Death Conquers in New Book by CWRU Art Historian

Elina Gertsman
Elina Gertsman

The macabre encounter of skeletons mocking the living has haunted Case Western Reserve University art historian Elina Gertsman’s imagination since childhood walks with her grandfather through the St. Nicholas Church in Tallinn, Estonia (now the Art Museum of Estonia). That childhood fascination led to Gertsman’s newly published book, The Dance of Death in the Middle Ages: Image, Text, Performance (Brepols, 2010), a rare and long-awaited volume on the subject.

Gertsman is an assistant professor in the art history department, who started at Case Western Reserve University in August. She teaches courses on medieval art, including Gothic Art, Medieval Art, Women and Medieval Visual Culture and a seminar on Death in Medieval Art.

The Dance of Death is a late medieval genre that, when incarnated as a large-scale public artwork, often combines images and text. The procession of figures often starts with a pope and then alternates with skeletons or corpses by societal hierarchy from the rich to the poor, the powerful to the powerless. It includes both young and old, lay people and clerics. Read more.

Campus News

The Information Technology Services (ITS) Software Center now includes iLife '11. The Apple Software Collection offers all students, faculty and staff free access to OS X Snow Leopard, iWork '09 and now iLife '11. iLife'11 can be downloaded separately by selecting the "Apple Software Collection" on the Software Center.

iLife is a suite of products for Mac users that includes iPhoto, iMovie, Garage Band, iWeb and iDVD for working with photos, music and movies. For details about these products visit

If you have additional questions about new products, contact the ITS Help Desk at 216.368.HELP (4357) or go to and click on "Live Chat."

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The Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities is having a second call for applications for its Research Working Group seminars. Support of up to $2,000 is offered for research and critical inquiry in the humanities through research working group seminars. These seminars, to be organized on the semester model, will be composed of faculty and graduate students in the arts and humanities of the College of Arts and Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. Each group should have a targeted question or theme and be interdisciplinary in composition. Groups that duplicate, in the majority, the composition of any one department are not eligible. Funds should be expended between Feb. 1 and May 31. Final reports will be due in June and should include the names and institutional affiliations of all participants. Find more information and the application here.

For Faculty and Staff

ACES+ Distinguished Lectureships are now open to all faculty from all disciplines at the university. Applications are currently being accepted. ACES+ Distinguished Lectureships will provide support for visits to Case Western Reserve University by senior women faculty or underrepresented minority faculty for up to four days of collaboration and lectures. The lecturer will be invited for a stay of two to four nights and will give two to four lectures, which may include specialized seminars or course lectures and a public lecture followed by a reception. Each lectureship carries a $1,500 honorarium and additional funds for travel, lodging and reception expenses. Download more information here, and submit complete application materials to Sharon Burke.

For Students

The Kelvin Smith Library student competition to redesign the main floor of KSL this semester is well underway, and there's a second opportunity available to meet with Associate Provost and University Librarian Arnold Hirshon. Send your team or a team representative to KSL on Wednesday, Jan. 12 at 10 a.m. to talk with him and learn more. Find more details on the KSL NewsBlog.

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121 Fitness Center, owned and operated by Case Western Reserve University, offers the Spartan Shape Up program for undergraduate students. For just $175, this semester-long membership provides full access to more than 28,000 square feet of top equipment, more than 55 free group exercise classes each week, free lockers and towels and more. New members receive four free personal training sessions and a free T-shirt if they join before Jan. 31. Stop in for a tour and to see the just-installed strength training circuit. 121 is open Monday through Friday, 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Register online or at the front desk. 121 accepts Case Cash.

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All Case Western Reserve University students are invited to submit an original 500- to 750-word writing piece to the Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest, based on an excerpt from noted historian Nell Irvin Painter, who is the keynote speaker for Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week. For the essay prompt and more information, click here. Essays must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Jan. 14 via email to Melissa Burrows, EEO & Diversity Specialist in the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity. Monetary prizes for first ($300), second ($200) and third ($100) place will be awarded, courtesy of Kelvin Smith Library.


Be sure to reserve a spot (and lunch) for "What You Should Know About Your Research Proposals and Budgets," presented by Robin Bissell, director of the office of grants and contracts at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and Deborah Hamzah, director of research administration, Case School of Engineering. The workshop and discussion, sponsored by the Faculty Leadership Development Institute of the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, will be held Tuesday, Jan. 18 in the Spartan Room at Thwing Center. To RSVP, go online. For more information, contact Susan Freimark.

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The Case School of Engineering presents Lessons Learned from the Front Lines of Innovation: The Myth and Reality of Starting Your Own Biomedical Company at 7 p.m. tonight in Nord 400. Charu Ramanathan, co-founder of CardioInsight, will speak at the event, which is open to the public. Seats are limited; to reserve a spot, email Colin Drummond.

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The Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods sponsors the Brown Bag Lunch Series Jan. 12 from noon to 1 p.m. in the BioEnterprise Building, Suite 401. This month's topics will be "Benefits of a School-based Dance Pad Exercise Program for Children who are Obese/Overweight," led by Peg Heinzer, associate professor of nursing at Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, and "We Run This City Youth Marathon Program: A School-Community Fitness Program That is Making a Difference," led by Tara Taylor, program director of Cleveland YMCA, and Elaine Borawski, co-director of PRCHN. Beverages and light lunch will be provided. For more information, go online.

The views and opinions of those invited to speak on campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.

Et al.

Jessie Hill
Jessie Hill

Two Case Western Reserve University School of Law professors' works have been published recently: Professor Jessie Hill's "Abortion as Health Care" was published in the American Journal of Bioethics, while David L. Brennan Professor Erik Jensen's work, "Codification of the Economic Substance Doctrine," appeared in the Journal of Taxation of Investments.

Jan. 11, 2011

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In the News

E-mailing Yourself from the Office? Proceed with Caution

Physicians Practice, Jan. 6, 2011
Doctors emailing patient notes to their home accounts could get into trouble for the practice if sending unencrypted messages with patient information. It is important to take necessary precautions when sending emails, said Sharona Hoffman, professor of law and bioethics, and Andy Podgurski, professor of computer science.

Doctor: Giffords Faces Speech, Movement Problems as She Recovers

AOL Health, Jan. 10, 2011
Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords likely will have communication and movement problems that may linger even after she recovers from the gunshot wound to the head she sustained over the weekend, said Michael DeGeorgia, professor of neurology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and director of the Center of Neurocritical Care at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.

Joshua Schwarz: Medina Sun Person of the Week

Medina Sun, Jan. 10, 2011
Case Western Reserve University freshman Joshua Schwarz has set a New Year's resolution to create 52 Facebook apps during the 52 weeks of 2011 in an attempt to expand his computer language skills.

Higher Ed News

The Web of Babel

Inside Higher Ed, Jan. 11, 2011
Web-based tools, such as Twitter and iTunes, can be a helpful addition to classroom learning of foreign languages, as students and faculty members alike have learned at universities.