Can technology show us what it was like to hear John Donne preach in St. Paul's courtyard?
While the time machine has not yet been invented to transport us back to 17th century England, CHASS Professor of English John Wall is attempting to use modern technology to do the next best thing – recreating an important scene involving politics, religion and literary figure John Donne. Best of all, he’s hoping to make it available to anyone who is interested.
John Donne is best known as a prominent English poet (at least to English majors), but he was also an important religious and political figure in 17th century London. Due to the Reformation and its aftermath, religion and politics were inextricably linked in England during this period. As dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, a focal point of social, political and religious life in the largest city in England, Donne was a prominent man – and his sermons were often made in defense of royal policies, to the most influential crowds in the country. What would it be like to be there for one of those sermons?
Supported by a Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Wall is working with an international team to recreate the sights and sounds of the sermon in virtual space.
Wall is working with NC State College of Design architecture professor David Hill, and Hill’s graduate research assistant Joshua Stephens, to recreate the part of St. Paul’s churchyard where the so-called “Paul’s Cross” was located. Hill and Stephens are currently building the “bare bones” of St. Paul’s courtyard, before creating a more detailed visual display (see top image).
Paul’s Cross was a freestanding outdoor pulpit where crowds would gather to hear sermons on Sundays and special religious days. And it was from Paul’s Cross that Donne preached a sermon on Sept. 15, 1622, in defense of his king. Specifically, Donne preached in defense of a tract called “Directions Concerning Preachers,” which was published at the behest of James I in an attempt to tamp down the potential for religious controversy. Ironically, James I’s “Directions” proved to be controversial in and of itself.
Drawing from historical images and a detailed survey of the original foundation prepared by St. Paul’s Cathedral’s resident archaeologist Dr. John Schofield, Hill and Stephens are creating an architectural model that will allow viewers to explore the area and see what this part of St. Paul’s looked like from any angle.
Wall is also working with U.K. linguistics researcher David Crystal to develop a script that will allow Donne’s sermon to be read in the same accent used in 17th century London. The sermon will be read by actor Ben Crystal in an anechoic chamber, which is designed to be acoustically neutral.
Wall will also be working with acoustic engineer Ben Markham to develop an acoustic model based on Hill’s architectural model. The acoustic model, coupled with Crystal’s acoustically neutral recording of the sermon, will be able to simulate the way the sermon would sound depending on where you are in the churchyard – or under different conditions (such as standing in a small crowd or a large one).
Once the audio-visual models are integrated, Wall says, “We want to use these tools to explore the way people could hear the sermon. For example, some historians believe that upwards of 6,000 people attended a Paul’s Cross sermon, but I’m skeptical about how well a crowd of thousands of people could hear what was going on. This can help us understand the context in which these pronouncements were received.”
By the end of 2012, Wall plans to have created a website where the general public can access the model and hear the sermon. Wall says the online version will also allow users to control some variables, such as the size of the crowd or the location of the listener.
The final version of the model will also be available to any researchers who want to modify it to reflect new findings or explore additional hypotheses.
Frankly, I’m excited about seeing the model in action. But then, I was an English major.
by Matt Shipman, NC State News Services
This article was first posted on NC State's Abstract.
When John Begeny saw that an aspect of literacy education was getting scant attention in schools, he decided to research it. Begeny, an associate professor of psychology at NC State, has used that research to develop an effective new tool for teachers. And he’s making sure anyone who needs it can have it – for free.
When he arrived at NC State in 2005, Begeny was interested in “reading fluency.” That’s a child’s ability to read with sufficient speed and accuracy, while also reading with good expression (for example, pausing at commas when reading out loud). He knew reading fluency was a skill that was commonly neglected in reading instruction, and he wanted to do something about it.
But rather than trying to develop solutions based on his preconceived notions, Begeny wanted to base any potential solutions on solid science. “I wanted to take a research-driven approach to addressing a very real need in literacy education,” Begeny says. “Fluency is important. Kids who aren’t fluent readers are not going to understand what they’re reading as well as fluent readers are, and they probably aren’t going to read as much. People generally don’t choose to do things they aren’t good at. Also, reading fluently helps give kids confidence in their reading ability.”
Ultimately, Begeny created a literacy program called Helping Early Literacy with Practice Strategies (HELPS), rolling it out to the public in January 2010. Recent research shows that the HELPS program not only boosts student reading fluency, but also helps kids develop other reading skills, such as reading comprehension and so-called “basic reading skills” (such as sounding out words).
But developing the program was only the starting point – Begeny wanted to make sure the program was available to every teacher or parent who wanted to use it.
