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 REVIVING ALLEY HOUSES IN BETHLEHEM Architect Wes Hiatt leads an effort to create affordable housing options 13 PRESERVING A SANDSTONE HERITAGE A trip to Jordan brings insight into archaeology 14 LEHIGH’S DEEP DIVE INTO OCEAN SCIENCE New research center explores one of the most vital resources on Earth 20 EXAMINING THE REMARKABLE LIFE OF MILES ROCK Ph.D. student Casey Kies hopes to cement one of Lehigh’s first graduates in history 22 FROM THE BOTTLING LINE TO THE BIOCHEMISTRY LAB Chemistry Ph.D. student receives an NSF award to help others take a less-traveled path to the sciences 24 GOING WITH THE FLOW Chemistry, physics researchers join forces to unravel mystery behind cell signaling and lipid membrane movement 27 A CARBON-BASED DEMOCRACY Xavier Piccone ’24 studies an energy infrastructure and its impact on political and economic systems 28 THE HORROR OF IT ALL Ph.D. student explores the literary intersection of health and horror 30 ART IN THE AGE OF AI Two theatre professors use a first-year seminar to explore the question of whether artificial intelligence can create art and the potential role it can play in theatre making Reading Between the Lines … Medicine and Healing … Understory Regeneration Palma … Urban Renewal of Utopia … Finding Freedom Bad Blood … Disney and Religion … Attention Control Fascism on Trial … Bacterial Response to Environmental Changes

COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES 1 Robert A Flowers II Herbert J. and Ann L. Siegel Dean SPRING 2024 MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN A CONTINUED EMPHASIS ON INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH This issue of the magazine explores faculty collaborations that cross disciplines We can all agree that the world’s oceans are vast, but they are also complex and largely unexplored. Understanding the world’s largest biome is critical to our future. The College of Arts and Sciences has partnered with colleagues to create a research center that addresses these questions. The 2024 issue of Acumen comes at an important time as the university begins to implement the university’s new strategic plan. This issue’s cover story introduces you to Lehigh Oceans, whose team of researchers, along with the students they mentor, will help advance our knowledge about the origins of life on earth and about the conditions that create a healthy ecosystem and thriving planet. Drawing on the expertise of faculty from the departments of biological sciences and earth and environmental sciences, the center’s work is already being recognized with significant funding from federal agencies and private foundations. Interdisciplinary scholarship takes place at a range of scales, as faculty in different departments combine their research interests to advance our understanding of the world around us. Learn how professors Aurelia Honerkamp-Smith in physics and Damien Thévenin in chemistry investigate cell signaling and lipid membrane movement, while Lyam Gabel and Will Lowry in theatre are using artificial intelligence in courses they have developed. In the department of art, architecture, and design, Wes Hiatt is collaborating with Karen Beck Pooley from political science and environmental policy to create affordable housing options through the construction of alley houses in Bethlehem. Other student research focuses on how environmental stressors like pollutants, heavy metals and cigarette smoke can damage lipids and compromise cell membranes, chronicles the life of one of Lehigh’s first graduates, and explores the connections between the horror genre and health humanities. Inside, you will also discover how students undertake independent research examining eco-friendly preservation possibilities at Petra, Jordan, within the context of examining energy infrastructures. Research and creative work along with excellence in teaching provides a powerful force that supports the intellectual life of the college. Fully assimilating research into the student experience as part of a liberal arts education is part of what makes a College of Arts and Sciences education unique. Faculty scholarship shapes and informs teaching, and students are direct beneficiaries of our work as we integrate our scholarship with opportunities for experiential learning in the classroom. It is through faculty research and creative work that our students discover a passion for learning that lasts their lifetimes. 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, Sarah Karnish, Vicki Mayk, Steve Neumann, Robert Nichols ‘17G, Patrick O’Donnell | PHOTOGRAPHERS Douglas Benedict, Christine Kreschollek, Christa Neu, Sreeja Sasidharan | 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 | | ©2024 Lehigh University Cover illustration by Sarah Hanson DOUGLAS BENEDICT READER FEEDBACK: Please send comments to: CAS.Lehigh lehigh_cas lehighu-cas @lehigh_cas @Lehigh_CAS

2 ACUMEN • SPRING 2024 “About 15 years ago, when in the middle of a drawing, I was plagued by all the noise in my head and started to write things down—perhaps to purge them, perhaps to sort them out. But instead of recording this in my journal, I started writing in the drawings. I found the tangle of my hair a perfect place to hide my thoughts—hidden in plain sight, so to speak. From that point on, most of my drawings, prints and sometimes even my sculpture contained text, sometimes recorded, sometimes stenciled, sometimes handwritten and sometimes printed and debossed into the paper,” she says. “The text varies. It’s mostly personal, sometimes literary, always political and deals with all those issues we battle with every day.” Reading Between the Lines includes a room of Gans’ printmaking “outtakes” that gives visitors a view into her creative process. Viewers see how many attempts she undertook before creating the final print. She says she uses variations to come to a finished work, but once it is finished, it is finished. Understanding this process is hopefully a point from which discussions with students and colleagues can take place, she adds. “It was wonderful seeing the students at the opening, listening and then really taking a close look at my work. I think it’s important to have faculty ART READING BETWEEN THE LINES Reading Between the Lines, a solo exhibition by artist Lucy Gans, opened Aug. 29 in Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG). Both a self-reflective retrospective and an exploration of social issues, this exhibition has been a long time in the making and includes work in sculpture, drawing and printmaking from 1999 to 