Francaviglia: Did Muslims Arrive in the Americas Before Columbus?

Please join us this Friday, October 10th at 3:00 pm in the Hatfield Room for the third Faculty Colloquium of this year.

Speaker: Richard Francaviglia, Visiting Faculty, Department of Religious Studies

Francaviglia

Title: Did Muslims Arrive in the Americas Before Columbus? Re-examining a Controversial Premise.

Abstract: The claim that Muslims reached, explored, and even settled the New World before Columbus has been debated for nearly a century. After summarizing the claims made by proponents of this view, as found in their books, magazine articles, and Websites, one regional case study will be highlighted. According to proponents, early Southwestern Native American pueblo architecture, petroglyphs, and place names of the “Anasazi” peoples offer clear evidence of Islam’s early presence. This claim not only challenges Native Americans’ beliefs, but is also in disagreement with the consensus of archaeologists and historians of discovery.

Given the complexity of this issue, this presentation recommends viewing the proponents’ claims differently — not [only] in light of science and objectivity, but also as subjective modern narratives about accomplishments in the “Golden Age” of Islam (ca. 750 to 1258 CE). Interestingly, claims about a Pre-Columbian Muslim presence are similar in design to claims by Afro centrists, and both have a similar sociopolitical dimension in that they serve to unify their advocates. Ultimately, though, religion rather than race is a major component of the pre-Columbian Muslim claims. Since 9/11 2001, when Islam began to redouble its efforts to validate its presence in the Americas, the narratives have become decidedly political. Ultimately, the claims of proponents are revisionist and challenge the established way of understanding and celebrating [American] history. If what proponents claim is true, the ramifications would be enormous: it would not only mean that Muslims essentially trumped the European Age of Discovery, but also that Islam in effect predates Christianity and Judaism in the New World. Small wonder, then, that this subject is so controversial and so passionately debated.


Ortwin Knorr & Puppy Love Faculty Colloquium

Ortwin KnorrPlease join us this Friday, October 3rd at 3:00 pm in the Hatfield Room for the second Faculty Colloquium of this academic year.

Our speaker will be:  Ortwin Knorr, Associate Professor of Classics
Title: Extreme Puppy Love in Martial 1.109

Abstract: 

Martial’s humorous praise song on the cute little dog Issa in Epigram 1.109 is a favorite among dog lovers and Latin textbook authors alike. Scholars have treated it as an “elegant compliment to a patron” (Fitzgerald  2007:185; cf. Sullivan1991:20: “written in pursuit of patronage”).

Such readings, however, overlook several red flags that suggest a very different type of content. In the very first line, e.g., Martial boasts that his Issa is “naughtier than Catullus’ sparrow”, that is, naughtier than the famous poem by Catullus (c. 2), in which the poet observes his beloved playing sexually suggestive games with her pet sparrow. Moreover, Martial’s praise for Issa in the first three lines of the poem is couched in terms of a “subtle erotic ambiguity” (Citroni 334). And finally, the alleged patron, like other victims of Martial’s invective, bears a suspiciously generic Roman first name, Publius, so that it is impossible to identify him with anyone in particular.

A closer examination of Martial’s Issa epigram will show that the poem cleverly uses the themes and vocabulary of elegiac poetry to lampoon both Issa’s owner as a man who loves his puppy a bit too much and the reader as someone who similarly struggles to decide whether Issa is a dog or a sexually attractive girl.

We look forward to seeing you there.


Faculty Colloquium: Art & Science in Cacadu

Please join us this Friday, September 19th at 3:00 pm in the Hatfield Room for the first Faculty Colloquium of this year. Our speaker will be Andries Fourie, Associate Professor of Art, speaking on Art & Science in Cacadu. FourieHis talk will focus on his recent mixed-media paintings and sculptures that examine the ecosystems, history and anthropology of the Cacadu District of South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province.

The work, which was produced in response to research conducted in South Africa in collaboration with Dr. David Craig of Willamette’s Biology Department and Dr. Richard Cowling of the Botany Department of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, explores the relationships between humans, animals and plants in Cacadu’s unusually diverse ecosystems. Cacadu is home to five of South Africa’s eight vegetation biomes, including the very unique thicket biome. Besides its ecological focus, the work attempts to come to a deeper and more holistic understanding of this unique place through an exploration of issues surrounding memory, identity and the notion of belonging.


Oregon Professors of the Year

As a fitting conclusion to the academic year, please join us for the final Faculty Colloquium, tomorrow, Friday, April 25, from 3-4 p.m. (please note the later starting time) in Ford Hall, Room 122.

