2016-2017 PDGR Abstracts


On February 25, 2016, a committee of retirees, appointed by Frances Lawrenz, Associate Vice President of Research, reviewed and recommended 11 of 12 applications for Professional Development Grants for Retirees.  On March 1, Brian Herman, Vice President for Research, announced the recipients for the 2016-2017 Professional Development Grant for Retirees. Of the awards, one was from the Morris Campus, two were from the Duluth Campus, and the others were from the Twin Cities Campus.  They represent the fields of Indian Studies, Chemistry, French, Psychology, Humanities, Apparel Design, Art, American Studies, History, and Biography.


Frank R. Akehurst, Emeritus Professor of French; Department of French and Italian; CLA, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Construction of a Stemma of the Manuscripts of an Important 13th-Century Legal Text, The Conseil of Pierre de Fontaines.”The Conseil of Pierre de Fontaines, is a legal text written by one of the judges of Louis IX of France (Saint Louis) and probably the first customary law text written in Old French c. 1253. There have been two printed editions, in 1688 and 1846. The later editor knew 11 manuscripts; there are almost as many more available today.  I have translated the whole text of the 1846 edition and written part of an introduction. To complete the introduction, I need to travel to Paris to inspect and photograph portions of the manuscripts that I have not yet worked with and begin to construct a stemma. This is similar to a genealogical chart showing the relationships among the manuscripts.

Ferolyn Angell, Emeritus Lecturer in Dance; Humanities Division, University of Minnesota–Morris
Production of a Theatrical Dance Film of Family During the Nazi Reign in Germany A translation of journals written by my mother, Dorothea Cecelie Oppenheimer Angell, from 1933-1946 during the time of the Nazi take over in Germany will be used to develop a stage performance involving spoken word, dance, and visual images.  The full length theatrical work will explore the middle-class environment of Germany at the time of Hitler’s rise to power--the emotional impact, the loss of youthful innocence, the personal loss, and the destruction of deep religious faith.  My mother was raised a devout Lutheran and attended Lutheran Seminary in Berlin.  Because of her Jewish background, she was forced to flee with five of her seven siblings to Sweden and subsequently to the United States.

Joanne B. Eicher, Emerita Regents Professor of Apparel and Design, Department of Design, Housing and Apparel, College of Design, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Publication of Nigerian Textile and Dress Research  Publication of my Nigerian textile and dress research necessitates completing the digital upload of my textile collection and producing an edited volume of previously published manuscripts from my Nigerian fieldwork.  The textiles were collected during 11 fieldtrips to the Niger Delta from 1966-1991.  With a previous UMRA grant, I completed detailed descriptions of the 500 textiles and photographed each with varied detail images.  The photographs with descriptions will be sent to the University Digital Library Services staff, who will upload the completed set for public use.  My budget also includes editorial assistance to bring together the publications with the images from the collection for an edited volume.

Josie R. Johnson, Retired Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs; Office of Equity and Diversity, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
Josie Johnson: A Life of Service  As demographics shift and racial conflicts continue to rattle our communities, there is a critical need to document and to learn from the lives and experiences of early civil and human rights leaders, the pioneers in the struggle for diversity and inclusion within our geographic and academic communities. Few of the lives of Minnesota’s African American leaders have been documented for the purposes of scholarly research and posterity.  This project will document the life of Dr. Josie R. Johnson, the first African American regent, educator, community activist, and trailblazer for early diversity efforts at the University of Minnesota.  Other funding from individuals, U of MN units, and an online campaign will supplement this grant for the project.

Diane Katsiaficas, Professor of Art (retiring May 15, 2016), CLA, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Building on Tradition: Sharing Contemporary Papermaking and Artist Book Design in Alexandria, Egypt  Alexandria University, Egypt, invited Professor Katsiaficas and Jeff Rathermel, book artist and Director of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, to conduct a workshop that explores individual visual cultural narratives through contemporary hand-papermaking, artist book structures, and alternative printmaking. This will expand the workshop at the Bibliotheca Alexandria in April 2015.  Alexandria University wants greater depth with a focus on contemporary and traditional papermaking, a subject that is not offered in their curriculum and, despite a long tradition in the Middle East, rarely explored by contemporary artists.  The resulting work will be featured in onsite and digital exhibitions, including the Katherine Nash Gallery, Regis Center for Art in January-February,2017.

