2005-06 Sabbatical Abstracts

Mark Allister, English Department Half year
I will write a set of creative nonfiction essays on men and men’s issues. Some pieces might address current events in a “masculinity” framework; some will take up issues relating to being a father and parenting two children; other essays might be responses to popular culture.

Deborah Anderson, Psychology Department – Full year
I propose to develop a research laboratory in health psychology within the Department of Psychology for my sabbatical. The time demands of teaching and other aspects of College life are such that it is difficult to develop a coordinated, functional plan of action for a research laboratory. My prior experience in analyzing large national databases in disability, health and aging, support this development. The elements that are needed to successfully implement this plan include increasing my expertise in certain methods and areas of health psychology as well as statistical methods through additional training, increasing my understanding of the administrative aspects of developing and operating such a laboratory, exploring possible collaborations at St. Olaf College, including participating in the Center for Integrative Research (an NSF funded collaboration between students, faculty and statistical consultants), exploring possible opportunities in the twin cities metropolitan area, exploring other relevant programs of research, applying for funding for specific research and/or for the laboratory development, and prioritizing and implementing the major areas of focus for the laboratory.

Anton Armstrong, Music Department – Half year
The primary focus of this sabbatical will be to conclude work on a choral music textbook focusing on the changing adolescent voice. The title of the textbook is “Practical Perspectives on the Adolescent Voice.” I am co-authoring this text with Andre Thomas, Director of Choral Activities at Florida State University. The Lorenz Publishing Company has indicated its interest to publish this monograph.

David Booth, Religion Department – Full year

Title: Dubious American Ideal: Gender and Historical Knowledge in The Crucible (Forthcoming in Soundings)

This essay takes the 1996 film version of The Crucible as an opportunity to reexamine gender and historical knowledge in Arthur Miller’s play, and so to ponder relations of literature, memory, and power. Employing the drama framed by the Salem witch trials to make a comment about McCarthyism, The Crucible offers to illuminate an enduring challenge for American moral life. In so doing it contributes to a widely (if uncritically) shared understanding about that happened at Salem, and what that episode means for American’s ongoing moral and political life. Regrettably, The Crucible significantly distorts the events at Salem. By misremembering that moment in the way it does, The Crucible continues a masculinist myth about American ideals, elements of which were already at work in Puritan society. Hence, The Crucible gives new life to precisely those stereotypes about women’s deceptiveness and sexuality that operated at Salem and justified women’s subjection. This essay addresses the broad question of the historical accuracy of The Crucible; it provides background materials for understanding women’s experiences of witch hunting; it suggests a rereading of The Crucible in light of women’s historical experience; and it concludes with reflections on the ways literature helps to construct a knowledge of history inscribed with power.

Eric Cole, Biology Department – Full year
During my sabbatical (2005/2006) I plan three types of activity, first publication of three manuscripts. All three of these projects explore different fundamental aspects of cell biology in the unicellular organism: Tetrahymena thermophila. I will also continue ongoing research on a newly discovered gene T-VASA, and develop a protein biochemistry project in collaboration with Drs. Doug Beussmann (Chemistry) and Robert Rutherford (Biology). I will be sharing results from our work at an international FASEB conference in Italy, August, 2005.

Second, I will work to develop a series of teacher training workshops in Developmental Biology, aimed at college and university professors. This is a continuation of some groundwork established over the past 8 years.

Third, I will work to publish research from undergraduates attending my Island Biology courses in the Bahamas, and help to establish a funded research program at the Gump Research Station on the Polynesian Island of Moorea.

