GREETINGS FROM THE MALS COORDINATOR
Dear MALS alums, students, faculty & friends,
We are happy to share our Fall 2008 newsletter with you – we hope you’ll enjoy reading it. Features include an interview with a new faculty member at UALR who has years of experience with Liberal Studies, and updates from MALS alums. Please share this newsletter with your colleagues, friends, and family – we want to spread the word about our unique program and community here at UALR.
The Fall semester is now under way, and in this edition we’ll take time to look back and congratulate our Spring and Summer 2008 graduates and look forward to some events to come, including two lectures by Dr. Edward Gamarra (Ph.D. in Liberal Arts)–details can be found below in the Events section. Current students and faculty are invited to the MALS Gathering, a drop-in meeting and get-together on 9/16, from 4:30pm-6:30pm, in DSC-G.
Don’t forget that the MALS e-newsletter will come out 2 times a year and will include:
- Announcements about events in our department and on-campus
- Interviews with faculty, current students or alums
- Updates on activities of current students, faculty and alums
This edition we would like to turn our “Faculty Spotlilght” to a new member of the UALR faculty, Dr. Jeanette Clausen, who joined us in 2007 as Chair of the Department of International and Second Languages. Dr. Clausen has years of experience, however, including work with Liberal Studies MA programs.
Dr. Clausen guest-taught a class session for the Liberal Studies Colloquium in Spring 2008, devoted to the novel she translated (see below), and we look forward to more collaboration with her. Recently, she was interviewed by Angela Hunter, MALS Coordinator.
Jeanette Clausen, Professor of German and Chair of the Department of International and Second Language Studies; Phd in German Linguistics, Indiana University.
Hunter: Please share with our readers a little about your academic background and research interests.
Clausen: My PhD is in Germanic linguistics – historical and comparative linguistics actually, which is in a way the “archaeology” of language. After finishing my degree I became especially interested in women writers of the [then] German Democratic Republic—Christa Wolf, Helga Königsdorf, Irmtraud Morgner—and some of my publications reflect that. Early on I also gravitated toward editing and translation. Most of my editing (an anthology, several journal issues) was done collaboratively, and I value immensely the growth as a writer that I experienced. With translation, I learned that in order to do literary translation, one has to have a sense of and appreciation for literary language. But my training in linguistics was a great help, too, because linguistics, like math or symbolic logic, forces you to think systematically. My most significant translation is Irmtraud Morgner’s Life and Adventures of Trobadora Beatrice as Chronicled by her Minstrel Laura (Nebraska, 2000), a complex and multi-layered novel characterized by multiple story lines and story tellers, fantasy, humor, irony, defiance of convention, and a mixture of several genres. I hope to do another major translation at some point, but for now, I’m staying with shorter projects, such as the special focus section on West German feminist Alice Schwarzer that I did last winter for Feminist Europa, an online book review journal published in Germany—but in English!
Hunter: What are your teaching interests? What is one of your favorite classes to teach?
Clausen: I love to teach German language classes at all levels. It’s a challenge to adapt my teaching to individual students to help them be successful. One of my favorite courses to teach at my former university was Methods of Teaching Foreign Languages, which gave me the opportunity to work with student teachers. Whatever the method, there is always a need for creativity on the teacher’s part. The opportunity to be creative is actually what I love most about all my work—in literary translation, in teaching, and, yes, in administration too. I’m hoping to create some new courses while at UALR, perhaps one on women writers, or minority authors in German-speaking countries, and possibly one on texts that are “not your grandmother’s genre”: graphic novels, detective fiction, cartoons. Germany has some wonderful feminist cartoonists!
Hunter: You have quite a bit of experience with graduate Liberal Studies; could you tell us about that aspect of your career?
Clausen: At my former university, I was lucky enough to serve on the committee that developed the proposal for a Master of Liberal Studies degree and, once it had passed through all the levels of approval, to become the first director of the program, to implement it more or less from scratch. This meant recruiting faculty to teach the required interdisciplinary seminars, identifying courses for cross-listing, recruiting students, developing and implementing policies, and more. Our MLS Program didn’t require a thesis; instead, students could do a project that suited their interests—creative writing, research projects, materials development for a course or curriculum they were working on, performances, and so on. Directing this program was a very rewarding experience for me, both in terms of working with faculty from many disciplines and helping to advise students with such a wide range of interests.
Hunter: What is your view on interdisciplinary studies?
Clausen: Interdisciplinary Studies seems to be something people either love or hate. I love it, find it very enriching, and think it should be given more importance in both undergraduate and graduate education. After all, in “Life after Graduation,” we aren’t separated by discipline and in fact will most likely have to work closely with colleagues whose academic or professional training has a very different orientation—it’s almost a different culture from one discipline to another sometimes. I think that some who oppose interdisciplinary studies are concerned that students will come out with only a superficial knowledge of the disciplines they encounter, lacking any sense of methodological rigor or depth of subject matter. That’s a legitimate concern, but it’s not inevitable. I hope to work with colleagues in several disciplines at UALR to create a more truly interdisciplinary German Studies Program. We’ll see how that goes!
Hunter: Do you have any advice for MALS students who are beginning to write theses and getting ready to graduate?
Clausen: For your thesis or final project, go with something you are truly interested in, but be sure to challenge yourself—go outside your comfort zone to bring a new dimension to your topic or area of interest. Prepare for the next step after graduation by reflecting on how you will present your unique, individualized master’s degree as evidence of who you are and what you have to offer an employer. And, most important: have fun every day!
