Monday Memo, February 27, 2023

A Newsletter for Faculty and Staff of the College of Arts & Sciences

February 27, 2023

Dear Colleagues,

On February 21 the DECC Office (Diversity, Engagement, Culture, and Climate) launched the first in a monthly series of Staff Heritage Luncheons, where several staff shared their talents in meaningful ways: Kenneth Allen sang the "Negro National Anthem" (aka “Lift Every Voice and Sing”), Deme Wharton sang "I Am One" by Chrisette Michele, and Tom Owen recounted lesser known Black history that took place around the UofL campus. As a special treat, Deme Wharton shared a mixed textile tapestry, “Children of the Plantation: Toys and Games,” a 2023 work created by her grandmother, Muriel Wharton. Yolanda Demaree and Candyce Woodard took turns explaining what is depicted in the tapestry, while Ramonia Brents and Taleia Willis demonstrated some of the children's games. Attendees were treated to a delectable feast catered by Mattie’s Kitchen and Catering. Kudos to the leader of the DECC Office, Interim Associate Dean Sherri Wallace, and the A&S Staff Heritage Committee—Yolanda, Taleia, Candyce, and Ramonia—for putting together such a superlative program. Stay tuned for details of the March luncheon.

Because there are always more events in A&S than anyone can realistically attend, in this edition we debut a new section, “It’s a Wrap,” recapping some of our more significant happenings. To see your event featured there, please send me a photo plus a few sentences capturing the spirit of what took place.


Julie Wrinn, Chief of Staff

Below: “Children of the Plantation: Toys and Games,” a 2023 tapestry by Muriel Wharton.


Research Agenda


The Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society has announced the 2023-24 Bingham Faculty Fellows: Congratulations to the following six fellows who will present their research exploring the theme “Bodies and Embodiment." Fellows play a significant role in shaping CCHS programming and receive one course release plus a research or travel stipend of $1,500.

Joshua Adams, Assistant Professor, Department of English. Project title: Skepticism and Impersonality in Modern Poetry: Literary Experiments with Philosophical Problems. “I will be completing a book on what T.S. Eliot described as the ‘impersonal’ ideal of modern poetry, its attempt to disavow or transcend the connection between poems and persons.”

Katie Kleinkopf, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Department of Comparative Humanities. Project title: Beyond the Body: Asceticism and the Fight for (Il)Legibility in Late Antique Christianity. “My book manuscript examines the lives of ancient Christian ascetics from North Africa and the Middle East, who spent most of their lives encased within huts, tombs, or even the hollows of trees.”

Yuxin Ma, Associate Professor, Department of History. Project title: Nation, Market and Femininity: Chinese Sportswomen in the Economic Reform Era. This project investigates how elite women athletes managed, deployed, and perceived their bodies both under and against the state sports administration, integrating their personal understanding of their bodies to the enjoyment of their sport and mastering the technology of femininity to perform proper sex roles.”

Natalie C. Polzer, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Religious Studies, Department of Comparative Humanities. Project title: The Domesticization of the Dead: Cemetery Practices in Contemporary Palermo, Sicily. “Ideologies of family and communal memory will be explored through research and participation-observation fieldwork on funerary practices and subsequent commemoration in contemporary Palermo, Sicily.”

Olivia Schuman, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Clinical Ethicist, Norton Healthcare, Project Title: Compassionate Transfer: An Alternative Method for Disposing of Excess Embryos. “Patients who use IVF and end up with more embryos than they need for creating their family are . . . undecided or unsatisfied with the available options of laboratory disposal or donation to others. A lesser-known alternative called ‘compassionate transfer’ is a procedure that implants the remaining embryos within the patient during an infertile window so that the embryo will be lost through a natural process of reabsorption into the body. My project will explore the ethical dimensions of this practice . . . .”

Marc Tamarit-Galdón, Assistant Professor of Spanish Translation & Interpreting Studies, Department of Classical and Modern LanguagesProject title: Beyond the Bodies of LGBTQIA+ Medical Interpreters: Reflecting on Discrimination and the Perception of Self. “The study aims to expand our knowledge of interpreters with marginalized identities, while also bringing to light interpreters’ experiences and make the data available for further study and, eventually, incorporate the information into the training of future interpreters, to improve their professional lives and the lives of the people for whom they interpret.”


