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College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (CAHSS)



We showcase the work of members of our community, from research and scholarship to creativity and the arts. Our faculty are sought-after experts who are frequently in the news.

College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences


Faculty & Staff Grants
July 22, 2019

Faculty & Staff Grants from May 2019

Congrats to Lynn Schofield Clark, professor and chair of the Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies, and Laurel Eckhouse,  assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, for receiving faculty grants this summer! 

Digital Stone Project
July 11, 2019

Using Technology to Create Art

Chris Coleman, an internationally known digital artist who also is a professor in DU’s Emergent Digital Practices program, spent the first part of the summer in about the most idyllic way you can think of for an artist: as part of the Digital Stone Project, a residency in the Italian town of Gramolazzo.

Praxis Initiative
July 9, 2019

Praxis Initiative Immerses Students in Art, Technology, Theory

Praxis emphasizes the importance of hands-on, cross-disciplinary, and public-facing creation in learning. Supported by the Keystone Strategic Plan and the John Madden Center for Innovation in the Liberal and Creative Arts, the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences is leading an initiative with an array of opportunities for students to engage in praxis. 

Ari Melenciano
June 25, 2019

Greater Inclusivity through Creative Technologies

Ari Melenciano, a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist, creative technologist, and researcher, is DU’s first Contributor in Residence at the University’s Clinic for Open-Source Arts (COSA). During her residency this March, Melenciano created and delivered a series of tutorials on creative uses for a range of open-source technologies as a way to democratize resource access. 

Amy Balogh
June 18, 2019

Religious Studies Adjunct Professor Connects Past to Present with Cross-Disciplinary Work

"How do people answer the question, why am I here and what is my place in the world? How do people identify what is 'true' or 'best'? What are the psychological and social effects of a person's beliefs and practices?" These are some of the primary questions that drive Dr. Amy Balogh, an adjunct professor in DU's Department of Religious Studies and program manager at the Center for Judaic Studies.
May 22, 2019

DU Prison Arts Initiative Supported by CILCA

Several days each week, Assistant Professor of Theatre Ashley Hamilton drives hours to facilities across the state, armed with only a pad of paper and a pencil, to bring theater and creative writing to people others consider beyond help. Backed by co-directors Apryl Alexander and Rachel Zafer, a faculty advisory board, and DU’s Center for Innovation in the Liberal and Creative Arts, Hamilton’s vision is expanding.

May 20, 2019

Faculty and Staff Collaborate on Anchor Institution Work

The Collaboration for the Public Good cluster is actively implementing various elements of Transformative Direction 3 in the DU IMPACT 2025 strategic plan. The group includes both faculty and staff, and in the last eighteen months they have focused on creating a strategy around DU as an anchor institution. Click through to find a Q&A with two of the group’s members—Anne DePrince, Director of the Center for Community Engagement to Advance Scholarship and Learning (CCESL) and Chair of the Department of Psychology, and Chris Bennett, Executive Director of Shared Services.

Derigan Silver
April 9, 2019

Faculty Spotlight: Derigan Silver

Ask any graduate from the Department of Media, Film and Journalism Studies about the most challenging and most rewarding course they've taken. If they've been at the University in the previous ten years, they're likely to mention a class they took with Dr. Derigan Silver. 

March 29, 2019

Just What Is Good Music? And Who Gets to Decide?

In his new book, musicology professor John Sheinbaum urges readers to rethink how we evaluate music. “This idea that there is good music and bad music is something that people do, rather than an absolute truth in the music itself,” says Sheinbaum.

Paid Family Leave
March 8, 2019

University of Denver Research Reveals Economic Impacts of Paid Family Leave in Colorado

Colorado workers who need to take leave from work would receive an average weekly benefit of $671 if lawmakers approve legislation to become the 7th state to provide paid family leave. This is according to research released today by the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) in collaboration with the Colorado Women’s College and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Esteban Gomez
January 29, 2019

Capturing Changing Communities Through Photography and Film

Anthropologist Esteban Gómez uses visual ethnography—a research-based methodology conducted with photography, video or film—to study the social realities of people and cultures. His current research looks at how photography and filmmaking projects help youth make sense of rapid changes within their communities. This is My Denver, an ongoing community-engaged project, gives youth a space to share their thoughts about the accelerating demographic changes taking place in the city.

SEED (Stress, Early Experiences, and Development) Research Center
January 29, 2019

SEED Science Transforms Lives

From trauma and homelessness to poverty and discrimination, adversity plays a big role in children’s development and well-being. In 2014, the Department of Psychology created the SEED (Stress, Early Experiences, and Development) Research Center to study the impact of adversity on children and families, and design interventions and policies that can change lives.

Chris Coleman
January 10, 2019

Commitment to Open-Source Arts

Chris Coleman has created art installations around the world, from Brazil and Singapore to Finland and France. But, you don’t need to travel far and wide to appreciate his art. Much of his digital work can be accessed online. “I like how shareable and democratic digital art can be. People do not need access to galleries or museums to enjoy much of my work,” he said.

