“Flutopia” To Offer Music for Multiple Flutes at Smith and Amherst Feb. 10 and 18

January 30, 2001
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Amherst College and Smith College Music Departments will present “Flutopia,” music for multiple flutes, on Saturday, Feb 10 at 8 p.m. in Sweeney Concert Hall at Smith and again on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 3 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall at Amherst. Both concerts are free and open to the public.

The flutists will be Adrianne Greenbaum, who teaches at Mt. Holyoke College, Christopher Krueger, who teaches at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Ellen Redman and William Wittig, who both teach at Smith.

Soprano Melinda Spratlan will sing in the world premiere of “Mayflies.” Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lewis Spratlan, who teaches at Amherst, based this new work for four flutes and soprano on the poems in Mayflies (2000) by Richard Wilbur, a 1942 graduate of the college.

The program will also offer music by contemporary Italian composer Luciano Berio, Charles Koechlin (1867-1950), Harold Meltzer, a former student of Spratlan’s who graduated from Amherst in 1988, and flutist Adrianne Greenbaum herself.

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David Blight’s Race and Reunion Offers Critical Appraisal of America After the Civil War

January 25, 2001
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—David W. Blight, the Class of 1959 Professor of History and Black Studies at Amherst College, has just published Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory ($29.95, 512 pp., Harvard University Press, Cambridge 2001), a study of how Americans—black and white, from North and South, soldiers and politicians, writers and editors—made sense of America’s most wrenching war.

Blight shows that, to many Americans, the effort to reunite the divided states became more important in the 50 years after the war than the racial equality that the struggle had been about. Trying to reconcile “The Blue and The Gray,” America chose to turn away from the legacy of slavery, and to suspend judgment of those who had defended it. Instead, many people wanted to see the Civil War as an epic struggle between noble soldiers on both sides, each fighting for what they believed right. Myths of the “Lost Cause” and the “Old South,” still living today, grew in literature and popular memory.

These “reconciliationists” in both North and South chose to forget the many roles that African-Americans played in the war. By 1913 they had overwhelmed the emancipationists, who might have remembered. Thus America was able to turn away from the plight of African Americans in the post-war years, and the nation has struggled ever since to see that plight.

Blight traces this shift in memory through public celebrations, monuments, and images; through veterans’ reunions and memoirs; through popular press, song and literature; through official pronouncements and decisions about racial exclusion; and through the political priorities that trumped the human imperatives.

Race and Reunion ends with an unsparing description of “an extraordinary festival of reconciliation” that brought Union and Confederate veterans together at the Gettysburg battlefield on the Fourth of July in 1913, 50 years after the battle. That day, “the only role for blacks was distributing blankets.” “The ‘peace among the whites’ that [Frederick] Douglass had so feared in 1875 had left the country with a kind of Southern victory in the long struggle over Civil War memory,” Blight writes.

A pioneer of the emerging field of memory studies, Blight is also the author of the award-winning Frederick Douglass’s Civil War (1989) and many other books and articles.More information is available at the Harvard University Press Website at http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/BLIRAC.html.

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Mead Art Museum To Reopen March 3

January 25, 2001
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Mead Art Museum will open again to the public on Saturday, March 3. The Mead has been closed since June 1999 for significant renovations that included the construction of new class and office space, a new teaching gallery and major enhancements in storage and infrastructure. “The new Mead enhances the appreciation of art as well as the teaching of art,” says Jill Meredith, the director of the Mead.

The Mead Art Museum, designed by McKim, Mead and White and completed in 1949, houses nearly 14,000 works of art acquired by Amherst College since 1839. Highlights include American art, European works by Snyders, Rubens, Bouguereau, and Monet, an imposing 17th-century English period room, prints and photographs, Japanese and Mexican folk art, African art and monumental ancient Near Eastern wall reliefs.

