Faculty Take Sabbaticals To Study Italy, China, and Africa

June 19, 2006

The Mary Baldwin University Board of Trustees approved these faculty promotions and sabbaticals:


    • Carrie Douglass was promoted to professor of anthropology.


    • Paul Ryan was promoted to professor of art.


  • Adrian Riskin, associate professor of mathematics, was awarded tenure.


    • Robert Allen, associate professor of music, spring semester 2007


    • Michael Gentry, professor of mathematics, spring semester 2007
  • Sara Nair James ’69, professor of art history spring semester and May Term 2007


James will work on two academic projects: A book manuscript on art in England, which is a continuation of a project she started in 2002. The other, more recent, is to conduct research on the paintings in the choir of the cathedral of Orvieto, Italy. This is the same cathedral that has a large chapel with paintings that are the subject of her book, Signorelli andFra Angelico at Orvieto: Liturgy, Poetry, and a Vision of the End-time. The paintings in the choir form the longest fresco cycle known to be dedicated to the life of the Virgin Mary. No one has done serious research on them. She plans to spend time in Rome at the American Academy and do research at the Vatican Library and in the archives in Orvieto. She will give a paper on the paintings in the choir at a conference on the Virgin Mary during the Feast of Corpus Christi in June 2007.

Anne McGovern, associate professor of French, spring semester 2007

McGovern will study French colonial and post-colonial sub-Saharan novels in order to explore the literary response to the imposition of the colonizing language on the colonized. Additionally, she will explore cultural assumptions by the French that inadvertently hindered their imperialist efforts.

Métraux will explore Asian countries that he covers in his courses but has not yet visited. He recently went to Cambodia and Thailand, with short stops in Burma and Laos. He will join a Fulbright seminar for teachers to travel to several cities in China this summer.

During his sabbatical, Métraux will also employ the 2006–07 Karl F. and Patricia H. Menk Award for Faculty Support and Development, which he received in the spring. The award will allow him to travel to Japan to conduct research for articles and a lecture he has been commissioned to author. He will write about the significance of former President Ulysses S. Grant’s trip to Japan in 1879, and about Japanese religion for the magazineEducation About Asia.In October, he is scheduled to deliver an address on Americans in Japan in the 1800s at the Conference on Democracy and Religion in Asia at the University of Washington.