Faculty in Research

The Provost’s Podcast

In this podcast series, Dr. Robert Groves interviews distinguished faculty members at Georgetown University about their academic journeys, research interests, and how they balance teaching, research, and service. 

Faculty in Research can be found on iTunes:

Click each title for a full episode description, including a time-stamped table of contents.

Name: Deborah Tannen
Department: Linguistics

In addition to Dr. Tannen’s seventeen academic books and over one hundred scholarly articles, she has written eight books for general audiences. The best known of these is You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, which was on the New York Times best seller list for nearly four years, including eight months as No. 1, and has been translated into 31 languages. This is the book that brought gender differences in communication style to the forefront of public awareness. Deborah’s a frequent guest and contributor to many national television and radio programs.

–Table of Contents–
 0:00 – Intro
 1:20 – How did you end up at Georgetown?
 2:00 – How does sociolinguistics define itself in the larger context of linguistics?
 3:45 – How do you describe your research to those outside of academia?
 8:10 – Do you think people are conscious of their culturally-situated behaviors?
 9:00 – What’s the germ of the passion that keeps you going?
12:50 – How do you choose the next topic?
15:10 – How do you blend your teaching and research?
16:25 – What is a common misperception you’ve found among young graduate students?
17:40 – What is the next research question you plan to address?

Main Theme: “Corporate Technology” by Scott Holmes
Background: “Ambient Vol. 1” (album) by Daniel Birch

Name: Nancy Sherman
Department: Philosophy

Since 1995, Nancy has consulted for the U.S. Armed Forces on issues of ethics, moral injury, stoicism, resilience, and post-traumatic stress, lecturing here and abroad. She has written or contributed to seven different books, including Afterwar: Healing the Moral Wounds of our Soldiers, published in 2015. She has also written over 60 articles on the subjects of ethics, military ethics, the history of moral philosophy, ancient ethics, the emotions, moral psychology, and psychoanalysis. She has been a frequent contributor in the media, and her articles, opinion pieces, reviews and mention of her work have appeared widely in the press.

–Table of Contents–
  0:00 – Intro 
  1:20 – What are some reflections on your intellectual journey?
  3:00 – Explaining a pivotal external change in research trajectory
  5:00 – What stimulated your journey into philosophy?
  7:00 – How did you come to the conclusion to go deeper into psychoanalysis?
10:40 – How did the psychoanalytic training help you frame questions for “Afterwar”?
13:40 – How do you navigate between teaching and publishing your work?
16:00 – Are you working on multiple issues, or just the “issue of the day”?
17:45 – What would you say to a younger you?

Main Theme: “Corporate Technology” by Scott Holmes
Background: “Ambient Vol. 1” (album) by Daniel Birch

Name: George Akerlof
Department: Public Policy (Economics)

George has been a distinguished contributor to the field of economics for over 50 years. His most notable contributions have come in the areas of asymmetrical information, identity economics, reproductive technology shock, corporate looting, and natural norms of macroeconomics. In 2001, he was a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. The Nobel Committee cited his seminal paper from 1970 on asymmetrical information titled “The Market for Lemons.” He taught, with only brief interruption, at the University of California at Berkeley from 1966 to 2010, then served as a Visiting Scholar at the International Monetary Fund until 2014 before coming to Georgetown. He has co-authored a handful of books, the most recent of which is titled “Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception.”

–Table of Contents–
  0:00 – Intro 
  1:20 – What’s your story?
  2:30 – How did you connect your childhood interests to economics?
  4:30 – Were anomalies the kernel of your research?
  9:15 – How did societal problems prompt your economic perspective?
  8:00 – Did you have trouble publishing early work? Were you viewed as a rebel?
  9:00 – Meeting Mentors: Robert Solo & Raoul Bott
11:05 – What are your views on your mentors?
12:30 – How do you bring conceptual frameworks from outside of economics into the mainstream?
14:35 – Did you see your work accumulating in a design path?
16:25 – What common advice do you give to young faculty members?
17:30 – What are you most excited about in your current work?

