2013-14 Sabbatical Abstracts

Anton Armstrong, Department of Music – Semester II
I am applying for a Sabbatical Leave in the Spring Semester of 2014. I wish to have the opportunity to observe the work of other pedagogues whose work I respect and serve as role models throughout the choral profession nationally and internationally. Specifically, I wish to examine concert choral programming and the teaching of choral conducting at the collegiate level with these leaders in the choral field: Dr. Craig Hella Johnson, Artistic Director of CONSPIRARE; Dr. Andre Thomas, Director of Choral Activities at Florida State University, Tallahassee; and Dr. Joe Miller, Director of Choral Activities at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Princeton, New Jersey.

Wendell Arneson, Department of Art and Art History – Academic Year
I plan to use the 2013-14 year to continue my ongoing artistic study and studio work in the area of painting and drawing. The focus of this study will be dialogue/conversation between oil painting and mixed media drawing. I have found over the past year, and especially the past months, that the intuitive, gestural nature of my drawing is increasingly engaging and anxiously waiting to invade the nature and process of the painting. While working on this body of paintings and drawings I plan to study in a variety of locations from Vermont (the “Studio School”), New York City, desert southwest (Santa Fe Institute), and Northfield. Results of this sabbatical effort will be viewed in diverse solo and group exhibitions throughout the year, beginning with a solo exhibition at Luther College during fall 2013.

Christopher L. Chiappari, Department of Sociology/Anthropology – Academic Year
I am applying for a full-year sabbatical for the academic year 2013-14. During my sabbatical I propose to complete a book manuscript tentatively titled Living with Spirits: Religion, Identity and Power in Highland Guatemala, and to conduct 4-6 weeks of ethnographic fieldwork in Guatemala on Maya spirituality and Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal Protestantism. The University of Oklahoma has requested that I submit a book proposal on Maya spirituality and Protestantism in Guatemala, and this sabbatical will provide the time for me to complete a draft of that manuscript. As part of that process, I will conduct interviews and attend religious services in Totonicapán, Quetzaltenango and in Guatemala City.

Beth Christensen, Department of Music – Academic Year
I look forward to a sabbatical leave that includes work in both disciplines of my profession – music, and library and information science. In music, I will continue my work with the letters of American composer Carl Ruggles (1876-1971). I have collected most of his extant correspondence and plan to use the year to produce either a monograph of his selected and edited letters or, based upon this correspondence, several articles about his relationships with contemporary composers. I will also fulfill several committee and task force appointments within the Music Library Association. I look forward to having the time to visit music libraries throughout the country and consider innovative programs in information literacy. All of these endeavors allow me to approach libraries and music collections as a patron and observer – a refreshing vantage point that, in turn, enhances my ability to think creatively about music library space and service at St. Olaf College.

J. Patrick Dale, Departments of Political Science and Russian Studies – Calendar Year
My calendar year 2014 sabbatical leave project will be all or most of a draft of a manuscript on the political ethics of Czech playwright, dissident and President, Vaclav Havel, I am being encouraged by Charles Taliaferro. Cambridge UP is interested in submissions on the political ethics of modern political leaders. Vaclav Havel was a political man without political ambitions. He was a universal critic of state socialist and democratic social orders. For him, Western consumerism did not offer a better path to true civilization than did socialist anti-culture. He argued that individual identity is the sum of one’s responsibilities. His solution to social malaise: take responsibility, participate in civil society. He presented a new conception of the latter. I will be located in Slovenia where I have social and scholarly communities. This will ease access to the Havel Library in Prague and enable interviews with personalities once around Havel.

Charles Gray, Department of Music – Semester II
I will attend the National NCAA Convention held in January 2014, and the National American String Teachers Association Convention held in late February 2014. As the FAR at St. Olaf I have long wished to have the time to attend the NCAA National Conference. I will meet other FARs and learn more about my role of representing St. Olaf to the MIAC. The ASTA Convention is the premiere event in the string-teaching world.

