Faculty Notes: Fall 2010



Professor of Art Shaw Smith, Associate Professor of English Ann Fox, and Professor of Mathematics Donna Molinek attended the Yale National Initiative last summer. The initiative is associated with the Charlotte Teachers Institute, an enrichment program for local high school teachers through which they take courses taught by faculty from Davidson and UNC Charlotte. The director of CTI is Molly Shaw ’02. Smith is teaching a CTI course this semester in “Reframing Modernism” at Charlotte’s new Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.


Associate Professor Karen Hales published a research paper in the journal DNA and Cell Biology with six student coauthors—Laura Bergner ’09, Eddie Hickman ’09, Katie Wood ’08, Hunter Stone ’09, Carolyn Wakeman ’09, and Tessa Campbell ’11—and three present and past lab technicians. The topic was the discovery of a gene that controls the relative timing of specific events during the formation of sperm cells in fruit flies. Separately, she published a commentary paper in the journal BMC Biology on fruit-fly sperm formation as an experimental context for studying iron metabolism.

Assistant Professor Sophia Sarafova has received a $43,000 Education Enhancement Grant from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center to help integrate technologies such as flow cytometry and gene transfer into Davidson College’s undergraduate research curriculum. The grant also supports the design and implementation of biotechnology education programs at K–12 schools, school systems, community colleges, private colleges, universities, and museums.

At the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Associate Professor Dave Wessner presented the results of work by the 12 students in his Biology of HIV/AIDS class. Their study concerned using the Internet to disseminate HIV/AIDS information to college and university students.


Visiting Associate Professor David Brown consulted with chemists from Celanese Corporation to design a catalyst that accelerates the degradation of cigarette filters. This new “green” process facilitates the breakdown of cigarette-filter litter into environmentally friendly cellulose and acetic acid (vinegar). The work was presented last summer at the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Conference, and at the Gordon Research Conference on Green Chemistry, which was held on the Davidson campus.


Associate Professor Keyne Cheshire presented and discussed his paper “Callimachus’ Hymn 5 and an Alexandrian Audience” in the Netherlands at a three-day workshop for 16 scholars of Hellenistic poetry. His paper argues that these hymns likely served the agenda of the Ptolemaic kings of Egypt by redefining Hellenic traditions on distinctly Egyptian terms suited to Alexandria and its population of first- and second-generation Greek immigrants.


Professor Kathie Turner served as the scholar-in-residence for the National Communication Association’s Institute for Faculty Development, working with faculty from around the country on topics such as teaching, research, service, and developing tenure dossiers. She also presented a program on leadership, and led a seminar on critical studies of gender in public discourse.


Johnston Professor of Economics and Vice President of Academic Affairs Clark Ross has been selected by the College Board to chair the test development committee for the advanced placement test in macroeconomics.


Assistant Professor Hilton Kelly published an article, “‘The Way We Found Them to Be’:  Remembering E. Franklin Frazier and the Politics of Respectable Black Teachers” in the journal Urban Education. Written in connection with the 50th anniversary of the publication of Frazier’s award-winning Black Bourgeoisie, the article argues against Frazier’s image of a materialistic and status-addicted black middle class in the Jim Crow South, and reconsiders the political nature of a respectability discourse among black teachers. Instead of limiting or constraining black teachers’ work, Kelly contends the politics of respectability actually gave them a sense of purpose and hope. Kelly also presented a paper titled “Marion Thompson Wright: A Life in Quiet Struggle,” based on his new biographical project, at a meeting of the American Educational Research Association.


Associate Professor Suzanne Churchill presented an invited paper at a colloquium on the topic of “Carrefour Alfred Stieglitz.” The weeklong interdisciplinary colloquium, which included art historians, literary critics, and artists from North America and France, was sponsored by the Terra Foundation and took place at a chateau in the Normandy province of France. Her paper was titled “Pas de deux: Mina Loy and Alfred Stieglitz Dance Dada,” and it concerned the curious convergence of Loy, a Futurist poet and femme fatale, and Stieglitz, great American patriarch of straight photography, in the proto-Dada little magazine, The Blind Man.

