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2016-17 Talle Research Awards Announced

March 16, 2017

The Talle Faculty Research Fund represents a critical investment in the future of CLA. With this fund, the College recognizes and invests in the next generation of faculty who are poised to lead CLA as it pursues greater heights of excellence and who are engaging in new lines of research and creative activity that will shape their fields and the intersection of fields.

Funded by a generous gift from Ken and Janet Talle, this award provides $300,000 of research support each year over five years, with 8-10 recently promoted associate professors receiving an award each year.

Ethnocentric Charter Schools in Minnesota

Professor Cawo “Awa” Abdi
Department of Sociology

Educational attainment remains a key predictor of one’s life chances in the United States. For refugee children living in poor households, the American education system can therefore be a ladder to social mobility and realization of their American dream, or it can leave them behind to join the millions of Americans whose lives remain precarious. This study examines the increasing role ethnocentric charter schools play in Somali children’s education in Minnesota. It investigates this emerging educational trend, as well as its origins, rationales and its theoretical and policy implications. The study hopes to expand our knowledge of the impact of ethnocentric charter schools on refugees and migrants’ long-term settlement and integration in the United States.

The Art of Brasília: How Culture Reframes the Built Environment

Professor Sophia “Sophie” Beal
Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies

Professor Beal’s second book—The Art of Brasília: How Culture Reframes the Built Environment—will argue that cultural production (from poetry to pop music to puppetry) reframes Brasília’s built environment and perceptions of it. Contemporary cultural production—such as literature, music, street performances, and theater—plays an integral role in transforming perceptions of Brazil’s capital and of social negotiations in the city. Through their cultural outlets, Brasilia’s residents exercise their right to the city and more fully express their citizenship, particularly through their innovative artistic use of public spaces.

This book project examines the urgency, particularly for marginalized groups, of redefining and repurposing the built environment to better fit particular needs, desires, and trajectories. Brasília’s artists make a notoriously alienating capital more welcoming and egalitarian.

Metalinguistic Awareness and Language Development in Children

Professor Lizbeth H. Finestack
Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences

One area of language that is particularly difficult for many children with language impairment, including children with primary language impairment and children with autism spectrum disorder, is grammatical language. Many children with these impairments are able to make treatment gains when taught with a non-traditional approach that relies on explicit instruction to teach grammatical forms.

However, not all children who receive explicit instruction learn the grammatical targets. The goal of Professor Finestack’s research project is to investigate the potential for a two-step sequential approach that first builds metalinguistic awareness then uses explicit instruction to maximize treatment outcomes for children with language impairment. The proposed study will include refinement and further testing of an assessment to better understand children’s metalinguistic awareness and examination of the relationships between metalinguistic awareness and language development in children with language impairment. Results from this study will be used to support a large-scale intervention research project.

Inedible Ideologies: Food, Politics and Artistic Expression in the African Cultural Landscape

Professor Njeri Githire
Department of African American & African Studies

Professor Githire’s book project examines the pivotal role of food, (non)-eating and related functions in contemporary African music, cinema and literature. The project places music theory, literary criticism and film analysis into a rich and engaging interaction with social and cultural theory, to reflect on questions of authenticity, audience, agency and authority, which persevere in critical evaluations of the sub-Saharan African cultural production.

Through a combination of critical studies and close scrutiny of choice works, this study maps out the various dimensions of food that select artists use to convey meaning and create atheistic value. It interrogates the dilemma stemming from the gap between artists and audiences, and queries the relevance of examining socio-political concerns through a cultural and aesthetic paradigm. Inedible Ideology proposes a broadening of the categories which operate in academic spheres, in an effort to provide meaningful insights into the concerns that perpetually haunt the African cultural expression.

Tropologies of Latinité: Race and Space in the Circum-Atlantic, 1830-1930

Professor Jaime E. Hanneken
Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies

Tropologies of Latinité: Race and Space in the Circum-Atlantic, 1830-1930 is a monograph that analyzes the evolution of racial constructs in France, Latin America, and Algeria. Between 1830 and 1930, discourses of Latin race and heritage were used to underwrite multiple and often overlapping imperial projects within a unified "Latin" sphere of influence stretching from the Mediterranean basin to South America. This study argues that Latinité is fundamentally a spatial process. Figuring the collapse between embodied and global space, notions of Latin identity racialize their subjects at once as millennial "peoples" and as abstract "populations." This discursive slippage, Professor Hanneken argues, is intimately tied to neoimperial regimes of social control and economic expansion. Tropologies locates the roots of Latinité's spatial features in Saint-Simonian discourses of universal association, and traces their evolution in Latin American utopian socialist experiments, transatlantic periodical culture, and early twentieth-century articulations of "Latin Africa."

Staging the Political: Colonial Encounters Across North Africa and France

Professor Nancy Luxon
Department of Political Science

Staging the Political analyzes the relationships that bind France and its North African colonies between 1947 and 1962, and decolonial efforts to stage new political claims and events. Often the decolonization process is framed as inevitably moving from individual liberation to political emancipation, to knowledge for self-determination. Professor Luxon argues that such accounts retell North African history on terms borrowed from European experience. By contrast, she turns to the innovations of scholars Frantz Fanon, Kateb Yacine, Suzanne and Aimé Césaire, Assia Djebar, Léopold Senghor, and the contributors to the journal Présence Africaine. She argues that these thinkers sought to appropriate and rethink key political concepts of self-cultivation, independence, and territorial organization of French North Africa. To do so, she draws on new archival materials (for Fanon, Yacine, and Présence Africaine) to elucidate the psychological and political practices that capture both the experience of colonial politics and efforts to redefine it.

The Birth of Midcentury Racial Liberalism: A Strange Journey from America’s Concentration Camps to the Land of 10,000 Lakes

Professor Yuichiro Onishi
Department of African American & African Studies; Asian American Studies

The focus of Professor Onishi’s research is on the untold history of Japanese American resettlement in Minnesota during World War II and the early Cold War. It chronicles the process of restoring Japanese American citizenship amidst ongoing incarceration. This story is hardly an account of American goodwill, however. He argues that the effort to validate and vindicate Japanese American citizenship was intimately bound up with a modality of state power that took away everything from them, their rights, basic human needs, and above all personhood. This research hones in on this symbiosis, the connection between life affirming and life-nullifying gravities of power that gave form to racial liberalism. Professor Onishi locates its emergence in midcentury Minnesota. Moreover, rather than altogether abandoning liberalism, this project sets out to, at once, rework it and lift up the vital importance of racial justice in our contemporary crisis marked by unending assaults on Black and Brown lives.

Healthy and Unhealthy Music Use, Music-Based Emotional Regulation, and Coping Strategies in Acute Care Mental Health Inpatients: A Cross Sectional Study

Professor Michael J. Silverman
School of Music

Music constitutes a universal phenomenon and many people listen to music for emotional regulation and coping in everyday life. As people with mental health disorders often experience negative affective states including anxiety and depression, there is a need to understand if and how this clinical population may use both healthy and unhealthy music for emotional regulation and coping. These data would be beneficial for music therapists and other mental health practitioners as they could use then tailor structured and individualized listening programs based on healthy and unhealthy uses of music, music-based emotional regulation, and preferred coping strategies to proactively and reactively regulate emotions for health and wellbeing.

Therefore, the purpose of this cross sectional study is to explore healthy and unhealthy music use, music based emotional regulation, and coping strategies with adult inpatients on an acute care mental health unit via correlational and multiple regression analyses.