Research Clusters

  • The Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute sponsors research clusters convened by various faculty across campus.
  • These clusters are open to participants (faculty and students) from any and all disciplines and departments.
  • Those interested in participating should contact a convener of the cluster.
  • Clusters will meet a few times each semester to discuss common interests and collaborate in shared activities.

  • Research Clusters for AY 2017-2018

    Crista deLuzio, History; Susanne Scholz, Theology; Bonnie Wheeler, English

    Description Pending

    Bonnie Wheeler, English,; Shira Lander, Religious Studies/Director of Jewish Studies,; Danielle Joyner, Art History, Meadows,

    The “Medieval Matters” Research Cluster plans a year-long initiative to reinvigorate the strong, diverse, and engaged community of medievalists among the faculty and students at SMU and in the metroplex area. As a working group, we will examine fresh methodological approaches to the study of the Middle Ages with the goal of generating opportunities for new collaborative teaching and research across disciplinary boundaries. Among other possibilities, we envision a fully vetted book and digital project (with national and international contributors) that advances current understandings of the uses and limits of transdisciplinary teaching/research in the Middle Ages.

    Ashley Tull, Simmons School of Education and Human Development; Joan Gosnell, University Archivist, Central University Libraries; Timothy Binkley, Archivist, Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology

    Description Pending

    Francisco Moran, World Languages; Asiel Sepulveda, Phd. Candidate in Art History; Alice Hereen, Phd. Student in Art History; Claudia Zapata, Phd. Candidate in Art History; Beatriz Balanta, Art History; Grace Vargas, Phd. Student in Religious Studies; Angel Gallardo, Phd. Candidate in Religious Studies; Gage Peer, M.F.A Student in Art

    Description Pending

    Pia Vogel, Biology,, Thomas Ritz, Psychology,

    The Biopsychosocial Research Cluster brings together faculty from Psychology, Biology and Chemistry to use their combined expertise to discover molecular events linked to psychological, social, physical or medical challenges of humans. The biopsychosocial model of health incorporates, in its ideal conceptualization, processes on multiple levels, including biochemical and cellular processes, physiological function, psychological levels of behavior and experience of the individual, family and peer-group processes, as well as levels of the society, community and physical environment. The cluster has been active for a couple of years. The cluster research has been successful and resulted in several papers published over the last years, as well as in obtaining SMU a Dean’s Research Council grant to two of the members.

    Jo Guldi, History and Dennis Foster, English

    Over the past two decades, innovative researchers in a wide range of humanities disciplines have begun to develop research projects that take advantage of digital tools. As a consequence, the humanities as a whole have seen a shift in what counts as a knowable object of study, expanding the humanities into new and often multi-disciplinary fields.  The goal of this cluster is to read and discuss some of the recent theoretical and practical work being done in the Digital Humanities with the goal of creating a network of SMU scholars who can create and sustain digital projects.

    Klaus Desmet, Economics,; Mark McCoy, Anthropology,; Jessie Zarazaga, Lyle School of Engineering,

    This Research Cluster brings together faculty, graduate students, and staff who are interested in GIS (Geographic Information Systems, for mapping and spatial analysis). In recent years the greater availability of spatial data has led to a growing interest in GIS across a variety of fields, including anthropology, art, earth sciences, economics, engineering, human rights and the humanities. The goals of the cluster include 1) connecting SMU faculty and students who may be working independently in the area of spatial analysis, and sharing the different uses and potentials of GIS across their fields; 2) identifying specific needs for SMU faculty training in GIS tools; and 3) helping the library and the Ford Building in setting up facilities and support strategies for GIS at SMU

    Karen Thomas, SMU Meadows School of the Arts; Candice Bledsoe, SMU Simmons School of Education

    Description Pending

    Teresa Brentegani, World Languages and Literatures and Pavel Klimovich, Computer Science and Engineering

    Description Pending

    B. Sunday Eiselt, Department of Anthropology; Michael Adler, SMU-in-Taos; Andrew Graybill, History Department and Clements Center for Southwest Studies; Christopher Roos, Department of Anthropology

    Description Pending

    Justin Fisher, Philosophy,, Alan Brown, Psychology,

    The Cognitive Science Cluster sponsors a series of talks and other activities intended to draw together various people who do research on cognition at SMU. Cognition is information processing that occurs in brains or artificial systems, including gathering information from the environment (perception), drawing further conclusions (reasoning and inference), storing away information for future usage (learning and memory), using information to guide further activity (planning, decision making, and action), and other mental activities involving that information (emotion, creativity, conscious experience, and aesthetic response). 

    Theodore Walker, Perkins School of Theology; Steve Long, Perkins School of Theology; Justin Barringer, Religious Studies

    Description Pending 

    Dr. Rick Halperin, Director, Embrey Human Rights Program,; Edward Gray, DLS candidate, Simmons School,; Jennifer McNabb, DLS candidate, Simmons School,

    According to Michael Philips in his book, White Metropolis, Dallas has created a series of false narratives around its history, leading to an obfuscation of human rights abuses, especially where race is concerned. Dallas has not come to terms with its true history, which has had repercussions into the present and recent past, from the Kennedy assassination to current injustices in racial and economic inequality to Dallas’s part in the incarceration epidemic. All over Dallas there are sites redolent of an untold past. We propose a project to map the human rights sites in Dallas through an interdisciplinary approach with a prominent educational component. This proposal envisions partnerships with the new Dallas Holocaust Museum, as well as area high schools (especially Booker T. Washington), and community colleges.

    M. Carmen Smith, Director of education, meadows Museum,; Ige Guobadia, DLS candidate, Simmons School,; Gina Weber, DLS candidate, Simmons School,

    Trends in education are pointing in an interdisciplinary direction. But what does “interdisciplinary” mean? SMU recently inaugurated the third Doctor of Liberal Studies program in the world, building on its interdisciplinary Master’s Program. Creativity research approaches the innovative, novel, and valuable in multiple fields, encompassing education, psychology, leadership and organizational management, and many others; it is by definition an interdisciplinary research endeavor. This cluster will look at ways in which creativity research can inform and enrich interdisciplinary education at SMU, and the potential ripple effects of this type of education in the wider community.

    Kacy Hollenback, Anthropology; Mike Adler, Anthropology; Neil Foley, History

    Description Pending

    For information on previous year's clusters, click here.