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Harpur College faculty receive research awards

Thirteen Harpur College faculty representing 10 departments have been selected to receive Dean’s Research Semester Awards for the fall or spring semesters of the 2005-06 academic year. Recipients may take a full-course reduction for one semester, allowing them to concentrate on a research project or creative endeavor. Based on the recommendations of faculty committees established to review the proposals, awards were presented to: Falu Bakrania, assistant professor of sociology, who will work on a manuscript analyzing the culture and political struggles of youth coming of age under postcolonial conditions. “Re-Fusing Identities: South Asian Youth Culture in Postcolonial Britain,” based on fieldwork in London, England, examines how British-Asian youth are using popular music to contest the racial intolerance of the British state and to ethnically distinguish them-selves from first generation migrants.

Aruna D’Souza, assistant professor of art history, will complete work on “Streetwalkers: Gender, Contemporary Art and Urban Space,” addressing a range of contem-porary critical artistic practices articulated against and through the paradigm of flânerie. Flânerie was essentially a practice of the accommodation of the white, masculine bourgeois subject to the threatening and consequently feminized diversity of the modern metropolis.

Douglas Glick, assistant professor of anthropology, will complete his manuscript on the making of politeness in modern Israeli Hebrew. The project is based on his doctoral dissertation, which focused on a group of Sephardic Jews of North African descent and Ashkenazi Jews of European decent in order to document the social life of polite speech in modern Israeli Hebrew. The award will allow him to incorporate new data collected since completing his doctoral work, as well as allowing him to review and update his knowledge of relevant specialized literature.

Daniel Henderson, assistant professor of economics, will develop statistical tools to help answer a fundamental question in economics — why is the world becoming divided into rich and poor? Past research was only able to decide whether or not a group of countries were converging toward one another over time. Recent discussions have concluded that these methods are not appropriate when countries are converging within groups.

Nicholas Kaldis, assistant professor of German, Russian and East Asian languages, will use his leave to complete research and writing of a manuscript on a collection of prose poems in Chinese by Lu Xun.

“Ye Cao: A Poetics of the Historical Subject” will be the first English language study devoted to this seminal collection. Even in the Chinese language there are only one or two well-known studies of the collection and they are largely descriptive.

Rebecca Kissling, assistant professor of chemistry, will outline a strategy to develop chiral polymers for advanced optical materials, using chiral ferrocenyl starting materials and ring opening polymerization of ferrocenophanes. The project will add depth to the work researchers are already engaged in relating to chiral ferrocenyl polymers.

Paul Loya, assistant professor of mathematical sciences, will work on the index theorem of Atiyah, Patodi and Singer, which gives a rather explicit formula for the index of Dirac operator associated to a compact manifold with a boundary in terms of topological/geometric data of the interior of the manifold along with spectral data of the boundary. His project will generalize this formula to compact manifolds with the corners of a co-dimension of two and higher.

Marcin Mazur, assistant professor of mathematical sciences, proposes to extend the results on the Galois module structure of units in real biquadratic extension of the field of rational numbers, obtained in his joint work with Steve Ullon, to biquadratic extension of imaginary extensions of imaginary quadric fields. He plans to use the results to verify the recent conjectures of Burns, Ritter and Weiss in the special case of these biquadratic extensions. Karin Sauer, assistant professor of biological sciences, will study bacterial biofilms, which are implicated in over 80 percent of chronic inflammatory and infectious disease processes and are receiving increasing attention from the medical community. She anticipates that research findings will impact treatment strategies used to eradicate pseudomonas biofilm infections by improving the understanding of P. Aeruginosa biofilm dispersion and by identifying proteins in P. Aeruginosa biofilms which may be targeted for therapeutic intervention.

Shalini Shankar, assistant professor of anthropology, will complete work on a book analyzing the social impact of the high-tech industry on South Asian-American youth in the Silicon Valley. Shankar argues that high-tech industry plays a central role in defining how youth from a broad-based spectrum of immigration histories and class backgrounds envision adulthood and position themselves for the future. The book will expand the social science understanding about the cultural impact of high-tech industry and be the first to examine the sociolinguistic dimensions of diaspora for South Asian Americans.

Katri Sieberg, professor of political science, will work on “Boom or Bust? Unions’ Effects and Future.” The project compares and contrasts the development of unions within labor and in the political arena in an attempt to understand the affect that unions can have in creating changes in workers’ rights and in the general standard of living in the United States and in Scandinavia. The paper explores the effect of globalization and the increasing influence of the Anglo-American liberal market economy in Scandinavia in terms of its potential to minimize the strength of unions and the welfare state.

Pamela Smart, assistant professor of anthropology, will complete her manuscript, “Sacred Modern: An Ethnography of the Menil Collection.” The book investigates the Menil Collection, primary repository of John and Dominique de Menil’s private collection, in terms of its unusual historic roots, and distinctive institutional expression. She said that the Menil Collection is underpinned by a complex set of commitments.

John Stoner, assistant professor of history, will work on his manuscript “Fighting ‘Termites in the House of Labor’ Abroad: The American Labor Movement and the African Trade Unions.” The project stems from ongoing research on the formation and implementation of AFL-CIO policy toward emerging African trade unions post-World War II. It will provide a comprehensive glimpse into how non-governmental organizations such as unions influence policy change and economic development in key regions of Africa, while simultaneously reflecting the Cold War political culture of the United States.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08