Five Marcus Early Career Research Award winners announced
This year, the College of Liberal & Creative Arts’ Marcus Early Career Research Award will help five faculty members complete projects that explore a range of topics including challenges to the criminal justice reform movement, experiencing climate change virtually, ancient funerary shrouds and identity construction, a meditation on state violence against women, and teaching math through a philosophical lens.
The Politics of Backlash: The forces behind the effort to ‘remove, recall, and replace’ reform-minded prosecutors in the U.S.
The successful 2022 recall of San Francisco’s embattled former district attorney Chesa Boudin was widely reported as the death knell for the progressive prosecutor movement. Assistant Professor of Journalism Josh Davis, who has previously written on the Boudin recall for the Washington Post, posits that the event did not happen in a vacuum but was, in fact, informed by something more complex. Boudin confronted a national, far right backlash against progressive prosecutors by forces that will stop at nothing to protect a system of mass incarceration, of which decades of research have shown to be a discriminatory and racist. His investigation into far right forces attempting to cripple the criminal justice reform movement will result in an exclusive story for a national news outlet.
Exponential Freedom: on the Philosophical Approach to Mathematics
Assistant Professor of Philosophy Arezoo Islami proposes a novel philosophical approach to mathematics; one that promotes freedom and social justice. Her project is twofold. First, to create a teacher training manual to help colleagues in College of Creative & Liberal Arts and beyond teach mathematics in an innovative, philosophical way. Second, to publish two research articles in peer-reviewed journals drawing on her experience in implementing this philosophy and pedagogy of mathematics. The first paper focuses on the philosophical approaches to teaching mathematics. The second paper focuses on the applicability of mathematics in quantum mechanics and draws on her experience of teaching complex mathematical constructs to students who are, at first, terrified of them.
Contextualizing and Curating Painted Funerary Shrouds from Roman Egypt
In her planned book “Funerary Shrouds from Roman Egypt: Contextualizing Sacred Images,” Assistant Professor of Museum Studies Lissette M. Jiménez explores the complex biographies of funerary shrouds from multicultural Roman Egypt within the colonial context in which they were removed from Egypt, the ancient Egyptian context in which they were created and used, and the modern context in which they are displayed to audiences in museums. Unlike earlier scholarship, Jiménez’s research closely examines the physical and functional properties of the under studied and misinterpreted funerary representations and moves toward a recognition of the social dimensions, materiality, and iconographic components of these objects. Funerary shrouds and their contextualization provide an entry point for discussions of identity construction, cultural exchange, museum display, and public perception.
Experiential Climate Futures in VR
Through richly embodied experiences in virtual reality (VR), Assistant Professor of Design Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, plans to depict speculative future scenarios related to climate change. His project seeks to address a key challenge of climate change, that despite its deep involvement with so many aspects of our economy and society, its threat can feel abstracted from our daily lives. While we can imagine its impact on the future, we still confront what futurists lament as an “experiential gulf” between our ability to imagine the future and our ability to experience it. But by simulating possible future scenarios in VR, we can begin to experience the reality of climate change with and through our bodies. The meta-narrative of the VR experience will ground the user in relation to a set of actions that can be taken, or not taken, by society resulting in specific impacts upon the amount of global temperature change.
The Victory Belongs to Love
What is the generational cost of state violence against women, and how do women resist this violence daily? This is the central question posed by “The Victory Belongs to Love,” a 30 minute autobiographical documentary to be produced by Assistant Professor of Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Shabnam Piryaei that explores the relationship between women and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Using mixed media including archival footage, visual art, media sent through mobile devices from Iran, and her own footage taken here in the U.S., she widens the lens—historically and geographically—to consider the stark violence and repression we are now seeing against women in Iran. Piryaei tells this story by looking both at women living in Iran, and those who live in diaspora—including herself.
About the Marcus Early Career Research Award
The Marcus Early Career Research Award is supported by the George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts and provides a one-semester leave. It funds projects in research, scholarship and creative activities. Probationary tenure-track faculty in their third, fourth or fifth year are eligible.