2017 Faculty Accomplishments

Occidental faculty are hard at work. Check out their scholarly accomplishments from 2017.

Articles, Essays, and Chapters
Books & Edited Volumes
Grants & Fellowships
Performances, Exhibits, Films, Scripts, and Compositions
Awards, Appointments, and other Accomplishments

Articles, Essays, and Chapters

Prof. Janet Scheel and coauthor Joerg Schumacher published an article, "Predicting transition ranges to fully turbulent viscous boundary layers in low Prandtl number convection flows" in Physical Review Fluids. In the article, characteristic properties of turbulent Rayleigh-Benard convection in the bulk and the boundary layers for a wide range of Rayleigh and Prandtl numbers are summarized with a specific emphasis on the low Prandtl numbers which describe liquid metal convection.

Prof. Sasha Day published an article, “The end of alternatives? Capitalist transformation, rural activism and the politics of possibility in China," that periodizes rural reform and peasant activism in China. It argues that recent changes in the rural political economy has limited the potential of pro-peasant cooperative forms that emerged around 2000. This is a co-authored piece, written with.

This is the first of a series of articles Day is co-authoring with Mindi Schneider, an Asst. Prof. of Agrarian, Food and Environmental studies at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. To learn more, see their "Feeding China: The Project on China's Food Histories, Geographies, and Ecologies" webpage here.

Prof. Lesley Chiou and co-author Catherine Tucker published a working paper, “Search Engines and Data Retention: Implications for Privacy and Antitrust," that investigates whether larger quantities of historical data affect a firm's ability to maintain market share in Internet search. They study whether the length of time that search engines retained their server logs affected the apparent accuracy of subsequent searches. Their analysis exploits changes in these policies prompted by the actions of policymakers. They find little empirical evidence that reducing the length of storage of past search engine searches affected the accuracy of search. Their results suggest that the possession of historical data confers less of an advantage in market share than is sometimes supposed. Their results also suggest that limits on data retention may impose fewer costs in instances where overly long data retention leads to privacy concerns such as an individual's “right to be forgotten."
General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, father and grandfather to two nineteenth-century French writers, left a record of letters, orders, and reports sent to his military superiors. Prof. Arthur Saint-Aubin published a new essay that examines the longest of these reports, one written in 1801detailing the general’s experiences as a prisoner of war. The essay, "The ‘Prison Diary’ of General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas: The Representation of a Wounded Male Body in a Narrative of Loss and Mourning," examines the report as a creative production in three ways, first, by exploring how the narrative represents a wounded male body and posits a conflicted masculine subject position; second, by drawing parallels between Dumas’s report and Toussaint Louverture’s memoir (written in 1802 from his prison cell in France); and third, by revealing how General Dumas’s son (Dumas père) is an especially perceptive reader of this episode in his father’s life. The two narratives are examined as representations of loss and mourning by two men who subscribe to the ideal of the soldier-citizen. 

 

Scientists, humanists, and art lovers alike value art not just for its beauty, but also for its social and epistemic importance; that is, for its communicative nature, its capacity to increase one's self-knowledge and encourage personal growth, and its ability to challenge our schemas and preconceptions. However, empirical research tends to discount the importance of such social and epistemic outcomes of art engagement, instead focusing on individuals' preferences, judgments of beauty, pleasure, or other emotional appraisals as the primary outcomes of art appreciation.

In a newly published article, “What is Art Good For? The Socio-Epistemic Value of Art," co-authors Profs. Sasha Sherman and Clair Morrissey argue that a systematic neuroscientific study of art appreciation must move beyond understanding aesthetics alone, and toward investigating the social importance of art appreciation. They make their argument for such a shift in focus first, by situating art appreciation as an active social practice. They follow by reviewing the available psychological and cognitive neuroscientific evidence that art appreciation cultivates socio-epistemic skills such as self- and other-understanding, and discuss philosophical frameworks which suggest a more comprehensive empirical investigation. Finally, they argue that focusing on the socio-epistemic values of art engagement highlights the important role art plays in our lives. Empirical research on art appreciation can thus be used to show that engagement with art has specific social and personal value, the cultivation of which is important to us as individuals, and as communities.

Prof. Bhavna Shamasunder published a chapter in The Intersection of Food and Public Health: Current Policy Challenges and Solutions that traces exposures to chlorpyrifos across the food system-- from farmworkers, to communities living adjacent to pesticide drift near farms, and in consumers. Although the pesticide was on the verge of a ban by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the decision was reversed by the current administration. Over the past three decades, farmworkers’ advocates, environmentalists, and environmental health scientists have documented harm in exposed groups and exerted ongoing pressure on regulatory agencies to curb the chemical’s use. This article examines the conflict over chlorpyrifos and argues for a food system and precautionary public health-based approach to regulatory decision-making over pesticides.
For generations, Buddhist masters in Tibet have composed sheldam, poignant instructions tailored to the needs of their disciples in the form of short works of advice. These works cover topics ranging from practicing while ill to sitting in solitary retreat to recognizing the nature of mind. In a new collection of these texts, Prof. Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa contributed a translation of meditation instructions written by 19th c. Tibetan teacher, Token Shakya Shri.
Crowd affiliations are integral to academic functioning and school adjustment during adolescence. However, less is known about crowd structures within institutions of higher education. Prof. Andrea Hopmeyer’s current study, “Emerging adults’ self-identified peer crowd affiliations and college adjustment," was designed to validate the College Peer Crowd Questionnaire (CPCQ), an instrument designed to assess college students’ self-reported crowd identifications, and examine associations with academic and socioemotional problems that derail college success. The results highlight the importance of crowd affiliations for college students’ success and adjustment. The results also highlight that the CPCQ is a valid tool for researchers who undertake this research.
“I feel the full weight of the prejudice which so universally excludes us from the sciences . . . there is no place where we are brought up to think," wrote the physicist Madame du Châtelet in 1735. “I would reform an abuse that retards so to speak one half of the human race. . . . I am convinced that many women are either unaware of their talents for lack of education, or that they bury them . . . for lack of intellectual courage. I experienced this myself, which confirms it. Chance made me acquainted with men of letters who became my friends. . . . I started then to believe that I was a being with a mind." Mary Wollstonecraft, writing more than half a century later, voiced a similar lament. She wished that women would “not waste their time in following the fashionable vagaries of dress" and instead “attach themselves to a science, with that steady eye that strengthens the mind." These sentiments seem to suggest the futility of a search for early modern women in science. But if we go about it differently, if we define science with more elasticity to take into account the many unconventional places and spaces where women did research into the workings of the natural world, if we bring margins to the center, then numerous scientific women come into focus. In fact, as Prof. Nina Gelbart'new article demonstrates, early modern women in many countries were overcoming barriers and transforming their curiosity into discoveries.
Prof. Maryanne Cline Horowitz published a comparative article on a rarely studied topic in the history of ideas: "Sixteenth- and Early Seventeenth-Century Ideas of Imagination." The article focuses on two distinct streams of writing: on the one hand, the article examines meditational aids with engravings that apply imagination to spiritual identification with the life of the Holy Family by Saint Ignatius Loyola and Jesuit followers; on the other hand, the article examines the amusing portrayals of individual and group self-aggrandizement through imagination by humanists (Juan Luis Vives, Michel de Montaigne) and dramatists (William Shakespeare, Jean-Baptiste Molière). While these two modes might suggest a difference between early modern religious versus secular writings, those two modes of spirituality and humor were magisterially brought together in the early sixteenth century by Desiderius Erasmus in his Encomium Moriae (Praise of Folly) (1511, Paris; 1515, Basel with Holbein’s drawings).
Indians are a small minority in post-apartheid South Africa, a country that grapples with issues of unemployment and poverty, inter- and intra-ethnic tensions, stark economic disparities and the continuing inequities of apartheid. Indentured under British colonialism, Indian South Africans were defined as ‘ethnic’ others—outsiders with identities derived from Diaspora connections (and disconnections) with India. But, as Prof. Movindri Reddy discusses in her newly published essay," “Curry and Race: Gender, Diaspora, and Food in South Africa," the Indianness that lies at the center of this designation is indigenized, localized and hybridized gaining its resilience through cultural adaptations and accommodations. Food lies at the basis of these discourses, as do gender relations. In a location influenced by global capitalism, transnational networks, and patriarchy, women have resisted overtly through political activism, and covertly by closing ranks and maintaining strong ethnic and religious networks and cultural practices. Along these lines, Reddy argues, women have appropriated male dominated public spaces to create a sense of community and to celebrate the indigenized delights of diaspora food.

