Month: April 2015

UCHI/OUR Undergraduate Awards 2014-2015

Eric Medawar ’15 (CLAS)

Eric Medawar ’15 (CLAS)

Travel Award for Revisiting Iconoclasm: Image and Power in Byzantium and Early Islamic Syria

Eric’s project interrogates the origins of Byzantine iconoclasm and Islamic aniconism, and what, if any, relation exists between these phenomena. Through travel to Jordan, Eric will study the décor of the mosque at Qasr al-Hallabat, a site that has attracted little prior scholarly attention. Documentation and study of this site will provide further evidence as to whether the use of figurative representation in Islamic religious spaces was deliberately avoided only after the reign of the Marwanids and will represent an original contribution to the field of Islamic art and architectural history.



Jessica Gaafar ’15 (CLAS)

Jessica Gaafar
Jessica Gaafar ’15 (CLAS)

Supply Award for Language Specific Tuning of Audiovisual Integration in Early Development

As infants mature and gain experience, their perceptual system tunes to the most relevant features around them, such as the sounds of their native language. Jessica’s project aims to test the hypothesis that the visual component of speech can influence infants’ perception of the auditory component, thereby reopening sensitivity to unfamiliar perceptual experiences. By exposing infants to longer and richer speech in an unfamiliar language, she will see whether perceptual narrowing can be delayed.





Tara Pealer ’15 (CLAS)

Travel Award for The Love Triangle: How Twilight, The Hunger Games and Divergent Defy and Affirm the Power of Romance and Sex When Defining Female Characters

Tara Pealer
Tara Pealer

Tara will be presenting a paper at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association’s annual conference in April in New Orleans, LA. Tara’s paper draws on Judith Butler and Eve Sedgewick’s theorizations of erotic triangles to consider how the female protagonists in three young adult fiction series are implicated in love triangles that diverge from standard formulations. Tara traces a shift from passive to active feminine power chronologically from Twilight to Divergent.



Abdullah Hasan ’16 (CLAS)

Abdullah Hasan
Abdullah Hasan ’16 (CLAS)

Supply Award for Muslim Masculinities: A Methodological Study of the Qur’an and Hadith.

Abdullah’s project aims to understand Qur’anic definitions of masculinity and men’s roles in society. This fall, Abdullah studied two popular translations of the Qur’an, tafsir of the Qur’an (for information about historical interpretations), Hadith compilations (for historical contexts of particular verses), and a series of theoretical works in masculinity studies. Abdullah was selected as a 2015 University Scholar for an expansion of this project, Muslim Masculinities in American Discourse, that will consider how post-9/11 rhetoric characterizes religious prescriptions of masculinity.





Alexandria Bottelsen ’16 (ED, CLAS) & Luke LaRosa Dec ’15 (CLAS)

Travel Award for After the Branding: Student Created Perceptions of the University Writing Center

Alexandria Bottelsen ’16 (ED, CLAS) &  Luke LaRosa Dec ’15 (CLAS)
Alexandria Bottelsen ’16 (ED, CLAS) & Luke LaRosa Dec ’15 (CLAS)


Alexandria and Luke presented a paper at the Northeast Writing Center Association’s annual conference in April in Hackettstown, NJ. Their project examines the place branding of the UConn Writing Center by surveying students in order to understand their perceptions of the center now that it no longer actively brands itself. As writing center tutors, they sought to determine whether the place identity that was sought a decade ago (a welcoming space for all students) is currently the reality of how the space is perceived and to identify demographics or information sources that may need to change to better adhere to that desired identity.



Sarah Carew ’18 (CLAS), Brandon Marquis ’17 (CLAS), Chantel Martin ’15 (CLAS), Jessica Zaccagnini ‘16 (CLAS)

Travel Award for The Androgynous Center: Tutoring Across the Masculine/Feminine Spectrum

Sarah Carew ’18 (CLAS), Chantel Martin ’15 (CLAS), Jessica Zaccagnini ‘16 (CLAS)
Brandon Marquis ’17 (CLAS)
Brandon Marquis ’17 (CLAS)

Sarah, Brandon, Chantel, and Jessica conducted a panel discussion and interactive workshop at the Northeast Writing Center Association’s annual conference in April in Hackettstown, NJ. Their conference session posed the question of whether or not writing centers may productively position themselves as androgynous entities in sexist campus environments. They employed Talcott Parsons’ and Robert Frees Bales’ work in social psychology to explore the ways in which writing centers may benefit from an awareness of the range of masculine traits and feminine traits as these traits are expressed in directive and non-directive tutoring.


