Social Scholars Scour Statistics
More than 50 Tiger faculty dive into Summer 2021 research projects and 2021-22 academic leaves
Monday, August 9, 2021

They don’t use fancy instruments or wear lab coats to do their summer research. Instead, sociology professor Benjamin Sosnaud and rising senior Rachel Kaufman ’22 conduct their research from their laptops. But don’t let their presence behind a screen fool you: you’d be hard-pressed to find two people as passionate about the work they’re doing to explore social factors as determinants of health. 

Their work together began after Kaufman took Sosnaud’s course, “Health, Illness, and Society,” where Kaufman’s interests were initiated. Their work this summer examines CDC and county-based quantitative data to determine what factors are influencing disparities in mortality across U.S. counties amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of the predictions that social scientists have and the theories we have about the social determinants of health—how your income matters, how people in disadvantaged neighborhoods access care, how people are affected by structural racism, or discrimination—all those factors matter for health and are manifesting themselves in this pandemic,” Sosnaud says. “We thought it would be a perfect opportunity to not just describe what's happened, but also evaluate how well these theories we had before the pandemic actually predict the outcomes we’ve seen.”

Their hope is that their research can be used to prevent negative effects of health disparities in the future. 

Sosnaud and Kaufman’s project is just one example of exciting research faculty engaged in this summer. The following faculty members were awarded a $9,000 Summer Stipend by the Faculty Development Committee of Academic Affairs. The purpose of this award is to encourage faculty to develop research projects, intensive scholarly activities, and original works in the creative and performing arts.

 

2021 Summer Stipend Recipients

Arrivals by Sea
The number of migrants reaching the coast of south Italy has changed considerably during the last five years. This project investigates the causes and consequences of the fluctuation of the number of migrants reaching the coasts of Sicily through the Mediterranean route.

A case study of science specific pre-service teacher mentoring
Barnett’s case study explores how an experienced high school biology teacher mentors a pre-service teacher. The study’s purpose is to describe the critical role of the mentor and the nature of science teacher mentoring, and findings will inform best practices in science teacher preparation.

Here to See You
Browne’s project is a formally experimental new collection of poetry titled Here To See You.

The Role of Environmental Munificence on Federally Qualified Health Center’s Geographical Expansion Strategy
This project builds empirical support for the effect of the task environment on the safety-net primary care provider’s expansion strategy.

Returning to Normalcy: The Perils of Restoration Politics
The study examines the leadership problems unique to “restoration presidents”—presidents from the dominant party who regain control of the office after the departure of a minority party president. Examples include Trump following Obama, Bush following Clinton, Kennedy following Eisenhower, and Harding following Wilson.

Polarizing Pluralism: Party Competition, Interest Group Strategy, and the Resurgent Mischiefs of Faction
American politics has been crippled by polarization, but the role special interests have played in the growth of polarization remains unclear. By assembling an original dataset on interests’ issue positions over time, this project provides evidence that interests are as much victims as they are causes of polarization.

Alteration of respiration proteins by naturally occurring chemical modifiers
Unstable forms of oxygen, called reactive oxygen species, react with membrane components in cells, and can produce molecules that damage important biomolecules, and detrimentally affect function. Hunsicker-Wang’s study explores how two of these molecules react with metalloproteins that are involved in the respiration process.

Gay Life in East Berlin, 1945-1990
Johnson’s project tracks the attitudes of the East Berlin city government and East German national government to male homosexuals in the city across the Cold War and will also look closely at gay men in the city to understand everyday life for them and their evolving relationship with authorities.

The heart of classical work-performance
The performance of musical works is at the heart of the tradition of Western classical music. But what are the values that guide such performance? In this essay (forthcoming in the British Journal of Aesthetics), Andrew Kania argues against a recently defended view that being faithful to a work may require performers to violate the score of that work. Instead, he argues that fully authentic work-performances must evince an understanding of the work through complying with its score. 

Reconstructing Trinity
This project funds work on a book, Reconstructing Trinity: Racial Violence at our Roots (1869-1902), co-edited by Drs. Turek, Latimore, and Kaufman. The book details Trinity University’s origin in Limestone County, centering a previously-untold narrative of the university’s original entwinement with white supremacy and racial violence.

Incendium Amoris: A Critical Edition of Richard Rolle’s Fire of Love, with Richard Misyn’s Middle English Brynnyng of Lufe / Richard Rolle’s Fire of Love: A New Translation
This project will result in a new critical edition of a major medieval mystical text, Richard Rolle’s ‘Fire of Love,’ originally composed in Latin, as well as its medieval translation into Middle English. Dr. Kraebel will also be publishing a modern English translation of the Latin.