Prof. Bhavna Shamasunder co-authored an article that was recently published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology. The article, “Environmental injustice of beauty: framing chemical exposures from beauty products as a health disparities concern," describes the racial/ethnic differences in beauty product use (such as skin lighteners, hair straighteners, and feminine hygiene products) and the potential chemical exposures and health risks that are associated with these products. The authors also discuss how targeted advertising can take advantage of mainstream beauty norms to influence the use of these products. The authors calls on reproductive health professionals to use this information to advance environmental justice by being prepared to counsel patients who have questions about toxic environmental exposures from beauty care products and other sources. The authors also urge researchers and healthcare providers to promote health-protective policies such as improved ingredient testing and disclosure for the beauty product industry. Finally, they suggest that future clinical and public health research should consider beauty product use as a factor that may shape health inequities in women’s reproductive health across the life course.

Check out her discussion of the study on ABC 7 news, linked here!

In a new study, “Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood," Prof. Thalia González and collaborators at the Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality provide data showing that adults view Black girls as less innocent and more adult-like than their white peers, especially in the age range of 5–14. The report builds on similar results that have emerged from studies of adult perceptions of Black boys. 
Prof. Mijin Cha published a paper in the Pace Environmental Law Review detailing the work she did with her colleague, Lara Skinner, at the Worker Institute at Cornell University to develop a climate jobs plan for New York State. The Worker Institute initiative spent 1.5 years developing the ideas and policies for a climate jobs plan, which was captured in this report. Cha and Skinner's work also led to a partnership announced by New York State governor, Andrew Cuomo, who has pledged a $1.5 billion investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that will create 40,000 climate jobs by 2020.
Rayleigh-Benard convection consists of a fluid-filled (cylindrical in our case) container that is heated from below and cooled from above. For large enough temperature difference between the top and bottom plate, steady-state convective fluid flow occurs as the fluid near the bottom plate heats up, becomes less dense and rises and likewise the fluid near the top plate cools, becomes more dense and falls. The unique pattern of this fluid flow is known as the onset state, and these onset states are determined in Prof. Janet Scheel's new study as a function of the size of the container (i.e. as the ratio of diameter/depth is changed).
Shana Goffredi In a new paper, “New deep-sea hydrothermal vents with diverse faunas discovered in the southern Gulf of California," Prof. Shana Goffredi and her colleagues describe two newly discovered hydrothermal vent fields in deep waters of the Gulf of California. The Alarcón Rise is similar to other vents along the East Pacific Rise in that it is covered in young, fresh lava, and the fluids spewing out of the vents are very hot (up to 360 degrees C), while the Pescadero Basin vents are unlike any on Earth, in that they are primarily composed of carbonate. The authors described the macrofaunal community of these 2 sites, less than 75 kilometers away from each other, via collections of organisms and video surveys, assessed larval supply by looking for marker genes in filtered water collected from above the vent fields, and inferred trophic webs at each vent field with stable isotope analysis. Exploration revealed the communities to be radically different; the two sites share only 7 out of 61 animal species observed. This study contradicts a common scientific assumption that vents close to one another will have similar animal communities, showing instead that local geology and chemistry of vent fluids play an important role in structuring vent communities. One implication of this research is that, in order to predict the biological impacts of seafloor mining, management strategies and future conservation efforts will need to take into account all of these factors in predicting the environmental impacts and resiliency of the community, as well as the potential for recolonization and biological “recovery" at vent sites. Paper linked here; video linked here.  For coverage of the research in Scientific American, read here.

Prof. Nancy Dess published two articles in the past year. The first study, “Gut microbiota and a selectively bred taste phenotype: A novel model of microbiome-behavior relationships," demonstrates for the first time that rodent lines created through selective pressure on taste and differing on functionally related correlates host different microbial communities. Whether the microbiota are causally related to the taste phenotype or its correlates remains to be determined. These findings encourage further inquiry on the relationship of the microbiome to taste, dietary habits, emotion, and health.

The second study, “Sweetener intake by rats selectively bred for differential saccharin intake: sucralose, stevia, and acesulfame potassium," extends prior work on behavioral responses to sweeteners by examining intake of custom mixtures of sucralose, maltodextrin, and sugars and Splenda by LoS and HiS rats, stevia and a constituent compound (rebaudioside A), and acesulfame potassium tested at several concentrations or with 4 other sweeteners at one concentration each. Results indicate that aversive side tastes limit intake of Splenda, stevia, and acesulfame potassium, more so among LoS rats than among HiS rats. These findings contribute to well developed and emerging literatures on sweetness and domain-general processes related to gustation.

Prof. Dolores Trevizo (Sociology) and Prof. Mary Lopez (Economics) published an article entitled, “Neighborhood Segregation and Business Outcomes Mexican Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Los Angeles County."  With original survey data, the article contributes to a discussion of how segregation and poverty affect the performance of Mexican immigrant-owned storefronts in Los Angeles. The authors find that though both neighborhood segregation and poverty hinder performance as measured by the number of paid employees, poverty is more important (even of businesses operating for 10+ years). The authors conclude that the spatial segregation of Mexicans in Los Angeles hinders the performance of Mexican-owned storefronts because of the social isolation it creates and even more so because segregation concentrates poverty. The authors also found that respondents’ class background (in Mexico) and how soon they began to operate business in the formal economy (with legal capital) determines the number of paid employees they hire.

Brandon Lehr Headshot

In a new article, Prof. Brandon Lehr shows how declining labor market opportunities for the long-term unemployed impacts the tradeoffs for determining the optimal generosity of unemployment insurance. Lehr characterizes optimal unemployment insurance (UI) in an economy with endogenous negative duration dependence in hiring rates for the unemployed. The characterization generalizes the standard Baily–Chetty result and is independent of the particular mechanism generating endogenous hiring rates. I find that at the social optimum, UI equates the moral hazard cost with the sum of the insurance benefit and a new externality correction term. The sign of this externality correction term depends, in part, on the responsiveness of hiring rates to the UI benefit. I show how the effect of UI on hiring rates in turn depends on the particular assumptions about firm behavior, considering the cases of employer screening and human capital depreciation models.

