2012-13 Sabbatical Abstracts

Richard Allen, Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science – Semester II
Mathematical logic provided the theoretical basis for the design of the traditional one processor declarative programming model. In recent years both the logical basis and the implementation techniques of declarative design have advanced to support declarative languages running on multiprocessors supporting parallel computation. This project will focus on the logic that supports this development and on the newly developed BLOOM declarative language for parallel programming with the aim to execute parallel versions of selected classical algorithms as well as to frame this work as a natural extension of the logic programming paradigm for algorithm development.

Wendy Allen, Department of Romance Languages – Semester II
I propose a project of consolidation, research, reflection and writing the goal of which is to produce two or three publishable articles on the teaching learning of culture in the second language classroom. This project draws upon previous research and upon teaching carried out at St. Olaf College and at the University of Minnesota.

Mark Allister, Departments of English and Environmental Studies – Interim and Semester II
During my sabbatical leave, I will write the first draft of a book tentatively titled Chasing the Light of Cloud Cult. Led by Craig Minowa, lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter, Cloud Cult is an indie rock band that plays gorgeous orchestral rock. They are famous in environmental circles as the greenest band in the country. Their music has been most influenced by the tragic death of Minowa’s young son which led Minowa through his grieving to become a philosophical and religious seeker – a kind of mystic. My book will both tell the band’s compelling story and interpret their music in frameworks about grieving, autobiography, transcendentalism, the business of indie rock, and environmentalism.

Kathryn Ananda-Owens, Department of Music – Academic Year
Classical audiences know and love the piano concertos of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart but seldom think about who composed the music during those daring virtuosic exposés, or cadenzas, towards the end of most concerto movements. Mozart left room for such exploits but in several important cases provided neither cadenza nor guidelines for composing or improvising one. During my sabbatical, I will complete a book in progress, Mainly Mozart, examining the stylistic features of the cadenzas Mozart did compose, and offering detailed parameters for pianists and composers hoping to write their own cadenzas in the style of Mozart. My work draws on the scholarship of such Mozart luminaries as Eva and Paul Badura-Skoda, Friedrich Neumann, and Robert Levin, as well as recent considerations by scholars of eighteenth-century music on relationships between eighteenth-century rhetorical traditions and the eighteenth-century cadenza.

David Booth, Department of Religion – Academic Year
The purpose of my sabbatical leave is to exam the studies of religious rhetoric and sexuality. I will explicate the rhetoric of two patterns of religious argument about minority sexual identities. One pattern relies on the constructs “disgust” and “purity.” Following Nussbaum’s analysis of the role of disgust in judicial reasoning about sexuality, and Douglas’s interpretation of purity in Leviticus, I will show that neither the rhetoric of disgust nor the rhetoric of purity is a sound basis for depriving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender persons of civil rights or of full welcome in Christian communities. A second pattern juxtaposes “self-discipline” with “self-indulgence” in religious arguments about sexualities. The juxtaposition seeks to depreciate same-sex desire as intrinsically egoistic and exploitative. But the distinction is drawn inconsistently and relies on theologically inadequate understandings of sexuality, embodiment, and sexual identities. I will show that, given appropriate understandings of desire and embodiment, the simplistic contrast of self-discipline with self-indulgence is an unhelpful scheme for rendering moral or theological judgments about same-sex relationships.

Heather Campbell, Department of Education – Interim and Semester II
During this sabbatical leave, I propose to (1) spend a significant amount of time working with teachers in public school classrooms; (2) author several articles for submission to peer-reviewed journals. As a licensed reading, special education and English as a second language (ESL) teacher, I propose to work with teachers at Phalen Lake Elementary school on a project to improve reading and writing assessments and interventions for English learners and students with special needs. While I primarily want to spend time developing best-practice reading and writing intervention strategies for use in classrooms, I also plan to write and submit articles based on several years of research with teachers at Phalen Lake Elementary and with McNair Scholars and CIR interns.