Joshua Wilson
November 19, 2018

How Social Movements Affect U.S. Politics 

Social movements energized by the 2016 election clearly played a role in the recent midterm elections, according to Joshua Wilson, associate professor of political science. But how effective are political and social movements at using law in the pursuit of political ends? That question is at the heart of Wilson’s research. Wilson points to the civil rights movement as an example of how social movements can impact political change through the courts. “Racial desegregation was pursued by the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, led at the time by Thurgood Marshall. This is a classic example of a decades-long strategy to use the federal courts to desegregate and increase access in various parts of everyday life – from housing, to voting, to schooling,” said Wilson.

Angelo Castagnino
October 25, 2018

Dissecting Italian Crime Fiction

Angelo Castagnino is a scholar of 20th and 21st century Italian literature. His work focuses on characterization in the novel, with an emphasis on the Italian crime novel. It’s a combination of literary, historical, and sociological reasons that draw him to this particular genre. “Crime novels fictionalize one of the inner desires that are common to human beings—the search for truth and the fascination for what is secret and unknown, subjects that have interested prominent sociologists and philosophers,” said the assistant professor of Italian.

Hilary Smith
September 27, 2018

Past to Present:  Making Sense of Diet and Health

Have you ever noticed that there is no cheese or cream in Chinese food? Historically, dairy has not been a large part of Chinese diets. One explanation scholars offer is that Chinese populations tend to have higher rates of lactose intolerance—or the inability to digest a sugar in milk.This curiosity led Hilary Smith, assistant professor of Chinese history, to read and learn more about milk in Chinese diets. 

September 27, 2018

Tenure and Promotion: AHSS Celebrates Faculty Achievements

Fall comes not only with new students, but also promotions and transitions among our faculty colleagues.  Effective September 1, 13 faculty members have received a promotion, and three of our colleagues received emeritus status.

“Congratulations to our colleagues. All these changes recognize significant achievement, dedication and contribution to the mission of our departments, college, university, and fields,” said Dean Daniel McIntosh.

Actor's Mind
September 6, 2018

The Actor's Mind

Little do we consider the cross over between acting and psychology when watching an actor perform. Yet, the two often intermingle. Anne Penner, associate professor of theatre, and Kateri McRae, associate professor of psychology, explore acting from a psychological perspective in a new podcast, The Actor’s Mind.

Santander, Spain
July 26, 2018

Summer Classes in Santander, Spain

This summer, a group of 17 Spanish students are immersing themselves in Spanish culture and civilization on the northern coast of Spain, in the city of Santander. The four-week study abroad program is led by Professors Javier Torre and Susan Walter from the department of languages and literatures. Students take a language class at a Spanish university taught by a local instructor, and also a Spanish culture and civilization class taught by Torre and Walter. 

Sheila Schroeder
June 28, 2018

Linking Students and Alums in Filmmaking

After 30-plus years in filmmaking, Sheila Schroeder knows how hard it can be for students to get a foot in the door without experience or connections. To bridge that gap, Schroeder created Project DU F.I.L.M. (Film Initiative Linking Mentors) to bring together DU students, alumni and faculty in the making of short films. 

Picture of Ashley Hamilton.
June 1, 2018

Theatre for Social Change

After graduating with a BFA in acting from CU Boulder, Ashley Hamilton, assistant professor of theatre, headed to New York City and the bright lights of Broadway. A few years later, she was asked to teach theatre at a homeless shelter in New York. It was there that she discovered “applied theatre,” and a passion for bringing theatre to marginalized communities.

Art Jones
May 3, 2018

Art Jones Leaves Multi-Faceted Legacy at DU

Dr. Arthur C. Jones, after a collective 27 years in the Psychology Department, Women’s College and Lamont School of Music at DU, announced his retirement this year. The psychologist, award-winning author, former Associate Dean of the Women’s College and Faculty Senate President leaves distinctive and long-lasting legacies in interdisciplinary academic areas and in institutional policies that touch every school in the University.

Joyce Goodfriend
March 29, 2018

What's So Great About Hamilton? DU History Professor Joyce Goodfriend Explains

From New York to Denver, performances of Hamilton open to rave reviews from critics and audience members alike. The musical tells the life story of founding father Alexander Hamilton, from his arrival in the American colonies as a young adult through his climactic duel with Aaron Burr. Joyce Goodfriend, a professor of history who specializes in the Early American time period, is also a self-professed Hamilton fan. Here she answers some questions about the musical and the man.

Picture of Trent Steidley.
March 1, 2018

Gun Control, Gun Rights, and the Media in the Middle

With every mass shooting in the U.S., the gun control debate takes center stage. Gun control groups talk about the type of violence—from school shootings to urban crime—while gun rights organizations focus on guns as self-protection and a constitutional right. Do the media portray both sides of the debate fairly? Not always, says Trent Steidley, assistant professor of sociology. 

