Faculty Endowment

Harpur College Faculty Development Endowment

The goal of this internal grants program is to promote the scholarly, creative, and artistic activities of Harpur faculty. Priority is given to proposals for new projects or for projects that represent a new direction within an existing project. Priority is also given to projects that are likely to lead to external foundation or government funding.


  • 2020 Recipients

    Marvin Diaz - Psychology
    Project Title:
    Long-term effects of prenatal methadone exposure on anxiety
    The recent opioid epidemic has resulted in a multitude of issues worldwide, including increased use of opiates during pregnancy. In particular, methadone, an opioid agonist, is commonly used to treat opioid addiction in pregnant women. However, little is known about the long-term consequences of prenatal methadone exposure (PME) in offspring. Human and animal studies have identified alterations in emotional processing (i.e. anxiety) in offspring exposed to opiates in utero. However, the mechanisms underlying these behavioral alterations remain unknown. We have developed a highly translational model of PME that produces alterations in neural function and dopamine receptor gene expression in the basolateral amygdala, a brain structure associated with emotional processing. The objective of this proposal is to assess alterations in anxiety-like behaviors in PME offspring and to determine if dopamine levels are affected within the basolateral amygdala following PME. Successful completion of this study will provide us with sufficient and essential preliminary data necessary to develop a competitive R01 grant application through the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

    Olga Shvetsova - Political Science
    Project Title:
    Traditional Authority in the Native Nations in the United States
    I will research interactions between indigenous authorities of Native American Nations with constitutionally defined governmental authorities in the US. I will visit Native American studies research institutions and do on-site work at the locations of the governance bodies of Native Nations. At this stage, I plan to visit only the governance locations within the State of New York. This project continues my research program of studying the balancing of legitimacy between indigenous and modern constitutional governance structures. This work has been previously conducted in African (JMAS 2019) and global comparative (“Bargaining . . .” with Carol Mershon) contexts. The queries are the following. Where do the competing sovereignties of Native Nations and American government stand in terms of their perceived legitimacy by the Nations? How do these competing sovereignties affect decisions of incumbents across governing structures? How do political shifts in Native Nations affect their standing with constitutional actors? My goal is to account for the ebb and flow of exercised sovereignty as affected by the political processes inside and outside of the Native Nations.

    Guifang Fu - Mathematical Sciences and Statistics
    Project Title:
    Integrating functional data analysis with the newest machine learning skills
    Advances in next-generation data collection technologies require concomitant advances in data science methodology. Prevailing functional data analysis approaches either focus on modeling time-varying dynamic trends for curves or perform poorly for high dimensionality. The overarching objective of the proposed research is to develop innovative methodologies to detect important associations between a high-dimensional curve response and a high dimensional set of predictors, while accurately capturing complex structures such as nonlinear or high-order interactions. The proposed methodologies will be applied to a wide range of disciplines, which not only produce testbeds but also expand its scope. Successful completion of this proposed research will expand on traditional statistical approaches for functional/curve data to a new level by utilizing the newest machine learning skills, providing ground-breaking methodological support for data science, and ensuring that data analytical strategies keep pace with high-end technologies that generate datasets, while boosting the progress of multidisciplinary collaborations.

    Matthew Wolf-Meyer - Anthropology
    Project Title:
    Unraveling: Remaking Personhood in a Neurodiverse Age
    My in-press book, Unraveling: Remaking Personhood in a Neurodiverse Age (UMN Press, 2020), develops a cybernetic theory of subjectivity that shows how subjectivity is produced processually through complex human-environment interactions which rely on symbolic, material, and physiological capacities and their social facilitations. The book describes fieldwork with neuroscientists, psychiatrists, educators, and support groups, and analyzes memoirs and scientific monographs. At the book’s heart are a series of profiles of families, each of whom has a member diagnosed with a biologized “neurological disorder.” Analyzing how these families facilitate the inclusion of and communication with their disabled family member, I show how dominant models of subjectivity rely on neurological reductivism, symbolic anthropocentrism, and narrow materialism, and thereby exclude both specific individuals and whole categories of neurological difference from full personhood. One of the key causes of these exclusions is the belief that communication— and language especially—is central to human claims to personhood and subjectivity and based in a biological predisposition in humans as a species and its absence is widely accepted as disabling. By focusing on the lives of families with disabled members and situating their experiences in a capacious cybernetic framework that extends Gregory Bateson’s work, I argue that an integrative approach that draws on material experience, embodied interactions, and diverse forms of communication helps to overcome these biases in conceptualizing subjectivity and personhood as based in an exclusionary model of human biology.

