Voices of the College: Faculty Notes

Brier inducted into Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame

Jennifer Brier and other awardees

Jennifer Brier (third from left) with Commissioner of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations Mona Noriega (fourth from left) and members of the Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy of Rick Aguilar Studios

Jennifer Brier, director of the gender and women’s studies program and associate professor of history, was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame on November 12 during ceremonies and a reception at the Chicago History Museum. She joined 14 other 2014 inductees who were selected by a committee of former inductees from nominations submitted by the public.

“Being inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame is a great honor: one that acknowledges my attempts to bring what happens in the academy into conversation with what happens in Chicago's LGBT communities,” said Brier. “I am thrilled to be among these change-making Chicagoans from the past and present.”

Brier is a historian of LGBT communities and of AIDS. Her book, Infectious Ideas: U.S. Political Responses to the AIDS Crisis (2009, University of North Carolina Press), documented the ways in which the AIDS epidemic influenced health care and foreign policy, reproductive health, gay and lesbian rights, and racial justice. In 2011, she co-curated the award-winning “Out in Chicago” exhibit at the Chicago History Museum. Most recently, Brier’s research has focused on community engagement and public history. She is the lead investigator of the UIC-based project History Moves, a mobile gallery that displays less-explored aspects of Chicago’s history as it travels around the city. The project, currently in its second stage of prototyping, received support last year from a National Endowment for the Arts grant.

IUPLR receives Mellon grant

Nena Torres

Maria de los Angeles Torres. Photo by Laura Ress Design

The UIC Inter-University Program for Latino Research has received a three-year $800,000 grant to support a fellowship program in partnership with the Mellon Foundation. The IUPLR/Mellon PhD Completion Fellowships program seeks to foster upcoming scholars—particularly from underrepresented communities—who can contribute to understanding the complex cultural terrain of the quickly growing and diverse communities included under the umbrella “Latino.” The Mellon grant will allow the IUPLR to develop a national fellowship program designed to mentor doctoral candidates completing their research and provide support focused on improving their job-market readiness. Six fellowships per year will be funded. Each fellow will receive a yearly stipend of $25,000, a faculty mentor in Latino studies, monthly teleconferences with other fellows, and opportunities to present at conferences. Each summer the fellows will gather at UIC to share research and attend workshops on writing strategies, preparing documents for publication, and professional development.

“Financial constraints, family obligations, and lack of mentors in the discipline are among the reasons why many students do not finish their dissertations,” said Maria de los Angeles Torres, executive director of IUPLR and principal investigator for the project. “With a growing Latino population in the U.S., it is important to support these scholars who can make valuable contributions to understanding and transforming this evolving field.”

In addition to the Latin American and Latino Studies Program at UIC, fellowship partners are: the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, the Chicano Studies Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, the Dominican Studies Institute at the City College of New York, and the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at City University of New York.

Johnston to helm NEH summer institute

Robert Johnston

Robert Johnston.

Robert Johnston, professor of history, director of the teaching of history program, and co-chair of the work, race, and gender in the urban world program, will serve as academic director for a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on the topic of “Rethinking the Gilded Age and Progressive Era: Capitalism, Democracy and Progressivisms, 1877 to 1920.” He will be working in partnership with the Chicago Metro History Education Center, which has received a $200,000 grant to continue work on the project, as well as program partner Loyola University. “Rethinking” was first presented at UIC during July 2013, when Johnston and other leading scholars hosted 30 K-12 teachers from across the country for the four-week course.

For 2015 Institute details and applications, visit http://www.gildedandprogressive.org/

Levine wins Colm Award from Planned Parenthood

Susan Levine

Susan Levine with her award.

Susan Levine, professor of history and director of the UIC Institute for the Humanities, received the inaugural Janet Colm Award for Transformative Leadership from Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina (PPCNC). Levine served as board president of Planned Parenthood of Orange and Durham Counties from 1987-1991. Under her leadership, the affiliate expanded access to reproductive health care for underserved women and teens, began offering abortion services, and created community “natural leader” and “peer educator” programs. The award is named in honor of Janet Colm, who is just retiring after serving 32 years as executive director and CEO of PPCNC. “It was my good luck to work with a visionary leader like Janet Colm,” Levine said. “Together we were able to ensure access to comprehensive health services, and in the process further women’s opportunities for equality and empowerment.”

