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Research in the Arts and Sciences

CAS Interdisciplinary Research Talks

Faculty members across all CAS divisions have expressed the desire for more opportunities for interdisciplinary dialogue and potential collaborations. In response, CAS is organizing a series of monthly Interdisciplinary Research Talks (IR Talks) for the current academic year.

CAS IR Talks will be 35-40 minutes in length, followed by a Q&A. We have asked faculty members to speak to a general audience of faculty from across the College.

The talks scheduled for Fall Term 2020:

Wednesday, October 14,
3:30-5, Location: Zoom meeting

Erin Beck, Associate Professor of Political Science — “Insiders’ Accounts of Guatemala’s Specialized Violence Against Women Courts”

Abstract: A decade into their country’s “post-conflict” period, Guatemalans continued to face overlapping forms of violence and insecurity. Guatemalan women in particular faced gender-based violence. In a country with a population smaller than that of New York State, between six and seven hundred women were being killed annually, producing the third highest femicide rate globally. Yet officials remained uninterested in combating such blatant violations of women’s human rights, only investigating thirty percent of women’s murders and making arrests in just three percent of cases. Abusive men learned they could violate women’s rights without consequence, and women learned they could not turn to the state for help. The passage of the 2008 Law against Femicide and Other Forms of Violence against Women (2008 Law) represented a potential break with the past. It criminalized various forms of VAW and mandated the creation of specialized courts, which combined victim-centered approaches with adversarial criminal trials. This talk provides an overview of the structure and functioning of these courts, reviews data on their effects, and explores how specialized judges see the courts, the problem of violence against women, and their own roles in addressing that violence.

Erin Beck is Associate Professor of Political Science, with expertise in the areas of Latin American politics, international development, gender and development, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), microfinance, violence against women, and access to justice for indigenous women, with country expertise in Guatemala. Her current research explores gendered violence and access to justice among indigenous Guatemalan women and draws on interviews, focus groups, analysis of legal case files and courtroom observations in Guatemala’s specialized Femicide and Violence against Women Courts.

Friday, November 6
, 3:30-5, Location: remote presentation

Stacy Alaimo, Professor of English and Environmental Studies — “Composing Blue Ecologies: Science, Aesthetics, and the Creatures of the Abyss”

Abstract: From William Beebe’s bathysphere dives in the 1930s to the turn of the 21st century’s Census of Marine Life, stunning images of deep sea creatures have travelled across science, the arts, and popular culture, raising questions about whether the aesthetic can expand the terrain of environmental concern to include the deep seas. The talk introduces the book project, Composing Blue Ecologies, which addresses how deep sea creatures trouble disciplinary divides and complicate scientific and aesthetic modes of capture.

Stacy Alaimo is professor of English and core faculty member in Environmental Studies at the UO. Her books include Undomesticated Ground: Recasting Nature as Feminist Space (2000); Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self (2010) which won the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment book award for Ecocriticism; and Exposed: Environmental Politics and Pleasures in Posthuman Times (2016). She co-edited Material Feminisms (2008), edited the 28-chapter volume Matter (2016) and edited a special volume of Configurations on Science Studies and the Blue Humanities. Alaimo is currently writing a book entitled Composing Blue Ecologies: Science, Aesthetics, and the Creatures of the Abyss and co-editing a transdisciplinary book series at Duke UP called “Elements.”


Date: Winter Term TBD, Location: TBD

Maria Escallón, Assistant Professor, Anthropology — “Heritage and the Trap of Visibility”

Why has the recognition of Afro-descendants’ “cultural heritage” further marginalized Black communities in Colombia? In 2005, UNESCO declared the cultural practices of the Afro-Colombian town of San Basilio de Palenque as “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.” Though this declaration was widely celebrated as an avenue for Afro-descendants’ political inclusion and an engine for local sustainable development, it also created a series of paradoxical effects. In this talk, I examine the situation of a group of Palenqueras working as fruit vendors on the streets of Cartagena. These women felt exploited by the heritage recognition process, which popularized their image as an icon of heritage tourism, without providing any tangible financial benefit. I examine the disconnect that exists between Palenqueras’ public image and their lived experience. 


CAS Research Reputation

The research activity—and reputation—of faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences is the basis for the UO’s status as a Carnegie Research I institution and a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU). In the past five years alone, faculty accolades in the College of Arts and Sciences have included:

  • One faculty member elected President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Four faculty elected to the National Academy of Sciences
  • Five faculty elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Two faculty named Guggenheim Fellows
  • Ten faculty elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Six Fulbright scholars

All tenured-related faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, across the Humanities, Social Sciences and Natural Sciences are required to be engaged in an active research program and make original contributions to their respective fields of knowledge. Many are involved in collaborations in one of the two dozen research institutes and centers affiliated with the College of Arts and Sciences.

For CAS faculty wishing to learn about faculty research resources, click here.