Victoria Sylvestre ’17 (NUR)

Victoria Sylvestre
Victoria Sylvestre ’17 (NUR)

Travel Award for Type 1 Diabetes: The Liminal Space Between Ability and Disability

Victoria will be presenting a paper at the Society for Disability Studies annual conference in June in Atlanta, GA. Victoria’s analysis of personal blogs leads her to posit that people with type 1 diabetes transcend the current bifurcations of “ability” and “disability” due to fluctuating blood glucose values. Her research places type 1 diabetes within a disability framework and addresses ruptures in the medical and social definitions of this condition.



Brighid DeAngelis,
Brighid DeAngelis’ 17 (MFA)

Brighid DeAngelis ’17 (Theater Design & Technology), advised by Adrienne Macki Braconi (Dramatic Arts)

SHARE Award for Dramaturgies of memory, materiality, and violence in African American theatre

Brighid’s SHARE project integrated her interests in theater and history. She conducted dramaturgical research in order to help the cast and audience of Reginald Edmund’s play, “Daughters of the Moon,” to better understand the historical and religious context of West Africa in the early 19th century, where the play begins. She also assisted in the compilation of the literature review for Professor Macki Braconi’s forthcoming second book, Enacted Violence: Materiality, Cultural Memory, and African American Performance.



Matthew Henderson
Matthew Henderson’ 18 (CLAS)

Matthew Henderson ’18 (Linguistics and Anthropology), advised by Harry van der Hulst (Linguistics)

SHARE Award for The linguistic analysis of graphic novels

Matthew’s SHARE project explored the structure underlying sequential graphics, as found in comics, graphic novels, and other types of texts. Together with Professor van der Hulst, he analyzed a range of written and drawn works to develop an inventory of formal elements in sequential drawing and to characterize the range of form elements from non-iconic through iconic. By applying the methods of linguistic analysis and cognitive science to sequential graphics, this team considered how iconicity functions in graphic communication and contributed to the interdisciplinary study of sequential graphics.

The University of Connecticut Humanities Institute is pleased to announce its Fellowship Awards for 2015-16:

External Faculty Fellowships

Peter Constantine         “Translation and annotation of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s autobiography Between the Millstones”                              

Joshua Schechter           “Reasoning and Rationality:  The Epistemology of our Most Basic Patterns of Inference”

UConn Faculty Fellowships  

César Abadía-Barrero “Health Ruins: From Post-Colonial to Post Neoliberal ‘Medical Care’ in Columbia”

Susan Einbinder          “Eleh Ezkerah:  Trauma and Medieval Jewish Literature”

Hassanaly Ladha           “The Idea of Africa: Hegel, Architecture, and the Political Subject”

Diane Lillo-Martin       “Sign Language Acquisition:  Archiving and Sharing”

Natalie Munro              “A 30,000 year history of human foraging and farming in the Aegean:  the view from Franchthi Cave, Greece”

Brad Simpson              “The First Right: Self Determination and the Transformation of International Politics”

Peter Zarrow                “The Utopian Impulse in Modern Chinese Political Thought, 1890-1940”           

Dissertation Fellowships

Joanna A. MacGugan    “Competing authorities and contested spaces:  Dying in Dublin in the reign of Edward I”

Christiana Salah             “The Popular Invention of the Victorian Governess, 1815-2015”

Draper Dissertation Fellowships

Hilary Bogert-Winkler   “Prayerful Protest and Clandestine Conformity:  Alternative Liturgies and the  Book of Common Prayer in Interregnum England”

Allison B. Horrocks         “The Family and the Home as the Nursery of Humanity”:  Flemmie Kittrell and the International Politics of Home Economics



The University of Connecticut Humanities Institute is pleased to announce its Dissertation Fellowship awards for 2015-16:

Dissertation Fellowships

Joanna A. MacGugan “Competing authorities and contested spaces:  Dying in Dublin in the reign of Edward I”

