Congratulations to the six faculty opportunity award recipients from Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences! Chapman University’s Faculty Opportunity Fund is a competitive merit-based internal funding opportunity for faculty to apply for up to $15,000 to conduct research or creative activity. These projects are intended to support Chapman University faculty in the development of new and innovative research, scholarship, and creative activity. Below is a summary of each of the funded projects.

Afro-Amerasians: Blackness in the Philippine Imaginary
Amount Awarded: $12,500
Dr. Angelica Allen, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies

Dr. Angelica Allen’s book manuscript, Afro-Amerasians: Blackness in the Philippine Imaginary, analyzes the contemporary experiences of a community in the Philippines known as the Black Amerasians (the progeny of African American servicemen and Filipina women). It examines how they actively define their own identities and shape the ways in which they are perceived by the larger Filipino community. Drawing upon ethnographic fieldwork with Black Amerasians living near the homes to two of the largest former U.S. military bases, Dr. Allen examines how members of this community form and negotiate their identities while living near militarized zones, and analyzes how they grapple with racist and gendered mythologies that assign Blackness a marginalized space in the Philippine social hierarchy. This study of one specific population provides insight into the broader experiences of Filipino Amerasians, as well as other global diasporic communities.

The Speed Limit of your Curiosity
Amount Awarded: $15,000
Professor Lia Halloran, Associate Professor of Art

Research Collaborators:

  • Kip Thorne, Professor Emeritus Caltech, Nobel Prize Laureate, founder of LIGO
  • Dan Lewis, Curator at the Huntington Research Institute,
  • Kit Whitten (Archivist, Library at Carnegie Science),
  • David Delgado, Visual Strategist, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Design/ Build Collaborators:

  • Sasha Samochina, Deputy Director of the Ops Lab, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Alumni Garret Hill, Makers Space Director, OCCC, and previous studio assistant and collaborator.

Exhibition Venues:

  • The Exploratorium, San Francisco, ‘Technology Ecology’
  • Luis De Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles, Solo Exhibition
  • Huntington Art Museum, Pasadena, ‘Pacific Standard Time, Art X Science’

Professor Lia Halloran’s award supports intensive research and studio art production that draws from the culture and rise of astronomy in Southern California over the past hundred years. The project is based on discoveries in light and sound from two instruments: the gravitational wave detector LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory). These two machines are bounding points to explore a dialog between the imagery of light- Hubble, and recordings of sound- LIGO. Both instruments represent the speed limit for our curiosity and desire to understand the universe while simultaneously drawing from Southern California’s vital culture and location. For this project, Halloran will undertake an entirely new direction of studio work by constructing a machine as an art form that explores the relationship and impact between LIGO and Mt. Wilson Observatory.

Latinx Revolutionary Horizons: Form and Futurity in the Américas
Amount Awarded: $4,104
Dr. Renee Hudson, Assistant Professor of English

Dr. Renee Hudson’s funding will support a Book Manuscript Workshop for her first book project, Latinx Revolutionary Horizons: Form and Futurity in the Américas. Hudson’s monograph argues that Latinx revolutionary horizons are a hemispheric project in which contemporary Latinx authors return to earlier moments of revolution to theorize the limits of liberation in the present and point toward more liberatory futures. Hudson pairs nineteenth-century authors with contemporary Latinx ones to historicize contemporary Latinx literature and resistance. As the first Latinx literature scholar in Chapman’s Department of English, Hudson’s book project will establish Chapman University as a space where exciting work in Latinx Studies is happening.

Childhood Adversity and Adult Inflammatory Burden: The Role of Neighborhoods
Amount Awarded: $3,424
Dr. Ashley Kranjac, Assistant Professor of Sociology

Research Collaborator:

  • Dinko Kranjac, University of La Verne, Department of Psychology

Childhood adversity is a well-established predictor of adult systemic chronic inflammation. Notably, community-level neighborhood disadvantage is further associated with immune system dysregulation and heightened inflammatory activity throughout the lifespan. Dr. Ashley Kranjac and Dr. Dinko Kranjac propose to leverage AddHealth Survey data and multilevel growth modeling techniques to determine whether changes in inflammation trajectories coincide with childhood adversity, whether this relationship varies by sex, and to simultaneously determine if there is a moderating effect of neighborhood socioeconomic context. If confirmed, linking social conditions to inflammatory-based disparities will have substantial implications for population health because inflammation-related diseases play a large role in the variant US life expectancy. The data and supporting discussions will be used to influence public policy, with the ultimate goal of protecting the health of American citizens.

Post-colonial and Global Incarnations and Invocations of Mirabai
Amount Awarded: $6,000
Dr. Nancy Martin, Professor of Religious Studies

This project is the third and culminating monograph of Dr. Nancy Martin’s three-volume comprehensive life’s work on the extremely popular Hindu woman saint-poet Mirabai. This study focuses on how the saint’s story, image, and voice are mobilized post-independence in India, by both progressive and conservative social and political actors to address issues of identity, modernity, and tradition, women’s education and empowerment, and the dignity of marginalized communities in India and diaspora South Asian communities as well as her influence on wider global discourses on women’s liberation and spirituality, feminist philosophy of religion, universal human rights, awakening creativity, etc. As such it will be of interest to scholars across a broad range of disciplines. The chapters traverse the media of film, fiction, commercial calendar art, comic books, plays, television, and scholarship as well as women who have modeled their own lives on the saint, in part or in total.

Mama Has a Mustache: kids talk gender
Amount Awarded: $11,550
Sally Rubin, Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
CK Magliola, Advisor, Director of Women’s and Gender Studies Minor 

  • Lauren Thomasen, Associate Producer
  • Julian Ross, Assistant Editor
  • Max Strebel, Animator
  • Stacy Goldate, Co-Producer/Editor

Mama Has a Mustache is a nine-minute, animated documentary about gender, childhood, and parenting. Driven completely by audio interviews of kids ages five to ten, the film is made up of animation, interviews, and sound design. Each of the twelve children interviewed for the film comes from a diverse background; some of the kids identify as transgender themselves, some as nonbinary, and they all have parents who identify somewhere outside the traditional gender spectrum. Mama Has a Mustache explores the space that lies outside of the gender binary, examining what it’s like to identify as another gender, or no gender, and to be a parent–as seen through the eyes of a child.

We look forward to seeing the outcome of these projects, which will elevate the national visibility and reputation of our entire college, and demonstrate the timeless value and importance of the arts, humanities, and social sciences to better understand our past, present, and future.