Dr. Karen Dunak
Karen Dunak, a professor in the History Department, has been teaching at Muskingum University for three years. One thing that sets Muskingum apart, she says, is that “More than any other school I’ve taught at, I think Muskingum fosters a real connection between faculty and students. There are many more opportunities for student/faculty interaction, and I think there’s a real opportunity to cultivate close and long-lasting relationships over the years a student attends Muskingum.”
Dunak teaches U.S. history courses, as well as upper-level courses on gender and sexuality, the 1950s, youth in modern America and the American dream. She focuses on “the social and cultural history of the 20th century, with special focus on media and celebrity, youth culture and activism, and gender and citizenship.”
Dunak has written a book entitled As Long as We Both Shall Love: The White Wedding in Postwar America. “It stems from the research I conducted for my dissertation. I became interested in the wedding, in part, because I started getting invited to a lot of weddings when I was in my mid-twenties, and it seemed strange to me that a celebration marked by what I saw as very traditional and even old-fashioned components had maintained so much power despite tremendous social change.”
Dunak researched wedding traditions back to the 19th century and found that many traditions popular in weddings today were invented by the wedding industry in the early 20th century. “The biggest transformation, I argue, is in the increased authority of the bride and the groom to shape elements of the celebration to fit with their personal values and their individual ideas of what their celebration should be.”
Dunak’s book is scheduled to be published in summer 2013.
Dr. Steve McGuire
Sociology professor Steve McGuire recently showed his documentary, “1948 and Counting” at the Cinema Verde Film Festival in Gainesville, Florida. The film “reports on Costa Rica’s ability to manage without a military since 1948, despite invasions based in Nicaragua.” The film also “addresses the role of private armies serving multinational corporations, and whether the country’s civil guard is a military by another name. [It] places Costa Rica in the context of Central and Latin American populist struggles against U.S. backed regimes” in other Central and South American nations.
“I’m intrigued with the concept of peace culture,” McGuire says, explaining his motivation for filming the documentary. McGuire spent Spring Break one year interviewing and filming in Costa Rica with the help of his wife, Diane Donato. The film is 31 minutes long.
Another project in the works is a similar documentary about Norway, “which has been designated the only modern industrial ‘peace culture’ by political scientist Marc Howard Ross,” McGuire explains.
A previous documentary, “A Day in the Life,” was screened at two film festivals and was awarded second place in the experimental category at The Indie Gathering Film Festival in Hudson, Ohio.
McGuire’s interest in creating documentary film developed when he saw a film his colleague, David Tabachnick, had created.
Dr. Peter Gosnell
Dr. Peter Gosnell, Professor of Religion, spent his sabbatical last year researching the book Learning Good from Knowing God, which is a book of "descriptive biblical ethics…, describing the major lines of ethical thought in biblical writings."
"This arose out of the need I sensed for my biblical ethics course here at Muskingum. I have been working on versions of this for the past 6 years, gradually introducing these to students in the ethics course."
When Muskingum hired Professor Gosnell in 2002 and he began teaching the course, "None of the books I tried worked, so I decided to see what would happen if I used only the Bible. A student from Korea tried to take the class. He said he was totally intrigued with what I was teaching, but that he was having a hard time processing what I was saying in class. If only there was something he could read, to help him recall what went on in class. That's what he told me. He ended up dropping the course. Because of that I decided to write the book. The rest is history."
Learning Good from Knowing God will be published early next year (2014) with InterVarsity Press.
Dr. Franz-Joseph Wehage
Professor Franz-Joseph Wehage recently co-authored a business German textbook, Geschäftsdeutsch: An Introduction to German Business Culture. There was a necessity for this one-of-a-kind text for undergraduate students because, at last count, 86 U.S. colleges and universities offer Business German courses. The textbook has already been adopted at a dozen colleges across the country, including Penn State, Stanford University and UCLA. The book, which focuses primarily on language with a content emphasis on the German economy, is appropriate for both the German and International Business major.
The accompanying website, which Dr. Wehage created himself, contains companion video and audio materials and internet assignments that enrich the book’s content.
Dr. Bil Kerrigan
History professor Dr. William Kerrigan recently published Johnny Appleseed and the American Orchard: A Cultural History, a book about "the meaning of Johnny "Appleseed" Chapman's life and the environmental and cultural significance of the plant he propagated."
Dr. Harsha Abeyaratne
Harsha Abeyaratne, professor of music, performed at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall on Friday, December 14, at 7:30 p.m.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities at Muskingum, Dr. Abeyaratne is an active collaborative pianist and soloist. In recent years, he has appeared as a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka and the Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra. Also active as a chamber musician, he performs regularly as a member of The Alato Trio.
Abeyaratne appreciates the opportunities that teaching at Muskingum affords him in allowing him to attend regional and national conferences..
"I think one of the biggest benefits for Muskingum students is the chance they are given to travel overseas with a Muskingum teacher. Every year, there are overseas trips to Spain, France, England, and Argentina, among other places."
Dr. Rick Nutt
Dr. Rick Nutt, professor of religion and current chair of the Religion and Philosophy Department, recently published a book entitled An Historical Study of United States Religious Responses to the Vietnam War: a Matter of National Morality with Edwin Mellen Press.
"The book examines the attitudes and actions of both Christians and Jews toward the war in Vietnam," Nutt explains. Looking at the statements of church denominations and faith organizations, as well as national figures such as Billy Graham and Martin Luther King, Jr., Nutt found that "although people both opposed and supported the war effort for moral reasons, few did so on the basis of traditional just war thought."
The book is groundbreaking in that it is the first "comprehensive study for religious responses to the Vietnam War." This drew Nutt's interest, as well as his "longstanding interest…[in] the relationship of faith to U.S. society, especially matters of national security and war."
In addition, Nutt was honored in May 2012 as a Distinguished Alum at his alma mater, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.