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Dynamic Faculty

February 05, 2013

Professors at Lewis & Clark are dedicated teachers and renowned scholars, researching and publishing—often in partnership with students—at the leading edges of their disciplines.


Paul PowersPaul Powers

Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Core Curriculum Director

What are you working on currently?

At the moment I am in Marrakesh, Morocco, leading the study-abroad program here. I’m also starting a new article on the role of “expiation” or “atonement”—ways of making up for violations of religious law in the eyes of God—in pre-modern Islamic law. So I am gathering sources and trying to understand the place of Islamic law in contemporary Moroccan law and society. My experience teaching at Lewis & Clark has helped me see ways of making this potentially arcane material more relevant and lively for students.

Lewis & Clark students really appreciate being challenged. They don’t want just to be told that they are right, that their ideas are good enough already. It’s rewarding to encounter that attitude so regularly.Paul PowersAssociate Professor of Religious Studies and Core Curriculum Director

What class do you most enjoy teaching?

My favorites are two introductory-level courses I teach regularly, one on early Islam (RELS 273) and the other on Islam in the modern world (RELS 274). Both explore ways of life that seem at first altogether foreign to most Lewis & Clark students. They learn about one of the major civilizations in human history while also considering their own ideas and practices in the context of some very different cultures. For example, I love encouraging students to question the perception that Islamic law is harsh or scary. We discuss how it is just one of the ways humans have tried to bring order to a world that many people have found frighteningly disorderly.


Nikolaus LoeningNiko Loening

Associate Professor of Chemistry

What are you working on currently?

Lewis & Clark students have a lot of great qualities, but what I like best are their independence and intellectual curiosity.Niko LoeningAssociate Professor of Chemistry

I’m focused on novel peptides in spider venoms. There are a vast number of these peptides and only a few of them have been structurally and functionally characterized completely. They are often neurotoxic, which means that they are able to inhibit specific proteins found in neurons. Consequently, they have potential uses as drugs or insecticides.

What class do you most enjoy teaching?

My favorite is Biomolecular NMR Spectroscopy (CHEM 464), a small, specialized class where students not only learn about how the three-dimensional structures of proteins are determined, but actually get to take part in this work.


Maureen HealyMaureen Healy

Associate Professor of History

What class do you most enjoy teaching?

I am part of a collaborative effort among several groups of historians to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I in 2014. There is a lot of interest in this area of European history right now, and historians are revisiting some of the key assumptions about the period and its events. At Lewis & Clark, I am teaching a reading colloquium on the Great War in Europe (HIST 400) to senior and junior history majors, an amazing group of students. It is a very small, discussion-based class and the students get to tackle the material head on. I’m also excited to teach History of Islam in Europe (HIST 325) again this fall. The subject is very close to my current research interests, and the course allows students to study the historical roots of some of today’s hottest political topics.

I enjoy the curiosity that Lewis & Clark students bring to their work. They ask good questions. I also find working with students on their writing to be rewarding. Maureen HealyAssociate Professor of History

What are you working on currently?

I am most passionate about my new project on the historical memory of Turks in Central Europe. I spent last year in Vienna on a Fulbright research grant and did a lot of archival work on the images of Turks (and Muslims more generally) in this part of the world. Presently there are political tensions between Austria’s right-wing political parties and the growing Turkish immigrant community. As a historian, I am interested in how these relationships were forged in the past—in 1683 the Ottoman Turks nearly captured Vienna, and ever since the story of being “under siege” by Muslims has shaped Austrian historical consciousness.


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