabbatical research on "Artistic Culture of Religious Instruction along the Trade Routes of Late Ancient and Medieval Asia" (for more information, see http://news.nau.edu/humanities-professor-recognized-scholarship/#.V_QAsceWs4k). Dr. Gulácsi's most recent book, MANI'S PICTURES: The Didactive Images of the Manichaeans from Sananian Mesopotamia to Uygur Central Asia and Tang-Ming China, was published in December 2015. This study, which explores the artistic culture of Manichaean religious instruction and discusses the doctrinal themes (soteriology, prophetology, theology, and cosmology) depict in Mani's canonical pictures, is a culmination of 10 years of research. It is part of Brill's Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies series, No. 90 and has been nominated for the best "Verzorgde Boeken" Award for the excellent quality of its 130 color images and diagrams produced at NAU.

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"Aphasia: Neurological Disorder in Text and Image"

English Professor and Artist Win 2016 Viola Award for the Multi-Media Exhibition, Aphasia: Neurological Disorder in Text and Image

Dr. Jane Armstrong, Professor of English, and Christopher Taylor, Lecturer in the School of Art, picked up the 2016 Viola Award for “Excellence in StoryTelling,” for their collaborative exhibition which was on display at NAU from October 2015 – April 2016.  The exhibition included short essays by Dr. Armstrong “about her experience suffering from the neurological disorder aphasia (the inability to express and comprehend language) with Taylor’s paintings in response to Armstrong’s words.”  For additional information, see http://flagartscouncil.org/2016/01/jane-armstrong-christopher-taylor-aphasia/.

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Dr. Eric V. Meeks

History Professor Receives Fellowship to Complete Book on the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

Dr. Eric V. Meeks is spending the 2016-2017 academic year as the Bill and Rita Clements Senior Fellow for the study of Southwest America at the Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University (Dallas). He is working on his new book, The U.S.-Mexico Borderlands: A Transnational History, which traces the history of the vast region that today encompasses the U.S. Southwest and the Mexican north, from the late eighteenth century through the early twenty-first century. The book will argue that throughout this period, globalization and boundary making have been deeply interrelated components of the same process.  In the late eighteenth century, most of the region was still controlled by indigenous peoples.  The British and their native allies had recently dislodged the French empire from North America, and the remaining Atlantic imperial powers, Spain and England, sought to secure and expand their foothold in indigenous territory.  Yet most inhabitants of the borderlands between these competing empires identified as members of clans, villages, extended families, local groups, tribes, religious groups, etc., rather than as “Spanish,” “English,” “French,” or “Indian.”  The U.S.-Mexico Borderlands traces how these identities changed over time in relation—and often in opposition—to the emergence of two competing nation-states, global capitalism, and the shifting presence of an international border. As colonialism, expanding global trade, and migration brought diverse groups of people from the Americas and around the world into the region,tensions and conflicts over land and resources as well as anxieties about political and cultural cohesion fueled the construction of territorial, ethno-racial, and national borders.

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Humanities Professor Receives Intramural Grant for Project on City Lights Bookstore and Press 

Dr. Gioia Woods spent the summer of 2016 continuing the research for hercultural biography of City Lights, the San Francisco bookstore and press founded by Lawrence Ferlinghetti founded in 1953. In addition to drafting a book chapter on “City Lights and Free Speech,” she traveled to Paris where she interviewed Sylvia Beach Whitman, the proprietor of Shakespeare & Company, which was founded along, with City Lights in the early 1950s by her father, George Whitman, and Ferlinghetti, who maintained a lifelong friendship and correspondence.  In September 2016, Dr. Woods presented part of her project at the Western Literature Association's annual meeting in September 2016. Her talk, entitled “The Other Obscenity Trial: Sexuality, Profanity, and Free Speech in the West,” focused on the 1967 obscenity trial over poet Lenore Kandel's, The Love Book and City Lights' involvement in that trial.

