Department of Jewish-Christian Studies Chair has book reviewed by NJ Jewish Standard

Rabbi Alan Brill, Ph.D., had his latest book Judaism and World Religions reviewed by Larry Yudelson of the New Jersey Jewish Standard. Rabbi Brill is the Cooperman/Ross Endowed Chair in Jewish-Christian Studies in Honor of Sister Rose Thering. His latest publication presents a survey of texts useful for discussing other religions from a Jewish point of view.  For the full review, please visit the New Jersey Jewish Standard at the link below:

Criminal Justice Students Present Paper at National Symposium

As students of Dr. Lonnie Athens, we were very interested in the process by which an individual becomes violent. The Violentization Theory, which Dr. Athens created and teaches, was fascinating to us. So, when Dr. Athens approached us about taking Senior Seminar for Criminal Justice, we accepted, but we never believed that our paper would lead to present at a national symposium, filled with professionals and graduate students in the field of sociology. As the only undergraduate students selected, we began to work on expanding our idea.

Prior to writing our paper, Dr. Athens put us in touch with Lisa-Jo van den Scott at Northwestern University, host of the Stone-Couch Symposium. When we first contacted Lisa-Jo van den Scott, we submitted an abstract entitled The ‘Cycle of Violence’ Thesis Viewed from an Interactionist’s Perspective. Our thesis is based on the idea that the Cycle of Violence theory is not enough to explain the creation of dangerous and violent criminals. Instead, we set out to prove that the Violentization Theory, a four-step process by which a violent individual is created, provides a better explanation because it looks at not only familial aspects, but places more emphasis on the social experiences in an individual’s life.

We began writing our paper at the beginning of the Spring 2012 semester and were scheduled to speak on April 21, 2012, at the Hilton Hotel in Evanston, Illinois. After registering, our work officially began: First, we looked at research done before and after the Violentization theory was published. This allowed us to see how researchers viewed violence in the past, what methods they used in their research and how their outlook on the topic changed as years went on and more research was published. Secondly, we used auto-biographies and interviews from several different sources in order to understand how the theory can be applied to individuals with different backgrounds and varying social experiences. During our research, we discovered that past theories we studied were not applicable to all cases, but the Violentization Theory filled in the missing gaps. This realization is at the heart of our argument.

During our presentation, we explained the steps that an individual must go through in order to, according to the Violentization Theory, become a dangerous and violent criminal. We presented our research to professionals who either taught or had an interest in sociology. Presenters (researchers, professors and graduate students) came from all over the world, just to be able to introduce their research to the sociological pool. Following our presentation, we were able to hear feedback from our audience, who expressed both questions and thoughts about our research.

Being able to show our research and all we have done was an incredible experience. The feedback showed us the different points of view of the Violentization Theory and helped us understand what parts of our research we must expand as we move forward with our ideas. Plus, we were able to give our own input to other research projects, helping our colleagues in their own research. In addition, the professors reached out to us and offered to help us should we ever need them in our future studies. We feel the Symposium was a one-of-a-kind experience and opened up many opportunities for us, both academically and professionally. Not only have we proved that hard work and motivation can go a long way, but we created networks that will last a lifetime. Although the year is coming to an end, we plan on continuing working on our paper over the summer and mostly likely, in to next year. Our ultimate goal is to have our paper published so that others can see what we have found and use our research to help their own ideas.

Mathematics students lauded for their use of multimedia

Seton Hall Mathematics students Joseph O’Connor and Jonathan Arena took the top honors at Seton Hall’s Student Technology Showcase’s Multimedia category, winning first place and runner-up, for their custom-made computer software designed to demonstrate the relationship between different fractal sets. Their study, “A Visual Exploration of Iterative Dynamical Systems Through the Mandelbrot and Julia Sets,” focuses on unique characteristics of the Mandelbrot and Julia fractal sets. Follow the links to view the multimedia videos designed by O’Connor and Arena, as well as the abstract for their study.

The purpose of this study is to investigate properties of iterative dynamic systems of the form fc(z) = z2+c in the complex plane. The project focuses on some unique characteristics of the Mandelbrot and Julia sets. Both sets are created using custom-made computer software and combined into visually stimulating movies that demonstrate the relationship between the two sets. The results show that the “boundedness” of the Mandelbrot set directly correlates with “connectedness” of the corresponding Julia set. A specific path through the Mandelbrot set in parameter space is chosen to create a video exploration of continuously changing Julia sets in the complex plane. A second movie explores the Mandelbrot set in detail to highlight its self-similarity.

Movie showing relationship between the boundedness of Mandelbrot set and the connectedness of Julia set Fractals.

Movie exploring the detail of Mandelbrot fractals.

Arts and Sciences Students Win Business School Entrepreneurship Competition

PR Express team members Megan Kelly, Ana Martinez and Adriana Giri win First Prize and Audience Choice at The Stillman School's Center for Entrepreneurial Studies Pirate's Pitch Competition.

