Academic News (News2Note) — March 2017

News2Note, the academic newsletter of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, is published monthly during the academic year by Debra Stoudt, associate dean for academic policies and procedures. Academic news can be submitted to her directly at

Academic News

Three ASPECT doctoral students gave presentations at the 58th Annual International Studies Association Convention: Robert Flahive, “Asymmetric Lines: World Heritage and the White City Imaginary” and “The Modernist Cartel: DOCOMOMO and the Evolution of the World Heritage List”; Johannes Grow, “The EU and the Specter of Empire”; and Anthony Szczurek, “India and the Politics of Memory at Climate Change Negotiations.” The convention was held February 22–25, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

James Hawdon, professor in the Department of Sociology and director of the Virginia Tech Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, published “Exposure to Online Hate in Four Nations: A Cross-National Consideration” in Deviant Behavior (2017;38.3:254–66), with Atte Oksanen and Pekka Räsänen.

Nyusya Milman-Miller, an associate professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures/Russian, received the Outstanding Contribution to the Profession Award for 2016 from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL). The award is one of five presented annually by the association for teaching, service, and scholarship.  Milman-Miller was recognized for her contributions as a Russian language specialist and author of Russian textbooks, a teacher of Russian, and a director of Russian programs in the Slavic field for more than 40 years.  She was honored for developing the Russian program at Virginia Tech into one of the strongest programs in the country by increasing the number of minors, administering federal grants for the study of Russian and other critical languages, and developing study abroad programs in Russian and Latvia. Milman-Miller received the award at the AATSEEL conference, which was held February 2–5 in San Francisco.

Three ASPECT doctoral students gave presentations at the 58th Annual International Studies Association Convention: Robert Flahive, “Asymmetric Lines:  World Heritage and the White City Imaginary” and “The Modernist Cartel:  DOCOMOMO and the Evolution of the World Heritage List”; Johannes Grow, “The EU and the Specter of Empire”; and Anthony Szczurek, “India and the Politics of Memory at Climate Change Negotiations.”  The convention was held February 22–25 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Dawn Knight-Withers, a doctoral student in the Curriculum and Instruction program and coordinator of pre-education advising in the School of Education, was elected chair of the Commission on Advising Education Majors, a leadership position in the National Academic Advising Association. Knight-Withers will serve a two-year term.

Richard Burian, professor emeritus of philosophy and sciences studies, published “The Contributions—and Collapse—of Lamarckian Heredity in Pasteurian Molecular Biology: 1. Lysogeny, 1900–1960,” Journal of the History of Biology 50 (2017): 5–52, with Laurent Loison and Jean Gayon; and “Eugène et Elisabeth Wollman: la question de la lysogénie,” L’Invention de la régulation génétique: Les Nobel 1965 (Jacob, Lwoff, Monod) et le modèle de l’opéron dans l’histoire de la biologie, ed. Laurent Loison and Michel Morange (Paris: Rue d’Ulm, 2017), pp. 31–65, with Jean Gayon.

Clair Apodaca, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science, published “Expanding Responsibilities: The Consequences of World Bank and IMF Policies on Child Welfare,” in Expanding Human Rights: 21st Century Norms and Governance, ed. Alison Brysk and Michael Stohl (Northampton, Massachusetts: Edward Elgar, 2017), pp. 215–35.

The 12th annual Virginia Tech Authors Recognition Event took place February 27. The event honored authors’ academic contributions to the University and was sponsored by the University Libraries, Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation, and the Mu (Virginia Tech) Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The featured speaker was Aaron Ansell, an associate professor in the Department of Religion and Culture, who was awarded a Phi Beta Kappa 2016 Albert L. Sturm Award for Excellence in Faculty Research.

A list of the faculty who authored, co-authored, and edited works and musical compositions and were recognized this year can be found here; among the 34 college faculty and one graduate student are five individuals with two submissions, one with three, and one with six.

Brian Thorsett, an assistant professor in the School of Performing Arts/Music, was the tenor soloist in J. S. Bach’s BWV 9 and BWV 159 under conductor Brian Schmidt with the Duke Bach Cantata Series on February 12.

On February 24–26 Thorsett performed Schubert’s Death and the Maiden and the world premiere of Peter Josheff’s The Dream Mechanic with conductor Ben Simon and the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra at the Herbst Theatre, and on February 27 he was featured in the Faculty Recital Series at the San Francisco Conservatory with a revised version of David Conte’s Three Love Songs.

