Crystal Biruk Gives Invited Lecture

April 18, 2016

Assistant Professor of Anthropology Crystal Biruk gave an invited lecture at a workshop on health and science in the African world on April 15 at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Taylor L. Field ’15 Coauthors Article with Associate Professor Greggor Mattson

April 18, 2016

Taylor L. Field ’15 coauthored an article in the Journal of GLBT Families with Greggor Mattson, associate professor of sociology and gender, sexuality, and feminist studies.

The piece, “Parenting Transgender Children in PFLAG,” grew out of Field’s independent research that eventually became her sociology honors thesis and GSFS capstone. The article analyzes 14 of her interviews with the parents of transgender children drawn from PFLAG, a national support group that provides a model of "activist parenting" and was one of the first national organizations to include transgender in its mission statement.

In the piece, the parents of transgender children recounted four ways in which their parenting experiences were more difficult and isolating than those of the parents lesbian, bisexual, or gay children: the physical changes their children undergo, the lack of media representations of transgender lives, the effect of their child’s gender transition on their identity as a parent, and the tensions involved in their child’s successful transition in public settings.

Parental isolation may be alleviated, however, by recognizing four unrecognized similarities shared among parents of GLBT children: adjusting to changes in their child’s appearance, the process of grief and mourning, the tendency to hierarchically rank parental difficulties, and fears of being a bad parent. The isolation faced by parents of transgender children is imposed not only by anti-trans prejudice and lack of information, but also by the unacknowledged and undiscussed ways in which a child’s gender transition affects parental gender identities.

Taylor Field is currently a graduate student in sociology at the University of Michigan, where her project recently earned her a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Erik Inglis Publishes

April 18, 2016

Erik Inglis, professor of Medieval art history and cochair of the art department, has published “Expertise, Artifacts, and Time in the 1534 Inventory of the Saint-Denis Treasury,” in the March 2016 issue of Art Bulletin (pgs. 14-42).

Annemarie Sammartino Publishes

April 11, 2016

Associate Professor of History Annemarie Sammartino has published “Mass Housing, Late Modernism, and the Forging of Community in New York City and East Berlin, 1965-1989" in the American Historical Review (Volume 121, Issue 2, Pgs. 492-521).

Co-op City in New York City and Marzahn in East Berlin were constructed in the late 1960s and late 1970s, respectively. This article explores both the intentions of their planners and the experiences of their residents in these two very different societies. It challenges the standard narrative of urban modernism, which sees its demise with the growth of new urbanist critiques of the 1960s.

Instead, it posits that urban modernism proved flexible enough to respond to this challenge with developments like Co-op City and Marzahn, which were simultaneously more ambitious, more defensive, and more thoughtful about the nature and meaning of urban community than their modernist predecessors in the immediate postwar period. Finally, Sammartino argues that late modernist ideas about community, in particular a kind of urban community that offered a contrast to American-style consumerism, provide a connective thread across the Iron Curtain in the later Cold War.

Bob Bosch Gives Talks

April 7, 2016

Professor of Mathematics Bob Bosch recently gave two talks at the invitation-only Gathering for Gardner Conference, held in Atlanta every two years in honor of Martin Gardner, who wrote Scientific American’s "Mathematical Games" column from 1956 to 1981.

Bosch's first talk, "Numerically Balanced Dice," a collaboration with The Dice Lab's Robert Fathauer and Henry Segerman, unveiled the world's first mass-produced injection-molded 120-sided die (based on the disdyakis triacontahedron). The die is numerically balanced in that numbers on opposite sides sum to 121, and all of the vertex sums are exactly what they should be (the degree of the vertex times the average of the numbers on the die).

Bosch's second talk, "Game-of-Life Animations," presented Game-of-Life patterns that resemble works of art (including a Magritte still life, a portrait of John Horton Conway, the game's inventor, and two animations based on Eadward Muybridge's locomotion studies).

Nancy Darling Presents, Participates in Roundtables

April 5, 2016

Professor of Psychology Nancy Darling made five presentations, participated in two roundtable panels, and presented three research papers at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Adolescence in Baltimore.

For the Editor’s roundtable panel, Darling discussed writing and publication. She discussed professional issues for the roundtable Navigating the Mid-Career Years.

The three research papers Darling presented included:

  • A Dynamic Systems Simulation of the Patterning of Attachment Dyads: Co-authored by student Caitlyn Grubb and alumnus Ian Burns, the work grew out of Darling and Grubb’s work in an advanced methods course last Spring. It used the Nova software developed by Professor of Computer Science Richard Salter to model social networks of dating couples in early adulthood.
  • Seeking and Providing Support: Are There Normative Differences in Adolescent and Adult Romantic Dyads?: Based on observational data coded by teams of Oberlin students, the work was co-authored by Grubb and student Kinsey Denney.
  • Adolescent Information within the Family Context: This work continues Darling’s studies of adolescent disclosure and lying in a longitudinal study of Chilean youth.

    Paper Coauthored by Richard Salter Presented

    April 5, 2016

    A paper coauthored by Professor of Computer Science Richard Salter was presented on April 4 at the 2016 Spring Simulation Multi-Conference of the Society for Modeling and Simulation International in Pasadena, California. The paper, "An Agent-Based Model of School Closing in Under-Vaccinated Communities During Measles Outbreaks”, was presented by Salter’s colleague and co-author, Wayne M. Getz, professor of ecology at the University of California, Berkeley.

    Salter and Getz used the 2014-15 measles outbreak in California as the basis for a stochastic, spatially-structured, agent-based Nova model of the spread of infection. The model shows that immunity within a locality requires vaccination coverage of at least 85 percent, and that a policy of “sending unvaccinated students home from school” in low coverage communities is extremely effective in shutting down outbreaks of measles. Salter was once again responsible for design and creation of the model, which joins eight other conference and journal papers using Salter’s Nova platform published in the last 18 months.

    Sheila Miyoshi Jager Serves as Panel Discussant

    April 4, 2016

    Professor of East Asian Studies Sheila Miyoshi Jager served as the discussant for the panel "Unfamiliar Border: Rediscovering the Division of Korea and Its Unknown Stories" at the annual conference of the Association for Asian Studies, held in Seattle March 31 through April 3.

    Seventy years after the 1945 liberation of Korea, many Koreans accept the division of Korea as a "natural" and familiar state of affairs. Instead of the superpowers' decisions about Korea's division, the four presentations discussed by Jager focused on the Korean people's experiences, choices, migrations, and life stories propelled by the crises of the division.

    James Dobbins Gives Invited Lecture

    April 4, 2016

    James H. Fairchild Professor of Religion and East Asian Studies James Dobbins presented the annual Taitetsu Unno Memorial Lecture at Smith College on March 25. The title of his lecture was “Going to Hell Chanting Amida Buddha’s Name: D.T. Suzuki’s Modern Reading of Pure Land Buddhism."

    Tim Scholl Presents Lecture Series

    April 4, 2016

    Tim Scholl, professor of Russian and comparative literature and director of the Oberlin Center for Languages and Cultures (OCLC), presented a series of lectures for the Michigan Opera Theatre and the University of Michigan for the University Musical Society. The lectures were presented with the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

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