Sasha Sherman Headshot

Electroencephalography (EEG) is an important methodology for understanding the time course of brain processing. In a new study, Prof. Sasha Sherman demonstrates the robustness of a powerful computational technique, pattern classification, in sensitively decoding people's brain states while they performed visual perception and attention tasks. Pattern classification techniques have been widely used to differentiate neural activity associated with different perceptual, attentional, or other cognitive states, often using fMRI, but more recently with EEG as well. Although these methods have identified EEG patterns (i.e., scalp topographies of EEG signals occurring at certain latencies) that decode perceptual and attentional states on a trial-by-trial basis, they have yet to be applied to the spatial scope of attention toward global or local features of the display. Here, we initially used pattern classification to replicate and extend the findings that perceptual states could be reliably decoded from EEG. We found that visual perceptual states, including stimulus location and object category, could be decoded with high accuracy peaking between 125–250 ms, and that the discriminative spatiotemporal patterns mirrored and extended our (and other well-established) ERP results. Next, we used pattern classification to investigate whether spatiotemporal EEG signals could reliably predict attentional states, and particularly, the scope of attention. The EEG data were reliably differentiated for local versus global attention on a trial-by-trial basis, emerging as a specific spatiotemporal activation pattern over posterior electrode sites during the 250–750 ms interval after stimulus onset. In sum, we demonstrate that multivariate pattern analysis of EEG, which reveals unique spatiotemporal patterns of neural activity distinguishing between behavioral states, is a sensitive tool for characterizing the neural correlates of perception and attention.


 
Prof. John Chung-En Liu’s new article, “Who speaks for climate change in China? Evidence from Weibo," presents the first in-depth analysis of climate change discussions on China’s social media platform, Weibo. Studying posts on the site over a two month period surrounding the Paris Climate Summit, Liu finds: "Surprisingly, a sizable fraction of the institutional users are international actors. We do not see evidence of strong corporate influence as in the case of the USA (Jacques et al. 2008; Farrell 2016a), and unlike the polarized discursive fields on Twitter (Williams et al. 2015) and the US climate policy communities (Jasny et al. 2015; Farrell 2016b), we do not discover noticeable “echo chambers" regarding climate change in China’s cyberspace... A significant proportion of Weibo posts are about increasing climate change awareness; few users discuss topics such as climate science, climate change’s actual impacts on China, or China’s low-carbon policy measures. Climate change appears as a global threat that has little connection to China’s national context."

 
The 17th-century English poet Andrew Marvell suggested that the most appropriate term to describe his friend and fellow poet John Milton was "mighty." Milton was and is famous for his powerful revolutionary political rhetoric and his incredible control of verse technique in poems such as Paradise Lost (1667/1674). But Milton's strength was so huge that Marvell feared that Milton had become like the Hebrew judge Samson--that his poetry and prose would somehow tear down the pillars that held up early modern European society. In his article, "Weak Milton," Prof. Ross Lerner explores a seemingly contrary claim. In two of his earliest poems, “On Shakespear" (1630) and “Lycidas" (1638), he shows that Milton considered not strength but rather weakness as the aesthetic and ethical foundation for his poetic and political vocation. After losing his sight, Milton identified with Paul of Tarsus's adage: strength made perfect in weakness. Yet Milton’s experimentations with his own weak calling in the face of loss both precede his blindness and exceed the Pauline motto. Theorizing weakness as both technique and theme, Lerner shows the importance of Milton’s interest in insurmountable incapacity to understanding his radical poetics and politics and his modes of self-representation.

 
In her article, ""The Love Laws": Section 377 and the Politics of Queerness in Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things," Prof. Leila Neti examines Arundhati Roy’s novel The God of Small Things (1997) in relation to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. Neti show how the literary text aligns with law derived from the colonial era by effectively conflating homosexuality with child sexual abuse, thus restaging the structuring logic and legal history of Section 377. As a result, she argues that Roy’s novel, while overtly antagonistic to the disciplinary norms of sexual policing, nevertheless reproduces many of the same proscriptions that it ostensibly aims to critique. Drawing on a range of approaches from psychoanalysis and legal studies to queer theory, the article seeks to frame the novel’s representation of the “Love Laws" in the context of the material enforcement of Section 377.

 
Prof. Andy Jalil published a study (co-authored with Gisela Rua, an economist at the Federal Reserve) entitled "Inflation expectations and recovery in Spring 1933."  Jalil and Rua's paper uses the historical narrative record to determine whether inflation expectations shifted during the second quarter of 1933, precisely as the recovery from the Great Depression took hold. First, by examining the historical news record and the forecasts of contemporary business analysts, they show that inflation expectations increased dramatically. Second, using an event-study approach, they identify the effect of the key events that shifted inflation expectations on financial markets. Third, they gather new evidence—both quantitative and narrative—that indicates that the shift in inflation expectations played a causal role in stimulating the recovery.

 
In a new chapter, Prof. Anne Schell provides an overview of Electrodermal activity (EDA). EDA, formerly called the Galvanic Skin Response, has been one of the most widely used response systems in the history of psychophysiology. EDA measures have been applied to a wide variety of topics ranging from basic research examining attention, information processing, and emotion to more applied clinical research examining predictors and/or correlates of normal and abnormal behavior. The chapter, aimed at students, researchers, and practitioners who are not specialists in this particular system, begins with a historical description of different methods of measuring EDA and then discusses the physical, inferential, psychological, and social aspects of EDA.
Kristi Upson-Saia Headshot

In a new essay, Prof. Kristi Upson-Saia analyzes how early Christians’ figurative language—“wounds of sin" and the “wounds of heresy"—structured concepts of heresy and sin on the physical experience of being wounded and of receiving wound treatments. The essay further argues that the relationship between the sinner/heretic and their “healer" was premised on the idealized relationship between patient and physician.  Finally, the paper traces echoes of this earlier figurative language into an expression that gains currency later in antiquity: “being wounded by divine love." 

Thalia Gonzalez As Visiting Researcher at Georgetown Law's Center on Poverty and Inequality, Prof. Thalia González co-authored a report entitled “Gender and Trauma--Somatic Interventions for Girls in Juvenile Justice: Implications for Policy and Practice" that calls for specialized yoga programs to be offered widely to girls in the juvenile justice system. In light of the prevalence of trauma exposure among system-involved youth and the significant differences between girls' experience and boys', the report provides a foundational understanding of the relationship between trauma and gender—with a focus on system-involved girls—and provides an analysis of a vitally needed, promising approach: somatic interventions. In particular, the report maps the ways in which trauma-informed, gender-responsive, and culturally competent yoga and mindfulness programs can address the short- and long-term impact of trauma on girls in the juvenile justice system. Its analysis is based on two original pilot studies conducted by the Center on Poverty and Inequality, as well as an extensive literature review, and more than a dozen interviews with experts across the country. Drawing from these sources, the report defines the core components of somatic interventions for traumatized girls, presents data documenting positive effects, and makes specific policy and practice recommendations to increase access for system-involved girls. (The research was covered by the Washington post in an article linked here.)
Prof. emerita Annabelle Rea published two essays.  The first, “« L’âme remplie d’un idéal » ou l’ambition au féminin dans Isidora," Prof. Rea traces the semantic linkage between “ambition" and “ideal" in Sand’s Isidora, where the author explores the paucity of life options available to women in the nineteenth century, in a rewriting of certain aspects of Balzac’s Le Père Goriot. With the promise a better future for Isidora’s adopted daughter, the novel fulfills Sand’s personal vow to raise women from their abject state (“. . . relever la femme de son abjection et dans sa personne et dans mes écrits," correspondence, vol. IV, p. 18).  The second, “Negotiating Identity in the Nineteenth Century: Adoption and Adolescence in Sand’s La Filleule," appears in a special issue of Women in French Studies. Taking as a point of departure numerous parallels between Sand’s La Filleule (1853) and Claire de Duras’s Ourika (1823), two novels where an orphaned child of color is welcomed into a wealthy French family, this essay examines Sand’s emphasis on the construction of an individual identity. In La Filleule, Sand has provided an important exploration of intercultural adoption, implicitly critical of the 1804 Code civil’s definition of adoption as a mechanism for the transfer of name and property; identity formation, and the development of an artist.

