Faculty Projects 2013

Sarah Bishop

Poetic Performance, on the Stage and Online

Sarah Bishop, Assistant Professor of Russian

My project will investigate the performance of poetry—how theater and other performative arts transform the poetic text.  My most recent research has focused on the renowned Moscow theater director Kama Ginkas’s stagings of short stories by Anton Chekhov.  Ginkas presents the stories almost verbatim, yet he transforms the words through the interplay of multiple voices—characters share and battle over lines, moving back and forth between harmony and cacophony, humor and violence.  This summer, I would like to extend my investigation of literary performance into poetry.  I plan to examine Tatiana Morozova’s recent staging of “Kinfiia” (“Cynthia”), a cycle of poems written by Elena Shvarts from the perspective of an invented Roman poet.  I have written extensively on Shvarts, and I am eager to combine my interest in her poetry with my new research on performance.  As an extension of this research, I plan to read more broadly about recent trends in poetic performance, including new media forms such as flash and twitter poetry. 

I imagine collaborating with students who are interested in adaptation studies (moving artistic texts across generic borders), performance studies, or new media forms of poetry in any cultural tradition.  Students could participate in the project either through critical research (examining a particular form of poetic performance) or through a creative performance of their own.

Read more


Mike Chasar

Poetry and New Media in Modern America

Mike Chasar, Assistant Professor of English

During the summer of 2013, I will be continuing my research on American poetry, exploring: 1) how poetry was broadcast, transmitted, and projected by non-print and “new” media forms like magic lanterns, radio, film, and television; and 2) what poetry added to new media in the way of cultural prestige or popular appeal.

More specifically, I’ll be working with two sets of materials. The first is a set of glass magic lantern slides that were used to project poems and hymn lyrics for group reading. Magic lanterns were used from the 1600s onward to project images, but only around 1900 did they get used to project language; as such, they helped usher in new media reading practices that would eventually anchor how we read subtitles, text crawlers, and internet or Flash-based language creations today. The second set of materials is a group of scrapbooks, books, magazines, and recordings of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s book-length World War II propaganda poem, The Murder of Lidice. The pro-U.S. poem was printed in paperback, published in entirety in Life magazine, performed by Hollywood actors and broadcast on national radio, translated into Spanish and Portuguese and shortwaved to South America and Europe, and recorded on vinyl and sold in a three disc set. Even though it may have been the most widely distributed poem by an American poet in the entire century, no one has studied it at any length, and I’m curious about how the conversion into multiple media forms affected Millay’s poem as well as how audiences responded to it.

Read more


Sammy Basu

The Arts and Nazi Germany

Sammy Basu, Associate Professor of Politics and American Ethnic Studies

Among the many lessons about the sustainability of a democratic polity that can be drawn from the establishment and subsequent collapse of the Weimar Republic (1919-1932) and rapid consolidation and eventual demise of the Nazi Third Reich (1933-1945) is the importance of a favorable public sphere.  The cultural attitudes, interpretive capacities, and behavioral habits of citizens in the public sphere have a profound impact on the legitimacy of democratic institutions.  Arguably, democracy needs its citizens to act on a radically inclusionary democratic ethics and see the world around them through an open-ended aesthetics.  The Nazi Third Reich disseminated a quite different and exclusionary Weltanschauung (worldview).  First and foremost, Hitler and the other Nazi elite figures (many of whom were failed or thwarted artists themselves) saw themselves as political artists engaging in a social transformation that would not only restore the racial honor of Germany (then Greater Germany, and later Europe in toto) but make it beautiful!  Their shared inspiration was the artistic work and prose theorizing of the 19th Opera composer, Richard Wagner.  Animated by a vision of the purposes of art for politics, or rather of politics for art, they embarked upon the critical renewal of the arts, including architecture, fine art (especially paintings and sculpture), film, literary arts (such as poetry), music and theater, as well as the innovative use of newsprint and radio.  They drew broad cultural distinctions between Great Art and Degenerate Art (condemning most of European and Weimar modernism), and sought to eradicate (and destroy) the latter as a precursor to the elimination of the demographic groups (at the center of which was ‘the Jew’) believed to be the sources of corrupting pluralistic and humanistic culture.  How did the Nazis apparently so persuasively condemn democracy while understanding themselves to be ethical agents, lovers of life, and patrons of the arts?  And ultimately, what can we learn about the optimal possibilities and necessary thresholds of democratic culture: about the sort of ethics and aesthetics citizens should possess if democracy in America (and elsewhere) today is to have a future? 

