Summer Fellowship for Curricular Diversification





In accordance with Plank 3 of the Strategic Plan, to “create a culture of diversity,” the mission of the Diversity Action Committee (DAC) is “to increase knowledge of diversity and to effect positive change within the Siena community concerning issues related to gender, race, ethnicity, class, age, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability and other forms of categorical prejudice and discrimination.” The DAC Summer Fellowships for Curriculum Diversification and for Diversity Research are provided to support faculty projects that go along with the spirit of this mission. Six fellowships are offered.


The Diversity Action Committee Summer Fellowship may be in one of two areas:

1. Curriculum Diversification provides summer salary support for individuals wishing to restructure an existing course, to develop a new course, or to create an innovate course module around diversity broadly construed in terms of gender expressions, races, ethnicities, classes, ages, sexual orientations, disabilities, and/or religious identities. Projects should result in a new course centered on diversity or a substantial modification of an existing course. Please identify the questions and motivations guiding the course proposal in terms of diversity along with texts and examples in support of the proposal.


2. Diversity Research provides summer salary support for individuals to engage in research projects concerning diversity, broadly construed in terms of gender expressions, races, ethnicities, classes, ages, sexual orientations, disabilities, and/or religious identities. The project may focus on pedagogical practices and issues pertaining to diversity; or it can be anchored in much broader cultural contexts and scenarios. The project may articulate specific concerns organized around diversity or may inquire into the idea of diversity, bringing its complexities to the foreground and/or problematizing them. The relevance to the field of study should be clearly explained.

Application available at COTFD page. The DAC awards are reviewed by a subcommittee of DAC. We welcome your projects.



Lisette Balabarca, Assistant Professor of Spanish
Course Title: Early Modern Hispanic Literature 

Abstract: SPAN400 is a Special Topics in Spanish course that explores issues not normally treated in regular Spanish courses. It may be taken more than once with different content and it is intended for advanced students in Spanish. It is also a requirement for all Spanish Majors. Next Fall, I will be teaching this course and the Special Topic I have chosen is one that is closely related to my research area and academic interests: Early Modern Hispanic Literature. This means that it will be focused on, basically, Spanish texts written during the 16th and 17th centuries in both Peninsular Spain and its Spanish American colonies (the Viceroyalties of Mexico and Peru).  

The goal of this class is to confront students with non-canonical texts. That is, rather than studying mainstream authors of 16th and 17th centuries (such as Cervantes or Lope de Vega, the most productive comedy writer of his time), we will be dealing with the literary and cultural production of subaltern subjects and minority communities that were not included in Imperial Spain’s plans of a homogeneous Christian state. Therefore, the course will look at women, gays, Spanish Muslims and colonial subjects in an attempt to make them visible through their texts. Ultimately, what brings them together is their marginality based on gender, sexual orientation, religious identity, race or ethnicity. It is my intention, then, to expose Siena students to this diverse population and to what it meant to be “the other” in 16th and 17th Spain.


Paul Konye, Associate Professor of Music
Course Title: African Art Music: Its Evolution and Practice 

Abstract: African art music is defined as a genre of African music that is dependent on music notation for its synthesis and dissemination. Its evolution and practice in the 19th century Africa was significantly impacted by major historical, cultural, and political factors and other issues of the time. African art music is in essence, a representation of the multi-faceted cultural pluralism that characterizes the fabric of African cultural landscape. The genre is a direct reflection of Africa today—acculturation of diverse elements from various sources.

As a musicologist who has studied, taught, and conducted research in art music of various types for over 15 years, I am proposing to introduce a new course titled “African Art Music: Its Evolution and Practice,” as a Franciscan Core course based on diversity. The nature of the course is such that it will expose students to extensive exploration of the historical, political, and cultural landscape as well as overview of Africa as a continent, thus giving students a much needed insight into African culture.

Given that the nature, evolution, and practice of African art music on the continent evolved differently and is practiced differently as well, the course will be taught in four sequences:

·       (a)   West Africa

·       (b)  East Africa

·       (c)   North Africa

·       (d)  South Africa

This initial proposal is limited to facilitating research on the evolution and practice of African art music in English speaking West African countries, namely:

·       (a)   Nigeria

·       (b)  Ghana

·       (c)   Liberia

Although the course will be titled African Art Music: Its Evolution and Practice, it will however, require that students first gain a thorough understanding of the African culture and its indigenous music characteristics that are the basis of the art music.  Thus, a summer research opportunity will make it possible to gather materials for teaching the class possibly in the fall of 2014. Given that the author of this proposal has a published text book on the subject, further research on the indigenous and the art music traditions of the named countries would allow for a much needed update of class materials and text.


