In Memorium: Randy Strahan

From Dean Robin Forman to the Faculty and Staff of Emory College:
strahanI write with very sad news.  Randy Strahan, Professor of Political Science, passed away last night from complications related to cancer.  Randy began his career at Emory in 1985, just as he was finishing his doctorate from the University of Virginia.  His research covered a wide range of questions about American Politics and the workings of the U.S. Congress, ranging from the politics of the slave issue in the pre-Civil War U.S. to the role of partisanship in contemporary political dynamics.  More recently, he had been working on projects related to the methodological foundations of Tocqueville’s political thought. Randy was a devoted, effective, and highly decorated teacher, and had received both the Crystal Apple for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award.  Many of you outside of Political Science will know Randy as a generous colleague from his work as the chair of the faculty life course committee for the University Faculty Council, his time as a fellow at the Fox Center, or his role as the coordinator of the voluntary core program.  I first met him in his role as Faculty Counselor to the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees, where I witnessed his forceful and effective advocacy for Emory College in particular, and the liberal arts more generally. We will miss him a great deal.

A memorial service for Randy Strahan will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, January 20th, at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, 2089 Ponce de Leon Ave., NE, Atlanta, GA 30307.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Emory College’s Voluntary Core Program (link to the donation page).  A service on the Emory campus will be held at a future date. Reflections of Randy to be included in a bound volume to be given to Annie Strahan may be submitted to or to the dropbox created for this purpose.

See Emory NewsCenter article



Out-of-the-classroom Experiences This Spring

In an Emory News Center feature on innovative classes this semester, the work of several College faculty is highlighted, including those below.


Black Odyssey, Black Migration

Instructors: Dwight Andrews, associate professor of music theory and Mark Sanders, professor of African American studies and English and chair of African American Studies

Cool factor: Ties in with Michael C. Carlos Museum exhibit of Romare Bearden’s collages and watercolors based on Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey.” Also ties in with the related exhibit, “Southern Connections: Bearden in Atlanta” that features materials from Emory’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL).

Course description: Examines artistic interpretations of African American identity through music, literature, film and the visual arts, notably including the campus exhibit of Romare Bearden’s Odysseus series and the related exhibit about the artist’s regional connections that draw on resources from Emory’s special collections. A meditation on the Western epic tradition and African American mobility, the series invites a broader examination of African American culture and issues of migration, escape, home and belonging.

Department: African American Studies; cross-listed in Music

Coastal Biology with Lab

Instructor: Leslie A. Real, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Biology

Cool factor: Field trip to study preserved areas of the Georgia coast.

Course description: Introduces students to coastal Georgia’s major ecosystems and to plant and animal communities through an intensive field experience on St. Simon’s, Cumberland, Blackbeard, Sapelo and Jekyll islands. Includes excursions in small boats to Blackbeard Island and on the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ research trawler, “Anna,” to study organisms in the sound surrounding the islands.

Department: Biology

Freshman Seminar: Vaccines and Society

Instructor: Elena Conis, assistant professor of history

Cool factor: First-year students study vaccines on the campus of a leading research university and in proximity to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Course description: Explores the history of vaccination against infectious diseases such as smallpox, polio and measles as well as the opposition among some groups to vaccines. Uses these case examples to think critically about the state’s interest in protecting public health and about the nature of medical controversies.

Department: History; cross-listed with Human Health Program

Risk & Resilience in Shaping Identity

Instructors: David Lynn, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Chemistry and Biology, and chair of chemistry department and Leslie Taylor, professor of theater studies and director of the Center for Creativity and Arts.

Also, graduate students Julia Haas, philosophy; Brian Dias, behavioral neuroscience and psychiatric disorders; Carolina Campanella, psychology; Constance Harrell, neuroscience; Ashley Coleman, religion; Daniel Pierce and Jillian E. Smith, chemistry.

Cool factor: Interdisciplinary capstone course, combining aspects of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, that helps seniors capture their liberal arts experience in a research university and allows them to present their lessons through novel artistic expressions.

Course description: Helps students ask, “What has made me a stronger, smarter and more resilient student at Emory University and what strengths have allowed me to successfully navigate college?” Provides them with an opportunity to develop a research idea for possible funding while being mentored on grant proposal writing and research design.

Department: Senior Seminar

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Humanities Fellowships at the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry

The Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry, with the Emory College Honors Program, offers up to four undergraduate fellowships to support work on completing projects for one semester. SIRE grants support independent research and scholarly projects by undergraduate students. In partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences, grants for students in the humanities who may not need research funds, will be awarded office space in the FCHI for one semester.

The Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry stands for the central role of the humanities in the life of Emory University and beyond. The Center promotes individual research, while also increasing the impact of the humanities across the University and, ultimately, the world.

Fellows’ information

Fox Center Undergraduate Blog

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Jennifer Rhee, Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, Postdoctoral Fellow (2013-14)

Michael Ursell, University of California Santa Cruz, Postdoctoral Fellow (2013-14)

Craig Perry (History Department, Emory University), Graduate Dissertation Completion Fellow (2013-14)

Blake Mayes 14C (Religion), Undergraduate Fellow (2013-14)

Hannah Smagh 15C (Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Anthropology), Undergraduate Fellow (2013-14)