Douglas Casson, Department of Political Science – Interim and Semester II
I plan to write a book on civility. By bringing together a range of philosophical writings from eighteenth-century Scotland to twentieth-century Germany, I hope to explain (1) why calls for self-regulation often breed discontent in modern western societies and (2) why nonetheless conformity toward socially established expectations of respect, tolerance, and consideration is a crucial part of living in just communities. Since calls for civility can sometimes appear naïve or even oppressive, I aim to provide a more nuanced account that takes seriously the uniquely conventional, or socially embedded, aspects of civility. Distinguishing between civility as pretense (which conceals genuine political and religious conflict) and civility as civic virtue (which promotes candid debate between equal citizens), I argue that a disposition toward civil discourse and civil conduct is not only a precondition for just social interactions but also a result of such interactions in the context of moral pluralism.

David Castro, Department of Music – Semester I
The primary purpose of my proposed sabbatical is to catch up on the backlog of professional activity projects that has built up over the last three years, which includes Comprehensive Aural Skills, a textbook I am co-authoring that includes materials for the performance and dictation of rhythms, melodies, and harmonic progressions. I also have two articles that are approaching completion, the first of which is a Schenkerian study of tonal structure in selected pieces by D. Shostakovich, a study which is nearing its completion. The second article-length project presents a novel approach to teaching melodic dictation that is based on research in music cognition. The method I have developed isolates melodic contour from scale degree recognition and recall in order to improve student familiarity with the latter and arguably more crucial domain. A sabbatical would allow me to complete these projects and explore the viability of others.

Eric Cole, Department of Biology – Academic Year
I will pursue a portfolio of projects during my 2012-2013 sabbatical. The first project involves completing a 3-D electron microscopy investigation of a protozoan culminating in a manuscript with undergraduate co-authors. This will take place at U.C. Boulder in the fall of 2012 with Dr. Mark Winey. The second involves travel to San Salvador Island where I will complete experiments on molluscan sex-determination. I’ll also begin writing a book, summarizing 15 years of natural history explorations on the island. This will take place in January, 2013. The third project involves learning state-of-the-art fluorescence microscope imaging of live cells in the laboratory of Dr. Chris Janetopoulos, Vanderbilt University. This will take place in the spring of 2013. Finally, I will be navigating a transition from serving as co-leader to leader of a Developmental Biology Workshop at the Darling Marine Center in Damariscotta, Maine in June of 2012 and 2013.

Jeane DeLaney, Department of History – Academic Year
I will use this sabbatical to make final revisions of my manuscript Imagining Argentina: Nationality and Identity after 1810. In addition, I plan to complete an essay titled “National identity and Immigration in Argentina, 1850-1950” for a forthcoming volume on immigration in Latin America, edited by Nichole Foote and Michael Goebbel. I also hope to rework and amplify a conference paper on Argentine folklore and national identity into a publishable article. Finally, I plan to begin an entirely new project on museums and collective memory in Cuba, focusing on the Museum of the Revolution in Havana.

Steven Freedberg, Department of Biology – Academic Year
I plan to spend my sabbatical year developing programs for use in bioinformatics research and teaching. Aimed at addressing questions relevant to mutagenesis (the formation of mutations) in animal genomes, these projects will take an important first step in parsing large user-inputted databases into formats ripe for undergraduate research. Partially in collaboration with Dr. Sarah Schaack, geneticist at Reed College in Oregon, development of the programs will allow for statistical analyses that examine the role of various life-history measures in mutation accumulation. Using the Perl programming language, I will write programs that take large user-inputted databases and extract entries for use in statistical comparisons of molecular and life history datasets for several animal lineages. The results of the work can shed light on some of the fundamental questions in evolutionary genetics research.

Mary Griep, Department of Art and Art History – Academic Year
I will continue work on the Anastylosis Project, a series of large scale drawings of monuments of the medieval era — a body of work that is conversation between drawings of widely scattered sites and widely disparate traditions. Having finished the latest large drawing (from Greece) and completed research for an Indian site, it is appropriate to step back to contemplate the project, rethinking scale and format, rather than jumping into the next drawing. With this in mind I applied to, and was accepted by, the Artist Residency Program of the Kunstlerhaus in Salzburg, Austria, where I can reflect and research in a medieval city in conjunction with other artists. I will return to my studio in the fall and have the balance of my sabbatical year to work with the raw materials and new thinking from my time at the Kunstlerhaus.

