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Faculty Development

Brown Bag Series

The Brown Bag Series provides an opportunity for Butler faculty to present their original research, scholarship, and creative work, aimed to speak to both departmental colleagues and those in completely different disciplines. 

Students, staff, and faculty are all welcome to attend. 

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Brown Bag Series presentations will be held via Zoom until further notice. RSVP to is required to receive log-in information.

Show 2020-21 Presentations:

Vivian Deno (History), "Feminist Foundations? Demia Butler, Catherine Marshall, and Harriet Noble – and the Historicization of the Founding Generation of ‘Feminists’ at Butler University"
Thursday, March 4, noon-1 p.m.
RSVP to for Zoom log-in details.

In 1869 a grief-stricken Ovid Butler memorialized the passing of his daughter, Demia, by establishing the Demia Butler chair in English in her honor - the first in the nation to be designated to be held by only women. Catherine Merrill was the inaugural Demia Butler Professor in 1869. In 1900 when she passed, the local newspapers gave her a lengthy send-off—far longer and more detailed than Ovid Butler’s obituary had been. The Indianapolis News celebrated not only her teaching and commitment to the memory of the civil war dead but for her work as a clubwoman who while fearless had “never felt in harmony with the woman’s suffrage question.” Her successor Harriet Noble quickly ran afoul of Merrill’s memory and the expectations it demanded.  As an ardent suffragist and tireless worker on behalf of women’s rights, Noble was branded as something of a firebrand by friends and naysayers alike.

This Brown Bag lecture will put these three women into conversation to better understand the struggles that characterized feminist or womanist efforts on campus and in the region in the early 20th century. Vivian Deno will offer a critical analysis of the first generation of ‘feminist’ campus icons, Demia Butler, Catherine Merrill, and Harriet Noble.  Connected by tragedy and opportunity the three represented a founding generation of women on campus both in the classroom and in the memory of the campus and community.


Sudip Das (Pharmaceutical Sciences), "Nanotechnology and Covid-19"
Wednesday, February 17, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
RSVP to for Zoom log-in details.

As of January 20, 2021, there have been over 95 million confirmed cases of Covid-19, including more than 2 million deaths worldwide. The death toll from Covid-19 has surpassed 400,000 in the United States. The contribution of nanomedicine has been identified as the top longevity innovation of 2020. Nanotechnology and nanomedicine are not new concepts, but both have been underdogs in the pharmaceutical industry. It is noteworthy that nanotechnology and nanomedicine have come to the rescue in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of Covid-19, although not all approaches have been approved yet. Both Covid-19 vaccines approved in the United States (BNT162b2 by Pfizer-BioNTech and mRNA-1273 by Moderna) are lipid nanoparticles. In this session, Sudip Das will discuss how the concepts of nanotechnology and nanomedicine have been applied in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of Covid-19.


Fabiana Alceste (Psychology), "Expectations vs. Reality: Custody in Police Interrogations"
Friday, November 6, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
RSVP to for Zoom log-in details.

“Custody” is the trigger for Miranda warnings and video-recording in criminal interrogations. American courts assume that custody is an objective standard, but the original research Dr. Alceste will present shows that people judge freedom differently depending on their perspective—those actually being questioned may not feel free to leave, while outside observers do judge the person as free. Additionally, judges and police appear to overestimate how free the suspect was and felt, compared to laypeople. This suggests that people in police questioning sessions receive important safeguards (i.e. Miranda warnings) at different rates, depending on who decides if they are in custody or not.


Rocky Colavito (English), "Rhetorical Analysis of the Use of Extreme Imagery and Information in Professional Wrestling Documentaries"
Wednesday, October 7, noon-1 p.m.
RSVP to for Zoom log-in details.

What happens when extreme death match wrestling collides with classical rhetoric and documentary film in a violent three-way media dance? What rises from the carnage is still underdetermined, but the presence of the "epideictic of extreme" is a sure thing as wrestling documentaries maximize the spectacle of hardcore wrestling as a means of "getting over" with audiences. These transgressive emotional appeals form the means of not only sparking and keeping interest, but also legitimizing the documentaries for the informed wrestling audience, who has high standards and expectations of verisimilitude. Even when the aim is human interest, the humanity of the individual wrestlers is often subsumed by the emphasis on violence and the desire to "top this." The grapplers are in place, the cage is locked, the bell has sounded, let the blood and epideictic flow freely in spectacular fashion. Warning: The presentation contains images of wrestling-related violence, scripted and otherwise. Viewer discretion is advised.



Presentation Proposal Process and Application Instructions

Faculty interested in presenting a Brown Bag lecture in the next academic year should submit a proposal by April 23, 2021.

Proposals should include the following: description of the session, objective of the session, ways of including the audience, and what attendees can expect to learn. To submit a proposal, please send your responses to the following items in an email to by May 8.

  1. What is your college/department affiliation?
  2. Please briefly describe your proposed Brown Bag session (150 words or fewer). A detailed abstract will be requested at a later date if your proposal is accepted.
  3. List at least two things you expect attendees to learn from your session.
  4. Please describe the ways in which you plan to make this session engaging, hands-on, and/or participant-focused.
  5. Have you presented as part of the Brown Bag series in the past? If so, when?
  6. If you are not selected to present a full-length session this year, would you be willing to give a short-format presentation during an end-of-year “Pearls of Wisdom” session in which multiple faculty members present a brief version of their lecture?

Proposals will be evaluated on the following characteristics:

  • Organization and clarity
  • Novelty and innovation/creativity
  • Likelihood of being interactive/engaging

In addition, selection will be based, in part, on the desire to offer a variety of topics so as to appeal to different faculty, staff, and students across disciplines. First-time presenters and faculty from underrepresented colleges/units/disciplines are especially encouraged to apply.

To request disability-related accommodations or inquire about accessibility, please contact Please allow two weeks’ advance notice in order to allow adequate time to make arrangements. Although attempts will be made to honor accommodation requests with less notice, it cannot be guaranteed that without two weeks’ notice a reasonable accommodation can be provided.