Dae-Sung Hwangbo, Assistant Professor of Biology, has received a new R15 grant of $445,390 from the National Institute on Aging to study how Dietary Restriction (DR) interacts with the circadian clock to delay aging. DR, where caloric intake is reduced but not to the point of malnutrition, is known to extend lifespan in model organisms from single cellular yeast to non-human primates, but the mechanisms of this process are not fully understood. Hwangbo’s team will use Drosophila melanogaster, a fruit fly that has been widely used as a model organism for DR-related research, to understand how the circadian clock interacts with diets to optimizes organismal metabolism, physiology, and behavior that promotes health and longevity. The study will strengthen the undergraduate research environment in A&S because it will be completed by a research team primarily composed of undergraduate students. Read more.


Alumni Spotlight

Nirav D. Shah, (B.S. Biology 1999) has been appointed Principal Deputy Director at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC). Director Shah will assume the new role, second in leadership under U.S. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, in March.

Lee Dugatkin, Professor of Biology, well remembers Shah from an undergraduate evolution course. “Nirav is the best student I have had in all my 27 years at UofL. It was clear he was destined for great things, and he has not disappointed. We've kept in touch over the years. After UofL, Nirav went on to get an M.D. and a J.D. from the University of Chicago and then served as epidemiologist and chief economist for the Cambodian Ministry of Health.” Read more. 


In Memoriam: Michael Lindenberger

The Department of Political Science has lost one of its best and brightest alumni, Michael Lindenberger, ’03, Law ’06, in December 2022 at the age of 51. Just last year we were celebrating Lindenberger winning the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for the series “The Big Lie,” detailing tactics to restrict voting, rejecting claims of widespread voter fraud, and advocating for voting reforms, as part of a team of Houston Chronicle journalists.

Lindenberger’s death came only a few months after he was hired by the Kansas City Star as editorial page editor and a vice president. The Kansas City Star writes, “Though his time in Kansas City was short, his energy and enthusiasm will always stay with the colleagues who were lucky enough to know him.”

A Louisville native, Lindenberger wrote for his school newspaper at Trinity High School, was later a chief political writer for LEO, and a regional reporter and bureau chief in Elizabethtown for the Louisville Courier-Journal, also covering the legislature. Newspapers around the country have published remembrances of Lindenberger, including the Courier-Journal and the Kansas City Stardetailing his other endeavors such as teaching law, writing his own bourbon blog, and writing on a biography of Robert Penn Warren.

Thanks to the generosity of colleagues at the Kansas City Star and family and friends, UofL has created the Michael A. Lindenberger Memorial Scholarship to benefit student journalists of the Louisville Cardinal newspaper, where Lindenberger served as Editor-in-Chief in the mid-1990s and which is now housed in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Over 150 colleagues, friends, family, and former teachers from high school and college attended a Celebration of Life on February 25, where journalists from around the country and the world shared stories of how Lindenberger had inspired and mentored them. Tate Luckey, a UofL undergraduate who currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Louisville Cardinal, spoke about what the scholarship will mean for today's students and his gratitude to Lindenberger for laying a groundwork of excellence at the student newspaper. Senior Development Director Denise Bohn spoke about the anticipated impact of the scholarship and how it will serve as a living legacy of Lindenberger's life and work.

A thriving democracy depends upon robust local journalism, and as newspapers everywhere face financial challenges that limit their capacity to report on local news, student newspapers like the Louisville Cardinal play an important role in filling that gap. Please consider supporting our student journalists and honoring this outstanding alumnus by making a donation to the  Michael A. Lindenberger Memorial Scholarship here.


Student Opportunities


Dr. Cynthia Corbitt, Professor of Biology, along with colleagues in the Schools of Medicine (Dr. Pascale Alard, lead PI), Dentistry (Dr. Silvia Uriarte), and Engineering (Dr. Karen Bertocci), has been awarded a 5-year NIH R25 post-bac training grant for $1,091,660. UL-BIOMED-PREP supports recent graduates who are underrepresented in the STEM fields and is a unique integrated program among the four schools providing extensive mentored development and research opportunities. Several faculty members from A&S have signed on to serve as research mentors. More information, including the application, is available hereSee flyer above.


The Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research is sponsoring its 16th Annual Social Justice Research Paper Awards and is introducing its new Social Justice Multimedia Awards:

  • $250 for best multimedia submission - due March 20
  • $250 for best undergraduate essay - due April 24
  • $500 for best graduate essay - due April 24

Students from ALL disciplines are encouraged to apply here. See flyer below.




Nefertiti Burton, Chair of the Department of Theatre, received the Kathi B. Ellis Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arts-Louisville Theatre Awards, a fitting honor as Burton’s retirement from UofL approaches in June 2023. At the ceremony on February 20, the award was presented by Burton’s colleague, LaShondra Hood, Director of the African American Theatre Program. Hood’s meaningful remarks capture Burton’s wide-ranging impact on her students, colleagues, and the Louisville theatre community. Congratulations, Nefertiti! See screenshot above and click here to view the event video.

Dewey Clayton, Professor of Political Science, was named the honoree from District 9 during the Louisville Metro Council’s 21st annual Black History Month Program on Feb. 23. Unable to attend the ceremony due to teaching three classes that day, Dr. Clayton’s commitment to his students only strengthens how positively he represents UofL and A&S to the Louisville community. Congratulations, Dewey!

Hailey Mattingly, a Graduate Teaching Assistant in political science, won Ecolympics week 2 by inspiring us with her green actions, including composting food scraps at home, carpooling with colleagues, recycling and donating unwanted items. She took home our sustainable cinema prize pack. You could be our next weekly winner or take home our grand prize hybrid bicycle. Visit the webpage and post your actions to social media and tag “@uoflsustainable” or complete our online form now through March 25.

Melissa Merry, Associate Professor of Political Science, and colleague Aaron Smith-Walter wrote an article featured in the “The Conversation” in response to President Joe Biden’s remarks about gun violence in his State of the Union Address. Merry and Smith-Walter’s article, “Biden calls for assault weapon ban – but does focus on military-style guns and mass shootings undermine his message?” notes that the gun policy debate tends to focus on high-profile mass shootings and explains the causes and consequences of this framing.

Congratulations to Ranen Omer-Sherman, Ph.D., JHFE Endowed Chair in Judaic Studies, Professor of Comparative Humanities, and Professor of English, on the publication of his new edited volume on the late writer Amos Oz. SUNY University Press has released, Amos Oz: The Legacy of a Writer in Israel and Beyond, as part of its series on Contemporary Jewish Literature and Culture, available here.

In addition, Dr. Omer-Sherman’s conversation with the film director Yair Qedar is available for streaming. They spoke about Qedar’s documentary film, The Last Chapter of A. B. Yehoshua, for the Louisville Jewish Film Festival.

For nearly a decade, UofL has appeared in the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Online Programs rankings. Kudos to the following departments and degrees for joining that list in 2023:

  1. the Departments of Criminal Justice’s online bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, and
  2. the Department of Psychological and Brain Science’s online bachelor’s degree in psychology.


Upcoming Events


Last year the Department of Psychology completed “Green Dot” anti-violence training and found it to be immensely worthwhile. All faculty and staff are encouraged to register for the next training session, tomorrow, Feb. 28, 12-1:30, on Teams. Event link. See flyer above.

Lauren Freeman, Associate Professor of Philosophy, has organized a speakers series in March entitled “A Celebration of Feminisms.” First up is "What Comes Before and After Feminism" with Kate Norlock, Professor of Philosophy at  Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. Thursday, March 2, 6:00pm to 7:30pm, Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library. See 1st flyer below for the complete series.

Join the Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research, the Cultural Center, and the LGBT Center for Part 1: “Conocimiento” on March 4, in the “Cultivating Liberation” series. Part 1 will feature an afternoon of identity development and social justice exploration, featuring a workshop on the Uncovering Racial Logics online guide with ABI faculty affiliate, Dr. Carrie Mott. This event is open to students, faculty, staff, and community members. Saturday, March 4th from 10am-2pm in Ekstrom Library 203. RSVPSee 2nd flyer below. 

Second in the “Celebration of Feminisms” series is "Sex Is a Funny Word, and Other Feminist Truths" by Cory Silverberg, M.Ed., author, educator, and activist. Wednesday, March 8, 6:00pm to 7:30pm. Virtual eventSee 1st flyer below.