SPRING and SUMMER 2008 GRADUATES
Congratulations to the recent graduates of the MALS program!
Jayme Butts-Hall: (History, Political Science), “Turning Compassion into Action: Animal Welfare in Little Rock, Arkansas”
Shannon Caldwell: (Rhetoric, Communication), “Communicating with the World One Moment at a Time: Teachable Moments with Bill Clinton”
George Lea: (History, Political Science), “Taylor Field: A Diamond in the Rough”
Samuel Onyegam: (Political Science, Rhetoric), “Historical Comparative Case Study of Emerging Hegemonic Behavior: Perspectives on the Peoples Republic of China”
Jane Rampona: (Psychology, Social Work), “Psycho-sexual Politics of Life on the Streets: Narratives of Homeless Women and Women Who Experienced Homelessness as Children”
Regina Gibson (Gerontology, Health Science), “Physicians’ Communication with Older Patients, Particularly Older African American Women About Sexual Health and Sexual Risk Behaviors for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)”
Larry Lachowsky: (Philosophy, Higher Education), “Professionalism and Ethics for the Arkansas Land Surveyor”
MALS graduates continue to take on new and exciting challenges! We are very interested in keeping contact with our alums, and we are doing our best to find you all! Please keep the MALS Program updated with your current physical and email addresses.
Melvin Beavers (06) will be pursuing a PhD in English (emphasis on Rhetoric and Popular Culture) at the University of Texas-Arlington in Fall 2008. Recently Melvin presented two papers:
- “Selling Femininity, From Supermodel to Superwoman: A Feminist’s Critique of Drag Performances,” at the Feminism(s) & Rhetoric(s) Conference, 2007
- “‘Man, I Feel like a Woman’: From Supermodel to Superwoman, A Progressive Feminist’s Critique of Drag Performances,” at the National Popular Culture Association Conference, 2008
Jayme Butts-Hall (08) will be attending Bowen School of Law in Fall 2008. She presented research from her final project, dealing with animal welfare in Little Rock, to the Little Rock Animal Advisory Board in April, 2008. She was invited by the Humane Society of the United States to assist in the seizure of 91 dogs from an animal sanctuary in Stuttgart, Arkansas.
Regina Gibson (08) won a “Special Recognition Award” at the 2008 National Women of Color Technology Awards Conference. She was also inducted into Alpha Epsilon Lambda, the National Honor Society for Graduate Students in May 2008.
Debby Hreczkosij (07) wrote an article to be published in Atlanta Parent Magazine, entitled “Come on? Vamonos? Let’s Get Real!” The article is about how Dora the Explorer is setting up children for failure when it comes to tackling their problems.
Steven Jauss (00) co-edited (with Green and Donovan) Global Bioethics: Issues of Conscience for the Twenty-first Century, forthcoming from Oxford University Press in November, 2008. He also published:
- “Affective Responses, Normative Requirements, and Ethical-Aesthetic Interaction,” Philosophia 36.3 (September 2008)
- Book Review of C.A.J. Coady, What’s Wrong with Moralism, in Metaphilosophy 39.2 (April 2008): 251-256.
Samuel Oneygam (08) will be attending the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law at the University of Michigan-Lansing, in January 2009. He will focus on International Law.
Jane Rampona (08) wrote a nonfiction essay for Quills and Pixels entitled “What Happens to Homeless Women.”
Welcome to all of our newly admitted students in Spring 2008 and Fall 2008!
They are: Charlotte Fowler, Lori Gardner, Natalie Griffin, Kathryn Hudson, Keith Klosky, Jake Lewis, Shirley Pence, and Rohn Muse. From Anthropology to Music to Rhetoric to Social Work, MALS students continue to create interesting interdisciplinary pathways.
We have two new Graduate Assistants working for the program as well: Natalie Griffin (email@example.com) and Justin Sangster (firstname.lastname@example.org). Feel free to contact them for help or information.
If you know someone interested in a unique and challenging educational opportunity, please let them know about MALS–we’d be happy to meet with individuals or give presentations to groups about the program.
The application deadline for Spring 2009 is October 15th, 2008. Contact the GAs or the Program Coordinator for more information.
Two Lectures on Thursday, September 25th, 2008
Dr. Edward Gamarra will be visiting our campus to give two lectures that should be of great interest to the Liberal Studies community. Dr. Gamarra received a PhD in Liberal Arts (Emory University), completing interdisciplinary research in Film and Psychoanalysis.
Dr. Gamarra currently works as a literary manager in Los Angeles, representing screenwriters, producers, animators and illustrators (among others). Dr. Gamarra will give an academic lecture and also a talk about his career path.
12:15pm (Location TBA): “What the heck is a ‘multi-hyphenate’ and why do I need to be one?
Dr. Gamarra will discuss how he went from Liberal Arts to Hollywood and what it means for your job hunt. He will share information about his career and explain how skills and knowledge from his academic background matter.
7:00pm (Stabler Hall, 109): “Arrested Development: Film Comedy and the Psychodynamics of Humor”
Incorporating film clips from classic and contemporary comedies, Dr. Gamarra will discuss how a psychoanalytic approach to child development yields a new theory of humor.
These events are co-sponsored by Philosophy and Liberal Studies, Mass Communications, Psychology Club, Donaghey Scholars Program, and the AHSS College.
For more information, contact us at 569-3312 or email Natalie Griffin at email@example.com.