2009-2010 PDGR Abstracts


Forty two completed applications were received and a seven person committee of pre- and post-retirement colleagues, appointed by Dean Dubrow, discussed the applications and recommended 12 for funding. Dean Dubrow reviewed those recommendations and informed the 12 individuals of their good fortune. Among the winners, one is from the Duluth campus and the remainder from the Twin Cities. Of those, four are from CLA, with one from each of the following colleges: CBS, IT, Design, the Medical School, Public Health, and the Law School. The final recipient is from the University Libraries. A list of the winning projects is given below. Anyone having questions or comments about the program, is invited to contact John Howe, at [email protected], UMRA Small Grants Committee.


Ronald Anderson, Professor Emeritus—Department of Sociology, College of Liberal Arts, “Comparative Social Well-Being during Financial Crisis”

Social well-being has been defined broadly to encompass health, quality of life, social justice and social capital (the norms and values that result from and in collective relationships). In order to increase public and policy-maker awareness of the relative strengths and deficits of specific affluent societies, I will prepare and release an Index of Social Well-Being (including 42 separate indicators) for the 20 most affluent nations. The grant will help in the publication of this Index and in keeping it up to date as new data become available. Secondly, the grant will help to internationally track and report about research on the social effects of the current economic crisis in these 20 wealthy societies, with special focus on the United States. The grant will be used to inform our analysis of the meaning of the most recent indicators of social well-being with the latest research on the sociological effects of the current global economic downturn. Professor Anderson requests $3,452 to support undergraduate and graduate research assistants, travel, and supplies.

Leonard Banaszak, Dietrich Professor Emeritus—Department of Molecular Biology and Biophysics, Medical School, “The Role of Water in Structural Biology”

Structural Biology is the area of biology and medicine that focuses on the molecular configuration of biological macromolecules. Small organic molecules such as sugars, fats, etc. are also vital to life’s processes but their atomic structures have been known for a long time. And rather than 10 to 50 atoms, macromolecules contain thousands of linked atoms. Through the structural biology arena we know the conformation or appearance of many of these large molecules and this information now plays a critical role in our growing understanding of living organisms. Their 3D structures, determined either by x-ray diffraction or NMR methods, are kept in a database known as the PDB. Presently, the PDB contains some 56,000 structures comprised mostly of proteins but also DBA and RNA. Oftentimes water molecules are bound to the biological macromolecule and they are included in the PDB database. It is postulated that these water molecules may play an important role in disease etiology and drug design. This UMRA/Graduate School supported project is designed to produce computer software needed to study the chemical properties of these bound water molecules. Professor Banaszak requests $3,200 to purchase a Mac Pro computer and 30 inch display terminal.

Henry Blackburn, Professor Emeritus—Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health. “Preventing Heart Attack: The Origins and Early Era of Research”

Population studies of the causal influences and prevention of heart attack coincided with the development of modern cardiological diagnosis and improved understanding of the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and hypertension. Experts turned their attention to the populations and cultures from which heart attacks derived. Comparing countries where attacks were rare and frequent, Ancel Keys of Minnesota and Paul Dudley White of Boston generated hypotheses about the role of lifestyle and diet in these differences. In the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene in the University’s Memorial Stadium, Keys began the first prospective study of heart attack risk among professional men of the Twin Cities in 1947. The risk factor concept from this and similar studies has stimulated sound practice and public policy in the potential to prevent heart attack by both medical and population strategies. We have interviewed 100 pioneers in the field of epidemiology and heart attack prevention and will use the Professional Development Grant to prepare an archive of their papers, a book on the early researches, and a website. Professor Blackburn requests $3,500 to support a Research Assistant and $300 for supplies and copying.

Mary Lou Fellows, Everett Fraser Professor of Law, Emerita—Law School. “Spiritual Wills and Worthy Women”

This study centers on the thousand year-old Anglo-Saxon will of a Christian widow and slave owner named AEthelgifu. Her will of 4000 words, the longest of all extant Anglo-Saxon wills, reveals exceptional detail about her life concerning the intersection of religion, gender, sexuality, and class. The project retrieves her and her world by stressing the lived experience of late tenth-century Anglo-Saxon women gleaned from the aesthetic sensibilities of the period’s literature, visual arts, and music. Discovery of commonalities between her will and Anglo-Saxon aesthetics leads to an entirely new appraisal of the set of charters commonly known as Anglo-Saxon Wills and what it would have meant for a woman like AEthelgifu to have salvation history circumscribe all aspects of her life and death. My re-evaluation of Anglo-Saxon wills, and her will in particular, challenges current Anglo-Saxon scholarship, including studies that distinguish charters from religious prose and poetry, treat Anglo-Saxon wills as mere evidence of economic exchange, and misapprehend the role of gender differentiation in a world where both men and women built lives devoted to imitatio Christi. My interdisciplinary approach uncovers unexpected convergences among seemingly unrelated literature and artifacts. It further demonstrates how a document, which appears to be about household goods and land, functions as a declaration of AEthelgifu’s claim to salvation. The accumulation of heuristic exercises leads to the emergence of common themes. Together they support the conclusion that AEthelgifu’s will makes the case for why she deserves everlasting life. Professor Fellows requests $3,500 to support a research trip to England and a Research Assistant.

