Acclaimed Film About Israeli-Palestinian Conflict at Amherst College May 1

April 24, 2002
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Promises, a documentary film about the lives of children in Israel and Palestine, which was nominated for an Academy Award this year, will be shown on Wednesday, May 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pruyne Lecture Room (Room 115) in Fayerweather Hall at Amherst College. The film, and a discussion to follow with one of the filmmakers, B. Z. Goldberg, and several of the children featured in the film, is free and open to the public.

Between 1997 and the summer of 2000, filmmakers Goldberg, Justine Shapiro and Carlos Bolado went to Jerusalem to document in film children’s thoughts about war and peace in Israel. Promises offers an unblinking account of the bitter and historically complex struggle from the point of view of those who will inherit it. The children express emotional and sometimes hilarious insight into their personal and political lives. Goldberg talks with children on both sides of the checkpoints. Only minutes by bus separate some of the seven Israeli and Palestinian children profiled, but they dwell worlds apart.

This event is sponsored by the dean of faculty’s office, the Lamont Fund and the departments of English, political science and anthropology and sociology at Amherst College.

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Joshua Lane To Speak on “Hadley” Furniture at Amherst College May 7

April 24, 2002
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Joshua Lane, assistant curator of furniture at Historic Deerfield, will speak about “New Discoveries in ‘Hadley’ Furniture” on Tuesday, May 7, at 12:15 p.m. in the Teaching Gallery of the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College.

The term “Hadley” refers to the intricately carved and joined furniture that was produced in towns along the Connecticut River from Deerfield, Mass. to Suffield, Conn. between 1680 and 1740. Graced with a carved relief, “Hadley” furniture is distinguished by its tulip-and-leaf pattern, often abstract and geometric in nature. In his talk, Lane will examine furniture from the collection of the Mead Art Museum and Historic Deerfield.

Before coming to Historic Deerfield in 2000, Lane served as curator of the Stamford (Connecticut) Historical Society. He has taught in the American studies programs and history departments at Miami University of Ohio and Yale University, where he received his Master of Philosophy degree in American studies in 1991. He has written on early American material culture focusing on 17th-century American furniture, and cultural history.

The Mead Art Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Thursday evenings until 9 p.m. Closed Mondays and holidays. More information can be obtained on the Museum’s Website at http://www.amherst.edu/~mead or by calling the Mead Art Museum at 413/542-2335.

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Lazerowitz Lecturer Jeffrey Ferguson To Speak on “Satire in the Bedroom” at Amherst College April 23

April 23, 2002
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Jeffrey Brown Ferguson, assistant professor of black studies and American studies at Amherst College, will give the annual Max and Etta Lazerowitz Lecture, on “Satire in the Bedroom: George Schuyler’s Racial Transgressions,” on Tuesday, April 23, at 4:30 p.m. in the Alumni House at Amherst College. The talk, and a reception immediately following, are free and open to the public.

Ferguson’s talk will trace the unexpected turns in the life and thought of Schuyler (1895-1977), who was a card-carrying Socialist in his youth and went on to write an autobiography titled Black and Conservative (1966). His early satirical novel, Black No More (1931), asked what would happen if black Americans could choose not to be black. Schuyler, known as “the black Mencken” and praised by him as “perhaps the best of all the Aframerican journalists,” used his witty polemics to subvert conventional wisdom on race relations.

Ferguson, a scholar of American civilization, came to Amherst in 1996. He received a B.A. in Afro-American studies and sociology from Harvard University, where he also earned a Ph.D. in 1898, writing his thesis on “The Newest Negro: George Schuyler’s Intellectual Quest in the 1920s and Beyond.” Ferguson currently is working on a critical biography of Schuyler.

The Lazerowitz Lectureship is awarded each year to support and encourage members of the Amherst College faculty in their scholarly work. The Dean of the Faculty, in conjunction with the Lecture Committee, selects the recipient, a member of the faculty below the rank of a full professor, who presents a lecture on his or her research.

The Max and Etta Lazerowitz Lectureship was established in 1985 to honor the parents of the late Morris Lazerowitz, emeritus professor of philosophy at Smith College. Professor Alice Ambrose Lazerowitz, wife of the late Morris Lazerowitz and also emeritus professor of philosophy at Smith, attended the Lazerowitz Lecture each spring as an honored guest until her recent death in 2001.

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Burke Long To Speak on Madame Mountford at Amherst College April 25

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

AMHERST, Mass.—Burke Long, professor emeritus of religion at Bowdoin College, will speak on “Madame Mountford, Diva of Fantasy Bibles and Other Victorian Entertainments” on Thursday, April 25, at 4 p.m. in the McCaffrey Room in the Keefe Campus Center at Amherst College. The lecture is sponsored by the Willis Wood Fund and the Religion Department and open to the public.

