Can You Feel the Forró Beat?

The rhythms of Afro-Brazilian music still echo the ancient drumbeats of Africa — carried across oceans on slave ships, adapted across the centuries, and today encompassing both a distinctive cultural identity and a communal national bond. Christopher Fashun (at right in photo) spent four months of 2019 in Brazil as a Fulbright Scholar, researching the … Continue reading “Can You Feel the Forró Beat?”

Spera 2020
Cultural Currents

Identity Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa

Dr. Virginia Beard was into identity politics long before the issue showed up on America’s front pages. For more than a decade, she’s investigated how religion, ethnicity and gender influence democratic attitudes and behaviors. In two papers finished in 2019, she lays out how religious identity affects attitudes toward democracy in some countries in sub-Saharan … Continue reading “Identity Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa”

Spera 2020
Cultural Currents

How Sanctification Works

“From the moment of birth the human person is becoming.” This first line of Dr. Angela Carpenter’s Responsive Becoming: Moral Formation in Theological, Evolutionary, and Developmental Perspective sets up an interdisciplinary exploration of how we go about “becoming.” One essential element is moral formation, and it’s this aspect of the human experience that Carpenter focuses … Continue reading “How Sanctification Works”

Spera 2020
Custom Blends

A Form for Memory and Grief

After a deeply personal experience with grief, poet Dr. Susanna Childress turned to a new-for-her form of writing — one that requires vulnerability, trust and creative risk-taking, both personally and professionally. Her new collection of essays, Extremely Yours: Observations on Being Disordered, will be published by Awst Press, with an anticipated release in 2020.“I think … Continue reading “A Form for Memory and Grief”

Spera 2019
The Inner Life

Nursing Research on Mother’s Milk

Across the board, the research is clear: Breastfeeding is healthy for infants and nursing mothers, has a positive long-term impact on children’s intelligence, and can benefit families and communities. Yet many mothers who decide in advance to breastfeed their babies stop sooner than they’d planned. “We know that the number one reason that mothers don’t … Continue reading “Nursing Research on Mother’s Milk”

Spera 2019
The Human Body

Complexities of the In-Between

Dr. Ernest Cole is a man who doesn’t quite belong anywhere. Cole spent much of 2018 — including a summer trip to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. — researching and writing his third monograph, which explores dislocation, displacement and the trauma of finding oneself in different spaces. In particular, he’s examining the work … Continue reading “Complexities of the In-Between”

Spera 2019
Compass Points