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Gill Report, April 2005

At every monthly faculty meeting during the school year, the Dean of Faculty presents brief overviews of recent publications and other achievements by the Mount Holyoke faculty. Here are excerpts from the April 2005 report of Penny Gill, Acting Dean of Faculty:

The Carnegie Corporation has honored Sohail Hashmi, Associate Professor of International Relations on the Alumnae Foundation, with one of its very coveted fellowships to enable him to pursue a two-year, $100,000 project titled “Islamic International Law and Public International Law: Convergence or Dissonance?” I have been told these fellowships are very rarely given to scholars at liberal arts colleges, and that this year Sohail is the only such recipient. Our warmest congratulations to you, Sohail.

Equally impressive is associate professor of English Elizabeth Young's selection as a Howard Foundation Fellowship recipient for next year. These are highly competitive (12 recipients among 160 nominees). The annual topic is Literary Criticism, Film Criticism, and Translation. Elizabeth's project is entitled American Frankenstein: Race, Sex, and the Politics of Monstrosity.

Professor of chemistry Sean Decatur continues to empty the deep pockets of the NIH, receiving this time $194,170 for his project “The Structure and Assembly of Peptide Aggregates.”

Darby Dyar, associate professor of astronomy and geology and chair of astronomy, has been awarded $35,625 by NASA for acquisition of a 4.5K Mossbauer spectrometer.

Gary Schmidt, visiting assistant professor of German Studies, will be a participant in a Fulbright seminar in Berlin this summer. This year’s topic is “Current Trends in Contemporary German Literature.”

The National Endowment for the Humanities continues to support Mount Holyoke faculty. Michael Penn, assistant professor of religion, has received an NEH summer fellowship for his new project on Syriac Christianity, a fine way to begin his sabbatical research on how early Syriac Christians understood their contemporary Moslem compatriots.

And Calvin Chen, Luce Assistant Professor of Politics, reports that he has received the An Wang Postdoctoral Fellowship for a year’s work at Harvard’s Fairbank Center for East Asian Research.

The NSF has awarded an $18,000 supplemental grant to geology professor Al Werner, the director of a 12-person team working on a project titled “Collaborative Research: A Synthesis of the Last 2,000 Years of Climatic Variability from Arctic Lakes.” The grant includes significant support for undergraduates cooperating on the research. And speaking of supporting undergraduate scientific research, emerita professor of chemistry Mary Kay Campbell, my spy, reports that our chemistry department “covered itself with glory” at the American Chemical Society national meeting. She counted ten Mount Holyoke presentations, all of which involved student coworkers.

Martha Ackmann, senior lecturer of women’s studies, has been on the road giving talks based on her recent book, The Mercury 13: The Untold Story of Thirteen American Women and the Dream of Space Flight. It has received the 2005 Book Prize from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. But my favorite of the long list of notices she has received is the book’s selection as the common reading for next fall’s orientation program at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.

James Morrow, codirector of SummerMath and lecturer in mathematics, and SummerMath have been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Mathematical Association of America/Tensor Foundation.

And the Five College Consortium has just heard that it will receive $337,000 from the Department of Education to support African Languages and African Studies. Our piece of that will be a Five College position in ethnomusicology, to be housed in our music department.

Do you remember the pleasures of the Weissman Center conference on Pontigny? Chris Benfey, Mellon Professor of English and former codirector of the Weissman Center, has just published a small book, War and the Iliad, with the New York Review of Books, which includes Simone Weil’s and Rachel Bespaloff’s essays on The Iliad, along with a lovely introduction by Chris himself.

The Smith College Board of Trustees invited the Mount Holyoke trustees to cocktails and dinner during the last February board meeting. The evening began at the Smith College President’s house. There, beautifully displayed, is a stunning portrait of Smith’s former acting president and dean, John Connolly, painted by Bonnie Miller, professor of art and chair of art studio. It is a rich and serene painting in its own right, but for those of us who know John, we could also appreciate how it captures so elegantly John’s spirit and wisdom.

Carolyn Collette, Professor of English Language and Literature on the Alumnae Foundation and chair of medieval studies, has two books on the way. The first is titled Performing Polity: Women and Agency in the Anglo-French Tradition 1385-1620. The second is a collection of essays Carolyn has edited, under the title The Legend of Good Women: Reception and Context.

Bob Shilkret, Norma Cutts DaFoe Professor of Psychology, has been a member of the faculty at the Smith College School for Social Work for many years. He has recently presented two papers at the Society for Research in Child Development with Ph.D. candidates at Smith. He and Yona Weiss reported on “The Importance of the Peer Group in the Israeli Kibbutz for the Development of Adult Attachment Style,” and Galina Markova and Bob presented “Relationships among Parents’ Attachment Styles, Mental Representations, and Institutionalization of Children in Bulgaria.” Bob also continues to publish regularly on his own research on control-mastery theory. His latest contribution, written with Sara A. Silberschatz, “A Developmental Basis for Control-Mastery Theory” is a chapter in G. Silberschatz, ed., Transformative Relationships: The Control-Mastery Theory of Psychotherapy, published by Routledge in 2005.

Connie Allen, dean of the classes of 2006 and 2007, will have an article published in The Journal of Chemical Education. The title is “Catalytic Oxygen Evolution by a Bioinorganic Model of the Photosytem II Oxygen-Evolving Complex.”

Indira Peterson has joined another disciplinary conversation. She recently gave a paper entitled “Peasants, Nomadic Hillwomen, and Birdcatchers: Landscape and Environmental Dialogues in Early Modern South Indian Literature” to the Environmental Politics Colloquium at Berkeley.

The current issue of The Journal of Social Philosophy includes an article by James Harold, assistant professor of philosophy, titled “Between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Value,” in which he calls into question both the distinction and the foundational theories that rely on the distinction.

Julia Whitworth, visiting instructor in theatre arts, has published a review of the local ensemble, Double Edge Theater, in Theater Journal, which is published by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

And one last and perhaps useful announcement: The Five College Publishing Day is set for Monday, May 16, from 10 AM-3:30 PM at the Smith College Campus Center, in the Carroll Room on the second floor. This brings publishers’ representatives to the valley, followed by lunch and time for individual appointments, as desired. A flyer with more details will come around soon.

Read previous issues of:

The March 2005 Gill Report

The February 2005 Gill Report

The December 2004 Gill Report

The May 2004 O'Shea Report

The April 2004 O'Shea Report

The March 2004 O'Shea Report

The February 2004 O'Shea Report

The December 2003 O'Shea Report

The October 2003 O'Shea Report

The September 2003 O'Shea Report

The May 2003 O'Shea Report

The April 2003 O'Shea Report

The February 2003 O'Shea Report

The December 2002 O'Shea Report

The November 2002 O'Shea Report

The October 2002 O'Shea Report

The September 2002 O'Shea Report

The May 2002 O'Shea Report

The April 2002 O'Shea Report

The March 2002 O'Shea Report

The February 2002 O'Shea Report

The December 2001 O'Shea Report

The November 2001 O'Shea Report

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