The story of Lydia Mamreoff von Finkelstein Mountford touches on the history of religion in 19th- and early 20th-century America, “orientalism,” the cultural history of the U.S., Bible sutdies, cultural studies and women’s studies. Long will speak about the activities of this actress and preacher, who found a measure of acceptance without challenging many entrenched assumptions about gender and religion. Mountford imagined and performed scenes and stories from Bible life as a dramatic lecturer, presenting more than 200 performances a year and making 5,000 appearances worldwide over 25 years. Her restless operatic style—an Australian critic in 1888 called her a “six-foot blonde of Amazonian proportions who would be the envy of any tragedy queen”—lent vivid color and persuasiveness to what were in effect “living” Bibles, ephemeral moments of performance when the play became the thing itself, accomplishing the ideological and political work usually associated with the written Bible.

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Czech Nonet To Present Music at Amherst April 28

April 12, 2002
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Czech Nonet will present the final concert in the 2001-02 Music at Amherst Series on Sunday, April 28, at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall at Amherst College, in a program that features Beethoven’s Septet in E-flat and the 1959 Nonet, which Bohuslav Martinu composed for the ensemble.

The Czech Nonet is one of the oldest continuously performing ensembles of its type in the world. Founded in 1924, the Nonet was inspired by the Grand Nonneto, op. 34, of Ludwig Spohr (1784-1859) which called for violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn. This rare instrumentation has provided a perhaps unexpectedly wide range of colorful combinations, with a full sound like a chamber orchestra. The Czech Nonet has inspired many contemporary composers, who have created more than 300 new works that fit its unusual form.

The musicians in the Czech Nonet—Jiri Hurnik, violin; Jan Nykryn, viola; Simona Hecova, cello; Radovan Hec, contrabass; Jiri Sukhara, flute; Jiri Krejci, oboe; Ales Hustoles, clarinet; Pavel Langpaul, bassoon; and Vladimira Klanska, horn—have all enjoyed distinguished careers as soloists and in chamber music.

Admission to the concert is $20, senior citizens $16 and students $5. Tickets may be reserved by calling 413/542-2195 on weekday mornings. The Amherst College Concert Office has a Website at http://www.amherst.edu/~concerts/.

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Jazz at Amherst College in April and May

April 12, 2002
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-- Amherst College has set its jazz concert schedule for the remainder of the spring, with combos and ensembles to perform throughout April and May. The jazz program, run by Bruce Diehl, will offer three performances, all of which are free and open to the public.

The first two concerts, featuring Amherst College jazz combos, will take place in the Frontroom of Keefe Campus Center at 8 p.m. On Thursday, April 25, Omnium Gatherum will host the University of Massachusetts Vocal Jazz Ensemble, performing both classic and lesser-known works. On Thursday, May 2, Diminished Nine and Jazz Ambassadors will perform music by a number of prominent artists, including Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, Al Cohn, Dave Brubeck, Dave Liebman and Wes Montgomery.

The final concert of the season will be that of the Amherst College Jazz Ensemble, directed by Bruce Diehl, at 8 p.m. on Saturday. May 4 in Buckley Recital Hall. This evening will feature music written mostly within the last 20 years, including that of Fred Sturm, Matt Harris, Oliver Nelson, Bill Holman and Gil Evans.

In addition to his work at Amherst, Diehl will also lead the Smith College Wind Ensemble and Smith College Jazz Ensemble in music of Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, Henry Fillmore, Elliot Del Borgo and others at Sweeney Concert Hall at Smith College on Saturday, April 27 at 8 p.m. More information on jazz at Amherst College can be found at http://www.amherst.edu/~jazz.

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Race and Reunion Wins Bancroft Prize in American History

April 12, 2002
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 received a 2002 Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy awarded by the Trustees of Columbia University for Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory ($29.95, 512 pp., Harvard University Press, Cambridge 2001). The Bancroft Prize, one of the most distinguished awards in the field of history, is presented annually to the authors of books of exceptional merit and distinction in the fields of American history and biography.

Race and Reunion is 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. Eric Foner of Columbia University wrote in the New York Times Book Review that “Race and Reunion demonstrates forcefully that...it still matters very much how we remember the Civil War.” “Blight conclusively demonstrates” wrote Jonathan Yardley in the Washington Post Book World, that the post-war “United States was caught up almost immediately in a ‘tormented relationship between healing and justice,’ and the abolitionist, emancipationist view of the war’s aims quickly receded into the background.”

