FEATURE STORY | Teaching by Example | SPRING 2023 LEHIGH UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES Climate and Conflict
10 NO SMALL MATTER Xiaoji Xu develops new methods and instruments for chemical measurement and imaging at the nanoscale 13 BE PRESENT IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT Student research leads to a local ordinance encouraging bird habitat 14 TEACHING BY EXAMPLE Faculty scholarship makes transitions to the classroom, creating real-world explorations 20 DIVING DEEP Biologist Nicole Pittoors travels to great depths to measure the health of the ocean 22 PEELING BACK THE COLONIAL SHELLAC Olivia Landry’s third book asks what documentary film can do to unsettle colonialist conceptions of the colonized 24 A NEW FACE FOR A SOUTHSIDE ICON Student team helps Lehigh Pizza create a new look while honoring its history 27 BREATHING HOPE WITH TECHNOLOGY Students develop an app to improve health of residents in Kazakhstan 28 LAYING THE GROUNDWORK Environmental policy student works to help preserve the local environment while developing important restoration policies 30 DIVISION! Did the trend toward majority votes over consensus in England’s 17th-century Parliament sow seeds of potential discord in future democracies? BRIEFS FEATURES 02 Observations in Wood … Cellular Communication … Gloria Naylor Archives 04 The Power of Us … Concertos Nos. 1 and 5 … Dice and Gods 06 Quark Gluon Plasma … True Story … Transformative Spaces 08 The Muslim Speaks … Natural Systems … Ethically Challenged CONTENTS 10 SPARKING MOMENTS OF MINDFULNESS Deirdre Murphy is a Philadelphia-based painter whose art is constantly evolving while staying grounded in the patterns and perspectives of science and nature 13 A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF NUCLEAR MATTER Physics student seeks to dive deep into the inner workings of the universe 14 CLIMATE AND CONFLICT Lehigh researchers examine the realities of climate change and the resulting social and political struggles 20 IS IT TOO WARM TO SNOW? PhD student uses remote sensing of snowpacks and wildfires in the Western US to study impact of climate change 22 STUDIES AND SPORTS Euan Forrest ’23 combines dual majors with soccer to create a fully rounded Lehigh experience 24 STRANGERS IN THEIR OWN LAND Terry-Ann Jones examines the experiences of seasonal, migrant sugarcane workers in Brazil, providing insights in the country’s deep-seated inequalities 27 FILMMAKING WITH IMPACT A trip to Sierra Leone highlights student’s academic experience 28 CRUCIAL CONVERSATIONS Environmental policy student examines impact of conservation in Uganda 30 HISTORIES OF MEMORY, DEVOTION, AND RELATIONSHIP Annabella Pitkin examines how communities respond to trauma, address suffering, and renew transformative relationships through practices of memory Community-Focused Art … The Doom of the Great City … Light and Dark Marriage and Self-Care … A German Jewish Time … Intensive Student Research 06 Other Americans … Shared Decision Making … Historical Trauma 08 Heidegger and Being … Journalistic Futures … Female Labor Force Participation
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES 1 Robert A Flowers II ’91G Herbert J. and Ann L. Siegel Dean SPRING 2023 MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN A CHANGING CLIMATE This issue of the magazine explores climate change and conflict There is strong evidence that climate change contributes to increased conflict. In fact, I would argue that climate change is an existential threat not only to our economic and political security but also to our way of life. There are many interrelated factors—socioeconomic conditions, nationalism, globalization, and migration—that result from a changing climate that accelerate the risk of conflict. Universities play a unique role in helping to meet this challenge by fostering an intellectual environment that rewards solving complex problems, including the daunting challenges around climate change. Lehigh is well-poised to provide unique interdisciplinary approaches that will contribute to solving the challenges that are a consequence of climate change. As a scientist, I marvel at the advances in science and technology and their impact on humanity. With that said, many of the challenges we face related to climate change will not be solved by science and technology alone. We need to live differently, and the social sciences, arts, and humanities are central to imagining those different ways of living. Faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences have been actively engaged for many years in studying the effects of climate change, often through an interdisciplinary lens. This issue of Acumen explores the ecological, political, and societal implications of a changing climate, with essays that range from an examination of snowpacks in the Western United States to a study of how to empower those marginalized communities that are most disrupted by a changing climate. This issue also presents individual and collective faculty contributions to research, scholarship, and creative work on such topics as the representation of avian migratory patterns and molecular biology in art, conservation efforts in Africa, migrant workers in Brazil, mothers in Sierra Leone, and the life of a Buddhist saint. The creation and dissemination of knowledge is central to the intellectual life of the university, and our new discoveries and critique of the status quo can forge enduring improvements in the world far beyond South Mountain. The scholarly activity and creative work carried out by my colleagues across the college extends beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries, forging new partnerships that will continue to offer solutions of some of the most complex issues we currently face. We seek points of enquiry where areas of expertise intersect to understand global issues and identify possible solutions. As scholars and educators, we recognize that challenges create opportunities to learn and solve problems in ways that benefit our students, the broader community, and the world. Our students are direct beneficiaries of our scholarly activity, as we integrate teaching with opportunities for experiential