Faculty Research Forum Held at Mount Union College

October 29, 2008

Mount Union College faculty members Dr. John Bienz, Dr. James Perone and Dr. Xiaoshu (Cafacforumbienztherine) Han were the featured presenters at the Faculty Research Forum held recently on campus.

Dr. John F. Kirchmeyer, professor of computer science and information systems, served as moderator.

Bienz, professor of English, spoke on "Republican Shakespeare?" and how the playwright was uniquely able to appeal to a diverse audience from the monarchy on down and how. Through the use of cognitive scripts, he examined how it is still possible to rediscover some of the atmosphere of the Elizabethan theater.

“Generic enacted narratives can be rediscovered today,” said Bienz. He shared how standard events sequences can be rediscovered to an extent. Against a backdrop of images from his trip to London, he explored ways to regain the parallel scripts of London in Shakespeare’s day.

The cognitive script of theater goers today, with its unwritten sequence of purchasing a ticket, finding a seat, quieting down as the lights are dimmed and the curtains open was not yet established in the Elizabethan theater.

“Merchants and actors, more then than now, how to be ready for anything,” said Bienz. “Corpses got up and danced, then left the stage.” He shared how drummers were used to focus the attention of unruly crowds to watch and pay attention to what was going on onstage. With no ushers, there was no crowd control and the actors were at the mercy of a diverse audience if a play could not fully the attention of a diverse audience with divergent interpretations.

Shakespeare had the masterful ability to capture and hold the attention of the diverse Elizabethan audience and its divergent interpretations of his plays. “The approval of the audience ‘the public marketplace’ was finally at least as important as approval from the monarch,” said Bienz.

facforumperonePerone, professor of music and chair of the Department of Music, presented his research on "Mods, Rockers, and the Music of the British Invasion.”

The research conducted by Perone during his sabbatical in the spring of 2008 focused on the Mods and Rockers, British youth gangs of the early 1960s. These closed subcultures each had their own indentifying signifiers and were representatives of different social classes.

Perone shared how American rockabilly and rhythm and blues influenced the Mods and Rockers respectively and how, in turn; the British Invasion reshaped American rock. Beginning with Tommy Steele in 1956, he covered the evolution of British rock, highlighting such influences as the “British Elvis” Cliff Richard in 1956, the retro sound of Billy Fury in 1960. Also in 1960, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates incorporated the “two and four” drum pattern that became the norm. Perone had the chance to trade e-mails with Tony Sheridan whose “My Bonnie” mixed rockabilly with Mod aesthetics in 1961.

The result of Perone’s extensive research is his newest book, “Mods, Rockers and the Music of the British Invasion,” which is due out within a month.

facforumhanHan presented her preliminary research on whether or not obesity has a negative effect on wages.

She began by clarifying what constitutes a normal or overweight person. Using body mass index (BMI) to distinguish levels of obesity and utilizing the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey datasets on the United State Department of Health website, Han found that 66 million adults in the United States are in the obese category. This category accounted for 9.1% of total healthcare expenditures in 1998, totaling 78.5 billion dollars.

Through her research, she hopes to answer the questions “Does obesity affect earnings negatively?” and “If yes, how much?” Preliminary results indicate that females within the normal BMI range earn the most while obese women earn the least. Overweight males, however, earned the most while those who were underweight earned the least.

“You cannot draw a conclusion from this research without examining more factors,” said Han. She presented other factors that could have an impact on the results as well as the formula she was using to account for them.

Her next steps will be to share her finding to get feedback from other economists and hopefully publish them.

Dr. Patricia Draves, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the College, presented certificates to the presenters.

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