In response to concerns by philanthropy about the increasing gentrification and displacement and growing housing inequalities in low-income and communities of color, The California Endowment commissioned a report to document the housing and gentrification conditions in 14 regions in California and frame a philanthropic strategy for grantmaking nationally. Prof. Martha Matsuoka authored the report, titled “Democratic Development for Thriving Communities: Framing the Issues, Solutions, and Funding Strategies to Address Gentrification and Displacement," which led to the establishment of a $14 million national fund for community-based organizing and power building strategies to address gentrification and displacement.

Prof. Matsuoka co-authored a second report, with Jennifer Lucky, MPH, and The California Endowment, “Power, Place, and Public Health: A Review of the Literature on the Health Impacts of Displacement & Promise of Inclusive Community Development" that draws on a social determinants of health model to review interdisciplinary literature to explain the health impacts of gentrification and displacement and considerations for health-centered community development practice. The report informs the funding strategy of The California Endowment Foundation, the largest health foundation in California.

A crucially important but overlooked aspect of Fryderyk Chopin’s biography is the link between his illness and his perceived singing, and that what seems to occasion this singing is a disease that progressively hollows out one’s lungs. In 1826, in the final edition of his treatise on diagnostic pathology via the stethoscope, René Laënnec does something remarkable: detecting a “song" (his word) coming from the carotid artery of certain female patients in the advanced stages of their disease and suffering from nervous agitation, Laënnec transcribes these songs in musical notation and analyzes them accordingly. Thus, prior to Chopin arriving in Paris, a medical-musical discourse was in place positing that melodies coming from the chests of nervous women was confirmation that these women were dying of tuberculosis. In a newly published essay, "Revisiting Chopin’s Tubercular Song, or, An Opera in the Making," Prof. David Kasunic argues that we must revise our understanding of the reception of Chopin’s music to allow for a convergence of medical and musical discourses in which contemporary listeners to Chopin assumed the role of diagnostic physicians, with Chopin as their tubercular patient. 
Prof. Xiao-huang Yin published two articles in Fall 2017. The first, "Chinese Literature in America," written in English and translated into Japanese by editors of the journal, discusses the characteristics of Chinese literature in America as well as its impact on the Chinese-American experience. The article argues that Chinese literature provides Chinese in America with a sense of “Chinese-ness" and functions as a tool of identity in developing transnational Chinese migration networks. It also explores differences between works written and published in Chinese and their counterparts in English.
 
The second article, "Cultural and Educational Exchanges in U.S.-China Relations," written in Chinese and published in a leading Chinese academic journal, examines various factors that have affected U.S.-China relations in our increasingly globalized world. It argues that while collaborations between the two largest global economies on trade, political and military issues are important, a better understanding of Chinese and American cultures and more educational exchanges can significantly help ameliorate U.S.-China relations in a rapidly changing era.

 

Books & Edited Volumes

Prof. Caroline Heldman released TWO new books in Sept. 2017.  The first, Protest Politics in the Marketplace examines how social media has revolutionized the use and effectiveness of consumer activism. Heldman emphasizes that consumer activism is a democratizing force that improves political participation, self-governance, and the accountability of corporations and the government. She also investigates the use of these tactics by conservatives. Heldman analyzes the democratic implications of boycotting, socially responsible investing, social media campaigns, and direct consumer actions, highlighting the ways in which such consumer activism serves as a countervailing force against corporate power in politics. Protest Politics in the Marketplace blends democratic theory with data, historical analysis, and coverage of consumer campaigns for civil rights, environmental conservation, animal rights, gender justice, LGBT rights, and other causes. Using an inter-disciplinary approach applicable to political theorists and sociologists, Americanists, and scholars of business, the environment, and social movements, Heldman considers activism in the marketplace from the Boston Tea Party to the present. In doing so, Heldman provides readers with a clearer understanding of the new, permanent environment of consumer activism in which they operate.

As women continue to gain more prominence in political and electoral processes as voters, candidates, and officeholders, it becomes even more important to understand how gender shapes political power and the distribution of resources within our society. Prof. Heldman's second book, an edited volume entitled Women, Power, and Politics: The Fight for Gender Equality in the United Statesoffers a timely and engaging analysis of classic and contemporary gender-related issues, focusing on the role of women as active participants in government and the public policies that affect women in their daily lives.

Reconsidering Roots Book Cover

Prof. Erica Ball recently published a new edited volume entitled, Reconsidering Roots: Race, Politics, and Memory. This wide-ranging interdisciplinary collection – the first of its kind – invites readers to reconsider the politics and scope of the Roots phenomenon of the 1970s. With essays from emerging and established scholars in history, sociology, film, and media studies, the contributors to this collection interrogate Alex Haley’s Roots, assessing the ways that the wildly popular book and its 1977 television adaptation recast representations of slavery, labor and the black family, reflected on the promise of freedom and civil rights, and engaged discourses of race, gender, violence, and power in the United States and abroad. Taken together, the essays in this volume ask us to reconsider the limitations and possibilities of this text, which, although dogged by controversy, must be understood as one of the most extraordinary media events of the late twentieth century, a cultural touchstone of enduring significance.

Prof. Lisa Sousa's new book, The Woman Who Turned Into a Jaguar and Other Narratives of Native Women in Archives of Colonial Mexico, is an ambitious and wide-ranging social and cultural history of gender relations among indigenous peoples of New Spain, from the Spanish conquest through the first half of the eighteenth century. Sousa focuses on four native groups in highland Mexico―the Nahua, Mixtec, Zapotec, and Mixe―tracing cross-cultural similarities and differences in the roles and status attributed to women in prehispanic and colonial Mesoamerica. She intricately renders the full complexity of women's life experiences in the household and community, from the significance of their names, age, and social standing, to their identities, ethnicities, family, dress, work, roles, sexuality, acts of resistance, and relationships with men and other women. Drawing on a rich collection of archival, textual, and pictorial sources, Sousa traces the shifts in women's economic, political, and social standing to evaluate the influence of Spanish ideologies on native attitudes and practices around sex and gender in the first several generations after contact. Though catastrophic depopulation, economic pressures, and the imposition of Christianity slowly eroded indigenous women's status following the Spanish conquest, Sousa argues that gender relations nevertheless remained more complementary than patriarchal, with women maintaining a unique position across the first two centuries of colonial rule.

In the years just before the Civil War, during the most intensive phase of American slave-trade suppression, the U.S. Navy seized roughly 2,000 enslaved Africans from illegal slave ships and brought them into temporary camps at Key West and Charleston. In her new book, Recaptured Africans: Surviving Slave Ships, Detention, and Dislocation in the Final Years of the Slave TradeProf. Sharla Fett reconstructs the social world of these “recaptives" and recounts the relationships they built to survive the holds of slave ships, American detention camps, and, ultimately, a second transatlantic voyage to Liberia. Fett also demonstrates how the presence of slave-trade refugees in southern ports accelerated heated arguments between divergent antebellum political movements--from abolitionist human rights campaigns to slave-trade revivalism--that used recaptives to support their claims about slavery, slave trading, and race. By focusing on shipmate relations rather than naval exploits or legal trials, and by analyzing the experiences of both children and adults of varying African origins, Fett provides the first history of U.S. slave-trade suppression centered on recaptive Africans themselves. In so doing, she examines the state of “recaptivity" as a distinctive variant of slave-trade captivity and situates the recaptives’ story within the broader diaspora of “Liberated Africans" throughout the Atlantic world.