Two Seton Hall Journalism and Public Relations Majors, Megan Kelly and Ana Martinez, along with their Union County College partner, Adriana Gini, won the 2012 Pirate’s Pitch Program held by the Stillman School of Business’ Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.

Kelly, Martinez and Gini run a business, PR Express, and seek to turn it into a web-based company that will make public relations services more available and accessible to small businesses. PR Express won the first place, $3,500 judge’s prize, as well as legal and accounting assistance, to help grow their business and launch it’s online services. PR Express also won a $250 audience’s favorite award.

The Pirate’s Pitch Competition is a four-month-long competition sponsored by the Stillman School’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and begins an initial proposal for a small business. Judges then select 10 semi-finalists to present their business models to the panel judges in person. 5 finalists are chosen to present their ideas in front of judges and an audience.

Political Science Professor has Op-Ed Published by ‘The Hill’

Assistant Professor of Political Science Heath Brown had his Op-Ed on the virtues of planning presidential transitions early published by The Hill. The Hill is a Washington, D.C. newspaper publication covering the United States Congress, with a special focus on lobbying, campaigns and other Capitol Hill News.

To read Dr. Brown’s Op-Ed, click the following link:

The virtues of planning a transition early.

Arts and Sciences announces revival of the Computer Science Program

The Department of Mathematics and Computer Science is pleased to announce the revival of its BS degree program in Computer Science. The program has been updated with emphasis on topics of modern interest, team projects, and preparation for both careers and graduate education. The program already has a good record of undergraduate research, with articles appearing in recognized conferences and journals. The Department has always had a strong commitment to academic advising and faculty-student interaction; we have now added both an advisory council of industry, academic and alumni representatives to assist in changing for the future, and a mentoring program in which each undergraduate major will be assigned a program graduate with whom they can interact.

Our graduates, who have 100% success in finding jobs (or graduate school admission, if they prefer), have gone into a variety of fields—not just in technical fields like software development and in business, but also in areas as diverse as cognitive science and law school. Please visit this site for a more complete description of the opportunities in the field, and a more extensive picture of our program, our faculty and our alumni.

History professor wins prize for article in the “Journal of the Early Republic”

Sean P. Harvey, assistant professor in the department of history, was awarded the 2011 Ralph D. Gray Article Prize for “‘Must not their languages be savage and barbarous like them?’: Philology, Indian Removal, and Race Science.” The Society for Historians of the Early American Republic awards the prize for the best article to appear in the Journal of the Early Republic in the previous year.

The article discusses federal efforts to collect information on Native American languages amid the removal debates and the emergence of the notion that Native Americans possessed an unchanging, linguistically fixed plan of thought, which supposedly explained Native resistance to assimilation and justified federal demands for English-only education. He has recently finished an article on “Philology and Linguistics” for the forthcoming Oxford Encyclopedia of U.S. Cultural and Intellectual History.

Harvey, whose courses on American history at Seton Hall range from the colonial era to the eve of the Civil War, is currently finishing a book manuscript, entitled American Languages: Indians, Nations, and Race in the Empire for Liberty. A National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship supported a year of research and writing. Besides presenting his research on intercultural communication and linguistic ideas of descent and difference at major conferences, he also had the opportunity to give a lecture on “Encountering Language in Early America” for the Language, Literatures, and Cultures Department and the Language Resource Center here at Seton Hall.

In Fall 2012, he will offer courses on Colonial America and the War of 1812. The latter course, marking the war’s bicentennial, will examine its broader place within Native spiritual revivals and resistance to white expansion, the context of the Napoleonic Wars and the disputes around commerce and citizenship they provoked, and the war’s role in accelerating industrial development in the United States.

Holocaust Study Day – “Radio during the Nazi Period: Dangers on the Airwaves”

The Graduate Program in Jewish-Christian Studies announces the 2012 Holocaust Study Day will take place on Thursday, March 15. This year’s theme is “Radio during the Nazi Period: Dangers on the Airwaves.”

Radio was used by the military during World War I and entered the life of civilians in the next decade. The Vatican created the first international radio station in 1931 and the Nazis exploited the medium soon after Hitler became chancellor of Germany in 1933. How cleverly Goebbels manipulated the way radio could enter every home! During the Second World War the airwaves were the source of people’s information about crucial events, often with the Axis powers and the Allies offering contradictory assessments of their impact. Various dimensions of this history will be presented by Mr. Richard Lucas and Ms. Laura N. Smith.

Today’s parents and educators face the expanding influence, for better or for worse, of the media in our time. Applications of historical lessons to the situation of ordinary people, and especially youth, will be considered in two workshops.

