Filmmaker and Media Critic Sut Jhally To Speak at Amherst College March 30

March 26, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- Sut Jhally, founder and director of The Media Education Foundation, will give a multi-media presentation, "Tough Guise: Violence, Media and the Crisis in Masculinity," on Tuesday, March 30, at 8 pm. in the Cole Assembly Room (Converse Hall) at Amherst College. He will explain how the crisis of violence in America is actually a crisis in the societal construction of masculinity, and address concerns about the raising of "better men."

A professor of communications at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, Jhally is known to students and faculty on college campuses across the country for his controversial and award-winning films, such as Dreamworlds: Desire/Sex/Power in Music Video. MTV network threatened a lawsuit in response to this film, which The Los Angeles Times called "a scathing examination of pop video's use and abuse of women." Other films include Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire, Advertising and the End of the World and Wrestling with Manhood, dealing with issues such as commercialism and popular culture, violence and gender. Jhally is also author of four books and numerous scholarly and popular articles.

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Paul Harris To Speak on "Trust in Testimony" at Amherst College April 8

March 26, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- Paul Harris, professor of education and faculty member in the human development and psychology area at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, will take up "The Ontogenesis of Trust in Testimony" on Thursday, April 8, at 4:30 p.m. in the Pruyne Lecture Hall in Fayerweather Hall at Amherst College. Harris's talk, sponsored by the Department of Philosophy at Amherst College and the Forry and Micken Fund in Philosophy and Science as part of a series on "Ethics, Metaphysics and Psychology of Belief," will be free and open to the public.

Harris is interested in the early development of cognition, emotion and imagination. His The Work of the Imagination (2000) gathers together several years of research carried out at Oxford University, where he taught developmental psychology and received his doctoral degree. He is studying how far children rely on their own first-hand experience or, alternatively, rely on what people tell them-especially when they confront a new domain of knowledge. His previous works include Children's Understanding of Emotion (co-edited with Carolyn Saarni, 1988), Developing Theories of Mind (co-edited with Janet W. Astington and David R. Olson, 1988), Children and Emotion (1989) and Imagining the Impossible: Magical, Scientific and Religious Thinking in Children (co-edited with Karl S. Rosengren and Carl N. Johnson, 2000).

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Poet Laureate Louise Glück Cancels Reading at Amherst College March 28

March 25, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- Due to illness, poet Louise Glück has canceled her reading scheduled for Sunday, March 28, at 4 p.m. in Johnson Chapel at Amherst College. The reading will not be rescheduled.

Glück's reading was to have been the first in a series of events that will take place during the week of March 28 through April 3, in a program titled " 'A little Madness in the Spring': Celebrating History and Poetry at the Emily Dickinson Museum." The rest of the week's events will go on as scheduled.

For more information about events at the Dickinson Museum, visit www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org.

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Al Sharpton To Speak at Amherst College April 3

March 19, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-Civil rights activist and former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination Al Sharpton will speak on Saturday, April 3, at 4 p.m. in Johnson Chapel at Amherst College. Sharpton's talk, the keynote of Black Alumni Weekend at Amherst, is free and open to the public. A schedule for Black Alumni Weekend is available at www.amherst.edu/alumni/events/blackalumniweekend.

When Sharpton conceded the 2004 Democratic nomination to John Kerry on March 15, he told the Associated Press, "My campaign continues now to pick up delegates so that we can go to the convention to coalesce with other delegates." In a statement he said he wants a Democratic platform that "embraces affirmative action and cracks down on police brutality, improves schools in minority districts, increases minority access to health care and bolsters programs to create jobs for minorities."

Stan Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report told CNN that Sharpton is "probably the most entertaining speaker in the Democratic field. He's terrific at beating up Bush and at rallying Democratic partisans to traditional Democratic issues."

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Amherst College Admissions Director Katie Fretwell Named Outstanding Mentor

March 19, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- Katharine L. Fretwell, director of admission and senior associate dean at Amherst College, has been recognized as an outstanding mentor by a consortium of organizations for student affairs professionals.

