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Past Project

Telling Time: Its Meaning and Measurement



  • Bosiljka Glumac, Geology, Organizing Fellow
    My research is in the field of sedimentology, specifically exploring modern depositional systems and relating them to successions of sedimentary strata. My current research has centered on using the integrated stratigraphy of carbonate strata to understand their spatial and temporal context and relationships. I also study cave speleothems and other unusual carbonate deposits as records of environmental conditions and changes, and also the archaeological geology of carbonate rocks and minerals as cultural materials.

  • Richard Lim, History, Organizing Fellow
    My research is focused on the history of the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds. I am currently preparing a monograph on Roman public spectacles and civic transformation that examines the role of spectacles and festivals in defining temporal rhythms from the late second to sixth centuries. In addition, I am writing a book on cultural encounters in premodern Eurasia and another on the social and cultural history of late antiquity.

  • Nancy Bradbury, English
    My research focuses on how changes in the perception of time affected the imaginations and poetic language of late medieval authors. I am particularly interested in how the invention and introduction of the first public mechanical clocks affected social changes and ideas about time, and how those changes are reflected in metaphors of timekeeping in literature.

  • Darcy Buerkle, History
    I am interested in the ways in which limitations of historical narratives—and the rhetorical rules these narratives imply—interact with or challenge the malleabilities of time. My research will be directed toward completing a book manuscript titled Jews, Gender and the Visual Rhetoric of Suicide in Early Twentieth-Century Germany, which is organized in part around the problem of temporality in historic representation.

  • Carolyn Collette, English (Mt. Holyoke)
    Examining how medieval and contemporary culture imagine the flow of time, and specifically how they relate the past to the present. Recently presented a paper titled "The Shape of Time in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance." Current research focuses on the supposed failure of medieval culture to have developed a sense of the past and on examining a series of medieval and modern novels whose structures are time-based and erase "normal" distinctions between past and present.

  • David Dempsey, Museum of Art
    My research is on time and art conservation, specifically concentrating on historical research methods and scientific analyses used to authenticate works of art. I am also interested in the changing role of the art conservator from the tradition of trying to prevent the entropy that accompanies time to the accommodation of the art where the artists have incorporated temporal degradation into their artistic conception.

  • Maggie Dethloff' 10, Art History
    Studying contemporary visual artist Enrique Chagoya’s departure from traditional, sequential narrative art in order to explore how he engages the topics of historiography and postcolonial discourses. Chagoya juxtaposes imagery from different time periods in ways which establish nonlinear narratives that are impossible to rearrange into coherent sequential narratives, reflecting the fact that all histories, dominant or not, are constructions.

  • Suzan Edwards, Astronomy
    My scientific research is concerned with the accretion history of young stars—do they assemble into a protostar in a monolithic collapse, or are they built up through a sequence of accretion/outburst episodes from a surrounding disk? I am also interested in expanding my knowledge of cultural definitions of time through the invention/adoption of clocks and calenders, specifically exploring what early cultures knew about the precession of the equinoxes and how this affected their view of time.

  • Brigid Fitzgerald '10, Anthropology
    Investigating the specific futures imagined through the discourses and practices of environmental sustainability in the United States, and critically analyzing what implications these imagined futures have for the work of environmental sustainability, the present of our society, and the future we will actually experience.

  • Nathanael Fortune, Physics
    My research concerns pairs of identical particles in the time-symmetric microscopic quantum world. In the quantum world, the particles can also be described as waves, and if there are two identical particles, they will interfere just as if they were a pair of traveling waves passing through each other. Is it possible that each particle is actually a pair of particles, one from the past and one from the future and that the interference we see comes from the interference of the past and future? I want to see if I can mathematically construct a pair of time-reversed particles that would behave in a way consistent with experiment and the predictions of quantum physics, and, if so, what their special properties and symmetries would be.

  • Catharina Gress-Wright '11, English Language & Literature
    I am studying the theme of inheritance in the ghost stories of Henry James, its conflict with freewill and personal agency, and its relation to contemporary evolutionary and psychological theories about inheritance, both biological inheritance as a species and social inheritance such as family tradition and individual experience.

  • Jina Kim, East Asian Studies
    My research is on the effects and ethics of literary, historical and cultural “translation.” I have been exploring the relationship between Korea’s past and aspects of modern/contemporary culture that translates tradition into modern times, specifically examining the recent explosion of re-creations of Korea’s past in popular culture (e.g., films, television dramas, graphic novels, historical novels) and considering how those contemporary media translate tradition and what those translations say about Korea’s understanding of its relationship to its own history and position in the world.

  • Lonicera Lyttle '10, Economics & Spanish
    I am conducting an historial and economic analysis of how the economic realities of North America during the nineteenth century influenced the standardization of time.

  • Marla Maccia '10, Biological Sciences
    The role of the almanacs from the 17th – 19th centuries in New England. I will look at how the almanac became an important educational tool and evolved to reflect the changing needs of colonial communities.

  • Cornelia Pearsall, English Language & Literature
    My research focuses on Victorian Britain's fascination with the physical bounds of mortality. I am working on two book projects, one titled Loved Remains: The Materialization of Mourning in Victorian Britain that examines the Victorian interest in decay in the form of "loved remains," and the other titled Imperial Tennyson: Victorian Poetry and the Expansion of England that considers the British Empire in geographical and temporal terms. My research will support both projects and will consider decomposition and decay from a cross-disciplinary perspective including biological, historical and metaphorical aspects.

  • Sara Pruss, Geology
    My research is centered on better understanding "time" on Bahamian beaches. I have recently started working in modern carbonate settings to understand issues related to how seashells become fossils. A recent carbon-14 dating analysis of shells on 2 Bahamian beaches showed that some seashells were as old as 6,000 years old, much older than most shells in modern carbonate settings. I am investigating beach processes that could produce shells of this age.

  • Carolyn Wetzel, Biological Sciences
    Processes affecting plant life happen on many time scales, from nanoseconds to billions of years. Plants measure time without using mechanical clocks, marking it so accurately they can be used by humans to measure the time of events. My project involves collecting information about the myriad relationships between time and plants and summarizing it into a series of essays targeted toward the non-scientist. My primary area of research is plant biochemistry, especially photosynthesis and chloroplast functions.

  • Christine Woodbury '10, Music
    I will be studying perceptions of time in music, specifically rhythm and meter, and implications of those perceptions for the study of music theory.

  • Katherine Zubko '11, Philosophy
    I plan to examine the future that we project for human beings with regard to transhumanism and the bioethical considerations surrounding it. Transhumanism, as I will be dealing with the concept, refers to the use of genetic manipulation to improve human abilities. I will use two or more works of literature and film, foremost among them Margaret Atwood's novel Oryx and Crake, as articulations of what possible futures may look like after projected advancements in genetic science have been applied. I will look at bioethical theories and positions to articulate different views on whether genetic engineering can and should be applied in the ways that the novels and films depict them.


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