The final faculty colloquium of this academic year features our current and former Oregon Professors of the Year, talking about–what else?–teaching. Professors Sammy Basu (Politics), Richard Ellis (Politics), Jerry Gray (Economics), Karen Holman (Chemistry), Frances Chapple (Emerita, Chemistry), and Roger Hull (Emeritus, Art History) will reflect on their experiences in the classroom at Willamette: what worked, what they learned, what they’re doing now, and what they might do in the future. . . .  (For all of Willamette’s Oregon Professors of the Years, visit http://www.willamette.edu/about/recognition/professor_of_the_year/)

This celebration of great teaching in the College of Liberal Arts will be followed by a reception in Ford Hall, Room 102 hosted by AVAA and University Librarian Deborah Dancik and the Office for Faculty Research and Resources.

Please join us for what we anticipate will be an engaging, even enlightening, few hours of reflection, conversation, and fun in Willamette’s newest academic building dedicated to teaching and learning.

Friday, April 25, Ford Hall, Room 122
Faculty Colloquium
3-4 p.m. Oregon Professors of the Year
4-6 p.m. Reception

Doreen Simonsen and Stephanie DeGooyer
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators

Patricia Alley, Associate Director
Office for Faculty Research and Resources.

 

Sammy Basu Karen Holman Jerry Grey Richard Ellis Frances ChappleRoger Hull

Laughing into the Abyss: Comedy’s Existential Howl

Dear Colleagues,

Please join us this Friday, April 11th at 2:00 pm in the Hatfield Room for this week’s Faculty Colloquium.

Our speaker will be:

Scott Nadelson, Assistant Professor of English; Hallie Ford Chair in Writing

Title: Laughing into the Abyss: Comedy’s Existential Howlnadelson_sm

Abstract: This talk on the craft and process of narrative writing explores the relationship between comedy and lamentation. I examine work by the Coen brothers, Nikolai Gogol, and Penelope Fitzgerald—with diversions to Lenny Bruce, Sarah Silverman, Richard Pryor, and The Office—to understand how writers use comedy to wrestle with the complexities of mortality, grief, faith, and compassion. I also discuss how comedy has played a role in my own recent work.

Doreen Simonsen and Stephanie DeGooyer
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators


Graphic Novels and Identity in Africa and the Diaspora

Dear Colleagues,

Please join us this Friday, April 4th at 2:00 pm in the Hatfield Room for this week’s Faculty Colloquium.

Our speaker will be:

Michelle Bumatay, Visiting Assistant Professor of French

Title: Graphic Novels and Identity in Africa and the Diaspora: A Visual Postcolonial Discoursebumatay_sm

Abstract: Former French President Charles de Gaulle’s famous claim that Belgian character Tintin was his only international rival speaks to the ubiquity of bandes dessinées (comics and graphic novels) in the francophone world. Similarly, in Peau noire, Masques blancs, Frantz Fanon highlights the popularity of bandes dessinées and points to the negative psychological impact of such texts on non-European readers who identify with Western explorer characters rather than with the racialized stereotypical images of non-European characters. One major factor for this is that the emergence and development of French and Belgian bandes dessinées took place during the height of European colonialism and subsequently drew from and participated in a visual culture—such as travel postcards, brochures and keepsakes from colonial expositions, and in particular advertisements for exotic goods such as Banania—that helped construct the European imaginary of Africa. My current work examines how contemporary cartoonists employ a wide range of visual and verbal strategies to subvert existing visual stereotypes of blacks and Africa prevalent in French-language graphic novels (the most ubiquitous example being Tintin in the Congo) and visual culture (including ad campaigns for exotic goods such as Banania). Focusing on cartoonists from West and Central Africa whose work dates from the 1980s to today, my work is chiefly concerned with the representations of postcolonial identity formation. Moreover, I contend that these cartoonists, by challenging mainstream European graphic narrative conventions, invite readers to question meaning-making processes and actively generate new ways of thinking of and visualizing Africa.

Doreen Simonsen and Stephanie DeGooyer
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators


Faculty Colloquium: Brandi Rowe

Dear Colleagues,
Please join us this Friday, March 14th at 2:00 pm in Cone Chapel for this week’s Faculty Colloquium. (Please note the change of location.)

Our speaker will be: Brandi Row Lazzarini, Associate Professor of Exercise Science

row
Title: Walking and harmony: Studying walking smoothness of older adults using the harmonic ratio.

