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School of Liberal Arts Hosts Research Symposium

The School of Liberal Arts hosted a symposium on Feb. 8, 2019, to honor the great research done by faculty during sabbatical. The four speakers that presented their ideas were Drs. Lisette Balabarca-Fataccioli, associate professor of Spanish; Laurie Naranch, associate professor of political science; Wendy Pojmann, professor of history; and Keith Wilhite, associate professor of English.

Dr. Balabarca-Fataccioli presented her book in the making, “The Female Other: Muslim Women in Early Modern Spain.” She spoke about her plan to use different women protagonists from three different books to show the role of fathers within the lives of their newly religious daughters. These daughters choose to pursue a life full of religion rather than over their toxic relationship with their fathers. Another conclusion that Dr. Balabarca-Fataccioli made was that faith was used as a substitute for a maternal figure within all the daughters’ stories. The comfort of the Virgin Mary or journey to the Motherland profoundly influenced the lives of the three women.

Within Dr. Naranch’s presentation, “The Narrative Self: Adriana Cavarero with Sojourner Truth,” Dr. Naranch argued that “Cavarero’s concept of the narratable self can be extended to better capture the political purchase of the concept which interacts dynamically.” Dr. Naranch expressed her concerns regarding Cavarero and how she did not look closely at privilege and power when she discussed uniqueness of self that is written by others. Dr. Naranch explained that she chose to add Truth to the conversation to better help push Cavarero’s ideas further. Also, she used Truth in order for readers to better see her as a political philosopher rather than “just a strong black woman.”

Dr. Pojmann answers audience questions

Dr. Pojmann has always had a passion for espresso. This led her to cultivate her upcoming book, “Espresso: The Art and Soul of Italy.” Her captivating love for the taste of espresso began during the hectic years of graduate school. The idea came to her while visiting the beloved country of Italy a year ago. She was fascinated by everything about espresso and wanted to become immersed in all of its detail and upbringing. Dr. Pojmann divided her book into six chapters, from its transportation within the technological aspect of coffee to the process from the bean to the savory drink. Dr. Pojmann spent hours in countless Italian coffee bars to see how they differ and why. Although each of the various Italian coffee bars brought its own uniqueness, one thing stayed the same – that being, as Dr. Pojmann described it, “well-ordered chaos.”

English professor Dr. Wilhite presented “Contested Terrain: The Suburbs, U.S Literature, and the Ends of Regionalism.” In this presentation, Dr. Wilhite focused on issues that arise from the development of suburbia and the desire to own a piece of countryside outside the city. He noticed that racial tension increased as well as privacy concerns. Dr. Wilhite used cultural texts and how it has affected the vision of a suburban household. The texts used were the notable literary works “Kingsblood Royal,” “A Raisin in the Sun” and “Clybourne Park,” which responded to the post-WWII racial and economic exclusivity of the home building projects. He also used sources like the Federal Housing Administration, Home Owner’s Loan Corporation, GI Bill and the Housing Act of 1949-1954.

If you were unable to attend the symposium or are interested in attending another, the School of Liberal Arts will showcase more research. Stop by and acknowledge our ambitious Siena faculty on March 15 at 3:30 p.m. in room 26 of the Standish Library.