Recaptured Africans was a finalist for the  Frederick Douglass book Prize--read more here!

In her new book, Love and Narrative Form in Toni Morrison’s Later Novels, Prof. Jean Wyatt explores the interaction among ideas of love, narrative innovation, and reader response in Morrison’s seven later novels. Love comes in a new and surprising shape in each of the later novels: Love presents it as the deep friendship between little girls; in Home it acts as a disruptive force producing deep changes in subjectivity; and in Jazz it becomes something one innovates and recreates each moment—like jazz itself. Each novel’s unconventional idea of love requires a new experimental narrative form. Wyatt analyzes the stylistic and structural innovations of each novel, showing how disturbances in narrative chronology, surprise endings, and gaps mirror the dislocated temporality and distorted emotional responses of the novels’ troubled characters and demand that the reader situate the present-day problems ofthe characters in relation to a traumatic African American past. The narrative surprises and gaps require the reader to become an active participant in making meaning. And the texts’ complex narrative strategies draw out the reader’s convictions about love, about gender, about race—and then prompt the reader to reexamine them, so that reading becomes an active ethical dialogue between text and reader.
Recent events such as ‘Iran’s Green Revolution’ and the ‘Arab Uprisings’ have exploded notions that human rights are irrelevant to Middle Eastern and North African politics. Yet human rights are at the fulcrum of the region’s on-the-ground politics, as well as transnational intellectual debates, and global political intersections. Prof. Anthony Chase’s new volume, the Routledge Handbook on Human Rights and the Middle East and North Africa is a multidisciplinary approach to the topic from scholars with a wide range of expertise. Perspectives span global theory to grassroots reflections, emphasizing the need for academic work on human rights to seriously engage with the thoughts and practices of those working on the ground. The essays further emphasize the need to consider human rights in all their dimensions, rather than solely focusing on the political dimension, in order to understand the structural reasons behind the persistence of human rights violations. They explore the various frameworks in which to consider human rights—conceptual, political and transnational/international—as well as issue areas subject to particularly intense debate, such as gender, religion, sexuality, transitions and accountability. Taken as a whole, the book captures the complex dynamics by which human rights have had, or could have, an impact on Middle Eastern and North African politics and will therefore be a key resource for students and scholars of Middle Eastern and North African politics and society, as well as anyone with a concern for Human Rights across the globe.
The rampant use of genetically modified food incites public debate among activists, ethicists, scientists, regulators, and industry representatives. While proponents portray genetic modification as scientific progress, opponents reframe it as a form of perverted science. In his timely book, Prof. John Lang asks, What's So Controversial about Genetically Modified Food?  He explores the many myths and arguments surrounding genetically modified food, the science behind genetic modification, and the controversies that reflect ongoing tensions between social and political power, democratic practice and corporate responsibility. Taken as a whole, the book shows how food is deeply imbued with religious, social, cultural and ethical meanings, which bring a variety of non-scientific debates to the forefront, and also connects GM food to other issues such as globalization of food and corporate concentration.

 
Why, Prof. Dale Wright asks, is this essential question—What is enlightenment?—often avoided, even discouraged, among Buddhists?  One reason frequently cited by Buddhists is that pondering a distant goal might be a waste of energy that would be better applied to practice: Quiet the flow of obsessive thinking, put yourself in a mindful state of presence, and let enlightenment take care of itself. In this book, What is Enlightenment?, Wright however contends that pondering this question is meditative practice—that attentive inquiry of this kind is essential as the starting point and guide for any mindful practice of life. Meditative reflection on the meaning of enlightenment focuses us on our aim and direction in life. It guides us in shaping our practices, our ideals, and the kinds of lives we will live. Asking what enlightenment is as a basic form of meditation helps to activate our lives and get transformative practice underway.  While Wright takes an examination of what enlightenment has been in past Buddhist traditions as his point of departure, his historical considerations yield to the question that our lives press upon us: what kinds of lives should we aspire to live here, now, and into the future?

 

Why is there so much discontent with democracy across Latin America? Are regimes being judged by unrealistic standards of success—or is there legitimate cause for criticism in light of  widespread failures to deliver either transparency or effective public policies? Addressing these questions across a variety of dimensions, Democracy and Its Discontents in Latin America, edited by Prof. Dolores Trevizo, explores the diverse ways in which the specific nature of Latin American democracy explains the current performance of the region’s democratic governments.

The Marie Young funds generously supported an all-day workshop at Occidental College of local scholars who are experts in Latin America that eventually led to this publication. The workshop, open to the public, attracted many Oxy alumni/ae. Min Yoo, an Occidental College senior helped organize the references for the volume.


 
The hookup is now part of college life. Yet the drunken encounter we always hear about tells only a fraction of the story. Rising above misinformation and moralizing, Prof. Lisa Wade’s new book, American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex On Campus, offers the definitive account of this new sexual culture and demonstrates that the truth is both more heartening and more harrowing than we thought. Providing invaluable insights for parents, educators, and students, Wade situates hookup culture within the history of sexuality, the evolution of higher education, and the unfinished feminist revolution. Using new research, she maps out a punishing emotional landscape marked by unequal pleasures, competition for status, and sexual violence. She discovers that the most privileged students tend to like hookup culture the most, and she considers its effects on racial and sexual minorities, students who “opt out," and those who participate ambivalently. The book explains where we are and how we got here, asking not “How do we go back?" but “Where do we go from here?"

 
Prof. Erica L. Ball, edited a special issue of Radical History Review“Reconsidering Gender, Violence, and the State." Attentive to the ways "archives reproduce, obscure, engender, and distort histories of violent subjugation, conditional accommodation, and creative resistance," essays in this special issue "unearths and deconstructs such bodies of knowledge in order to reassess conflicting narratives of victimization, subjection, retaliation, and self-defense that arise under, coincide with, and partially constitute forms of state authority."

 
In her new book, The Second Line of Defense: American Women and World War I, Prof. Lynn Dumenil traces the rise of the modern idea of the American “new woman" through an examination of World War I’s surprising impact on women and, in turn, women’s impact on the war. Telling the stories of a diverse group of women, including African Americans, dissidents, pacifists, reformers, and industrial workers, Dumenil analyzes both the roadblocks and opportunities they faced. She richly explores the ways in which women helped the United States mobilize for the largest military endeavor in the nation’s history. Dumenil shows how women activists staked their claim to loyal citizenship by framing their war work as homefront volunteers, overseas nurses, factory laborers, and support personnel as “the second line of defense." But in assessing the impact of these contributions on traditional gender roles, Dumenil finds that portrayals of these new modern women did not always match with real and enduring change. Extensively researched and drawing upon popular culture sources as well as archival material, The Second Line of Defense offers a comprehensive study of American women and war and frames them in the broader context of the social, cultural, and political history of the era.