Donald Clay Johnson, PhD, Librarian, Retired—Curator, Ames Library of South Asia. “South Asian Embroidery Traditions”

South Asian textiles have long been highly desired throughout the world. With such a long tradition of producing wanted objects, the people of what are now the modern countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka have evolved many notable textile traditions, one of which is distinctive embroidery techniques. In 2012, Colorado State University wants to have an exhibition of the embroidery component of the textile collection developed over the last forty years by the former Curator of the Ames Library of South Asia. Grant support will be used to go to six cities/areas of South Asia to study aspects of their embroidery traditions. Mr. Johnson requests $3,500 to help cover expenses of this research trip to India.

P. T. Magee, Professor Emeritus—Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development, College of Biological Sciences. “Chromosome Loss in the Pathogenic Yeast Candida dubliniensis”

The two pathogenic yeasts Candida albicans and Candida dubliniensis are sister species, but differ significantly in pathogenesis. The cause for this difference is unknown, since the two species share 98% of their genes. We have found evidence that C. dubliniensis, the less virulent organism, seems to have a greater frequency of chromosome missegregation, leading to the loss of some genetic material. This may be one of the factors diminishing its pathogenicity. This grant will provide for the quantitative measurement of the rate of chromosome loss and publication of the findings. Professor Magee requests $1,420 for laboratory supplies and page charges for publication of the resulting professional paper.

Roger Martin, Professor Emeritus—Department of Landscape Architecture, College of Design. “Illusion in Exterior Space: Perception Manipulation and Place Making on the Land”

In my teaching and research, I have given special focus to the ways in which designers have manipulated physical space to enhance the experiences of their users. In the process, I have developed a theory of what I call “Illusion in Place Making,” a theory that grows out of detailed analyses of how humans perceive physical spaces. After the careful study of over 1000 significant settings, I have discovered more than 20 design devices that have been utilized by creative designers in different cultures and eras as they have manipulated human perceptions of physical settings. The work results from over 50 years of observing characteristics of gathering places and asking what makes these places truly memorable. I have shared my discoveries of these design devices with graduate students in Landscape Architecture. I now plan to make my lecture notes and handouts, along with images of some of these special places in sketch, diagram and photographic form more accessible by organizing my materials into a digital format suitable for publication. The document is intended to provide a resource for designers in their quest to create memorable gathering places. Professor Martin requests $3,500 to support a Research Fellow.

John Kim Munholland, Professor Emeritus—Department of History, College of Liberal Arts. “The ‘Gravediggers of France’ at the Chateau d’Itter, 1943-1945”

Who was responsible for the French military defeat in 1940? Accusations and a search for guilty parties began almost immediately after the event. Andre Geraud, a French journalist living in exile in the United States during the war, was one of the first to identify what he called the “gravediggers” of France, meaning certain political and military leaders whom he blamed for the defeat. Historians have searched the records to find answers to this question, but the debate continues and my project will add another dimension to the discussion. What did the “gravediggers” themselves think about their own responsibility for the defeat? An opportunity for reflection came when the Germans ordered their arrest and deportation in 1943. Many of these key figures were interned in the Chateau d’Itter, located in the Austrian Alps, during the last two years of the war where they had time to write memoirs justifying their actions and engage in the exchange of accusations and recriminations. A study of their memoirs, diaries and letters, written at the time, provides insight into the rationales and ways in which the “gravediggers” placed blame for the French defeat. They also reflected on what a revived France might look like after the war. Professor Munholland requests $3,500 to cover air travel from Minneapolis to Paris and return, plus living expenses in Paris.

George (Rip) Rapp, Regents Professor Emeritus—Department of Geological Sciences, College of Science and Engineering, Duluth. “Publication of ‘The Shang in Context: Yinxu, Huanbei, and Beyond’ ”

My colleagues, Z. Jing (University of British Columbia, who took his PhD with me at the University of Minnesota) and J. Tang (Chinese Institute of Archaeology), and I have been excavating the last Shang capital at Yinxu since 1997. While doing an associated archaeological survey using core drilling, we discovered the missing capital of the Middle Shang [Huanbei]. We have published many articles on this project in Chinese but we are now undertaking the first major publication in English: a book that brings up to date all the work at Yinxu [Anyang, China] since 1980 and highlights our discovery and excavation of Huanbei. Professor Rapp requests $2,200 for air travel from Arizona to Vancouver and return, on-campus housing at the University of British Columbia, and word-processing and copy-editing assistance.

