2012 IFS Participants and Abstracts
Art and Art History
Building for Blood: Sacrifice, Gender, and Architecture in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity
Multivalent meanings of blood abound in the religious, gendered, and architectural systems of ancient Judaism and early Christianity. Bloody pieces of furniture—altars—dominate liturgical landscapes, and blood-thirsty deities demand sacrifice. Utilizing interdisciplinary approaches, I hope to examine blood’s prominent role within three spatial and bodily arenas, and the interrelationship among them: 1) the sacrificial courtyard of the Jewish Temple in ancient Jerusalem, 2) the altar area of early ecclesiastical architecture, and 3) women's bodily space—the monthly locus of generative, reproductive blood, or menses.
Chemistry and Biochemistry
The Role of Red Blood Cell Proteins in Health and Disease
Red blood cell proteins can be used as models to illustrate the concepts of structure/function relationships in proteins and the molecular basis of inherited disease. The replacement of a single amino acid in hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein of the red blood cell, results in the genetically inherited disease sickle cell anemia. Another red blood cell protein, the membrane-dwelling phospholipid translocase enzyme, maintains the asymmetry of the red blood cell membrane, an important process in the regulation of apoptosis, or programmed cell death.
The Witness of Blood, Lines to Arteries in the Body of American Poetry
This presentation will focus on traditional and contemporary American poems that employ images, metaphors and symbols of blood in their function of memorializing and presaging periods of social, political racial and religious sea change in American history. It will examine how the authors of memorable poems of witness exploit blood as both an image and conceit for conveying the life force of American life, as well as loss of life, from America’s provenance to the present. In conclusion, it will argue that blood as a poetic device serves as the indelible ink whose nature is paradoxical in both its static and fluid quality—its dry and fluid states as legible poetic record and ambiguous Rorschach of present and future life, the unwritten fluid lines and forms of the present age.
Ian Christopher Levy
Redemptive Blood and Ecclesiastical Authority in the Middle Ages
My contribution to the 2012 Providence College Faculty Seminar will first analyze the specifically sacrificial role of Christ’s blood in the Eucharist as understood by the medieval theologians and canon lawyers; and second will examine the great controversy that erupted in fifteenth-century Bohemia over the refusal of the chalice to the laity. Hence the intersection of blood and authority, or more specifically the access to divine redemptive power, will be the focus of my work.
Blood in Ancient Greek Medical and Philosophical Texts
My contribution focuses on blood as one of the four basic humors (along with bile, black bile, and phlegm) in Hippocratic medicine and the centrality of blood in Aristotle's complex psycho-physiology. The Hippocratics and other ancient Greek medical writers largely held that the presence or absence of blood, along with its balance and mixture with the other humors in the body, accounted for health and disease. Ancient Greek philosophers, such as the Presocratics, Plato, and Aristotle, integrate this medical understanding into their own philosophical works while at the same time explore the role blood plays in more typically "philosophical" accounts of phenomena such as sense perception and animal motion.
Jane Lunin Perel
Blood, Racism, Symbol and Metaphor in Poetry
We will look at poetry written in English, including some of my own, and poetry translated from German and Russian. The unique connection between blood and racism will be emphasized. A deeper understanding of blood as a symbol and metaphor will transcend the banality of the profane.
The Promise of Stem Cell Derived Blood Cells for Regenerative Medicine
There have been numerous breakthroughs in the field of regenerative medicine for blood cells derived from human stem cells. The research is truly exciting and will have the potential to make a large impact on human health. I hope to contribute a perspective of the cutting edge science to the other participants so that they will be able to appreciate the promise of stem cells and blood cells for therapeutic application.