Beyond the classroom: CHSS faculty conduct key research at home and abroad

Beyond the classroom: CHSS faculty conduct key research at home and abroad

Beyond the classroom: CHSS faculty conduct key research at home and abroad

Several College of Humanities & Social Sciences faculty members traveled to unique locations last summer to attend conferences, workshops and present their research to colleagues and students at home and abroad. CHSS faculty pursue a robust research agenda that take them beyond Rowan’s Glassboro campus to focus on key research areas and experiences outside the classroom.

Specialty Court Research: Law and Mental Health

Kimberly HouserProfessors Christine Saum and Kimberly Houser (left) of the Department of Law and Justice Studies share similar research interests which include specialty courts, prisoner reentry, offender recidivism, prison treatment programs, mentally ill offenders and juvenile offenders.

Last July, they both attended the International Congress on Law and Mental Health in Rome, Italy with the goal of informing policy makers about the findings from their research which examines parole decision-making for the mentally ill.

“One of the more interesting things was talking with colleagues from other countries about our work. Very often, we attend domestic conferences and therefore don’t get a sense for how other countries respond to similar criminal justice issues that we face in the United States. As this conference was also focused on mental health and the law, we were able to talk with colleagues from all over the world, including Nigeria, Israel, Norway and Scotland, who conduct similar research,” Saum and Houser said.

Both professors plan on sharing more of their research while attending the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology in November in San Francisco where they will deliver three presentations on their specialty court research along with a colleague from Temple University.  They also received a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice which will fund their research on the Federal mental health court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In addition, they anticipate working with the New Jersey Attorney General’s office on a juvenile justice prevention project.

Economics, Political and Cultural Change 

Professor of Sociology Mark Hutter’s research interests focus on Urban Sociology and over the summer he was able to co-organize a symposium titled “Families Amidst Global and

Local Processes: Economic, Political and Cultural Change” with Professor DeMond Miller and Bahira Trask (University of Delaware) in Rhodes, Greece.

The symposium’s focus was on the impact of globalization and migration particularly on world families. More than 50 scholars from around the world presented papers at the symposium which highlighted issues such as the effects of migration on families, transnational families, human rights and families, and the effects of austerity measures on family life. The keynote speakers were Eugenia Arvanitis, president of the University of the Aegean and Sotiris Chtouris, professor of Sociology at the University of the Aegean.

“The symposium provided the forum for an exchange of the latest research on family change within the context of global change with international scholars. The shared dissemination of scholarly research was a primary goal,” Hutter noted.

In November, he will be co-presenting a paper on pedagogical techniques on the teaching of global family sociology at the annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) in Fort Worth, Texas.

Social Sciences and Environmental Policy 

Dean Nawal AmmarDean Nawal Ammar was invited to attend a workshop titled “Abrahamic Traditions and Environmental Change in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region” which was held in Rhodes, Greece. Scholars from various parts of the MENA Region, as well as participants from international and non-profit organizations who examine religion and ecology attended the workshop. 

While at the workshop, she moderated one of the sessions called “Environmental Policy and Development Practice (Part 1)”. In addition, she was able to contribute to the development of several action plans one of which (Abrahamic Guide/Charter to Environmental Ethics) will be published soon.

She also attended the 14th International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Research Network held at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Unidad Xochimilco in Mexico City. As part of this year’s theme of global flows and diversified realities, she  presented a paper on Muslims and the environment in a post-Prophetic era. 

“The paper is divided into three sections. The first section examines the theological context of this Post-Prophetic Era, its relationship to the Revelation (the Qur’an) and devotional duty towards the environment,” Dean Ammar wrote in the abstract. “The second section explores how within the theological context Muslims have fared in their devotional duties towards being custodians and users of the environment. The final section proposes a solution to the existing dilemmas Muslims are facing vis-à-vis our contemporary environmental crisis.”

Her other research interests include immigrant women who are victims of crime and Muslims who are imprisoned.

Reconceptualizing Holocaust Education

Dr. Jennifer RichDr. Jennifer Rich, Director of the Rowan Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (RCHGS) focuses her research on Holocaust education and memory. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum invited her to participate in a week-long fellowship, The Holocaust Institute for Teacher Educators, as a result of her research and close working relationship with the muesum. 

Faculty from across the country gathered at the museum for a series of seminars, lectures and hands-on interactive workshops to focus on the best practices for teaching about the Holocaust.

In the spring, she will be teaching a course called “The American Response to the Holocaust”. Inspired by the new temporary exhibit at the Museum. “The Americans exhibit is enormously powerful, and contains such rich content. I knew that it could easily inform my teaching,” Rich explained.

Ultimately, with this research travel opportunity completed, she continues to aim to reconceptualize Holocaust education throughout the U.S. school system. 

Country House Collections: Past, Present and Future

Dr. Stephen HagueDr. Stephen Hague specializes in British history and British imperial history. He presented a 

paper at the "Country House Collections: Past, Present and Future" conference held at Maynooth University in Ireland over the summer.

The paper highlighted alternate approaches to the preservation and interpretation of objects in county houses. And the paper is related to his upcoming book project, entitled, “Act Like Britain”: Politics and Culture in the British Empire, which is an extension of his focus on buildings, interior design, and collecting as a way of explaining how the British Empire kind of kept up a certain image and lifestyle.

He also attended the International Society for Eighteen Century Studies (ISECS) conference, where he worked with his colleague from the United Kingdom Professor Karen Lipsedge, to organize a roundtable panel entitled, "Money, Value and the Eighteenth-Century Home." Authors from his upcoming co-edited volume “At Home in the 18th Century” participated in the panel.

Hague was also able to assist his History colleague, Professor Jody Russel Manning on a Rowan faculty-led study abroad program that focused on the Holocaust. He spent several weeks in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic visiting Holocaust sites and concentration camps/death camps.

“The unanticipated outcomes, the connections that you make, the things you see and the experiences really enrich our intellectual lives. I came away from both of the conferences and from the study abroad trip reinvigorated in terms of wanting to move these projects forward and being really excited about them,” Hague said.

Alexandria Brooks is a rising senior journalism major and CHSS public relations intern, who is a regular contributor of content and articles about CHSS.