Thiel Professors Present At The Thiel Forum

By Bobby Winner

On Thursday March 15, Thiel College held its penultimate Thiel Forum event, featuring presentations from professors Dr. Ellen Lippert, Dr. Dane Claussen, and Dr. Kristin Carlson regarding their research and trips over the past few years.

Lippert’s presentation was regarding her research into French Decadence and American Impressionism, Claussen presented a series of photographs from his trip to ancient sites in Sri Lanka, and Carlson presented her research on gemination in Havana Cuban Spanish. Associate Academic Dean, Mary Theresa Hall opened the event by introducing the first speaker of the afternoon.

Lippert gave a speech on how she used her Faculty Scholarship Award to research the impact that French Decadence had on American Impressionist artworks.  The presentation consisted of quite a few paintings on display from the likes of Monet and Weir, as well several excerpts from books, most notably the works of J.K. Huysmans, specifically a book called Against the Grain. She concluded her presentation by saying that she has hit a roadblock in her research but will continue to investigate the correlations between these two forms of art.

After Lippert answered a few questions from the crowd, Hall introduced the next speaker of the afternoon, Claussen, and his topic, his trip to the ancient sites of Sri Lanka. Claussen began his presentation by giving the audience a brief introduction to the history of Sri Lanka, as well as its location in the world, being a small island off the coast of India.  The presentation consisted of dozens upon dozens of photographs from his trip, as well as his insight into what is going on in the pictures.  Some of the landmarks included in his photos included, an ancient rock fortress named Sigiriya, and the ancient cities of Polonnaruwa and Kandy.  Claussen’s presentation ended with a couple antique maps of Sri Lanka being passed around as well as questions from the audience.

Hall then introduced the final speaker of the night, Carlson and her topic, gemination of syllables in Havana Cuban Spanish.  Her presentation consisted of many statistics regarding her research into the gemination of syllables in Spanish words, specifically those ending in r and l. According to Carlson, gemination is the lengthening or shortening of syllables in words, often said to be more prevalent in Havana Cuban Spanish.  The core of her research came her series of 26 interviews with residents of the Havana region of Cuba.  She also discussed how she was the first American to conduct boots-on-the-ground research on this subject in Cuba, due to the two countries’ tumultuous relationship.

If you missed this Thiel Forum and would like to watch one for yourself, the final Thiel Forum takes place in Stamm Lecture Hall in the James Pedas Communication Center on Thursday April 12, 2018 and will feature campus pastor Jayne Thompson, academic coach and English professor Nancy Katz, and the leaders of Thiel’s Supplemental Instruction program.

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