Carolyn Malloy, Professor of Spanish
Course Title: Latin American and Spanish Literature and Popular Culture

Abstract: This new course taught in Spanish will incorporate contemporary literary (high culture) and popular cultural production from Latin America and Spain (latter part of 20th century to the present) and deal with questions of diversity and identity. In the course, students will analyze recent literature in Spanish using various methodologies and they will also critically approach popular representations that reflect similar themes and issues, such as gender, race, sexuality, social class, religion, immigration, and hybrid identities.  In this fashion, students will reflect upon and compare these issues to realities of their own, thus becoming more cross-culturally aware. Contemporary Latin American and Spanish literature will include short stories, novels, poetry and theatre; popular cultural material or media and genres may include magazines, newspapers, television, radio, commercials, blogs, comics, graphic novels, political cartoons, film, etc. Students will become aware of the historical and social contexts in which popular culture has manifested itself. In addition, they will incorporate some of the ideas of an important Latin American critical thinker, Néstor García-Canclini who has written widely on how popular culture can be a strong tool for development, but it can also be a pretext to identify differences and often be used to discriminate.


Smita Ramnarain, Assistant Professor of Economics
Course Title: Political Economy of Gender, Race and Class

Abstract: This course – the Political Economy of Gender, Race and Class – emerges from the rationale that economic life has material, cultural and political facets and that aspects of an individual’s (or group’s) identity – gender representation and/or sexuality, race, class – may constrain or empower agents in their participation in economic life. The political economy approach used in this class will critically interrogate:

(a) how assumptions regarding gender, race and/or class permeate economic theorizing of the household, with respect to labor markets, and about productive and reproductive work;

(b) how economic policy-making based on these assumptions systematically reproduces unequal opportunities and outcomes across (socially constructed and historically contingent) categories of gender, sexuality, race, and/or class; and

(c) how certain groups – women, the LGBT, and racial minorities – have been underrepresented (or misrepresented) in economic theorizing, perpetuating inequality over time.

As such, this course challenges students to confront the dominant narratives regarding social hierarchy, to identify their systematic reproduction by existing economic structures or policies, and to start a dialogue on what effective and egalitarian policy-making might consist of.  

The methods used in the course are diverse, ranging from statistical summaries of economic and social indicators, ethnographic descriptions of work in offices, factories, and households, and historical accounts of the evolution of social policy in the US. An intersectional approach to the topic is emphasized, examining gender, race and class as interdependent and co-constituted axes along which oppression and agency might be experienced.


Fanny Söderbäck, Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Course Title: Ethics of Birth and Reproduction

Abstract: This course will be offered as a section of the newly introduced philosophy course Ethics of Science and Technology, and will examine a variety of ethical issues pertaining to birth and reproduction. Birth is a topic largely lacking in the philosophical canon, and its absence amounts to an erasure of a defining feature of life in general and the lives of women in particular. To make it a topic of study is thus to make visible the experience of marginalized groups, most obviously women, but also – in the context of eugenics, queer parenting, and various bio-political attempts to control populations – racial minorities, the LGBT community, and the socio-economically oppressed. The course will be divided into two thematic blocks. The first will focus on the category of birth by turning to primary historical sources from Sophocles to Simone de Beauvoir. We will assess what it means that thinkers since Antiquity have discussed birth primarily in abstract, disembodied terms. Our reading of traditional texts will be complemented by alternative feminist accounts that stress perspectives largely lacking in the canon. How, we will ask, might awareness of our own birth color our present lives and impact our ways of thinking about existence, embodiment, sexual difference, subjectivity, finitude, and human relations? The second part of the course will apply these historical materials to contemporary ethical issues surrounding birth, such as pregnancy, reproductive technologies, queer parenting and adoption, abortion, and eugenics. Students will conduct research on a topic of their own choosing, addressing the often-complex ethical dilemmas we are faced with when considering scientific and technological advancements in the context of birth and birthing.




