A&S Faculty News
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Cunningham on Firing Sally Yates
Sean Cunningham, Chair of the Department of History, has been quoted Jan. 31 in mainstream news outlets such as USA Today, CNBC, Newsmax, and Yahoo.com regarding President Donald Trump's firing of Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to enforce his immigration policy. Some Trump critics compared the Yates firing to the so-called "Saturday Night Massacre," when in 1973 then-President Richard Nixon fell out with the Attorney General's Office—an event that ended with the resignations of the attorney general and deputy attorney general. Cunningham's take on the comparison: "Clashes between presidents and attorney generals aren't unprecedented, but neither are they common," he told USA Today. Cunningham did not compare Yates' firing to the "Saturday Night Massacre," the story reported, but he did say that "One of the important takeaways is that Nixon's efforts to control the attorney general and control the Watergate narrative, backfired badly."
Sievert Weighs in on Voter Fraud
Joel Sievert, a Visiting Faculty member in the Department of Political Science, was quoted in a FOX-34 news item about President Trump's call to investigate voter fraud. The Jan. 25 story said that some people think the investigation might be used to expand voter identification laws. "One would imagine that the line of attack the administration is likely to follow is the way we're going to get around voter fraud is that we need stricter laws," Sievert was quoted as saying. Sievert will join the Department of Political Science as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2017.
Ramkumar on India's Cotton Market
Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor in the Department of Environmental Toxicology/The Institute for Environmental & Human Health, wrote an article about India's cotton crop that was published Jan. 24 in Cotton Grower and Jan. 25 in Cotton Association of India. In the report, "Indian Cotton Crop Estimated at 34.1 Million Bales," Ramkumar compares the estimated crop for the October 2016-September 2017 season with the previous year and evaluates the factors—such as mill consumption and supply delivery times—that may cause price volatility.
Perkins Finds Speech Non-Partisan
Jared Perkins, Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science, was quoted in a Jan. 20 FOX-34 news segment about Donald Trump's inauguration speech. Perkins was quoted as saying that Trump's speech was non-partisan in many ways, reflecting the president's approach to his campaign. "He was really speaking to the Americans that invested a lot of their hope in him, and voted for him, and really felt left out of the political process," Perkins told the Lubbock television station. "The first few minutes were really targeted towards politicians, and elites on both sides of the aisle who he says haven't been doing anything for the American people."
Forbis on Pick for Energy Secretary
Robert Forbis, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, was quoted in a Jan. 19 FOX-34 news story about former Texas Governor Rick Perry, now in his confirmation hearing as President Trump's nomination for secretary of energy. Forbis was quoted in the story as saying that Perry would have to work with scientists to address climate change and the burning of fossil fuels. In the past, Perry was skeptical about human activity's influence on climate change, a position the former governor has since changed. "You do not address climate change without addressing energy policy," Forbis told FOX-34. "The two go hand in hand. And in terms of Governor Perry's remarks today and in the past, those of us who do this research are a bit concerned."
Martin Tapped for EPA Advisor
Clyde Martin, a Horn Professor emeritus in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, has been selected as a member of the Science Advisory Board for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as reported Jan. 19 in Texas Tech Today. He will serve as a special government employee and provide independent expert advice on technical issues underlying EPA policies and decision making. Martin's background includes applying stochastic modeling to environmental problems, in particular to the problem of climate change.
