February 2017 Newsletter: Spring University Scholars Series Launches

Sharon Rose Riley poses for a photograph at San Jose State University, on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Riley will be participating in the Spring University Scholars Series. (Photo: James Tensuan, '15 Journalism)

Sharon Rose Riley poses for a photograph at San Jose State University, on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. Riley will be participating in the Spring University Scholars Series. (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

By David Goll

When Shannon Rose Riley was a graduate student at the University of California, Davis – with a background in fine arts, performance art and video, among other artistic disciplines – a conversation with a respected colleague more than a decade ago encouraged her to follow her passion for the nations of Cuba and Haiti and their impact on American arts, culture and society.

It eventually led to Riley publishing the book entitled, “Performing Race and Erasure: Cuba, Haiti, and US Culture, 1898-1940” last year. Riley, an associate professor who also serves as chair of the Department of Humanities and coordinator of the university’s Creative Arts Program, will discuss her book on March 22 as part of the Spring University Scholars Series.

This season’s Scholars Series will also feature presentations by Ahmet Bindal, a computer engineering professor, and Sotoudeh Hamedi-Hagh, an associate professor in electrical engineering, on Feb. 22; and Rachael French, an associate professor in biological sciences, April 26.

Riley said the spark that led to her book grew out of a conversation she had with the late Marc Blanchard, a highly regarded UC Davis comparative literature professor, who was impressed with her passion on the subject.

“I was talking about my belief that those countries, which are on opposite sides of the Windward Passage and provide a corridor for travel between the U.S. East Coast and the Panama Canal, have had a major impact on culture in the United States,” Riley said.

The proximity has been significant to the nation’s artistic culture as well as perceptions of race and racial relations in the U.S. Riley’s interest in the Caribbean grew out of a trip she made to Haiti through the Art Institute of Chicago as a young art student.

Representing the diversity of topics in the Scholars Series, Bindal and Hamedi-Hagh will discuss their book entitled “Silicon Nanowire Transistors”. Published in late 2015, it describes the “n-” and “p-channel” Silicon Nanowire Transistor designs with single and dual-work functions, which emphasize low static and dynamic power consumption. The book reveals a process flow for fabrication and generates Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis (SPICE) models for building different digital and analog circuitry.

The final event in the University Scholars Series will feature French, who will discuss her research into how the growth and development of fruit fly offspring are affected by exposure to alcohol. She hopes the research can someday help develop new treatments for babies with fetal alcohol syndrome.

All lectures will be held from noon to 1 p.m. on their respective dates in Room 225/229 of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library.

Steinbeck Expert Speaks at November University Scholar Series Lecture

Dr. Susan Shillinglaw

Dr. Susan Shillinglaw

Dr. Susan Shillinglaw, a professor of English and comparative literature in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts and the director of the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, will be the speaker at the last University Scholar Series lecture of the fall. She will be speaking Nov. 16, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 255/257.

Shillinglaw served as the director of San Jose State University’s Center for Steinbeck Studies for 18 years and received the President’s Scholar Award in 2012-13 for her prolific scholarship on Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. Her recent publications include “Carol and John Steinbeck:  Portrait of a Marriage” and “On Reading the Grapes of Wrath.”

She is currently working on a book about Steinbeck’s travels in Russia and was invited to speak at the second Tbilisi International Festival of Literature this past summer. She will discuss Steinbeck’s three visits to the U.S.S.R during her Nov. 16 lecture.

The University Scholars Series is supported by the University Library, the Spartan Bookstore, Faculty Affairs, the Office of Research and the Office of the Provost.