November 2012

Humanities Café Opens with the Topic of Violence in Society

Photo of Jim Aho

The first ever Humanities Café was held on October 4 with the Committee for the Study of Violence, Conflict, and War in Society presenting professor emeritus Jim Aho from the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Criminal Justice. Aho discussed the intersections between humanistic sociology and violence in American culture and society based on his recently-published book Sociological Trespasses: Interrogating Sin and Flesh.

Photo of Roger Howard

The Humanities Café is funded by Roger Howard, a 1971 graduate from the Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Criminal Justice and a member of the Dean's Advisory Board, and it will be held regularly throughout the academic year. The next cafe, featuring Professors Alan Johnson from English and Naomi Adams from Art, will focus on their research on India. It will be held on Thursday, November 15th. Scheduled speakers for subsequent café presentations include Jim Skidmore from Philosophy and Kevin Marsh from History. Skidmore will explain how humans have developed moral and ethical theories that have affected how they treat animals. Marsh will discuss the impact that climate change has had on human societies in the past and the likely moral and ethical questions humans will face in the future relating to climate change.

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All events are free and open to the public and held at Portneuf Brewery on First Avenue. For information regarding upcoming presentations, contact Erika Kuhlman in the History Department at 208-282-2379 or at, or Linda Leeuwrik in the Art Department at 208-282-3974 or




Jessica Winston, English, Receives Award

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Professor of English, Jessica Winston's paper entitled "Succession Plays at the Inns of Court in the 1560s" has been chosen as the 2012 winner of the Delno C. West Award for best paper presented by a senior scholar at the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association conference. The paper looks at George Gascoigne and Francis Kinwelmersh's Jocasta (1566), a tragedy performed at the English legal society, Gray's Inn. Jocasta centers on the Oedipus myth, specifically the civil war between his sons Eteocles and Polyneices following Oedipus' own fall from power.

The paper argues that the play seems to address the politically relevant issue of Elizabeth I's succession policy but then retreats from that commentary at the end, instead turning the play into a statement on the dangers of personal ambition. Jocasta thus seems to announce that members of the Inns have the prerogative to comment on the succession, but it then preserves that prerogative by not using it, and in this way is typical of other plays written at the Inns of Court in the 1560s.

President's Medallion Award Recipients

The President's Medallion Homecoming Award was established in 2001 to honor friends and alumni of ISU. Recipients are chosen based on outstanding accomplishments, exemplary service and support, distinction to the University, and advancement of higher education. This year's recipients are Carl Davis, Ted Messmore, and Dave Sanna. All three are originally from Pocatello, and all three are alumni from departments in the College of Arts & Letters.

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Carl Davis, the first person on either side of his family to attend college, graduated in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in History. He then earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Utah in 1973 and began his legal career began with a private firm in Portland, Oregon, before transferring to the District Attorney's office. In 1981, he went to work as one of four attorneys for Nike, then a relatively small shoe company. Davis held several positions at Nike before becoming legal counsel for Columbia Sportswear Company from which he retired in 2005.

Davis's previous ISU recognitions include a 2003 Professional Achievement Award from the College of Arts and Sciences and ISU Gem Legacy awards in 2001 and 2006. He has also served on the ISU Foundation Board of Directors.

Photo of Ted Messmore

Ted Messmore earned his bachelor's degree in Sociology in 1970 before pursuing post-graduate studies at the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin. Following his graduation from ISU, Messmore began his career as the district manager with the Gillette Company, Premium and Incentives Sales, based in Minneapolis and later Chicago.

In 1978, Messmore started his own business, TeJac Advertising, a distributor of creative imprinted and promotional products, advertising specialties, and corporate gifts. Messmore is now celebrating his 35th year in that business. After returning to Pocatello in 1993, Messmore began an active role in many civic and community organizations. He served as president of the Greater Pocatello Chamber of Commerce and as president of United Way of Southeast Idaho. He is also a graduate of Leadership Pocatello and was president of the ISU Alumni Board of Directors.

Messmore's previous recognitions include Volunteer of the Year by the Greater Pocatello Chamber of Commerce, and Leadership Pocatello Alumni of the Year. Currently, Messmore is a member of the Pocatello Rotary Club, Pocatello Chiefs, and Greater Pocatello Chamber of Commerce.