learning that will provide great benefit to them long after their time at Lehigh. I hope you enjoy this issue of Acumen. I look forward to sharing our contributions and accomplishments with you and welcome your thoughts and comments. ACUMEN MAGAZINE EDITOR Robert Nichols ’17G | CAS ADVISORY BOARD Robert A. Flowers II, dean; Kelly Austin, R. Michael Burger, Dawn Keetley, Jessecae Marsh, associate deans | GRAPHIC DESIGNER Kayley LeFaiver | CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Leslie Feldman, Wendy Greenberg, Emily Halnon, Vicki Mayk, Steve Neumann, Robert Nichols ’17G, Chris Quirk | PHOTOGRAPHERS Douglas Benedict, Christine Kreschollek, Willow Munson ’23, Christa Neu | ACUMEN is published annually by the College of Arts and Sciences at Lehigh University | COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES Lehigh University, 9 West Packer Avenue Bethlehem, PA 18015 | cas.lehigh.edu | ©2023 Lehigh University Cover illustration by Simon Pemberton DOUGLAS BENEDICT READER FEEDBACK: Please send comments to: email@example.com LIKE US: CAS.Lehigh FOLLOW US: lehigh_cas TWEET US: @Lehigh_CAS FOLLOW US: lehighu-cas
2 ACUMEN • SPRING 2023 common function of marking something in the site — a direction, a piece of history or a personal connection. The project is a departure from the industrial design classes he teaches. Although it leverages some of the same skills, “it’s really art,” he says. Partnering with artist Marek Walczak, it is Heiss’ third commissioned work for the city of Denver. “We like to work with communities where they are helping produce the content and contributing some element to the design in a significant way,” Heiss explains. “That’s a really crucial part of our collaborative practice. We’re trying to make something that actually does speak to the place in a meaningful way.” The first of the four new installations—a whimsical 16-foottall wayfinding sign with 37 different directional arrows—included a collaboration with the Bruce Randolph School in the Cole neighborhood. An assignment in art classes challenged students to design arrows pointing to something that they care about. The arrows selected for the installation point to diverse locations, near and far: downtown Denver; local playing fields; Germany; and the location of the Sand Creek massacre, some 252 miles away, an historic event marking the killing of Cheyenne and Arapaho peoples. Some arrows reflect local lore. One points to Daddy Bruce’s Bar-B-Que, a nod to Daddy Bruce Randolph, the man for whom the school is named. To transform the students’ designs into metal, drawings were scanned into a CAD program and traced. Allentown-based DiBello’s Metal ART COMMUNITYFOCUSED ART A milelong park in Denver, Colo., has become a place where the past meets the present, reflected in four public art installations created by artist Wes Heiss. Filtered through the creative vision of Heiss, associate professor of product design in the department of art, architecture and design, the installations are helping to redefine the area in its new incarnation as a green space. The interactive installations reflect what the area has meant to current and past residents of the Clayton and Cole neighborhoods, where the park is located. Each work is distinctive, but all four feature a red-orange color that subtly unifies them. Heiss explains that they also share the Designs created stainless steel arrows that were powder coated in orange. All 37 are mounted on a single pole—a carefully engineered process allowing each to be visible amid the cluster. Other pieces in the installation capture the area’s history. A water tower sculpture captures Denver’s flood history and its impact on the neighborhoods. A third piece in the series is a nod toward another time in the location’s history. The remaining piece invites observers to examine and interact with it. Conversation consists of two 8-footlong metal horns. Positioned to face each other across a ravine, the two structures function as megaphones, allowing people positioned at each end to speak to one another, even at a whisper, across the space. ENGLISH THE DOOM OF THE GREAT CITY British author William Delisle Hay published The Doom of the Great City: Being the Narrative of a Survivor in 1880. The novella tells a tale about an apocalyptic fog of pollution that destroys London, yet no viable text exists in print. A new critical edition project by Michael Kramp and Sarita Mizin ’15G seeks to contextualize the novella with primary source appendices and resources to support scholarly and teaching conversations related to the story’s themes as they bring it back into circulation. Doom tells the story of a man who is the sole survivor of this destructive event. Retired to rural New Zealand, the author gives to his grandchildren a detailed recount, through which Hay connects this eradication to human greed and considers how it has led to massive inequities, failing public policies and severe ecological, health and economic crises that threaten the nation. “It’s one of the many late Victorian apocalyptic stories, but unlike so many of them, it’s really a story of urban apocalypse that isolates London,” Kramp says. “While London gets decimated and the whole population COURTESY OF WES HEISS An underside view of Flood. THE HBURMIEAFNSITIES