Vera Eccarius-Kelly, Professor of Political Science
Course Title: Nonprofit Leadership

Abstract: Thisis a new course proposal to further diversify class offerings in political science. This course is intended for students interested in (a) developing leadership skills, (b) capacity building in marginal communities, (c) sustainable development and societal transformation, and (d) social justice and empowerment. The entire course content focuses on women in the US and the developing world by analyzing transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire leadership models, social role theory, and sustainable development partnerships. The predominant pedagogy used in this course is the Socratic Method to examine questions related to gender and race, stereotyping, and socially enforced value judgments. Collaborative problem-solving exercises related to nonprofit case-studies will serve to sharpen critical thinking skills in the course. The course also has a practical component that connects students with local leaders. Women in nonprofit leadership positions will meet with students to discuss issues of empowerment and organizational challenges related to gender dynamics, racial stereotyping, and cultural violence. This course is intended for sophomore level students who are committed to pursuing leadership roles on campus or intend to study abroad in the developing world.


Marcela T. GarcésAssistant Professor of Modern Languages (Spanish)

Course Title: Diverse Perspectives in Contemporary Peninsular Spanish Film


Abstract: In this course, we will analyze films from contemporary Spain that deal directly with questions of diversity. Spain’s recent history is particularly compelling when it comes to examining the evolving status of diverse groups, making it an appropriate case study for addressing these issues. From 1939-1975, due to a repressive dictatorship, Spain was a relatively isolated and oftentimes intolerant country. Women were second-class citizens and there were laws that made homosexuality punishable. While some of these things changed in the 1960s and early 1970s, major shifts in Spanish society began after 1975 with the death of dictator Francisco Franco. Spain’s transition to democracy opened doors for women to attend universities en masse and to participate more in the workforce. The LGBTQ community forged a space in society, ultimately gaining the right to gay marriage in 2005. Large-scale immigration in the 1990s and 2000s tested the limits of democracy, and Spaniards continue to grapple with the presence of immigrants and racial and ethnic minorities in their country. This course will address these three main groups: women, the LGBTQ community, and immigrants. Through the incorporation of a service-learning component in the course, students will also volunteer with organizations that serve each of these groups in the Capital Region. They will therefore gain a global and a local perspective on the history of diverse groups and also learn how they might better serve and understand these groups in the U.S., thus creating cross-cultural awareness.



Arindam Mandal, Assistant Professor of Economics

Course Title: Economics of Discrimination


Abstract: Economists have a deep tradition of exploring various aspects of market place discrimination in modern market economies. By offering this course, I would like to offer Siena College students a glimpse of the issues surrounding discrimination from an economist point of view. The course will explore both the causes and consequences of discrimination in the market place. Topics include economic theories of discrimination and inequality, evidence of contemporary class, race, ethnicity and gender based inequality, detecting discrimination, and identifying sources of racial and gender inequality. For this purpose, the course will develop a working knowledge of economic models of discrimination, household decisions and time allocation. The models along with empirical literature would be applied to understand discrimination based on class, gender, race and ethnicity. The course then focuses on understanding different policies that have been used to address these issues. Finally, models and data would be used to understand policies to counter market place discrimination. In the course, students will learn economic theories to explain class disparity, gender inequality, racial bias, and the lack of political rights held by immigrants. Students will also familiarize themselves with the current situation of income, gender, racial inequality, and immigration to the modern US. Students will become familiar with reading theoretical and empirical economic essays, and with summarizing these in their own writing.

Ausra ParkAssistant Professor of Political Science

Course Title: Problems from Hell: Genocides, Gendercides, and Other Monstrous Crimes


Abstract: “Never again,” “not on our watch” vowed the international community as the unimaginable outcomes of the Final Solution came to light. Yet, despite political determination, these pledges were not upheld time and again. Problems from Hell unfolded before the Holocaust and after it. Genocides are certainly not mass killings “invented” in the 20th Century—their roots go back to colonial times, when it was a monstrous crime still without a name. Genocides are happening in the new millennium as well. It seems, however, that a majority of American students are unaware of “other” genocides and the forms of –cides (democide, politicide, gendercide, classicide, feticide, femicide, androcide, infanticide, and autocide) that either took place or continue to happen around the world. Here is a list of a few places visited by monstrous crimes: Armenia, Ukraine, North Korea, the Soviet Union, China, Australia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Argentina, Columbia, Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, former Yugoslavia, Russia, Iraq, India, Mexico, and the United States. More than a quarter of a billion people lost their lives as a result of mass killings carried out by the governments of the countries listed above, and many more lives were lost due to other –cidal practices. This course will focus on several genocidal cases in-depth—cases will alternate each time the course is offered—and expose students to broader debates and controversies about –cides, including discussions about the possibility of attaining justice for those victimized by atrocious crimes.