2023, with a concentration on more recent prints that combine image and text. Gans’ work gives voice to family narratives and stories of relationships that can include abuse, social violence and abandonment, through the layering of text and image. Her exhibition features curated works representing her figurative interpretations of the world around her. “I think the In Our Own Words (show) pushed me,” says Gans, professor of art and Louis and Jane P. Weinstock ’36 Chair, about her previous exhibition. “A lot of work had its origins in that piece. I think those interviews that I conducted with those women changed a lot about how I think about what I do in my work and also what is possible to do in work. shows, as the students can see that we’re not just talking about it, we are making the work, too. But, it also sets up some lovely faculty conversations between faculty of different disciplines. We’re a pretty diverse department in terms of what we do and how we approach our work,” she says. MODERN LANGUAGES & LITERATURES MEDICINE AND HEALING Scholars who study Chinese medicine frequently rely on canons dating back to China’s medieval period, a time spanning from the third through the 14th centuries. A new perspective is offered in the latest book by scholar Constance Cook. She argues that recently discovered manuscripts show multiple lines of transmission for medical knowledge and that the canons, the product of multiple editors over time, reflect just one strand in the evolution of Chinese medicine. In her book, Medicine and Healing in Ancient East Asia: A View from Excavated Texts, Cook examines the development of healing strategies in ancient texts, the earliest of which were written on bone. Later texts were inscribed on bamboo, silk and paper. Prior to the medieval period, these texts were not collated into canons. “What I’m showing is we have all these texts that came out of the ground that are actually written at the time period, and they show a different story,” says Cook, professor and chair of the department of modern languages and literatures. “I’m comparing the two different stories, the transmitted story with the untransmitted story, and I’m emphasizing the untransmitted story, which has never been done before. I’m showing where they converge and where they don’t converge.” Two general approaches to healing include the ancient magical medicine and the later cosmic medicine. The former linked illness to demonic influences and the latter to different COURTESY OF LUCY GANS THE HBURMIEAFNSITIES

COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES 3 modes of Qi, the life force that animates the universe as well as the human body. The study of manuscripts shows the popular conception that the later approach replaced the earlier one is false. The practices existed at different levels of society, evolving and informing each other over the eons up to the present time. The most significant changes began in the imperial era, with the rise of the Qin dynasty in the third century BCE. Then, we see the rise of recipe texts addressing named illnesses. Evidence of cosmic medicine and a simple inner-body meridian system appears in 168 BCE silk manuscripts from a middle Yangtze River Valley tomb. These theoretical texts were mixed in with recipe texts, which qualify as magical medicine from the modern standpoint. A stunning find of texts recently in Chengdu Basin in western China shows the continued mix of approaches but also the beginning of titled manuscripts and collections. The fact that an inscribed lacquered figurine with a simple meridian system was included in the same coffin as the texts suggests an integrated system of verbal and textual transmission for medical knowledge. EARTH & ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES UNDERSTORY REGENERATION Natural disturbances such as tornadoes, ice storms or insect outbreaks can maintain forest diversity by creating a heterogeneous forest ecosystem. Yet, almost all forest landscapes are subject to multiple human- or animal-created stressors, which can deter plant diversity and forest recovery after natural disturbances. In the first large-scale field experiment that tested four simultaneous disturbances, a team of researchers led by forest ecologist Michelle Spicer is providing new insights into the impact of these disturbances on helping native plant species. Using an area in western Pennsylvania that was struck by a tornado in 2012, the team picked four large tornado blowdowns where most of the overstory fell to the ground. Researchers compared the plant groups in the experimental area to undisturbed nearby forest areas, attempting to explain the effects of deer browsing, biomass changes and salvage logging on understory regeneration and plant species diversity. “Salvage logging is really common,” says Spicer, assistant professor of Earth and environmental sciences. “There’s this big question of ‘is salvage logging good or bad?’ If you’re a landowner and you had planned on harvesting some of your forest in 10 years, then a tornado comes through and blows down half the forest, you salvage some of the profits by logging at that point when the trees fell. That’s one of the things that’s actually really debated. Salvage logging has a much lower impact than clear-cutting because the trees have already fallen down naturally. On the other hand, there’s a lot of carbon that has just gone into the understory. Maybe it would be good to leave it. In what context do we have these impacts?” Spicer and her colleagues analyzed plant diversity and abundance of trees, herbs, shrubs and vines after the tornado blowdown. They discovered that deer had a negligible effect on regrowth, while the combination of natural windthrow and salvage logging had the greatest positive impact on understory plant communities. The herbaceous plant species were the major drivers of regeneration patterns, while tree species were largely unaffected by the intense disturbances The results highlight the need for greater consideration of nontree growth forms in forest ecology and management, particularly for the conservation of plant diversity, Spicer says. Scientists’ understanding of the mechanisms underlying the diversity and abundance of herbaceous plants lag far behind those of trees, though herbs make up the vast majority of temperate vascular plant species. The research contributes important data to forest disturbance models as well as changes the views of effective eastern deciduous forest management practices to include herbs, shrubs and vines. ALAMY STOCK PHOTO, ISTOCK Acupuncture bronze statue.