Tang Quoted on Smoking Cessation
Yi-Yuan Tang, Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Texas Tech Neuroimaging Institute, was one of 10 experts consulted for WalletHub's Jan. 17 article, "The Real Cost of Smoking by State." The story showed the costs of smoking over an individual smoker's lifetime and over a year, state-by-state. Total costs per smoker took into account factors such as out-of-pocket expenditures, health-care costs, income loss, and higher insurance rates. Lifetime total costs per smoker ranged from the low of $1.1 million for Kentucky residents to the high of $2.3 million for New York State residents. Tang was quoted as saying that the most effective strategies to quit smoking rely on brain-based treatments that target self-control combined with intention to quit. "If smokers only rely on intention or motivation, it often fails," he told WalletHub. Tang is known for his research on mindful meditation to quit smoking. The article also prompted Tang to weigh in on e-cigarettes and the legalization of marijuana: "Since e-cigarettes have nicotine, the same chemical that induces craving and addiction with cigarettes, in principle they should the treated as cigarettes." And, "Although several surveys and studies have suggested that marijuana legalization leads to increased use of marijuana, while tobacco use decreases in some degree, more rigorous research is warranted."
Hayhoe Blog in Long Beach Paper
Katharine Hayhoe, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of TTU's Climate Science Center, was featured in the Jan. 6 edition of the Long Beach College Viking for her video blog called Global Weirding, produced in conjunction with KTTZ-TV.
Sweet Leads Trip to San Salvador
Dustin Sweet, Assistant Professor of Geology in the Department of Geosciences, leads a field trip to San Salvador, where graduate students study carbonate sediments, better known as limestone. Sweet's most recent trip was the subject of a Jan. 6 story in Texas Tech Today: "San Salvador Helps Geologists Connect the Past with the Present." Sweet is quoted in the story as saying that he hopes students learn by getting to "take modern carbonate sediment and run it through their fingers, look at the different constituents—there's a snail, there's a clam and there's all this fine-grain sediment—and picture that mass of sediment in their hand being turned into a rock." Sweet explained that carbonate sediments are most commonly created directly from sea shells or are created as a result of erosion caused by fish chomping on corals. Other types of sediments are inorganic and created through physical or chemical erosion that find their way out into the ocean. Living creatures adapt to changing conditions in ways that inorganic sediments cannot, Sweet told Texas Tech Today, so carbonate sediments—and the rocks they form into—can tell geologists about the environment at the time they were created.
Noel Talks Gas Prices on Local TV
Michael Noel, associate professor in the Department of Economics, was consulted for a FOX-34 story, "Gas Prices Continue to Rise," broadcast Jan. 2. "Right now, OPEC is getting together some non-OPEC countries and they've agreed to cut [oil] production by a good two percent of world production," Noel told the Lubbock TV station. As a result, "It's possible you could see prices jump, to between $2.50 and $3 a gallon," Noel said. "Keep in mind now with the technology that we have in the oil wells and the Permian Basin, Midland, North Dakota, there is a natural break on gasoline prices now. Once they get to $60, $70, $80 production, the U.S. starts pumping right up and slows down any increasing prices after that," Noel said, adding that the United States consumes less gasoline now than it did 20 years ago, and that Europe consumes less than it did 50 years ago. Now, demand from other parts of the world—China, India, South East Asia—has a large effect on crude prices," Noel explained.
