Inauguration Videos


Linfield Faculty: Global Thinkers, Locally Engaged

Streaming Media

Document Type

Video File


1 hour 7 minutes 19 seconds

Publication Date



African Languages and Societies | Asian History | Biology | Cultural History | Dramatic Literature, Criticism and Theory | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | English Language and Literature | Forest Biology | French and Francophone Language and Literature | History | Liberal Studies | Playwriting | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Theatre History | United States History


In celebration of the inauguration of Dr. Miles K. Davis as the 20th president of Linfield College, four Linfield faculty members share their research as a way to highlight global thinking and local engagement.

  • The Adventures of Ranald MacDonald, Trained in the Liberal Arts (Lissa Wadewitz): Ranald MacDonald was born to a Scottish father and a Clatsop Chinook mother at Fort Astoria, Oregon in 1824. In 1835, he was sent to Winnipeg to get a proper liberal arts education that fueled MacDonald's passion for learning and desire to see the world. At 18, MacDonald left home to work as a whaler, a gold prospector, and, most famously, as the first English teacher in Japan. Although foreigners were not allowed in Japan at the time, MacDonald purposely shipwrecked himself and convinced Japanese officials not to execute him. This native Oregonian thus came to connect the local to the global through his lived experience as he repeatedly used his liberal arts training to adapt to a rapidly changing and globalizing world.
  • Look to the Ant (Chad Tillberg): Ants have captured the imagination of philosophers and scholars since antiquity. What is it about this group of animals that makes them such a fascinating comparator for human individual and societal behaviors? In what way might we benefit from a scientific understanding of ant behavior? How has the liberal arts environment of Linfield College informed one myrmecologist's scholarly journey?
  • The Ravages of Monoculture in Africa: The Case of Cameroon (Marie Chantalle Mofin Noussi): This talk is part of a broader project on monoculture in African literatures and cultures. It examines how the French colonial policy of assimilation not only affected the political or social spheres but also prejudiced agriculture and the environment in general, disrupting the lives of the native people. In the process of negotiating their relationships and partnerships with global actors, many African countries find themselves once again confronted with a policy of standardization. While considering examples from other African countries, this talk focuses on Cameroon, a West African country nicknamed "Africa in Miniature," which is an example of the long-lasting manifestations and impacts of French assimilation. The goal of the talk is to analyze the various ways in which monoculture (cultural and agricultural) influences life in the former French African colonies and particularly in Cameroon.
  • Messing with Shakespeare (Daniel Pollack-Pelzner): In addition to Pinot noir, one of Oregon's top global exports is Shakespeare. (They pair well together.) Daniel Pollack-Pelzner and some of his students have been working with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival — the state's chief producer — to document the theater's ambitious Play On project: 36 playwrights from around the English-speaking world (majority women, majority artists of color) hired to translate all of Shakespeare's plays into modern English. It's a common practice in other countries, where Shakespeare is routinely translated into contemporary speech, and it was the practice in English from the 17th century through the late 19th century, when Shakespeare's language was seen as obscure and in need of updating. Why did that practice change? Why should a diverse group of playwrights revive it today? And how does Linfield play into this project? Global thinking meets local practice through Oregon Shakespeare, which is transforming what Prospero in The Tempest calls "the great globe itself" into "such stuff as dreams are made on."