Academic News (News2Note) — November 2018

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

ASPECT doctoral student Rob Flahive co-organized a VTGrATE “Ask-Me-Anything about Teaching” Discussion, which took place October 17 at the Graduate Life Center.

VTGrATE, the Virginia Tech Academy for Graduate Teaching Assistant Excellence, seeks to be a teaching resource and mentorship program.

Jeff Felton, a master’s student in the Department of History, published “Early’s Tarheels: The North Carolina Soldier in the Shenandoah Valley, June–November, 1864,” Journal of the Shenandoah Valley During the Civil War 2 (2019): 67–87.

Carlos Evia, an associate professor in the Department of Communication, co-edited a special issue of Communication Design Quarterly, with Rebekka Andersen.

The issue, 6.3 (2018), deals with the topic of preparing technical communication professionals for today and the future. The journal is a research publication of the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Design of Communication.

François Debrix, director of ASPECT and a professor in the Department of Political Science, published “The Viral Mediation of Terror: ISIS, Image, Implosion,” in ISIS Beyond the Spectacle: Communication Media, Networked Publics, and Terrorism, ed. Mehdi Semati, Piotr Szpunar, and Robert Brookey (London: Routledge, 2018), pp. 77–91, with ASPECT alumnus Ryan Artrip.

Katie Carmichael, an assistant professor in the Department of English, was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to investigate the sociolinguistic impact of Hurricane Katrina.

The project focuses on the effects of displacement and migration on the language spoken in the city of New Orleans, which reflects linguistic elements of Creoles, African Americans, European Americans, and Latinos. Carmichael and undergraduate students, along with a team of faculty and students from Tulane University, will interview residents of the city to learn how individuals characterize their language.

The award, from the NSF Linguistics program in the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, is for $131,756.

In addition, Carmichael published “‘Since When Does the Midwest Have an Accent?’: The Role of Regional Accent and Reported Speaker Origin in Speaker Evaluations,” English World-Wide 39.2 (2018): 127–56.

Brett Shadle, a professor in the Department of History, published “Refugees in African History,” A Companion to African History, ed. William Worger, Charles Ambler, and Nwando Achebe (Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley, 2018), pp. 247–64.

Suchitra Samanta, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, published “The American Community College as ‘Stepping Stone’: Opportunity, Agency, and Family in Asian and Asian-American Women’s Educational Histories,” Journal of Asian American Studies 21.3 (2018): 367–93.

ASPECT doctoral student Patrick Salmons published a review of Is Racial Equality Unconstitutional by Mark Golub in Community Change 2.1 (2018).

School of Performing Arts faculty members Eric Lyon, an associate professor, and Ico Bukvic, also interim associate dean for graduate studies and research, along with Tanner Upthegrove, ICAT Media Specialist, presented three sets of live, immersive music on October 10 at Envelop SF, an immersive audio venue in San Francisco.

The Envelop Concert featured the following compositions by Lyon: “3D Stomp Fracture,” “NJ Honcho Wing,” “Coventry,” “From A to Z,” and “Wild Echos.” The music demonstrated spatialization techniques and software developed at Virginia Tech for use in the Cube.

Violinist and composer Charles Nichols, who is also an assistant professor of composition and creative technologies in the School of Performing Arts, premiered Badstar: A Concert of Immersive Audio and Video, an hour show in three movements inspired by fusion, old-time, and drone metal, for electric violin, electric banjo, electric guitar, electronic drums, and computers, with multiple projections of interactive processed video mapped to custom architecture.

The performance was a collaboration with banjoist and composer Holland Hopson, guitarist and composer André Foisy, drummer and music major Denver Nuckolls, video artist Zach Duer, and architect Jon Rugh. It took place October 11–13 in the 134.2 spatial audio system in the Cube of the Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech.

Scott Nelson, director of graduate studies in the Department of Political Science, served as a Visiting Scholar at the Dr. Seaker Chan Center for Comparative Political Development Studies at Fudan University, Shanghai, China, from September 21 to October 19. During his stay, he hosted academic seminars, presented lectures on his research, and explored student exchange opportunities.

Kaitlin Boyle, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, received a grant from the Institute for Society, Culture and Environment to support her project, “Identity, Masculinity Threat, and Propensity for Violence against Women.”

Maria Scaptura, a master’s student in Sociology, will be working with some of the data with Boyle.

ASPECT doctoral student Leigh McKagen presented “Toward a Feminist Narrative of the Anthropocene” at the Association for Political Theory Conference, which was held October 18–20 at Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.

