2011-12 Winners

The selection committee made “Magnus the Good” awards to four research teams in 2010.Faith-based Commodities: Media, Ministry and the Branding of Religion

Perception and Production of Recent Japanese Loanwords in Mandarin Chinese: A case of deshoo ‘probably’ and zenzen ‘not at all’


Theater Architecture

With “Faith-based Commodities: Media, Ministry and the Branding of Religion,” Bill Sonnega (Theatre, Media and Film Studies) and Emilie Bouvier ’12 (French, Individual Major-Christian Worship and the Visual Arts) investigate the relationship of media and religion from two primary and at times competing perspectives: 1) the use of media by religious organizations, utilizing the tools and strategies of visual media, and 2) representations of religion in popular culture, from films depicting the life of Christ, to novels about the evangelical experience, to blogs debating the separation of church and state.  In view of an increasingly global and heterogeneous discourse on religion, we are interested in the ways contemporary religious organizations articulate the relationship of the church to society, and in a mediated age disseminate messages about God, faith and community.

Rika Ito (Asian Studies and Linguistics Studies) and Yunxiang Dai ’13 (Biology and Chemistry) will conduct a sociolinguistics study of a recent development of Japanese loanwords in Mandarin Chinese among young Chinese. They plan to analyze the production and perception of recent Japanese loanwords such as the adverb zenzen ‘not at all’ and the sentence-final expression deshoo (probably’; tentative form of the copula desu ‘to be’) by Chinese college students who live in Beijing and Shanghai, the two largest urban centers in China. The study seeks to investigate estimated frequency of these loanwords used in daily spoken and written communication, and the images associated with the loanwords, as well as the users of these loans, and the awareness of the origin of these loans by young college educated Chinese.

“Place/Space/Time” is a collaboration by Mary Griep (Art and Art History) and Addie Rosenwinkel ’13 (Studio Art, Film Studies concentration) to produce a work or works of art for inclusion in an invitational art exhibition at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in January 2012. Reflections on both their process and final product will be included in a catalog to be published in conjunction with the show, which will be in MCAD’s main gallery. There will also be a panel discussion on the process of collaboration in the visual arts.

Brian Bjorklund (Theatre) and Ben Olsen ’13 (English; Individual Major-Architecture and Design) will investigate the architectural principles of theaters and other performing art venues. They plan to a) become familiar with the performance spaces at St. Olaf College, and visit college and other performance venues in Minnesota, in an effort to identify the building features unique to theaters, and then b) survey the designs and current industry standards of state-of-the-art theaters at the USITT (Association for Performing Arts and Entertainment Professionals) Conference in Long Beach, CA in March 2012. Goals are to gain firsthand experience of structural and systems options for theaters; complete the preparatory research required to design a performance venue; and understand the current state of the theatre industry in terms of facilities, systems, and space usage, in order to prepare a recommendation about options for renovation and expansion of the Speech-Theatre Building, which is slated for standard upgrades in 2016, and accrue research for improving the Theatre Department and the quality of the theatre major in preparation for re-accreditation review by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) in 2013.