More Faculty AchievementsCurrent Faculty News
2017 FACULTY NEWS
"Introduction to Physical Education, Exercise Science, and Sport" 10th Edition
Angela Lumpkin, Professor and Chair of the Department of Exercise & Sport Science, gives college students a wide-angle view of physical education, exercise science, sport, and the wealth of careers available in these fields in the 10th Edition of "Introduction to Physical Education, Exercise Science, and Sport." The textbook provides the principles, history, and future of physical education, exercise science, and sport. Lumpkin's clear writing style engages the reader while covering the most important introductory topics in this updated introduction to the world of physical education. (McGraw-Hill, July 2016)
"New Developments in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Countermeasures"
Ronald J. Kendal, Professor of Environmental Toxicology; Steven Presley, Professor of Immuno-toxicology; and Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor of Countermeasures to Biological Threats, all from the Department of Environmental Toxicology, have co-edited the newly published textbook, “New Developments in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Countermeasures.” The volume compiles a decade's worth of research through TTU's Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. National Program for Countermeasures to Biological and Chemical Threats, and updated many changes in the field since an earlier book, “Advances in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Countermeasures,” came out in 2008. “It's not just for college students,” Ramkumar said. “It's a tool for people in the field, from first responders all the way to policy makers.” (CRC Press, February 2016)
"Reading Sounds: Closed-Captioned Media and Popular Culture"
Sean Zdenek, Associate Professor of Technical Communication & Rhetoric in the Department of English, tackles the choices that closed-captioners face every day in “Reading Sounds: Closed Captioned Media and Popular Culture.” Captioners must decide whether and how to describe background noises, accents, laughter, musical cues, and even silences. When captioners describe a sound—or choose to ignore it—they are applying their own subjective interpretations to otherwise objective noises, creating meaning that does not necessarily exist in the soundtrack or the script. Zdenek approaches closed-captioning as a potent source of meaning in rhetorical analysis and demonstrates how the choices captioners make affect the way deaf and hard of hearing viewers experience media. Drawing on hundreds of real-life examples and interviews with professional captioners and regular viewers of closed-captioning, Zdenek analyzes how the way in which the audible is made visible and champions better standards for closed captioning. (University of Chicago Press, December 2015)
"Ancient Maya Cities of the Eastern Lowlands"
Brett A. Houk, Associate Professor of Archaeology and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, rights something of an injustice in the study of the Maya world in his "Ancient Maya Cities of the Eastern Lowlands." For more than a century, researchers have studied Maya ruins, primarily at sites like Tikal, Palenque, Copán, and Chichén Itzá, which have shaped current understanding of the Maya. Yet cities of the eastern lowlands of Belize, an area that was home to a rich urban tradition that persisted and evolved for almost 2,000 years, have, until now, been treated as peripheral to these great Classic period sites. The hot and humid climate and dense forests of Belize are inhospitable and make preservation of the ruins difficult, but this oft-ignored area reveals much about Maya urbanism and culture. Using data collected from different sites throughout the lowlands, including the Vaca Plateau and the Belize River Valley, Houk presents the first synthesis of these unique ruins and discusses methods for mapping and excavating them. Considering the sites through the analytical lenses of the built environment and ancient urban planning, Houk vividly reconstructs their political history, considers how they fit into the larger political landscape of the Classic Maya, and examines what they tell us about Maya city building. (University Press of Florida, 2015)
"Human Scent Evidence"
Paola A. Prada, Research Assistant Professor at TTU's Institute for Forensic Science, explores novel concepts and applications of the use of human scent evidence in criminal investigations in this co-authored book. During the last decade, a significant number of scientific studies have supported the use of human scent as a biometric tool and indicator of the presence, or absence, of an individual at a crime scene. These findings even extend to conducting scent identification line-ups with suspects. "Human Scent Evidence" focuses on some of these recent advances in the use of human scent as forensic evidence and as an identifier. With examples from North and South America and Europe, this book draws upon an extensive literature review of past and current research and is enhanced with findings from the authors' own research. It concludes with a glimpse of the future direction of human scent evidence in the forensic field and its application as a biometric and diagnostic tool. (CRC Press, 2015)
"Born to be Wild: The Rise of the American Motorcyclist"
Randy D. McBee, Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and Associate Professor in the Department of History, traces the growth of an American subculture—and the alarm it sparked—when the stereotypical leather-clad biker emerged after World War II. And yet, in more recent years, the once-menacing motorcyclist became mainstream. McBee narrates the arc of motorcycle culture since World War II. Along the way he examines the rebelliousness of early riders of the 1940s and 1950s, riders' increasing connection to violence and the counterculture in the 1960s and 1970s, the rich urban bikers of the 1990s and 2000s, and the factors that gave rise to a motorcycle rights movement. McBee's fascinating narrative of motorcycling's past and present reveals the biker as a crucial character in 20th-century American life. (University of North Carolina Press, July 2015)
"Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and the Rise of American Environmentalism"
Mark Stoll, Associate Professor and Director of Environmental Studies in the Department of History, explains how religion has profoundly influenced the origins, evolution, and future of American environmentalism. Born of the house of Calvin, environmentalism took its program and acquired its moral power from the (originally) Calvinist denominations Congregationalism and Presbyterianism. Virtually all its founders in the 19th century were within a generation of a Congregationalist church. Presbyterian Progressives made conservation, parks, and forests into national causes. Lapsed Presbyterians led environmentalism's postwar rise. In recent decades other denominations, notably Baptists, Catholics, and Jews, have taken over environmental leadership. As each denomination strut its hour upon the environmental stage and exited to make room for the next, environmentalism's character and goals changed. Stoll explains why this is so, and what it means. Using biography and the histories of religion, environmentalism, art, and culture as tools, the book re-creates the mental and moral world that gave birth to the movements to conserve, preserve, and enjoy nature and to protect the environment. Finally, the book examines the contemporary religious scene and its implications for a future environmentalism.