Christiana Salah “The Popular Invention of the Victorian Governess, 1815-2015”

Draper Dissertation Fellowships

Hilary Bogert-Winkler “Prayerful Protest and Clandestine Conformity:  Alternative Liturgies and the

Allison B. Horrocks “The Family and the Home as the Nursery of Humanity”:  Flemmie Kittrell and Book of Common Prayer in Interregnum England” the International Politics of Home Economics

James Barnett Lecture Series in Humanistic Anthropology Understanding Religious Experience

Trying Not to Try: Cooperation, Trust and the Paradox of Spontaneity

Edward Slingerland (University of British Columbia)

Edward Slingerland (University of British Columbia)

April 21, 2015

Edward Slingerland received a B.A. from Stanford in Asian Languages (Chinese), an M.A. from UC Berkeley in East Asian Languages (classical Chinese), and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Stanford University. His research specialties and teaching interests include Warring States (5th-3rd c. B.C.E.) Chinese thought, religious studies (comparative religion, cognitive science and evolution of religion), cognitive linguistics (blending and conceptual metaphor theory), ethics (virtue ethics, moral psychology), evolutionary psychology, the relationship between the humanities and the natural sciences, and the classical Chinese language. His first trade book, Trying Not to Try: The Art and Science of Spontaneity, was released by Crown (Random House) in March 2014. His current primary work in progress is an academic monograph with the working title Body and Mind in Early China: Beyond the Myth of Holism, an article-length version of which was recently published in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. Other recent publications include Creating Consilience: Integrating the Sciences and the Humanities (co-edited by Prof. Mark Collard of SFU), a statement on the importance of a “second wave” of science-humanities cooperation, and articles including a qualitative coding analysis of ancient Chinese texts published in Cognitive Science, a response to the situationist critique of virtue ethics published in Ethics, and the article “Metaphor and Meaning in Early China,” which was recently awarded the 2012 Annual Best Essay award from the journal Dao.

more information

April 21, 2015 12:30pm-2:00 pm Bhakti Shringarpure (English) “Digital Humanitarianisms: Clicktivism and the African Continent”

Faculty Luncheon/Lecture Series


Each year the Humanities Institute sponsors six luncheon lectures by faculty members from across the humanities and related social sciences who present works in progress. These luncheons are intended for faculty and emeriti, who participate in a question-and-answer session after the lecture. The goal of the Luncheon Lecture Series is twofold: first, to advance the lecturer’s thinking about his or her project; and second, to give audience members an opportunity to hear and respond to a wide range of scholarly work as it is being developed

April 21, 2015

12:30pm-2:00 pm

Bhakti Shringarpure (English)

“Digital Humanitarianisms: Clicktivism and the African Continent”



APRIL 16, 2015 – SHE-HULK and THE CITY

banner_cookAPRIL 16, 2015

4:00 PM Laurel Hall, Room 302, Please contact or 486-9057 to reserve a seat



Unlike DC Comics’ superheroes like Superman and Batman, who live in, and fight crime within, fictional cities such as Metropolis and Gotham, the superheroes of Marvel comics are not only city-dwellers, but inhabitants of a real city: New York.  The use of New York (and, in fact, for the most part Manhattan) as the setting for the vast majority of Marvel’s superhero stories does not merely add a sense of realism to these comics by locating these fantastic adventures in a real-life setting, in addition, the fact that these characters live in New York adds a substantial metafictional aspect to a great many of their stories. New York is not only a real city, but it is the very city within which Marvel comics are published. Marvel Comics has used a number of metafictional strategies including inserting both the company, its well-known creators and editors, and other New York luminaries into their stories.  This significantly complicates the relationship between what is fictionally true of these superheroic characters and what is actually true of their producers and consumers. In this talk Cook will look at a character and comic that is particularly rich and fruitful in this regard: John Byrne’s early 1990’s run on Sensational She-Hulk.  He will detail how the subtle interactions between the fictional world that the She-Hulk inhabits, the actual city within which these comics are produced, and the very real and very intentional overlap between the two, complicates and enriches our understanding of how fiction works within serialized narrative art.

