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IU consortium awards second round of grants for work on ‘Wonder and the Natural World’

Aug. 26, 2015

The Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics and Society has awarded $25,000 in grants to six departments, research centers and institutes from three IU campuses to support symposia, workshops and exhibits during the 2015-2016 academic year.

The projects selected for funding align with the consortium’s two-year theme of ‘Wonder and the Natural World.’

wonder and the natural world

Faculty across three IU campuses have received $25,000 in grant funds for multidisciplinary research. | PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CONSTORIUM FOR THE STUDY OF RELIGION, ETHICS AND SOCIETY

The goal of these awards is to assist and encourage a variety of departments, research centers and institutes across the IU system to engage with the idea of “wonder” in all its forms and in a variety of disciplines. The awardees cut across academic fields and include faculty in informatics, English, cognitive science and anthropology.

“The consortium is pleased to be able to support creative and interdisciplinary research at IU on the topic of wonder and its scientific, literary and ethical implications," said consortium director Lisa Sideris, associate professor of religious studies in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences. "We look forward to the results of these fascinating conversations."

Steven Carr, director of The Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at IPFW was awarded funding for his proposal, "The 'Wonder' of Race Science: Teaching Indiana Teachers about Nazi Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust." The Institute will use the grant to host the Indiana Collegiate Pre-Service Teachers’ Holocaust Symposium in May 2016. The symposium will bring leading national educators, historians and other experts on Holocaust and genocide studies to work with newly graduated educators and inspire them to think deeply about various aspects of the Holocaust, including concepts of race and the distorted perspective of race science.

Carr said that the symposium “seeks to offer in-depth teacher training, provide ongoing resources, and help build a professional network of Holocaust educators by identifying 24 of the best pre-service teachers from across the state who are about to graduate from collegiate education programs, and give them the tools they need to teach the Holocaust in Indiana classrooms well.”

Tom Schoenemann, Colin Allen, Kevin Hunt, Kathy Schick and Nick Toth, all affiliated with the IU Bloomington Cognitive Science Program, received funding to bring to IU distinguished speakers from a variety of fields -- from chimpanzee behavior to Paleolithic art and philosophy -- to participate in a workshop on “The Origins of Awe and Wonder.” These scholars will help answer questions ranging from ‘Are there examples of a possible sense of wonder in other species?’ to ‘What might Paleolithic art imply about wonder?’ The goal of the workshop is to explore the kinds of evidence that can further our understanding of the evolutionary origins of wonder.

The four other awardees and their projects include:

  • Jonathan R. Eller, Director, Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, Indiana University School of Liberal Arts, IUPUI: ‘‘Miracles of Rare Device:’ Treasures of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies.’
  • Shannon Gayk, Associate Professor, Patricia Ingham, Professor, and Karma Lochrie, Professor, Department of English, IU Bloomington: ‘Re-reading the Book of the World: Wonder and the Orders of Nature in Medieval Literature and Culture.’
  • Lisel Record and Katy Börner, Department of Information and Library Science in the School of Informatics and Computing, IU Bloomington: ‘Maps and Macroscopes.’
  • David H. Smith, Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions, IU Bloomington: ‘Wonder, Birth, and Seriously Ill Children.’

This is the first competition the consortium has opened to departments, centers and institutes. In fall 2014, the consortium awarded more than$51,000 to individual IU scholars to develop their own research on the theme of Wonder and the Natural World. They presented their works-in-progress at a daylong public symposium in May 2015. In summer 2016, the consortium will conclude its two-year thematic initiative with an international conference to explore in greater depth the interdisciplinary discussions of wonder and nature begun at the 2015 symposium.

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