IU consortium awards faculty grants for work on ‘Wonder and the Natural World’

The Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Society has awarded $51,248 to 11 faculty members from three IU campuses to further their research on the topic of “Wonder and the Natural World.”

This grant funding is the first phase of a two-year thematic initiative sponsored by the consortium on the theme of “Wonder and the Natural World.” The first phase will culminate in a daylong public symposium in May, at which funding recipients, along with invited guests, will present their works in progress.

“We received a truly impressive array of proposals, linking wonder to many facets of human and nonhuman life,” said IU Bloomington religious studies professor and consortium director Lisa Sideris. “The successful proposals reflect on the light and dark dimensions of wonder, as well as wonder’s ethical, emotional, cognitive, pedagogical, aesthetic and religious forms. It will be exciting to see the conversations that emerge from these diverse studies of wonder.”

The goal of the funding is to encourage faculty to engage with the idea of “wonder” in all its forms and in a variety of disciplines. The awardees cut across academic fields, including faculty in religious studies, English, bioethics and anthropology.

Heather Blair, assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies at IU Bloomington, was awarded funding for her project “Super-Natural: Configuring Childhood Virtue in Contemporary Japanese Picture Books.”

“This project examines representations of the natural world in post-war Japanese children’s literature,” she said, “with a particular emphasis on contemporary picture books designed for children ages 3 to 6. Broadly speaking, it aims to introduce the study of Japanese children’s literature into ongoing conversations about childhood, character education, religion and ethics.”

Richard Gunderman, professor and vice chairman of radiology at the IU School of Medicine, will conduct research titled “Medicine: Wonder-less or Wonderful?” He seeks to explore the disconnect between what is taught at medical school, the dispassionate science of treating injury and disease, and the power of wonder for both the patient and the physician.

“Every time a physician sees a patient,” he said, “there is something awesome in bringing hidden things to light and assisting natural healing processes. Birth, death, illness, regeneration — these are the physician’s daily stock and trade, and they are pregnant with mystery.”

Other awardees and their projects include:

  • James Capshew, IU Bloomington Department of History and Philosophy of Science, “Bristlecone Pine: The Construction and Fate of a Scientific Wonder “
  • Edward E. Curtis IV, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Department of Religious Studies, “Elijah Muhammad’s World of Wonders: Astrophysical Disaster, Genetic Engineering, UFOs, White Apocalypse and Black Resurrection in the Nation of Islam”
  • David Haberman, IU Bloomington Department of Religious Studies, “Anthropomorphism without Anthropocentrism: Ritualized Ways of Enhancing the Experience of Wonder With Natural Phenomena in Devotional Hinduism”
  • Kelly E. Hayes, IUPUI Department of Religious Studies, “Intergalactic Space-Time Travelers: The Enchanted World of Brazil’s Valley of the Dawn”
  • Kelcey Parker, IU South Bend Department of English, “Living Nature: Surrealist Landscapes and Dreamscapes”
  • Phaedra C. Pezzullo, IU Bloomington Department of Communication and Culture, “‘Unprecedented, Unthinkable and Horrific’: Filipino Climate Justice Advocacy and The Sea Around Us”
  • Peter Thuesen, IUPUI Department of Religious Studies, “Wonder in the Whirlwind: Tornadoes as an American Sublime”
  • Michael Muehlenbein, IU Bloomington Department of Anthropology, and Vicky Meretsky, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, “Conservation Values, Personality and Motivations for Conserving Primate Populations”

The symposium, May 22, 2015, will provide a space for grantees to present their in-progress work to colleagues and the public. It will be followed in 2016 by an international conference to explore more deeply discussions of wonder and nature begun at the symposium.

About the Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Society

The Indiana University Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Society is an interdisciplinary association of scholars, academic programs and research centers from the eight campuses of Indiana University. The consortium’s mandate is to aid in the development of research to better understand religion, ethics, values and spirituality in society. The consortium receives support from the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at IU Bloomington, which is dedicated to supporting ongoing faculty research and creative activity, developing new multidisciplinary initiatives and maximizing the potential of faculty to accomplish path-breaking work.

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Culp, Snell earn Fulbright awards

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Amanda Snell of the School of Liberal Arts | PHOTO COURTESY OF IU COMMUNICATIONS

Brian Culp will spend time in Montreal and Amanda Snell in Laatzen, Germany this school year. And despite the fact that Culp is a faculty member and Snell a student, both are helping build IUPUI’s growing role as an international campus.

Culp is a kinesiology expert from the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management. Snell is an English major from the School of Liberal Arts, and both are prime examples of the impact of the internationally focused Fulbright Scholar Program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Culp will work with Fulbright Canada partners to examine programs and policies in hopes of improving health and physical activity among youth and other under-represented populations in Montreal, Quebec.

Snell, meanwhile, will be part of an English Teaching Assistant Program in Germany and will teach English and Spanish classes at a high school in Laatzen.

Culp, who earned an American Fulbright Scholar Award, be a visiting research chair in The Person and Society at Concordia University in Montreal, studying social justice promotion in health and physical activity in Montreal, a “City of Design” as designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential.

“Amanda Snell’s recognition as a Fulbright awardee demonstrates the impact of IUPUI’s commitment to global engagement,” said Nasser Paydar, IUPUI executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer. “Our students increasingly participate in international experiences during their time at IUPUI and are empowered to transform our community and the world after graduating.”