Armfield Professor Brenda Flanagan presented a paper titled “Using African American Literature to Encourage Diversity in Central Asia” at the International Diversity Conference in Belfast. She then traveled to Dublin at the invitation of the American Embassy to read her fiction and conduct creative writing classes. Also last summer, Flanagan conducted creative writing workshops and read from her short stories to thousands of students in Singapore at the invitation of the Singapore Litup Festival. Finally, Flanagan published a short story titled “Sea Baths” in the literary journal BIM.

Kenan Professor Gail Gibson taught a NEH Summer Institute on “Ritual and Ceremony” for college and university teachers at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington. Her focus was on childbirth dramas and rituals, from liturgical to domestic, as they changed from late-medieval to post-Reformation to Puritan England. Working at the Folger gave her an opportunity to discuss this topic using original documents, manuscripts, and early printed books in the Folger collections. Her resources included the famous Macro Plays manuscript, which contains the only surviving medieval English stage diagram, and a commonplace book in which an early English midwife inscribed both her pious notes from Sunday sermons and her medical remedies for childbirth ailments.

Professor Alan Michael Parker received two residency fellowships last summer for work on a new novel. One took him to the Fundacíon Valparaiso in Mojacar, Spain, and the other to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Parker also served as judge for the 2010 Lena-Miles Wever Todd Poetry Series Award from Pleiades Press.


Associate Professor of Russian Amanda Ewington published a book with Northwestern University Press titled A Voltaire for Russia: A.P. Sumarokov’s Journey from Poet-Critic to Russian Philosophe. Ewington’s book marks the first book-length study of A.P. Sumarokov (1717–1777), one of the neglected founding fathers of Russian literature. Where previous studies of Sumarokov considered him a largely derivative poet, who relied on the works of neoclassical French poets and playwrights, Ewington identifies a more profound and enduring influence in the career of Sumarokov’s renowned contemporary, Voltaire. As a poet excelling in an unprecedented range of genres, a literary critic, and later a philosophe, Voltaire represents a powerful model for Sumarokov as he sets out to establish a Russian literature and cultivate a Russian reading public. Ewington not only documents Sumarokov’s Voltaireanism, but uses it as a lens through which to examine previously neglected aspects of his career and examine concepts of literary “taste” and Enlightenment-era “philosophie” in Russia.

Professor Burkhard Henke directed the seventh annual German Summer Institute for secondary school teachers on Davidson’s campus. Sixteen participants from across the country attended the weeklong language immersion experience. Henke offered a course on foreign language pedagogy, while his colleague Professor Scott Denham taught one on poetry. The institute was sponsored by the German Federal Government.

Professor Maggie McCarthy gave a lecture at Duke University on “Quentin Tarantino’s Film, Inglourious Basterds, Popular Culture, and National Socialism.”

She also wrote an essay titled “Somnolent Selfhood: Winterschläfer and Generation Golf” in the journal New German Critique examining how both of those works represent a young, apolitical generation of Germans. Finally, McCarthy presented a paper on German feminism at the International Association of Germanists conference, which took place at the University of Warsaw.


Assistant Professor Thomas Pegelow Kaplan completed his residency as an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow at the Center for Research on Contemporary History in Potsdam, Germany, during the spring semester. In that role, he presented preliminary results of his current project on left-wing protest movements, representations of genocide and the transformation of memory cultures in 1960s West Germany and the United States at conferences at the University of London and at Bremen University. He also discussed his work in invited lectures at the Free University’s Berlin School for Comparative European History and at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena.


Associate Professor Tim Chartier produced essays on soccer and “bracketology” for the book Mathematics and Sports. Erich Kreutzer ’10 coauthored the latter essay. Because it coincided with the World Cup, Chartier’s soccer article prompted a query from a reporter from the Inside Science News Service, who included a quote from Chartier in a subsequent article on soccer balls. ESPN’s “Sport Science” show also contacted Chartier about an episode on the controversial new World Cup ball, and about another episode on the accuracy of soccer bicycle kicks. Chartier also serves on the advisory council for the new Museum of Mathematics, and has been involved with exhibit planning with that group.