Eric Lyon, an associate professor in the School of Performing Arts, performed “From A to Z,” “Long Arm,” and “PZ Myo Groove,” new works he composed for computer with Myo interface, at the “Surely You Gesture” concert, which took place October 15 at the Center for New Music in San Francisco.

Timothy Luke, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Political Science, published “Counting Up AR-15s: The Subject of Assault Rifles and the Assault Rifle as Subject,” The Lives of Guns, ed. Jonathan Obert, Andrew Poe, and Austin Sarat (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), pp. 70–92, and “Have a Heart for the Holocene: The Politics of Ark Activism, Collaborative Conservation, and Sponsored Survival at Museums,” Fast Capitalism 15.1 (2018).

Julia Beamish, a professor and head of the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management, was recognized as one of the top 50 innovators in the field by Kitchen and Bath Design News in its October issue.

LaDale Winling, an associate professor in the Department of History, in collaboration with Robert Nelson and Justin Madron from the University of Richmond, launched an interactive website, “Electing the House of Representatives, 1840–2016.”

Assisting with the project were undergraduate Jennalee Beazley, international studies, Spanish, and economics; L. T. Wilkerson, a master’s student in history; and the following CLAHS alumnae: undergraduate history majors Caitlin Brown, Victoria Fowler, and Rachel Snyder; international relations major Sarah Rouzer; and graduate students Carmen Bolt, Alexandra Dowrey, and Rebecca Williams, who completed a master’s degree in history.

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, the Department of History, and the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies helped fund this project with grants for research and data work.

Janell Watson, a professor of French and chair of the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, along with Svetlana Filiatreau, Pamplin College of Business, received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to develop an international business education program focused on East Asia.

The $178,000 in funding will be used to integrate the study of Chinese and Korean languages and cultures through coursework, study abroad, and internships with Asian-owned companies in the U.S. as well as in China and South Korea.

Tingting Zhao and Ming Chew Teo, faculty members in the Chinese program in Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, will develop online courses in Chinese and train adjuncts to teach them.

ASPECT doctoral student Emma Stamm presented “Psychedelic Science and the Question of Artificial Intelligence” at the Intelligent Futures: Automation, AI and Cognitive Ecologies Conference, which took place October 1–2 at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England.

Stamm also published “Ordinary Doses: New Research into Psychedelic Drugs Is Constrained by Technological Solutionism,” Real Life Magazine, October 4, 2018.

ASPECT doctoral student Shelby Ward published “Apocalypse ’83,” in the Literary Encyclopedia: Exploring Literature, History and Culture, September 27, 2018.

Ward also presented “A ‘Downtown’ for Colombo: The Geopolitics of Sri Lankan Urbanization” with Ranitri Weerasuriya at the 47th Annual Conference on South Asia, which was held October 11–14 at the Center for South Asia, University of Wisconsin–Madison.

The Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management faculty members Erin Hopkins and Kathleen Parrott were honored at the Housing Education and Research Association Conference, which was held October 7–10 in Savannah, Georgia.

Hopkins, an assistant professor of property management and Willis & Mary Blackwood Jr. Faculty Fellow, received the Kenneth J. Tremblay Early Career in Housing Award for her accomplishments in the first six years of her academic career.

Parrott, a professor in the department, was recognized with the Distinguished Service Award for her many contributions to the field of housing and to the association.

Five ASPECT doctoral students presented their research at the International Studies Association – Southern Region Annual Conference, which took place October 12–13 at Randolph–Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. They were: Caroline Alphin, “‘Parasites on the Body Capital’: The Quantified Self as Instrumentalized Self-Cultivation”; Linea Cutter, “Sweet Systems of Power: Neoliberal Fitness and the Subjugation of the Female Body”; Rob Flahive, “Short Circuiting the Eurocentric Gaze: Rewiring Colonial Urbanism in Addis Ababa”; Molly Todd, “The Economisation of Man at the U.S.–Mexico Border”; and Sara Wenger, “‘Resistance is (Not) Futile’: Posthuman Possibilities in Speculative Fiction.”

Barbara Allen, a professor in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society, published “Strongly Participatory Science and Knowledge Justice in an Environmentally Contested Region,” Science, Technology and Human Values 43.6 (2018): 947–71.

Three students in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences were among the 15 recipients of a Fralin Undergraduate Research Fellowship award for 2018–2019.

The college’s recipients were: Thomas Hale, a senior in political science; Kelsey McMahon, a junior sociology major, and Sophia Textoria, a junior in human development and family science.

Each Fellow received $1,000 to conduct research with a Virginia Tech faculty mentor over the course of one academic year.