    Robert Parkinson - History
    Project Title:
    Thirteen Clocks: How Race Made America Independent
    The book Thirteen Clocks: How Race Made America Independent is an abridgement of sorts of my prize-winning book published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2016, The Common Cause: Creating Race and Nation in the American Revolution. That book won two national prizes, the James A. Rawley Prize for the best book on U.S. race relations given by the Organization of American Historians, and the History Division Book Award for the best book on journalism and mass communication by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). It earned rave reviews in the New York Review of Books, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal (starred), William & Mary Quarterly, CHOICE, Reviews in American History, Journal of American History, American Historical Review, English Historical Review, American Quarterly, among others.

    Meg Leja - History
    Project Title: Embodying the Soul: Medicine and Religion in Carolingian Europe
    The work for which I am requesting funding is my book manuscript, Embodying the Soul: Medicine and Religion in Carolingian Europe, under contract to be published with the University of Pennsylvania Press in their Middle Ages Series. This monograph has been the focus of my research activities since I started employment at Binghamton in 2015, and it is the culmination of work that began during my doctoral dissertation. My research has thus far been supported by the Princeton Center for the Study of Religion, the Mellon Foundation, Binghamton’s own Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, and a Harpur Dean’s Research Semester. These sources of funding have enabled me to undertake significant amounts of new archival research for the book project, examining manuscripts held in libraries across Europe. The book is consequently not simply a revision of my dissertation; it has been entirely re-written, with a different structure and several original chapters.

    David Bisaha - Theatre
    Project Title: American Scenic Design and Freelance Professionalism
    American Scenic Design and Freelance Professionalism rewrites the history of scenic design by calling attention to a less-examined area of its practice – the establishment of the profession itself. In the interwar period, American scenic designers raised the relative status of their careers by dissociating their labor from earlier generations of scenic artists and establishing a professional identity consciously aligned with the white-collar professions of architecture, medicine, and law. This new identity embraced freelance, contract labor and defined the way the scenic design field is known today: as a form of creative artistry, a professional discipline, a component of university study, and a key element of American performance culture. Simply put, American Scenic Design and Freelance Professionalism is a cultural labor history that explains why American scenic designers work the way that they do.

    Jeanette Patterson - Romance Languages and Literature
    Project Title:
    Making the Bible French: the Bible historiale and the Medieval Lay Reader
    My monograph is about how Guyart des Moulins’s 1295 Bible translation “makes the Bible French” for a general target readership of French-literate lay aristocrats, as well as how its large and varied manuscript tradition adapts it to the personalized circumstances of individual intended readers. Vernacular readers’ reasons for reading the Bible, their ways of reading (or listening to) it and their capacity for interpreting it in a manner congruent with established orthodoxy would all have differed from those of the biblical scholars and clergy who would have read it in Latin, using Jerome’s Vulgate translation. Making the Bible French meant not only translating its language but also enacting a cultural translation for medieval French-speaking lay aristocrats. It meant making biblical narrative intelligible to lay readers who lacked advanced education in theology; making it enjoyable to avid consumers of courtly French literature; and helping those readers apply biblical lessons to the practice of their faith and to their wider social and political lives. To achieve these goals, the translator constructs a fictional dialogue with readers to answer anticipated questions, assuage their doubts and fill in narrative gaps: “Did insects bite before the Fall?” “How did Eve convince Adam to eat the forbidden fruit?” “How did the animals on Noah’s Ark not kill each other?” “Where is Noah’s Ark now?” Meanwhile, as was typical of hand-copied books in an age before print, manuscript compilers, scribes, and artists adapt each copy’s contents to the needs of individual readers as well as large- scale trends of the time: adding, removing or updating units of translated text or glossing programs, adding treatises, acrostic prayers and localized litanies of saints, tailoring illustration programs to reflect current events or a particular recipient’s self-image, and in a few cases, even marking verses deemed important for a specific intended reader. Each hand-copied and hand-illustrated copy asks and answers anew: what is the Bible, and what should it do for its reader?