Levine’s research and teaching focus on gender, social movements, and food policy in the U.S. Most recently, she has been exploring the history of international food aid including the rise of state-based aid and development policies, expansion of the voluntary (NGO) aid organizations, and ties between these two sectors.

Monaghan receives NEH grant for Deer Saga project 

John Monaghan

John Monaghan.

detail from picture

Detail from the Eight Deer codex. Photo courtesy of Monaghan

John Monaghan, professor and head of anthropology, has received a $169,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for his project “The Lord Eight Deer Saga.” The two-year grant will support Monaghan’s preparation for publication of the saga of Eight Deer, an 11th-century Mixtec warlord who conquered much of southern Mexico. Monaghan will lead a team of ethnographers, historians, and artists—including Manuel Hermann Lezaraju and John Pohl—to reproduce and annotate the original illuminated texts and provide an English reading. The text will be accompanied by a scholarly introduction to Mixtec history, writing, and literature, with access to an online workbook for scholars and students interested in learning how to read a Mixtec codex. Anthropology graduate student Rebecca Deeb is heading up the online component of the project. 

“Ancient Mixtec scribes wrote about Eight Deer, who lived 400 years before Columbus sailed to the new world, providing us with historical information unfiltered by and independent of European conquest and colonization,” said Monaghan. “In addition to the remarkable details and drama of Eight Deer’s life, the saga illustrates approaches to reading, bookmaking, and poetics that are distinctly Mesoamerican. It also provides a window into the norms, values, symbols, and politics of the noble houses of Postclassic Mexico. The work will make a much-needed contribution from the Americas to the canon of epic literature.”

Papacharissi named High Impact Scholar

Zizi Papacharrisi

Zizi Papacharissi with her award.

Zizi Papacharissi, head of the Department of Communication, has received the High Impact Scholar award from the Moody College of Communication School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. Papacharissi, who received her PhD in Political Communication and New Media from UT, was among five doctoral graduates recognized as the most productive and highly cited scholars. The alumni received their awards at a ceremony on October 10. The event included a number of panels throughout the day at which the scholars spoke about their work, discussed emerging trends and prevalent tropes, and offered advice for doctoral students.

“The UTA School of Journalism has a long and inspiring history of graduating influential media storytellers, including Walter Cronkite, Liz Carpenter and Bill Moyers, among many others,” said Papacharissi. “It is an honor to be a graduate of the School, and an even bigger honor to be recognized for our scholarly contribution to the field.

“When I first started studying the internet as a social space in the mid-90s, less than one percent of the world’s population used it. What happened online, and why people used this now broadly-diffused medium, was a mystery to most. I am grateful to the faculty and mentors who encouraged me to research these questions and afforded me the freedom to pursue my interests creatively.”

Papacharissi’s work focuses on the social and political consequences of online media. Her books include A Private Sphere: Democracy in a Digital Age (2010, Polity Press), A Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites (2010, Routledge), and Journalism and Citizenship: New Agendas (2009, Taylor & Francis). Her most recent book, Affective Publics: Sentiment, Technology and Politics, was published in November 2014 by Oxford University Press. She has also authored over 40 journal articles, book chapters or reviews, and serves on the editorial board of 11 journals, including the Journal of Communication, Human Communication Research, and New Media and Society. Papacharissi is the editor of the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, and the new open-access SAGE journal Social Media and Society.

Reeves lands Zacharis Prize

Roger Reeves

Roger Reeves. Photo by Chris Strong

Roger Reeves, assistant professor of English, has won the Zacharis Prize from Ploughshares for King Me (2013, Copper Canyon Press), his first volume of poetry. The Zacharis Prize is awarded annually for the best debut book of poetry or fiction for the past year. King Me has also received the Larry Levis Reading Prize from Virginia Commonwealth University. Reeves was named a Mary MacKall Gwinn Hodder Fellow and is spending the 2014-15 academic year in residence at Princeton University working on his new poetry collection, The Last American Minstrel.

