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Faculty Presentations

Presentations are listed in alphabetical order by the presenter's last name.

Recycling from a Biological, Economical, and Theological Perspective
Panel Presentation: The panel centers around the idea of recycling today in the United States and how it has impacted/changed from previous years. The moderator, Dr. David Wehner, will begin with some opening remarks about recycling at our school and in the country giving viewers an idea of how it works and some history on recycling. Then Dr. Rosie Bolen will speak of the environmental impacts both positive and negative of recycling to living creatures and to ecological systems. Dr. Emil Berendt will then speak of the economics of recycling in America with special attention to the ongoing trade war with China and how having recycling in the US is helping and hindering the economy. Dr. Bill Collinge will then speak on the ethics of why we should or should not recycle with attention to biblical stewardship to the environment.
Panelists: Rosie Bolen, Ph.D., Emil Berendt, Ph.D., and Bill Collinge, Ph.D. / Moderator: David Wehner, Ph.D.
A Pillar of the Chinese Church: An Introduction to Yang Tingyun 楊廷筠
Yang Tingyun is a figure largely unknown to Western Christians, but he holds a place of high regard in the history of Chinese Catholicism as one of the "three pillars of the Church" (shengjiao san zhushi 聖教三柱石). Currently, I am beginning work on a translation of one of Yang's earliest Christian writings, the Tianshi mingbian 天釋明辨, written near the time of the Nanjing Affair in 1616-1618 in China. In this FIRE talk, I seek to introduce the Mount community to the basic context and principles of Yang's Christian thought, discussing his fascinating conversion story, the larger context of the Jesuit missions and the persecution they endured in the Nanjing Affair, and some highlights of his account of Christianity in the Tianshi mingbian.
Presenter: Joshua R. Brown, Ph.D. / Theology
Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite and the Anti-Capitalist Turn in Contemporary Cinema
Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite [Gisaengchung] (2019) joins several recent contemporary films, most notably Todd Phillips’ Joker (2019), that mark a much more critical engagement with the costs of life under global, late capitalism. Such cinema takes the systems-level analysis of thinkers such as Immanuel Wallerstein, David Harvey, and Wolfgang Streek and stages their abstract analysis at the personal and family level to show the damaging, schizophrenic, and parasitic forms of life capitalism often produces. As in his earlier allegories of imperialism’s ecological and personal legacies (The Host, 2006) and class warfare (Snowpiercer, 2013), Bong’s Parasite explores the way larger systems shape and constrict the relationships and emotional lives of individual characters. Parasite adopts the dread and uneasiness of Alfred Hitchcock, the tone and ambiguities of David Lynch, and Bong’s own characteristic sudden shifts in mood to convey the total dominance of capitalist logics over familial, mental, and emotional life. The resulting schizophrenic emotional tenor of the film, I argue, can be consistently explained as an affective response to the conditions of late capitalism. Through the joining and then undoing of the Kim and Park families because of deception, use, and abuse along the axis of class relations, Bong explores capitalism’s reduction of professional relationships to competition, its commodification of education and mentorship, its latent and manifest violence, and the inadequate mechanisms we employ to survive its impersonal logics, especially (largely futile) hoping and dreaming. Expanding on Karl Marx’s horror metaphor of capitalism as a vampire, Boon argues that it turns us all into parasites of each other. While Bong’s film ends with a final note of pessimism, my talk concludes by drawing on the work of the late Mark Fisher to ask how this new anti-capitalist turn in cinema invites us to think of, in Fisher’s terms, “strategies against a Capital which presents itself as ontologically, as well as geographically, ubiquitous” (Capitalist Realism 77).
Presenter: Jack Dudley, Ph.D. / English
The Tyrannical Womb: Hereditary Monarchy and Maternal Imagination in Seventeenth-Century England
How did the bodies of “unruly” women shape future kings? Could tyranny be imprinted through the royal womb – literally bred in the bone? These questions shaped constitutional debates concerning absolutism and resistance, hereditary and elective monarchy, finding particular urgency in the wake of the Bohemian Crisis and wars of religion playing out in the 1620s. Yet scholars have often bracketed political questions of monarchical rule from gendered ones of maternal imagination -- how mothers were thought to shape the dispositions and characters of their babies in the womb. This talk will explore how seventeenth-century understandings of pregnancy and monstrous births shaped conceptions of tyranny and monarchy in the early to mid-seventeenth century. It will consider, in particular, how writers questioned and criticized King James’s policies and absolutist writings in Britain through discussing the failings of his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, and the ways that his mother’s vices supposedly became imprinted upon James within the womb. In the end, the talk will argue that gendered anxieties concerning motherhood and birthing played an important role in shaping political conceptions of tyranny and hereditary monarchy in the years before the English Revolution.
