College Faculty Honored for Scholarship
Three faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences were recently recognized for their research and scholarship. Dr. Nels Pearson, professor of English, was awarded the Donald Murphy Prize from The American Conference for Irish Studies for his first book; Dr. Michelle Farrell, assistant professor of modern languages and literatures received a Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society to study independent Cuban filmmakers; and Dr. Mark Demers, associate professor of mathematics was selected as the 2016-2017 Robert E. Wall Scholar.
Dr. Lynn Babington, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said, "We are so proud to have such accomplished faculty. They are not only master teachers in the classroom but scholars in their own fields. These awards are recognition by peers across the country for the excellence in research, scholarship and writing. Dr. Pearson recently received high recognition for his recent book as a well regarded author in the field of Irish studies. The Franklin research award recognizes and supports Dr. Farrell’s important research in Cuba. Here on campus, colleagues recognize and support Dr. Demers’ groundbreaking theoretical mathematical research by awarding him a semester away from the classroom to work on his research."
Dr. Nels Pearson awarded Donald Murphy Prize for book
Dr. Nels Pearson, recently promoted from associate professor to professor, was awarded the Donald Murphy Prize for his book, Irish Cosmopolitanism: Location and Dislocation in James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen and Samuel Beckett.
The American Conference for Irish Studies (ACIS), a multidisciplinary scholarly organization with members all over the world, awards multiple book and dissertation prizes each year, including best first book, for which Dr. Pearson’s work was chosen.
The ACIS committee noted that Irish Cosmopolitanism is “brilliantly conceived and executed” and that it “exemplifies the global turn in Irish studies, surely one of the most significant new approaches in [this] transdisciplinary/interdisciplinary field.”
Dr. Pearson said, "I was quite caught off guard by the prize announcement and am truly honored and humbled to read the committee’s rationale for selection. I would want to take this occasion to recognize all faculty who engage in the painstaking process of creating and publishing an academic monograph, or equivalent major scholarly project, given the many demands on our time and the often overlooked importance of faculty research.”
Dr. Pearson, a member of the English Department, is also the Director of the Irish Studies Program. His book examines the writing of three significant Irish expatriates and challenges the conventional critical trends that view their work as either affirming Irish anti-colonial sentiment or embracing international identity. Instead, it suggests that the writers go back and forth between a sense of incomplete national belonging and a humanistic perspective tied to their new, global environments.
For more information, visit the ACIS website
Dr. Michelle Farrell receives Franklin Research Grant
Dr. Michelle Farrell, assistant professor of modern languages and literatures, recently received a Franklin Research Grant by the American Philosophical Society.
The grant awards Dr. Farrell $5,200 for her proposed research “The Space in Between: Cuban Digital Independent Filmmakers at the Crossroads.”
The American Philosophical Society has awarded grants to scholars in order to support the cost of research leading to publication in all areas of knowledge since 1933.
Dr. Farrell said, “There is a tendency to see the U.S. conversations with Cuba as a U.S.-initiated opening and the U.S. as the source of change on the island. In my proposed research, I analyze the changes from within Cuba focusing on a generation of critical filmmakers creating works since 2000.”
By focusing on the changes that digital technology made possible, Dr. Farrell will show how the “nuevos realizadores,” a new generation of filmmakers in Cuba, challenge the Havana-centric representations of Cuba, the male-dominated film industry and previous invisibility of Cuban contributions from the Cuban diaspora. “Change has been coming for a long time, and some of the actors in this change are Cubans working in digital technology reflecting the realities and concerns of contemporary Cubans from within and beyond the island despite low Internet access on the island, the US Blockade and imposed controls,” Dr. Farrell said.
Dr. Mark Demers receives Robert E. Wall Award
Dr. Mark Demers, associate professor of mathematics, was selected to receive Fairfield University’s Robert E. Wall Award for the 2016-2017 academic year for his study in dynamical systems.
Dr. Lynn Babington, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said, “The Wall selection committee was quite impressed with the quality and the focus of Dr. Demers’ project. His highly-regarded scholarship brings great credit to Fairfield University, for which I am especially grateful.”
Dr. Demers’ project, "Chasing Butterflies: Chaos Theory and the Lorenz Attractor," will focus on quantifying the chaotic dynamics of some foundational models in the field of dynamical systems. These systems of elastically reflecting particles have applications to advance our understanding of heat conduction and weather forecasting, among others. Dr. Demers will work with a colleague in Italy to complete this ambitious project.
“I am deeply honored to receive this award and excited at the prospect of resolving some of these important problems in my field,” said Dr. Demers. “First and foremost, this award represents a gift of time that will allow me to immerse myself in the study of these systems, and for that I am very grateful.”