I would welcome student collaboration on any aspect(s) of this larger project.  The student(s) would be engaged in two forms of inter-related research-informed work – assisting me with my larger written project (a book manuscript), and engaging in their own project involving the Nazi-Art-Democracy nexus which would likely be a written paper too though it could also be a creative work with a written rationale or explication.  Some facility in German would help with research but is not necessary at all.  I also do not require that you have much in the way of prior historical knowledge on the Weimar or Nazi periods, just a compelling interest.  If you don’t have some working familiarity with the periods, though, I am also assuming that you are bringing some other scholarly or methodological preparation that you intend to further develop and utilize.  In other words, I would hope we could learn from one another during the process of collaboration.

Read more


Anna Cox

Re-appropriation of Catalan and Basque Modernist Art through Film under the Franco Dictatorship

Anna Cox, Assistant Professor of Spanish & Film Studies

This project is part of my ongoing research on peripheral Peninsular film practices under the Franco dictatorship in Spain. I will investigate the Catalan and Basque reappropriation in the 1960s and 70s of their modernist art. This is a time when the dictatorship seeks to capitalize on said art in its projection of imagery suggesting a postautarkical, modernizing Spain. The Franco regime refers to this period as Spain’s “apertura,” the same word in Spanish for the aperture of a camera. Film, especially the Francoist newsreels known as No-Dos, helps spread this imagery within and beyond.

Spain’s borders. In response, and under the duress of censorship, Catalan and Basque filmmakers re-appropriate the work of such autochthonous artists as Antoni Gaudí i Cornet, Joan Miró i Ferrà, Jorge Oteiza Enbil, and Eduardo Txillida Juantegi. This study focuses on Catalan producer and director Pere Portabella’s series of short films about Miró’s artwork. These include Miró’s painting in Aidez l’Espagne/Help Spain (1969) and Miró l’altre/Miró the Other (1969), sculpture in Miró la forja/Miró’s Forge (1973), and tapestry in Miró tapis/Miró’s Tapestry (1973). I will examine these alongside Basquedirectors Néstor Basterretxea and Fernando Larruquert’s ethnographic documentary AmaLur /Motherland, (1968) featuring Oteiza’s and Txillida’s sculpture.

Read more


David Craig

Meaningful Landscapes

David Craig, Associate Professor of Biology

Art Professor Andries Fourie and Biology Associate Professor David Craig have previously collaborated on interpreting landscapes through sculpture, graphic art, and a deep understanding of natural history.   Their work “Zena Web,” 2011, steel, aluminum & silkscreen, 65" x 72" x 34" was part of an show at the Salem Art Association Bush Barn Center and attempted to articulate meaning about past, present, and future of Zena Farm and Forest.  The work had ecological web information embedded in network of shapes and ties that circled key species that represented important ecological roles as well as ideas about human relationships at Zena over the last 250 years. 

In 2013 we are interested in continuing to explore the meaning of the landscapes but instead of taking another look at Zena we want to explore themes of landscapes connected to our own birthplaces in NW Oregon and SE South Africa.  We also want to continue to explore the dialogue between natural history facts such as the particular names of species in an area, the history of human use at a place, and visions of the future.  We are playing around with metaphorical and real meaning connected to ‘nests’ and ‘rivers’ and ‘coasts’ as well as ideas surrounding identity.  Anyone interested in potentially creatively exploring South Africa, the PNW, and their own home/nest/origin is encouraged to contact us.   We imagine proposing limited exchange travel to each member’s home landscape and influencing each other’s interpretation of that landscape through our collaboration and creativity writ large. 

We seek at least one other professor and 2 to 3 students for our project.