4 ACUMEN • SPRING 2024 Salerni loves Italian fables, and his previous two are titled The Big Sword and The Little Broom and The Old Witch and the New Moon. Palma had Salerni collaborating with Gioia, the former Poet Laureate of California and Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. Gioia had written the texts for the narratives of the two previous fables. That’s not all they have done together. Salerni’s one-act opera Tony Caruso’s Final Broadcast, with a libretto by Gioia, won the National Opera Association’s Chamber Opera competition. Salerni and Gioia have written a second oneact together (Haunted), and Salerni has set 15 of Gioia’s poems to music. “I said, ‘Dana, they want me to write a piece, and I want to do another Italian fable.’ This fable actually comes from the region from which my paternal grandparents emigrated (the Abruzzo). The original version in Italo Calvino’s collection is called Joseph Ciufolo. I wanted to have a female protagonist because I wanted to name the piece after my mother,” he says. “So, Dana modified the narrative and wrote the words that the chorus would sing.” Salerni brought Palma to Lehigh in February for performances by the Lehigh University Philharmonic in Zoellner Arts Center. The performance that night included all three Italian fables and also featured violinist Diane Monroe, who is one of the Music Department’s Horger Artists-in-Residence. ANTHROPOLOGY URBAN RENEWAL OF UTOPIA In 1950, East German socialists built the city of Eisenhüttenstadt, now Germany’s largest architectural heritage site. Designed on a drawing board, it was constructed to be a utopian city shaped by socialist ideals. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, municipal leaders have worked to revitalize their city, and this urban renewal is the focus of research by anthropologist Samantha Fox. THE HUMANITIES MUSIC PALMA In celebration of their 50th anniversaries, WVIA Radio and The Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic jointly commissioned and presented on Nov. 4 the world premiere of Palma, a fable for narrator, young string players, young chorus and symphonic orchestra with music by Paul Salerni and text by Dana Gioia. Premiering at the Scranton Cultural Center, this newly commissioned selection completed a trilogy of fableinspired works by Salerni, who is the NEH Distinguished Chair in the Humanities at Lehigh and director of the Lehigh University Philharmonic. The work features the main character, Palma, who struggles to make a living tilling the soil but loves to play music on a cherished and magical violin. Set long ago in Italy, Palma is named after Salerni’s mother, who was born in Carbondale, a mining town in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre region. Salerni says the idea for Palma had been percolating since 2016 while he was on academic leave. It was left unfinished because he didn’t think he would have an opportunity to have it performed. A year ago, WVIA program director Erica Funke suggested commissioning a new work as a salute to the station and its popular collection of programming serving northeast Pennsylvania. After discussing the commission with Funke, Salerni realized Palma would be the ideal piece and finished the work in six months. COURTESY OF PAUL SALERNI, ALAMY STOCK PHOTO Socialist architecture is often seen as large, prefabricated concrete apartment blocks in uniform gray. But, most of Eisenhüttenstadt was built at an earlier time of monumental and experimental architectural style, says Fox. The city center is built in a style that is often called the Stalinist wedding cake because many buildings have ornate tiered construction. East German architects and planners imagined themselves as managers of total space. Their goals were to maximize social engagement among residents and to infuse architecture, the built environment and the natural world with a sense of harmony that instilled pride in the socialist project, says Fox, assistant professor of anthropology in the department of sociology and anthropology. Capitalist architects, in the socialist imagination, designed isolated urban elements with the goal of maximizing profit for the builder or investor. Eisenhüttenstadt’s planners had no concern about profitability. “You could build the perfect social environment without worrying about if this also is a moneymaking venture,” Fox says. “The initial planning paid attention to the sort of social world that A decorative facade of building on Heinrich Heine Allee, Eisenhüttenstadt, Germany (above). Eisenhüttenstadt, building construction work, 1953 (right). Paul Salerni BRIEFS

COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES 5 ALAMY STOCK PHOTO, AMOS ADAMS the built environment is intended to produce.” After Germany’s reunification, Eisenhuttenstadt’s population decreased by 50 percent, as steel production privatized. In response, the government embarked on an urban renewal program that explicitly draws its inspiration from Eisenhüttenstadt’s socialist history. Many apartment blocks were demolished in underpopulated areas, and people were moved to renovated and restored housing in the inner city. The goal was to revitalize housing complexes that originally fulfilled the needs of young families and redesign them to accommodate the needs of the elderly. The success of Eisenhüttenstadt’s city center revitalization highlights the importance of drawing inspiration from alternative models of urban living and connecting with local histories. Fox’s research demonstrates that both residents and architects in Eisenhüttenstadt conceived the city—particularly after reunification— as a social project that relied on the built environment for its conditions of possibility. “It’s a sort of model of urban thriving that’s not predicated on growth,” Fox says. “We have this idea that urban renewal must require population growth and economic growth to some degree, but can you have urban renewal without restoring that population loss?” THEATRE FINDING FREEDOM In the early hours of May 13, 1862, Robert Smalls and a crew composed of fellow slaves stole a cotton steamer in Charleston, S.C., picked up family members at a rendezvous point, then navigated their way through the harbor. Once clear of the harbor and outside of Confederate waters, he had his crew surrender the ship to the blockading Union fleet. Smalls would later go on to serve five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. His