December 9, 2016

Farnsworth Lectures on Presidential Election at Virginia Business Journal Forum

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, recently spoke on “The 2016 U.S. and Virginia Elections and the Political Agenda for 2017” at the Virginia Business Journal Forum in Richmond. ​

Aminrazavi Presents on Islamic Philosophy in Academia

Mehdi Aminrazavi presented a lecture titled “The Status of Islamic Philosophy in Academia in the U.S.” to a group of faculty and graduate students at Iran-Mashhad University’s Faculty of Literature and Humanities on Oct. 9, 2016.



Barry Presents at Society of Biblical Literature & American Academy of Religion

Jennifer Barry, Assistant Professor of Religion, recently presented two invited papers at the annual conference of the Society of Biblical Literature and American Academy of Religion in San Antonio, Texas. In the pre-arranged session Construction of Christian Identities, the first paper touched on new theoretical methods for assessing early Christian identity and was built on work from her current book project. The second paper was then presented at a workshop on Digital Humanities in Biblical, Early Jewish, and Christian Studies. This paper addressed Barry’s growing interest in topics related to gender, early Christianity, and the web.

Failure as a Category of Analysis: Re-thinking Christian Identity


Clerical exile is an unstable condition as well as identity in the late ancient Christian movement. According to ecclesiastical historians, exile often marks a bishop as an “orthodox” or a “heretical” Christian. For this paper, I briefly examine an exile that rests uneasily in the latter category: Eusebius of Nicomedia. Eusebius’ exile is remembered as a just punishment for his support of “Arian” theology. And yet, it is evident that during his lifetime, Eusebius returns from his exile with even more power and influence. Christian memory-making, thus, poses a significant challenge for historians of early Christianity. Ultimately, this paper examines how the category of “failure” helps us to re-evaluate early Christian sources. As a new category of analysis, we might shift our understanding of other presumed failures as a way to re-imagine Christian identity. Accessing Women’s History through the Digital Humanities


Kate Cooper’s work Band of Angels: The Forgotten World of Early Christian Women reminds us that the material reality of the past must always remain central and that the feminist political project cannot afford to lose its emphasis on embodied history. The Band of Angels project, appropriately named after the text, builds on this vision. We seek to provide an online resource to collect similar stories and broaden access to the stories and experiences of early Christian women like Thecla of Iconium. Like the Project Vox ( out of Duke University, the Band of Angels project aims to interrupt educational ‘habits’ that continue to exclude women. Many teachers and community leaders are interested in bringing women into the center of our understanding of early Christianity, but do not have easy access to resources that will help them to correct the record. The Band of Angels project ( intends to remove those obstacles by collecting and providing an online resource with links to primary sources, bibliographies, and useful web links, with extracts from Cooper’s book as an initial gateway.

Hirshberg Presents Conference Paper at the American Academy of Religion

Dan Hirshberg, Assistant Professor of Religion, presented new research in a paper titled, “A Yogin’s Retirement: Visionary Tourism in Nyang ral’s Twilight Years,” at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion. For the panel, “Imagination and Visualization in Tibetan Buddhism,” which was cosponsored by the Tibetan/Himalayan and Tantric Studies groups, he explored subjective depictions of the acute shift from contrived visualization practice into dissociative visionary excursions through the buddha realms.

Farnsworth Lectures at Virginia Civics Summit

Stephen Farnsworth, professor of political science and director of the University’s Center for Leadership and Media Studies, recently delivered a lecture titled  “The Changing Landscape of Virginia Politics” at the 2016 Virginia Civics Summit, a conference for public school social studies teachers held at the Virginia State Capital in Richmond.

Buster-Williams Published in Recruitment and Retention

Kimberley Buster-Williams, associate provost for enrollment management, had an article featured in Recruitment and Retention’s December edition. The article was titled “Moving to an Effective Digital Records Strategy.”

Buster-Williams Published in College & University Journal

Kimberley Buster- Williams, associate provost for enrollment management, had an article featured in College & University’s winter edition. The article was titled “Optimism in Enrollment Management.” College & University is AACRAO’s educational policy and research journal focusing on emerging concerns, new techniques, and technology in higher education. It is published four times a year.

Al-Tikriti Joins MESA Panel Discussion on Ottoman Seas

On Friday, Nov. 18, Associate Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti served as the discussant for the second of two panels titled “Ottoman Seas,” which took place in Boston at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Conference. As the panel discussant, Al-Tikriti placed the panel papers within the context of the field, critiqued the papers’ content and structure, and provided additional perspective on the arguments presented. This panel attendance was supported by a CAS Dean’s Office Faculty Supplemental Grant. On the way home from the conference, on Monday, Nov. 21, Al-Tikriti served as a grant reviewer for this year’s Fulbright-IIE research competition, at the Institute for International Education, in New York City.

The MESA conference panel announcement, presented below, can be reached here:

Panel Summary: “Ottoman Seas” is a two-panel session that explores how the Ottomans imagined, constructed, and interacted with maritime space. As with every early modern empire, the limits of Ottoman territories were characterized by a degree of fluidity, more akin to flexible markers (Stuart Elden, The Birth of Territory). Much more so in the case of maritime realms, territorial ownership and control were regularly negotiated and reconstructed. Trying to avoid generalizations and blanket statements about big spatial units such as the Mediterranean, the session shifts attention to the specific components of the Ottoman seas: the Black Sea, the Adriatic, the Marmara Sea, the Aegean archipelago or the North African coast. Bringing together scholars who work on different facets of maritime interactions in these areas, we invite them to consider how maritime spaces were both geographically- as well as ideologically defined Ottoman entities. Participants will explore Ottoman seascapes on the basis of eyewitness accounts, collective experiences of sailors, pirates and statesman, as well as cartographical and architectural evidence. Enquiring into the military, economic and cultural nature of the Ottoman imaginations of the empire’s liquid frontiers, we aim to bring together studies of primary sources, and construct empirical and theoretical arguments building upon and contributing to, existing literature.

Paper Titles:

Panel Participants:

Palmira Brummett, Brown University, Chair.

Christine Isom-Verhaaren, Brigham Young University, Presenter.

Nabil Al-Tikriti, University of Mary Washington, Discussant.

Murat Menguc, Seton Hall University, Organizer; Presenter.
Joshua White, University of Virginia, Presenter.
Sona Tajiryan, University of California at Los Angeles, Presenter.

Rafferty Publishes Essays on Presidents

Colin Rafferty, Associate Professor of English, has published three essays on presidents in the newest issue of Juked: “Bully (#26),” “Death Song for Andrew Jackson (#7),” and “18 1/2 (#37).” They can be read here:

Fontem Awarded Best Paper Award at INFORMS Conference

Bellah Fontem, assistant professor in the College of Business, received the Best Paper award at the INFORMS conference for “An Optimal Stopping Policy for Car Rental Businesses with Purchasing Customers.” Fontem’s fellow finalists were from Texas A&M and Ohio State. The paper studies revenue-maximizing decision rules for car rental firms that serve both rental and purchasing customers using the same pool of cars.