To support that idea, Begeny also launched the HELPS Education Fund in January 2010. The nonprofit organization gives teachers free access to HELPS program materials, including teacher’s manuals, training videos and online support. Through the fund, the HELPS program has now been disseminated to over 7,000 teachers and is used in classrooms in all 50 states.
As part of the HELPS Education Fund, Begeny also plans to release a Spanish-language version of the HELPS program later this year, and a suite of early-literacy tools for parents by 2012. In addition, he hopes to have online educational consulting services available some time next year. Again – it’s all free to those who need it. That’s research in action.
This article by Matt Shipman first appeared at www.ncsu.edu, where you can see related links.
Linda Watson (English '79) has had an extraordinary career that spans the corporate, political, dot com, and environmental worlds. She is currently putting her communication and writing skills to use as the 'Cook For Good Lady' for the company she has founded. Watson's recent book is Wildly Affordable Organic.
Dan Neil (MA, English '86) says he was a "singularly unpromising candidate" when he arrived at NC State for a master's degree in English. He gives a lot of credit to English Prof. Mike Grimwood, who Neil says spent an inordinate amount of time teaching him the basics of grammar and giving him the tools he needed to be a writer.
Neil went on to write automotive columns for the News and Observer,The L.A. Times, and now, for the Wall Street Journal. In the process, he earned a Pulitzer Prize for his writing.
Neil also co-hosts The Speed Channel's "The Car Show" and appears prominently in the recently-released documentary film, "Revenge of the Electric Car."
Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures
Diana Arbaiza joins the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures as Assistant Professor in Peninsular Spanish Cultural Studies.
Arbaiza’s research and teaching interests focus on Transatlanticism in the 19th century, especially concerning questions of Spanish imperialism, modernity, and literary markets. She is currently writing a book on the development of Hispanism, a movement affirming the cultural unity of all Spanish speaking nations that Peninsular intellectuals deployed to recreate an economic and cultural authority over their former colonies. She has conducted research in Spain, Latin America and Equatorial Guinea to examine the intersections between Spanish intellectual history and colonial enterprises.
Ph.D. (Spanish) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2010
M.A. (Spanish) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004
B.A. (English) University of Deusto, Spain, 2002
Department of History
Megan Cherry will serve as Assistant Professor of Colonial and Revolutionary United States History in the Department of History.
Cherry will teach colonial and revolutionary North American history. She is completing her Ph.D. at Yale, where she was a Whiting Fellow. Her dissertation presents a history of Leisler's Rebellion (1689-1691) in colonial New York and seeks to explain why the majority of colonists in New York joined the rebellion, and why the political legacies of the rebellion continued to shape New York politics for decades after it ended. Cherry argues that New Yorkers rebelled against their government for ideological and political reasons, and she places the uprising in an Atlantic context by showing its connections with English and Dutch politics.
Ph.D. (History), Yale University, pending
M.A., M.Phil. (History), Yale University, 2008
B.A. (History), Washington University, 2003
Department of Communication
Maria DeMoya joins the Department of Communication as an Assistant Professor.
DeMoya’s research and teaching focus is public relations. She researches nonprofit and government organizations, with a special focus on international and intercultural public relations and the use of social media in these areas. Her current research explores how nonprofit organizations serving ethnic communities use public relations efforts to foster a sense of community and group identity, and to mobilize people in the pursuit of common goals.
Ph.D. (Mass Communication), University of Florida, 2011
M.A. (Business and Economic Reporting/Journalism), New York University, 2003
B.A. (Social Communication), Universidad Católica Santo Domingo, 1999
Department of English
Casie Fedukovich joins the Department of English and will serve the NC State First-Year Writing Program as Associate Director for Graduate Student Support.
Fedukovich’s doctoral studies focused on rhetoric, writing, and linguistics, specifically research methods and methodologies and composition pedagogies. Her research commitments take up class, body politics, and the composition classroom.
Ph.D. (Rhetoric, Writing, Linguistics), University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 2011
M.A. (Poetry), University of Tennessee, Knoxville, 2006
B.A. (Journalism, Technical/Professional Writing, Creative Writing), Concord College, Athens, WV, 2002
Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures
Nathaniel Isaacson has been named Assistant Professor of Modern Chinese Literature in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.
Isaacson’s research interests include modern Chinese literature and cinema. His current research focuses on the early history of Chinese science fiction and the relationship between romantic genres and colonial discourse. He recently published a translation of Lu Xun's "Lessons From the History of Science," and will be publishing two science fiction short stories in Renditions in the coming year. Before coming to NC State, Isaacson was named Distinguished Teaching Assistant at UCLA for the breadth and success of his teaching, which included Chinese language, Chinese history, Southeast Asian Studies, and contemporary Chinese popular culture.