amazing life was depicted in an October world premiere production of Finding Freedom, The Journey of Robert Smalls at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, with media design by Joseph Amodei. Combining media with music and stage movement, Amodei, assistant professor of theatre, designed the production’s visual content, blending responsive screen projections with live video and film to connect the audience with the world in which the characters live. Finding Freedom depicts the early years of Smalls enslaved in Beaufort, S.C.; years learning the land, waters and Gullah traditions of his mother; the bold seizure of the USS Planter through the Charleston Harbor; and his later life of advocacy in Congress. “In this case, media design is how content and videos contributed to the story,” Amodei says. “For me, it’s blending that with live camera, videos switching work that’s mixed, with these more imagistic portraits. And then also I feel like I’m in charge of interactivity, having sound affect the quality of the experience, making sure everything’s networked together so it can be really, really precise for some of the movements.” A world premiere takes months of planning. Amodei says the production team began discussing the broad concepts surrounding the design with director JaMeeka Holloway. Then came weekly conversations, sketching, digital creating, storyboarding, all getting ready for the rehearsal process. Understanding the subject’s context shapes the designs, Amodei adds. The incorporation of media into productions creates a true interaction, and sense of intimacy, with the audience, Amodei says. “[Media design] adds a type of liveness that I think people enjoy,” he says. “We see this type of camera now in concerts, and there’s a long history of this type of work, but it’s often been hard to do for various reasons or relegated to more experimental work, which is also great. But now, we live such mediated lives, it almost makes sense to bring this type of world into live storytelling.” Finding Freedom, The Journey of Robert Smalls premiered at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, S.C.

6 ACUMEN • SPRING 2024 ENGLISH BAD BLOOD For many years, literary scholars have declared that racialized slavery was not yet widely understood in early modern England. Plays such as Shakespeare’s Othello describe enslavement as related to Christian-Muslim conflicts in the Mediterranean, but a book by Emily Weissbourd offers a different perspective. The context of the Atlantic slave trade is indispensable to understanding race in early modern Spanish and English literature alike, she argues. Weissbourd’s book Bad Blood explores representations of race in early modern English and Spanish literature, specifically drama, by tracing the development of European racial vocabularies from Spain to England. Weissbourd, assistant professor of English, addresses two forms of racial ideology: one concerned with racialized religious difference—the notion of having Jewish or Muslim “blood”—and one concerned with Blackness and whiteness. “When scholars of Renaissance English literature have talked about race, they’ve often assumed that Shakespeare’s England is almost preracial, or that if there is something like race, it’s related to religious antagonism (Christians seeing Jews and Muslims as ‘other’). In this model, there are no Black people in early modern Europe,” Weissbord says. “There’s no slavery. That all comes later. But, there’s a pretty sizeable enslaved population in Spain by the end of the 1400s, many of whom are from subSaharan Africa. So, that means we can definitely read a play like Othello in the context of slavery and anti-Black racism without being anachronistic or being like, ‘oh, that’s us imposing our own values.’ That stuff is there, in Shakespeare’s own time period.” In addition to Shakespeare, Weissbourd examines the work of writers such as Lope de Vega, whom she describes as Spain’s equivalent to Shakespeare. She also writes about Diego Jimenez de Enciso’s play El Encubierto y Juan Latino. “It’s based on a true story of an enslaved Black man in Granada in the 16th century who ended up becoming a Latin professor and marrying a white Spanish noble woman and living happily ever after, which is a really different version of race in this period than we might imagine,” she says. Through readings of the plays by Shakespeare, de Vega and their contemporaries, as well as Spanish fiction and its English translations, Weissbourd examines how ideologies of racialized slavery, as well as religious difference, come to England via Spain and how both notions of race operate in conjunction to shore up fantasies of Blackness, whiteness and “pure blood.” The enslavement of Black Africans, Weissbourd shows, is inextricable from the staging of race in early modern literature. RELIGION STUDIES DISNEY AND RELIGION For millions of people, Disney theme parks provide connections to fantastic stories and film-inspired fantasies. For 100 years, Disney has also been a place for lifecycle rituals and celebrations and a site of pilgrimage. For religion studies professor Jodi Eichler-Levine, there are parallels between Disney and religion, and her latest book project examines the connections between the two. As part of her research, EichlerLevine, Berman Professor of Jewish Civilization and professor of religion studies, examines the fan culture surrounding Disney and the business practices surrounding the corporation. There is an intergenerational connection between fans and the company, which lies at the heart of Disney’s history, she notes. “Walt Disney described Disneyland as a place where parents and children could have fun together,” says EichlerLevine, who is also director of the Philip and Muriel Berman Center for Jewish Studies. “It was intentionally generationally linking, and it has continued to be that. People, especially really hardcore Disney fans, will have the picture of their kids in front of the castle every year. You see the kids get older, and then they come back with their kids.” Eichler-Levine posits that Disney is now more of a lingua franca, a common mythology, particularly since the company owns many more mythologies than many world religions. BRIEFS BRIDGEMAN IMAGES, ALAMY STOCK PHOTO A scene from Shakespeare’s Othello. Visitors pose for photos with Tigger during the Lunar New Year celebrations at Disneyland.

COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES 7 “This is not to say that traditional religions are going away,” she says. “But, Disney is so powerful as a mythmaking company, that between the classic Disney films, Star Wars and Marvel, those have become more of a common language across the globe than some of these other traditions.” The Disney company is very well aware of this, and it encourages events like Lunar New Year celebrations at Disney World, complete with Mulan and the related merchandise, or Day of the Dead celebrations, she adds. Disney creates links between many different cultural and religious moments. Global calendars are now being celebrated by the Walt Disney Company, but people also celebrate by going to Disney. “When I talk about this, people say to me, ‘Well, religion is true. Religion was truly revealed by God, and Disney is made up by people.’ From an academic standpoint, I always say, ‘I can’t say if a religion is true or not. That’s above my pay grade. I study what people do.’ We know some things about the human history of religions, and the inspiration is up to people’s own faith,” she says. “We know about the human history of Disney, but the emotional reality for people is just as powerful. Is Disney a religion or not? There’s no real final answer to that. The emotional investments and way people make meaning of their own selves out of Disney is very, very strong.” PSYCHOLOGY ATTENTION CONTROL Controlling our attention is important as we go through our daily tasks. How are we able to direct our attention to information that matters and not be distracted? Which memory systems help support remembering our goals and avoiding distractors? Cognitive psychologist Nancy Carlisle addresses these questions about the relationship between attention and memory in humans, and her work sheds new light in countering long-held beliefs. Whereas most theories focus on our ability to guide our attention toward a goal, such as looking for silver things when we want to find our keys, recent evidence has shown that participants also use knowledge of distractors to improve finding goal objects. In research funded by the National Institutes of Health, Carlisle and her colleagues are examining the balance between enhancing targets and avoiding distractors, and they have found evidence that both can be used to enhance performance. We can set up our brain to guide attention toward goals, yet we can also set up our brain to ignore distractors if we have prior knowledge of what will distract us. “This knowledge that attention can also avoid is new,” says Carlisle, associate professor of psychology and cognitive science. “When people have information about their distractors, that can actually help them attend to their goal items. And it makes sense that we would want to avoid distractors when we really need to concentrate our attention, like when cellphone notifications keep coming through when we are trying to study.” In laboratory experiments, participants searched for a shapedefined target in a display containing items presented in two colors. “We either provide a cue that says, ‘Your target will be this color,’ which is the guide toward that color situation, or ‘Your target will NOT be this color,’ meaning avoid attention toward that color,” Carlisle says. “We find that both of those cases lead to faster reaction times than when you don’t have any information at all. Memory is playing a role in this. They get a cue before the search array comes on, so we also need to use our working memory system to hold on to this relevant information until we need to use it.” Understanding attention control might have practical applications treating medical conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). “I think what we really need to do is start taking some of these ideas about how distractors fit into this broader system and incorporating them into our theories of attentional control,” Carlisle says. “Right now, we treat ADHD using medication, but if we understand better why people get distracted and which brain systems are involved, we could potentially create a training regime that would improve their attentional abilities.” JOHN CRAIG / THEISPOT.COM

8 ACUMEN • SPRING 2024 centers on reactionary socio-cultural values and white supremacy. They also document how white supremacist values are central to the Trump base defending the Jan. 6 insurrection, despite academics, journalists and political officials in both major parties largely ignoring the threat of rising white nationalism. Their research details how people accept extremist ideology without seeing themselves as extremists. When surveyed, DiMaggio notes that the large majority of Republicans self-identify as conservatives, not as fascists or white nationalists, despite members of the party embracing Trump’s extremism. The culture of fascism has become a model embraced by MAGA politicians, and it does so in the name of American patriotism, DiMaggio says. This is more than a cause for alarm; it is a moment in which democracy, in its most fragile state, may be eliminated. An educated public is crucial to countering this movement. It speaks to people in ways that enable them to recognize themselves, recognize the issues being addressed and place the privatization of their troubles in a broader systemic context. Otherwise, there will be no shift in the far right’s use of violence, its language of dehumanization and its use of the state as an agent of force, indoctrination and conquest. POLITICAL SCIENCE FASCISM ON TRIAL For decades, American politics has become increasingly polarized. The Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol assault and the House select committee investigating that event cause some scholars to consider the future of American democracy. Political scientist Anthony DiMaggio has been analyzing research data and finds that white supremacist politics were a significant factor in fueling the Jan. 6 insurrection and are a sign of rising fascism in America. In his latest book, Fascism on Trial: Education and the Possibility of Democracy, DiMaggio, professor of political science, and co-author Henry Giroux, of McMaster University, examine the major aspects of fascism that increasingly permeate American politics relative to authoritarianism, the