Read more


Rebecca Dobkins
Rebecca Dobkins, Professor of Anthropology

In spring 2012, after years of research and discussion, the Oregon State Board of Education passed a regulation that prohibits Oregon public schools from using Native Americans as mascots after July 1, 2017.  Most schools and communities believe they are respectfully honoring Native Americans through the use of these mascots and feel they are being unfairly burdened with this mandate.  The situation offers a teachable moment not only for the dozens of schools involved, but for the state and the nation as a whole about the harmful effects of racial stereotyping and the need for reconciliation between settler and indigenous communities.  Yet, the Oregon Department of Education has provided no funding or technical training for this process and the impacted communities have nowhere to turn for guidance.  The Oregon Indian Education Association (OIEA) invited me to work with the affected communities, Oregon tribes and Native American community groups to develop community forums and training materials to assist the school districts that must change.  This action research project will begin in summer 2013 and continue through 2017.

In summer 2013, I will be working in collaboration with OIEA members to carry out an initial three-step research plan.  First will be community mapping projects in three selected school districts, as a means of taking the pulse of community members. These will be listening exercises to learn where community leaders, students, athletes, and others are in terms of the mascot issue.  The second step will be a report based on the listening sessions, which will cull best practices from the field research as well as from secondary research on school districts that have successfully made mascot changes in the past in Oregon and other states.  The third step will be to conduct an activity-based workshop that presents these best practices to school district representatives.  This third step is likely to be scheduled for fall 2013 in Salem.

I am looking for colleagues whose research might intersect with any of the issues embedded in this project (racial stereotyping, school and community change, historical memory and amnesia, settler/indigenous relations) or with the methodology of ethnographic action research. In addition, I welcome colleagues as direct partners in the Mascot Project. In addition to LARC, we will likely receive external support for the research in 2013 and beyond.  The mascot project is related to a larger Oregon Tribal Histories and Sovereignty Curriculum Design Project supported by the Gates Foundation.  

Read more


Emily Drew
Emily Drew, Associate Professor of Sociology

While many residents and visitors to Oregon are familiar with the Woodburn Outlet mall, the state’s second largest economy, most are unfamiliar with the conditions that exist directly behind the mall.  In the agricultural fields west of the mall, workers are subjected to unsafe working and living conditions, including exposure to pesticides, unregulated labor conditions, and substandard housing.  Amid the strategies that community leaders are using to challenge these conditions is an educational project for outsiders to the community: the “farmworker reality tour.”  I am interested in understanding what compels people to take these tours, what they believe pre/post-tour, and what they do with the education received through these tours.  This summer I plan to participate in these tours, engaging in ethnographic observation and interviews with the tourists following the tours.

Read more


Andries Fourie

Meaningful Landscapes

Andries Fourie, Associate Professor of Art

Art Professor Andries Fourie and Biology Associate Professor David Craig have previously collaborated on interpreting landscapes through sculpture, graphic art, and a deep understanding of natural history.   Their work “Zena Web,” 2011, steel, aluminum & silkscreen, 65" x 72" x 34" was part of an show at the Salem Art Association Bush Barn Center and attempted to articulate meaning about past, present, and future of Zena Farm and Forest.  The work had ecological web information embedded in network of shapes and ties that circled key species that represented important ecological roles as well as ideas about human relationships at Zena over the last 250 years. 

In 2013 we are interested in continuing to explore the meaning of the landscapes but instead of taking another look at Zena we want to explore themes of landscapes connected to our own birthplaces in NW Oregon and SE South Africa.  We also want to continue to explore the dialogue between natural history facts such as the particular names of species in an area, the history of human use at a place, and visions of the future.  We are playing around with metaphorical and real meaning connected to ‘nests’ and ‘rivers’ and ‘coasts’ as well as ideas surrounding identity.  Anyone interested in potentially creatively exploring South Africa, the PNW, and their own home/nest/origin is encouraged to contact us.   We imagine proposing limited exchange travel to each member’s home landscape and influencing each other’s interpretation of that landscape through our collaboration and creativity writ large. 

We seek at least one other professor and 2 to 3 students for our project.