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES 3 dies, except this sort of classic lastman survivor, the rest of the world seems relatively untouched, including, arguably, the suburbs of London.” Kramp is collaborating with Mizin, assistant professor of English in Postcolonial and British Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Doom, she says, also provides us with some insights into the collusion between patriarchy and the forces of colonialism. “It’s helped me think about how settler colonialism is enmeshed in certain forms of patriarchy, particularly in this text,” Mizin says. “The narrator presents the setting of New Zealand as a place that was full of riches, a kind of second setting that was being underutilized, and he is going to exploit it.” The work is relevant today as climate dangers become more intense, Kramp says. His and Mizin’s book will make the novella accessible to teachers and students for the first time and create a text relevant to a period with worldwide ecological, economic and public health crises. “We want to be part of a public discussion in terms of public health and climate change and global warming and modern urban living and the suburbs. We want those public dialogues, and I think we’ve really set the text up to facilitate that both in and out of the classroom,” Kramp says. For Kramp, the project also brings the reward of working with a former student. “It’s been really important to me to work with an alum of the program, and it’s been special to work with Sarita,” he says. “In the humanities, we are rarely trained to do collaborative work. This has been collaborative, but it’s also been a special kind of collaboration.” BIOLOGY LIGHT AND DARK For more than a century, scientists have been fascinated with cave animals. Evolutionary biologist Johanna Kowalko uses the cave-dwelling Mexican tetra to explore genetics and the genetic basis of natural variation shaped by evolution. Kowalko and her team use the Mexican tetra, Astyanax mexicanus, which exists as cavefish, and closely related surface fish in their studies. Cavefish have evolved a number of traits that are hallmarks of cave animals, including loss of eyes and pigmentation, as well as changes to behavior and physiology. Breeding cavefish and surface fish together, the research team can perform genetic mapping studies to identify genes responsible for the evolution of cave traits, which they can validate through genetic manipulation of the animals using CRISPR-Cas9, a gene editing tool that allows scientists to manipulate genes of interest to determine their function. “What you end up with are these fish that are the grandchildren of those parental populations, and they have tons of individual variation in morphology and behavior,” says Kowalko, assistant professor of biological sciences. “You’ll have some with big eyes and some with small eyes, some that are pigmented and some which are not. And so, we assess them for a number of phenotypes, and then we can sequence their DNA and use that information to do the mapping studies.” These studies allow the researchers to identify regions of the genome, and the genes within these regions, that may underlie the evolution of these traits. Kowalko and her team are studying a number of fish behaviors, including evolution of aggression and sleep, both of which are reduced in cavefish, compared to their surface fish counterparts. Quantifying these behaviors is critical for genetic studies. For example, to study sleep, she tracks activity with automated software, counting how often they have periods of inactivity that are one minute or longer. Researchers manipulate the genomes of the surface fish or the cavefish using CRISPR-Cas9 to knock out a gene that they believe might be important for sleep, then they quantify the sleep in those mutated animals. Kowalko recently looked at the gene that causes albinism in cavefish, oculocutaneous albinism 2, and discovered that the albino fish, which have two mutant copies of this gene, sleep less than surface fish that have two wild type copies of this gene. “I think the technology, in and of itself and what it allows us to do, is just really remarkable,” she says. “Cavefish just weren’t as tractable a system prior to the establishment of these genetic tools. Now, we can really dig into what are not just these genes, but what are the specific changes that we see in the nucleotide sequences in the different versions of these genes in cavefish, and how do they affect fish behavior, morphology or physiology? That was a question that was just unaddressable in this species previously, and now we can without going to another organism that’s millions of years diverged evolutionarily. The fact that we can do that, I think, is really just remarkable still to me.” BRIDGEMAN IMAGES, ADOBE STOCK The Mexican tetra, also known as the blind cave fish.
4 ACUMEN • SPRING 2023 this engineering company, being one of few Black nurses who is on this research team or being one of few Black men doing contracting work.” Typically, Black middle-class couples are employed in jobs that experience more uncertainty than their white counterparts. Black middleclass couples are caught in a difficult situation fighting work stressors paired with racial inequality or gender inequality. When people are put in that position, the tools and the strategies they use to handle these stressors at home can cause harm while offering many forms of safety and connection, she says. “Self-care is important. How they take care of themselves or how they think about selfcare is a way that they endure these challenges of family and work,” she says. “We need to think about more collective marriages in the Black community. When you walk down the aisle and you say, ‘I do,’ there is this concept of, ‘Oh, it’s that couple now. They have each other.’ It’s not beneficial because that’s a lot to put on one couple. That’s so much pressure on two individuals to just keep it together when their relationship is complicated by their race and gender identities in a nation state that’s still dealing with systemic racism, patriarchy.” THE HUMANITIES SOCIOLOGY MARRIAGE AND SELF-CARE For the past three years, sociologist LaToya Council has been studying Black middle-class couples and how stressors shaped by racism and sexism influence work and family life. Her latest project focuses on time use in Black families, examining how Black couples use their time, and her work is revealing the toll managing systemic racism can have on personal wellbeing. In her work with 25 couples, she finds that how couples come to think about and manage their time is in response to their experiences dealing with the combination of racial inequality and gender inequality in society. “When you talk to anyone about their work and family life, they’re ‘family first, family first, everything is for the family,’” says Council, assistant professor of sociology in the department of sociology and anthropology. “Work is work. I want to keep barriers around work as much as possible because I want to prioritize family life. When you look at that, though, when [Black middle-class couples] talk