rise of anti-intellectualism and the mainstreaming of conspiracy theories and mass paranoia, the glorification of political street violence and state violence, rising white supremacy and the militarization of U.S. political discourse, led predominantly by Donald Trump and many of his supporters. The authors argue that fascism should be seen as a series of patterns that can be examined throughout American history. “This is a social movement that’s been building for decades because of not just Trump, but right-wing media— people like the late Rush Limbaugh and, to a lesser extent, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson,” DiMaggio says. “These people were normalizing his politics before Trump was doing this nationally. In the 2010s, they were normalizing right-wing bigotry, making it popular again, making it acceptable, and then Trump comes along and is really sort of the inheritor of that stuff.” DiMaggio and Giroux’s research challenges commonly held beliefs that Trumpism is primarily a function of economic insecurity within his base. Their studies document how support for the former president predominantly GETTY IMAGES, ALAMY STOCK PHOTO BRIEFS Supporters of President Donald Trump storm the U.S. Capitol. Rush Limbaugh

COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES 9 CHEMISTRY BACTERIAL RESPONSE TO ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGES Biochemist Oriana Fisher, assistant professor of chemistry, has received a $1.9 million Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to explore how bacteria respond and adapt to changes within their environments. Fisher’s research may have longterm implications for antimicrobial drug development. Antibiotics are meant to kill bacteria and certain fungi, but superbugs have evolved to survive them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls antibiotic resistance “one of the biggest public health challenges of our time.” Each year, about 2.8 million people in the United States are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria or fungi, resulting in more than 48,000 deaths. “Many essential biochemical processes in bacteria are poorly understood,” she explains. This new grant will fund Fisher’s lab to pursue two primary research directions to shed light on bacterial biochemistry: investigating how these organisms regulate uptake of the essential trace element copper and how different members of a family of bacterial enzymes each catalyze distinct chemical reactions. The primary goal of her research is to understand how bacteria control their internal copper levels. The mechanisms by which copper export occurs have been studied extensively, but relatively little is known about copper import. Fisher theorizes that copper uptake is regulated by copper-dependent transcriptional repressors and the proteins under their control. She and her team are honing in on studying the structures of some of these proteins and how they interact with copper ions to learn more about how they function within bacterial cells. The NIH funding will also focus on enzymes involved in bacterial signal transduction pathways. Bacteria can respond to their environment using signal transduction pathways that lead to the regulation of sets of genes by transcription factors, Fisher says. These pathways are comprised of many different enzymes that collaborate to deliver signals from the environment into the cell. It has been suggested that many such proteins from bacteria might be possible new drug targets, but at a molecular level, many of them still remain mysterious. Fisher and her team plan to investigate how some of these enzymes recognize their interaction partners and to explore mechanisms by which such pathways could be inhibited. Her lab will use a variety of methods to tackle these questions, drawing from the fields of biochemistry, biophysics, bioinorganic chemistry, microbiology and structural biology, using the bacterium Bacillus subtilis as the model. “Bacillus subtilis is a really wonderful tool because we can do things like introduce point mutations directly within the bacteria itself, unlike many species of bacteria where introducing genetic changes can be incredibly difficult,” she says. “All of the proteins and pathways that we’re studying are used by this species, even though versions of them are also employed by many other bacterial species as well. We’re hoping that we can take what we learned in this really nice model system and use that information to understand more about how similar processes work in pathogenic bacterial strains.” Bacillus subtilis (left), Oriana Fisher (above). SCIENCE SOURCE, CHRISTA NEU

10 ACUMEN • SPRING 2024 The assistant professor brought the philosophy of architect-as-change-agent with him when he came to Lehigh in 2021 to join the Art, Architecture and Design Department. As he settled in at the university, he began meeting with members of the Bethlehem community. A question emerged: How could the city provide more housing options for residents? Like many cities, there was an increasing demand for affordable housing and a scarcity of available dwellings. People with incomes below $50,000 were completely priced out of the market. Proposals for high-rise apartments clashed with the city’s historic structures. “I began by acknowledging that the housing crisis in Bethlehem is a complex challenge, and there are people already working on these issues that know a whole lot more than I do. I had to start conversations and really listen to these people to begin to frame the problem,” Hiatt recalls. “If we need housing in Bethlehem, but there is a kind of general resistance to denser, five-story-plus apartment buildings that are unaffordable, what is another way to think about this that relates to the history of Bethlehem?” Hiatt found an answer in what at first might seem an unlikely spot: the alleys of the city. His research led to a proposal suggesting that alley houses could be a solution. Alley houses are small houses built on land already occupied by a primary residence—usually in its backyard. They face alleyways instead of streets. Wes Hiatt believes architects can use their design expertise to help inspire and manage much-needed urban change. This belief was inspired by his training. Before coming to Lehigh, Hiatt questioned, as part of his research, how the revival of historic housing types could help resolve contemporary housing shortages. His University of Cambridge dissertation examined how architects in 1860s London helped navigate the city’s runaway change that accompanied rapid industrialization. Reviving Alley Houses in Bethlehem VICKI MAYK Architect Wes Hiatt leads an effort to create affordable housing options

COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES 11 Alley houses in Bethlehem, PA. dwellings requires a change in city zoning, and the plan calls for piloting a zoning update that would allow prototypes to be built. Sara Satullo, deputy director of community development for the city of Bethlehem, says, “The alley house partnership looks to usher in a revival of a historical housing type in our city via an innovative collaboration that can ensure the alley houses remain affordable. It’s been a wonderful opportunity for city staff to collaborate with Lehigh University faculty and Community Action Lehigh Valley staff in new ways as we seek out grant funding, problem solve and work to build out the program.” The Alley House program has garnered significant community interest, advocacy, and support from various sources, including federal, state, and local agencies and congregational leaders. A recently awarded grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will allow Lehigh University faculty experts to spearhead a place-based participatory research study on ADU development and policy reform, oversee the design of each Alley House, advise on zoning ordinance revisions, and coordinate a robust community engagement strategy with CALV. The construction of each Alley House will be managed by CALV, with Lehigh students and construction workforce trainees from Catalyst4 contributing to program elements, prefabrication, and work on-site. CALV and New Bethany will ensure Alley Houses developed through this program will benefit low-to-mid-income residents and In a city where there is little available land for building, the concept uses existing parcels. There is a precedent in Bethlehem for this type of structure, which today would be called an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU. Historically, the city had alley houses, carriage houses and other structures that today would be considered ADUs. From the 1920s to the 1950s, zoning reform outlawed building such dwellings in many American cities. Today, Bethlehem’s zoning laws prohibit them. Hiatt’s yearlong research into the issue culminated in Southside Survey: Housing Futures for South Bethlehem, a pop-up design and research exhibition held in May 2022 at the Brinker Lofts. The exhibit featured prototype models of alley houses in several sizes. Hiatt’s concepts included small units accommodating a single person and others large enough for a family. The ideas presented were enthusiastically received by community members in attendance. The project was recognized by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Eastern Pennsylvania with a 2022 Award of Excellence for sustainable design. The AIA jurors praised Hiatt’s work, saying “this project serves as a powerful response to one of our built environment’s most important sustainability issues—that of increasing urban density in the interest of economizing on land, infrastructure and, most importantly, the carbon impact of automobile-based urban sprawl.” Now Hiatt’s proposal is moving from concept to reality under a unique partnership between Lehigh, the city of Bethlehem and Community Action Lehigh Valley (CALV), an anti-poverty organization that works to improve affordable housing and increase economic opportunity in the Lehigh Valley. A pilot program to build an affordable alley house in West Bethlehem is planned to start in 2024. Hiatt says this work would not be possible without strong, collaborative community partnerships. “In talking about managing change as an architect, my goal is to visualize what responsible urban change can look like and then coordinate all the parties involved in making that change a reality,” he states. “That’s the goal here: to be a convener and to generate ideas rather than impose change in a top-down way.” Anna Smith, director of Community Action Development Bethlehem, notes, “It’s a pretty unique kind of partnership here with an antipoverty organization and a university and a city.” The idea is supported by the city’s affordable housing study, Opening Doors: Strategies To Build Housing Stability in Bethlehem, which was unveiled in fall 2023. Building such CHRISTINE KRESCHOLLEK

12 ACUMEN • SPRING 2024 maintain long-term affordability, with each new rental unit developed through land leases with affordability commitments of at least 15 years. Additional funding has been generously provided by Lehigh’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship, Creativity, and Innovation to support student fellowships for Alley House construction in the Summer of 2024. Additionally, fiscal year 2024 Community Project Funding and a grant through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE) are under review and pending final determinations. Hiatt says that Lehigh students will play a critical role in the success of the project. Involvement in the project begins with a designbuild course being offered in this semester. “The idea is that seven to 10 students will be out there swinging hammers with our community partners, working on a house that they helped design,” Hiatt says. Students’ labor on the project will be paid for through support from Lehigh’s Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship. Smith explained that Community Action Lehigh Valley is developing a long-term plan under which it would serve as the rental agent for affordable alley houses in the future. “We’re envisioning it most likely as a scenario where Community Action would lease the backyard for a defined time period, do the construction and manage the unit for maybe 25 to 30 years. And during that time, we would oversee who it gets rented to, and we would take care of the maintenance. We would collect the rent, and the homeowner (whose property is used) would receive a portion of rent.” Smith added that community input will be sought while developing the plan. “We are going to be holding a series of