I will present solo recitals in Naples, Florida, Columbus, Ohio, Wheaton, Illinois, El Paso, Texas and at St. Andre’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, MN. Performing is paramount in my work as a performance teacher.

I will work as conductor and string coach with HS orchestras and directors in Edina and Wayzata, MN. Working with two of the finest string programs in MN will give me a chance to learn what is working and what is missing in our string education system.

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.

David Hagedorn, Department of Music – Semester II
During my sabbatical leave I plan to study composition and arranging for the large jazz ensemble with various composers, both locally and nationally.

I will also prepare for a recital of music for one percussionist and other various instrumentalists.

Steven Hahn, Department of History – Semester I
My proposal is to take sabbatical leave for the entire 2013-14 school year in order to complete scholarly work. My current scholarly project consists of three articles on Atlantic piracy, first conceived during a 2011 CURI summer research project, that are in various early stages of development. My goal is to have each of them finished by the end of the sabbatical year, upon which I will submit them to scholarly journals. Concurrently, I will present my research at conferences to elicit feedback. I will conduct most of my work in Northfield, allowing for the possibility – if external funding can be obtained – of another short trip to London to conduct further research at the British National Archives.

Bob Hanson, Department of Chemistry – Academic Year
The proposed sabbatical will involve a number of projects, all involving the Open-Source molecular visualization project Jmol, all involving international collaborations, and all involving expected publication.

Joan Hepburn, Department of English – Calendar Year
I have three projects on which I plan to work during my sabbatical year. The first is to transfer from VHS my original footage of major Nigerian writers, Yoruba Festivals, and title ceremonies. I collected footage of such artists as Tutuola, Soyinka, and Osofisan but also captured images of chieftaincy, coronation, and seasonal events. My second project is about black child entertainers of the 1950s and 60s, and it will focus on my older brother Philip’s stage, television, and film career. Finally, I want to continue my work on the African Burial Ground in New York.

Martin Hodel, Department of Music – Semester II
I plan to interview and observe the teaching of several leading trumpet teachers in the United States and Germany. Through these interviews and observations, I will survey and summarize the technical, musical and pedagogical approaches and materials that each uses, and discern particularly effective strategies for use with my own trumpet students. The lesson observations will allow me to discover pedagogical elements that are used subtly, or even unknowingly. My inquiry will encompass three main areas: 1. Technical considerations, 2. Literature, and 3. Pedagogical Techniques. Though I will be based in Northfield, I will travel to the cities where the teachers are located to do the interviews and to observe their teaching. I will seek publication of a summary of my findings in The Instrumentalist or the International Trumpet Guild Journal.

Kim Kandl, Department of Biology – Calendar Year
I am applying for sabbatical leave for January 1 – December 31, 2014. There are several projects that I will undertake during this time. These projects vary in scope and duration. The four main projects are to develop the nematode worm C. elegans as a research organism, further develop and assess the intermediate genetics C. elegans labs, write and submit and RCN-UBE grant to NSF and process years of assessment data from my courses. I have included a timeline that includes additional planning that I will do in preparation for my sabbatical. Altogether, these projects will help me to wrap up unfinished projects (the assessment data), regenerate my research program, and strengthen the courses and laboratories that I offer St. Olaf students.

Julie Legler, Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science – Academic Year
I propose to visit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to work with researchers there on health-related Big Data analysis. The specific approach that interests me is “Systems Science Methodologies,” specifically a NIH program entitled, Systems Network Analysis: Using Connections and Structures to Understand and Change health Behaviors, under the supervision of Dr. Helen Meissner of the Office of Director of NIH. Dr. Meissner has confirmed an interest in working with and supporting me in this venture. I am planning on 1-3 months of site at NIH in Bethesda, MD. The focus of this work will be to learn how to use emerging Big Data techniques on questions related to biostatistics and public health. Dr. Meissner is one of the world’s leading researchers in this area and will be providing me the opportunity to work with one of the cutting edge research groups interested in developing both Big Data methodologies and applications.

