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In Focus: 9/20/2012

A weekly newsletter published by the Communications Office

365 Days/365 Plays

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Students rehearse selections from “365 Days/365 Plays” by Suzan-Lori Parks, which will be presented at Southwestern Sept. 27-30. Tickets may be purchased online at www.southwestern.tix.com or by calling the Box Office at 512-863-1378. Parks is the speaker for the 2012 Writer’s Voice lecture, which will be held Nov. 13. Read more here.

Top News

SOUTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY MATH PROFESSOR RECEIVES $69,432 NSF GRANT

Southwestern University math professor Fumiko Futamura has always wanted to do something that combines math and art.

Now she can do just that, thanks to a $69,432 grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant is from the NSF’s Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science program.

The grant will help Futamura finish a textbook she is working on about projective geometry and its connection to perspective drawing. Projective geometry is a type of geometry that is different from the Euclidean geometry students normally learn in high school. It is used to analyze what properties of an object are preserved when you draw or take pictures of it from various angles and has applications for creating movie special effects, video games and augmented reality.

Futamura is working on the book with Annalisa Crannell, a professor of mathematics at Franklin and Marshall College, and Marc Frantz, a research associate in the Department of Mathematics at Indiana University. Crannell and Frantz previously wrote a textbook on perspective geometry that is widely used in lower-level mathematics courses at liberal arts colleges.

Read more here.

NEW FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR HELPS STUDENTS EXPLORE ISSUES RELATED TO SEXUALITY

Growing up in Laredo, Jose Perez said he never talked much about sex – especially with his parents.  

That is changing, however, thanks to his First-Year Seminar at Southwestern. 

Perez is one of 14 students taking a new First-Year Seminar offered this year by Traci Giuliano, professor of psychology and holder of the John H. Duncan Chair. The class is titled “Sex Talk: An FYS with Benefits.”  

Giuliano decided to offer the new First-Year Seminar after co-teaching a human sexuality class the past seven summers. “Many students said that class was the most important class they took,” Giuliano said. “They told me they wished they had taken it as first-year students.”  

True to its name, all the students in the new class said they are benefitting from it. They said the nature of the subject material – plus the fact that the class is offered as a Living-Learning Community – has led to instant friendships.  

“We’ve bonded so much,” said pre-med major Nicole Ahearn. “I really feel at home here now.”

Read more here.

Events

THEATRE DEPARTMENT PRESENTS SELECTIONS FROM ‘365 DAYS/365 PLAYS’

The Theatre Department will present selections from 365 Days/365 Plays” by Suzan-Lori Parks Sept. 27-30.

As an experiment, Parks wrote a play each day for a year. The pieces are playful, occasionally dark, and frequently challenging. The subject matter ranges from presidents to deities to soldiers.

The performances, which are directed by Lisa Byrd, will begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Jones Theater. There will be a special post-show talk after each performance where the audience will have the opportunity to interact with the cast and creative team.

Tickets are $8-$14 and may be purchased online at www.southwestern.tix.com or by calling the Box Office at 512-863-1378. This production contains adult language and subject matter.

Parks will be the speaker at Southwestern’s 2012 Writer’s Voice lecture, which will be given Tuesday, Nov. 13. Read more here.  

AUSTIN-BASED CHORAL GROUP TO PERFORM IN GEORGETOWN SEPT. 27

Conspirare, the Grammy-nominated choral group based in Austin, is opening its 2012-2013 season will a performance in Georgetown Sept. 27. The performance will begin at 7 p.m. at the Klett Center for the Performing Arts at Georgetown High School. The program will include the world premiere of To Touch the Sky by 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winner Kevin Puts, an a cappella work featuring writings from ancient to modern, commissioned for Conspirare by American Composers Forum. For more information, visit http://conspirare.org/

SPANISH FILM FESTIVAL CONTINUES THROUGH OCT. 4 

The Spanish Department, along with the student groups Sigma Delta Pi (the Spanish honor society) and Latinos Unidos, are hosting a film festival Sept. 6-Oct. 4 that will feature five films from Spanish-speaking countries. The film to be shown Sept. 20 is  “A contracorriente” (“Undertow”), a 2010 film from Perú. In this film, director Javier Fuentes León looks at what it means to be a man in contemporary Peru. The story centers around Miguel, a young and handsome fisherman who lives with his beautiful pregnant wife in Cabo Blanco, a small traditional fishing village in Northern Peru. What nobody knows is that Miguel is also having a passionate affair with Santiago, a painter who is ostracized from the community due to his sexuality and agnostic views. When Santiago drowns accidentally in the ocean’s strong undertow, Miguel’s scandalous secret forces him to make an important choice that could cause him to lose the people he loves the most.

All films will be shown in Olin 105 at 8 p.m.

Read more here.

Media Coverage

U.S. News & World Report did a feature on Southwestern as part of its 2013 Best Colleges guide. Read the story here.

The Williamson County Sun ran a front-page feature story on Southwestern’s new football program.

Notables

Eileen Cleere, professor of English, has had an article accepted for publication in the interdisciplinary journal Nineteenth-Century Contexts. The essay, titled “Tactile Consciousness: Art, Cognitive Criticism, and the (New) Degeneration Debates,” explores the rise of cognitive reading as a contemporary method of literary analysis in the context of both nineteenth- and twentieth-century fin de siècle anxieties about degeneration.

Lois Ferrari, professor of music, has been selected as first runner-up for the 2012 American Prize in Conducting - Community Orchestra Division for her work with the Austin Civic Orchestra. Read more here.

Patrick Hajovsky, assistant professor of art history, is giving a talk in Spanish at the Université de Toulouse - Le Mirail Oct. 12. The translation of the title is “Spiritual Patronage and Popular Devotion in Cuzco: Our Lord of the Earthquakes and Our Lady of the Remedies, 1646-1787.”

Melissa Kravetz, visiting assistant professor of history, presented a paper titled “‘Where one did not talk about comradeship, but experienced it’: BDM Physicians and the Creation of the Volksgemeinschaft at Alt-Rehse” for the German Historical Society in Edinburgh, Scotland, Sept. 13-15. Kravetz is presenting another paper titled “The Nazi Women’s War on Cancer,” at the German Studies Association in Milwaukee, Wis. Oct. 4-6.