 
Profs. Hanan Elsayed and Warren Montag have just published the first English-language edited collection to focus on Étienne Balibar. The volume entitled, Balibar and the Citizen Subject, explores Balibar’s rethinking of the connections between subjection and subjectivity by tracing the genealogies of these concepts in their discursive history. Essays in the collection provide an overview of Balibar’s work after his collaboration with Althusser. They explain and expand his framework; in particular, by restoring Arabic and Islamic thought to the conversation on the citizen subject. The collection also includes two previously untranslated essays by Balibar himself on Carl Schmitt and Thomas Hobbes.

Prof. Xiao-huang Yin recently edited and translated a book by renowned Chinese scholar Yinxing Hong: The China Path to Economic Transition and Development. The book provides reader with an analysis of what has worked in China’s development model. Over the past 30 years, China has experienced a remarkable economic rise, but it now faces the challenge of switching the drivers of this economic growth that have proven so successful. Dr. Hong’s 15 essays cover the challenges involved in transition from a Soviet-style economic structure to one that is more open to market influences and the global market and how the market-oriented reforms progressed; what the consequences of the transition were for public goods provision and how China opened up its economic system; the remaining challenges facing rural areas trying to develop a more consumer-driven economic base; and how to effectively modify the model of economic development. This book provides a sound basis for policymakers and scholars alike, as well as anyone who wants to get an insider’s view of the progress and challenges faced by China’s economic development.

Sciencebling Book Cover

Why do we catch colds? What causes seasons to change? And if you fire a bullet from a gun and drop one from your hand, which bullet hits the ground first? In a pinch we almost always get these questions wrong. Worse, we regularly misconstrue fundamental qualities of the world around us. In his new book, Scienceblind: Why Our Intuitive Theories About the World Are So Often Wrong, Prof. Andrew Shtulman shows that the root of our misconceptions lies in the theories about the world we develop as children. They're not only wrong, they close our minds to ideas inconsistent with them, making us unable to learn science later in life. In order to get the world right, Shtulman concludes, we must dismantle our intuitive theories and rebuild our knowledge from its foundations. The reward won't just be a truer picture of the world, but clearer solutions to many controversies--such as, around vaccines, climate change, or evolution--that plague our politics today.

The second edition of Prof. Broderick Fox’s, Documentary Media: History, Theory, Practice, has just been released by Routledge Press. With the rapid technological and cultural shifts of our digital moment, the theory and practice of documentary has evolved significantly since the book’s first edition’s release in 2010. Fox’s latest edition challenges readers to imagine the forms and functions documentary acts can take: ranging from citizen witnessing via cellphone videos uploaded to social media, to interactive documentaries and games. This latest edition also examines principles of copyright and fair use, along with new routes for digital distribution and audience engagement, encouraging each of us to become critical, active producers and spectators of documentary media.

In her recent review of the book, Dr. Patricia Aufderheide, founder of the Center for Media and Social Impact at American University, writes: “With graceful and accessible prose, deep expertise and vivid examples, Broderick Fox has leaped across the divide between film studies and film production courses. Makers of all kinds of audio-visual media will benefit from this clear, historically grounded, critically and ethically informed work. Step by step through the production process, Fox exposes the deeper questions that face anyone trying to say something meaningful about something that really happened."

 

Grants & Fellowships

Congratulations to Prof. Janet Scheel (and co-PI Joerg Schumacher from TU-Ilmenau) for winning an INCITE Leadership Computing award from the Department of Energy for 80 million CPU hours to research "Convective Turbulence in Liquid Sodium." This allocation is to be used in 2018 on Mira, a BlueGene Q supercomputer from IBM, which is physically located at Argonne National Lab.

Prof. Kathryn Leonard has been awarded a prestigious NSF grant to support undergraduate research in mathematics and statistics. The $1.38 million grant extends and expands the work of the Center for Undergraduate Research in Mathematics (CURM), which aims to train faculty members to mentor student research, to enable faculty members to maintain a consistent undergraduate research program, and to prepare students for success in graduate school. CURM selects host institutions like Oxy to serve as a hub from which this work gets done. Specifically, as Leonard explains, Occidental will provide “funding for faculty stipends and student stipends for faculty-student research groups," to enliven the research of talented mathematicians who find themselves at schools where research is not a priority. “We’re trying to make a pathway to faculty at community colleges whose research might have fallen by the wayside. We’re giving them an opportunity to reboot their research… and we’re trying to bring them into a larger intellectual community," Leonard said.

Prof. Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa is part of an international team of scholars headed by Dr. Stefania Travagnin (University of Groningen) and Dr. Elena Valussi (Loyola University Chicago) that received a grant from the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange. The grant will provide funding for a three-year project, "Mapping Religious Diversity in Modern Sichuan," that studies dynamics and paradigms of religious diversity in Sichuan in Sichuan province in western China in the Qing and Republican period (17th through 20th centuries).  The research focuses on an analysis of communities and networks, with a specific interest in interactions between rural/urban, public/private, religious/lay communities and spaces. Project participants will take into account not only the five officially recognized religions (Buddhism, Daoism, Protestantism, Catholicism and Islam) but also other religious manifestations that do not fit into these neat categories, like Confucio-Daoist traditions, philanthropic organizations, new religious movements, spirit writing communities. The research will highlight interactions between and the permeability of religious borders, how ‘space’ is in itself an active agent in the formation and development of those relationships and networks, and gender relations. Products of the research will include journal articles, workshops and the digital, open-access mapping of these networks that can be used for teaching and research.

Prof. Kristi Upson-Saia was awarded two grants by the Wabash Center and the North American Patristics Society to sponsor a two-day workshop, "Politics, Pedagogy, and the Profession." On the first day of the workshop, participants discussed intellectual motivations and justifications for teaching courses on politically-charged subjects, grounding our goals in institutional mission statements, general education learning objectives, and the learning goals and methodologies of our disciplines (history, classics, and religious studies).  On the second day of the workshop, participants broke into small groups, each of which generated resources—primary and secondary source readings, in-class activities, assignment prompts, etc. —for a variety of courses on politically relevant courses, including: Race and ethnicity in antiquity; Prisons, torture, and punishment in the Greco-Roman world; (Im)migration, refugees, exile, and sanctuary in antiquity; Humans and the environment in antiquity; and Foreigners, strangers, and slaves in the ancient world.  

Kelema Lee Moses Headshot

Prof. Kelema Lee Moses was selected as a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Scholar.  She will participate in an institute entitled “City/Nature: Urban Environmental Humanities." The three week program will be held in Seattle at the University of Washington from June 26-July 14, 2017.  Earlier this year, Prof. Moses also received the prestigious Opler Membership Grant for Emerging Professionals from the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH).

From February to May, 2017, Prof. Marla Stone was a Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. While a Fellow at the European University Institute, Professor Stone worked on her book project, The Enemy: The Politics and Propaganda of Anticommunism in Italy. During this time she also gave two lectures: a paper entitled, "The Emergence and Evolution of Anti-communism in Italy" at the European University Institute's Department of History and Civilization's seminar series; and the annual Jacob Talmon Memorial Lecture at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, "The Enemy: Anti-communism in Italy from Dictatorship to Democracy." 
Krystale Littlejohn Headshot

Prof. Krystale Littlejohn was awarded a fellowship from the American Association of University Women to support work on her book manuscript, His Condom & Her Birth Control: Pregnancy Prevention and the Social Construction of Sex and Gender.  The book examines how practices of sexual embodiment shape gendered patterns of birth control use and inequality. Using historical materials and in-depth interviews with young women, Littlejohn demonstrates how cultural frameworks that link birth control to male and female bodies lead to separate spheres in pregnancy prevention. She documents in meticulous fashion how transforming functional contraceptive technologies into resources for accomplishing gender encroaches on couples' ability to prevent pregnancy, erodes women's reproductive autonomy, and increases both partners' risk of exposure to sexually transmitted infections. Her work demonstrates that, contrary to popular belief, the gender inequality that she uncovers is neither natural nor functional.