In addition to my research at NIH, I intend to look at how to translate these methodologies and application to the undergraduate setting. To support this effort, during my time at NIH, I will visit the American Statistical Association (ASA) headquarters in Virginia to learn about what kinds of educational strategies the ASA is pursuing; for example, their new program called “Internet Data Analysis for the Undergraduate Curriculum.” I am particularly interested in beginning an exploration of a new statistics textbook which will incorporate this perspective. Coming off the completion of two textbooks in the last three years, I don’t intend to complete this project during my sabbatical year. However, I would like to gain more perspectives and techniques related to Big Data needed to develop this new text over the next 2-4 years.

Eric Lund, Department of Religion – 2/1/14 – 12/31/14
I am preparing an annotated version of Martin Luther’s 1535 text, “A Simple Way to Pray” for Fortress Press’ six volume study edition titled “The Essential Luther”. I am also contributing a number of articles to Baker Books’ forthcoming Dictionary of Luther and the Lutheran Tradition.

In addition I plan to write an article on Christliche Wanderschaft, a 1675 text by a jurist in Königsberg, Reinhold von Derschau, which is an interesting Lutheran contribution to allegorical pilgrimage literature. This text appeared three years before John Bunyan’s better-known “Pilgrim’s Progress” and has a curious indebtedness to a classical work, the Tabula Cebetis, that is worth further investigation.

I also plan to catch up on reading in my field that I have been unable to do while serving as Director of International Studies. I hope this will lead to another book-length project on reform currents within several church traditions in seventeenth century Europe.

Gordon Marino, Department of Philosophy – Academic Year
I am applying for a full-year sabbatical for the academic year 2013-2014 to write a book on the distinction between depression and despair, or again between psychological and spiritual illness. This analysis will involve a careful study of both the history of the concept of depression/melancholy in the western tradition. I will also scrutinize current research on depression, as well as the ways in which the funk is currently represented in the media and popular literature. I will draw upon the works of Soren Kierkegaard in this effort to examine the boundary line between depression and despair. Though I have yet to commit to a publisher, it was an editor from Princeton University Press who approached me about doing this study.

I plan to complete the book tentatively entitled, In Praise of Despair, by the end of summer of 2014.

Steven C. McKelvey, Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science – Academic Year
I propose to engage in research projects in two separate areas of professional research. First, I will continue in my work applying mathematical modeling to problems of natural resource management. I continue to focus on Phytophthora ramorum, the proximate cause of Sudden Oak Death, a disease with the potential to seriously deplete oak stands in the eastern US, particularly the Appalachian region. A second research project is to return to results from my doctoral dissertation. Here I defined a new mathematical object, the partitionable variational inequality (PVI), which has many very convenient and interesting theoretical properties while also representing the dynamics of many important equilibrium problems in transportation and economics. During my sabbatical leave I hope to devise and implement an algorithm specifically suited to solving PVIs.

Donna McMillan, Department of Psychology – Academic Year
During my sabbatical I plan to complete three manuscripts and to expand my understanding of the roles of place, culture, and geography in psychology. The first manuscript will integrate my studies exploring a hypothesized theoretical link between extraversion and extreme response style. The second article will rework a conference presentation on a study of park rangers, investigating aspects of the biophilia hypothesis, and the third manuscript will focus on a novel pedagogical approach that I have been using to teach research methods in psychopathology. The second main thrust of my sabbatical will be to investigate the roles of place, culture, and geography in psychology. Evidence suggests that psychological characteristics vary geographically, yet in their efforts to understand the person, psychologists frequently have ignored the potential influences of place and geography. I will address this topic in research and in travel and study abroad.

León Narváez, Department of Spanish – Interim and Semester II
Dr. Chrisopher Vaughan and León Narváez will write a book about the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) research model for undergraduate field research in Latin America. The outline of the book: a. history of the ACM in Costa Rica (1964-2012); b. early versions of the research model and the challenges faced that led to modifications in the model; c. how the research model has incorporated partial cultural immersion in a Spanish-speaking society and brings together an emphasis on rigorous research and developing cross-cultural understanding; d. the current model for promoting undergraduate field research in Latin America and what is required to sustain it; e. the impact of ACM undergraduate field research on the student, the community and available research data in different fields of study; f. why the ACM field research model for undergraduates is preferable to a number of other research models.