Ph.D. (Asian Languages and Cultures), UCLA, 2011
M.A. (Asian Studies), University of Arizona, 2004
B.A. (Asian Studies), University of Arizona, 2001
Department of Sociology
Anna Manzoni joins the Department of Sociology and Anthropology as Assistant Professor, following a postdoctoral appointment at the Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course (CIQLE) at Yale University.
Manzoni is a quantitative sociologist who works on the intersections between labor markets, stratification and demography. Her doctoral dissertation dealt with the methodological and substantive comparison of labor market mobility patterns over time and across cohorts, using retrospective life course data and prospective panel data. Manzoni investigated the extent of memory bias in retrospectively reported employment histories and proposed new approaches to deal empirically with it. She compared levels and determinants of career transitions using two designs, focusing on movements in and out of employment as well as changes of jobs and employers. Her current interests involve theoretical and methodological issues concerning the sociology of work and occupations, social stratification, and research methods. Manzoni focuses on life-course sociology and is interested in the methodological advancements therein. She is also interested in comparative approaches and in crossing disciplinary boundaries.
Ph.D. (Sociology), Tilburg University, The Netherlands, 2010
M.A. equivalent (Sociology), Bicocca University, Milan, Italy, 2005
Department of Communication
Matt May has been appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication.
As a scholar of rhetoric, May’s teaching and research focus on the interconnection of public discourse and social change. His work is equally informed by continental philosophy and his experience as a community and labor organizer. His award-winning essay on freedom of expression and “hobo orators” was recently published in the Quarterly Journal of Speech. Prior to joining NC State, Dr. May was awarded an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Public Address at Colgate University.
Ph.D. (Communication), University of Minnesota, 2009
M.A. (Communication), University of North Texas, 2004
B.A. (English Literature), Arizona State University, 2002
Department of History
Noah Strote joins the Department of History as assistant professor.
He will teach Modern European and German history. Strote recently completed his dissertation, "Emigration and the Foundation of West Germany, 1933-1963." It offers an interpretation of how Germans in the Western part of the divided country were able to recover socially and politically from the catastrophe of National Socialism and WWII. Strote contends that military force and economic progress alone were necessary but insufficient conditions for the Federal Republic's reconstruction and development, which required difficult ideological reconciliation and consensus-building in order to sustain its democracy.
Ph.D. (History), University of California at Berkeley, 2011
B.A. (History), Columbia University, 2002
School of Public and International Affairs, Department of Political Science
Jim Zink joins the Department of Political Science as an assistant professor.
Zink’s research primarily grapples with the problems and possibilities of liberalism. He draws on a variety of perspectives and approaches to examine questions implicated in these themes. His recent publications include: “Reconsidering the Role of Self-Respect in Rawls’s A Theory of Justice” (Journal of Politics, 2011), “The Language of Liberty and Law: James Wilson on America’s Written Constitution” (American Political Science Review, 2009), and “Courting the Public: Judicial Behavior and Individuals’ Views of Court Decisions” (with John Scott and James Spriggs, Journal of Politics 2009). His current research projects include a critical analysis of the idea of a bill of rights from the perspective of American founding-era statesman James Wilson and an analysis of Thomas Paine's constitutional theory. Zink was a practicing attorney for four years.
Ph.D. (Political Science), University of California, Davis, 2010
J.D., DePaul University College of Law, 1999
B.A. (Government and International Affairs), University of Notre Dame, 1995
Sometimes law enforcement officials find partial human remains: like a human skull, with few or no other skeletal remains. How can you tell if it was even a man or woman? New technology called 3D-ID can help – giving forensic scientists information about a person’s sex and ancestral background based solely on the measurements of the skull.
3D-ID is a software program developed by forensic anthropologist Ann Ross of NC State and scientific computing researcher Dennis Slice of Florida State University. It relies on shape analysis using “geometric morphometrics” – a field of study that characterizes and assesses biological forms.
Forensic practitioners, such as medical examiners, are required to take measurements of 34 specific points on the skull using a “digitizer,” which is basically an electronic pen that records the coordinates of each point (a grad student is using a digitizer in the photo above). The 3D-ID software then performs an analysis that uses these measurements to determine the ancestry and sex of the skull.
3D-ID does this by comparing the skull’s dimensions to a data library of 1300 individuals representing a wide variety of populations. The program can provide a significant level of detail using only a skull. For example, a skull may be identified as being Hispanic of South American origin, Hispanic of Mesoamerican origin or Hispanic of Caribbean origin – not just “Hispanic.”