“Launching a Career in Health Equity”: The Transdisciplinary Social Justice Research Consortium invites you to join a transdisciplinary panel of researchers, including Dr. Brandy Kelly Pryor of the department of Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences, to explore careers in the health equity field. Thursday, March 9, 3:30–5pm, Shumaker 139 on Belknap Campus – Food provided! Hybrid event: Join via MS Teams Meeting ID: 257 426 021 077Passcode: WSJSdX. See 3rd flyer below.

Angel Vazquez performs “Hecho en Puelto Rico”: A man about to move from Puerto Rico finds in a suitcase the most comical and surprising information about his island and his own family. March 11th @ 7:00pm at the Red Barn. See 4th flyer below.

Third in the “Celebration of Feminisms” series is "Politics of the Public Sphere: Recovering Black Feminist Voices" by Emmalon Davis, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Michigan. Thursday, March 23 at 6:00pm to 7:30pm, Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library. Virtual event. See 1st flyer below.


It's a Wrap!


A new section of the Monday Memo sharing post-event highlights

WLKY reported on the A&S Yearlings Club Forum panel discussion, “White Allies of Civil Rights,” which took place on Feb. 19 in conjunction with the Roots 101 exhibit by the same name, recognizing 39 white Louisvillians who made contributions to the civil rights movement from 1950 to the present. Sherri Wallace, Ph.D., (pictured in the screenshot below), introduced the panel, and Cate Fosl, Ph.D., moderated it.


The Community Herbal Gathering (CHG) is a new initiative developed by Prof. Shelby Pumphrey (Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Pan-African Studies) and co-sponsored by the Pan-African Studies Department and Play Cousins Collective, a local community organization rooted in African ancestral methods of healing, resilience and liberation. The CHG is a series of free medicine making workshops focused on Africana herbalist traditions. It functions as an empowering space that enables Africana people to tap back into their ancestral traditions on their journeys toward healing and wellness. Funding from the Office of Community Engagement and the Kentucky Foundation for Women made it possible to offer two free hands-on medicine making sessions on February 11 and 18. Participants were provided with professional instruction, all supplies, like medicinal herbs, essential oils and containers, as well as childcare. Over the two sessions, participants made fire cider, tinctures, herbal blends and infused oils. See photo below.


The BLatinX: Puerto Rico luncheon on February 23 drew 66 guests who were treated to a fabulous meal, poetry in English and Spanish, musical performances, and plenty of great energy. Many thanks to Mónica Negrón and Marcos Morales for taking and sharing the wonderful photographs of the event. Pictured below, left to right, are Diana Mancebo, Jomaris DeJesus, Georgie Medina, and José Ignacio.  


The Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies successfully hosted the 2023 Minx Auerbach Lecture on the evening of February 23 at Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium Auditorium. The livestream event drew 73 onsite attendees and received appreciative feedback from many online participants. During her time on campus, Prof. Treva Lindsey visited the Multicultural Center and Anne Braden Institute (ABI); signed her book, America, Goddam: Violence, Black Women, and the Struggle for Justice; and met faculty and students in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGST). On February 24, ABI director Brandon McCormack gave Prof. Lindsey a tour of the Grace M. James Academy of Excellence, where she held dynamic dialogue with local students. WGST gives special recognition to Prof. Shelby Pumphery, the organizer, and Jan Rayburn, the coordinator of the 2023 Auerbach Event. Pictured below: Dr. Lindsey visiting with WGST students and faculty.


Over 400 people attended the 50th anniversary Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900 (LCLC), which featured more than 100 panels and four keynotes including a spellbinding reading by Jennifer Egan as well as powerful engaging talks given by Stephanie Burt, Merve Emre, and Fernando Operé Santillana. Conference Director Matthew Biberman notes that 53 graduate students registered, up from 24 last year, perhaps due to his outreach on the “Why Theory” podcast last year where he spoke about how to submit proposals to LCLC and other academic conferences. In sum, LCLC50 more than delivered on expectations, and scholars, writers, and artists everywhere will be waiting to see what LCLC51 serves up. Prof. Biberman thanks the UofL community for its deep and longstanding support and welcomes input as planning commences for the 2024 event. Below: Jennifer Egan preparing to take the stage at LCLC on February 25, photo credit by William Alexander Dickson II.