Read more


Steven Green

The Nones: Seeking the Religiously Unaffiliated in the Pacific Northwest

Steven Green, Fred H. Paulus Professor of Law

Proposed 2013 LARC Project jointly with Professor Steven Green (Law; History); Professor David Gutterman (Politics); Professor Stephen Patterson (Religious Studies); Professor Kelley Strawn (Sociology)

In 2012, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reported that for the first time more that 20% of individuals in the United States claimed no affiliation with any organized religious institution.  These are the “Nones.”  In the Pacific Northwest the percentage of “Nones” is almost twice the national average.  This warrants study.  In this LARC Project we will try to understand who these individuals are, what their socio-demographic predictors are, how they live, what they think about religious and spiritual life, how the Pacific Northwest has come to be a home for so many of them, and what the social and political implications of this trend might be for the region and the nation.

  • Professor Green is especially interested in tracing the legal history of the state of Oregon to explore how state laws might have provided a receptive home for the religiously unaffiliated.  Of additional interest will be to document which denominations settled and flourished (or declined) in the Pacific Northwest over the past 150 years as possibly indicating a receptivity to religious non-affiliation.
  • Professor Gutterman is particularly interested in the ways the growth of the religiously unaffiliated in the region are informing both the political direction of the region and the response of religious institutions and behavior. 
  • Professor Patterson is interested in the Gospel of Thomas, an early Christian seekers gospel that has proven to be appealing to twenty-first century seekers.
  • Professor Strawn will examine the demographic profile of Pacific Northwest versus those of other parts of the country using data from the Pew Report, the General Social Survey (GSS), and other recent surveys on the religious landscape of the nation to determine what the numbers reveal about regional vs. national trends.

We welcome student interest, questions, comments, and ideas.  

Read more


David Gutterman

The Nones: Seeking the Religiously Unaffiliated in the Pacific Northwest

David Gutterman, Assistant Professor of Politics

Proposed 2013 LARC Project jointly with Professor Steven Green (Law; History); Professor David Gutterman (Politics); Professor Stephen Patterson (Religious Studies); Professor Kelley Strawn (Sociology)

In 2012, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reported that for the first time more that 20% of individuals in the United States claimed no affiliation with any organized religious institution.  These are the “Nones.”  In the Pacific Northwest the percentage of “Nones” is almost twice the national average.  This warrants study.  In this LARC Project we will try to understand who these individuals are, what their socio-demographic predictors are, how they live, what they think about religious and spiritual life, how the Pacific Northwest has come to be a home for so many of them, and what the social and political implications of this trend might be for the region and the nation.

  • Professor Green is especially interested in tracing the legal history of the state of Oregon to explore how state laws might have provided a receptive home for the religiously unaffiliated.  Of additional interest will be to document which denominations settled and flourished (or declined) in the Pacific Northwest over the past 150 years as possibly indicating a receptivity to religious non-affiliation.
  • Professor Gutterman is particularly interested in the ways the growth of the religiously unaffiliated in the region are informing both the political direction of the region and the response of religious institutions and behavior. 
  • Professor Patterson is interested in the Gospel of Thomas, an early Christian seekers gospel that has proven to be appealing to twenty-first century seekers.
  • Professor Strawn will examine the demographic profile of Pacific Northwest versus those of other parts of the country using data from the Pew Report, the General Social Survey (GSS), and other recent surveys on the religious landscape of the nation to determine what the numbers reveal about regional vs. national trends.

We welcome student interest, questions, comments, and ideas.  

Read more


Alba Newmann Holmes
Alba Newmann Holmes,

I am currently working on a book project entitled On the Map: Twentieth-Century American Poetry and Cartography, in which I examine the ways poetic structures, like cartographic structures, organize knowledge—how they can claim territory or order experience, while leaving necessary openings for uncertainty, interpretation, and discovery. As the title suggests, this project is interdisciplinary in scope, bringing together materials and methods from literary studies, cartography, geography, rhetoric and critical theory. For my LARC summer project, I hope to work on the development of the third chapter of the manuscript, focusing on the poetry of Langston Hughes. This chapter concentrates on poems that name the streets of Harlem, arguing that these create a psychogeographic map of the neighborhood and of Hughes’ personal geography more broadly. Psychogeography was championed by the Situationists, a mid-century group of Parisian artists and urban planners interested in the ways in which human experience informs our sense of place, and of cities in particular. They sought to intervene into traditional cartographic productions, to create maps that reflected urban residents’ actual interactions with place. I will use the notion of psychogeography to consider Harlem as a space in which African American poets, artists, and musicians were engaging with and reconfiguring their own sense of the city, through their artistic productions. I’d love to work with students or faculty who are interested mapping, urban planning, geography (the cartographic end of the spectrum) and/or those who are interested in the writers and artists of the Harlem Renaissance.

