Haddix Faculty Incubator Awards
Haddix Faculty Incubator Awards

Creighton University College of Arts and Sciences congratulate these four faculty members selected for sabbaticals funded by the Haddix family and their generous gift.

Here at the College, we are impressed with the quality of work and ambitious plans our four faculty members have and what their research will leave for future generations.

Incubator Projects and Summaries

Haddix Pre-tenure Sabbaticals:

A Computational Analysis of the Evolution of Southern Identity and the Origins of the “Lost Cause” Ideology

Simon Appleford, PhD, assistant professor, HistorySimon Appleford, PhD, assistant professor, History

This project will explore at scale the formation and development of southern identity and the Lost Cause ideology. This subject remains troublingly relevant today. Although historians are almost unanimous in their assessment that slavery caused the Civil War, American public opinion over this question remains divided and confused. To reveal new insight into how attitudes about the Civil War, southern exceptionalism, and slavery have evolved over time, I will therefore use computational methodologies and a massive dataset of print work originally published between ca.1800 and 1923.

Importantly, one of the products of this project will be a public-facing website that makes accessible both my analysis and data with interactive visualizations. Through this work, I will contribute to ongoing public discussions about the underlying thematic justifications of the Civil War and how contemporary understandings of southern identity have historically been constructed to support specific interpretations of the past.

The Link Between DNA Replication and Gene Silencing

Lynne Dieckman, PhD, assistant professor, ChemistryLynne Dieckman, PhD, assistant professor, Chemistry

Every time a cell divides, its DNA is duplicated and precisely packaged into chromosomes. The specific arrangement of genes within these chromosomes determines whether they are expressed (“on”) or silenced (“off”). One major factor in maintaining the arrangement of genes in our cells is a protein called CAF-1. If CAF-1 is not recruited to proper sites of DNA, it results in defective gene silencing, compromised adult stem cell identity, or introduction of DNA damage, which often leads to cell death. However, precisely how CAF-1 is localized to DNA within the cell is not known.

A major goal of my research is to determine the mechanism of CAF-1 recruitment to DNA and subsequent gene silencing, which will be accomplished using biochemical protein-protein binding assays. This project will lead to a greater understanding of gene arrangement and how disruptions of this process lead to aberrant gene expression and ultimately cancers.

Haddix Full-year Sabbaticals:

Cypriot Sanctuaries: Sacred Space & Ritual in Ancient Cyprus

Erin Averett, PhD, associate professor, Fine and Performing ArtsErin Averett, PhD, associate professor, Fine and Performing Arts

My sabbatical project is a book-length exploration of Cypriot sanctuaries from the Late Bronze Age until the dissolution of the autonomous royal kingdoms at the end of the Cypro-Classical period, c. 1200-330 BCE. Cypriot sacred spaces are not well understood outside specialist studies and excavation reports, which primarily focus on formal analysis of specific classes of material. My study investigates sanctuaries as choreographed spaces, in which worshippers, religious officials, and dignitaries interacted with the landscape, architecture, and sacred objects. This new, holistic, and contextual approach to Cypriot religion can elucidate the changing social and religious history of the island and its eastern Mediterranean setting in this critical period.

The archaeological and textual evidence is interpreted through the lens of the archaeology of religion and the materiality of religion, which foreground the ways in which human participants use physical objects and the senses to construct and perform religious experience. By advancing new methods for investigating religious practices in the Mediterranean, my project unpacks the ways in which complex cultural concepts (e.g. social status, ethnic identities, cultural values, cosmological ideas) are created, maintained, and transformed through multiple media in Cypriot sanctuaries.

Health Care at Home: Ethnographic Explorations of Post-Discharge Care in Home Settings

Erin Averett, PhD, associate professor, Fine and Performing ArtsLaura Heinemann, PhD, associate professor and chair, Cultural and Social Studies

Health-related caregiving in the United States increasingly takes place outside of formal clinical settings, shifting instead to home spaces, where patients and loved ones are made responsible to acquire the knowledge and skills to follow medical regimens and post-discharge instructions. Simultaneously, they must also balance these forms of care, against the time and effort required to sustain a household through managing more quotidian demands.

This study employs anthropological qualitative ethnographic methods to better understand the tensions and challenges – ranging from logistical to interpersonal – that arise at the interface between biomedical care and the complexities of daily home life following an inpatient hospitalization, outpatient surgery, or other medical intervention requiring post-discharge care (or, a “transition of care” as defined in the literature in nursing and other health care professions). It will also examine the strengths and resources upon which patients and their loved ones draw in order to navigate these realities.