Upcoming exhibitions will include a show devoted to Russian art of the early 20th century, an exhibition of Mexican folk art from the Morrow Collection of the Mead Art Museum and a display of photographs by Jerome Liebling. Meredith says, “We look forward to an improved facility for our ever-increasing and diverse audiences and a number of landmark projects in the new century.”

Part of the south wing, which formerly housed the slide library, has been converted into a “teaching gallery:” a flexible classroom that will offer short-term displays of art works from the Mead’s collection together with slide projection and computer capability for digital images and video projection.

Meredith says, “For the first time faculty and students will be able to combine direct experience with art works while consulting comparative works in slide reproductions or on electronic databases available on the Internet. We anticipate the space will function as a seminar space, but work equally well as a formal lecture space for 35 or 40 and for other educational programs. We are delighted that the Mead will provide the academic community with greater access to our collections and accommodate a variety of teaching styles and curricular needs.”

The interior renovation of the building, which includes new heating, air-conditioning and ventilation systems to bring the museum up to national professional standards in the galleries, storage and art preparation areas, is complete. The Mead is now handicapped accessible and restrooms comply with requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The galleries have new lighting systems, flooring and wall surfaces. The basement level has been adapted and furnished for professional art preparation and art storage. A major grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services provided partial support for the state-of-the-art compact storage systems. The Mead renovation is part of The Amherst College Campaign, a five-year effort to raise $200 million for capital projects and endowment by June 30, 2001. The Mead also receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Admission to the Mead will remain free, and new opportunities for visitors have been added. A new docent program is in place to help viewers better appreciate the art. The Mead will be open on Thursday evenings, in addition to its regular hours. A series of free “First Tuesday” gallery talks will begin on Tuesday, March 6, with a lecture by Martha Hoppin, the interim curator of American art at the Mead.

The Mead Art Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursdays until 9 p.m., and is closed on Mondays and all Amherst College holidays. The Mead Art Museum Website is at http://www.amherst.edu/~mead/. Call 413/542-2335 for more information.

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Raboteau To Speak On African-American Religion Feb. 14

January 23, 2001
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.— Albert J. Raboteau, Henry W. Putnam Professor of Religion at Princeton University, will talk about “African Gods and European Saints: Religious Encounters and the Early Development of the Atlantic World” on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 4 p.m. in Stirn Auditorium at Amherst College. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Amherst College Library and African-American Religion: A Documentary History Project, headquartered at Amherst College.

Albert J. Raboteau is a specialist in American religious history, especially American Catholic history and African-American religious movements. He has written Slave Religion: The “Invisible Institution” in the Antebellum South (1978), A Fire in the Bones: Reflections on African-American Religious History (1995), African-American Religion (1999) and Canaan Land: A Religious History of African Americans (2001). Raboteau was a coordinator of the former Center for the Study of American Religion. With David W. Wills, the Winthrop H. Smith ’16 Professor of American History and American Studies (Religion and Black Studies) at Amherst, Raboteau directs African-American Religion: A Documentary History Project.

Raboteau and Wills founded the project in 1987. The forthcoming work, a comprehensive view of African-American religion from the earliest 15th-century African-European encounters along the African coast to the present in the United States, will be presented in a three-part, multi-volume series that will include documents and commentary. The University of Chicago Press plans to publish the first volumes of the work, provisionally titled African-American History: A Historical Interpretation with Representative Documents, in 2002.

The project Website at http://www.amherst.edu/~aardoc contains working drafts of some of the interpretive essays, sample documents and other helpful resources for anyone interested in a serious study of African-American religion.

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Martin Luther King Interfaith Service at Amherst College Feb. 4

January 23, 2001
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Rev. Zina Jacque, director of pastoral counseling at Trinity Episcopal Church in Boston, will be the featured speaker Sunday, Feb. 4, at this year’s Interfaith Service at Amherst College celebrating the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. The service in Johnson Chapel, which begins at 3 p.m., will also feature musical performances by the Amherst College Concert and Gospel Choirs and other performers.

