CLASS Notes, January 2021
Dear Alumni, Donors, Colleagues and Friends,
"Goodbye to all that" — the title to Robert Graves's classic autobiography — serves as an apt close to the past year. And let us sincerely hope we are turning the page. 2020 was incredibly tough — a year quite unlike any other — and it was one filled with real losses, struggle and conflict, and emotional and material hardship. The suffering has been profound and widespread, and it has touched us all.
However, amidst the turmoil, we find moments to commemorate and express gratitude for one another. I am overcome with admiration for our hard-working students, faculty and staff, who have shown real courage and dedication in these trying times, responding to our current adversities, and giving each other mutual support and comfort.
Here, in our spring newsletter, I want to take this opportunity to celebrate these accomplishments, highlighting the work of our students and faculty, and sincerely thank our generous donors and alumni. The stories below illustrate some of the amazing things happening in our college. I hope they inspire you as much as they inspire me.
I fervently hope that the new year will soon bring us all better health and the promise of new hope. No doubt, there will be more challenges on the road ahead. But we can see the shape of a better future, and we know we can move forward. Thank you for supporting our college.
Most sincerely yours,
Sean M. Quinlan, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor of History
Around the College
- Associate Professor Ryanne Pilgeram, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and Katherine Dentzman, a postdoctoral research associate, along with Associate Professor Paul Lewin of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, used U.S. Department of Agriculture census data to study queer farmers as part of Pilgeram’s focus on race, class and gender in rural communities. Their article, “Queer Farmers in the 2017 US Census of Agriculture,” appeared in Society & Natural Resources. Another article published last year, “How the USDA Changed the Way Women Farmers are Counted in the Census of Agriculture,” appeared in Choices. Pilgeram is the lead principal investigator and project director for a $500,000 USDA AFRI Grant awarded in 2020.
- Associate Professor of Philosophy Bert Baumgaertner, Assistant Professor of Political Science Florian Justwan and colleagues published “Risk of Disease and Willingness to Vaccinate in the United States: A Population-Based Survey,” in PLOS Medicine. The paper explores how local cases of disease can influence people to vaccinate.
- A book by Assistant Professor Matthew Fox-Amato, Department of History, titled “Exposing Slavery: Photography, Human Bondage, and the Birth of Modern Visual Politics in America,” was named the runner up for The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens’ Shapiro Book Prize. The Shapiro Book Prize is awarded biennially for an outstanding first scholarly monograph in American political, social, intellectual, or cultural history, with a focus on books that make exceptional use of primary source materials.
- A book published last year by Assistant Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies Ashley Kerr has been selected as one of three finalists for the 2021 Prose Award from the Association of American Publishers (AAP). “Sex, Skulls, and Citizens: Gender and Racial Science in Argentina (1860-1910)” argues that Indigenous and Creole women played a fundamental role in the development of Argentine racial science and its application to efforts to control Indigenous populations as the nation modernized and expanded. AAP’s annual PROSE Awards recognize works of “extraordinary merit that make a significant contribution to a field of study.”
- Lecturer of Strategic Communications Dane S. Claussen, in the School of Journalism and Mass Media, is one of two official nominees for vice president of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the primary U.S.-based professional organization for faculty and graduate students in journalism, mass communication, media studies, public relations, advertising and photojournalism.
- Associate Professor of Philosophy Graham Hubbs, who is also chair of the Department of Politics and Philosophy, lectured on the national debt and money at Dartmouth’s Institute for Cross-Discipline Engagement.
- Assistant Professor of Philosophy Casey Johnson published an analysis of mansplaining, using speech act theory. “Mansplaining and Illocutionary Force,” published in Feminist Philosophy Quarterly, analyzes how social position and power make a difference to speakers, conversation, testimony and other related phenomena.
- Assistant Professor of Philosophy Aleta Quinn analyzed ethical challenges of using online platforms to gather big data from citizen scientists in a paper titled “Transparency and Secrecy in Citizen Science: Lessons from Herping,” in Science Direct.
- Under the tutelage of Spencer Martin, the Vandal Marching Band persevered through the COVID-19 limitations and found a way to make innovative music safely. The band’s inventiveness caught the attention of regional and national media.
- Three students from the Lionel Hampton School of Music took top honors in a recent statewide music competition. Avery Pierce-Garnett, of Moscow, and Kaho Suda, of Tokyo, Japan, placed first in the Idaho Music Teachers National Association competition in the categories of Young Artist Woodwind and Young Artist Piano, respectively. In addition, Austin Baduria, from Tacoma, Washington, was chosen as an alternate for woodwinds.
- Professor Adam Sowards, Department of History, appeared on Boise State Public Radio to discuss his book “An Open Pit Visible from the Moon: The Wilderness Act and the Fight to Protect Miners Ridge and the Public Interest,” an account of the Kennecott Copper mining controversy in the Glacier Peak Wilderness.