Filling the Gap: A New Catalog of Sacred Vocal Repertoire
The goal of this project is to research sacred vocal repertoire, specifically underrepresented classical songs suitable for traditional Christian worship services and church concerts. Matava will create a reference catalog of vocal works representing a variety of texts, lengths, and styles for use within the church liturgy.

Political Etiquette
Norms forbidding rape jokes, blackface and flag-burning are all examples of political etiquette: ways of showing respect to groups whose social status is believed to be wrongfully demoted. In this book manuscript, Sadovsky introduces the notion of political etiquette and explains its moral force.

Compositional and Contextual Explanations for Variation in Infant Mortality across U.S. States
A newborn’s risk of dying before their first birthday varies dramatically depending on the state where they live. In this project, Sosnaud identifies the extent to which state’s socio-demographic composition and economic and institutional context contribute to differences in infant mortality rates across states.

Directing Theatre Production of Christopher Durang’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” at Oldcastle Theatre Company
This creative project involves directing a professional production of Christopher Durang’s Tony award winning play, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” at Oldcastle Theatre Company in Bennington Vermont, one of the longest running not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States.

LGBTQ Youth and Family Support: A Longitudinal Study
Stone’s project is a qualitative study of the dynamics of family support and hostility for a racially diverse group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth in urban and rural South Texas.

Chinese Restauranteurs and the Global Invention of Asian Cuisine
Tam’s book project examines how Chinese restaurant owners shaped and popularized Asian cuisine in restaurants around the world. Through a series of case studies in Hong Kong, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and the United States, it will show how Chinese restauranteurs, responding both to global white supremacy that sought to lump them together with other Asian ethnicities, and to transnational movements to reclaim an “Asian” identity, became critical constructors of global Asianness through food.

Narratives about Poverty in Early Qing Literati Letters
This project is a critical analysis of how early Qing Chinese intellectuals constructed discourses about poverty in letters to their peers. In the analysis, Zhang writes an article arguing that these discourses about poverty, simultaneously private and public, constitute an essential part of early Qing literati’s moral and aesthetic transcendence.

Supply Chain Analytics Capability: Conceptualization, Instrument Development and Validation
Drawing upon the supply chain operations reference model and the material features of big data analytics technologies, this project aims to develop a context-specific and precise instrument for conceptualizing and measuring supply chain analytics capability.

 
2021-22 Academic Leaves Recipients

The following 34 faculty members have been awarded an academic leave from the Faculty Development Committee of Academic Affairs for the 2021-22 academic year. The academic leave program encourages continued professional growth and new or renewed intellectual development through study, writing, research, or travel in order to enhance creativity, scholarship, and teaching.

Fall 2021 | The Philosophical Novel in Post-Francoist Spain
Ardavin’s leave will be devoted to working on the last chapter of a book project that examines Spain’s philosophical novel since the democratic transition of 1975 to the present. This chapter will analyze the meta-philosophical dimension of Ricardo Menéndez Salmón’s novel Philosophy in Winter and how it portrays Post-Francoism by way of Spinoza, Heidegger and Levinas, among other philosophers.

Spring 2022 | The Unpublished Works of Parisian Yiddish Writer Wolf Wieviorka
Wieviorka’s work is of interest as testimony to the insufficiencies of ideological commitments. Astro will use his leave to compile, translate and publish a volume of unpublished novellas by Parisian Yiddish writer Wolf Wieviorka, who perished in the forced march of prisoners from Auschwitz.

Spring 2022 | Describing and Analyzing Performance Assessment in Teacher Education
Breidenstein will describe and analyze the mastery portfolio developed as the central performance assessment for the Master of Arts in Teaching’s (MAT) program. It represents a significant innovation in the program and in teacher education important to practitioners, researchers, policymakers, and broader public audiences.
 

2021-2022 | Brazen Splendors: The Art of Brass in the Burgundian Netherlands
A study of Netherlandish brass founders’ work (statues, tombs, fonts, lecterns, fountains, etc.). Brine aims to situate this overlooked sculptural corpus within its cultural, social, and historical contexts, and to demonstrate its significance for understanding the material culture of the Renaissance in northern Europe.

Fall 2021 | El Camino De Santiago: Culture, History and Folklore along the Pilgrimage Route
Cantú will be working on a book-length project on the 500-mile Camino de Santiago pilgrimage that gathers previous and current ethnographic research in a hybrid autobio-ethnographic manuscript with academic and creative writing—history, literature, folklore, poetry, and photographs.