The Rev. Zina Jacque formerly served as Protestant chaplain at Bentley College in Waltham, Mass., and as director of Christian education for the First Baptist Church of Melrose, Mass. She has also served as executive director of the Boston TenPoint Coalition, an organization of more than 60 churches addressing issues of youth at risk.

Before beginning her ministries in the Boston area, Jacque spent 17 years as a college administrator, holding positions at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of California/Santa Cruz and Mills College. A graduate of Northwestern University, she holds a master’s degree from Columbia University and a Master of Divinity degree from Boston University.

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Geologist Friedrich Pflüger To Speak on “Fossil Art” at Pratt Museum Feb. 9

January 23, 2001
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Geologist Friedrich Pflüger will speak about “Incidents from Deep Time: Early Life and the Making of ‘Fossil Art’ ” at the Pratt Museum of Natural History at Amherst College on Friday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m., in connection with the show “Fossil Art.” His talk will be free and open to the public.

Friedrich Pflüger, now at Vassar College, is a sedimentologist who has studied at Tübingen University (Germany), the University of Reading (England) and Yale University. He researches the changes through time in the interaction of life with sediments. He has traveled to North Carolina, Maine, Newfoundland, Sweden, England, Poland, Argentina, Namibia, South Africa, Australia, Libya and India to study the record in sandstone. His research led to the reinterpretation of numerous sedimentary structures of both inorganic and organic origin. He also participated in the discovery of trace fossils in 1,150-million-year-old strata in central India—work that pushed back the line for complex multicellular life by almost 500 million years (Science 1998).

“Fossil Art” is the creation of Pflüger’s colleague in that study from Tübingen, paleobiologist Dolf Seilacher, now a professor at Yale University, who has been collecting around the world for almost 50 years. Under Seilacher’s direction, Pflüger and Hans Luginsland transformed sedimentary slabs into epoxy casts that mimic the rock so well that it appears the actual rock is being examined. The exhibit consists of 36 large and colorful casts of the tracks of some very early animals, and also some structures created by running water or by the drying of the earth where the animals lived. These fossils record what the animals did, not just what they were.

The goal of “Fossil Art,” Seilacher writes in the catalogue, is “to bridge the deeply rooted cultural divide between arts and sciences.” The exhibit asks viewers to consider the differences between life on earth before and after the “Cambrian explosion,” an extraordinary geological moment 545 million years ago when organisms with hard skeletons originated and life began to leave a mark on the fossil record. Seilacher also asks what it means to call an object a work of art. It is not easy to distinguish natural from created objects in the “Fossil Art” collection. Seilacher asks if our definition of art should not “be based on perception as well as fabrication?”

“Fossil Art” remains at the Pratt Museum of Natural History at Amherst College until Apri1 1. The Pratt Museum is open to the public at no charge, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. “Fossil Art” is sponsored by Tübingen University in Germany, and distributed in North America by The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Alberta, Canada. The Pratt Museum has a Website at http://www.amherst.edu/~pratt/

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Novelist Colm Toibin To Give Public Reading Feb. 12

January 22, 2001
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass—Irish novelist Colm Toibin will read from his works on Monday, Feb. 12, at 8 p.m. in the Babbott Room of the Octagon at Amherst College. The event, sponsored by the Amherst College Creative Writing Center, is free and open to the public.

Colm Toibin is the author of four novels, The South, The Heather Blazing, The Story of the Night and The Blackwater Lightship. He has also written travelogues, including Homage to Barcelona and The Sign of the Cross: Travels in Catholic Europe. He has been a journalist and columnist for the Dublin Sunday Independent, and has written essays for Esquire (London) and the London Review of Books. In 2000 he edited the Penguin Book of Irish Fiction.