about why they do that, a lot of things about racial and gender inequality come up. I often heard from couples, individually and together, talk about racism they experienced at work or particularly microaggressions around being the only Black professional in ISTOCKPHOTO.COM, FRANCES TANZER HISTORY A GERMAN JEWISH TIME Historians define time as the progression of events from the past to the present into the future. Time can be measured, explained by a series of events. Historian Nitzan Lebovic is studying a collection of 20th-century German Jewish intellectuals who wrestled continually with concepts of time and temporality. His work reveals that they often viewed time—not space—as the key to their individual and collective experience, rejecting definitions of oneself based on borders, territory or geographic/national origin. In his latest book project, Lebovic studies the philosopher of religion Martin Buber, critical theorist Walter Benjamin, political scientist Hannah Arendt and poet Paul Celan. The four stand at the center of our contemporary understanding of religion, critical theory, politics and literature. Lebovic, professor of history, examines how they perceived big historical changes and movements. They believed they needed temporal concepts as the core of new disciplines, and a Frances Tanzer, Kafka and His Writing Machine, 2021 BRIEFS
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES 5 CHRISTINE KRESCHOLLEK, SCIENCE SOURCE new vision of the 20th century was really at the heart of it, he says. “Such intellectuals, experiencing the rise of Fascism and Nazism, viewed the 20th century as a time of acceleration, mobilization, innovation and fascination with everything new. Modernity turned its back on the past, even when the cost was deadly.” The thinkers he follows, then, believed that we need to reconsider time as a key to modern development. It’s not by coincidence that the Germans invented blitzkrieg or that Einstein and Freud reimagined the individual psyche and the universe. “That’s also where our post-1945 notion of globalism and global culture came from,” Lebovic says. “Within the humanities, that’s how we came to see religion studies, critical studies, political science and literature in general. Temporal concepts were very popular in the second half of the 20th century.” Modern Jews stood at the crosspoint between two periods: 19th-century liberalism and modern nationalism. On the one hand, liberals demanded to emancipate the Jews as citizens of various European countries. On the other hand, we see the rise of anti-Semitism. The competing ideologies show two different utopian visions, one of a multicultural liberal society and another of pure Aryan race. Neither one considered the formal borders of Germany, between Poland and France, relevant to their vision. Lebovic’s message is not without hope: “Time is the best equalizer,” he says. “We’re all born, live and die. If you think about that point, your whole identity’s seen with very different eyes because there’s no major difference between someone speaking French and someone speaking German. The thinkers I’m interested in designed their thinking about politics, history, religion and literature from that perspective. It’s how we construct our story—beginning, middle and end—that allows us to think as equal human beings rather than through spatial differentiation, which is always thinking through hierarchies, minorities, those who belong and those who don’t.” PHYSICS INTENSIVE STUDENT RESEARCH Supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, a team of Lehigh faculty are collaborating with colleagues at the University of Bordeaux, France, to develop advanced imaging techniques and innovative microscopic probes to determine how biological cells respond to force and to train U.S. students in these techniques. Led by Daniel Ou-Yang, professor of physics, and Aurelia HonerkampSmith, assistant professor of physics, a team of Lehigh students will work in Bordeaux laboratories during the summer and at Lehigh for the rest of the year to develop imaging techniques and new biomaterials. Students are mentored by faculty as they explore novel methods of measuring the mechanical properties of soft materials of multicellular organoids, time-lapse confocal imaging of mechanotransduction during stem cell differentiation and cell migration in complex biological environments and magnetic nanoparticle-mediated transport of membrane-bound proteins. The main goal of this project is to train U.S. students while developing advanced imaging techniques and innovative tools to determine how biological cells respond to forces. These experiments will help researchers understand how stem cells differentiate into functional cell types, how cancer cells spread and how blood flow is regulated. Understanding how cells interact with their environment is essential for developing treatments for a variety of health-related issues, ranging across joint repairs, cancer therapeutics, tissue engineering and heart and vascular disease prevention and treatment “The idea is to match one student with multiple advisers in the lab,” Ou-Yang says. “The program is designed with a goal to pair an undergrad student with a graduate student, so they participate in a team project that involves more than one faculty adviser. It’s very hands-on, very immersive, so the students will integrate their work done at Lehigh with that in French laboratories. It’s good for students’ futures, not only as some research experience on their resume, but in how they realize major research collaborations involving multiple researchers in an international setting are carried out and how they can be part of it. They get a different global view of how the research is done differently and which parts are done similarly.” “I think for students, a very intensive 10-week international research experience in Bordeaux can give a student the confidence to say, ‘Look, I really am a scientist. I’ve done this very unusual thing,’” Honerkamp-Smith adds. “I think that’s valuable for students who might not initially feel like they belong in the research enterprise.” Daniel Ou-Yang and Aurelia Honerkamp-Smith in her lab. Dividing human mesenchymal stem cells.
