Three professors named Senior Faculty Research Fellows

A fellowship created by Elon University in 2008 will help support excellence in ongoing research and creative work by Lauren Kearns, Toddie Peters and Laura Roselle.

Elon University professors Lauren Kearns, Toddie Peters and Laura Roselle have been selected as Senior Faculty Research Fellows for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years.

To support excellence in ongoing scholarly work, the university created in 2008 the Senior Faculty Research Fellowship award, a highly competitive program for faculty with a minimum of seven years in rank at Elon. The award comprises a two-course reassignment for two consecutive years, plus an annual draw account, in support of a significant project or set of projects that advance an already well-established and promising research/creative agenda.

Kearns, a professor of dance, will use the award to complete a creative scholarship project entitled On The Move: a collection of portable dance installations. The dance installations will investigate how art, bodies, theatricality, somatic identity, and the environment can be uniquely combined to create thoughtful dance.

During this project, Kearns will compose and produce five new solos and duets that will be created specifically for nontraditional theatrical venues, and investigate how that alters the creative process of the artist and the viewing experience of the audience. The underlying impetus of this project is to study the possibility of shifting the paradigm of how dance is viewed and constructed. If dance is taken out of the traditional proscenium confines of a theatre, does that change the experience of the artist and viewer?

On The Move is a layered research project, moving from refining the conceptual underpinning of each installation and creating the visual score of each dance, to the creative generation of movement material, to the performance of each installation with data collection, to the analysis and dissemination of the data in the form a series of essays and a visual e-book. 

Peters, a professor of religious studies, will use the award to write a book that focuses on identifying the moral assumptions that undergird and are embedded in contemporary economic theory in order to illuminate how these values and assumptions function to shape and direct the economic flows of wealth and poverty in our world.

In the book, Peters plans, first, to expose the inherent moral flaws and failures of capitalism and neoliberal economic policies; second, to correct the intellectual history of capitalism by demonstrating that Smith has been misread by economists; and third, to highlight the important role that Smith himself afforded to the moral frameworks within which economies function.

In her first book project, Peters analyzes the moral problems associated with different visions of economic globalization; in the second, she guides individuals and communities toward participating in personal and collective social change; in this third project, she shifts to a meta-analysis of the root problems and inconsistencies embedded in neo-classical economic thinking and the capitalist markets it has generated. In addition to a serious analysis of the ethical problems associated with neo-classical economics and capitalism, this project also offers a constructive contribution to the discourse on how to address the economic problems that we face as a global community.

Roselle, a professor of political science, will use the award to complete a book that examines the politics of erasing history. From the Roman Senate’s use of damnatio memoriae which ordered the removal of references to, and the physical chipping away of images of, political figures, to the 20th century Stalinist and Chinese directives designed to erase historical memory, political leaders have sought to restrict information in order to support their own position and power.

Roselle’s project will address what factors affect how and why political leaders legislate or otherwise engineer the removal of, or silence about, other political actors, events, and issues. Three questions will be addressed in the book. First, how have leaders around the world during various time periods attempted to erase history?  Second, how do people resist these attempts? And finally, what is the role of technology in this process?

The work will begin with a chapter on legislating people away, and will go on to address how political elites attempt to erase history via policies related to monuments, art, and education (specifically history curricula). It will also cover how political elites attempt to ‘erase’ media coverage and images related to people and events.

Kearns, Peters, and Roselle will join the three current Senior Faculty Research Fellows – DiRienzo, Ellis, and Hairston (2016-18) – and they follow the previous 18 Fellowship recipients since the start of the program.

A call for applications for Senior Faculty Research Fellowships is announced early each fall. All faculty with a minimum of seven years in rank at Elon, established records of scholarship, and robust project proposals with the potential to significantly advance their research agendas are encouraged to apply.