In the lead up to two Supreme Court decisions that many expect will reduce a university’s ability to take race into account in admissions, President Michael S. Roth writes in The Huffington Post about the dangers of homogeneity and conformity. “We have learned that when conformity is rationalized it becomes a powerful enemy of democracy. It is also a powerful enemy of learning. Inquiry, especially at the highest levels, depends on challenges to convention, as American writers on education have known from Jefferson to Emerson, from du Bois to Addams, from Dewey to Ravitch. Since the late 1960s many universities steered away from cultivated homogeneity and toward creating campus communities in which people can learn from their differences while still finding their commonalities. This means working in teams with folks from different backgrounds while developing shared loyalty to the school’s mission.”
Sasha Chanoff ’94, the founder of RefugePoint, an organization that identifies refugees in life-threatening situations throughout Africa and relocates them to safety, was featured in a special on Sudan’s “Lost Boys” on the CBS News Show, 60 Minutes. The show followed up on the lives of the Lost Boys in the decade since they arrived in the United States. Chanoff was instrumental in facilitating this story and was featured in the segment, which included footage of his original contact with these boys whom he helped to relocate and ease their adjustment.
Watch a clip of Chanoff on 60 Minutes here.
Chanoff also was recently interviewed on Boston’s NPR affiliate, WBUR, discussing how Sudanese orphaned girls were overlooked in the Lost Boys resettlement. He also had an op-ed published in The Boston Globe about Sudan’s “lost girls.”
Lori Gruen, professor of philosophy, professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, professor of environmental studies, was a guest on WNPR’s “Where We Live.” She discussed the history and ethics of conducting biomedical and behavior research on chimpanzees, and a recent announcement by the National Institutes of Health that most chimps in research labs in the U.S. would be retired to sanctuary.
Mar. 25, 2013 by Lauren Rubenstein
Lisa Dierker, professor of psychology, chair of the Quantitative Analysis Center, is bringing her Passion-Driven Statistics course to the online world, according to a story in Forbes. Thirteen thousand students have already registered for the MOOC, which allows students to use statistics to study topics that interest them.
“Thirteen thousand students have signed up…I could teach 13,000 people how to use SAS,” Dierker marveled. “The whole world of possibility is completely changing now.”
In the wake of a recent scandal in which horse meat was discovered in meat products labeled as beef in the United Kingdom, University Professor of Letters Kari Weil wrote in The Boston Globe about a debate in 19th-century France over the morality of eating horse meat. Hippophagy, or the eating of horse meat, was not legalized until the late 19th century in France, and only after a “public campaign to override objections very like the ones Americans have today.”
“…the fact that it took so much persuasion to convince the French to consider eating horse—in a dispute that exposed passionate beliefs about public health, animal rights, and social welfare—suggests why we are once again facing a public scandal over hippophagy. At heart, it is an unsettled cultural crisis about which animals we accept as moral to eat,” writes Weil.
Weil is chair of the College of Letters.
Charles Barber, visiting assistant professor of psychology, visiting writer, is participating in a three-part radio documentary on Canada’s CBC Radio about treatments for depression. In Part I of the series, the panel discusses the history of depression treatments, from lobotomies and electroconvulsive therapy in the 1930s to Prozac and other antidepressant drugs. Though treatments have come a long way, the number of people with depression has soared.
Barber is the author of the book Comfortably Numb: How Psychiatry is Medicating a Nation.
Professor Emeritus Richard Slotkin comments in a Hartford Courant story by Dan Haar ’81 on the immense popularity of the AR-15 rifle. Slotkin says the tradition of American gun ownership stems from the foundation of this country on individual freedom, and the expectation that violence will happen.
“In a sense it goes back to the handgun,” Slotkin said. “We lived in a violent society for a long time.”
Between the Civil War and the New Deal, Slotkin said, we saw the development of automatic weapons and vast production of firearms at a time when there was no gun control, amid the rise of goon squads against labor, urban gangs and other dangers. Upheaval in the ’60s and the drug wars of the ’80s only added to that, and the current movement of anti-government fervor feeds on it, blending extremist views with a rational desire for personal defense.
Slotkin is Richard S. Olin Professor of English and American Studies, emeritus.
Corwin-Fuller Professor of Film Studies Jeanine Basinger’s new book, I Do and I Don’t: A History of Marriage in the Movies was reviewed in The New York Times’ Sunday Book Review section. The book entertainingly explains how “moviemakers create excitement and drama out of that most quotidian of institutions,” marriage.
“Romance movies may demand chemistry, but movies about marriage demand something more difficult to create — a sense that a couple are simpatico, that however much they may bicker and snipe, their deep understanding and feeling for each other will ultimately keep them together.”
The New Haven Register interviewed Rob Rosenthal, provost and vice president for academic affairs, John E. Andrus professor of sociology, about his book compiling folk singer Pete Seeger’s private letters, notes and writings. Rosenthal and his son Sam were granted access to Seeger’s barn, which contained a treasure trove of documents from the 93-year-old activist and singer’s life.
Adina Hoffman ’89, a visiting writer, told the New Haven Register she is “Dumbfounded” at the receipt of the Windham Campbell Prize from Yale. “I feel fantastic, obviously,” said Hoffman, a nonfiction author whose work focuses on the Middle East. “I’m excited.”