6 ACUMEN • SPRING 2023 PSYCHOLOGY SHARED DECISION MAKING Visiting your doctor can be stressful, regardless of the issue, but patients with chronic conditions such as Type 2 diabetes have the added pressure of working with their physician on a treatment plan and remaining vigilant about their blood sugar levels. How patients view their disease can impact their health, and patients’ beliefs about their health are the focus of research by cognitive psychologist Jessecae Marsh. Marsh, associate professor of psychology, is currently exploring how patients and doctors work together to make shared decisions concerning patient care, prevention and management. Funded by the National Science Foundation, she is collaborating with computer scientist Samantha Kleinberg and engineer Onur Asan at Stevens Institute of Technology in an effort to improve the shared decision-making process for doctors and patients with Type 2 diabetes by better linking evidence to knowledge. Kleinberg is developing machine learning methods to generate personalized causal models for individual patients based on health network data related to insulin dosage, blood sugar levels, activity levels and diet. Marsh examines how people’s beliefs about the causal relationships that create diabetes influence decisions regarding their health. The divide between how patients think about their disease and scientific evidence on diabetes can be an obstacle to shared decision making, she says. The goal is to help patients describe what they believe causes their diabetes and provide the information to a doctor, so the doctor can help them make a better decision. “The point of shared decision making is the physician and the patient discuss, share and make the decisions for treatment together,” she says. “So, it shouldn’t be the doctor saying, ‘You should do this. Are you on board?’ It should be, ‘Let me Bush notes that this negative imagery tends to affect audiences’ ideological perceptions because it impacts them emotionally. “It feeds their imaginary relationship with the region as this place that needs to be kept at bay,” he says. “That’s the overarching theoretical perspective of the book, but it starts out with me thinking about, How did I first learn about Latin America? What do I know about, or what was my exposure to, Latin America?” The United States and Latin America at large—and, very specifically, Mexico— have long historical relations. One can’t live without the other, Bush adds. He is interested in delving deeper into works that are portraying border spaces, the space of contact between the two regions, between the two cultures. “If nothing else,” he says, “I want to highlight not only what’s being told, but also what’s left out of that purview. How does telling the story in this way influence our understandings of the cultures that make up Latin America and its immigrants in the United States?” MODERN LANGUAGES OTHER AMERICANS Matthew Bush’s research explores contemporary Latin American narrative and culture. His latest book, Other Americans: The Art of Latin America in the US Imaginary, examines the representation of Latin America across a host of media, in works that have been highly successful in the United States. Bush, associate professor of Spanish and Hispanic studies in the department of modern languages and literatures, studies contemporary literature, film and Netflix serials. He argues that these widely consumed works about Latin America are loaded with fear, anxiety and shame, which have an impact that surpasses any receptive story framing. The negative feelings encoded in visions of Latin America run the risk of becoming common beliefs for American audiences, ultimately shaping their ideological relationship with the region. Bush studies the underlying melodramatic structures of these works that portray Latin America as an implicit other and a process of affective thought that encourages an us/them, or north/ south binary paradigm in the reception of Latin America’s globalized art. “When you have shows, films and books that produce fear or anxiety and shame about Latin America, that impacts the audience and it affects their ideological relationship with the region,” he says. “If you are only consuming Narcos, and you don’t know anything else about Colombia, you get the one-sided version of the story. Notably, in those shows, there’s next to nothing about the United States’ underlying role in the situation.” ALAMY STOCK PHOTO A poster promotes Netfix’s television series Narcos. BRIEFS
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES 7 share.’ It’s a collaborative process of saying, ‘Okay, here are your options. Let’s talk about your lifestyle, your context and whether or not you can do any of these treatment options to come up with the best plan moving forward.’ That’s the gold standard, but we know doctors don’t do it well.” Marsh notes that a better understanding of a patient’s knowledge will allow doctors to more accurately understand what their patients believe, leading to more effective conversations and, ultimately, a higher quality of care. RELIGION STUDIES HISTORICAL TRAUMA How do people make meaning out of historical tragedies? How do they sustain their collective identities in the face of serious historical misfortune? This is the question behind Hartley Lachter’s new book project. Lachter, associate professor of religion studies and director of the Berman Center for Jewish Studies, studies Jewish mysticism, or Kabbalah, a radical form of Jewish discourse that developed in the Middle Ages. Jewish mystics claimed to have secretly revealed knowledge imparted directly from God that unveiled the true meaning of Jewish identity and the nature of the world. They were particularly interested in the place of Jews in history. Lachter’s project focuses on how these texts described the meaning of catastrophic events in Jewish historical experience, like exile, oppression and outbreaks of violence against Jewish communities in medieval western Europe. For Jews during this period, any discussion of the meaning of history and their place in it was part of a conversation about the meaning of their identity in relation to that of other peoples, especially Christians and Muslims. This was unavoidable, since Jews lived as a minority within territories controlled by Christian or Muslim rulers, he notes. “We have to situate this within the broader context of how premodern people talk about history, especially pre-modern people living in the European Christian West,” he says. “When they talked about the meaning of the course of human world events, they thought about it in terms of a divine master plan for history as evidence of who is favored, and who is not, by God. It was always inherently a kind of theological conversation they were having, and thinking about history meant thinking about the relationship between different peoples and nations and religious identities.” Jews had to find some way of accounting for and telling themselves a story about the meaning of how they understand their own history in light of how badly it had gone, he says. They understood themselves to be living in galut, or exile, and recognized that they were disempowered politically. So, they argued that really the meaning of this history is the opposite of what it appears. God, they claimed, had a secret plan, and the present moment of disruption was only part of a much broader scheme for the unfolding of world events. “They had to endure the pain of exile for some kind of reason, so medieval Jewish mystics claimed Christian and Muslim peoples were part of how God accomplishes this,” Lachter says. “And they claimed that the secret divine plan for history was only revealed to the Jewish people. They believed that Jews were secretly playing an important role to help move time forward and that at the end of history when the messiah arrives, everything will revert back, or invert back, to God’s original intention, with Jews enjoying the status of God’s chosen people.” BSIP/ GETTY IMAGES, BRIDGEMAN IMAGES A color lithograph from the Middle Ages depicting Jews condemned to be burned alive. A physician consults with a patient.