"Further Studies in the Lesser-Known Varieties of English"
Jeffrey P Williams, Professor of Ethnology and Linguistics in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, is the lead editor in this volume that follows "The Lesser-Known Varieties of English" (Cambridge University Press, 2010) by documenting a further range of English varieties that have been overlooked and understudied. It explores varieties spoken by small groups of people in remote regions as diverse as Malta, Bermuda, the Netherlands Antilles, Brazil, the Cook Islands, and Palau. The varieties explored are as much a part of the big picture as major varieties, and it is the intention of this collection to spark further interest in the sociolinguistic documentation of minority Englishes in a postcolonial world. Language endangerment is a very real factor for the vast majority of lesser known varieties of English, and this book holds that documentation and archiving are key initial steps in revitalization and reclamation efforts. (Cambridge University Press, 2015)
"A Comparative Doxastic-Practice Epistemology of Religious Experience"
Mark Webb, Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy, takes a theoretical enterprise in Christian philosophy of religion and applies it to Buddhism in this second volume in the Springer Briefs in Religious Studies series. Webb contends that mystical experiences can be fruitfully thought of as perceptual in kind and that they are therefore good prima facie grounds for religious belief, in the absence of defeating conditions. Webb's work goes on to explore Christian and Buddhist testimony and how the likelihood of self-deception, self-delusion, imaginative elaboration and the like constitutes a defeating condition, which is shown to have less scope for operation in the Buddhist case than in the Christian case. (Springer 2015)
"Competing Vision of Empire: Labor, Slavery and the Origins of the British Atlantic Empire"
Abigail Swingen, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, provides a new framework for understanding the origins of the British Empire in this insightful study. Swingen explores how England's original imperial designs influenced contemporary English politics and debates about labor, economy, and overseas trade. Further, by focusing on the ideological connections between the growth of unfree labor in the English colonies, particularly the use of enslaved Africans, and the development of British imperialism during the early modern period, Swingen examines the overlapping, often competing agendas of planters, merchants, privateers, colonial officials, and imperial authorities in the 17th and 18th centuries. (Yale University Press, February 2015)
George Cole, Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of the Division of Spanish & Portuguese in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, sets this Spanish-language book in Los Angeles, exploring illegal immigration and racial/class tensions as it follows two young lovers who face a society trying to tear them apart.