Jennifer O'Connor, a 2000 graduate of Amherst and a doctoral candidate in higher education at Boston College's Lynch School of Education, nominated Fretwell for the award. In an essay, O'Connor wrote, "Katie was my greatest champion and supporter during my four years at Amherst. Her constant belief in me gave me the confidence to flourish at Amherst. She was more than a dean; she was a personal friend whom I admired. She inspired me to become a member of the admissions team, which was truly a highlight of my college experience."

O'Connor recalled that when she graduated from Amherst, "Katie questioned why I was not considering education as a career choice. It was not until I worked for a year in the corporate world that Katie's words resonated loudly. Katie helped me to secure my first position in higher education and has always been an advocate for me as my career has advanced."

After graduation from Amherst in 1981, Fretwell was a fellow in the Amherst admission office for a year, then went on to receive an Ed. M. degree from Harvard University. A secondary school teacher and guidance counselor before entering a career in admissions at Williams College in 1985, Fretwell has been at Amherst since 1989.

The consortium meets annually to help support new professionals and graduate and undergraduate students prepare for careers in student personnel administration. This year's sponsors include the Association of College Unions International, Association of Student Judicial Affairs, Boston Area College Housing Association, Maine Association of Student Affairs Practitioners, Massachusetts Association of Women in Education, Massachusetts College Personnel Association, National Association for Campus Activities, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (Region I), Northeast Association of College and University Housing Officers, Northeast Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls, and National Orientation Directors Association.

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Music Professor David Reck Receives Music Award in India

March 19, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- David Reck, a professor of music and Asian languages and civilizations at Amherst College, was recently honored at the Madras Festival of Music and Dance in India with the title Sangita Sethu. Presented by Brhaddhvani Research and Training Center for Musics of the World, the award cites Reck's "contributions in bridging music-cultures through scholarship, veena studies, compositions, [and] his efforts in encompassing Karnatak Music in the global context going beyond his own cultural boundaries."

An Italian edition of Worlds of Music: An Introduction to the Music of the World's Peoples co-authored by Reck was released recently. Titled I Mondi Della Musica, Le Musiche del Mondo, the work is translated and edited by Tullia Magrini and published by Zanichelli in Bologna.

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Poet Lisa BeskinTo Read at Amherst College April 12

March 19, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass - Poet Lisa Beskin will read from her work at 8 p.m. on Monday, April 12, in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. The event, sponsored by the Amherst College Creative Writing Center, is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Beskin's book of poems, My Work Among the Faithful, was the winner of the 2003 Blue Lynx Award and will be published in May by the Lynx House Press. Beskin has received awards from the Academy of American Poets and the Associated Writing Programs, and her poems have appeared in such publications as the Denver Quarterly, McSweeney's, jubilat, the Boston Review and Fence. She was a featured poet on the Poetry Daily Web site, and is included in its recently published anthology, Poetry Daily: 366 Poems from the World's Most Popular Poetry Website. She has taught at Yale University, Mount Holyoke College, and Amherst College.

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center puts on a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. More information is available at the center's Web site www.amherst.edu/~cwc.

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Agricultural Environmentalist Wes Jackson To Speak at Amherst College March 24

March 17, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-Wes Jackson, president of the Land Institute, will speak on "A False Hypothesis: Implications for Culture and Agriculture," on Wednesday, March 24, at 4:30 p.m. in Lecture Room 4 in the Merrill Science Center at Amherst College. Jackson's talk, sponsored by the Transdisciplinary Fund and Five-College Environmental Studies Seminar, is free and open to the public.

Born on the Kansas prairie, Jackson studied biology, botany and genetics. Formerly a professor of biology at Kansas Wesleyan University, Jackson established one of the nation's first environmental studies programs at California State University, Sacramento, where he became a tenured full professor. In 1976 he returned to Kansas to found the Land Institute, which is dedicated to "natural systems agriculture," an ecological model that combines the remarkable stability of the tallgrass prairie with a grain yield comparable to annual crops.

