Kingdom Undone

Miller_Jeffrey_2008_11_21_03_02_36From April 11-17, professor of theatre arts Jeffrey S. Miller will be in the Twin Cities area for a production workshop on a new musical entitled Kingdom Undone. Still in development, Kingdom Undone represents the largest venture to date for the Theater for the Thirsty, a small theater company based out of Minnesota. Working with theater colleagues and a few of his former students on a staged reading of the musical, Jeff will help to put the final touches on the production before a demo recording scheduled for May of this year. In an announcement on their website in December, the play’s creators described the musical as follows:

“This project is bigger than anything we’ve done in the past. We’ve written a rough draft, had a few informal readings and are currently underway with writing the music. We aim to create a show with the theatricality, humor and contemporary feel of Godspell, along with the drama, depth and passion of Les Mis– and it all centers on the story of the passion week of Jesus.”

March Madness and the Beauty of Mathematics

stout_2011_03_29_03_08_36Who knew college basketball could inspire the beauty of a mathematics challenge? Dick Stout, professor of math, that’s who. Read his recent Faith + Ideas= column:

“It’s time for March Madness, that round of college basketball games that never seems to end, but (thankfully) signals the end of winter and the coming of spring. For faithful fans—like me—it can also be an emotional roller coaster where our team plays an inspired game one night, but loses the next on a last-second basket. And the drama is heightened by the fact that if a team loses, it goes home. No second chances. A season has ended.

But even amidst all the emotion of the sport and the drama of the competition, something else emerges: an interesting mathematical problem. At the heart of the tournament is a basic question upon which the madness depends: How many games must be played to determine a winner?”

Read his entire column here:

Fragments and Pictures of Spanish

MoisesIn his first year at Gordon, Moises Park, assistant professor of Spanish, doesn’t just talk the talk in his classes—he watches the movies and reads the novels as part of his scholarship. And he’s been exceptionally busy lately. Recently, he presented a paper on the Chilean film, “Tony Manero,” at the SCOLAS 2011 Conference held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 10-12. Some of the topics he addressed in his paper were contemporary Chilean cinema, trauma, Chilean Dictatorship, biopolitics, media, globalization, sanity, the 70s, and the disco era.

That’s not all. Next month he’ll be heading west to talk about another part of his work—connecting fiction to art. Here’s what he said about that trip:

“At the Third Conference on Orientalisms and the Arab and Asian Diasporas (held April 22-23 at the University of California, Merced), I’ll  be presenting a paper on the Colombian novel Mambrú about the Colombian Batallion that fought in the Korean War. I will be analyzing a fragment from the novel and comparing it to Pablo Picasso’s 1951 painting, Massacre in Korea. Some of the topics that are related to this paper deal with Orientalism, Freudian conceptualization of guns as phallic objects, desexualization of the Other, biopolitics, (Marilyn) Monroe Doctrine, Cold War, and the Colombian experience in the Korean war. It should be an interesting time!”

The “long and winding” road to publication

photoIrv Levy, professor of chemistry and computer science, had an article accepted this month for publication in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Irv co-authored the article–entitled “Seed oil and fatty acid content in okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) and related species”–with Bob Jarret and Ming Wang, both from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit. From seed to fruit, the project revolved around a number of collaborations with students and colleagues. Irv offered an interesting account of the development of this research project:

“This collaboration has an interesting history. It was during a spring break trip to ECHO five or six years ago that Grace Ju suggested that I ought to look at okra seed as a potential underutilized seed oil. After her prompting, I brought a project to [students] Jenn Soerensen and Rebecca (Havens) Sanford to investigate biodiesel made from okra seed oil. The work that they did with me and [associate professor of chemistry] Dwight Tshudy became a poster presentation at the ACS national meeting in New Orleans a few years ago. Bob Jarret from USDA was starting a project on okra seed oil and he found me through the citation of the poster at the ACS meeting.  Since that time I’ve done a number of oil extractions for Bob, nothing fancy to be honest, but it has been enjoyable to work with him and his team. I spent quite a bit of time during February responding to reviewer’s critiques so that the paper could get into its final acceptable form. The long and winding road!”

The Lessons of Dislocation

Liesl from below San MinLiesl Smith, director of administration and management in the Global Education Office and adjunct professor of history, has published an article in the most recent Chronicle of Higher Education in which she reflects upon the value of the study abroad experience. The article, entitled “The Lessons of Dislocation,” can be found here for those with a subscription to the Chronicle. After thirty days, the article will be posted in full on the Faculty Central website.