Faculty Research and Creative Activities

Professor Lindley Hanson


Having always been interested in the tectonic assembly of New England my research was primarily focused on the deformed and metamorphosed ancient marine sediments that form the New England Appalachians in Maine and New Hampshire. However, during my sabbatical in the fall of 2014 I stayed closer to home to map and interpret a belt of rock that extends southwest from Marblehead Neck to Medford. These rocks are over 590 million years old and were part of the Avalon micro-continent that collided with and sutured to the ancient North American margin during the Devonian (~400ma). This collision was responsible for forming the Appalachians. The local rocks record a period of violent volcanic activity and marine sedimentation during a time when life did not exist and continents and ocean basins bared no resemblance to the configuration seen today. At that time (>590 ma), these rocks were located, or so we think, along the northwest margin of Africa. They reveal the presence of a volcanic arc, similar to the present day Japanese Islands. Through detailed mapping and zircon dating using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), I and other colleagues continue to tease out the sequence of event that resulted in the separation of Avalon from North Africa, destruction of the intervening ocean basin, and collision with North America. Rocks tell a story and as technology improves we need to revisit them to re-evaluated the details.

The data and results obtained during my sabbatical study were published in the 2014 New England Intercollegiate Geologic Conference guidebook and the first Annual Field Trip Guide of the Massachusetts Geological Society presented in 2015. Keeping current with research enables me to interest and guide students in local research. This spring I have two students presenting at the Northeastern Section conference of the Geolological Society of America in Albany, NY.

Professor Anna Rocca and Dora Carpenter-Latiri at the NeMBLA conference

World Languages Professor Anna Rocca

My sabbatical leave in spring 2015 gave me new perspectives on my research and the time to publish a book chapter and a peer-reviewed article. As the director of the French and Francophone Literatures Area at the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA), I also had the opportunity to organize a unique international cultural event at the 2015 NeMLA Conference in Toronto, Canada. I invited Tunisian professor, author, and photographer Dora Carpenter-Latiri and organized her photo exhibition entitled Tunisian Women of the Book: Encounters with Remarkable Women. Senior lecturer at the University of Brighton in the UK, in 2013/2014 Carpenter-Latiri conducted fieldwork in Tunisia and France and took the photo-portraits of fifteen women writers, academics, editors, artists. Carpenter-Latiri’s exposition was the first of its kind in the US and had an audience of at least 3000 people. At the conference, I also proposed, organized and chaired the roundtable: 21st Century Tunisian Women Writers’ Literary Production and presented a paper entitled: Tunisia: Representations of Women’s Solidarity, Yesterday and Today.

Salem State's 2015 summer grant allowed me to attend an international conference in the historical literary forum of Cerisy-La-Salle in Normandy, France, which eventually set up promising collaborative research. The International Cultural Centre of Cerisy-la-Salle is a prestigious venue for intellectual and scholarly encounters and an important reference in the history of French intellectual life. I attended two seminars over the course of seven days: 1. Hybridizations and Tensions in North African and Sub-Saharan Narratives and 2. Writings About the Self, Writing About the Body. During the week, approximately sixty invited speakers from all over the world presented their most recent literary critical works. The conference was impressive and the castle where we lodged was absolutely breathtaking during the day and overly scary at night.

I was also elected as the Regional Representative of Women in French (WIF) in New England and Eastern Canada. WIF is an MLA Allied Organization and a scholarly association devoted to the promotion of the study of French and Francophone women authors.