Michael Fitzgerald, History Department – Full year
In brief, I have two major projects underway. The first is that I am well-overdue on a short history of Reconstruction for Ivan R. Dee press, a work intended for a popular audience and possibly for use as an undergraduate textbook. I have a draft of perhaps half of the chapters, and my first priority will be to wrap up the project. My longer term project is a full-scale history of the Civil War and Reconstruction era in Alabama, the first such overall study in a century. I have written two books and a dozen articles on aspects of this topic, and this project will be the culmination of decades of my scholarship. I have purchased or locally available some seventy reels of microfilm manuscript materials that I need to go through once more in order to do this project. To be frank, I don’t think I can finish the task over the course of this sabbatical year, but I anticipate finishing the research and some chapters.

Charles Gray, Music Department – Half year
During my sabbatical in Spring 2006, I intend to continue doing most of the same activities I perform during my “normal” term’s work but without the St. Olaf teaching component. I will practice, perform, conduct, attend conferences, recruit students and hear recitals, rehearsals, and auditions. The difference during my sabbatical will be the ability to extend each of these events into a more elaborate and meaningful experience. Also I have a great desire to see my family for more than the 90 minutes a day to which they have grown accustomed. I plan to perform recitals, conduct high school and professional orchestras and recruit prospective students in Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio. I expect to attend the National American String Teachers Convention in Kansas City. I intend to keep up with my present students as they perform their senior recitals here at St. Olaf, and contact prospective students who apply to St. Olaf. I intend to continue to represent St. Olaf College with the highest degree of professionalism and commitment and bring back more experience and understanding to my teaching.

James Hanson, Religion Department – Full year
I seek a sabbatical in order to complete work on a book project on the relationship between old and new testaments of the Christian Bible in the light of Jewish-Christian relations, entitled “A Shared Inheritance? Israel’s Scriptures and the Christian Bible.” Traditional ways of understanding the relationship (e.g. promise fulfillment, typology, law-gospel) have proved to be untenable, both because they are inherently supersessionistic, that is, they deprive the Jews of their status as God’s chosen people, as well as theologically inadequate, because they claim too much in asserting that in Jesus of Nazareth God has fulfilled all God’s promises. I am developing an approach to the problem that searches for thematic links between the testaments – especially the theme of the endangered and reaffirmed promises of God – in order to overcome these problems. Such an approach overcomes these problems by stressing the continuity between the testaments, the ways in which both Israel and the Church have “wrestled” with God, jeopardizing God’s promises, and how God’s faithfulness to both communities is shown in God’s continual reaffirmation of those promises.

Vicki Harper, Philosophy Department – Half year
The Right Stuff? Rights and Feminist theory

Although an appeal to rights may be useful for feminist politics, since the 1970s feminist philosophers have been highly critical of the concept of rights and of rights-based theories. For my sabbatical project I wish to examine recent work on the concept of rights in relation to feminist theory. What work does the concept of rights do? How might it be revised? Could a concept of rights be compatible with, and a useful addition to, feminist theory? I plan to present my conclusions at a departmental colloquium and, eventually, in an article to be submitted for publication.

Paul Jackson, Chemistry Department – Full year
The activities composing my sabbatical plan take the forms of discovery, creative professional development and dissemination. Three overarching goals frame the proposal: 1) to perform laboratory work on trace level chemical contamination in the Cannon River Watershed and to establish partnerships with local organizations in support of that effort; 2) to explore ways to incorporate green chemistry principles in analytical methodology used in my research as well as applicable to the chemistry curriculum; and 3) to invest time and energy into preparing and submitting manuscripts so that results of previous and current work can be disseminated to the community. The experience and skills acquired during my sabbatical leave will impact my teaching. Environmental sampling and analysis, scientific communication, use of GIS (geographic information systems), and green chemistry will find their way into the future course topics students and I explore.

Phyllis Larson, Asian Studies – Full year
Japan’s political and cultural imagination in the twentieth century developed through its interactions with the United States on the one hand, and China on the other. In the first half of the century the dynamic between China and Japan underwent enormous change, as a result of Japan’s disastrous course as an imperialist power in Asia.

