Field: English. Most specifically, creative writing.
Projects you’ve completed while at Lawrence: My book of stories, “The End of the Straight and Narrow,” was published in 2008. My new book, a memoir titled “A Door in the Ocean,” will come out this summer. I’ve also had stories and essays appear in “The Best American Sports Writing” anthology, Men’s Health magazine, The Huffington Post and a number of literary journals.
Things you are currently working on: I’m starting work, slowly, on a novel and second collection of stories. Neither project has a title yet. I’m also revising a new story to add to “The End of the Straight and Narrow,” which my publisher will re-issue in paperback in 2013.
What are you looking forward to doing: Mentoring the next class of Posse students; more Björklunden seminars with visiting writers; working with Lawrence’s extraordinarily talented student writers; writing a novel; convincing you to love Wallace Stegner and Flannery O’Connor; swimming Death’s Door between the Door County peninsula and Washington Island and hanging out with students.
Field: My main research interest has been a work called the “Khitat” by 15th century Egyptian historian al-Maqrizi. The lengthy work has not been translated and I have been working on a number of its sections.
Projects you’ve completed while at Lawrence: I have a journal article coming out on the poetry that al-Maqrizi includes in his description of mosques and madrasas. I’ve also recently completed another article on al-Maqrizi as an environmental historian. I am in religious studies, but my interest is not in Islam as a theological system, but in Islam as the basis of a culture.
Things you are currently working on: Now that I have tenure I am turning my attention to a second book, this one on medieval Cairo. I want to write not a history of the city, but to give a sense of how the city would have been experienced by people who lived in the medieval period.
Something that surprised you about Lawrence: Before I came to Lawrence I had never been to the Midwest, so there were lots of small surprises. But fortunately I turned out to love it here. I am from the west coast where there are lots of mountains and fairly spectacular scenery, but I am coming to appreciate a quieter, greener beauty here in Wisconsin.
Wen-Lei Gu was not available for comment. She teaches violin and coaches chamber music in the Conservatory. She has been the recipient of a number of both national and international prizes for violin.
Field: American public policy; education policy and education reform in particular. That means I’m interested in how non-traditional public and private schooling stands up to traditional public schooling in terms of student achievement, democratic responsiveness and other outcomes.
Projects you’ve completed while at Lawrence: “Splintered Accountability” (Albany, NY: SUNY, 2010) which discusses how state departments of education can reshape education reform despite gubernatorial or legislative intentions. “The Democratic Dilemma of American Education” (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2012) which presents the many tensions between equity and opportunity in American education — can’t really do one without trammeling on the other. The book talks about how American policymakers have balanced these and other dilemmas.
Things you are currently working on: Links between school board member perceptions about reform and school performance, political framing of teacher quality and how governors have come to see education as a budget line-item rather than a special policy area.
Something that surprised you about Lawrence: The opportunity to engage students in their own research has been a surprise. The small classes (in general) have allowed me to tailor material to students’ interests!
Projects you’ve completed while at Lawrence: 1) Studio Art/Printmaking – The printmaking program has grown since my arrival to include book making, papermaking, silkscreen, letterpress and a visiting artist program.
2) Visiting Artist Program (Paper Fox Printmaking Workshop) – The mission of the Paper Fox Printmaking Workshop is to cultivate a deeper understanding of printmaking as an artistic process. This is facilitated through a liberal arts curriculum in order to lead community engaged programming and projects. It also strives to foster collaborations with other departments and to cultivate new relationships with contemporary printmakers and collectors from around the world.
Things you are currently working on: I am facilitating a collaborative portfolio project, “Current Voodoo: LSU Printmaking Workshop,” for the Southern Graphics Council International Conference in New Orleans this spring.
Favorite thing about Lawrence so far: The students have made my transition from the Big Apple to the Little Apple a delight. Their energy and level of engagement has kept me on my toes and makes me excited to come to work every day.
Elizabeth Carlson was not available for comment. She teaches in the Art History department, and her research focuses on European and American art of the 19th-and 20th-centuries.
Field: History, Latin American Studies
Projects you’ve completed while at Lawrence: I’ve published two articles: “A Fractured Pochgui: Local Factionalism in Eighteenth-Century Papantla” in the journal Ethnohistory, which is about conflicts within the native community in a colonial Mexican town, and how they manipulated local Spanish politics. Additionally, “Without Impediment: Crossing Racial Boundaries in Colonial Mexico” in the journal The Americas 67:4 (April, 2011), is about interracial marriage in the town of Teziutlan in Mexico during the 18th century. It also touches on my work on the racial hierarchy of colonial Latin America.
Things you are currently working on: I am currently finishing a book manuscript on native uprisings in colonial Mexico. This is based on the work I did for my dissertation. I have also started to do some work on water rights in colonial Mexico and fire protection in colonial Mexico city.
What are you looking forward to doing: What I am looking forward to now that I have tenure is buying a little motor boat to go fishing. But I also want to do work on colonial Mexican environmental history, which is a field that hasn’t gotten a lot of study. I also look forward to continuing to work with my Posse Scholars. This year I started as the mentor for Posse 5.