8 ACUMEN • SPRING 2023 Contributions because I focus on a very tiny segment of Heidegger’s corpus,” he says. “It is important to notice that my interpretation does not reflect Heidegger’s overall view. Far from being a huge exegetical claim, my research relies on and explains a tiny, but crucial, part of his production.” JOURNALISM JOURNALISTIC FUTURES An international research group has been created by scholars worried about the future of journalism, and the development of this network is being led by professor Mariana De Maio. Journalistic Futures is a group composed of scholars from nine countries studying digital native outlets that lead in-depth investigative solution journalism and create community by generating connections with their audience beyond disseminating information. Many of these outlets host events where their audience participates and sometimes may become active citizen reporters. The researchers will be conducting in-depth interviews with journalists, content analysis of production of stories and surveys of the audiences. To survey audiences, Journalistic Futures is partnering with a news organization PHILOSOPHY HEIDEGGER AND BEING Martin Heidegger was one of the most important philosophers in the continental tradition. Filippo Casati examines Heidegger’s later work and defends an alternate interpretation of his wrestle with the notion of Being. In his book, Heidegger and the Contradiction of Being: An Analytic Interpretation of the Late Heidegger, Casati examines the philosopher’s concept of Being. Heidegger reasons that, when we think and speak, we always think and speak about something—that is, an entity. Moreover, Heidegger posits that Being—what makes any entity being—is not an entity itself. That is the ontological difference, Casati says. We are, thus, surrounded by entities; however, the reason for all these entities is not itself an entity. “At this point, we should notice a problem,” says Casati, assistant professor of philosophy. “Heidegger thinks and speaks about something that is not an entity, but he shouldn’t be able to do it. Heidegger finds himself stuck in this contradiction. On the one hand, he shouldn’t be able to think and speak about Being. On the other hand, Heidegger is able to think and speak about Being. This is a well-known problem in analytic philosophy as well. It is usually called the denotational paradox. We should not be able to denote something, but then, in doing so, we denote that something as what we should not be able to denote. I start from this analogy and work out a logical theory, which can somehow accommodate this contradiction.” Casati uncovers the premises that deliver the paradox and defends them both exegetically and philosophically. More importantly, Casati’s book presents a solution to the paradox by focusing on Section 34 of Heidegger’s Contributions to Philosophy. “I think I was able to successfully, according to others unsuccessfully, defend my own approach to ULLSTEIN BILD / GETTY IMAGES, JAM STA ROSA / GETTY IMAGES BRIEFS Martin Heidegger in his garden. Rappler reporters at their office in Pasig, Metro Manila.
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES 9 that is being used as a case study and will assist in distributing an online audience survey. The researchers will also conduct case studies of paradigmatic news outlets they feel represent the future of journalism. The outlets studied serve as practical examples of journalism’s future, says De Maio, assistant professor of journalism. They are offering training for journalists in other news outlets to ensure that journalists are prepared to conduct investigative in-depth reporting and have all the tools reporters need. These outlets also fund their productions through nontraditional methods such as crowdfunding or grant support from NGOs or foundations. Their funding does not come through advertising and cannot influence their reporting at all. There is the traditional way of organizing this network by country as principal investigators are in each country gathering data. De Maio and her colleagues complement this with well-established interest group clusters, including democracy, risks and resilience, and globalization. “We are about to start data collection in each country with what I think is also a really good research design because we’re going to be looking at the journalists as creators of messages, the messages per se and the audiences of these messages,” she says. “We’re looking at the three levels, which is something that usually is never looked at altogether. “I’m thinking of this more as a think tank or something where people get together and think where are we going and what can we do to survive in positive ways for society,” De Maio says. “I hope that we can stay beyond just publishing so that we can have those in-depth discussions that are only better when you have different perspectives. And having people from different countries gives you that perspective, no doubt about it.” INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS FEMALE LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION Female labor force participation (FLFP) is a vital element of women’s economic empowerment, as well as for broader economic growth. But it remains inflexibly low in many developing countries, and it is also substantially lower than men’s, in most countries, says Mary Anne Madeira, assistant professor of international relations. Madeira studies how trade, foreign direct investment (FDI) and natural resource exports affect female participation in the labor market, and her research is providing insights into how economic globalization is affecting women’s ability to join the workforce in developing countries. She examined FLFP in 129 low- to middle-income economy countries over a 28-year period and found that in recent years, trade and inward FDI have a largely negative effect on FLFP. Export-oriented FDI, however, may create more opportunities for women than domestic-oriented FDI and trade openness unaccompanied by significant foreign investment, she notes. Yet, this more positive effect of export-oriented FDI depends on the extent to which a country has experienced industrial upgrading, suggesting that gender segregation by industry also affects the extent to which global economic integration creates employment opportunities for women in developing countries, she adds. “It appears that the once feminizing impulse of economic globalization seems