May 26, 2015

Farnsworth Quoted by

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and international affairs, was quoted in the article “Low Turnout Expected In Virginia’s June Primary,” published by the Friday, May 15. Read the full article at

Barrenechea Participates in Jessie Ball duPont Summer Seminar for Second Time

For the second year in a row, Antonio Barrenechea, Associate Professor of English, has been selected to participate in one of the two Jessie Ball duPont Summer Seminars sponsored by the National Humanities Center. His seminar, “Sound Studies in the Humanities and Beyond,” will meet May 31 to June 19 in Chapel Hill, N.C. His application was approved in conjunction with his on-going project on the poetics and politics of excess in the cinema of the Americas.

Stephen Farnsworth Quoted by the Richmond Times-Dispatch

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and international affairs, was quoted in the article “Dance faces Preston in 16th Senate District showdown,” published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch Saturday, May 9. Read the full article at

Singh Publishes Article with Middle East Studies Association Newsletter

Ranjit Singh published an article titled “The Lyrics Don’t Matter: Addressing Language Barriers and Social Media in the Middle East Studies Classroom” in the April 2015 edition of Issues in Middle East Studies, the professional newsletter of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). This article describes a social media-based exercise Dr. Singh developed to exploit common language barriers and to develop students’ critical thinking and observation skills. The exercise requires students to view politically or socially significant Arabic language YouTube videos multiple times: first in silence, then with sound, and finally with translation. Each viewing provides more information, prodding students to search for visual and auditory clues about context, meaning, and why some videos proved influential.

The article currently is available only to MESA members at A copy also may be obtained from Dr. Singh:

The article is based on a presentation Dr. Singh made at MESA’s 2014 annual conference in Washington DC, where he organized a panel centered on social media and pedagogy. The panel was sponsored by MESA’s Committee for Undergraduate Studies, or CUMES, which Dr. Singh helped to found several years ago. CUMES seeks to disseminate best practices in teaching and learning on the region. His work for this article was supported by a 2014 summer faculty development grant from UMW’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Aminrazavi Lectures on the Anthology of Philosophy in Persia

Mehdi Aminrazavi co-lectured on the “Anthology of Philosophy in Persia” at George Washington University on Saturday, April 18. Aminrazavi spoke on various philosophical schools in the Persianate world as discussed in his five volumes of An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia.

Housley Receives Volunteer Award

Associate Professor Helen Housley, Theatre and Dance, was recognized as an outstanding volunteer by the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital on April 25, 2015. Housley was presented with the Honor Pin for her work in organizing, under the sponsorship of the Department of Theatre and Dance, a series of Theatre Arts Week-ends for Girl Scouts. Since 2002, over 100o Girl Scouts (ages 11-18) and their leaders have visited the UMW campus, participating in theatre-related workshops led by theatre students, and enjoying a UMW Theatre production. Several of these Scouts have subsequently enrolled at and graduated from UMW.

Larus Offers Lecture at National Taiwan University

Elizabeth Freund Larus, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, offered a lecture “US Rebalancing to Asia and the China Challenge,” at the International Chinese Language Program at National Taiwan University in Taipei on April 24.

Larus Participates in World Book Day

Elizabeth Larus, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, read excerpts from To Kill a Mockingbird in celebration of the UNESCO World Book Day, April 18 at the National Central Library, Taipei, Taiwan.

Greenlaw Honored by OpenStaxCollege

Steven A. Greenlaw was recently honored when OpenStaxCollege, an affiliate of Rice University in Houston, named a conference room after him.  OpenStax is the preeminent publisher of free, open source textbooks for introductory college courses.  They currently have introductory texts in Physics, Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, Chemistry, Statistics, Precalculus, U.S. History, Psychology and Economics. By the end of 2015, they expect to have 25 books.

Greenlaw was one of their first authors.  He recently conducted a statistical analysis comparing the use of OpenStax’ economics text against the commercial text, and found there to be no statistical difference in student learning in his course. If you teach one of these introductory courses, you might want to save your students money and consider adopting an OpenStax or other open text.

Fallon Publishes Research on African Languages

Paul D. Fallon, Associate Professor of Linguistics in the Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication, published his chapter “Coronal ejectives and EthioSemitic borrowing in Proto-Agaw” in the Selected Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference on African Linguistics, edited by Ruth Kramer, Elizabeth C. Zsiga, & One Tlale Boyer.

Fallon’s paper examines the historical reconstruction of Proto-Agaw (PA, also known as Proto-Central Cushitic), the ancestral mother tongue of the languages Blin, Xamtanga, Kemantney, and Awngi, spoken in Eritrea and Ethiopia. Previous work on Proto-Agaw by David Appleyard claimed that ejective consonants in PA are attributable to borrowings, mostly from neighboring EthioSemitic languages. Expanding his earlier examination of velar (back of tongue) consonants, Fallon argues that coronal (tongue-tip) consonants must also be reconstructed for PA and provides 25 examples of native roots and 19 borrowings, and analyzes 18 other unclear cases. This study contributes to a more precise reconstruction of PA and a deeper understanding of the lexical strata and borrowings between Agaw and EthioSemitic.

The publisher, the Cascadilla Proceedings Project, is both open access online and publisher of library-quality bound printed volumes.