Andrea Smith-Hunter,Professor of Management and Sociology

Course Title: Women and Minority Entrepreneurship


Abstract: This is an exciting time for women and minority (defined here as racial and ethnic groups that are not in the majority race) entrepreneurs. Women and minorities are starting businesses at a faster rate than the population at large. However, more often than anything else, women and minorities are often ignored in curriculum development which focuses on Entrepreneurship. This focus on women and minorities is important, since these groups are often in lower paying industries, experience high failure rates, and often start ventures that do not grow. This course will have students focus on how we understand race, gender, or ethnicity in light of these trends, especially when being a minority or woman has historically been identified as a barrier to business success? This course will look at these factors and their influences and impacts on the entrepreneurial revolution here in the US and around the world. Everyone operating in today’s global marketplace must become aware of the nature of the marketplace and all the components and participants in that marketplace. Thus potential employees, would be managers and future entrepreneurs develop the skills necessary to design and implement strategies to circumvent current restraints for minority and women entrepreneurs. Unfortunately a comprehensive look at the world today is often undermined by the limited emphasis on various curriculum areas—curriculum areas that need to contain a diverse perspective.



Fanny SöderbäckAssistant Professor of Philosophy

Course Title: Philosophy and Gender

Abstract: This course will examine the relationship between, and the making of, (biological) sex and (socially constructed) gender. It will tackle the question of how we are and become sexual beings, and critically explore the fluid boundary between the biological and the social. Are there, we will ask, essential differences between women and men; ones that we should embrace rather than reject? Or are differences between the genders merely an effect of patriarchal society, making the goal of feminism to eradicate such differences? If gender is made, can it be unmade? Are there two or multiple genders? Is our gender located in the body or is it psychological? The course would further awareness of diversity in multiple ways. First, it would make students more informed of the fact that philosophy as a discipline need not be abstract and “pure” in nature, and need not assume male subjectivity as the only viable philosophical position. In that same vein, students will be made aware that, while philosophy undoubtedly is a male dominated discipline, there are indeed female philosophers and they have had a huge impact on recent philosophical debates about seemingly abstract notions such as subjectivity, time and space, freedom, the mind-body dualism, or finitude. Finally, the course will offer frameworks for thinking about sex, gender, and sexuality in ways that inevitably will have positive impact on students’ awareness about sexism, homophobia, and other forms of structural oppression against women and gender variant folks.

Keith WilhiteAssistant Professor of English

Course Title: Literature and the Law


Abstract: Despite their apparent differences, the disciplines of literature and the law both rely on the power of language to organize, interpret, and articulate the intricacies of human affairs. Moreover, legal and literary discourses both share in the pursuit of justice, whether that justice be construed in historical, theoretical, or poetic terms. This proposed course will offer Siena students a chance to analyze and discuss literature’s engagement with questions of morality, ethics, individual responsibility, and relations of power in the modern and contemporary era. In an effort to promote a greater awareness of diversity, the course will prioritize marginalized or minority voices, investigating the ways in which the values, policies, and practices of justice are realized or, more often, under-realized across different strata of society. Through our course readings, students will investigate spaces that the law protects, regulates and, at times, neglects—such as Native American reservations, inner-city neighborhoods, and prison systems. Other readings will take up questions pertaining to women’s reproductive rights, the right to sexual privacy, and the censorship of “obscene” literary works.Finally, we will examine international voices that address issues of citizenship, ethnic identity, war crimes, indefinite detention, and reconciliation. Drawing on this wide assortment of topics, students will explore how literature constructs and questions concepts of justice and injustice, right and wrong, truth and falsehood across a range of historical periods and in diverse cultural contexts.