    Robyn Cope - Romance Languages and Literature
    Project Title:
    The Pen and the Pan: Food, Fiction and Homegrown Caribbean Feminism(s)
    The Pen and the Pan: Food, Fiction and Homegrown Caribbean Feminism(s), my comparative study of a cross-section of works drawn from the past quarter-century of Francophone and Anglophone Caribbean culinary fiction, brings something new to the table. The Pen and the Pan is the first comparative study of food imagery in Caribbean women’s writing across linguistic, racial, ethnic and sexual orientation lines. It examines fiction by Guadeloupeans Maryse Condé and Gisèle Pineau, Haitian Edwidge Danticat, and Trinidadians Lakshmi Persaud and Shani Mootoo. I read food imagery in these Caribbean women’s writing not only for what it can teach us about the colonizer-colonized binary, but also in order to gain insight into power dynamics within the Caribbean itself—between generations, ethnic and racial groups, religious and political affiliations, social classes and sexual identities, and most especially between women. In this way, my reading showcases Caribbean women writers’ gendered perspective on past and present intra-Caribbean relationships, symbolized by interactions in the kitchen and at the table, and on future possibilities for coalition-building, figured by the central trope of the shared meal.

  • 2019 Recipients (Awarded $86,680)

    Seden Akcinaroglu, Associate Professor of Political Science
    Project Title: Strategic Use of Social Media by Non-State Armed Actors
    As a result of this grant, we applied for the Cite-Data Experimental Omnibus Grant.  If we receive the grant, it will allow us to conduct a conjoint experiment that will further examine the impact of various communication strategies on social media. In addition, a student has been gathering data on terror group websites and is creating a dataset and we have agreed with a survey company in Turkey to conduct a national survey (14,000 people) on the project.


    Timothy de Smet, Environmental Visualization, Research Assistant Professor
    Alex Nikulin, Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies
    Project Title: Drone-based Thermal Infrared Detection of Plastic Antipersonnel Landmines
    Currently the research has resulted in three peer-reviewed publications. The project also recently won Create the Future 2018 Award in the Aerospace & Defense Category beating NASA teams.


    Hans Gindlesberger, Associate Professor of Art and Design
    Project Title: Imaging the Form of Photography
    Working on making prototypes for the project and pursuing grants to support this work from the NY Foundation for the Arts and Creative Capital.


    Bryan Kirschen, Assistant Professor of Romance Languages, Literatures, & Linguistics
    Project Title: Documenting Judeo-Spanish (Ladino)
    In the process of collecting, scanning, transcribing, translating and uploading materials written in Judeo-Spanish in Solitreo, which will constitute the core of the archive.


    Andy Merriwether, Professor and Chair of Anthropology
    Project Title: The Cost of Education: The impacts of psychosocial stress on health through epigenetics as seen in college undergraduates
    He has 100 participants enrolled in the study and the team is collecting survey data for statistical analysis. DNA extractions are expected to be completed this semester.


    Diane Miller Sommerville, Professor of History
    Project Title: Motherhood and Madness in the American South
    Undertook research in Richmond, Virginia, at the state records annex and the main Library of Virginia focusing on “lunacy papers” and asylum records.


    Elizabeth Mozer, Associate Professor of Theater
    Project Title: Natural Causes - a new play
    Conducting meetings and interviews on the west and east coasts with individuals engaging in the embodied acts of civil disobedience. These meetings and interviews are the creative sources and fuel for the new play. 