The Blackwater Lightship was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The South won the Irish Times-Aer Lingus International Fiction Prize, and The Heather Blazing won the Encore Award for the best second novel published in Britain. In 1995 Toibin won the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center puts on a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. Future participants in the 2000-2001 series include Thomas Glave, Forrest Gander, Agha Shahid Ali and J.D. McClatchy. The Creative Writing Center Website is at http://www.amherst.edu/~cwc.

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Japanese Ambassador Hiroaki Fujii To Speak Jan. 29

January 19, 2001
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Hiroaki Fujii, the former Japanese ambassador to Great Britain and current president of the Japan Foundation, will speak on “The Future of the U.S.-Japan Alliance” on Monday, Jan. 29, at 4 p.m. in Room 220 of Webster Hall at Amherst College. His talk is free and open to the public.

Born in Tokyo in 1933, Hiroaki Fujii studied at the University of Tokyo, and graduated from Amherst College in 1958. He continued his education at Harvard University, where he helped Edwin O. Reischauer write his classic study The Japanese (1977). Fujii worked in Japanese Embassies in Bangkok and Washington, as well as London, before assuming the presidency of the Japan Foundation in 1997.

The Japan Foundation, established in 1972 in Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, promotes mutual understanding and friendship between Japan and other nations. It supports a broad variety of international programs of cultural exchange, emphasizing person-to-person contacts, ranging from such academic pursuits as Japanese studies and Japanese-language education to the arts, media and sports.

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Fossil Art on Display at Pratt Museum - Jan. 19 to Apr. 1

January 9, 2001
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Art and science meet in the exhibit of Fossil Art, which opens on Friday, Jan. 19 at the Pratt Museum of Natural History at Amherst College, where it will be on display until April 1. The Pratt Museum is open to the public at no charge, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Fossil Art is the creation of German paleobiologist Dolf Seilacher. The exhibit consists of 36 large and colorful casts of the tracks of some very early animals, and also some structures created by running water or by the drying of the earth where the animals lived. These fossils record what the animals did, not just what they were.

Seilacher, who tries to infer the relationship between extinct organisms and their environment, has received the highest honor among geologists: the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Scientists. He discovered a trace fossil in India showing the tracks of a small worm-like creature that lived 1.1 billion years ago—the oldest traces of multi-cellular life ever found.

The goal of Fossil Art, Seilacher writes in the catalogue, is to bridge the deeply rooted cultural divide between arts and sciences. The exhibit asks viewers to consider the differences between life on earth before and after the Cambrian explosion, an extraordinary geological moment 545 million years ago when organisms with hard skeletons originated and life began to leave a mark on the fossil record. Seilacher also asks what it means to call an object a work of art. It is not easy to distinguish natural from created objects in the Fossil Art collection. Seilacher asks if our definition of art should not be based on perception as well as fabrication?

Fossil Art is sponsored by Tuebingen University in Germany, and distributed in North America by The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Alberta, Canada.

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Pianist Chonghyo Shin To Perform Feb. 2

January 5, 2001
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Pianist Chonghyo Shin, who teaches piano at Amherst College and heads the piano department at the Brattleboro Music Center, will perform at Buckley Recital Hall at the college on Friday, Feb. 2, at 8 p.m. The program will include Schumann’s Sonata in G minor; Brahms’s Intermezzo, op. 117; Liszt’s “Forest Murmurs” and “The Dance of the Gnomes”; Prokofieff’s Visions fugitives; and Chopin’s Bacarolle and Scherzo in C sharp minor. The concert is free and open to the public.

Chonghyo Shin, a native of Seoul, Korea, received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the New England Conservatory of Music, where she also taught in the preparatory division. She has participated in master classes with Alfred Brendel, Paul Badura-Skoda, and Jeanne-Marie Darré, and also studied privately with Nadia Reisenberg and Stell Anderson.

Shin has been a soloist with the Boston Pops, the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra, the New England Conservatory Orchestra and the Windham Community Orchestra. She has given solo recitals and concerts of chamber music throughout New England.

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