History Professor Returns from Postdoctoral Fellowship in Virginia

Dr. R. A. Kashanipour, Assistant Professor of History, recently returned from a two-year (2014-2016) postdoctoral fellowship at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture in Williamsburg, Virginia. He was the first Latin Americanist to hold the fellowship in more than seven decades of the program’s existence.  During his time at the Institute, Dr. Kashanipour continued revisions of his book manuscript on indigenous medicine called Between Magic and Medicine: Yucatec Healing in the Spanish Atlantic World, which is in production with the Omohundro Institute and the University of North Carolina Press. Directly related to his research in sickness and health, he published a critical review essay in the William and Mary Quarterly called “Contagious Connections: Recent Approaches to the History of Medicine in Early America,” which examines how sickness and disease shaped cultural encounters and social relationships in the colonial and early national periods of Atlantic history. He also began work on his second book project on the early history of science fiction in the Atlantic world and published a chapter called “The Morality of the Moon: Fray Manuel de Rivas’s Sizigias y Quadraturas of 1773.”  This piece was based on the first known work of science fiction written in Latin America, which he uncovered buried amid legal documents in Inquisition records stored in the National Archives of Mexico. Dr. Kashanipour also published an essay calling for critical cultural awareness and social diversity in pedagogy and teaching called “Family, Teaching and Geopolitics in a Culturally Alienated Society” and a commentary on the importance of community-building in the global humanities entitled “Mentoring and the Challenge of the Humanities.”  Among his other scholarly activities, he continued as organizer and convener of the scholarly workshop on colonial Latin American history called the Southwest Seminar, served as the program advisor and faculty mentor to thirty Mellon Fellows researching in the global humanities, operated as editor and content provider to the podcast-based forum on recent scholarship called New Books Network, and worked as contributor and series editor to the academic blog devoted to food, magic, science and medicine known as the Recipes Project.  

History Chair Appointed as Senior Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Singapore)

Dr. Derek Heng, the new chair of the Department of History, has been appointed to a two-year (2016-2018) position as Senior Fellow at the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Center, which is part of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. In this capacity, he will be advising the research agenda of the center’s premodern Maritime Asian historical research, as well as the institute’s archaeology unit’s field projects in Singapore and Southeast Asia. Shortly after his arrival at NAU, Dr. Heng participated in NAU’s Summer Seminar Series, presenting a paper entitled “Asian Geo-Politics: China and the South China Sea Territorial Dispute,” in which he considered the dispute from the perspective of its historical background and the historicity of each claimants’ articulated rights.  His paper on the shipping networks reflected in the data of a ninth century Middle Eastern shipwreck excavated off the coast of Indonesia – “The Belitung Wreck and the Nature of China’s Maritime Trade during the Late Tang Period” – will also soon be in print, as part of an edited volume entitled The Belitung Wreck (Singapore: National Heritage Board, 2016).

Recent and Forthcoming Publications 

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"Triangulating Methodological Approaches in Corpus Linguistic Research"

New Developments in the Field of Applied Linguistics

Dr. Jesse Egbert, Assistant Professor, recently published a co-edited a book titled Triangulating Methodological Approaches in Corpus Linguistic Research (Routledge, 2016).  This volume provides a systematic comparison of ten major research methodologies in corpus linguistics through a series of parallel empirical studies that use a single corpus dataset to answer the same overarching research question: In what ways does language use in online Q+A forum responses differ across four world English varieties (India, Philippines, United Kingdom, and United States)? Dr.Vedran Dronjic, Assistant Professor, recently co-edited a volume entitled Reading in a Second Language: Cognitive and Psycholinguistic Issues (with Xi Chen and Rena Helms-Park; Routledge, 2016). He also co-authored two chapters in the book, one on the neurocognitive bases of reading and one on writing systems. The book examines its subject matter from multiple angles, bringing together perspectives from a variety of related fields not usually found in a single volume, ranging from neurolinguistics to language policy and planning

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Dr. Marilya Veteto Reese

German Professor Collaborates with NAU's Austrian Refugee Integration Project

Dr. Marilya Veteto Reese spent the final weeks of her 2106 sabbatical as the translator/transcriber of some 140 hours of interviews (begun in Summer 2016 by filmmaker Kiril Kirkov) for the NAU Austrian Refugee Integration Project. Founded in 2015 by Dr. Miguel Vasquez and Amy Foust from the Anthropology Department, the collaboration includes Austrian team members, volunteers, employees, and refugees at three Viennese organizations, Train of Hope, Integrationshaus, and Refugees For Refugees. Dr. Reese also co-authored a German Embassy grant, Germany Meets the U.S., with Dr. Björn Krondorfer, Director of the Martin-Springer Institute, in order to host award-winning Berlin photographer, Jacobia Dahm, in October. Ms. Dahm discussed her work in a presentation entitled “Syrian Refugees on the Migrant Trail” as part of the program, Bridges, Borders and Walls, held on October 12 in the Student Union.  

Juliet Got It Wrong

Dr. Sanjay Joshi, Professor of History, published “Juliet Got It Wrong: Conversion and the Politics of Naming in Kumaon, ca. 1850–1930” in the November 2015 issue of the Journal of Asian Studies. Questioning Shakespeare’s famous dictum, this essay argues that names reveal a great deal, about people and about history. Why some Christian converts in north India changed their names and others did not depended on a number of things, including class, caste, gender, and, of course, religion. There are few grand narratives in this essay.  It highlights issues that are very local yet resonate with concerns of other people and places. Historicizing the local and the everyday, the essay also argues for not conflating the ordinary and the mundane with the trivial or the unimportant.