I plan to explore Japan’s perceptions of China in the 1930s and 1940s through the eyes of two humanists: Nogami Yaeko, whose novel Labyrinth (Meiro) details the lives of Japanese intellectuals of conscience faced with a disastrous war against a country and civilization for whom they felt a deep affinity; and Uchiyama Kanzo, a Japanese businessman who operated a bookstore in Shanghai from 1917 to 1945, steadily advocated friendship with China, chose to live out the war years in Shanghai, and wrote several memoirs of his experiences, two of which I plan to read for this project.

Karen Marsalek, English Department – Full year
During the academic year 2005-2006, I will work on two book projects, both of which extend my previous areas of research and publication. The first project is a critical study entitled Resurrection as Subject and Theme in Early English Drama. It surveys the resurrection play tradition from 975 to 1623, addressing its changing religious and social roles. The book will have five chapters:

  • The Resurrection of Latin Liturgy
  • Taking it to the Streets: Sequences in Vernacular Cycle Plays
  • Resurrection and Reform
  • “Awake Your Faith”: Shakespearean Resurrections in The Winter’s Tale and Pericles
  • False Resurrections

During the sabbatical I will focus on Chapters 4 and 5. I will enlarge my existing study of Shakespearean resurrection to include Pericles, and will research and draft chapter 5, addressing false resurrection in both a medieval Antichrist play and Thomas Middleton’s The Second Maiden’s Tragedy (1611).

The second project is an edition for the Globe Quarto series. The series provides current, accessible editions of lesser-known Renaissance drama. Published by Routledge, the series is associated with London’s rebuilt Globe Theatre, and each edited play receives a staged reading. Through much of my editing work can be completed in Minnesota, I plan also to apply for short-term fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Newberry Library, and Huntington Library.

James McKeel, Music Department – Half year
My sabbatical projects will involve three facets of musical experience: Teaching, Performing, and Composing. Teaching improvements will include development of an Opera Workshop web link, an improvisation component for an expanded Advanced Acting for the Lyric Stage course, and application for ORC and ALS-A credit for both the workshop and course. Performing experience will involve an October Rogers and Hammerstein concert with the Cedar Rapids Symphony and preparation for a Spring 2006 recital based on singular characters such as Thoreau and Crusoe, among others. Composing opportunities will include completion of a musical for the St. Olaf Opera Workshop entitled The Love Sonnets of a Hoodlum and continued work on both a musical entitled Coney and a musical score for the independent film Plague with acclaimed New York author, illustrator, and filmmaker, Salvatore Murdocca.

Steve McKelvey, Mathematics, Statistics & Computer Science – Full year
For the 2005-2006 academic year I propose to visit Humboldt State University, part of the California State University System, in Arcata, California. During this time I will be a visiting associate professor of mathematics with no teaching responsibilities.

The Mathematics Department at Humboldt State is located within the university’s renowned College of Natural Sciences. In this environment I hope to learn from their long experience with integrating undergraduate mathematics education and research with environmental and ecological science in an intellectually rigorous and stimulating way. This is an undertaking that the mathematics department at Saint Olaf is just beginning. I also hope to define and undertake a personal research program in these areas.

Paul Niemisto, Music Department – Full year
My primary plans for a 2005-06 academic year sabbatical will involve:

  • Learning more about jazz and improvisation on the trombone, and how to teach it.
  • Continuation of my previous research in brass music history.
  • Leadership activities in community music and international professional associations
  • Several smaller projects, as time permits, including visiting and collaborating with colleagues in band conducting and low brass pedagogy in the nearly region, performing as a freelance brass player in the Twin Cities musical community, arranging and composing brass music, editing and publishing a hymn book.

Bruce Nordstrom-Loeb, Sociology/Anthropology Department – Full year
The sabbatical leave for 2005-2006 will have two main parts: in the fall (2005) a new course on gay lesbian issues for interim (2007 and beyond) will be developed, based on a review of recent scholarship discussions with faculty and social service providers in the field. In the spring (2006), a pilot research project will be conducted on the relationship between adult men’s religious faith and their understanding of their lives and decisions as males in American society, based on in-depth interviews with men from a variety of backgrounds. Both projects will be based in the Twin Cities, with no formal host institutions involved.