Presenter: Jamie Gianoutsos, Ph.D. / History
The Art of Making: The Unfolding of Prayer and the Balance within Us
Making as a practice, making as prayer. The act of making is a pursuit of balance between the places of mind and the places of spirit. In this fire talk, I will discuss making as prayer and as a means to find balance within us. I will introduce my work and discuss the practice art as an equilibrium between the places of structure and the places of flow. Additionally, I will connect my art to my practice and discuss how the work is manifestation of prayerful revelation—whose last reverberations unfold within my artwork and grow from the tiniest of seeds within me.
Presenter: Nick J. Hutchings, M.F.A. / Visual and Performing Arts
The Unique Intellectual Contribution of Faith Based Universities
Extensive analyses of the history of faith based universities by such scholars as George Marsden (The Soul of the American University: from Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief) and James Burchaell (The Dying of the Light: The Disengagement of Colleges and Universities from Their Christian Churches) portray a tragic pattern: the seeming inevitability of faith-based universities to lose their faith mission. What went wrong? Is the faith mission fundamentally incompatible with substantive academic inquiry? If so, we’re in trouble. The far more hopeful interpretation is that the common strategies followed by faith-based universities failed to identify a curriculum that they could have a unique strength in delivering that was simultaneously academically substantive and a sophisticated professional preparation. But what would that be? A sophisticated, integrated treatment of how people function.
The Catholic/Christian view of the human condition offered at many universities broadly includes two parts: how people function (behavioral theory) and human flourishing (moral law, meaning/purpose). Both are critical. Unfortunately for their academic survival, while the first offers the most opportunities to involve and contribute to the broadest array of majors, and to have the greatest applications (any disciplines that touch upon or involve human behavior in some way), most faith based universities ignored that path and concentrated too much on the second. Not surprisingly, far too many faculty and students, and eventually institutions, erroneously concluded faith had little to add of academic substance.
How people function is the largest topic area of any university. But it is so large it requires enormous effort to put the whole picture together, to integrate it. In the past century, all universities fractured into academic silos without that integration. Faith based universities, with their integrated curricula, are uniquely positioned to provide that sophistication today.
In this presentation, I explore how a focus on both, but especially on how people function, offers that pathway that is extremely sophisticated and professionally valuable.
Presenter: John Larrivee, Ph.D. / Economics
Ottawanta, Our Lady of the Field(s), and the Persistence of Legend in American Catholicism
From the nineteenth century to today, a legend has been passed down regarding the supposed apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to a Native American in what is now Emmitsburg, Maryland. This legend, while often repeated, has never received critical attention. This article provides a transcription of the earliest surviving manuscript of the legend along with critical analysis and a history of the legend’s subsequent transmission. While the story presents itself as an historical account, further analysis reveals that it is a fictional work that discloses more about the nature of the readers and transmitters of the legend than it does about the history of early American Catholicism. Generations of American Catholics have told the legend, some finding religious inspiration in it, which indicates the persistence of a medieval stance towards legend as late as the 21st century: the veracity of the story is irrelevant, so long as it gives the reader a positive experience of the supernatural.
Presenter: Sean Gordon Lewis, Ph.D. / English

Biochemistry Biology Business Chemistry Communication Computer Science Conflict, Peace and Social Justice Criminal Justice Economics Elementary Education English Environmental Science Health Sciences History Mathematics Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) Political Science Psychology Secondary Education Sociology Theology

Faculty Presentations