Along with San Francisco Opera Head of Music Staff John Churchwell and principal cellist Emil Miland, Thorsett recently recorded Three Love Songs for inclusion on a disc/digital release of Conte’s vocal music

Kaitlin Boyle, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, published “The Neutralization and Denial of Sexual Violence in College Party Subcultures” in Deviant Behavior 37.12 (2016): 1392–1410, with Lisa Slattery Walker.

Judson Abraham, a doctoral student in ASPECT, presented “Miners and the New Left: The Experience and Legacy of the Miners’ Right to Strike Committee, 1972–1979” at the Graduate Appalachian Research Conference, which was held February 18–19, 2017 at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

A. Roger Ekirch, a professor in the Department of History, published American Sanctuary: Mutiny, Martyrdom, and National Identity in the Age of Revolution (New York: Pantheon Books, 2017).

Timothy Luke, a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Political Science, published “Caught between Vulgar and Effete Realists: Critical Theory, Classical Realism and the Mythographies of Power,” Journal of International Political Theory 13.1 (February 2017): 18–36, and “Sustainability and the City,” in Handbook of Cities and the Environment, ed. Kevin Archer and Kris Bezdecny (Cheltenham:  Edward Elgar, 2016), pp. 433–53.


Bettina Koch, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science, published “Das monarchische arcana imperii Prinzip versus das demokratische Transparenzprinzip: Zum Verhältnis von Staat und bürgerlicher Freiheit nach Snowden,” [The Monarchical arcana imperii Principle versus the Democratic Principle of Transparency: On the Relationship between the State and Civil Freedom after Snowden], in Staatsgeheimnisse: Arkanpolitik im Wandel der Zeiten, ed. Rüdiger Voigt (Springer: Wiesbaden, 2017), pp. 111–30.

Carol Mullen, a professor in the School of Education, published Creativity and Education in China: Paradox and Possibilities for an Era of Accountability (New York: Routledge, 2017).


Rosemary Blieszner, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Associate Dean of the Graduate School, was named Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; her appointment begins March 6. Blieszner also has served as liaison to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and as co-chair of the Beyond Boundaries steering committee; she was Associate Director of the Center for Gerontology for more than 30 years.  Blieszner joined the Virginia Tech community in 1981; she earned her bachelor’s degree from Mercyhurst College, her M.S. from Ohio State University, and her Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University. Blieszner assumes leadership of the College from Dean Elizabeth Spiller, who has accepted the position of Dean of the College of Letters and Science at the University of California, Davis.

Wunderkammer by Charles Nichols, School of Performing Arts/Music, a work for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and computer music, was premiered by the PEN Trio, including clarinetist Phillip Paglialonga, School of Performing Arts/Music, at Fairmont State University and West Virginia University in Morgantown on February 6 and 7 respectively.

In addition, Nichols performed his structure improvisations Eulogy (Risset), for controllers, computers, and video, as well as Anselmo, for electric violin, electronics, and computers, with video artist and computer musician Jay Bruns at the Root Signals Festival, which was held February 10 at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro.


Research on her native Appalachia by Crystal Cook Marshall, a doctoral student in the Science and Technology Studies, was featured recently in the Virginia Tech News.  Her findings address the stereotype of Appalachians as well as assets of the region and challenges it is facing. Her commentary has appeared in an op-ed piece on the website “100 Days of Appalachia,” published by the West Virginia University Reed College of Media Innovation Center, as well as the Virginia Tech web series Save Our Towns.

ASPECT doctoral student Jordan Laney posted “What Machine Kills Fascists? A Critical Reflection on the Political Power of Sound in the Trump Era” on the Virginia Tech graduate student commentary blog RE: Reflections and Explorations on February 16.


The following graduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences were chosen as 2017–2018 Diversity Scholars by the Graduate School:  Melissa Faircloth, doctoral student in Sociology; Jameson Jones, School of Education/Curriculum and Instruction doctoral student; Leigh McKagen, doctoral student in ASPECT; Thomas Murray, MFA student in the School of Performing Arts; and Emma Stamm, doctoral student in ASPECT. Diversity scholars are graduate students who specialize in and advocate for the awareness, knowledge, and skills associated with diversity and inclusion in the Graduate School and greater community. A diversity scholar’s goal is to create dialogue, provide advocacy, and implement change for a more diverse and inclusive experience for all graduate students, faculty, staff, and administrators. A description of each Diversity Scholar’s project is available at the link above.