UM Kansas City
As a fan of Polaroids and a former art history major, it may seem like a stretch that Elijah Gowin would go on to win a Guggenheim Fellowship for photography. Yet the assistant professor of Photographic Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City has been experimenting with mixing electronic and traditional photographic media to create a new style of art—one that relies on both his well cultivated photographic instincts and the unlimited possibilities of the Internet.
As a Curators’ Professor of Theatre, Felicia Hardison Londré has taught theatre history and dramaturgy at UMKC for 31 years. “People need theatre,” she says. From every research excursion Londré makes into theatre history, which she views as a kind of time travel, she brings back records, artifacts, and stories in an effort to assure that this collective past survives far into the future.
“Know thyself” is one of Western philosophy’s most recognized maxims. It shows up on signs, bulletin boards, and t-shirts; it makes cameos in Hamlet, The Matrix, and certain U2 songs. People go on retreats, vacations, sabbaticals, and to college to “find themselves.” Clancy Martin, chair of the philosophy department at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, does not think this is wise: “Life,” he claims, “would be unlivable if we knew ourselves too well.”
Diane Mutti Burke, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, has a confession to make. Her eyes dart from interviewer to videographer as she decides to let them in on the secret: “Oh, I've been a—should I say it?—a history nerd since I was a little kid!”
Since he was raised in a family of civil engineers, it is not surprising that Ganesh Thiagarajan grew up to become an assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. However, not until pursuing his masters degree at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (India), did he realize his true place in that world. “Somehow, at that point, I knew I wanted to be in academia,” Thiagarajan recalls.
Xiao-Qiang (Sean) Yu is looking for a way to cure disease, but he has never been to medical school. His diagnoses take place under a microscope, not on an examination table, and his primary patients don’t talk much—instead, they buzz. By studying insect immune systems, Yu is learning how to prevent disease in humans, and give medicine another weapon against infection.