Molina-Markham Visits Haverford
Elizabeth Molina-Markham, current digital content editor for Dartmouth Graduate Studies, was invited back to her undergraduate alma mater outside of Philadelphia, Haverford College, on April 29 to deliver a lecture on Quaker monthly meeting communication. Molina-Markham’s doctoral dissertation, completed at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2011, was an ethnography of Quaker communication practices. It won the Religious Communication Association Dissertation of the Year Award (2012). Molina-Markham was invited to speak at Haverford (of which she is a 2003 graduate) as part of their Young Academic Alumni Lecture Series. While there, she also visited a class taught by Kaye Edwards, a professor who teaches on Quaker social activism. She enjoyed the opportunity to venture back to Haverford to meet current students and faculty who share an interest in the Quaker religion.
It was while attending Haverford that Molina-Markham first developed an interest in and affinity for learning more about Quakers. Haverford itself was founded by Quakers, and in general, Philadelphia and the rest of Pennsylvania have been heavily influenced by the Quaker religion. One of the things that Molina-Markham, whom is not a Quaker herself, finds most interesting about the religion is “the idea that ‘silence is communication,’ something that is not necessarily valued as much in our broader societal context.” Molina-Markham explains that during unprogrammed Quaker worship, silence is the norm. It is only when someone receives a divine message from the Light – the Quaker term for God – does that person then stand to verbally share that message with the rest of those in attendance. Despite the persistent silence, “the idea, still, is that there is communication going on in the room, and that the Light is communicating with those present,” says Molina-Markham.
In addition to her recent speaking engagement at Haverford, Molina-Markham has presented on her work at the National Communication Association’s (NCA) annual conference and written several publications on the topic of Quaker communication. Most recently, she has solely authored three articles based upon her doctoral dissertation. These three publications are: “Finding the ‘sense of the meeting’: Decision making through silence among Quakers” (2014), “Being spoken through: Quaker ‘vocal ministry’ and premises of personhood” (2013), and “Lives that preach: The cultural dimensions of telling one’s ‘spiritual journey’ among Quakers” (2012). These articles primarily examine how Quakers understand communication with the Light and each other during their meetings for worship and meetings for business.
In addition to her research on Quakers, Molina-Markham has also worked with her graduate advisor and professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Donal Carbaugh, as well as several other colleagues, to co-author publications about how people interact with in-car speech systems; these are the systems that drivers speak at to play music, find directions, or make phone calls. The project involved recording drivers utilizing these in-car speech systems.
While at Dartmouth, Molina-Markham has enjoyed the opportunity to meet and work with many members of the graduate community, including students, faculty, and those working in the Graduate Studies Office, while editing the very popular Graduate News Forum, the online graduate news source. Molina-Markham’s husband, Andrés, is also at Dartmouth finishing up a postdoctoral fellowship in the Institute for Security, Technology, and Society.
Those of us in the Graduate Studies Office congratulate Molina-Markham on her successful presentation at Haverford in April, and wish her the best in her research and future endeavors!
by Lisa Jackson
photo by Ruth Friend