Dolores Peters, History Department – Full year
My sabbatical work focuses on several discrete projects in the traditional scholarship of discovery in the history of the medical profession in twentieth-century France and in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL), a field of inquiry that has emerged for me since my last sabbatical. My goals: to complete two article submissions (one in French history, one in SoTL); to present two conference papers on new work (one in French history and one in SoTL), to write at least two grant proposals for 2006-07 (one for a research trip to France, one for a SoTL opportunity sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation), and complete a small SoTL project begun in January 2006. I’m approaching the application for internal and external funding on the basis of a two- or even three-year cycle that includes my sabbatical year, using completed sabbatical projects scaffolding for grant applications for funding in the following year(s).

Marc Robinson, Russian Language and Area Studies – Full year
My proposed project is to work on a monograph looking at the search for an ethical identity in post-Soviet Russia using the narrative arts: Literature, Theater and Film. I will look at the narrative arts of literature, theater and film. The monograph will begin with the period of Perestroika as a transitional period and then progress through the Yeltsin and Putin presidencies. Throughout each period significant trends in the narrative arts will be outlined and analyzed with respect to the social and political context in which it appeared. Besides general trends within the narrative arts, specific works and/or performances will be treated if they have had considerable influence on the search for ethical and spiritual identity of the Russian people. This will incorporate the use of the stories told by Russians to shed light on the story of Post-Soviet Russia.

Anne Sabo, Norwegian Department – Full year
My proposed sabbatical project will dispute the so-called sexual freedom and gender equality in Norway and will explore potential remedies. The media objectifies women; men serve as desiring subjects. Pornography has been blamed for the media’s sexually explicit objectification of women; however, pornography has changed as its audience has grown to include more women. Women who find pornography offensive to their sexual identity have produced new counter-pornographies that affirm their subjectivity and agency, thus using pornography to promote a true sexual democracy. I will investigate these counter-pornographies and consider their potential to promote sexual freedom and equality while comparing them to other pornographic and sexually explicit material in circulation. Based on substantial yearlong research in Norway, I will discuss what is more or less inhibitive to sexual freedom and equality and recommend what kind of pornographic and sexually explicit material should be counteracted and what kind is worth advancing.

Judi Sateren, Nursing Department – Half year
Research has shown that motivational-enhancing approaches are associated with greater participation in treatment and positive treatment outcomes for individuals with addictive disorders. Since these individuals comprise a significant number of patients encountered by nurses today, it is important that students planning for health care careers become knowledgeable about these approaches. The focus of my sabbatical leave will be on the use of stages of change theory and motivational interviewing with individuals experiencing addictive disorders. I plan to study the use of these approaches in the Addictive Disorders Service at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center. In addition to enhancing my expertise in the area, this experience will assist me in the development of an elective course on addictive behaviors in American society.

David Schodt, Economics Department – Full year
I will undertake two scholarship of teaching and learning projects: (1) to write and submit for publication a teaching case on the official dollarization that Ecuador implemented during 2000; and (2) to create and submit for publication a series of web-based cases that will help students studying economic development use data and theory in ways that mimic the work of professional economists.

Mary Walczak, Chemistry Department – Full year
My sabbatical is designed to allow me to both complete projects underway and to set up my next era of scholarship. I intend to prepare manuscripts for publication about my Scholarship of Teaching and Learning CILA project, the departmental philosophy of putting instruments on carts, and the development of information technology literacy assignments for Analytical Chemistry. I also plan to develop expertise in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning to facilitate my scholarship over the next several years, as I move in a new scholarly direction. As part of the College’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute Grant, I will assist faculty colleagues working on interdisciplinary curricular issues by learning more about assessment and helping them build assessment strategies into the course they develop.