The e-newsletter from the College of Arts and Letters
The e-newsletter from the College of Arts and Letters

A liberal arts education inspired an art history major to follow her passion — and be open to change

Senior Meg Burns says that the tagline to her experience at Notre Dame could be, “It’s OK to change your mind.” After three semesters majoring in biochemistry, Burns decided to follow her passion and major in art history. Then, during her junior year, she dramatically shifted the focus of her senior thesis after having completed research in Dublin. Looking back, Burns said these moments became valuable learning experiences themselves.
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A&L professor Ernest Morrell co-designs first AP Seminar on the African diaspora

Ernest Morrell, a professor of Africana studies and English, the Coyle Professor in Literacy Education, and director of the Center for Literacy Education at the University of Notre Dame, has collaborated with fellow subject experts to create the first capstone course on the African diaspora for AP Seminar high school teachers and students. The urgency of this new course, Morrell said, is in the vastly understudied size, impact, growth, and value of the African diaspora as a site of study and engagement for young people.
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With NEH grant, Glynn co-director and philosopher plans conference on impact of John Rawls

John Rawls’ work A Theory of Justice has had a lasting and far-reaching influence on the fields of economics, political science, philosophy, and law — and nearly 50 years after its publication, it remains one of the greatest works of political philosophy ever produced, said Paul Weithman, the Glynn Family Honors Professor of Philosophy. With funding from a Collaborative Research Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Weithman is planning a conference commemorating the 50th anniversary of the book’s publication in September 2021.
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Video: Sociologist Dana Moss on authoritarian regimes, transnational repression, and protests

Dana Moss is an assistant professor of sociology at Notre Dame whose research interests include collective behavior and social movements, global and transnational sociology, international migration, and political sociology. She's currently working on a book project on the “Arab Spring abroad” — how Libyan, Yemeni, and Syrian communities around the world mobilized to support the Arab Spring revolutions that were happening in their home countries. She also developed a theory of transnational repression on how regimes constrain and pressure their diasporas.
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From here to there: Notre Dame mentorship program inspires underrepresented students to pursue careers in higher education

The daughter of working class parents of Mexican descent, Camille Suárez ’13, a history major and Latino studies minor, arrived at Notre Dame knowing she wanted to pursue a life of ideas and reading and writing. “But being I was a first-generation college student, I didn’t really know what a Ph.D. was and what graduate school meant and how to even apply to graduate school,” the Los Angeles native said. Now a tenure-track professor at California State University Los Angeles, Suárez is one of many Notre Dame students who have pursued careers in higher education in part thanks to Building Bridges, a Multicultural Student Programs and Services effort to pair underrepresented and minority students with faculty mentors.
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Anthropologist’s study in the Congo becomes first to define link between testosterone and fathers’ social roles outside the family

Most of the research on the biology of fatherhood has focused on fathers in the U.S., Europe, and some Asian countries. In these settings, levels of some hormones have been linked to more nurturing fathering. Wanting to take a wider view, Lee Gettler, associate professor of anthropology, led a team that worked with the BaYaka and Bondongo societies in the Republic of the Congo. The team’s paper was published in Nature magazine’s Scientific Reports. It is the first study to link fathers’ testosterone levels to broader social roles within their communities and revealed that BaYaka dads who were seen as more generous resource sharers had lower testosterone than less generous men.
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A Q&A with Dominique Vargas, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English

Dominique Vargas is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of English, as well as a University Presidential Fellow, a teaching apprentice in the Gender Studies Program, and a graduate fellow in the Institute for Latino Studies and the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study. She specializes in 20th- and 21st-century American literature with a focus on race, gender, linguistics, and literary theory. In this interview, she discusses how the body works as a metaphor in contemporary American literature and why it is important to question the global politics and economic institutions that dominate, regulate, and sometimes criminalize the body as commodity, labor, and threat. 
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Notre Dame partners in Dublin launch virtual series on Newman’s ‘The Idea of a University’

The Notre Dame Dublin Global Gateway and the Notre Dame-Newman Centre for Faith and Reason have launched a new, four-part international series to celebrate the first anniversary of the canonization of St. John Henry Newman — theologian, poet, convert, and founder of the Catholic University of Ireland. “Thinking with Newman: Educating with Intention Today” will explore Newman’s seminal work, “The Idea of a University,” and its contemporary relevance to educational challenges faced today during the coronavirus crisis. The series launches on Oct. 7, and registration is required.
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