RobertsRoy T. Cook is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and Resident Fellow of the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science. He has published over fifty articles and book chapters on logic, the philosophy of mathematics and the philosophy of art (especially popular art). He co-edited The Art of Comics: A Philosophical Approach (Wiley-Blackwell 2012) with Aaron Meskin, and is the author of The Yablo Paradox: An Essay on Circularity (Oxford University Press 2014) and Paradoxes (Polity 2013). He is also a co-founder of the interdisciplinary comics studies blog PencilPanelPage and hopes to someday write a book about the Sensational She-Hulk. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife, their cat Mr. Prickley, and approximately 2.5 million LEGO bricks.


April 14, 2015 2:00 PM -Looking Beyond the Wall Encountering the Humanitarian Crisis on the Border – ROBERT NEUSTADT

robert_n_2722­3-2April 14, 2015  2:00 PM –

CLAS/AUSTIN, Stern Room  217

In this talk, Neustadt describes the extraordinary field trips to the Arizona/Mexico border he has been taking with students since 2010.  He discusses the environmental, financial, political and humanitarian costs of the border Wall. He also touches on how the pedagogy of field trips—experiential education—brings down walls that separate professors from students as well as students from other students. Finally, he will talk about the discursive wall that separates “us” from “them” (US citizens from undocumented migrants), a wall that silences the undocumented and obscures the humanitarian crisis on the border from most people’s view.


Robert A. Neustadt, Professor of Spanish and Director of Latin American Studies at Northern Arizona University, has published two books on performance and experimental  art. Since 2010 he has been taking classes on field trips to the U.S. / Mexico border where students experience, first hand, the human, environmental and political dimensions of immigration. He co-produced, Border Songs, a double
cd of music and spoken word about the border and immigration.


Kerry Kennedy — President, Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015kennedy

Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts

Free Admission


Presented in collaboration with Community Outreach, the Humanities Institute, and the School of Fine Arts.

Sackler Distinguished Lecture featuring Kerry Kennedy

4:00p.m.  – Reception

Co-sponsored by Community Outreach 20th Anniversary Commemoration

5:00p.m.  –  Performance

Dramatic reading of excerpts from the play Speak Truth To Power: Voice from Beyond the Dark by Ariel Dorfman based on the book by Kerry Kennedy with photographs by Eddie Adams.

Co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute in collaboration with the School of Fine Arts.  Directed by Vincent J. Cardinal, Chair of the Department of Dramatic Arts and Creative Director of Connecticut Repertory Theatre.

5:45p.m.  –  Sackler Distinguished Lecture

“Speak Truth To Power”

Kerry Kennedy

6:30p.m.  –  Audience Questions

Kerry Kennedy, Director Vincent J. Cardinal and actors

The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center is proud to present the 2015 Raymond and Beverly Sackler Distinguished Lecture by Kerry Kennedy, President of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.

Ms. Kennedy’s established RFK Human Rights in 1986 as the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, and has devoted her life to the vindication of equal justice, to the promotion and protection of basic rights, and to the preservation of the rule of law. She has worked on diverse human rights issues such as children’s rights, child labor, disappearances, indigenous land rights, judicial independence, freedom of expression, ethnic violence, impunity, and the environment. She has concentrated specifically on women’s rights, exposing injustices and educating audiences about women’s issues, particularly honor killings, sexual slavery, domestic violence, workplace discrimination, sexual assault, abuse of prisoners, and more. She has worked in over 60 countries and led hundreds of human rights delegations. At a time of diminished idealism and growing cynicism about public service, her life and lectures are testaments to the commitment to the basic values of human rights.

In addition to the talk by Kerry Kennedy, this year’s Sackler Lecture features a dramatic reading of excerpts from the play Speak Truth To Power: Voices from Beyond the Dark by Ariel Dorfman based on the book by Kerry Kennedy with photographs by Eddie Adams.

Speak Truth to Power: Voices from Beyond the Dark, premiered at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington D.C. in the year 2000, and broadcast as part of PBS’s The Kennedy Center Presents. The play chronicles the true-story accounts of heroic people withstanding horrific human rights abuses across the globe. It has been produced across the United States and performed around the world.

The dramatic reading is sponsored by the Humanities Institute in collaboration with the School of Fine Arts. Directed by Vincent J. Cardinal, Chair of the Department of Dramatic Arts and Creative Director of Connecticut Repertory Theatre.