Carl Pfirman ’83 edited a feature documentary film called Kusama — Infinity, which had its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The film is one of only 16 films included in the U.S. feature documentary competition and is nominated for the grand jury prize. Kusama — Infinity describes how one of the world’s most celebrated artists, Yayoi Kusama, broke free of the rigid society in which she was raised and overcame sexism, racism, and mental illness to bring her artistic vision to the world stage. At 88, she lives in a mental hospital and continues to create art.
Artists & Scholars
The Mosaic Theater Company in Washington D.C. presented Joshua Ford ’94’s play, To Kill a King (or City of Good Abode) in their 2017–18 Mosaic workshop series on March 12. The play presents the story behind the events of the 1968 sanitation workers’ strike in Memphis that prompted Martin Luther King Jr. to visit the city, where history took a tragic turn.
Mark Whitters ’77 published Memoirs of an Unfinished Tale: A Performance of Acts of the Apostles with Cascade Books (2017). This is a fresh way of presenting the Bible, a method based on a rapidly growing movement in college and university classrooms called “reacting.”
Chris Dietrich ’01, assistant professor of history at Fordham University, analyzes the new community of oil elites in Oil Revolution: Anticolonial Elites, Sovereign Rights, and the Economic Culture of Decolonization (Cambridge University Press, 2017).
The Poetics of Tenderness: On Falling in Love by Robert Cantwell ’66 has been published by Lexington Books (2017). The book’s aim is to turn the discussion of sexuality around — to substitute ideas of violence and predation with care, affection, beauty, memory, worthiness, and ideality.
In What Are We Waiting For? Re-Imagining Advent for Time to Come (Church Publishing, 2017), the Rev. William H. Petersen ’63 argues for a liturgical renewal in the life and mission of the church by proposing an expanded observance of Advent.
Danielle Lussier, assistant professor of political science, was awarded a Book-Writing Leave Fellowship from the Global Religion Research Institute at the University of Notre Dame. Her project, “Mobilizing the Devout: Mosques, Churches, and Political Participation in Indonesia,” explores the relationship between individuals’ engagement in houses of worship and their political lives in Indonesia. While the relationship between political participation and Christian religious life has been examined by many scholars, the topic has been underexplored in Muslim societies. Her work is thus poised to make real contributions to our understanding of political mobilization and the “democratic deficit” in Muslim-majority countries.
Doug Hess ’91, assistant professor of political science, received a grant from the New Venture Fund’s Research Collaborative Fund. His project examines the ways that changes in voter registration policies affect gaps in voter registration rates along various social and economic lines to address a relatively underexplored voting rights policy question: How well do voter registration lists represent the demographics of a state’s voting-eligible population?
Eain Murphy ’91 discusses his work on human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), the largest human herpes virus, in PLOS Pathogens’ monthly Research Matters article (Nov. 9, 2017). He attributes his career to Charles Sullivan, senior scholar in biology, who sold him on the beauty of biology and the analytical nature of science. Murphy’s major focus is to determine how to keep HCMV “in check” for those infected. The virus can hide in stem cells within bone marrow.
Eleanor Raulerson Sayre ’02, associate professor of physics at Kansas State University, was awarded an NSF grant for her research project on PhysPort (physport.org), an online professional development tool used by physics professors internationally. Sayre’s project, in collaboration with the American Association of Physics Teachers, investigates the effect PhysPort has on the practice of teaching physics. Kansas State University and the association jointly designed the tool to support physics faculty in using research-based teaching and assessment methods through expert recommendations, teaching method guides, assessment resources, and online workshops. “PhysPort is already a great resource for physics faculty, and this new grant will enable us to more carefully measure faculty needs around professional development and data analysis for education,” Sayre says.