Read more


Jennifer Johns

What is learned through visiting? The art of creating an educationally meaningful experience in a short amount of time

Jennifer Johns, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

The pendulum of educational philosophy is again arcing toward placing higher value on learning through experience after a period of time in which computer based, simulated exercises were perceived as “cutting edge.”  In my research, I would like to explore the recent pedagogic literature that discusses the methods and merits of experiential education, broadly defined.  We would examine several concepts now perceived as “high impact pedagogies,” including:  problem-based and project-based learning, the lectureless classroom, place-based learning, action learning, and outdoor education.  Additional concepts that surface through our initial readings may also be studied.  With a repertoire of pedagogic theories about experiential learning in hand, we will then work on individual projects that will design curricula or experiences that put those theories into practice.  For my part, the projects I design will be based on teaching at Zena Farm.  Students who work with me may choose whether or not their projects would also be planned for Zena.

Read more


Stephen Patterson

The Nones: Seeking the Religiously Unaffiliated in the Pacific Northwest

Stephen Patterson, George H. Atkinson Professor of Religious & Ethical Studies

Proposed 2013 LARC Project jointly with Professor Steven Green (Law; History); Professor David Gutterman (Politics); Professor Stephen Patterson (Religious Studies); Professor Kelley Strawn (Sociology)

In 2012, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reported that for the first time more that 20% of individuals in the United States claimed no affiliation with any organized religious institution.  These are the “Nones.”  In the Pacific Northwest the percentage of “Nones” is almost twice the national average.  This warrants study.  In this LARC Project we will try to understand who these individuals are, what their socio-demographic predictors are, how they live, what they think about religious and spiritual life, how the Pacific Northwest has come to be a home for so many of them, and what the social and political implications of this trend might be for the region and the nation.

  • Professor Green is especially interested in tracing the legal history of the state of Oregon to explore how state laws might have provided a receptive home for the religiously unaffiliated.  Of additional interest will be to document which denominations settled and flourished (or declined) in the Pacific Northwest over the past 150 years as possibly indicating a receptivity to religious non-affiliation.
  • Professor Gutterman is particularly interested in the ways the growth of the religiously unaffiliated in the region are informing both the political direction of the region and the response of religious institutions and behavior. 
  • Professor Patterson is interested in the Gospel of Thomas, an early Christian seekers gospel that has proven to be appealing to twenty-first century seekers.
  • Professor Strawn will examine the demographic profile of Pacific Northwest versus those of other parts of the country using data from the Pew Report, the General Social Survey (GSS), and other recent surveys on the religious landscape of the nation to determine what the numbers reveal about regional vs. national trends.

We welcome student interest, questions, comments, and ideas.  

Read more


Kelley Strawn

The Nones: Seeking the Religiously Unaffiliated in the Pacific Northwest

Kelley Strawn, Associate Professor of Sociology

Proposed 2013 LARC Project jointly with Professor Steven Green (Law; History); Professor David Gutterman (Politics); Professor Stephen Patterson (Religious Studies); Professor Kelley Strawn (Sociology)

In 2012, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reported that for the first time more that 20% of individuals in the United States claimed no affiliation with any organized religious institution.  These are the “Nones.”  In the Pacific Northwest the percentage of “Nones” is almost twice the national average.  This warrants study.  In this LARC Project we will try to understand who these individuals are, what their socio-demographic predictors are, how they live, what they think about religious and spiritual life, how the Pacific Northwest has come to be a home for so many of them, and what the social and political implications of this trend might be for the region and the nation.