to be reversing itself in developing countries,” Madeira says. “Defeminization is largely a result of industrial upgrading, as developing countries increase their capacity to produce higher tech, more advanced goods. There’s a lot of genderbased segregation in employment in developing countries, as a result of persistent discrimination and maybe cultural norms that view certain work as not appropriate for women. “And automation plays a role here, as well, too,” she says. “So, as countries upgrade their industrial capacity, adopt more laborsaving technology, the overall labor demand may decrease. And we know that often affects women disproportionately. Women are often the last to be hired and the first to be fired. That’s kind of the story this work is telling.” Governments can respond to this dynamic to ensure that the problem doesn’t get worse. She argues that focusing on female education is a necessary but insufficient condition. Even where there is not a skills gap between men and women, women often remain segregated into lowerpaid and less-desirable industries and occupations. Governments should invest in services such as subsidized child care, early childhood education and elder care to reduce women’s unpaid work burden at home and allow them more freedom to upgrade skills, retrain in order to advance professionally and pursue a broader range of opportunities. Training engineers in Kigali, Rwanda. UTE GRABOWSKY / GETTY IMAGES
10 ACUMEN • SPRING 2023 “I try to paint for that moment in me, and if I can spark that in me, then I think I have a pretty good chance of sparking that in an audience,” says Murphy, teaching assistant professor of art in the department of art, architecture and design. “I want the work to feel effortless when they look at it and to have this hit of beauty where it makes them stop in their tracks for a moment.” “From there, I want it to be more than just beauty,” she adds. “I want it to spark this curiosity where they’re going to look at it for more than four seconds, which is what the average view time of the Mona Lisa is.” Murphy believes that too many people don’t actually look at a work of art like the Mona Lisa with their naked eye; instead, they hold their cellphone camera up, take a picture of it and then post the memory of them being there. But they don’t have the memory of really seeing it. “I want them to see something they haven’t seen before or make a connection they haven’t made before,” Murphy says. “I want people to just stop and look and observe as carefully as I’m observing nature.” The overarching theme of Murphy’s oeuvre is not just observing but representing the interconnected patterns that exist in both art and science through the lens of biological patterns and data visualization. While these elements have been present in her artistic consciousness for over 30 years, Murphy has spent the past decade specifically Artists of all stripes try to capture and represent moments that have made an impression on them. These moments might consist of just about any image, sound, current experience or past memory—in fact, the whole range of human experience—and the artists use their medium of choice to share their interpretation of them with the world. For a painter like Deirdre Murphy, the most important moment is that sudden “light bulb” insight that encourages mindfulness and engenders appreciation. Sparking Moments of Mindfulness STEVE NEUMANN Deirdre Murphy is a Philadelphia-based painter whose art is constantly evolving while staying grounded in the patterns and perspectives of science and nature PHOTOS BY DOUGLAS BENEDICT
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES 11 Deirdre Murphy (below) works with mixed media on the Lehigh campus. Nest Alchemy selects (below), Invisible Currents (above). At the time, Murphy didn’t realize how instrumental those visits to the local museum—as well as her father’s lab—would be to her work as a painter, but she can see it clearly in hindsight. “I embrace abstraction in a way that I don’t think a representational painter would,” Murphy says. “I grew up looking in the microscope; my dad always had beautiful photos of blood cells and sickle cell anemia—all the things that can go wrong but look really beautiful even though they’re diabolical.” Murphy’s past decade of exploring natural patterns and alternative perspectives in the avian world began when she completed a residency at the Raptor Center at Hawk Mountain in Kempton, Pa., followed by one at Powdermill Nature Reserve, which is part of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pa. Those experiences resulted in her two series of paintings called Murmurations and Winds of Change. The Raptor Center was just finishing a 15-year climate change study, so researchers were able to share their data with Murphy, who then incorporated the details into her paintings as compositional elements. “That’s when it all started to make sense— that’s what I was seeing in the lab as a little girl,” Murphy says. “And now, I’m able to bring these elements of abstract shape, line and form into the work to make paintings I’ve never seen before, and that challenged me as a maker.” exploring the intersecting topics of avian migratory patterns, the effects of climate change and molecular biology in her work. These interests have led Murphy to numerous fruitful collaborations with scientists at esteemed institutions such as The University of Pennsylvania, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Drexel University’s Academy of Natural Science and Integral Molecular Laboratory in Philadelphia. A foundation in art and science Murphy, who was born in New York City and raised in France, England, Australia and Japan, received her BFA in painting and printmaking from the Kansas City Art Institute in Kansas City, Mo., and her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Murphy had a predilection for art from an early age—as evidenced by a cherished photograph her parents have of her as a young girl at a little table immersed in the flow of drawing— and that artistic impulse was further nourished by her parents’ vocations and avocations. “My dad was a scientist—a hematologist oncologist who studied blood—and my mom has her Ph.D. in Irish literature,” Murphy says. “They both had a love of culture, and we lived all over the world; and wherever we lived, we would always go to museums. I was raised in this kind of world where the museum became my cathedral.”