La indocumentada es la historia de dos jóvenes, Charles y Julia, que se enamoran perdidamente pero tendrán que enfrentarse a una sociedad que tratará de separarlos. Ambientada en Los Ángeles, la pieza explora el tema de la inmigración ilegal, la falta de comprensión del lado humano de la misma, así como las tensiones raciales y de clases que se ven tanto en esta zona como en otras regiones de los Estados Unidos. (Editorial GC; December 2014)
"Mexican American Baseball in the Alamo Region"
Jorge Iber, Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor in the Department of History, celebrates baseball as it was played in the Tejano and Tejana communities throughout Texas in this co-authored book. This forthcoming regional focus explores the importance of the game at a time when Spanish-speaking people were demanding cultural acceptance and civil rights in cities like San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and New Braunfels—All of which had thriving Mexican-American communities that found comfort in the game and pride in their abilities on the playing field. (Arcadia Publishing, forthcoming)
"Estelas en la Mar: Cantos Sentimentales"
Genaro Pérez, Professor of Spanish in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, published a book titled: "Estelas En La Mar: Cantos Sentimentales." Written in Spanish, this is Pérez's 13th book—his fifth of poetry—and covers topics of love, aging, and dementia. (iUniverse; 2014)
"Neocybernetics and Narrative"
Bruce Clarke, Professor and Chair of the Department of English, declares the era of the cyborg officially over and demonstrates the potential of second-order systems theory to provide fresh insights into the familiar topics of media studies and narrative theory in his latest book. Clarke is considered a pioneer of systems narratology, and here he opens a new chapter in rethinking narrative and media through systems theory. Reconceiving interrelations among subjects, media, significations, and the social, Clarke offers readers a synthesis of the neocybernetic theories of cognition formulated by biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, incubated by cyberneticist Heinz von Foerster, and cultivated in Niklas Luhmann's social systems theory. His purview includes examinations of novels ("Mrs. Dalloway" and "Mind of My Mind"), movies ("Avatar," "Memento," and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"), and even "Aramis," Bruno Latour's idiosyncratic meditation on a failed plan for an automated subway. (University of Minnesota Press, October, 2014)
"A Conceptual Guide to Thermodynamics"
Bill Poirier, Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, introduces a new concept in interdisciplinary pedagogy. Providing clear explanations for core topics such as entropy, and working in conjunction with over 70 standard thermodynamics textbooks used in various science and engineering fields, the book has consistently remained one of the best-selling thermodynamics titles since its release. (John Wiley & Sons, September 2014)
UPDATE: Since its release, this title garnered a rave review in the April 1, 2015, issue of Choice magazine. Choice magazine is the premier book review publication for academic librarians, published by the American Library Association.
"Gulag Town, Company Town: Forced Labor and Its Legacy in Vorkuta"
Alan Barenberg, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, offers a radical reassessment of the infamous "Gulag Archipelago" by exploring the history of Vorkuta, an arctic coal-mining outpost originally established in the 1930s as a prison camp complex. Hiss eye-opening study reveals Vorkuta as an active urban center with a substantial non-prisoner population. It was a place where the borders separating camp and city were contested and permeable, enabling prisoners to establish social connections that would eventually aid them in their transitions to civilian life. With this book, Barenberg makes an important historical contribution to our understanding of forced labor in the Soviet Union. (Yale University Press, August 2014)
"Revisiting Covivencia in Medieval and Early Modern Iberia"
Connie Scarborough, Professor of Spanish in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, edited this collection of articles by 18 prominent Hispanists who explore the centuries in the Iberian Peninsula when Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived in harmony with one another. The term convivencia has been applied, both inside and outside academic circles, to imply a "golden age" of multi-religious, amicable harmony. (Juan de la Cuesta-Hispanic Monographs; June 2014)
"Latino American Wrestling Experience: Over 100 Years of Wrestling Heritage in the United States"
Jorge Iber, Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor in the Department of History, brings a century's worth of Spanish-speaking student wrestlers and coaches--high school, collegiate, and post-graduate--into the spotlight through 60-plus stories of individual accomplishment and triumph. (National Wrestling Hall of Fame, e-book, March 2014)
"Memory of Blue"
Jacqueline Kolosov, Professor in the Department of English, contemplates our inner lives, the connections that bind us to each other, and the joy to be found in the everyday, in "Memory of Blue." Kolosov dedicates this third poetry collection to the late Margaret Sheffield Lutherer, who served Texas Tech for many years. Kolosov will donate 50 percent of book-sale proceeds to a local charity that rescues horses. (Salmon Poetry, February 2014)