Main Theme: “Corporate Technology” by Scott Holmes
Background: “Horizon Soundscapes” by RF Soundtracks

Name: Cal Newport
Department: Computer Science

Dr. Cal Newport is a Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Georgetown University. He studies the theory of distributed systems, but in addition to his academic research, he writes about the intersection of technology and society. He is particularly interested in the impact of new technologies on our ability to perform productive work and lead satisfying lives. Cal has published six books since 2005, including his most recent work from 2019 titled, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World. This book has been a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestseller. Along with his other writings, Digital Minimalism advocates for limited usage of social media and distracting technologies in order to maintain and develop our propensity for deep, prolonged focus. Many of his books and writings are tailored for students and their academic success. He also regularly contributes to his Study Hacks blog, which he created in 2007.

–Table of Contents–
0:00 – Intro 1:40 – What compelled you to write in areas outside traditional computer science? 3:45 – Blending entrepreneurship, writing, and computer science 4:50 – What was it like to write books while still in graduate school? 5:30 – How did you balance writing and research as a student? 6:10 – What was the germ of your interest in computer science? 7:00 – What are distributed systems and what do you find most interesting about them? 8:45 – Do you have an agenda in your mind, or does the external world present you with puzzles? 10:15 – How did you see the different sides of your life coming together in your new book? 12:05 – What advice do you have for young academics navigating across disciplines? 14:30 – How do you balance teaching and research? 16:05 – Do you see these two sides of your life changing your research agenda going forward? 17:20 – Are there new collaborations of disciplines in your future?

Main Theme: “Corporate Technology” by Scott Holmes
Background: “Horizon Soundscapes” by RF Soundtracks

Name: Emanuela Del Gado
Department: Physics

Dr. Emanuela Del Gado is a Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor in the Department of Physics. She is a theoretical physicist working on engineering motivated problems. She uses statistical mechanics and computational physics to model the structure and dynamics of engineering materials like gels, glasses, and amorphous solids. Emanuela taught and conducted research in Italy, France, and Switzerland, before bringing her talents to Georgetown, and has produced dozens of publications and writings within her fields of interest. She has contributed to the new theoretical description of amorphous solids– specifically, the material properties of concrete and cement. This research has been used in an effort to develop an environmentally-sustainable form of these constructive materials that have become so essential to our society and infrastructure.

–Table of Contents–
0:00 – Intro 1:30 – How did you become interested in the topics you are so passionate about now? 2:15 – Is yours an unusual approach to one’s selected area of emphasis? 3:00 – Tell us how concrete and cement came into the equation 4:10 – Did your engineering colleagues draw you into application or did you seek it out? 5:00 – Did you feel a pull and a push between theory and application in your field? 6:20 – Are these two fields opposites in the way they approach problems? 7:25 – How doe 0 s a system approach yield so much insight for concrete and cement? 9:00 – Is making concrete energy-intensive? 9:50 – Is concrete production increasing globally? 11:15 – How would your research make the world better? 13:05 – Are your publications a mix of theory and application? 14:00 – Are there protocols and insights you’ve gathered over the years as a female theoretical physicist? 15:10 – How do you think of research and teaching balance within your career? 16:30 – What’s the most fascinating thing you’re working on right now?

Main Theme: “Corporate Technology” by Scott Holmes
Background: “Horizon Soundscapes” by RF Soundtracks

Name: Carolyn Forche
Department: English

Dr. Carolyn Forche is a University Professor in the Department of English, and also the Director of the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice at Georgetown. She is a renowned poet and translator, and has published numerous books of poetry. Her most recent book, published in March of 2019, is titled What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance. The book recounts her experience in El Salvador leading up to the Salvadoran Civil War. Carolyn is a long-time human rights activist, and is particularly interested in the effect of political trauma on the poet’s use of language. She has received many awards for her literary work, and her articles and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other reputable publications

–Table of Contents–
Table of Contents 0:00 – Intro 1:20 – Where did your interest in poetry begin? 2:30 – Did your urge to write continue into adolescence? 4:00 – What attracts you to the form of poetry? 7:00 – Can you elaborate on the process of writing poetry? 8:30 – Are you making conscious observations through your writing? 10:30 – How intentional are the layers of emotion and meaning in a poem? 12:00 – How do you see the compatibility between your teaching and creative life? 15:10 – How many times you do you usually rework your writing? 16:40 – How have you combined your passions for writing and social justice? 18:35 – What is some advice that you would offer to a younger self?

