Student Videos Highlight CHASS Faculty Research

August 3, 2010
By Cherry Crayton

Undergraduate students in a video production class taught by Jim Alchediak, a lecturer in the Department of Communication, created videos of professors in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences talking about their research. Five of the videos, about 5 minutes each, are posted on CHASS’s website and after the jump. Video highlights, including mention of each of the faculty members featured, follow:

  • “There’s a saying in anthropology that one of the purposes of the study of human culture is to make the familiar seem strange and the strange to seem familiar,” says Anna Bigelow, assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies whose research focuses on Islam. She’s traveled to India, Yemen, Turkey, the Middle East, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian territories.
  • “A common stereotype as we get older is that our memory starts to fail. Something inconsistent perhaps with people’s stereotypes is that when you ask people just how they are feeling, older adults report that they’re feeling better,” says Tom Hess, professor of psychology whose research involves cognitive functioning across the life span. “We also know that when people are in good moods, they process information differently than when they are in negative moods.”

  • Branda Nowell is an assistant professor of public and international affairs whose research focuses on multi-organizational systems responding to complex issues. For her current research project, she’s looking at ways to improve responses to wildfires when multiple agencies are involved.
  • Richard Waters, assistant professor of communication whose areas of expertise include public relations, strategic communications, and social media, once worked at a public relation firms in California and helped promote the first several Harry Potter films, including handling the scheduling appearances for the film’s actors on shows like Late Show with David Letterman.
  • Holly Brewer, associate professor of history, spent the past year as a fellow at the National Humanities Center, where she worked on her book Inheritable Blood: Slavery and Freedom, Aristocracy and Empire in Early Virginia and the British Atlantic.  One of her earlier books — Children, Law, and the Anglo-American Revolution in Authority, which won the 2006 J. Willard Hurst Prize from the Law and Society Association — focused on the evolution of what it means to be a child and what it means to be an adult. Two facts she mentions during her video that we sort of forgot about since our schooling: Henry VI first presided over the English parliament at the age of 9 months. And, Edward VI of England, who became king at age 9, had a regent executed for not asking permission to carry out an act when he was 12.
  • (And one more: In the video featuring the social media expert Richard Waters, check out his computer screen in the background. He has a Facebook page up, and guess whose fan page is showing? Yes, the Alumni Association’s.)

Student Videos of CHASS Faculty

Anna Bigelow, assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies whose research focuses on Islam.

Holly Brewer, associate professor of history whose book, Children, Law, and the Anglo-American Revolution in Authority,” won the 2006 J. Willard Hurst Prize from the Law and Society Association, the 2006 Cromwell Prize from the American Society for Legal History, and the 2008 Biennial Book Prize of the Order of the Coif from the American Association of Law Schools.

Tom Hess, professor of psychology whose research involves cognitive functioning across the life span.

Branda Nowell, assistant professor of public and international affairs whose research focusing on multi-organizational systems responding to complex issues.

Richard Waters, assistant professor of communication whose areas of expertise include public relations, strategic communications, and social media.


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