conversations with folks in the neighborhoods to define the details of the program and to understand what concerns or questions there might be,” she says. Each of the partners has an integral role in the pilot project. Hiatt will design the prototypes, in collaboration with Lehigh students. CALV will manage and construct the new alley house, working with Hiatt and Lehigh students on site during the building process. The city, working with Bethlehem’s Zoning Hearing Board, will work to effect temporary zoning variances to allow the pilot alley house to be built. Satullo says, “While we expect the first alley house to need a variance, we will simultaneously be working to update city zoning to allow for ADUs in targeted neighborhoods with a scaled-back program, which could then be expanded with success.” How an expanded initiative would look remains to be seen, Satullo adds. It might be restricted to owner-occupied lots where individual homeowners could choose to build an alley house on their property, providing housing for aging parents—colloquially called “granny flats”—or for young adults in a family needing a place to live. Lehigh, the city of Bethlehem and CALV will each receive a portion of the grant funding to support their work on various parts of the project to implement alley houses in Bethlehem. In addition to design and construction, funds will be used to revise the city’s zoning ordinance, develop a community engagement and education strategy and integrate a workforce training program into the construction process. Hiatt stresses that, while the alley house project promises to provide new options in a way that retains the historic nature of Bethlehem’s neighborhoods, it won’t solve all the issues related to creating affordable housing. “I have never said the goal of this project is to be the silver bullet that will solve the housing crisis,” Hiatt states. “I think that often disappoints or discourages people when they hear that. But that’s kind of how the world works. Complex problems usually don’t have a singular solution. We believe that this is an important step forward in increasing the supply of housing in a responsible, community-centered way.” ● A rendering of an alley house (above). A pop-up gallery show in South Bethlehem to jumpstart community conversations around the design of new affordable housing. COURTESY OF WES HIATT

COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES 13 Preserving a Sandstone Heritage LESLIE FELDMAN A trip to Jordan brings insight into archaeology initial results focusing on casein look promising. But, Jones warns, it is far too soon to draw large conclusions whether this consolidation method can be used in Petra—or even at all. “We all hope that this initial research will provide an important starting point for research on this topic, as virtually no research has been published on this topic so far, and casein has mostly been used as an adhesive, not a consolidant,” says Jones. “It would be amazing though if, at some point in the future, this environmentally and economically sustainable consolidation technique can be used on archaeological sites.” Jones is now in the process of writing a scientific paper on the research and findings and hopes to publish the paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science. After graduation, Jones is considering work in cultural resource management and/or the nonprofit field. One thing is for certain—he will always remember his Lehigh experiences and greatly encourages students to take at least one anthropology or global studies course at the university. “Anthropology provides an important perspective that often analyzes the micro to a great extent,” Jones says. “It is an extremely diverse discipline and allows students to study biology, linguistics, culture and archaeology. Because of this, it is cross-disciplinary in nature, which is increasingly important in the world, and provides its students with a broad understanding of themselves and those around them.” ● Jordan imports the majority of its archaeological preservation materials from elsewhere—mostly the United States and Italy—and is highly dependent on foreign production. Jones joined a research team interested in how the country’s conservation efforts might become more self-sufficient and how this work might become more economically and environmentally sustainable. Sela has extensive connections with people in and around Petra, as well as people in Irbid, Jordan, where the team conducted laboratory experiments. They wanted to examine sandstone in Petra, as this is the most widely used material and most susceptible to damage. “We ultimately decided on seven different stones, which, due to different color and makeup, provide a large representation of sandstone from Petra,” Jones says. “These stones were all out of context for at least 20 years, meaning they had not been taken from an archaeological structure or facade in that amount of time.” The first stage of the experiments consisted of soaking six sandstone samples in six different consolidants, solutions that penetrate deeply in the rock and provide long-term stability and strength. These sandstone samples were then transported to Yarmouk University, in Irbid, for porosity via immersion tests. Three consolidants tested involved casein, a protein found in milk. Goat milk is readily available in Jordan, and the Niko Jones ’24, a double anthropology and political science major, chose Lehigh because of the great study abroad and research opportunities it promoted. He wanted to make sure he could travel while getting his education and take advantage of firsthand international experiences made available to him. He accomplished that goal last summer during a research project involving sandstone preservation in Petra, the ancient city in present-day Jordan. The project was sponsored by Sela, an organization that specializes in the conservation and cultural resource management of Petra; Allison Mickel, associate professor of anthropology in the department of sociology and anthropology and director of the Global Studies program; and a Dale S. Strohl ’58 Award. Al-Khazneh (above) is one of the most elaborate rock-cut tombs in Petra, Jordan. Niko Jones (below) studied methods of preserving sandstone in the city. CHRISTINE KRESCHOLLEK, ISTOCK