The program can also be used when all 34 reference points of the skull can’t be measured, as with skulls that have deteriorated or suffered traumatic injury. The use of fewer datapoints does not necessarily affect the accuracy of 3D-ID’s findings, but it may – depending on how or whether the skull’s measurements match up with the reference database of skulls.
Ross and Slice developed the program under a grant from NIJ and issued 3D-ID in 2010. In fact, all of the technologies presented at the Advances In Forensic Anthropology workshop were funded by NIJ. The overall goal of the workshop was to bring practicing forensic scientists up to speed on recent technologies, so they can be used in the field to assist in body identification, murder and missing persons investigations, and other legal and medical cases.
by Matt Shipman, NC State News Services. This post first appeared in NC State's Abstract.
Dr. Ronald C. Wimberley, William Neal Reynolds professor of sociology and a member of the faculty for 40 years, has died. Wimberley was well known for research that described sociological factors that impact living conditions in the 11-state rural Black Belt South. His work went beyond research and included outreach efforts aimed at addressing the social and economic problems of the region.
Wimberley's research also focused on religious commitment, civil religion, and political behavior and on an official government definition of farms that helps assure government services to diverse types of farms, including those operated by minorities. In addition, he studied post-Soviet change in Russian communities and led a U.S. and Russian team that advised on the privatization of Russian communities and farms.
In early April, Wimberley was named the 2011-2012 winner of the Southern Sociological Society’s Roll of Honor Award, the highest recognition given by the society. The society’s 2012 annual meeting will feature several sessions on Wimberley’s work. He was also named the 2010 Distinguished Rural Sociologist by the Rural Sociological Society. He received the society’s highest recognition last August. Wimberley was head of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology from 1981 to 1985.
A funeral service was held in West Monroe, Louisiana. A memorial service will be held later in Raleigh at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
The family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, the American Cancer Society, the endowment fund for the N.C. State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences or the enhancement fund for the N.C. State Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
adapted from a CALS article written by Dave Caldwell.
Amit Pal (MA, Poli Sci '96) has published a book on Islam and nonviolence: "Islam" Means Peace: Understanding the Muslim Principle of Nonviolence Today (Praeger, 2011). In an interview with The Wisconsin State Journal, Pal says he wrote the book when he became disheartened at the widespread misperceptions about American Muslims and that he has set out to contest the prevalent notion that Islam is built on violence.
Pal is managing editor of The Progressive magazine in Madison, Wisconsin.
First place honors in the Social Sciences category at the Graduate Student Research Symposium were awarded to Adrianne Offenbecker for her poster presentation, Examining the Role of Environmental Stress in the Etiology of Skeletal Defects.
Offenbecker is pursuing her Master's in Anthropology at NC State, with a concentration in bioarchaeology. She says she chose NC State for her graduate work because she ". . . was extremely impressed by the faculty of the anthropology program." The program also has great laboratories that Offenbecker says are conducive to both teaching and research.
Read more about this outstanding CHASS graduate student and her research.
Why does work matter? How do our experiences in work places affect other areas of our lives? Martha Crowley, assistant professor of sociology, focuses her research around such questions. In this video portrait, Crowley reflects on her research, on the importance of mentors in her own professional development and in the lives of students, and on why she loves teaching and conducting research at NC State University.
This video was produced by undergraduates in Prof. Jim Alchediak's video production class.
- Alumni (37)
- Books (5)
- Center for Family and Community Engagement (3)
- CRDM (1)
- Dean (5)
- Dean Braden (9)
- Department of Communication (24)
- Department of English (47)
- Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures (10)
- Department of History (12)
- Department of Music (3)
- Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies (4)
- Department of Psychology (15)
- Department of Social Work (10)
- Department of Sociology and Anthropology (24)
- Development (2)
- Faculty (55)
- Giving (4)
- Graduate Programs (6)
- Institute for Nonprofits (2)
- Interdisciplinary Studies Program (19)
- Linguistics Program (8)
- Research and Engagement (67)
- School of Public and International Affairs (25)
- Staff (5)
- Students (57)
- ► 2012 (121)
- Time Machine: See and Hear John Donne Preach (Sort...
- Psych Prof's Research is an Open Book
- Meet Linda Watson, the 'Cook for Good Lady'
- Meet Dan Neil, Pulitzer prize winning automotive c...
- CHASS welcomes new tenure-track faculty
- Advances In Forensic Anthropology: 3D-ID
- Sociologist Ron Wimberley Dies
- Alum's new book aims to set the record straight on...
- Bioarchaeology Grad Student Wins Top Honors
- Meet Martha Crowley, NC State Sociologist
- ▼ August (10)