17 April 2007

In Honour of Kevin Granata, Professor & Colleague

Kevin Granata received his bachelor of science and doctoral degrees from the Ohio State University, and was awarded the master of science degree from Purdue University. He served on the faculty of the University of Virginia, Wake Forest University, and lastly at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where he was a Professor in the Department of Engineering, Science, and Mechanics. Professor Granata, over the course of his career, also held the position of research scientist at John Hopkins University, Ohio State University, and the University of Virginia.

A biomechanical specialist, his research and teaching focused on neuromuscular control, robotics, and musculoskeletal and neurological reflex response, especially in connection to injury and disease. Professor Granata was an Associate Editor for the Journal of Applied Biomechanics and the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology, and had published widely in his fields of study. He also served honourably in the armed forces of the United States of America. Professor Granata was married and had three children.

Professor Kevin Granata was murdered on April 16th, 2007 on the campus of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia.


Sin Anestesia said...

Hay tantos tantos locos sueltos y armados! Los americanos deberían pensar seriamente es su derecho a la defensa consagrado en la constitución.
Cuídate tú Oso de algún loco por ahí.

La Vicki said...

Paranoica . . . but seriously, any thoughts on gun control, Oso Raro, or should we just start wearing flak jackets (what shoes go with that, btw?)and militarize the campuses?
La Vicki

Oso Raro said...

What could I say that has possibly not been said at one point or another? In fact, I am not even sure where to point one's shock and dismay: the easy availability of guns? The violent tenor of our society? The fact of individual insanity and delusional thinking?

This for me was an exercise in humility. I, of course, did not know Professor Granata personally, but sought somehow to give shape to my horror and terror, and try to contextualize those feelings in a world where, to face facts, everyday hundreds of people die violent deaths that are invisible to most of us. That does not undermine the sadness and grief of what has happened in Virginia, but it did add something to my vision of how to respond, as I did feel I had to respond.

Taking a page from the always elegant Margaret Soltan, who has been composing similar entries in a different register about another faculty member murdered in VA, I found the exercise of writing an obituary to be depressing, enlightening, and profoundly human(e). To represent, even in this small, minor, way in a dusty corner of the internet, the power of memory and narration behind a name and the simple facts, made an impression.

But overall, too, in some sense, to capture the sense of vulnerability that we who are professors and teachers embody, literally and figuratively. We open ourselves up to in the processes of pedagogy and teaching our students, because we must. But we are also physically vulnerable to this intense ritual, and it is a risk that we take every time we enter a classroom.

Why is none of this thinking in the post itself? Because the post is meant to only gesture towards these themes, in its recognition and narration of the life of one colleague. Again, what is the power of narrating another professor's life, or indeed another person's life, unknown, in general? Of course that is the territory of empathy and identification.