John McCormack Portrait

Prof. John McCormack was awarded a competitive National Science Foundation CAREER grant to fund a project that will look at how human-caused habitat change has affected birds across North America. Leveraging the renowned Mexican bird collection at the Moore Lab (which includes 49,000 specimens collected between 1933 and 1955 at 300 sites across Mexico), the project will compare the genomics of the Moore Lab specimens with modern specimens collected after 1980. The researchers’ aim is to understand how the genomes of 20 bird species have changed in response to dramatic changes to their habitats. Prof. McCormack will collaborate on the project with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Mexican collaborators, and an international citizen-science effort called the Mexican Bird Resurvey Project (MBRP). The MBRP will work with eBird to compare bird distributions from specimens and historical field notes to modern observations from citizen-scientists to assess distributional change in bird life on a countrywide scale.

Prof. Janet Scheel was awarded a Mercator Fellowship (Visiting Professorship) as part of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinshaft (Priority Programme in Turbulent Superstructures). The fellowship will support a summer salary, travel, and lodging at the Technische Universitat, in Ilmenau, Germany for four years.

 
Prof. Jeff Cannon was awarded a grant from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund. Funding from the grant will cover eight summer research students who will work with Prof. Cannon on finding better tools for the design and synthesis of molecules of biological importance, such as pharmaceuticals.

 
Prof. Cheryl Okumura was awarded a grant from the American Heart Association to study the mechanisms by which Group A Streptococcus survives in macrophages, a type of human immune cell that normally “eats" the bacteria in order to destroy the organism. The results will positively impact the development of therapeutic strategies aimed at increasing the efficacy of our own immune cells in order provide treatment, protection against the development of serious Group A Streptococcus-related rheumatic heart disease, and to reduce the negative effects of administering antibiotics.
Jennifer Piscopo Headshot Prof. Jennifer Piscopo received two grants to organize workshops--the first in Uppsala, Sweden and the second in Ann Arbor, MI--that bring together scholars and policymakers in the emerging field of gender-based political violence. At both workshops, participants develop and present white papers aimed at understanding how women in different national contexts face resistance, backlash, and violence when exercising their political rights, with the ultimate goal of shaping better policymaking in this area.

 

Performances, Exhibits, Films, Scripts, and Compositions

Congratulations to Prof. Adam Schoenberg for receiving two Grammy nominations!  In the Contemporary Classical Composition category, Prof. Schoenberg was nominated for “Picture Studies" and his full album—three compositions performed by the Kansas City Symphony—was nominated for the Classical Album category. You can buy your own copy of the album here.

Recently named one of the Top 10 most performed living classical composers by orchestras in the United States, Schoenberg’s music has been called “invigorating" (Los Angeles Times) and full of “mystery and sensuality" (New York Times). His works have received performances and premieres at the Library of Congress, Kennedy Center, New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Hollywood Bowl.

Prof. Broderick Fox’s screenplay One Degree won the Best Feature Script category in the University Film & Video Association's 2017 Juried Scriptwriting Competition. 

Prof. Mary Beth Heffernan’s work was featured at the South Pasadena Arts Council gallery. "The Quintessence of Dust," which was a large-scale black and white photogram created with human cremated remains, presents the body as tangibly present, even as it is poignantly absent. Heffernan explains: “The tossed ashes are recorded as a negative presence, the scudding constellation of white dots memorializing its presence on the photographic paper. The celestial illusion is interrupted by the presence of a white disk–a body tag– underscoring the disarmingly literal presence of the body’s remains."
Photo of Rafa Esparza's HERE

Wanlass Artist-in-residence, Rafa Esparza, collaborated with students and staff this year in his site-specific installation, HERE. The installation includes four columns of adobe brick that incorporate portraits of four members of Occidental’s dining services and facilities staffs. For Esparza, the bricks weren't just building materials; they're political symbols, too: "L.A. has a history of adobe brick-making; our missions were made from them, with slave labor. Brown labor and brown bodies have often been invisiblized, or not seen as valuable." Through projects like this one, Esparza makes "invisible" populations and neglected places visible once again.  To read about the significance of Rafa Esparza’s corpus of work, see this LA Weekly article

Susan Gratch Headshot

Prof. Susan Gratch was the scenic designer for two recent projects.  The first, Trevor, opened in early September 2016 at Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, OR.  Prof. Gratch’s design created a believable, cluttered, middle-class interior for the naturalistic scenes of the play while surrounding those rooms with scenic elements that could transform all or part of the stage for the dreams and memories of the title character, an adult chimpanzee who has been raised as a human child by his owner. Each of the characters in the play, including the fantasy figure of Morgan Fairchild and Oliver, another chimp, are trapped in their image of self. Oliver who has had, unlike Trevor, success in his adult acting career, appears to Trevor to taunt him with success, provide advice and encouragement, and appearing to him as an example of unattainable success. An upper level entrance and other unexpected entries helped to support Oliver’s mystery. The realistic living room and kitchen were framed by steel silhouettes suggesting the roof and house walls, were filled by chain link. For these characters, trapped by societal pressure and conventions, the tragic outcome of Trevor’s desire for self-fulfillment is inescapable. Review in Oregon Live here.

In contrast, Prof. Gratch’s scenic design for the adaptation of The Secret Garden produced by Mainstreet Theater provided a much-needed balm, a sense of hope for the production team and the audience of adults and children alike. Director Jessica Kubzansky asked the designers to create a world that travelled from dark and isolated to a rebirth – the central characters are isolated, grieving, and self-centered. By the end of the play, nature and humans in touch with nature help to restore life and love, bringing family together, transporting the audience to a sense of well-being. As the dead garden returns to life, locked doors are literally and figuratively opened, and a glorious spring reminds us all about what is possible in the face of despair. Surrounded by black, isolated grey walls covered with dead vines and branches, looming dark Jacobean walls, heraldic tapestries dwarf the small, indomitable figure of Mary. Discovering the entry into the secret garden, she discovers her ability to help others, bringing the apparently dead garden into vibrant life. The transformation was made by the addition of layers of green camo netting and (who knew it existed) pink and white camo net to make affordable and convincing flowers.

Sarah Kozinn Headshot

Last summer, Prof. Sarah Kozinn acted in the world premiere of The Engine of Our Ruin at the Victory Theatre Center in Burbank. Set in a luxury hotel suite somewhere in the Middle East, diplomat Charles Manning-Jourdain meets with delegates of an unfriendly nation in the hope that a simple trade agreement will bring their two countries closer together. This routine mission, though, quickly becomes an international incident thanks to an idealistic interpret with an agenda of her own, a belligerent official who brings a rumor of war, and Charles’ own staffers whose attempts to cover up an afterhours part might just topple a foreign government. The play was named best of 2016 by Time Out and was nominated and won several awards.


 
Prof. Adam Schoenberg, released his first orchestral disc which features the Kansas City Symphony performing three of the works, Finding Rothko, American Symphony, and Picture Studies. The pieces range from his student days at Juilliard to becoming a professional composer living in Los Angeles.  Recently named one of the Top 10 most performed living classical composers by orchestras in the United States, Adam Schoenberg's music is called 'invigorating' (Los Angeles Times), and full of 'mystery and sensuality' (The New York Times). 