Professor Richard Neidinger published an article titled “Introduction to Automatic Differentiation and MATLAB Object-Oriented Programming” in SIAM Review, the flagship journal of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Neidinger regularly teaches this topic in Davidson’s “Numerical Analysis” class, and the magazine’s education editors were enthusiastic to share how Neidinger’s approach can combine and enhance understanding of ideas in calculus, numerical analysis, and computer programming. Neidinger also presented the topic in a workshop at the Institute for Mathematics and Its Applications in Minneapolis, and his departmental colleague Professor Donna Molinek attended the event. The workshop kicked off the National Science Foundation-sponsored “Project MOSAIC,” which aims to improve undergraduate mathematics curriculum by integrating modeling, statistics, computation, and calculus.


Associate Professor Tara Chamra served as assistant conductor for the Hot Springs Music Festival in Arkansas, where she performed works by Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Haydn, and Ravel with the festival orchestra and chamber players. Chamra was also invited to rehearse with the Durham Symphony Reading Orchestra, and she participated in the International Conducting Workshop and Festival in Zlin, Czech Republic.

Milner Professor Bill Lawing and his spouse, Artist Associate in Piano Cynthia Lawing, participated in a two-week Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria. The festival featured the works of the great classical composers, and was located in Haydn’s hometown. Bill Lawing played in an international 40-member festival orchestra, and Cynthia Lawing played a festival piano program. Their performances in Haydnsaal, the primary performance hall in Schloss Esterhazy, where many of Haydn’s compositions were premiered, were a highlight for both. Bill Lawing also performed a Haydn mass as part of Sunday Mass in St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the central landmark of Vienna.


Associate Professor John Yukich collaborated this summer with physics major Wade Morgan ’12 to pursue a new research project in molecular laser spectroscopy. The project builds on a foundation started by Andy Muhich ’09, and the original idea for the project was inspired by the senior honors project of James Wells ’07. Yukich and Morgan are measuring the relative probability of photodetachment from the S2-molecule. Results from the experiments will yield a measurement of the binding energy of the extra electron in the negative ion.


Professor Kristi Multhaup, Chris Davoli ’04, Sarah Frey ’08, Kindiya Geghman ’03, Kelly Giles ’09, Julia Philpott Martin ’02, and Phia Salter ’05 wrote an article titled “Three models for undergraduate-faculty research: Reflections by a professor and her former students” for the journal CUR Quarterly. The article describes the benefits and drawbacks of the models for students and for faculty.

Watson Professor Ed Palmer reviewed two manuscripts for publication. “Hair Color and Stereotypes in Relationships and the Workplace” had been submitted to The Eye of Psi Chi publication for the psychology student honor society, and “The Nag Factor: A Mixed Methodology Study of Young Children’s Requests for Advertised Products” was for The Journal of Children and Media. Palmer also participated in a Gettysburg College Choir celebration of its 75th year. A central part of the celebration was unveiling of a statue of choir founder and director Parker B. Wagnild. At the unveiling, Palmer presented the tribute he delivered during Wagnild’s memorial service in 1992.

Associate Professor Scott Tonidandel recently published a paper in the Journal of Managerial Psychology titled “Overworked in America?” that examined the psychological impact of work hours, immigrant status, and interpersonal treatment on work outcomes such as burnout.


Craig Family Distinguished Professor Doug Ottati is serving as president of the Society of Christian Ethics this year and recently represented the society at a meeting of the Society for the Study of Christian Ethics in Cambridge, England.


Associate Professor Gayle Kaufman attended the International Sociological Association’s World Congress in Gothenburg, Sweden. She presented research papers titled “Family Transitions and Changing Gender Role Attitudes in Sweden” and “Parental Leave Among Fathers in Britain and the United States.”

King Associate Professor Gerardo Marti led a session titled “Scholars and National Leaders of the Emerging Church Movement” at the annual meetings of the Association for the Sociology of Religion. The session brought together social scientists and practitioners to describe the movement and its significance to the continuing development of global Christianity. Marti also published two articles in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion based on his research among racially diverse churches. They were titled “The Religious Racial Integration of African Americans into Diverse Congregations,” and “When Does Religious Racial Integration ‘Count’? A Caution about Seeking Ideal Ethnographic Cases.”


Associate Professor Sharon Green presented a paper titled “Staging the Mommy Wars: Lisa Loomer’s Distracted and Living Out,” at the American Literature Association Conference. The paper provides a feminist analysis of Loomer’s representations of motherhood.


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