Archives

Caroline (Orosz) Robbins ’07

Caroline (Carly) recently published her first novel, Devil Music. She has also published a series of free Web comics to accompany the novel. Both works are entirely self-published. Carly earned an M.F.A. (poetry) from Sarah Lawrence College. Her poetry has been published in Wavelength Journal and SpoutMagazine. An article on Carly and her work will appear in the Fall issue of LuxEsto.

Gail Griffin, Professor Emerita of English

Gail joined two other Kalamazoo writers in a recent issue of the journal Quarter Past Eight. It was the first time that longtime colleagues and fellow writers Gail and Di Seuss ’78 appeared in print together. Di is Writer-in-Residence and a professor in the English department. The two colleagues were joined in print by Hadley Moore ’99, a short story of whose appeared in that issue of the journal. Di’s piece won the journal’s Short Prose Contest. Gail’s two pieces were both finalists.

In other “English” news, Gail may have retired, but she keeps a close eye on K graduates in the arts. She sent us the following note:

Lisa Kron ’83 is almost sure to win the Tony Award for the book associated with the Broadway hit Fun Home, and possibly share the Tony for lyrics as well. Joe Tracz ’04 was just nominated for a Lucille Lortel Award (off-Broadway) for the musical The Lightning Thief. David France ’81, of course, received an Oscar nomination for his documentary film How to Survive a Plague, and it’s being turned into a series on F/X. It’s interesting to me that Lisa was a theatre arts major, Joe an English major, and David a political science major. And then there’s Jordan Klepper ’01 (a math major!) of The Daily Show fame and Steven Yeun ’05 (psychology) who plays Glen on the The Walking Dead. What a crop of media stars from K! And the breadth of their liberal arts journeys is incredible.”

Peter O’Brien ’82

BrienPeter has published The Muslim Question in Europe. The book challenges the popular notion that the hostilities concerning immigration—which continues to provoke debates about citizenship, headscarves, secularism, and terrorism—are a clash between “Islam and the West.” Rather, Peter explains, the vehement controversies surrounding European Muslims are better understood as persistent, unresolved intra-European tensions. The best way to understand the politics of state accommodation of European Muslims is through the lens of three competing political ideologies: liberalism, nationalism, and postmodernism. These three broadly understood philosophical traditions represent the most influential normative forces in the politics of immigration in Europe today. He concludes that Muslim Europeans do not represent a monolithic anti-Western bloc within Europe. Although they vehemently disagree among themselves, it is along the same basic liberal, nationalist, and postmodern contours as non-Muslim Europeans. Peter is professor of political science at Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas). He earned his B.A degree in political science at K and both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His previous books are Beyond the Swastika (Routledge, 1996) and European Perceptions of Islam and America from Saladin to George W. Bush (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). At K Peter did his foreign study in Hannover, Germany.

Matthew J. Christensen ’92

Matthew J. ChristensenMatthew was awarded the 2017 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship and the 2017 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipends grant to support the research and writing of a scholarly study, Unsovereign Bodies: The State and the Individual Subject in African Detective Fiction. The book traces the history of the detective genre as a mode of critique in Anglophone African writing. Matthew is a professor in the Department of Literatures and Cultural Studies at the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley. At K he majored in English and studied abroad in Sierra Leone. He earned his master’s and doctorate degrees at UCLA.

Helene (Baker) Dunbar ’87

John, Keira, and Helene Dunbar

Helene experienced a crazy year in 2013. First she sold two young adult contemporary books, the first of which, These Gentle Wounds, was published by Flux on May 8 of this year. Then, in December 2013, she and her husband, John, brought their daughter Keira home from Bulgaria. Helene still lives in Nashville, works in marketing, and assumes that 2014 will probably be just at frantic.

Sharon Stohrer ’77

Sharon is delighted to announce publication of her new book, The Performer’s Companion. Bringing a wealth of experience in performance anxiety coaching to bear on the subject, Sharon has written an essential text for both instrumentalists and singers. The book approaches building performance confidence and overcoming stage fright from many angles: physical preparation, mental strategies, nurturing the artist within, optimum practicing, backstage tips, and the benefit of body work, especially the Alexander Technique.

Joel Hutson ’02

Joel was quoted in the July 15, 2015, issue of the popular science magazine Scientific American about dinosaur research that he and his wife published in the March 2015 issue of Journal of Zoology. Their research illustrates how dinosaurs may have made the transition from two-legged to four-legged mobility. Their journal article is titled “Inferring the prevalence and function of finger hyperextension in Archosauria from finger-joint range of motion in the American alligator.” Joel said: “I was inspired to study dinosaurs because of Jeff Wilson ’91 who was featured in Kalamazoo College news when I was a biology student at K.” Wilson is a paleontologist at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and has visited the K campus to speak to students and faculty about his work. Joel said he hopes also to “inspire a future generation of paleontologists at Kalamazoo College.”

Elizabeth (Ryder) Napier ’72

lizabethNapierElizabeth, a professor of English and American literatures at Middlebury College, has written and published the book Defoe’s Major Fiction: Accounting for the Self (University of Delaware Press). According to the publisher, “The book focuses on the pervasive concern with narrativity and self-construction that marks Defoe’s first-person fictional narratives. Defoe’s fictions focus obsessively and elaborately on the act of storytelling—not only in his creation of idiosyncratic voices preoccupied with the telling (and often the concealing) of their own life stories but also in his narrators’ repeated adversion to other, untold stories that compete for attention with their own.” At K Elizabeth majored in English and studied abroad in Bonn, Germany. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

Robert Neuman ’66, Ph.D.

Robert has written College Smart, a three-book series for students, parents and educators aimed at helping kids prepare for college, graduate from college on time, and save money. Robert taps experience and expertise he gained from his long career in higher education (he was formerly associate dean of the College of the Arts and Sciences at Marquette University in Milwaukee, and he spent 30 years counseling students). His book series helps readers develop the organizational and time management skills necessary for success in college.

Michael Winkelman ’91

Michael has published a new book: A Cognitive Approach to John Donne’s Songs and Sonnets, part of publisher Palgrave Macmillan’s series titled “Cognitive Studies in Literature and Performance.” Investigations into brain function have led to recent remarkable discoveries with profound implications for interpreting literature. Donne, who wrote in the 17th century, was a contemporary of Shakespeare and one of the first Metaphysical poets. He later became a famous cleric many of whose meditations are cited today. For example, “Meditation XVII” from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions includes the famous prose passage that begins “No man is an island” and concludes with “And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.” Donne’s probing insights, expressed in his unique Metaphysical style, make his amorous verse a ripe subject for cognitive analysis. Winkelman’s study applies recent breakthroughs from neuroscience and evolutionary psychology in order to deepen the understanding of Donne’s songs and sonnets. By applying findings from neurolinguistics to Donne’s work, Winkelman presents a test case for the cognitive interpretation of verse and, more broadly, advances the case of New Humanism.