Richie named to NFL commission 

Beth Richie

Beth Richie. Photo by Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

Beth E. Richie, professor of African American studies, criminology, law and justice, and gender and women’s studies, and director of the UIC Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, has been named a senior advisor to the National Football League’s policy group addressing domestic violence and sexual assault. She joins a previously announced group tasked with developing the NFL’s educational and service programs, and offering assistance in revising the league’s personal conduct policy. The league formed the expert panel after several players were involved in domestic violence or child abuse incidents.

“The problem of violence, particularly against women and children, can’t simply be addressed by public policies relying on incarceration, so it’s important for organizational and grassroots efforts to take into account the need for education, resources, outreach, and social change,” said Richie. “This is a unique moment in our national consciousness as we consider the impact of violence against women and the role of institutions in preventing and responding to it. I look forward to working with the distinguished panel and the NFL to address these issues and deliver policies that will have a positive impact on the individuals most affected, the league overall and social institutions more broadly as we strive to enhance public awareness of and response to the problem of violence.” 

Richie studies the ways that race or ethnicity and social position affect women’s experience of violence and incarceration, focusing on the experiences of African-American battered women and sexual assault survivors. She is the author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence and America’s Prison Nation (2012, NYU Press) and Compelled to Crime: the Gender Entrapment of Battered Black Women (1995, Routledge). Her work has been supported by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Institute for Justice, and the National Institute of Corrections. Among the honors she has received are the Audre Lorde Legacy Award from the Union Institute, the Advocacy Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Visionary Award from the Violence Intervention Project. In 2013 she was awarded an honorary degree by the City University of New York (CUNY) Law School. 

Skitka garners attention for morality study

Linda Skitka

Linda Skitka. Photo by Michael Schacht

Linda J. Skitka, professor of psychology, has published results of a study that finds there is little difference in the moral behavior between religious and non-religious individuals. “Morality in Everyday Life” was published in Science in September 2014, and received much attention in the popular press.

The study, co-authored with her graduate student (now alumnus) Daniel Wisneski, PhD, (2014 psychology) found that while religious and non-religious people differed in how moral and immoral acts made them feel, their religiosity did not significantly alter their behavior. Study participants self-reported regarding committing, receiving, or witnessing immoral or moral acts and also reported on their emotional state around these acts. People who identified as religious responded with stronger emotions including more pride and gratitude for moral deeds and more guilt, embarrassment, and disgust for immoral deeds.

In addition to the religion variable, researchers looked at moral experience vis a vis political orientation. There was little evidence for a morality divide between political conservatives and liberals, with both groups expressing concern about issues including harm/care, fairness/unfairness, authority/subversion, and honesty/dishonesty. 

“To our knowledge, this is the first study that directly assessed how morality plays out in peoples’ everyday lived experience and through their own perceptions of self and environment, rather than examining reactions in an artificial laboratory setting,” said Skitka, who explained that the study was conducted via smartphone sampling during participants’ normal routine. “This methodology has provided us with a much richer and more nuanced understanding of what makes up the moral fabric of everyday experience.”

Additional co-authors on this study are Wilhelm Hofmann of the University of Cologne and Mark Brandt of Tilburg University. Funding was provided by a SAGE award from the Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology and a research grant from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Wink elected to ACS

Donald Wink

Donald Wink. Photo by Micki Leventhal

Donald Wink, professor of chemistry, has been elected as a Fellow of the American Chemical Society. Wink was feted, along with 98 colleagues also named as 2014 fellows, at the society’s national meeting in San Francisco in August. Fellows are elected for their “outstanding achievements in and contributions to science, the profession, and the American Chemical Society.”

Wink’s work at UIC has been primarily in the area of chemical education, with a focus on the use of interdisciplinary teams to improve student understanding of chemistry at the undergraduate level. He is director of undergraduate studies in the chemistry department and director of graduate studies at the Learning Sciences Research Institute. He is also the director of the small molecule crystallography program of the UIC Research Resource Center.

Some material in Voices adapted from articles in UIC News.