Photo of David Sanna

David Sanna obtained his bachelor's and master's degrees in Political Science from ISU and is a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. Fresh out of college, Sanna went to work for FMC Corporation as a systems analyst but soon came back to the university. At ISU, he served as assistant dean of men and associate dean of students. Sanna then moved into the financial management area with A.G. Edwards and is now with RBC Wealth Management. In 2009, Sanna began work on his Wealth Management Certification and is now the only Certified Private Wealth Advisor in Idaho.

Sanna has continued to be active with ISU, participating in the I Love ISU campaign in both Pocatello and Boise. He has also provided leadership in the ISU Alumni Center campaign, and he is currently a member of the dean's advisory board for the ISU Meridian Health Science Center.


Elizabeth Cartwright, Anthropology, Receives Grant

Photo of Elizabeth Cartwright

Elizabeth Cartwright, a professor of anthropology, and her colleagues Anita Hardon (University of Amsterdam) and Josep Comelles (University of Tarragona, Spain) have received a $20,000 Wenner Gren grant. The award will support the 2013 joint meeting of the Medical Anthropology network of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) and the Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA), a section of the American Anthropological Association. This will be the first conference ever jointly held between medical anthropologists in the U.S. and Europe.

The conference, entitled "Encounters and Dialogues: Creating New Agendas for Medical Anthropology," and it will take place June 12-15, 2013, in Tarragona, Spain. The conference will allow scholars of medical anthropology from all over the globe and from both academic and applied research settings to come together to present, discuss, and debate their theoretical orientations, ethnographic insights, methodologies, and sensitizing concepts. The conference will provide a much-needed worldwide forum for medical anthropology scholars with the explicit intent of critically examining current trends in this particular sub-discipline of cultural anthropology. The conference goal is to challenge medical anthropologists with respect to the selection of topics being studied, theoretical traditions being explored, and methodological advances being utilized. The Wenner Gren funding will be used to provide the opportunity for scholars from resource-poor countries to attend the conference.

Debate Team Starts Strong

Photo of Sarah Partlow

The Debate Club started the season by defeating a team from Stanford University and finished fifth at a national tournament hosted by Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. This year's intercollegiate debate topic focused on energy policy in the United States.

After six preliminary rounds, seniors Matea Ivanovic (Boise, ID) and Roger Copenhaver (Puyallup, WA) advanced to elimination rounds with a record of 4-2. In addition to beating rival Weber State's top team, Ivanovic and Copenhaver also picked up wins against The University of Puget Sound and Stanford.

Photo of Debate Team

"This tournament is considered quite competitive. All of our teams performed well, especially Roger and Matea," said director of debate Sarah Partlow-Lefevre. In addition to sharing the 5th place finish, Ivanovic was also named 10th speaker in the overall field.

"Our team has shown excellent growth over the last year, and we are very pleased with the position that we find ourselves in. We are looking forward to this season," said assistant coach Scott Odekirk.

Photo of Debate Team

This semester the team plans to travel to the University of Kentucky, UNLV, Harvard College, Wake Forest, and Whitman College. Additionally, the team is gearing up to host the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) National Championship tournament in March 2013. CEDA Nationals will bring to ISU about 200 debate teams with 500 participants from all over the United States.


Susan Swetnam, English, Publishes New Book

photo of Susan Swetnam

Susan Swetnam, professor of English, recently published a new book, Books, Bluster, and Bounty: Intermountain West Carnegie Library Building Grants as a Case Study in Grassroots Support for Cultural "Frills." Published by Utah State University Press, the book is a study of the Carnegie library system in the Intermountain West.

While twenty-first century proponents of libraries and public arts and humanities activities might conclude that it is virtually impossible to muster tangible grassroots support for such cultural "frills" (as some of our fellow citizens consider them), the story of turn-of-the-twentieth century Carnegie public library grants offers an encouraging precedent. The book demonstrates how-in a time and place as financially straightened as our own-those concerned with books and reading in the Intermountain West mustered enthusiastic and wide-ranging public support for Carnegie library building grants in their communities, securing impressive municipal and private donations and substantial time commitments from ordinary citizens. Using the grants as a lens to suggest the diverse social history of the region, Swetnam argues that these hundred-year old campaigns offer important practical lessons with relevance for today.

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