Fall 2021 | On a Certain Factorization Property of Polynomials with Restricted Exponents in Positive Characteristic
Given a prime p, Daileda hopes to ascertain the structure of the set E(p) of primes q for which the binomial X^q-1 factors nontrivially in the monoid ring F_p[X;N\{1}].

Fall 2021 | Exploring the atmospheric implications of emergent gel formation in levitated microdroplets
To accurately predict climate and air quality, it is necessary to understand the properties of atmospheric aerosol particles. During the proposed leave, aerosol levitation techniques will be used to improve understanding of atmospheric aerosol particles, and thus improve air quality and climate projections.

Spring 2022 | Mathematical Models for the aggregation of beta-Amyloid in the Brain
This leave will focus on developing mathematical models to help further the scientific understanding of Alzheimer’s Disease pathology. The goal is to understand the aggregation of beta-amyloid that leads to extracellular deposits and neurofibrillary tangles, and the underlying mechanisms by which this aggregation leads to neuron loss.

Fall 2021 | Populist Skepticism and the Resistance to Change
Fischer’s essay will address an especially serious threat to American democracy: the attack on the disinterested pursuit of truth. He will be using his leave to explore the motivations and consequences of this attack, drawing on the American philosopher Stanley Cavell’s interpretation of philosophical skepticism.

April-August 2021 | Solitude-in-Community as Research Behavior
With reference to texts on “solitude-in-community” as a means to reconsider the condition of solitude for researchers, this project will offer a more complex picture of social research practices to enhance the argument presented in Harris’s 2008 essay, “Communities as Necessity in Information Literacy Development.”

2021-22 | Chinese Aesthetics Now: Thinking through Wang Guowei
This project explores the contribution of Chinese aesthetics to contemporary discussion on issues such as beauty and aesthetic experience through a reinterpreting Wang Guowei (1877-1927)’s work. This will be the first English-language book to study Wang Guowei and Chinese aesthetics in depth.

Fall 2021 | Abnormal Sized Audit Teams and Audit Quality
Audit outcomes have been long recognized by the academic literature as impacted by a variety of inputs, one of which is labor. Koreff’s study will examine how abnormal audit team composition impacts audit quality and audit fees.

Spring 2022 | The Ancient House: Constructing Community in the Seventeenth-Century New York Borderlands
This project will result in a book that traces how Haudenosaunee, Dutch, and English peoples contributed to the development of seventeenth-century Albany, an unruly town at the center of intersecting early American stories.

Spring 2022 | A Therapeutic Role of Oxytocin in Reducing the Effect of Anxiety on Alcohol-Seeking Behavior
Leong’s project investigates the neural mechanisms through which a neuropeptide, oxytocin, might reduce anxiety-induced alcohol-seeking behavior. This is done by directly alleviating the effect of anxiety in rodents by targeting the brain structure that specifically processes emotions, the amygdala. The results of this study would provide insight into a possible therapeutic target for treatment of alcohol use disorder.

2021-22 | Bringing Modern Software Development to the Classroom
Lewis accepted a position as a Senior Software Development Engineer (SDE III) at Amazon. He will use what he learns during this time to inform his teaching and to suggest changes to the CS curriculum to help the department stay on top of the rapidly evolving field of software development.

Spring 2022 | Fungal Endophytes for Invasive Species Management and a Guidebook to Sidewalk Weeds
Lyons aims to explain the role of fungal endophytes on the competitive dynamics of native and invasive grasses, to assess their potential use to improve restoration of native grasses. She will also complete a draft of her regional field guide on urban sidewalk weeds.

Spring 2022 | Employment Transitions in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Macpherson’s study is an investigation of the employment and work hour effects of COVID-19 in the United States. The study’s focus will be on differences by worker occupation, industry, household demographics (e.g., school-age children, worker age, race), and location.
 

2021-22 | Crime and Sin in Early English Law: c.890-946
Marafioti will spend the year as a visiting scholar of Medieval Studies at Cornell University, where she will be completing a new book on early English law. Her study investigates how medieval legislators understood the connection between crimes and sins.

Fall 2021 | Creating a global database of invasive alien species (IAS) impacts to inform management and control policies
McDermott will be working with IPBES, a UN-supported intergovernmental organization, to create the first global invasive alien species impact database. Their database will be used to inform and prioritize IAS management and control guidelines worldwide.

Spring 2022 | Tanning Bed Warning Labels: A Comparative Analysis
Diagnoses of new cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are increasing disproportionately among young women due to their use of indoor tanning beds. This study will examine current FDA regulations for tanning bed warning labels and hypothesize that new, research-based warnings will communicate risks more effectively and lead to reductions in tanning bed use.