 
Director of Oxy Arts, Deena Selenow, was in residence at the Skirball Cultural Center as part of their inaugural Performance Lab Series. With an all-women’s team of Director, designers, and cast, Selenow directed The Bumps, a performance that combined narrative with movement to chart how our understanding of motherhood has evolved.

 

Awards, Appointments, and other Accomplishments

Prof. Chris Oze patented magnesium containing compositions. He found a way to make concrete that either reduces or potentially eliminates CO2 production related to the concrete industry which accounts for up to 10% of all anthropogenic CO2 on Earth. This concrete can also be made on Mars which not only protect the first martians, but provide fuel for them to return home.

In October 2017, Prof. Bryan Klausmeyer's first article, "Fragmenting Fragments: Jean Paul's Poetics of the Small in 'Meine Miszellen'" was awarded the 2016 Best Essay Prize of the Goethe Society of North America. The GSNA praised in particular the "careful attention the article paid both to the materiality of writing and to small or minor forms [...] Minor forms are often underappreciated because they defy canon, yet as Bryan shows, anticipate modern tendencies such as serialization."

Profs. Amanda Zellmer and Sasha Sherman published a letter in the premier journal, Science.  In their letter, they discuss the need for a pedagogical shift in how science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses are taught in higher education. They argue that science is not void of cultural influence, and in teaching STEM courses as of this is the case, we discourage participation of underrepresented minorities. Culturally inclusive practices in the classroom, on the contrary, enhance science while encouraging a broad diversity of students to succeed.
Prof. Courtney Baker was interviewed by the Emmett Till Project, hosted by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, regarding her research on Till. In the podcast, she discusses the impact of the visual, the work of recognition, and the wisdom of activist Mamie Till. A chapter from her book and a podcast of the interview are currently available here on the Emmett Till Project website.

Prof. Horowitz was also appointed to Editorial Board of new Brill Series, History of Early Modern Education Thought. In her editorial role, Prof. Horowitz will suggest authors for the new series of books and edited volumes on the early modern educational thought and will serve as a reviewer. 

Prof. Horowitz continues to serve on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the History of Ideas.

Prof. Amy Tahani-Bidmeshki and colleagues published an op-ed in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Notions of Aryan-Iranianness Must be Rejected," an edited version of an Open Letter to the Iranian/American and broader SWANA communities in diaspora to divest from notions of Aryan Iranianness in effort to dismantle white supremacy.
Prof. Eric Frank published a review (linked here) of the spectacular new Opera del Duomo museum in Florence, Italy in the College Art Association's online journal caareviews. This new museum contains arguably the most important late medieval and Renaissance sculpture in the word, including works by Donatello, Michelangelo, and many others. These works are set within a pedagogical framework that is visually stunning and meticulously curated. Prof. Frank links these displays to the historical appearance of the public art museum, a cultural phenomenon of eighteenth century Enlightenment Europe. 
Prof. Julie Prebel has been appointed to the editorial staff of a top tier, peer reviewed journal, WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship. In her role as an Associate Editor, she will provide support to scholars seeking to publish in the journal through online workshops on a range of topics. Prof. Prebel sees this editorship as one way to help diversify the field of writing center studies (and the broader discipline of rhetoric-composition) by supporting the research of emerging scholars, especially scholars of color, and helping to provide publication opportunities.
Prof. Amanda Zellmer received the Semlitsch Award for her research on integrating genomics, citizen science, and fine-scale niche modeling to quantify microgeographic diversification of urban Batrachoseps salamanders. This award from the Herpetologists' League is given annually to an early career scientists studying ecology, evolution, or conservation of amphibians and reptiles for research that has potential to impact the field. The award was announced at the annual Joint Meeting of the Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in Austin, Texas in July.
Beth Braker Headshot

Prof Beth Braker has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Organization for Tropical Studies, a nonprofit consortium of nearly sixty universities, colleges, and research institutions from around the world.  The OTS provides leadership in education, research, and the responsible use of natural resources in the tropics and offers intensive field courses for undergraduates, graduate students, professionals, and policy makers in tropical biology and related disciplines in Costa Rica, South Africa, and other global locations.  (One of the research stations operated by OTS--the La Selva Biological Station--has hosted over 150 Oxy students to conduct collaborative research with Oxy faculty.)  The Board of Directors of OTS makes most of the important decisions of OTS and works closely with staff to turn the OTS mission and vision into viable programs.

Carmel Levitan Headshot

Prof. Carmel Levitan served as an expert commentator on the Journal of Neurophysiology podcast. The episode, “Can what we hear affect our sense of touch?" Prof. Levitan and other experts joined the author of a recently published paper showing that auditory information can change how we process tactile information. Given Prof. Levitan’s own research that demonstrates that auditory information can also change visual perception, her comments are particularly insightful. You can hear the podcast here.

Mijin Cha Headshot

In a new piece for American Prospect, Prof. Mijin Cha provided a historical perspective on the exploitation of American coal workers: from the use of incarcerated men to children as young as eight to the coal miners of today who work in unsafe conditions and are more vulnerable to health risks. Weaving together this history with analysis of this most carbon-intensive fossil fuel’s impact on the environment, Cha explains how the fates of climate change and coal workers’ livelihoods are intertwined.

Jennifer Piscopo Headshot

Prof. Jennifer Piscopo co-authored a Washington Post piece on all-men political decision-making. Piscopo and her co-authors refer to their study that demonstrated conclusively that women’s inclusion not only changes policy outcomes and increases women’s political engagement, but also affects citizens’ perceptions of the legitimacy of political decisions and decision-making processes. Conducting survey experiments that varied both the gender composition of the decision-making body and the policy decision, they found that citizens strongly prefer inclusion. For both women and men, descriptive representation enhances the legitimacy of the decision, the decision-making process, and decision-making institutions more broadly.

Prof. Jennifer Piscopo also explained the significance of gender-sensitive governing and budgets in a Los Angeles Times op-ed, "What's good for women and girls, is good for L.A. County"


 
In her piece entitled, "Family-friendly science," published in the renowned journal Science, Prof. Amanda Zellmer discusses the challenges of being an academic and a mother, the role of women-scientist mentors, and how she negotiates a life that truly merges research and family that "benefits both our children and our science."
Prof. Peter Dreier was honored with a City of Justice Award by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, close on the heels of being named Pasadena, CA's Progressive of the Year for his work on the campaign to raise the local minimum wage.

 
Prof. Nancy Dess was elected to the Board of Scientific Affairs, the primary advisory body to the the American Psychological Association Science Directorate. The Board's duties include: sponsoring scientific programming at the annual APA convention; overseeing APA awards and honors recognizing scientific contributions; advising on APA's relationships with other scientific organizations; providing guidance to APA government relations staff on issues related to research funding and policies; and proposing and refining new APA policies and activities for advancing psychological science. Just a few years ago, Prof. Dess was elected President of the American Psychological Association's Division 3: Experimental Psychology

 
Prof. Mary Beth Heffernan was invited to speak about her Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Portrait Project as part of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies (Harvard) Principals and Practice of Global Health and Social Medicine Workshop. At the workshop ten cases were discussed and developed with the goal of integrating them into a practical open access resource for health settings around the world, as well as an educational resource for trainees in Global Health and Social Medicine.

 
Prof. Caroline Heldman provided her expert analysis of President Trump's first address to Congress on KPCC's show, AirTalk. To listen to the segment, click on the link here.