Race and Reunion also received the 2001 Frederick Douglass Prize as the year’s outstanding book on slavery and the 2001 Lincoln Prize given by the Lincoln & Soldiers’ Institute at Gettysburg College. 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 from the Harvard University Press Website.

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Ellen Phelan To Discuss “Drawing into Painting” at Amherst College April 19

April 9, 2002
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Painter Ellen Phelan will give the annual Rapaport Lecture in Contemporary Art on Friday, April 19, at 4:30 p.m. in Pruyne Lecture Hall (Room 115) in Fayerweather Hall at Amherst College. Her talk, titled “Drawing into Painting,” will be free and open to the public.

Phelan has taught at a number of institutions, including Bard College and New York University, and at Harvard University, where she has chaired the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies. Her work is held in numerous collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Walker Art Center. She is currently exhibiting at Senior & Shopmaker Gallery in New York.

Of her work, critic Ken Johnson wrote in The New York Times, “What has remained consistent, besides an always assiduous care for the craft of painting, has been the Modernist tension between material surface and illusory depth and a postmodernist play between romance and irony.” In The Los Angeles Times, David Pagel wrote, “Seemingly simple, her paintings are extraordinarily sophisticated in their capacity to capture the materiality of light, giving this ordinarily intangible substance a presence both palpable and wondrous.

The Rapaport Lectureship in Contemporary Art Fund, established in 1999, provides support for an annual lecture by an artist, art writer, or art critic on some aspect of contemporary art. The goal of the Rapaport Lectureship is to increase awareness and appreciation of contemporary art among students and the community. The Department of Fine Arts is pleased to bring Ellen Phelan to Amherst as part of the Rapaport Lectureship in Contemporary Art, with additional support from the Office of the Dean of the Faculty.

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Robert F. Drinan Sets Human Rights Lecture at Amherst College April 24

April 9, 2002
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Father Robert F. Drinan, S.J., a priest and professor of law at Georgetown University, will speak in the Cole Assembly Room in Converse Hall at Amherst College at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24 on “The Promised Ethical Land: A World View of Human Rights.” The talk, and a catered reception to follow, sponsored by the Schwemm Fund, are free and open to the public.

Drinan served as a Democratic representative from Massachusetts in Congress from 1971 until 1981, when Pope John Paul II told him he must choose between politics and the priesthood. An outspoken progressive in politics, Drinan had been elected in opposition to the war in Vietnam.

He has taught at Oxford University; at the law schools of the University of Colorado, the University of Michigan, New York University, Boston College and the University of Texas; and at Swarthmore College and Andover-Newton Theological Seminary. He is the chairman of the Standing Committee on Professionalism for the American Bar Association.

Drinan remains a leading voice in the movement for human rights, and has served with People for the American Way, the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Bread for the World and the Council for a Livable World Educational Fund. He was a founding member of the Lawyer’s Alliance for Nuclear Arms Control and the National Interreligious Task Force on Soviet Jewry. He has also been an officer of Americans for Democratic Action, the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

A frequent contributor to law reviews and journals of policy and opinion, Drinan wrote The Mobilization of Shame: A World View of Human Rights (2001), The Fractured Dream (1991) and Lies From the American Soul (1990), among many other books.

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Sculptor Francis Cape To Discuss His Art at Amherst College April 29

April 9, 2002
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Francis Cape, sculptor and artist-residence at Amherst College, will give a talk called “Making Art in Fast Forward: From 1402 to 2002 in 27 ½ Years.” on Monday, April 29 at 4:15 p.m. in Room 115 in Fayerweather Hall at Amherst College. His talk will be free and open to the public.

Cape handcrafts faux cabinets and woodwork that are handsome but hardly utilitarian: meant to be seen rather than used. After beginning his training in wood carving as a young man in England, Cape subsequently turned to sculpture in order to “get with the twentieth century,” he says. Since then he has earned an international reputation for his sculpture.

“The 1402 is a somewhat arbitrary date,” Cape admits, “but I will be starting the talk with tales of my apprenticeship, when I did work on restoration that would have included that century at least. It seemed relevant to tell that story, including the decisions that changed my work, moving it in effect through the centuries, to culminate in my presence here teaching a class in Issues in Contemporary Art.”

In a review in The New York Times last fall, critic Ken Johnson wrote, “An expert woodworker, Francis Cape builds mock cabinets and architectural structures that operate in the overlap between Pop and Minimalism.” He praised Cape’s “constructions, with their Shaker-style elegance and tastefully muted colors,” and noted that “if you saw this in a home design store, you wouldn’t think twice about it; in the gallery it is perplexing—a philosophical riddle. For all its well-built concreteness, it isn’t what it appears to be.”

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