12 ACUMEN • SPRING 2023 Additionally, for both Murmurations and Winds of Change, Murphy says she attempted to depict species in crisis through the lens of beauty rather than fear, in the hopes of encouraging viewers to ponder their own role in our changing evolution. Nest Alchemy More recently, Murphy collaborated with professor of biological sciences Jennifer Swann and the Office of Creative Inquiry’s NeuroSalon program to produce her series Nest Alchemy. “That was during COVID summer,” Murphy says, “so we were each shipped a sheep’s brain, and I was able to hand pick my two star art students who had been studying with me and were going on to get their medical illustration degrees in grad school.” Despite the pandemic, the collaboration was a productive win-win situation all around— Swann was planning on writing a textbook about the neuroanatomy of the brain; Murphy was able to continue her interest in exploring her questions about patterns and perspectives; and the students were preparing a portfolio of work so they could apply to graduate school. “It was a perfect pairing,” Murphy says. “Dr. Swann would give the neuroanatomy lecture in the morning, and I would give them their art assignment in the afternoon. Then, we would critique and give them our direction, as far as color palette or techniques to use.” The students Murphy chose were Sarrah Hussain ’21, who recently began graduate school in medical and biological illustration at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Viola Yu ’21, who is in the biomedical communications program at the University of Toronto. “Both of those young women were just remarkable painters and drawers and are going on to have great careers now,” Murphy says. For Murphy’s part, she was inspired by how the neurons, when they’re bunched together, look strikingly similar to bird nests. “During COVID isolation, we were all stuck at home in our nests,” Murphy says. “While taking quarantine walks, I noticed the nests being built in late spring of 2020 and how strikingly similar they were to neuron structures.” “That led me to ponder the essence of home as a place of sanctuary and of vulnerability,” Murphy adds. “Nest Alchemy also reflects on climate change and how mating and breeding seasons are affected by human kinds of impact.” While her residencies at scientific institutions have been immensely valuable to her growth as an artist, Murphy believes that her teaching at Lehigh helps her evolve as a painter just as much, by allowing her to question and push herself as much as her students. “I feel like my purpose on this planet is to be a painter and a teacher, and I’m lucky enough to do both of those things,” Murphy says. “Teaching keeps me in the trenches, and I think it’s great. The students are so curious and engaged, and I love seeing that light bulb go on when they get it.” ● Mixed media (above) and oil on canvas (below). CHRISTINE KRESCHOLLEK, ART IMAGES COURTESY OF DEIRDRE MURPHY
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES 13 A Deeper Understanding of Nuclear Matter WENDY GREENBERG Physics student seeks to dive into the inner workings of the universe a new state of matter created at RHIC, last seen microseconds after the Big Bang. “Think of it as a sort of soup of subatomic particles,” he says. Bennett does not go halfway in physics. Those who know him, he says, know that “physics is not just what I study, but it is a quintessential part of who I am.” Growing up in upstate New York, he was a piano-playing, threesport athlete but he also “stared at diagrams and equations as one would a picture book . . . not a day went by where physics and the unknown were not at the center of my attention,” he says. Last fall he worked on cosmic ray testing at Brookhaven and learned from Lehigh graduate student Tristan Protzmann. Cosmic rays, he explained, are the highly energetic particles that travel through space at relativistic speeds, or close to the speed of light. “It was amazing using their equipment,” he says. “The scale of RHIC is amazing.” Bennett was able to present his work at the Division of Nuclear Physics of the American Physical Society conference in New Orleans. “I like to challenge myself, and like solving problems,” he says. Not only does Bennett want to have an impact on the scientifically significant sPHENIX experiment at Brookhaven, but looking forward, he wants to become a communicator of science so that others can appreciate the universe as he does, and maybe get excited about heavy ions. ● At Brookhaven, sEPD will be one of many sPHENIX subdetectors used to better understand the heavy ion collisions occurring at RHIC. “My experiment was testing on sEPD, which, when sEPD is implemented into the overall sPHENIX experiment, will study the orientation of charged particles,” he says. On a broader scale, the experiment provides direct evidence that invisible cosmic rays are a real measurable quantity. Funded by a National Science Foundation grant, Lehigh is leading the construction of an sEPD at Brookhaven. For Bennett, the experiments are a way to better understand the universe. “Heavy ion collisions at high energy provide a possibility to address the many puzzling questions life brings us, from how the universe worked 13.8 billion years ago to how it interacts on the smallest of scales today,” Bennett wrote in his research abstract. At Brookhaven, sPHENIX will be used to collect data from RHIC to better understand quark-guon plasma, Justin Bennett ’23 has always loved physics. As he puts it, “for my entire life I contemplated the complexities of the universe.” But it wasn’t until his second year at Lehigh that he could become more serious about heavy ions. When Bennett took a course with Anders Knopse, assistant professor of physics, whose work includes experiments at the Large Hydron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, and worked with Rosi Reed, associate professor of physics, he found their passion for nuclear physics inspiring. He applied for and received a research grant from the College of Arts and Sciences which allowed him to develop and perform benchmark tests for light efficiency of the tiles that make up the Event Plane Detector (sEPD) at sPHENIX, an experiment under construction at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, NY. “It was an opportunity to grow as a researcher,” he says. “I wanted to dive deep.” Justin Bennett (above) works in the lab of Rosi Reed. The PHENIX detector at Brookhaven National Laboratory (below). BROOKHAVEN NATIONAL LABORATORY / SCIENCE SOURCE, CHRISTA NEUflippingbook.com