Clockwise: Raymond Isberg, Irene Leigh, and Audrey Isberg
February 12, 2018

Do You Recognize Any of These People? The University of Denver Needs Your Help Piecing Together History 

Over the last month, Professor Larry Conyers has worked with a team of students using ground-penetrating radar to produce images of what remains of two houses below a parking lot west of Sturm Hall. Using historical records, Conyers and graduate research assistant Jasmine Saxon have identified former owners and occupants of the two houses formerly located on South Race Street, including Carl A. Isberg and Edwin R. Leigh and their families. Now, they need help finding more information about these families, or other residents who might have lived there.

Excavated caves
January 29, 2018

Face-to-Face with the Dead Sea Scrolls

Since the Dead Sea Scrolls where discovered over 70 years ago, they have been the subject of books and movies, featured in TV series, and even, published online through the Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Project. Now, the Dead Sea Scrolls are coming to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science beginning March 16, 2018. It is one thing to see the Scrolls in digital format, and quite another to see them in person. Our faculty share their insights on the significance of the exhibit.

Piovani headshot.
January 29, 2018

Putting a Spotlight on Environmental and Feminist Economics

China’s rise in the global economy over the past four decades has also given rise to an environmental crisis that has critical implications for the global economy, according to Chiara Piovani, associate professor of economics. Piovani studies the social, economic, and environmental challenges of China’s ecological footprint.

denver map
January 4, 2018

Under the Asphalt, Denver’s Hidden History 

As Denver continues to grow, parking lots have been vanishing across the city. While most are concerned about the buildings being erected in place of their former parking spots, the University of Denver’s department of anthropology is more interested in what has been entombed beneath layers and layers of asphalt.

Harvester of Hearts
November 30, 2017

Frankenstein and Motherhood

Sometimes inspiration is a spark from deep within. For Rachel Feder, the inspiration for her new book, Harvester of Hearts, was more of a kick in the belly. A combination of teaching the novel Frankenstein and movements of her unborn son late in pregnancy put her in a unique mindset to start writing her book. 

October 26, 2017

Thinking, Thinkers & Thoughts

Michael Brent has designed and taught several DU philosophy courses at beginner and advanced levels covering a wide range of topics. His classes include first-year students to graduating seniors. Now with a grant from the DU Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, Brent is designing a new course for a much younger audience. Brent’s course will take his DU students out of the classroom and into the community where they will engage in philosophical conversations with first- and third-graders at a local elementary school.

October 26, 2017

New Course Contributes to Diversity & Innovative Teaching

In March 2017, eight AHSS faculty joined a Judaic Studies visiting scholar for an intensive interdisciplinary panel on stereotyping and the politics of hate. Born from that panel discussion was a new interdisciplinary course that will enable undergraduate students to study with faculty from the original panel, as well as others across AHSS.

“The conversations and connections that evening [in March] were powerful; it was clear on that night that the panel was the first step in something much larger, even though we didn’t know yet what that would be,” said Sarah Pessin, professor of philosophy and Judaic Studies.

September 28, 2017

Tenure and Promotion: AHSS Celebrates Faculty Achievements

Fall comes not only with new students, but also promotions and transitions among our faculty colleagues.  Effective September 1, 18 faculty members have received a promotion, and eight of our colleagues received emeritus status.

“Congratulations to our colleagues. All these changes recognize significant achievement, dedication and contribution to the mission of our departments, divisions, university, and fields,” said Dean Daniel McIntosh.

September 28, 2017

Physician Turned Anthropologist

Alejandro Cerón was in his fifth year of medical school when Hurricane Mitch struck Guatemala in 1998. As a student leader at the University of San Carlos, Guatemala, School of Medicine, Cerón coordinated the student emergency response team to the hurricane and the flooding aftermath.  Although he was on track to becoming a surgeon, the experience reshaped his future.

“I spent two weeks barely sleeping, involved in this, and by the end I had decided I did not want to be a surgeon but to work in public health,” said Cerón, assistant professor of anthropology. 

September 15, 2017

Ludlow Massacre Archaeological Project Celebrates 20th Anniversary

It's been more than 100 years since approximately two dozen miners, including women and children, were killed in what is known as the Ludlow Massacre (or the Colorado Coal Field War). The tent colony in Ludlow, Colo., was inhabited by some 1,200 striking coal miners — some of them recent immigrants — seeking safer working and better living conditions and better pay. 

"Ludlow helps us remember who built the country and why we should never take the lives and interests of working-class people for granted," says Dean Saitta, who served as co-principal investigator of the project and is a professor in DU's Department of Anthropology.

August 31, 2017

Psychologist Studies Resilience in High Risk Populations

Throughout her life, Angela Narayan has been drawn to stories of people who overcome adversity to lead happy, healthy and productive lives.

“My father is from India, and I traveled there several times throughout my childhood. I was always fascinated by youth who were able to ‘beat the odds’ and grow up to achieve and succeed,” said Narayan, a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychology. This emphasis on what fosters resilience in parents, children and families who face hardship is a major theme of her research. 

July 27, 2017

The Middle East, Feminism...and Vampires?

This is not your typical Hollywood vampire love story. Bernadette Calafell and Shadee Abdi were captivated by the story of an Iranian vampire in A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and how the film flips the script on the Middle East, feminism, and what it means to be labeled a monster.