Jackson's writings include Rooted in the Land: Essays on Community and Place (edited with William Vitek, 1996), Becoming Native to this Place (1994), and Altars of Unhewn Stone (1987). Meeting the Expectations of the Land (1984) was edited with Wendell Berry and Bruce Colman. New Roots for Agriculture (1980) outlines the basis for agricultural research at the Land Institute.

The work of the Land Institute has been featured extensively in the popular media, including The Atlantic Monthly, Audubon, "The NewsHour" on PBS and "All Things Considered" on NPR. Life magazine named Jackson one of 18 individuals it predicts will be among the 100 "most important Americans of the 20th century." Jackson is a recipient of the Pew Conservation Scholars award (1990) and a MacArthur Fellowship (1992).

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Amherst College Geologist Ed Belt To Present Research March 28

March 17, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.- Edward S. Belt, the S.A. Hitchcock Professor Emeritus of Mineralogy and Geology at Amherst College, will present his research on "The Paleontology of Marginal Marine Environments" at a joint meeting of the Northeastern and Southeastern Sections of the Geological Society of America. Almost 1100 geoscientists are expected to attend the event, which will take place in Tysons Corner, Va., March 25-27.

Belt's research focuses on 60-million-year-old sediments of North Dakota's Tongue River Member, which he has now proved contains marine layers in otherwise freshwater strata (and not an entirely freshwater body, as previously thought). Hypothesizing that a newly discovered marine shell bed, the Van Daele shell bed, would occur not only at the Van Daele ranch on the Little Missouri River, but elsewhere as well. Belt drove from Amherst to North Dakota in October and found the marine shell bed just where he expected: at the Hanson ranch, 10 kilometers east of the originally known location. This new correlation ties together strata dated at disparate localities over a wide area. It allowed Belt to argue that a gap of approximately one million years occurs in the stratigaphic record just below the Tongue River Member and above the Ludlow Member of the Paleocene Fort Union Formation.

Belt, who graduated from Williams College and received a master's degree from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Yale, taught at the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova University before coming to Amherst in 1966. He served as the director of the Pratt Museum of Natural History from 1987 to 2002.

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Chief Muraina Oyelami To Perform at Amherst College March 24, 25 and 26

March 17, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-Artist and musician Chief Muraina Oyelami will perform on drums, accompanied by local percussionists Joseph Platz and Andrew Kaknes, in the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College. Oyelami will play on Wednesday, March 24 at 3 p.m.; Thursday, March 25, at 4:30 p.m., with a reception to follow: and Friday, March 26 at 3 p.m. Oyelami was a Copeland Fellow at Amherst College last year. His performances are part of Cloth Only Wears to Shreds: Yobuba Textiles and Photographs from the Beier Collection, an exhibition at the Mead Art Museum until May 16.

Chief Muraina Oyelami has written, lectured and conducted workshops throughout the world on Yoruba music, art and religion. In 1993, he was installed as the eesa of his hometown, Iragbiji in Yorubaland in southwestern Nigeria. An eesa is high traditional chieftaincy, second-in-command to the oba, or king. He also runs the Obatala Centre for Creative Arts in Iragbiji.

Oyelami began his career in 1963 as a painter in the Osogbo School, a Nigerian arts movement that combined Yoruba and western influences. An actor and musician, he was also a founding member of Duro Ladipo Theatre Company. Oyelami has been artist-in-residence at the National Black Theatre of Harlem and the University of Bayreuth (Germany), and a Djerassi Foundation Fellow in Woodside, Calif.

Known as a visual as well as a performing artist, Oyelami has been described as a poetic painter with a romantic approach. He taught Yoruba traditional music and directed many dance and drama productions at the University of Ife (Nigeria.) He also composed and directed the music for Wole Soyinka's famous Death and the King's Horseman in Manchester, England.

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Contact

Peter Rooney
Director of Public Affairs
(413) 542-2321
prooney@amherst.edu