Abstract:  Similar to the concept of musical harmony, a person’s walking motions can be constructive, or in phase with the base frequency (consonant), or destructive and out of phase with the base frequency (dissonant).  In biomechanics, walking ‘smoothness’ is quantified as the ratio of the amplitude of constructive and destructive acceleration harmonics.  In older adults, walking smoothness breaks down into more dissonant states caused by increased ‘out of phase’ motions, and this breakdown occurs faster in individuals at a higher risk of falling. My current work explores practical aspects of the use of this sort of biomechanical variable, such as whether it is impacted by walking on a treadmill, and whether it can be represented by clinical tests of stepping, which would have implications toward improving clinical assessment of mobility function.

Doreen Simonsen and Stephanie DeGooyer
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators


Faculty Colloquium: Erik Noftle

NoftleDear Colleagues,
Please join us this Friday, March 7th at 2:00 pm in the Hatfield Room for this week’s Faculty Colloquium.

Our speaker will be:

Erik E. Noftle, Assistant Professor of Psychology

Title: Are you a moral person? Examining the substance, stability, and outcomes of explicit moral self-views to gain insight into character

Abstract:  Classic work on moral development was focused on information-processing: how people responded to moral dilemmas was diagnostic of the moral person. Recently, the re-invigoration of a long-neglected personality approach regards morality more broadly as related to character (Hill & Roberts, 2010). Although useful frameworks exist for identifying and classifying traits that represent good character (character strengths, Big Five personality subcomponents), the current work examines morality at the broadest, most explicit level. The current study tracked over 200 participants, who are at the outset of the formative period of emerging adulthood, longitudinally across their first two college years. Several questions about moral development were pursued: Do people see themselves as typically behaving morally? Do those views change over time? Are moral self-views fatally biased or can they predict people’s character traits and important outcomes? Results suggest moral self-views capture some character traits but not all, and predict life goals, moral concerns, integrity, and adjustment in revealing ways.

Doreen Simonsen and Stephanie DeGooyer
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators


Faculty Colloquium, February 28th, 2014

Please join us this Friday, February 28th at 2:00 pm in the Hatfield Room for this week’s Faculty Colloquium.

Our speaker will be:fisherfull
Alison J. Fisher, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Title:  Isoprene synthase from heath star moss: A possible window into the evolution and function of isoprene production by land plants

Abstract:  Isoprene (2-methyl-1,3-butadiene) is the most abundant volatile organic compound (VOC) released from land plants.  Indeed, plants release over 600 million tons of isoprene each year into the atmosphere.  Once airborne, isoprene promotes the production of photochemical smog and other air pollutants and contributes indirectly to global warming.  In many seed plants, the enzyme isoprene synthase catalyzes the production of isoprene from its precursor, dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP).  However, the role of isoprene in plant biology remains elusive. While isoprene production by mosses is common, there are no previous reports of enzymatic production of isoprene in a moss.  We isolated and characterized a DMAPP-dependent isoprene synthase from cell-free extracts of heath star moss (Campylopus introflexus), and efforts are underway in our laboratory to clone the mRNA transcript that codes for this novel enzyme.  The discovery of the first isoprene synthase activity from a moss could shed light on the evolution, and possible biological function, of isoprene production in plants.

Doreen Simonsen and Stephanie DeGooyer
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators


Fulbright Scholar Program Panel

Please join us Friday, February 14th at 2:00 pm in the Hatfield Room for this week’s Faculty Colloquium panel discussion.

Title: The Fulbright Scholar Program

Abstract: If you have ever thought about applying for a Fulbright–still one of the most highly regarded international exchange programs in the United States and abroad–and have questions, come and talk with our experienced Fulbrighters. What’s it like to take your children to a foreign country on a Fulbright grant? What teaching assignments could you expect? What will you bring to the country you’re living in, and what could you expect to take away from the experience? These questions and many more can all be discussed at this Faculty Colloquium focused on the Fulbright Scholar Program.

Our panelists will include:

Ron Loftus (Japan, twice, Core Scholar Grant)
David McCreery (Jordan, Core Scholar grant and Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad leader)
Joyce Millen (Senegal, dissertation award and current Fulbright panelist)
Pamela Moro (Thailand, as a graduate student and Core Scholar)
Scott Pike (Greece, dissertation award)
Todd Silverstein (Norway, Core Scholar grant)
Bill Smaldone (Germany, twice, Core Scholar grant)
Mike Strelow (Spain, Core Scholar grant)

We hope that you will be able to join us.

Doreen Simonsen and Stephanie DeGooyer
Faculty Colloquium Coordinators