    Plamen Nikolov, Assistant Professor of Economics
    Project Title: Immigration and Labor Market Outcomes in the E.U.
    In the process of collecting data and conducting analyses, as well as integrating undergraduates into the project. 


    Jeff Pietras, Associate Professor of Geology Sciences & Environmental Studies
    Tim Lowenstein, Distinguished Professor of Geology Sciences & Environmental Studies
    Project Title: Mapping Environmental Conditions and Deposits in Modern Saline Lakes
    This grant opened up opportunities for additional funding from startups and FRI to purchase a very complete piece of kit which is now on campus. Jeff Pietras is in talks with aquatics to get it in the pool. Field work in NY is planned for better weather, field work in Utah is scheduled for the second week of June, and the first external grant is being written for a March 15 deadline.


    Benita Roth, Professor of Sociology
    Project Title: Fighting the opioid epidemic in Upstate New York: marginalized voices, activism, and community
    She has hired graduate student researchers to begin data collection from Broome, Tioga, and Tompkins counties for comparison of the politics of the opioid crisis in Central New York.   


    Pam Smart, Associate Professor of Art History and Anthropology
    Project Title: The Technical Production of Affect: Restoring the Rothko Chapel
    Conducting field work at Rothko Chapel in Houston, which has expanded the project into a new book for broad readership. 


    Katherine Wander, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
    Project Title: Trade-offs in Milk Immunity
    Data collection is in process, and this semester they will complete the analyses of milk specimens, with the plan to present preliminary results at conferences in the spring.


    Xiangjin Xu, Associate Professor of Mathematical Sciences
    Project Title: Some problems on Geometric PDEs and Harmonic Analysis on Manifolds
    Completed a research trip to China over winter break that included a visit to Shanghai Center for Mathematical Sciences and Fudan University, Shanghai, China. In addition, I attended and gave an invited talk on workshop on “Harmonic Analysis and Applications” at Tsinghua Sanya International Mathematics Forum (TSIMF), Sanya, Hainan, China, and completed one paper. 


    Chuan-Jian Zhong, Professor of Chemistry
    Project Title: Demonstrating a New Sensor Array Coupled with Pattern Recognition for the Development of Point-of-Care Breath Early Detection of Lung Cancer
    In the past three months, the team’s work has focused on preparation and testing, and the establishment of a working sensor platform with the initial sensor hardware and software for the project. The team is currently working with simulated breath samples and work is in progress to develop the initial database.

  • 2018 Recipients (Awarded $48,409)

    Brian Callahan, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
    Project Title: Protein-nucleic Acid Ligation Using Biological Catalysis
    This project seeks to develop the first enzyme-based technology for protein-nucleic acid ligation. The grant will fund a graduate student and supplies in support of the high risk/high gain research in biomedical technology.


    Marilynn Desmond, Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature
    Project Title: The Fall of Troy and the Origins of Europe: The Trojan Diaspora and the Vernacular Cultures of the Medieval West
    The goal of the project is to complete the research for the final chapter of her current book, which includes examination of medieval manuscripts in the UK, Italy, and France.


    Arnab Dey, Assistant Professor of History
    Project Title: The Business of Knowledge: Scientific "Expertise" and State Authority in South Asia, c. 1810-2010
    His study aims to highlight the historical stakes, practices, and legacies of the relationship between science and "expert" knowledge in colonial and postcolonial India. The research entails travel and acquisition of archival materials, data collection, imaging, and permissions for this new second book project.


    Ekrem Karakoc, Associate Professor of Political Science
    Project Title: Political Risks and Strategic Responses of Business and Society in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
    The aim of this research is to identify and explain different types of political risks (e.g., military coup, revolution) and strategic responses of business and society in MENA. The project requires travel and field work in Tunisia and Turkey to conduct the research.


    Neha Khanna, Professor of Economics
    Project Title: Using Satellite Data to Measure Air Emissions from Shale Gas Development
    The project will quantify the change in local air quality due to the emission of particulate matter in the Marcellus shale areas of Pennsylvania from 2005 onward. An advanced Economics PhD student will be hired to work on the project.