  • Professor Green is especially interested in tracing the legal history of the state of Oregon to explore how state laws might have provided a receptive home for the religiously unaffiliated.  Of additional interest will be to document which denominations settled and flourished (or declined) in the Pacific Northwest over the past 150 years as possibly indicating a receptivity to religious non-affiliation.
  • Professor Gutterman is particularly interested in the ways the growth of the religiously unaffiliated in the region are informing both the political direction of the region and the response of religious institutions and behavior. 
  • Professor Patterson is interested in the Gospel of Thomas, an early Christian seekers gospel that has proven to be appealing to twenty-first century seekers.
  • Professor Strawn will examine the demographic profile of Pacific Northwest versus those of other parts of the country using data from the Pew Report, the General Social Survey (GSS), and other recent surveys on the religious landscape of the nation to determine what the numbers reveal about regional vs. national trends.

We welcome student interest, questions, comments, and ideas.  

Read more


Abigail Susik

Identifying and Analyzing Recent Trends in New Media Art

Abigail Susik, Assistant Professor of Art History

In conjunction with my ongoing research program concerning new forms of projection based-art that have proliferated over the last decade, this project will aim to gather information about current trends in New Media art on an international basis, focusing in particular on the theoretical and social implications of the rise of a veritable projection culture in Europe, Canada and the United States. My work in the area of New Media studies over the past two years has concentrated upon non-commercial forms of political, protest, or critical art in the form of digital graffiti, projection bombing and mapping, and other kinds of light-based interventions. Currently, I am interested in broadening this research purview to include other areas of New Media Art, such as digital prototyping, robotics, telepresence, virtual reality, VJ (video jockey) culture, audio-visual experiments, and other forms of digital light display.

Given that many of these art forms are so new they have yet to be fully documented, historicized, and theorized, a key feature of this project is a fieldwork excursion to “Elektra,” an “International Digital Arts Festival” that has taken place in Montreal, Canada every May annually since 1999. This five-day event is widely recognized as one of the major global venues for exhibitions and performances of cutting-edge New Media Art, as well as a prime venue for pedagogy in electronic arts though conference panels, lectures, and hands-on workshops. My fieldwork excursion will focus on the documentation of new works exhibited at Elektra, interviews with artists, participation in panels and workshops, and full immersion into the networked cultural sphere of New Media art production. Upon the completion of this fieldwork, further research will be carried out to expand the foundation for a critical scholarly consideration of these developments, including areas of history, theory, media studies, and art history, as well as a literature review of relevant books on New Media art published in the last decade. The overall aim of the project is to identify the major emerging trends in New Media art and transmute this knowledge into the foundation for one to two new research articles that will highlight both the aesthetic and social impact of these revolutionizing cultural developments.

Read more


Huike Wen

Love and Romantic Relationship in Media

Huike Wen, Assistant Professor of Chinese

My project will focus on the representation of love and romantic relationships in media. My goal in this project is to examine how mass media, such as TV and film have represented love and romantic relationships since the 1980s. I'm particularly interested in East Asian media, mainly Chinese, Japanese and Korean media. I want to do broad and deep research on the scholarly research about love and romantic relationships in all cultures, including American culture, especially Hollywood's romantic stories. Based on research from previous studies, we find theories and arguments on how media have created a way to represent love and romantic relationship and if this representation has created a type of "reality." I also want to question if this representation impacts other aspects in society, such as dating culture and our perception of a "normal" romantic relationship. We can also ask questions about how this representation promotes the consumer culture or promotes the interaction between consumer culture and a romantic relationship.

This project will be a comparative study between different cultures, between different historical eras, or a specific examination of a media product in contemporary society, such as a TV drama or a film from any culture. If you are interested in literature, media studies, or sociology, this project will fit your field very well.

In preparation I have created the steps below for the work on this research project:

Step 1, we do research to find related books, academic papers or other literature that have examined a similar issue.

Step 2, we work on a specific media product, which could be from East Asia or anywhere in the world. You can choose a topic like "how Hollywood has represented romantic relationship in sit-coms; how Korean TV dramas have created romantic sentiments with the examples of......; or how some current TV dramas have negotiated between being masculine and being romantic, etc.

The main part of the collaborative research is to find related academic writings, theories and literature together. Then write a literature review as the introduction of our research on a special media product using the theories and arguments we found to analyze a concrete example.

Read more