- CLASS established a Student Emergency Fund to help current Vandals in the college who have remote technology needs — from devices to internet access — and provide emergency travel and housing, tuition funds and supplies. Donate here.
- Alumnus Peter Leman (English ’03), who is now a professor at Brigham Young University, published “Singing the Law: Oral Jurisprudence and the Crisis of Colonial Modernity in East African Literature,” a book about the legal lives and afterlives of oral cultures in East Africa, particularly as they appear within the pages of written literatures during the colonial and postcolonial periods.
- Associate Professor Diane Kelly-Riley and her writing students, along with Director of Professional Writing Karen Thompson and her English 404 students and Dennis Baird, author and retired U of I professor, worked in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service on a project to enhance Idaho’s historic travel routes through interpretative signs and kiosks. For its effort, the historic routes team on the Nez Perce Clearwater National Forest was a recipient of the Regional Forester’s Award for Fostering Volunteerism and Partnerships, and recipient of the Chief’s Award and the Undersecretary’s Award.
- The University of Idaho Confluence Lab, University of Oregon and Whitman College were awarded a three-year $4.52 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch the Pacific Northwest Just Futures Institute that will address racial and climate justice issues. Within the lab, scholars in the humanities, arts, social sciences and sciences tackle Idaho environmental issues alongside community members using interdisciplinary approaches. The collaboration was co-founded by Research Assistant Professor Teresa Cohn from the Department of Natural Resources and Society and English Department faculty Associate Professor Erin James and Professor Jennifer Ladino.
- Alumna Priscilla Wegers ’91 published “Polly Bemis: The Life and Times of a Chinese American Pioneer.” In the new nonfiction book published by Caxton Press, Wegars lays out the evidence for what can be proven about Bemis’ life, along with the mysteries that remain. Learn more.
- Assistant Professor Dawn Sweet, in the Department of Psychology and Communication Studies, compared the body language of former President Donald Trump to President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential debates in an article in Undark Magazine.
- Professor Brian Wolf, chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, spoke across a wide range of media about the climbing number of homicides last year in Spokane, Washington.
- An essay by Professor Sean M. Quinlan, dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, titled, “Doctors, Radicalism, and the Right to Health: Three Visions from the French Revolution,” appeared in “Life in Revolutionary France,” a book published last year that examines the changes brought to France through the French Revolution.
- Associate Professor Dilshani Sarathchandra, and Associate Professor Kristin Haltinner, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, published four papers connected to their work on climate change skepticism including, “How Believing Climate Change is a ‘Hoax’ Shapes Climate Skepticism in the United States,” in Environmental Sociology, and “Adding The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to the Analyses of Climate Change Skepticism: A Research Note,” in Sociological Inquiry. The duo published “Pro-Environmental Views of Climate Skeptics,” in Contexts, and “Trust/Distrust Judgments and Perceptions of Climate Science: A Research Note on Skeptics' Rationalizations,” was published in Public Understanding of Science. Haltinner is also director of the Academic Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion.
- As part of the McClure Center for Public Policy Research, Connor Swersey, a journalism and political science student and Alexandra Duggan, who is studying psychology with a minor in journalism, will provide news coverage of the 2021 Idaho Legislative session for print and online news sources.
- The Lionel Hampton School of Music has become a GRAMMY Museum University Affiliate. This connects the school with like-minded universities and the GRAMMY Museum for collaborations. The school instituted the LHSOM/GRAMMY Museum Collective — a jazz combo made up of one musician from several university affiliates including the University of Idaho, Berklee College of Music, University of Southern California, Middle Tennessee State University, University of Chichester, Cal State LA and Temple University. The band will perform on the evening concerts of the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.
- The latest book by retired University of Idaho English Professor Ron McFarland is a collection of poems, essays and stories about McFarland’s fishing experiences from Idaho’s lakes and streams to the Florida coast. “Professor McFarland in Reel Time” was published by A Word with You Press and is available at BookPeople of Moscow and online. McFarland, a professor emeritus, began his teaching career at U of I in 1970.
U of I Political Science Department Receives $1 Million for Endowed Professorship
University of Idaho students interested in learning about East Asian politics and economics will have a new course of study beginning in 2022, thanks to a $1 million endowment from a U of I alumnus and former student body vice president. Read More.
All-Virtual Jazz Fest Expands Reach Over Five Time Zones With Host of Workshops, Concerts
Josh Skinner decided last summer that the pandemic would not strike a discordant note at this year’s Lionel Hampton School of Music’s iconic, annual jazz festival.
Skinner, the manager of the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival at the University of Idaho, began gathering resources in July to ensure that this year’s all-virtual festival, set to kick off Feb. 25, will be more far-reaching than in years past. Read More.
CLASS Dean’s List for the Fall 2020 Semester
Congratulations to the undergraduate students for achieving a grade point average of 3.5 or better for the Fall 2020 semester. See the list.