Art Education in a Global World

Dr. Pamela Stephens, Professor of Art Education, has had a chapter published in Culturally Sensitive Art Education in a Global World: A Handbook for Teachers (National Art Education Association, 2016). Her chapter, entitled “The Story of Doris: Cultural Sensitivity in Action, discusses how a Navajo student successfully navigated the complexities of a post-secondary art education program and, in the process, became a role model of cultural sensitivity for her peers.

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New Research on one of Italy's Ancient Civilizations, the Etruscans

Dr. Alexandra Carpino, Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Letters and Professor of Art History, co-edited a new volume in Wiley-Blackwell’s Companions to the Ancient World.  Published in February 2016, A Companion to the Etruscans offers fresh perspectives on Etruscan art, society and culture grounded in up-to-date research and archaeological discoveries.  Its authors employ a range of theoretical approaches to reassess longstanding misconceptions about the place of the Etruscans in the classical world.  The volume includes a chapter by Dr. Carpino entitled “The ‘Taste’ for Violence in Etruscan Art: Debunking the Myth,” which discusses images of violence in three different Etruscan contexts – the sanctuary, the tomb and the home – and the reasons behind their selection. 

Peace Histories

Dr. Leilah Danielson will have a lead article in the January 2017 issue of Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Research. The article, entitled “Supernaturalism and Peace Activism: Expanding the Boundaries of Peace History,” focuses on Sherwood Eddy, one of the most influential figures in world Christianity and the American peace movement in the years between the two world wars.  Dr. Danielson shows that religion served as the nexus of Eddy’s radicalization, shaped how he interpreted social reality, and imagined social change, and concludes that it is impossible to understand the substance of peace politics in the twentieth-century without reference to religion. Together with other historians, Dr. Danielson also participated in a 2015 roundtable entitled “Activists, Writers and Expansive Ideas about Peace in the early Cold War Years” at the Organization of American Historians that has recently been published in the journal, American Communist History 15, no. 1 (2016): 1-34.  Her contribution calls for a broadened and diverse conception of “peace history” to include non-pacifist peace activists, such as liberal internationalists and Communists, who have largely been neglected in the historiography.

Indigenous Pop

With Jan Johnson and Kimberle Lee, Dr. Jeff Berglund, Professor of English, co-edited Indigenous Pop: Native American Music from Jazz to Hip Hop (University of Arizona Press, 2016). The collection addresses the range of musical genres – jazz, blues, country-western, rock and roll, reggae, punk, and hip hop – to which Native musicians have contributed and the unique ways in which their engagement advances the struggle for justice and continues age-old traditions of creative expression.

Disposable Passions

NAU Lecturer in Cinema Studies, Dr. David Church, has published his second monograph, Disposable Passions: Vintage Pornography and the Material Legacies of Adult Cinema (Bloomsbury Academic, 2016), a study of the aesthetic, political, and historiographic issues around the preservation of pre-1990s adult films. This book is a follow-up volume to his previous book, Grindhouse Nostalgia: Memory, Home Video, and Exploitation Film Fandom (Edinburgh University Press, 2015), released in paperback in early 2016. In conjunction with this project, Dr. Church is also preparing a 2017 guest-edited issue of Porn Studies entitled "Canon Fodder: Reappraising Adult Cinema's Neglected Texts." Dr. Church’s upcoming publications include essays on horror cinema, drive-in theaters, queer politics, and performance art in Grindhouse: Cultural Exchange on 42nd Street, and Beyond (Routledge, 2016), Jump Cut (2016), The Cult Film Companion (Routledge, 2017), and Cinema Journal (2017).

Sixteenth Century English Iconoclasm

Dr. Patricia McKee, Lecturer in Comparative Religions and Public Humanities, has an article forthcoming in Theatre Survey, the journal of the American Society for Theatre Research.  Her decidedly interdisciplinary study engages art history and theatre history as well at religious studies.  “Hand to the Heart: Authenticity in Preacher and Player Portraiture” explores how sixteenth-century English iconoclasm extended beyond the church to include theatre as a consistent subject of theological controversy.  Dr. McKee also considers a small group of player portraits from the era, including those of Nathan Field and Edward Alleyn, which bear striking resemblances to images of the era’s puritan preachers. This study is a companion to “Scorning the Image of Virtue: The Player Nathan Field’s Letter to the Reverend Thomas Sutton, 1616,” which Dr. McKee published in Religion and the Arts (2016).