Fall 2021 | Consuming Monsters: The Ecological Gothic in Tears of the Trufflepig
This project offers an examination of the gothic elements and the figure of the monster in the novel Tears of the Trufflepig (2019) by Fernando Flores, and how they render visible the anxieties of borderland communities around environmental degradation, neocolonialism, and human and non-human exploitation.

Fall 2021 | Characteristics of Directors and Boards: Does Firm Size Matter?
This project will investigate if there is a relationship between directors/boards characteristics and specific firm characteristics, such as firm size and value using market-to-book ratios.

Fall 2021 | Why do Corporate Spin-offs Fail? An Investigation of Underperformed Spun-off Subsidiaries from the Perspective of Corporate Governance.
Corporate spin-offs have become a “popular” restructuring technique since the beginning of 2000s. Despite their unique advantages, it also comes with serious risks. Ozbek’s research aims to examine which governance-related factors may contribute to the failure of spin-offs after getting separated from their corporate parents.

Fall 2021 | Taos: a novel
Porter will be using his leave to complete his second novel, Taos, which explores the experiences of a retired film professor who comes out of retirement to take a one-year visiting position at a highly experimental arts college in Taos, New Mexico.

Spring 2022 | Babelian Performances: Early Modern Interpreters and the Theatricality of Translation
Situated at the intersection of literary history, translation studies, performance studies, and critical race studies, Babelian Performances argues that early modern English playwrights actively theorized a special kinship between theatrical performance and the act of interpreting, or live translation between speakers of different languages.

Spring 2022 | Remnant
Schreiber will complete a photographic project based on a site containing the remnants of ancient trees, semi-preserved for purposes of studying characteristics of their material decomposition in a variety of simulated contexts.

Fall 2021 | THE TEXAS STANDARD: IN THE EYES AND EARS OF THE BEHOLDER
This project will analyze the stereotype of the “true Texan” as a White Anglo Southerner with a distinct affect and manner of speech in the context of the dramatic demographic changes that have transformed the cultural, social, and political character of Texas in recent decades.

Spring 2022 | The Galice and Mariposa basins, Oregon and California: Keys to understanding the Late Jurassic continental margin
Suprless will be working on a comprehensive analysis of the Galice and Mariposa basins in the Klamath Mountains and western Sierra Nevada to provide age and provenance constraints that will inform and assess the viability of proposed tectonic models of the Nevadan orogeny in California and Oregon.

2021-22 | Los Hijos de Juan y Carlos Wesley: Tejano Methodism, Material Culture and Gender at San Antonio’s La Trinidad United Methodist Church
Tarango’s leave will be used to complete the manuscript of her book, which will focus on the construction of La Trinidad United Methodist Church’s unique Tejano Methodist history through the church’s creation and preservation of material culture. This leave is supported by a Louisville Sabbatical Grant for Researchers, which supports the study of Christianity in North America. The Award is $40,000.

Fall 2021 | Improved Physics Lab Technology with Arduinos
This research focuses on making cutting-edge physics research and equipment accessible in the undergraduate laboratory through Arduinos, an open-source electronics platform that replaces complicated electronics with software. Projects include a simplified system for controlling the length of an optical cavity.

2021-22 | Development of a Diagnostic Test for Viable Insulin
Urbach’s goal is to develop an inexpensive point-of-care device for insulin detection in order to improve the management of type 1 diabetes. His proposal aims to develop the necessary chemistry to enable this device, based on prior work from the Urbach laboratory.

Spring 2022 | Texas Desert Tales: The Demented and the Undocumented in Quixote Nuevo and (Un)Documents
This interdisciplinary project will address the significance of immigrant and undocumented queer voices in Latinx Theater by analyzing Octavio Solis’ play “Quixote Nuevo” and Jesús Valles’ play “(Un)Documents.” It will contribute to the fields of Chicanx and Latinx studies in general and immigration, queer, performance, and feminist studies in particular.

Fall 2021 | The Columbian Exchange: A Series of Works on Paper
This project is a series of large-scale, mixed-media works on paper investigating the Columbian Exchange, a concept from environmental history. The drawings focus on the enduring biological and cultural impacts of the voyages of Columbus on Texas, Mexico, and other areas of the Americas once colonized mainly by the Spanish empire.

Fall 2021 | Biogeochemical controls on natural and anthropogenic groundwater contaminants in California’s Central Valley
Ziegler’s research aims to understand how human agricultural activity has modified chemical conditions in aquifers that have resulted in elevated concentrations of toxic trace elements in groundwater of California’s Central Valley.

Sydney Rhodes '23 helps tell Trinity's story as a writing intern for Strategic Communications and Marketing.

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