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

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Notre Dame launches A&L-led interdisciplinary Initiative on Race and Resilience

Notre Dame has launched the Initiative on Race and Resilience, a new interdisciplinary program focused on the redress of systemic racism and the support of communities of color both within and beyond the Notre Dame campus. Led by the College of Arts & Letters with additional support from the Office of the Provost, the initiative will bring together scholars and students in the humanities, arts, social sciences, and other disciplines to challenge systemic racism and promote racial equity through research, education, and community empowerment.
“Our University mission calls on us ‘to assist the world to create justice grounded in love,’ and so we have a unique responsibility to support the study of race and to amplify the voices, gifts, and talents of people of color,” said Mark A. Sanders, the inaugural director of the initiative and a professor of English and Africana studies. “This initiative marks the creation of a think tank on race — an intellectual and physical space at Notre Dame where people will come together to address issues of race and racism, both systemic and interpersonal.”
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Three philosophers awarded NEH fellowships, continuing Notre Dame’s record success

Three faculty members from Notre Dame’s Department of Philosophy — Richard Cross, Katharina Kraus, and Samuel Newlands — have been offered fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Scholars in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have received a total of 68 NEH fellowships since 1999 — more than any other university in the country. 
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Francie Shaft thought her theology and Japanese majors would never intersect — until she went abroad. Now the connections keep appearing. 

Francie Shaft has discovered intersections between her theology and Japanese majors through her classes and research — both on campus and in Japan. Those opportunities would not have been possible, she said, without the support she found on campus. “Notre Dame wants you to start pursuing what you’re passionate about, even as a freshman. If I didn’t have these people who have believed in me from the start, I don’t think I would be as creative and as bold in the sorts of experiences I want to have.”
Read her story

A singular opportunity: Winter Session over long break explodes with options for undergraduates

This year’s unprecedented mid-year break led the University to create for the first time a Winter Session. This unique two-month period between semesters has removed the guardrails of what academics, researchers, counselors and service coordinators could normally imagine. Assistant Dean Collin Meissner said what could have been dead time has instead spurred some very creative ideas inspired by “just sheer intellectual enjoyment.”
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Art historian’s new research pieces together Piranesi’s books — from the backs of drawings

While early modern artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi has been principally known for his drawings and etchings of ancient Rome, new research from Heather Hyde Minor, a Notre Dame professor of art history, reinterprets Piranesi’s artistic oeuvre by flipping the works over and reading what is written on the backs. Minor’s Piranesi Unbound examines nearly 200 of Piranesi’s engravings and drawings. The research, recuperative in method, serves as a biography of Piranesi’s books, bringing text and image together to reveal a learned mind alive with biting wit and unflinching big-picture questions.
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Led by Notre Dame theologians, ThinkND series to explore world religions beginning Jan. 26

Notre Dame theologians from the World Religions World Church program will embark on a seven-session virtual teaching series examining the Catholic Church in a global religion context starting Jan. 26 (Tuesday) and running through October. This program, hosted by ThinkND, will enable learners to enrich their understanding of the Church’s relationship with believers of other faiths around the world. Gabriel Reynolds, the Jerome J. Crowley and Rosaleen G. Crowley Professor of Theology, is a member of the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims and will lead the first four sessions that delve into the overlap between the Bible and the Quran, the historical relationship between the Church and Islam, and the theological tensions and harmonies between believers in both traditions.
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Video: Ian Johnson on secret Soviet-German military cooperation between the World Wars I and II

Ian Johnson is the P.J. Moran Family Assistant Professor of Military History at Notre Dame. His research themes include military, politics, science, technology, and medicine. In this video, he discusses his book project examining secret military cooperation between Germany and the Soviet Union in the 1920s and ’30s, how the peace established after World War I fell apart, and how the peace after World War II resulted in modern institutions.
Watch the video
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