Dr. Knoblauch’s current research involves underrepresented groups in theancient Mediterranean world, particularly the archaic and classical Greek world (ca.600-400 BCE). The history of the Greeks is written by and about Athenian men, and Dr. Knoblauch attempts to articulate other voices, non-Athenian and non-male, through looking at the material culture left behind. This approach to the ancient world manifests itself in two main research streams, active fieldwork on the island of Cyprus, and investigations into the visual iconography of Athenian women. Dr. Knoblauch has been involved in the excavations of Idalion, Cyprus since1998. Idalion was one of the most important cities of ancient Cyprus, and the material remains make clear it was also an exceptionally active religious sanctuary. Dr. Knoblauch is currently publishing the sculpture found during the current excavations. This material is especially important because of a lack of historical sources from this eastern Mediterranean island, an island that had direct andindirect contact with most of the major cultures surrounding it, including Greek, Egyptian, and western Asia. Recently, Dr. Knoblauch co-edited a special double issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Near Eastern Archaeology (vol. 71, 1-2), called Ancient Cyprus, American Research. She has also served as a board member for the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute, the only international archaeological school on the island. The role of women in ancient Greece has also been a research interest for Dr. Knoblauch, particularly vases depicting young girl’s preparing for marriage and themythological females they sought to emulate. Such investigations allow us tounderstand the concerns and anxieties of a demographic not typically discussed by in ancient historians. Her research in this area has appears in press in an articlecalled “Promiscuous or proper? : nymphs as female role models in ancient Greece”in Religion, Gender and Culture in the PreModern World (Palgrave 2007). Dr. Knoblauch maintains a strong international profile, having presentedpaper in Italy, Germany, Greece and Cyprus and Scotland, as well as co-organizingan international conference in 2006, The Mythology and Iconography of Colonization,with colleagues from the Universita’ degli Studi di Napoli Federico II in Naples, Italy. The papers from this conference will be published in the peer-reviewed Electronic Antiquity.
The Arts at Virginia Tech
The arts at Virginia Tech are deeply embedded in teaching, research, and the student experience at Virginia Tech. Academic programs in the arts are found at the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, the School of Visual Arts, the School of Performing Arts, and the School of Architecture and Design. The Moss Arts Center operates as both a presenting organization and as a 147,000-square-foot, top-caliber arts center; it is a thriving community where the arts are a catalyst for engagement, inspiration, and discovery. Powered by advanced technology and networks of creative people, ICAT, the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, brings together and supports teams of faculty and students from across academic disciplines to address grand challenges and creative opportunities, ranging from large societal problems to industry-specific issues to the frontiers of artistic expression.
a2ru Campus Contacts
Ruth Waalkes is associate provost for the arts and executive director of the Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech. She oversees strategic campus-wide integration of the arts at Virginia Tech, and leads community-based arts initiatives on behalf of the university across the region. Since joining Virginia Tech in 2009 as the founding executive director of the $100 million Moss Arts Center, which opened in 2013, Ruth established the vision for, launched, and now directs the center and its professional presenting and exhibition programs. Ruth came to Virginia Tech from the University of Maryland, College Park where she was director of artistic initiatives for the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Prior to that, her career included serving as executive director of Volunteer Fairfax; and artistic producer of the International Children’s Festival at Wolf Trap while at the Arts Council of Fairfax County, where she was director of visual and performing arts programs. Ruth is a graduate of the University of Michigan, with more than 30 years’ experience in nonprofit management in both the arts and social service sectors.
R. Benjamin Knapp is the Director of the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) and Professor of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. ICAT seeks to promote research and education at the boundaries between art, design, engineering, and science. Dr. Knapp also leads the Music, Sensors, and Emotion research group, with researchers in the UK and the US.
For more than 20 years, Dr. Knapp has been working to create meaningful links between human-computer interaction, universal design, and various forms of creativity. His research on human-computer interaction has focused on the development and design of user-interfaces and software that allow both composers and performers to augment the physical control of a musical instrument with direct sensory interaction. He holds twelve patents and is the co-inventor of the BioMuse system, which enables artists to use gesture, cognition, and emotional state to interact with audio and video media.