Anne Groton, Department of Classics – Calendar year 2/1/13-1/31/14
I will finish writing a book-length commentary on Menander’s Aspis (“The Shield”), an ancient Greek comedy of manners. Dating from 300 BCE, it was discovered on papyrus sheets in Egypt during the 1950’s and first published in 1969. The commentary, being considered for publication by Oxford University Press, is designed for intermediate- or advanced-level Greek students. Its aim is not only to help them translate the 544 existing verses of the play but also to help them appreciate Menander’s artistry and his importance in the history of drama, while introducing them to the sub-fields of papyrology, metrics, and textual criticism.

James Hanson, Department of Religion – Semester II
I will use my sabbatical leave in the fall semester of 2012-13 to write, prepare, and perform a dramatic monologue based on the Apostle Paul’s life and thought. The project stems from a relatively new approach to Biblical Studies called “Performance Criticism,” which recognizes the originating oral dimension of most Scripture, and attends to the ways in which individual writings would have been prepared for oral presentation to an audience. While based in this approach, the project also has a creative dimension in that it attempts to formulate a coherent picture of Paul from his various letters. Emerging from the sabbatical will be both a staged performance of the monologue (in the spring of 2013), as well as a journal article which reflects on the significance of the experience itself and its implications for interpreting and understanding Paul’s life and thought.

Gerald Hoekstra, Department of Music, Interim and Semester II
My principal project will be a study of the role of rhetoric in musical composition before 1600, and specifically in motets of Adrian Willaert (c. 1490-1562) and Orlande de Lassus (c. 1532-1594). This will primarily involve analytical study of musical scores, but it will also require research into the education of young musicians and examination of sixteenth century theoretical treatises. Musicologists have long recognized the importance of rhetoric in the shaping of musical composition during the Renaissance, although several recent studies have explored the role of rhetoric in the Baroque, few have given more than cursory attention to its role in the sixteenth century.

Ted Johnson, Department of Biology – Interim and Semester II
My proposed sabbatical project involves three separate areas of study. The main project would be the development of current advising materials for faculty and students incorporating information about the 2015 MCAT as well as the use of multiple mini interviews in the admissions process. Secondly procedures would be established to collect, tabulate and present data on the success rate of students applying to medical school and related medically oriented programs. Finally, case studies will be developed based on past case studies developed by St. Olaf immunology students for use in future immunology classes. A majority of the sabbatical will be spent in Northfield with several trips to medical schools in the East and South East. This sabbatical will enable the preparation of materials for the next generation of health professions advisors and immunology professors.

Anna Kuxhausen, Department of History – Academic Year
I plan to work on four projects during my sabbatical year. First, I will complete the final revisions on my book manuscript, From Utero to the Body Politic, which is under contract with the University of Wisconsin Press. Second, I will expand my research on the Russian physician Nestor Maksimovich-Ambodik and his efforts to establish obstetrical and pediatric medicine. I hope to locate enough material to develop an article or to begin to plan a monograph. Third, I plan to complete an article-length project entitled “The Story of the Specimen: From Human Spectacle to Anatomical Display.” My fourth project involves developing a new research topic. I would like to expand my current interests in midwifery, pediatric medicine, maternity, and the history of the body into other periods in Russian history.

James McKeel, Department of Music – Semester I and Interim
During my sabbatical leave I will write the libretto and compose music for a musical theatre work entitled Igor Has Eleven Faces which will be about the awkward life journey of a young man. It will be premiered during the Interim of 2014 with a cast and orchestra of St. Olaf students. Also, in conjunction with the Lyric Theatre season, I will create a business plan and handbook for present and future directors and I will also update and improve the Lyric Theatre web page.

Paul Niemisto, Department of Music – Academic Year
I plan to participate in a Fulbright Teaching and Research Grant Program to Finland for the fall semester visiting the Finnish National Library, the University of Helsinki , and teaching at the Sibelius Academy and other music universities. I will continue my ongoing research about the military brass bands of the autonomous era of the late 1800’s. The second half of the year will include joint research effort with a colleague in Lille, France: Prof. Jean Jeltsch Director of “Centre de Formation de Musiciens Intervenants” Université Charles-de-Gaulle. My 2009 paper on the Russian horn capella is developing into an experiment using the old Russian folk horns as music pedagogy tools. As time permits I will also collaborate with colleagues in my discipline in the nearby region, perform as a brass player in the area, arrange and compose brass music, organize a festival/ conference, and complete some articles.