Main Theme: “Corporate Technology” by Scott Holmes
Background: “Horizon Soundscapes” by RF Soundtracks

Name: Daniel Shore
Department: English

Dr. Daniel Shore is a Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor in the Department of English. His scholarly training is in the literature of the Renaissance and the humanist rhetorical tradition, with a focus on John Milton and the 17th-century. Daniel has published two books, the most recent from 2018, titled Cyberformalism: The Histories of Linguistic Forms in the Digital Archive. By lauding searchable digital archives as a valuable research tool, this book asks literary scholars to expand their conception of the sign to include abstract linguistic forms. It shows how we can study the careers of these linguistic forms as they travel across hundreds or thousands of years of literary and intellectual history.

–Table of Contents–
0:00 Opening 
4:05 What are you interested in?
4:30 How did you enter the linguistics side of things?
5:57 What is your personal journing in combining the literature and linguistics disciplines?
9:58 What are the driving passions behind your current research?
11:51 How do you do your scholarship and teaching?
18:17 What are common interests in your projects?
19:41 What are your current research projects?
21:30 Ending

Main Theme: “Corporate Technology” by Scott Holmes
Background: “Horizon Soundscapes” by RF Soundtracks

Name: Brian McCabe
Department: Sociology

Dr. Brian McCabe is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology. He also holds multiple secondary appointments within the university: as an adjunct instructor in the Regional and Urban Planning program; a core faculty member in the program on Justice and Peace Studies; an affiliated faculty member in the Department of African-American Studies; and an affiliated faculty member in the McCourt School of Public Policy. Through his teaching and research, Brian investigates the structures that contribute to social inequality, especially in American cities. He teaches courses on urban studies, neighborhood inequalities and quantitative methods for social research at Georgetown. He has published in numerous academic journals, and in 2016 he published his first book, No Place Like Home: Wealth, Community and the Politics of Homeownership. This book unpacks the challenges of strengthening communities through homeownership as owning a home has emerged as the core vehicle for building wealth in the United States. (Interesting note: In 2018, Brian completed a trans-America cycling tour from Washington D.C. to Seattle, WA., which lasted more than 50 days and 4,000 miles!)

–Table of Contents–
1:50: How did you become what you are? 16:15: Tell us about your research? 19:24: What is the most exciting thing you are working on right now? 21:16: What are the driving passions behind your current research? 23:45How did you come to choose this particular research area?

Main Theme: “Corporate Technology” by Scott Holmes
Background: “Horizon Soundscapes” by RF Soundtracks

Name: Diana Kapiszewski
Department: Government

Dr. Diana Kapiszewski is a Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor in the Department of Government. She has authored multiple journal articles and four books, including the award-winning High Courts and Economic Governance in Argentina and Brazil. Her current work examines judicial politics and law in Latin America. One project analyzes institutions of electoral governance and another investigates informal workers’ use of legal strategies in the region, focused in Brazil and Mexico.

Beyond her work in this field, she is also distinguished and award-winning in the area of research methods, co-directing the Qualitative Data Repository and co-editing the new Cambridge University book series: ‘Methods of Social Inquiry’. Her work has appeared in publications such as Latin American Politics and Society, Law and Social Inquiry, Law & Society Review, Perspectives on Politics, and PS: Political Science and Politics.

Table of Contents:
Table of Contents:
0:00 Welcome & Introduction
1:17 How did you end up at the Department of Government at Georgetown?
4:34 How do language and culture inform your research?
7:07 What are the driving questions of your book?
13:15 What are the ingredients of success in your research?
19:05 Who should care about combining methods?
21:33 What are the challenges of promoting combining methods in academia?
22:36 What is the qualitative data repository?
25:45 How do you juggle numerous roles?

Main Theme: Corporate Technology by Scott Holmes
Background: Horizon Soundscapes by RF Soundtracks

Name: Rebecca Hamilton
Department: Marketing

Dr. Rebecca Hamilton is a Professor of Marketing and the Marketing Area Coordinator at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business. She also serves as the Michael G. and Robin Psaros Chair in Business Administration. Rebecca’s research examines the effects of contextual factors – such as the social environment, stage of decision making, and presentation format – on consumer decision making.

Her work has won numerous awards, and has been published in notable scholarly outlets such as the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, and Harvard Business Review. She is currently Co-Editor of the Journal of Marketing Research, Associate Editor for the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, and serves on the Editorial Review Boards for multiple other academic journals.