Cuteness and Latinidad

Dr. Rebecca Mercedes Gordon, Lecturer in English, published an essay in April 2016 on the subject of “Cuteness and Latinidad” as part of a week-long focus on Cuteness Studies in In Media Res, a forum "dedicated to experimenting with collaborative, multi-modal forms of online scholarship." The goal is to promote an online dialogue amongst scholars and the public about contemporary approaches to studying media. In Media Res provides a forum for more immediate critical engagement with media at a pace closer to how we experience mediated texts.

Viola-Nominated Novel Forthcoming in German

Dr. Marilya Veteto Reese, Professor of German, has completed her translation of Putrefaction Live (UNM Press, 2009(, a coming-of-age novel written by Flagstaff author, Warren Perkins.  It is currently in press with Hans Schiler Verlag, based in both Berlin and Tübingen.  A finalist in the 2010 Viola Award for Literature, the book features a Navajo-Anglo death metal guitarist living in Flagstaff and on the Navajo Nation. With a working title of Lebendigen Leibe, Dr. Reese's collaboration with Klara Schroth of the Schiler publishing house seeks to dispel outdated German stereotypes of Native Americans. Dr. Reese's translation into German of Perkins' second novel, Albert The Great: A Short History, was her sabbatical project in 2016.

Evil Children

English Lecturer Karen J. Renner's book, Evil Children in the Popular Imagination, will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2016. 

Recent and Forthcoming Creative Activities

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Havana, Cuba

Interior Design Professor Heads to Cuba

Melissa Santana, Assistant Professor, was invited to the 11th Annual Urban Design Charrette in Havana, Cuba, which is sponsored by the Puerto Rico Builder’s Association, the Urban Land Institute (ULI-PR Chapter) and INTBAU Cuba.  In mid-November, she will spend seven days in Havana, working closely with local and international architects to develop ideas for the regeneration and development of the future of Havana’s harbor.  The charrette will focus on the history of Havana’s cultural heritage through close contact with its traditions, architecture and urbanism while focusing on the Havana harbor.

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"Lola Levine and the Ballet Scheme" by Monica Brown

Achievements in Creative Writing 

Nicole Walker, Associate Professor, has published four books since 2010, including Micrograms, which was published in March 2016. Two new books, Canning Peaches for the Apocalypse and Egg are forthcoming in 2017. Monica Brown, Professor, published numerous works of literature for children, including Lola Devine: Drama Queen (Little Brown, 2016), Lola Levine and the Ballet Scheme (Little Brown, 2016), Marisol McDonald and the Monster (Lee and Low, 2016), and Waiting for the Biblioburro (Random House, 2016).  Justin Bigos, Lecturer, recently published poems in Diode, RHINO, and North Dakota Quarterly. His short fiction appeared in Indiana Review, The Seattle Review, and The Best American Short Stories 2015, and, as Coeditor of Waxwing magazine, he published issue 9 in June 2016. Within 48 hours one of the issue’s poems, “Good Bones” by Maggie Smith, went “viral,” reaching hundreds of thousands of people across the globe. Lawrence Lenhart, Lecturer, had his first book of essays, The Well-Stocked and Gilded Cage, published in August 2016 (Outpost19). The collection’s five core essays on pets—a dog, a bird, a tortoise, a ferret, and a chameleon—intersect with essays on childhood spirituality in Myanmar and Nepal, climate change in Bangladesh and California, and animal conservation in Arizona and Cambodia. New hybrid fictions from Lenhart's current project about sea-level rise and climate migration, Apocryphal Biographies of Small Island States, will appear in Greensboro Review and Western Humanities Review later this year.  Erin Stalcup, Lecturer, had her first collection of stories, And Yet It Moves, published in July 2016 by Indiana University Press. Kirkus Reviews calls the book an “engaging collection that takes on the love and loneliness lurking in the bright lights and shadowed corners of the everyday.”

 

Watch Video: Composition_for_Forests

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Nature, Fire, Love and Death: Composition for Forests

Seeking to bring a closer relationship between a performer and his/her audiences, Dr. Janice ChenJu Chiang, Lecturer of Collaborative Piano, took “collaboration” to another level of interpretation by teaming up with local installation artist, Shawn Skabelund, to create Composition for Forests, which was part of the 2016-2017 Horizons Series. The initial idea sprang from Dr. Chiang’s desire perform a classical music concert in a non-traditional way. Skabelund transformed a traditional venue that is frequently used for concerts - NAU’s Ashurst Hall - into a burned forest with a Steinway piano in the center. During Dr. Chiang’s performance of compositions from around the globe that evoked the themes of nature, fire, love and death, audience members were able to wander freely among the forest - to reflect, to feel, to listen quietly, to smell the charred timbers, and to transform these stimuli into their imaginations.