Bruce Nordstrom-Loeb, Department of Sociology/Anthropology – Academic Year
My sabbatical project will explore two aspects of the way our understanding and practice of “family” has been changing in response to political, economic, religious and cultural changes in the U.S. and abroad. The larger part will involve a study of the political and religious campaigns around the proposed amendment to the Minnesota constitution to restrict “marriage” to one man and one woman, on the ballot in November 2012. Data will be gathered both through qualitative interviews and content analysis of the rhetoric of the organizations and media involved. The smaller part is to look at the ways in which family life and gender roles have been changing in post-Soviet Estonia and Lithuania, and compare those changes with those in Norway and Sweden, based partly on my time in the first three (Estonia in 2011, Lithuania in 1997, and Norway in 2007).

Dolores Peters, Department of History – Academic Year
During this sabbatical year I’ll pursue several discrete projects in the scholarship of discovery (history of the medical profession in twentieth-century France), in the scholarship of teaching and learning, and related to my teaching. During my sabbatical I need to: 1) complete and submit for review at least two articles, and 2) position myself to apply for funding to resume archival research in France during my next sabbatical cycle. Projects with the highest priority will therefore be the completion and submission for review of these two articles: “The Medical Politics of the French Resistance, 1942-47” and “Framing Student Learning: Information Literacy and the Discipline of History,” co-authored with Reference librarian Kris MacPherson.

Anantanand Rambachan, Department of Religion – Academic Year
During my sabbatical I plan to complete a book-manuscript, The Liberative Theology/Teachings of Advaita. My aims are twofold. First, to offer a discussion of the meaning of Advaita that is accessible to the general reader and that responds to the increasing interest in the United States for meaningful insights from the teachings of the world’s religions. Second, to select issues of critical contemporary concern and show how the central teachings of Advaita provide a critique of these and the theological grounds for their overcoming. The following are some of the issues: Caste and human inequality; Gender Injustice; Poverty; Homophobia. In relation to each of these issues, it is my intention, to highlight the problems of suffering and injustice, and to establish why the status quo is theologically unacceptable. I wish to identify also the core values that must inspire action to transform oppressive structures.

Marc Robinson, Department of Russian Language and Area Studies – Academic Year
My primary focus will be on the study of contemporary theater and film. I will look at the transition being made from the naturalism of Stanislavsky throughout the twentieth century to the experimental theater of today. I will also study the interrelationship of contemporary Russian film and theater. I will look at the interplay between theater troupes and film series as well as the use of film in theater and the importance of theater (playwrights, directors, actors) to contemporary Russian film. I will read film and drama theory and criticism to look at the differences between these performing arts as manifested in Russia. I will also explore innovative ways of utilizing technology to internationalize our campus – most specifically to explore streaming of contemporary Russian theater to our campus. Finally I will also explore more international internships for our students.

Jamie Schillinger, Department of Religion – Academic Year
My proposed sabbatical project for 2012-2013 involves the completion of a manuscript on how contemporary religious virtue ethicists can develop theological, ethical, and philosophical trajectories in the Enlightenment thought of Jonathan Edwards. This manuscript has been in development for many years, parts have been spun out into journal articles, and currently over half of it is in polished draft form. I plan a year of focused writing that will allow me to complete three tasks: two unfinished chapters (one on the virtue of compassion, and the other on what can be preserved and what must be revised in Edwards’ critique of naturalistic virtue), and all necessary revisions involved in relating those two chapters to the whole manuscript.

Mary Walczak, Department of Chemistry – Semester I and Interim
My sabbatical proposal involves completing work in three areas. First, I will complete four classroom teaching activities for Analytical Chemistry and an accompanying Instructor’s Guide. I have been involved in this NSF-funded ANA-POGIL project for the last five years. My second project is to analyze data I have collected using two different strategies for enhancing students’ metacognitive abilities. The goal of this teaching strategy is to help students better self-assess what they do and do not know. My third goal is to complete an analysis of the effectiveness of the large classrooms in Regents Hall of Natural Science. The building was designed with four different floor plans for the large (56-100 person) classrooms. Now that we have been teaching and learning in the building for three full years, we are in a position to assess the effectiveness of the different designs.