Table of Contents
0:00: Introduction
1:15: What are you working on now? How did you get into these interests?
2:30: How does usability affect presentation?
3:14: When did these kind of questions arise and become interesting to you?
4:57: How do you go about your work? What methods do you use? What have you learned over time?
5:59: Is there large variation between individuals on gauging their own preferences?
6:48: What is your life as a faculty member like?
8:10: When doing Executive education, how is the behavior of students different from undergraduate level? What do you have to alter as a professor?
9:17: Do you find your research and teaching are symbiotic?
10:15: Could you elaborate on the process as a journal editor of deciding whta findings get disseminated?
12:18: How do you go about choosing a reviewer?
14:32: What are the current controversies in the field?
15:32: What is the most interesting thing you are working on right now?
17:45: Do you have a regimen you aspire to as an academic, regarding research and teaching responsibilities?
19:10: How do you keep to those schedules you’ve laid out? How do you juggle those competing responsibilities?
20:20: Did you begin these interests as early as high school and before?
23:20: What are the practical implications of this research?
24:10: How are you bringing together multiple approaches, how do you mount experiments in your field?
25:06: Conclusion

Main Theme: Corporate Technology by Scott Holmes
Background: Horizon Soundscapes by RF Soundtracks

Name: Marcia Chatelain
Department: History

Dr. Marcia Chatelain is a Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor of History and African American Studies at Georgetown University. Marcia is a public voice on the history of African American children, race in America, and social movements. In 2014, Marcia organized her fellow scholars in a social media response to the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, entitled #FergusonSyllabus. This project has led to similar initiatives online and has shaped curricular projects in K-12 settings, as well as academia. In 2015, she published her first book, South Side Girls: Growing up in the Great Migration. Her latest book, Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America, examines the intersection of the post-1968 civil rights struggle and the rise of the fast food industry. It will be published in early 2020.

A frequent public speaker and consultant to educational institutions, Marcia delivers lectures and workshops on inclusive teaching, social movements, and food justice. She hosts “Office Hours: A Podcast,” in which she talks to millennials about what is most important to them, and she has contributed to countless news outlets and organizations in the mainstream media.

Table of Contents:
0:00: Introduction
1:45: How did you choose to be a historian?
7:33: Why did you choose history to pursue writing?
9:52: How did you choose southside girls as the focus for your first work?
11:32: What is the work of a research project like this?
14:32: Can you tell us about the discoveries in your second book?
17:50: How do you balance academic research and impact beyond academia?
20:17: What is your daily routine like? How do you balance your schedule?
22:30 Tell us what you’re working on right now?

Main Theme: Corporate Technology by Scott Holmes
Background: Horizon Soundscapes by RF Soundtracks

Name: Der-Chen Chang
Department: Mathematics

Dr. Der-Chen Chang is the Robert and Catherine McDevitt Chair in Mathematics and Computer Science. He also serves as the Senior Advisor to the Provost for China initiatives.

Der-Chen is a prolific writer who has published six books and over 220 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He serves as chief editor of one academic journal, Applied Analysis and Optimizations, and associate editor of eight more in the field of mathematics. Additionally, Der-Chen has been a visiting professor at ten international institutions in five countries, where he has earned numerous awards for his service and teaching.

Table of Contents:
1:22: How did you first acquire the interest that motivated you to pursue mathematics.
2:19: Was it the applicability of mathematics to practical problems or the language which most drew you?
3:09: What has your intellectual journey been like?
5:17: How did your mentor have an impact on your life?
7:03: Tell us a little more about how you see mathematics?
8:37: Within the field, is it common to move back and forth between applied and theory?
10:34: Could you tell us a little about how you do your work and your research life?
12:55: How do you handle when you’ve gotten stuck on something?
13:48: How do you juggle all of your competing responsibilities?
15:02: Have you found that teaching gives you ideas for future papers or books? Is it a source of inspiration?
17:30: How do you decide when its time to create a book length product?
20:14: What audience do you think of for your books?
20:37: What advice do you have for younger colleagues?
22:23: How do you choose the next problem to work on?
24:58: What is the most exciting thing you are working on now?

Main Theme: Corporate Technology by Scott Holmes
Background: Horizon Soundscapes by RF Soundtracks

Main Theme: Corporate Technology by Scott Holmes
Background: Horizon Soundscapes by RF Soundtracks

Name: Victor Cha
Department: School of Foreign Service

Dr. Victor Cha is the Director of the Asian Studies Program at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and a Senior Advisor at the Center for Strategic Studies. Additionally, he holds the D.S. Song-Korea Foundation Chair in Asian Studies, and serves as the Vice Dean for Faculty and Graduate Affairs in the School of Foreign Service.