    Tomonari Nishikawa, Assistant Professor of Cinema
    Project Title: Wabi-sabi, a film about Japanese aesthetics – transience, decay, and imperfection
    The project is a short film about Wabi-sabi, the Japanese aesthetics that appreciate the transience, decay and imperfection. Footage will be captured at Ginkakuji, one of the most famous Zen temples in Japan, which was built during the period when the idea of Wabi-sabi was flourished.


    Jennifer Stover, Associate Professor of English
    Project Title: Living Room Revolutions: Black Women and Latinas' Record Collecting and Selecting in the 1970s Bronx and Beyond
    Research and interviews will be conducted to be used for a new book project about Black and Latinx women in early hip hop. The study will allow for a new understanding of the role of collecting records in the lives of women of color and will amplify the overlooked ways in which black women and Latinas have been crucial in developing major social, artistic, and political movements.

  • 2017 Recipients (Awarded $19,550)

    Elisa Camiscioli, Associate Professor of History traveled to France three times to do archival work for two interrelated book chapters from Trafficking Stories, a study of illicit migrations within France and its empire and between Europe and Argentina.


    John Havard, Assistant Professor of English conducted archival work in Edinburgh and London related to his book project The Last Men: The Ends of Politics in the Byron Circle. This project examines a pervasive language of world-ending in writings by Byron, Mary Shelley, and their circle that reverberated with topical political reference points and concerns specific to the Romantic age and that has in turn acquired sharpened resonance in our own time.


    Tim Lowenstein and Joseph Graney, Professors of Geology purchased supplies needed to run a laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer: LA ICP-MS, including gases (argon-fluorine, nitrogen, helium), and a glass standard for instrument calibration to study changes in the chemistry of ancient seawater.


    Claudia Marques, Assistant Professor of Biology conducted research on chronic infections with the goal to determine whether the host recognizes and responds to the presence of persister cells, using an in vitro model with THP-1 macrophages and developed a Drosophila melanogaster in vivo model.


    Wendy Martinek, Professor of Political Science hired a graduate student during the summer of 2018 to collect and clean an original dataset of decisions made by state courts of last resort judges. The goal of the project was to disentangle the influence of legal and extralegal factors on judicial retention, which is largely ignored by the literature on different judicial retention mechanisms.


    Matthew Sanger, Assistant Professor of Anthropology took graduate students on a four-week field program on Hilton Head Island, SC where they conducted archaeological research on ancient Native American shell sites.


    Thomas Wilson, Professor of Anthropology conducted initial interviews and explored possible sites for future ethnographic research, in Northern Ireland on issues related to the creation of a hard or soft border between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland as a result of the UK's departure from the European Union in 2019.

  • 2016 Recipients (Awarded $27,530)

    Carmen Ferradás, Associate Professor of Anthropology conducted preliminary fieldwork in Argentina to unravel the political, economics, and environmental entanglements of the new industrial complex of cattle production.


    Tomonari Nishikawa, Assistant Professor of Cinema created a short film ("Perimeter of the Night") about the landscape and people's activities at night in the area next to the restricted zone in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.


    Gerald Kutcher, Professor of History traveled to several libraries in the United Kingdom to study the use of colloidal lead to treat cancer during the interwar period by the famous gynecologist William Blair Bell and his team at the University of Liverpool.


    Wendy Wall, Professor of History funded a graduate assistant and traveled to several libraries in the US in pursuit of her book project to explore the Cold War and grassroots politics as they ultimately produced and shaped the landmark Immigration Act of 1965.


    Dave Clarke, Professor of Political Science conducted a pilot project and collected data on repression events, to foster his work with the Political Instability Task Force (PITF) on protest events captured government repression during protests, but not outside of those protest events.


    Kenneth Kurtz, Associate Professor of Psychology traveled to New Zealand and NY City to work with co-authors on his projects on machine learning and human learning.


    Andrew Walkling, Associate Professor of Theater traveled to Los Angeles, CA, Austin, TX, and several cities in Europe to collect material for his book project: "Instruments of Absolutism: Restoration Court Culture and the Epideictic Mode."

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