Lary May, Emeritus Professor of American Studies and History; American Studies Department; CLA, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Victory’s Shadow: Global Hollywood and America’s Cultural Wars  The American film industry in a global context from World War II to the present will be explored.  Previous scholars have examined the export of American culture to the rest of the world.  In contrast, this study explores how international artistic exchange reconfigured American culture.  My primary research will take place at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Library in Los Angeles, an ideal location for this exploration.  In the post-World War II years, domestic and foreign film makers created a process of cultural exchange that forged a mass audience at home and abroad.  My focus is on why American film makers altered their narratives and form in response to foreign artists and how that exchange helps explain the rise of a counter culture that challenged gender, racial and class norms that continue to this day.

John D. Nichols, Emeritus Professor of American Indian Studies; CLA; University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Anihshininiimowin Oji-Cree Dictionary (Severn Headwaters) Revision  This project is to complete the editing of a bilingual dictionary for the Severn Headwaters dialect of Anihshininiimowin, an indigenous language of Canada.  He will work with speakers to review words from a database for the language based on his previous fieldwork and to expand its coverage for areas of the contemporary life.  He will collaborate with Canadian Center staff.  The dictionary is intended for use both by3 linguists and by the Native community in schools. 

Kathleen O’Brien, Retired Vice President of University Services; University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Women in Minnesota Local Government, 1970-2000  The last decades of the 20th Century experienced a dramatic increase in the number of Minnesota women serving as elected officials in government.  Many women began their government service at the local level. As these women advance in age, it is a critical time to capture their experience and impact on the politics and government.  This project will document women’s participation in local government from 1970-2000 by conducting oral history interviews across political and socio-economic backgrounds.  Research will also include newspapers, organizational records, and related academic literature. The Minnesota Historical Society is committed to archiving the interviews and transcripts.

James Bruce Overmier, Emeritus Professor of Psychology; Department of Psychology, CLA, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Keynote Address, 31st International Congress of Psychology, Yokohama, Japan, July 24-29, 2016  Present an invited address, “Neuroscience of Motivation and Behavior as Guided by Psychology of Learning.”  Also, to participate as an international mentor for a subset of 12 young scholars, National Academy of Sciences, to connect them with persons who could be instrumental in their future careers during the Congress. The International Congress of Psychology meets quadrennially and is being held in Yokohama, Japan.  The Congress does not provide travel expenses and I am requesting 60% of travel and local expenses.

Donald Poe, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Swenson College of Science and Engineering; University of Minnesota-Duluth
Importance of the Thermal Environment in Chromatographic Separations  Recent advances in chromatographic separations demand new studies on the impact of the thermal conditions in which the operations are performed.  The performance of a new diamond-based column placed in different thermal environments will be examined using high performance liquid chromatography and supercritical fluid chromatography. For the latter, the benefits of operating columns in a zero-heat-balance condition will be examined.  Numerical calculations will be performed to compare the experimental results to modern theoretical models.

David Schimpf, Emeritus Associate Professor of Biology; Department of Biology, Swenson College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota-Duluth
Pollutants in the Growth Rings of Red Oak  Longer term studies of living systems are among the most valuable but are not common.  An old-growth northern hardwood forest in Duluth was first quantitatively characterized 55 years ago and was subsequently protected. It was four km from the Duluth works of steel, coke, and cement production, a major point source of air pollutants from 1915 to the 1970s.  Analysis of pollutants held in the growth rings of the wood will enable deeper understanding of the longer-term time trends in this forest.  It affords a very good opportunity to compare its past, current, and project the future condition over time in a location that is at the northern edge of the climatic range.