In previous positions, Dr. Knapp has served as a Fulbright Senior Specialist at University College, Dublin, and chief technology officer of the Technology Research for Independent Living Centre. As the director of technology at MOTO Development Group in San Francisco, Calif., he managed teams of engineers and designers developing human-computer interaction systems for companies such as Sony, Microsoft, and Logitech. He co-founded BioControl Systems, a company that develops mobile bioelectric measurement devices for artistic interaction. Dr. Knapp has also served as professor and chair of the Department of Computer, Information, and Systems Engineering at San Jose State University.
He earned a doctorate and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University. Dr. Knapp has been a PI in several pan-European projects including, CAPSIL (Common Awareness and Knowledge Platform for Studying and Enabling Independent Living) and SIEMPRE (Social Interaction and Entrainment Using Music Performance) and coordinated the EU project, BRAID (Bridging Research in Ageing and ICT Development).
Laura Belmonte, a history professor, serves as dean of the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.
A specialist in the history of U.S. foreign relations, she is author of Selling the American Way: U.S. Propaganda and the Cold War and numerous articles on cultural diplomacy. Her most recent book, The International LGBT Rights Movement: A History, will be published by Bloomsbury later this year.
Belmonte served on the national council of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the editorial board of its official journal, Diplomatic History. From 2009 to 2019, she served on the U.S. Department of State’s Advisory Committee for Historical Diplomatic Documentation, a group that participates in ongoing debates over transparency and declassification and the intersections between historical events and contemporary diplomacy.
Belmonte holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Virginia.
A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 1981, Blieszner was named an Alumni Distinguished Professor in 2002. She served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences from 2017 to 2019.
During her 40-year career at Virginia Tech, Blieszner has helped lead the university’s Center for Gerontology as its associate director and served as associate dean of the Graduate School from 2009 to 2017. She also served as assistant vice provost for enrollment and degree management from 2015 to 2017, director of strategic planning in the Office of the President from 2000 to 2001, and chair of the steering committee of Beyond Boundaries, the visioning initiative launched by President Tim Sands that seeks to tackle complex problems by transcending economic, geographic, social, spatial, and institutional boundaries. She is recognized internationally for her scholarship in the field of aging and has received numerous teaching awards from Virginia Tech
Blieszner serves as chair of the Sesquicentennial Steering Committee, which leads the planning of the university’s celebration of its 150th anniversary beginning this summer through 2022.
Blieszner holds a bachelor’s degree from Mercyhurst University, a master’s degree from Ohio State University, and a doctorate from Pennsylvania State University.
Jacqueline Bixler (PhD, University of Kansas) is Alumni Distinguished Professor of Spanish at Virginia Tech, where she teaches courses on Latin American theatre, literature, and culture. She also serves as director of the Virginia Tech School of Performing Arts.
Bixler serves as editor of the Latin American Theatre Review, a journal devoted to the study and dissemination of Latin American and Latinx theatre. She has published books on Emilio Carballido, Sabina Berman, Víctor Hugo Rascón Banda, Mexico’s women playwrights, and trans-acting as well as more than 60 articles on Mexican, Argentine, Peruvian, and Chilean theatre.
Aaron Betsky is Director of the School of Architecture and Design at Virginia Tech. Previously, he was President of the School of Architecture at Taliesin. A critic of art, architecture, and design, Mr. Betsky is the author of over a dozen books on those subjects, including forthcoming volumes on Frank Lloyd Wright, and the landscape architecture firm Turenscape. He writes a twice-weekly blog for architectmagazine.com, Beyond Buildings. Trained as an architect and in the humanities at Yale University, Mr. Betsky was previously Director of the Cincinnati Art Museum (2006-2014) and the Netherlands Architecture Institute (2001-2006), as well as Curator of Architecture and Design at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1995-2001). In 2008, he also directed the 11 th Venice International Biennale of Architecture. His latest books, Making It Modern and Architecture Matters, were published last year.