Ashes to Ashes on Display in Tucson

Through August 2017, Julie Comnick, Instructor in the School of Art, is exhibiting Ashes to Ashes at the University of Arizona Laboratory for Tree-Ring Research.  Ashes to Ashes is a series of drawings depicting recent Arizona wildfires, rendered with charcoal samples that the artist personally collected from each fire site. Each drawing is displayed with its corresponding charcoal sample. The collection represents fourteen significant wildfires from 1990 to the present, with archived photographs used as references. This project was created in 2015 for the occasion of Fires of Change, a partnership between the arts and sciences, sponsored by the Southwest Fire Science Consortium, Landscape Conservation Initiative, and Flagstaff Arts Council with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. The objective of these drawings is to reverse the public perception trajectory as viewers gain a renewed appreciation for the necessity of wildfire toward sustaining the longevity of our shared landscape.

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Celebrating Route 66

Dr. Mac Groves, Professor of Theatre, is currently revising his play, Route 66: A Celebration of America's Main Street, for the 100th Anniversary System of the Federal Highway System and National Old Trails Road system. The play is an educational initiative of the National Park Service from 2000-2004 and was supported by the College of Arts and Letters and several corporate sponsors when it toured the Route 66 Corridor for three consecutive summers. The production was produced as a summer professional project by the Department of Theatre. 

Accomplishments in Ceramics and Printmaking

Jason Hess, Professor of Ceramics, was in nine blind-juried exhibitions in 2016-2017.  He won “Best of Show” in two of them.  His work was also accepted in nine additional invitational exhibitions, including a large two-person show for which a catalog was produced.  David Williams, Professor of Printmaking, recently got into the 4th Annual “FL3TCH3R Exhibit” at the Reece Museum at East Tennessee State University. This juried exhibition focuses “on socially and politically engaged art” (see further http://www.fl3tch3rexhibit.com/enter.html).

Conference and Invited Presentations

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Björn Krondorfer

MSI Director Participates in International Conference on Trauma, Memory and Healing in Sarajevo

From July 11-15, 2016, on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the genocidal killings in Srebrenica, Dr.Björn Krondorfer, Director of the Martin-Springer Institute and a Professor in the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies, was invited to present a paper at an international conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. The conference focused on Trauma, Memory, and Healing in the Balkans and Beyond and was organized by Zilka Siljak, a Bosnian Muslim woman scholar-activist. Dr. Siljak had been a speaker at NAU in 2012, at the invitation of the Martin-Springer Institute. Dr. Krondorfer presented a paper on “Defusing Chosen Trauma through Unsettling Empathy: A Conceptual Approach to a Case Study on Palestinian-Israeli Relations.” He argues for the potential of a practical ethics of “unsettling empathy” to defuse entrenched identifications with national narratives and collective traumas, and illustrates his case by referencing his facilitation of trilateral encounters with Israelis, Germans, and Palestinians. In addition, all of the international participants took a field trip to the memorial site in Srebrenica, where over 8,000 Muslim men were systematically slaughtered in 1995 by Serb-nationalist forces.

History Professor Invited to Deliver Plenary Talk at the Arizona Health Equity Conference in Phoenix

In October 2016, Dr. Paul Dutton will serve as a plenary speaker at Third Annual Arizona Health Equity Conference: Building Bridges: Connecting Communities in Research, Practice, & Policy. Dr. Dutton’s presentation, “Health Equity and the Health in All Policies Movement: History, International Comparisons, and Current Challenges,” traces the Health in All Policies (HIAP) movement, beginning with its precursors in nineteenth-century Germany to its present form in the U.S. and Europe.  Comparisons between health status in the U.S. and other OECD nations are employed to identify the current social gradients of health both within and between nations.  The presentation concludes with a discussion of HIAP initiatives in Arizona such as those led by the Vitalist Health Foundation. 

Politics in America

Dr. Leilah Danielson, Professor of History, will deliver a conference paper entitled “Marxism and Americanism: Revisiting the Popular Front” at the Society for U.S. Intellectual History meeting at Stanford University.  The paper explores the tensions between Americanism and internationalism in the cultural politics of the New Deal era.In January 2017, Dr. Danielson will also serve as the chair and commentator for a panel at the American Church History Conference in Denver, Colorado entitled "New Roots and Routes of Pacifism in Twentieth Century America."