Michael Stoughton, Associate Professor (retired)—Department of Art History, College of Liberal Arts. “Research in the Historic Archive of the Bank of Naples and the Painting of Giovanni Battista Caracciolo (1578-1635)”

The history of banking in Naples began in the latter part of the sixteenth century with the goal of combating usury by loaning money at no interest. The unique records of six institutions, literally tons and tons of paper, are housed in the building of one of the original banks as the Archivio Storico del Banco di Napoli. I used the archive extensively in my research on the painter Giovanni Battista Caraciolo. Checks of payment to him for specific commissions are, at their fullest, three in number: the first, an advance payment before the work was begun; the second, paid while the painting was in progress; and the third, paid after the work was completed, serving as a quitclaim to the satisfaction of all parties, all of which is explained on the individual checks, written on pieces of paper. Through my investigations, and thanks to the good luck that Caracciolo used the banks and did not keep his ducats in a sock under his mattress, it was possible to establish a new, documented chronology for his artistic development and prove that he was the first and most important of the followers of Caravaggio in Naples. Professor Stoughton requests $2,985 for round-trip air fare between Minneapolis and Rome, plus three days of per diem expenses while in Rome.

Paul Weiblin, Professor Emeritus--Department of Geology and Geophysics, Institute of Technology. “Characterization of Rocks Recently Discovered on the Gunflint Trail That Formed from the 1850 Million year old Meteorite Ejecta”

Eighteen hundred and fifty million years ago, a five mile diameter meteorite struck the Earth near Sudbury, Ontario. This catastrophic event formed a 150 mile diameter crater. Similar craters on the Moon, surrounded by a blanket of material with diameters five times that of the Sudbury crater, attest to the intensity of meteorite bombardment throughout the solar system from 4.5 ~ 2 billion years ago. The Earth would not have escaped this bombardment. However, weathering, erosion and other geologic processes have nearly obliterated the early impact record on Earth. Consequently, there is very little material available for geologists to study the early meteorite impact record on Earth (only 176 meteorite craters have been identified on Earth). The Sudbury impact event is of particular interest because it is the second largest and fourth oldest, and it coincides with the end of deposition of the world’s major iron ore deposits. Early cyanobacteria are presumed to have played a key role in the deposition of iron ore, and the Sudbury impact would have destroyed their habitat as well as drastically altered the geological environment in the Lake Superior region. Details of these effects remain to be discovered, and the geochemical and mineralogical analyses of the Sudbury impact ejecta, funded by the Small Grants Program, will add to the growing but limited knowledge of the role of meteorite impact in the Geological evolution of the Lake Superior region and the early Earth in general. Professor Weiblin requests $3,200 for geochemical and mineralogical analyses of the Sudbury ejecta.

Jack Zipes, Professor Emeritus--Department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch, College of Liberal Arts. “The Enchanted Screen: De-Disneyfying the Fairy-Tale Film”

My book will study all kinds of fairy-tale films: animation, live-action, puppetry, woodcut, montage, cartoon, and digital. It will be the first social-cultural history of the fairy-tale film in the West, though I shall deal with some works from Japan, India, China, and the Middle East. The book is divided into five parts: 1) Theory and History; 2) Reviewing the Classical Fairy-Tales; 3) Cultural Differences; 4) Individual Directors; 5) New Directions. The book will provide a brief history of the development of the fairy tale as genre, from its origins as an oral folk tale to the development of the literary form in the fifteenth century, and then the audio and visual versions in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I shall explain why and how fairy tales were constantly transformed and why and how they were adapted by filmmakers almost as soon as the movies were invented. Certain key terms such as adaptation, appropriation, expropriation, intertextuality, etc. will be discussed in light of the development of cultural fields and the culture industry of the twentieth century. I shall also show how the early cartoons and fractured fairy tales laid the groundwork for later full-length films. For the most part, I shall focus on the classical canon of fairy tales such as “Cinderella,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” etc. and will explore the unusual cinematic discourses that have evolved over the past one hundred years, often based on literary texts and often citing other films, to comment on social and political problems. One chapter will discuss the Disney’s contributions to the genre. But I am mainly concerned with the new directions that the fairy-tale film has taken. Certainly, digital filmmaking has played a major role in changing the format of the animated fairy-tale film. But the social and political contents of films, such as the three versions of Shrek , have brought about a greater respect for the intelligence of audiences and a critique of celebrity and commercialism. Professor Zipes requests $3,500 to cover expenses of a trip to London and Paris, the purchase of research materials, and the production of photos for publication.