From 2004-2007, Victor served at the White House as Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council, where he was primarily responsible for Japan, the Korean peninsula, Australia/New Zealand and Pacific Island nation affairs. He was also the Deputy Head of Delegation for the United States at the Six-Party Talks in Beijing and received two Outstanding Service commendations. In addition to his myriad of accolades, awards and fellowships, he has written numerous articles and is the author of five books, including the award-winning Alignment Despite Antagonism: The United States-Korea-Japan Security Triangle.

Table of Contents:
0:00 Intro
1:27: How did you get to Georgetown University?
3:07: Where were you headed before you became interested in International Relations?
4:50: Do you still find Economics useful in your field?
6:23 How has being in Washington offered opportunities which might otherwise not have been available?
7:13 Some colleagues have discussed how it gets noisy in Washington, how do you manage that?
9:38 How do you handle your competing priorities?
13:45 So are you an early riser and research in the morning?
12:19 How have you dealt with Teaching and Research and have you found ways of integrating those?
14:13 What did you learn in government that you didn’t know before you started?
16:05 Did you feel the forces of uncertainty given the time constraints of policy decision making?
17:38 What is the most exciting thing you’re working on right now?
21:16 Conclusion

Main Theme: Corporate Technology by Scott Holmes
Background: Horizon Soundscapes by RF Soundtracks

Name: John McNeill
Department: Department of History and School of Foreign Service

Dr. John McNeil is a University Professor in the School of Foreign Service and the Department of History. He teaches world history, environmental history, and international history at Georgetown, and also directs Ph.D. students, mainly in environmental history.

John is considered by many to be a pioneer in the field of environmental history. He has written six books, the most notable being his work from 2000 titled, Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World, which argues that human activity during the 20th century led to environmental damage on an unprecedented scale. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017, and elected President of the American Historical Association for 2019.

Table of Contents:
00:00: Intro
1:18: What do academics get out of their activity in a professional association?
3:28: What are the big issues facing AHA right now?
4:10: Has the mistreatment of historians gotten worse recently around the world, in terms of harassment, imprisonments, etc.?
6:46: Are there those presenting their work which changes the interpretation of history who are not certified historians? Or are they presenting their work elsewhere?
7:51: How have you seen history as an outward looking field?
10:17: It seems there will be a period where a historian will have both documents and genetic information available, which would allow for interesting observations?
11:32: In your own history, can you recall the intrigue you initially brought to your choice of subfield in environmental history?
14:25: So what would have happened if you hadn’t done the marine biological appointment?
15:21: It seems it was an unanticipated post-doc which allowed for a lot of interdisciplinary experience?
15:50: Students are often curious about how faculty find an area that becomes a lifelong motivating force? How do you describe the eras of your own career and what keeps driving you?
18:01: Does your focus lead you into more collaborations?
19:24: Give us some insight into the activities of the Anthropocene Working Group? How does this cooperation happen effectively?
20:24: What are you working on now?
22:13: Conclusion

Main Theme: Corporate Technology by Scott Holmes
Background: Horizon Soundscapes by RF Soundtracks

Name: James Habyarimana
Department: McCourt School of Public Policy

Dr. James Habyarimana is an Associate Professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy. He mentors many students on research projects focused on development and policy analysis.

His research is focused on identifying low-cost strategies to address barriers to better health and education outcomes in developing countries. Ongoing projects include research to understand the effectiveness of centralized and decentralized programs, including the role of leadership, to improve teacher performance in East Africa, as well as how electoral incentives shape the design and implementation of education and health policies in Tanzania and India.

Table of Contents:
0:00 Intro
0:54 How did you develop your interest in the field?
2:34 When did you begin your engineering studies?
3:34 This holiday work was rather entrepreneurial right?
4:46 How much of a turning point was this experience in civil engineering?
5:15 How do you describe the importance of the discipline of randomized control trials for your work?
12:00 How do you remain productive while juggling your research, teaching and service?
14:16 What are you working on right now?
18:06 Conclusion

Main Theme: Corporate Technology by Scott Holmes
Background: Horizon Soundscapes by RF Soundtracks