Thursday, March 15, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Chancellor’s Suite, University Center, Seton Hall University, South Orange Campus

8:30 a.m. – Registration
9 a.m. – Introduction
9:15 a.m. – Berlin Calling- German Radio Broadcasts to America. Lecture by Mr. Richard D. Lucas
10:45 a.m. – Break
11 a.m. – Allied and Resistance Radio: Past and Present Dangers for All? Presentation by Ms. Laura Smith
12:15 p.m. – Lunch
1:15 p.m. – Workshop 1 by Mr. Lucas – Propaganda and Treason: Then and Now; Workshop 2 by Ms. Laura Smith – Radio in Daily Life: Then and Now
2:40 p.m. – Closing session
A $10 registration fee, payable on site, includes lunch and materials. Please register by March 8, 2012. For further information, please contact Rev. Lawrence Frizzell at (973) 761-9751 or

Richard D. Lucas, (M.A. in Political Science, Binghamton University), is a life-long shortwave radio enthusiast as well as a freelance writer. He studies the use of radio as a tool of propaganda and persuasion. He published a thorough and scholarly study of an American, Mildred Gillars, who broadcast Nazi propaganda to English-speaking soldiers. His book, Axis Sally: The American Voice of Nazi Germany (Philadelphia: Casemate, 2010), tells her story in the context of a search for success that brought betrayal of her homeland.

Laura Smith, (M.A. in Jewish-Christian Studies, Seton Hall University), concentrated on Gandhian ahisma and civil resistance and mass media, symbolic politics and Nazi propaganda during her undergraduate studies in Political Science. She provides archivist and publication support to the Institute of Judaeo-Christian Studies at Seton Hall University and is currently assisting Rev. Lawrence E. Frizzell in preparing for publication the English translation of Msgr. John M. Oesterreicher’s 1939-1940 clandestine radio broadcasts. Broadcast from Paris, Msgr. Oesterreicher’s radio addresses encouraged Austrian resistance to Nazi occupation and were previously published in German by Erika Weinzierl (Wider die Tyranei des Rassenwahns: Rundfunkansprachen aus dem ersten Jaar von Hitlers Krieg (Wein: Gyer, 1986).

The study day will offer five professional development credit hours for participants. This study day is sponsored by the Graduate Program in Jewish-Christian Studies with financial assistance from Ms. Chris Liu of Hong Kong.

For more information on the workshop, please

Congratulations to our Choral Conductor

Seton Hall’s Choral Conductor Jason Tramm was featured in the Witner 2012 edition of Symphony Magazine, an international journal published by the League of American Orchestras. The Winter edition is the organization’s annual issue of Emerging Artists. In addition to being the Seton Hall Choral Conductor, Tramm is the New Jersey State Opera Artistic Director the Opera’s principal conductor. He was recognized as one of five conductors, and the only American among them.

Please join the College of Arts and Sciences in congratulating our Choral Conductor.

English Professor wins grant to write novel

Assistant Professor of English Nathan Oates, Ph.D., was awarded a grant by the Elizabeth George foundation last month to help fund his upcoming novel, tentatively titled The Free Country.

Oates, who teaches creative writing and was instrumental in establishing Seton Hall’s Master in English, writes novels which explore the American identity of United States citizens while abroad. The Free Country tells the story of an American aid worker in a fictional, post-civil war country in Central America. Oates says his fictional country is based on the Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

The novel will follow the experiences of an aid worker in a rural, mountain town working to establish a women’s community center, Oates said. As a Canadian company begins constructing a mine nearby, political tensions arise and violence between the civil war factions of country begins to reemerge. The American aid worker is torn. She feels connected to the people of the mountain town whom she serves, yet feels disconnected and distant from them due to the political pressures and privileges conferred by her American identity in a developing country.

The grant, according to Oates, will allow him to spend his upcoming summer researching post-civil war and revolution life in Guatemala.

The Elizabeth George Foundation provides grants to emerging playwrights, short story writers, poets and unpublished novelists, enabling them to live and work for a period of time as a writer,  according to the foundation’s website. The foundation was established by bestselling mystery novelist Elizabeth George who, after achieving success as a novelist, was determined to give back to writer’s world and help aspiring, unpublished writers have the opportunity to achieve success.

Oates encourages students who aspire to be novelists to not become discouraged by the novel writing process.

“The transition from short stories to the novel was harder than I anticipated,” he said. “The challenge is in building the narrative structure so that it maintains interest both in the immediate scene, and over the longer haul. Short stories are great because they have bursts of action that resolve themselves. Novels can’t be strings of short stories; the need a larger architectural structure that include a series of mysterious incidents that build toward a single, major incident.”

Aspiring novelists should investigate the structure of the novel, Oates said. “While the short story can teach an aspiring novelist many useful elements of prose fiction – from the importance of the sentence, to how to write convincing dialogue – the novel is a different form altogether. One needs to investigate the structure of the novel, by reading as many novels as one can, in order to be successful.”

In order to write The Free Country, Oates read every novel on Americans abroad he could find, as well as any novel by Latin American novelists whose works have been translated into English.