Culp believes he was chosen for his background in several national and international initiatives in addition to assisting with the design of needed programs and policies, and hopes to provide a Hoosier flavor to the international effort.

“Cities in America are becoming more diverse by the day,” Culp added. That creates both opportunities and challenges. “And cities like Montreal already resemble what Indianapolis could look like in 20 years. We would be remiss if we didn’t prepare to meet the needs of our communities from a health, social and economic standpoint.”

Like Culp, Snell’s work in Europe will connect back to her Indiana roots.

She’ll be part of a partnership in which German students learning English will email Indiana high school students studying German. Additionally, she’ll be doing community literacy projects, including working with immigrant adults trying to learn German.

She credited her IUPUI professors for her upcoming role as a Fulbright awardee.

“I am so grateful for my professors in the IUPUI English department, who mentored me inside and outside the classroom by challenging me academically and encouraging me to apply what I am learning in class to impact the community, in my case, through teaching immigrant and refugee language learners,” she said. “These professors have modeled what I strive to provide to my students: high expectations coupled with support and respect for learners.”

Students to Dive in For Better English

UntitledINDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Thirty-five undergraduate students from two Japanese institutions are coming to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis this summer to improve their English-language skills while learning more about U.S. culture.

The students will immerse themselves in English-only classes and extracurricular activities offered and organized by the International Center for Intercultural Communication, part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. And when each school day ends, they will go “home” to the English-speaking Hoosier families serving as their summer hosts.

Twenty-two Tsuda College students will arrive Saturday to participate in what is now known as the annual Women in Leadership Intensive Summer English Program. Two weeks after the Tsuda students finish Aug. 22, the center will host 13 students from Hakuoh University, a co-ed institution.
The Hakuoh Intensive Summer English Program runs Sept. 3 to 15.

For students of Tsuda College — started 100 years ago as Japan’s first college for women — their three-week intensive English-language immersion course is the latest chapter in a 20-year tradition that IUPUI will mark with a special celebration Aug. 21.

“It’s really been magnificent,” International Center for Intercultural Communication director and Chancellor’s Professor of English Ulla M. Connor said of the program that started after a chance encounter between Connor and Tsuda English professor Mary Althaus, now vice president of the Japanese college.

Twenty years ago, when Althaus suggested the ICIC-Tsuda partnership, most Japanese schools focused on exchange programs with universities either in California or on the East Coast. IUPUI is one of only three exchange programs for Tsuda students, and the only U.S. university that offers them a summer intensive English program, Connor said. About 25 students have attended the IUPUI program each year, and the school has never had difficulty recruiting students to attend.

At the request of the Japanese college, women in leadership has been the program’s focus in the past five or so years, Connor said. The Tsuda students use a mainstream book on female leaders, selected readings and academic activities specifically chosen for their inclusion of content on distinguished female leaders and their focus on developing communication skills for women in leadership roles. The class also includes guest lectures by prominent local women such as retired Eli Lilly and Co. human resources professional Joann Ingulli-Fattic and Girls Inc. director of research Catherine Cushinberry.

Althaus and members of the Japan-America Society of Indiana are scheduled to attend the Tsuda anniversary celebration. IUPUI administrators scheduled to attend include Chancellor Charles R. Bantz, School of Liberal Arts Dean Bill Blomquist and IU Associate Vice President of International Affairs Gil Latz.

This summer will mark the sixth year for the International Center for Intercultural Communication’s program for Hakuoh University. This year’s edition revolves around five U.S. culture themes that college students can relate to, such as sports and city life in the U.S. The ICIC-Hakuoh program has been the more traditional two-way exchange program.

“For students who have an interest in Japanese, studying abroad is an invaluable experience,” said Laura Woods, an IUPUI student who spent a year at Hakuoh, earning enough credits for an individualized major in Japanese. “I recommend Hakuoh University as a good place to experience Japanese college life.

“During the year that I studied at Hakuoh University, I was able to significantly improve in my Japanese language ability; and because the classes are conducted completely in Japanese, I was able to learn more quickly than I could in America,” said Woods, who is featured in a promotional spotlight on the Hakuoh University website.

NEW COURSE: 20th-Century African Fiction

ANNOUNCING FOR FALL 2012:
L382: 20th-Century African Fiction
(Fiction of the Non-Western World)

David Hoegberg, Associate Professor of English
Tuesday evenings 6:00 – 8:40 PM
Course number 12988

The decolonization of Africa in the 1950s and 1960s sparked an explosion of African literature that continues to this day. This literature is vibrant, skillful, and deeply concerned with the social issues facing African nations. This course will introduce students to an exciting range of African fiction written in English from Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Emphasis throughout the course will be on making the works accessible and interesting to students, relating them to historical contexts, and working on important reading and writing skills.

Course instructor David Hoegberg is a three-time winner of the Trustees Teaching Award in the IU School of Liberal Arts.

For non-English majors, L382 fulfills the requirement for 300-level courses outside the major. Students in English, History, Anthropology, Political Science, Religious Studies, Sociology, and other departments will find much that is enjoyable and relevant to their work.

L382 is on the list of approved course for the Africana Studies major and minor.
Further questions?

Please contact Prof. David Hoegberg, 274-9823, dhoegberg@aol.com