Nancy Paddleford, Department of Music – Semester II
I will observe both chamber music and vocal/piano coaching given by Eileen Cornett at Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. Eileen Cornett is a leading chamber music teacher and coach and has given a master class at St. Olaf College. In doing research for less known yet excellent piano repertoire written by Latin American composers, I have found valuable pieces. During my sabbatical I will continue this research. I will study several piano sonatas by Beethoven that I have never performed. I will read about them, listen to interpretations of them and play through these sonatas.

The performance of chamber music is one of the two key skills developed by a pianist. Following my sabbatical I expect to perform a program of chamber music including a Latin American work found in my research.
Studying the Beethoven sonatas would prepare me for performance and for teaching these major works.

Edmund Santurri, Departments of Religion and Philosophy – Semester I and Interim
I propose to take the half-year sabbatical option in the fall interim terms of 2013-2014. I will spend the period in Northfield, MN with the following four projects in view: (1) Study of William James’s theory of religion and the scholarly surrounds along with other materials to develop a section of the course “What is Religion?” and a possible scholarly product on “The Communitarian Critique of William James’s Theory of Religion.” (2) Complete an essay for a volume on “Virtue and the Moral Life” (solicited contribution for Lexington Press). (3) Do significant research and reflection for a possible essay on “Augustine and Social Justice” (solicited contribution for a volume with Rowman Press). (4) Research and reflection on “Christian Ethics and Self-Sacrifice” for a potential scholarly project.

William Sonnega, Department of Theater – Semester I
This project involves a Fulbright-sponsored residency at the University of Otago, in New Zealand, to support teaching and research on media and environmental communication issues. The premise of the project is that as populations urbanize, and human contact with the natural world diminishes, media representations of nature take on heightened social and political roles in film, television, the internet, advertising and marketing. Primary issues include the ethics of consumption, politics of climate change, and environmental effects of globalization. Through cross-cultural teaching and research, the project investigates how a mediated nature has helped or hindered environmental conservation agendas in New Zealand, and seeks to identify best practices in using media to inform public opinion and policy on environmental issues in emerging global contexts.

Nancy Thompson, Department of Art and Art History – Academic Year
Project Title: St. Bonaventure’s Theology of Light and Franciscan Stained Glass in Medieval Tuscany and Umbria

Why did the Franciscans, an order of friars especially dedicated to poverty, begin the decoration of their primary worshiping space in the upper church of San Francesco in Assisi c.1255 with a program of costly stained-glass windows? In the 100 years following the installation of the Assisi glass, numerous other Franciscan churches in the area, including San Francesco al Prato in Perugia, San Francesco in Terni and Santa Croce in Florence, were adorned with stained glass. In my four-chapter book that I will write during sabbatical, I will argue that St. Bonaventure’s theology of light and the importance he places on the sensory perception of light as a means to attain a connection with the divine prompted the Franciscan dedication to stained glass, thereby changing the course of sacred architecture in Italy.

Paul Zorn, Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science – Academic Year
I intend to spend my (full-year) sabbatical working on a textbook and related material for an undergraduate course in complex analysis.
This work builds both on my earlier experience in mathematical exposition and publication, on my experience teaching courses in complex analysis and in related areas, such as multivariate calculus and real analysis, and on considerable work I’ve done informally to bring high-level mathematical computation and visualization to bear on aspects of complex analysis.

The result should be useful in complex analysis courses taught here at St. Olaf, but also elsewhere. Some of this work is likely to be done in cooperation with colleagues Russell Howell at Westmont College and Alan Noell at Oklahoma State. Parts of the envisioned project would involve a workshop in Santa Barbara funded by the National Science Foundation.