One of the most important assets that makes a Muhlenberg education so unique is the level of expertise in the school’s panel of faculty members. These educators are masters of their craft and, in many cases, are still actively engaged in groundbreaking work within the field which they’ve chosen to pursue. This provides even more depth to the subject matter of the classes at this particular institution. With depth comes comprehension and understanding, and with those factors comes a better baseline for inspiration in the hope that students will make a difference in the same fields after seeing the work of this incredibly learned group of industry-leading professors.
A testament to the scholarship of the professors at ‘Berg could be seen this past Thursday evening in the Trexler Library as a number of well-dressed individuals filed into the Level A Concourse for a reception in celebration of the work of seven faculty authors.
As the reception went on, there was lively discussion between the contributors, as well as wine and hors d’ouvres being served on elegant tables. There was a healthy spread of ideas and separate passions within different disciplines and ways of thinking at every table at the reception, which made sense when considering the sheer amount of subject matter that was spanned by all of the books on display.
On a table in the back of Concourse A, guests could pick up pamphlets and even sample the books, if they so desired, from a copy of each of the seven volumes placed there. Inside of the pamphlets was a small blurb about the premise of the book, the research it was discussing and a bit more about the author and his or her background. Dr. Cartelli’s pamphlet, for example, described more details about his interest in Shakespeare and its prevalence in today’s society as a preface of sorts, drawing the prospective reader into a deep-dive of the actual book later on.
Dr. Guerrero, author of The Image of Elizabeth I In Early Modern Spain, outlined a number of interesting discussion points on the subject of perspective and its role on how history is transmitted through education. “The premise is to look for the first time into the image of the queen in Spain during the 16th and 17th century…it’s the first scholarship on the topic,” Guerrero said. “I hope it’s going to open the ground for all of my colleagues studying the same subject to see all sides of the argument.” Dr. Guerrero went on to describe the common issue of historical distortion based on Americanization and how the values of a liberal arts education do not fall in line with the principle that history is interpreted and told by those in power. “There was basically a lot of work done from the English perspective and not the Spanish perspective, and Spain was the main power in the area,” Guerrero explained. “It was kind of paradox that the people actually living there weren’t the ones opening up this dialogue.”
In addition, the subject of futurism and how the world may someday look is a pressing subject in popular culture and is detailed by Dr. Niesenbaum, author of Sustainable Solutions: Problem-Solving for Future Generations, who explained that “The premise of my book is that we hear only the bad news about the state of the world and the human condition, and this piece offers a positive outlook on the direction the world could logically be headed in.” Niesenbaum advocates for this subject because he is passionate about this cause and this field of study. “I teach in this area and wanted to offer hope and possibility,” Niesenbaum said. “I wanted to offer opportunities to those who are unaware of the scientific truth about the state of our world and what they can do to help.”
Dr. Cartelli, author of Reenacting Shakespeare in the Shakespeare Aftermath: The International Turn and Turn to Embodiment, explains that Shakespeare’s work can be a societally moving medium of theatre when modified to properly fit the society in which it is being performed. In his words, “An interest in avant-garde experimental theatre production was primarily what motivated me, as well as years of watching really boring, straight Shakespeare productions.”
He explains that theatre students in particular played a role in experimenting, talking about and screening some of his theories on this subject. Dr. Cartelli shared that Muhlenberg student research comprised an entire chapter of his book.
All in all, the work done by these faculty members is truly inspiring and makes it especially important to recognize the role that their groundbreaking work has on the valuable experience acquired through an education at Muhlenberg.