Law Professor Austin Sarat To Receive Reginald Heber Smith Book Award

November 30, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-Austin Sarat, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science at Amherst College, will receive the 2004 Reginald Heber Smith Book Award, given biennially to honor the best scholarship on "the subject of equal access to justice," from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association in December. This is the first time it will be given to a professor at a liberal arts college. Sarat will be recognized for his work on cause lawyering and the three books he has produced on the subject.

The National Legal Aid and Defender Association first gave a Reginald Heber Smith Award in 1961. The award is named for Reginald Heber Smith (1889-1996), the father of legal aid in America and author of Justice and the Poor (1919). Counsel to the Boston Legal Aid Society before joining the law firm of Hale and Dorr, Smith was awarded the ABA Medal, the highest honor of the American Bar Association in 1951.

Sarat, who has taught at Amherst since 1974, has written many books. Most recently he was the co-author with Stuart Scheingold of Something to Believe In: Politics, Professionalism and Cause Lawyering (2004). His next book, Mercy on Trial: What It Means to Stop an Execution, will be published in 2005 by Princeton University Press. Sarat has served as President of the Law and Society Association and of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities.

###

Alden Trust Awards Amherst College $150,000 for New Geology Building

November 24, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-The Trustees of the George I. Alden Trust have awarded a $150,000 grant to Amherst College toward the construction of a new geology building. The award also will generate additional support for the new building through a challenge fund previously established by Amherst's Board of Trustees to help finance the college's Residential Master Plan.

As part of the Residential Master Plan, Charles Pratt Hall, former home of the Amherst College geology program and the natural history museum, will be converted to a dormitory in 2007. This pending renovation offers a welcome opportunity for the college to provide modern facilities in a new academic building that will become an important focal point for the geosciences and the study of environmental science on campus.
Ground was broken for the new geology building in June 2004, and the building is scheduled for completion in January 2006. The building will comprise 55,800 gross square feet and will provide state-of-the-art teaching laboratories to support innovative pedagogy. About two thirds of the four-story building will be devoted to academic space, and the remainder will house Amherst's respected natural history museum.

The George I. Alden Trust, located in Worcester, Mass., was founded in 1912. Its grantmaking program supports higher education and academic innovation primarily in the northeastern part of the United States.

###

Amherst College Anthropology Professor Deborah Gewertz is Author of New Book

November 24, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-In Yali's Question: Sugar, Culture, and History ($67.50, $27.50 paperback, 360 pp. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2004), Deborah Gewertz, the G. Henry Whitcomb 1874 Professor of Anthropology at Amherst College, tells the remarkable story of Ramu Sugar Limited (RSL), a sugar plantation in a remote part of Papua New Guinea. Cowritten with Frederick Errington of Trinity College, Yali's Question explores this imported industrial creation, a smoke-belching, steam-shrieking factory and vast fields of carefully tended sugar cane that contrast sharply with the surrounding grasslands.

RSL not only dominates the landscape, but it also culturally shapes those thousands who left their homes to work there. In examining these views, Gewertz and Errington also consider those of Yali, a PNG political leader. Significantly, Yali figures not only in the story of RSL, but also in Jared Diamond's Pulitzer Prize-winning world history Guns, Germs, and Steel-a history the authors probe through its contrast with RSL's. Gewertz and Errington disagree with Diamond not because of the generality of his focus and the specificity of theirs, but from a difference in view about how history is made - and from an insistence that those with power must be held accountable for affecting history.

Gewertz has taught at Amherst since 1977. She and Errington have co-authored several books, including Cultural Alternatives and a Feminist Anthropology: An Analysis of Culturally Constructed Gender Interests in Papua New Guinea (Cambridge, 1987), Articulating Change in the "Last Unknown" (Westview, 1995), Twisted Histories, Altered Contexts: Representing the Chambri in a World System (Cambridge, 1991) and Emerging Class in Papua New Guinea: The Telling of Difference (Cambridge, 1999). Gewertz is also the author of numerous articles in books and journals, including American Ethnologist and American Anthropologist.

###

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Awards Amherst $250,000 Grant

November 24, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-The Trustees of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation have awarded Amherst College a grant of $250,000 to appoint three postdoctoral fellows in the fall of 2005. The fellows will participate in new interdisciplinary initiatives on campus that have emerged through curricular work supported by the President's Initiative Fund.

The funding enables the college to build upon a successful program that has been in place since 1998, when the Mellon Foundation provided its first grant to Amherst in support of postdoctoral fellowships in the humanities and social sciences. Postdoctoral fellowships are common nationally in the natural sciences, but there are fewer such opportunities for new Ph.D.s in the humanities and social sciences, particularly at small liberal arts colleges. These new fellowships will help to enhance interdisciplinary curricular innovations at the college, while allowing the fellows to hone their teaching and research skills before taking on a tenure track position.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is a private foundation, with assets of approximately $4 billion, which makes grants on a selective basis to institutions in higher education; museums and art conservation; performing arts; population; conservation and the environment; and public affairs.

###

Christmas Vespers at Amherst College Dec. 5

November 24, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-The annual Christmas Vespers service will be held on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 4 p.m. and again at 7:30 p.m. in Johnson Chapel at Amherst College. The "Festival of Lessons and Carols" is sponsored by the Amherst College Christian Fellowship, the Newman Club and the Protestant and Roman Catholic Religious Advisors. Admission is free, and the public is invited.

Mallorie Chernin will direct the Amherst College Choral Society, assisted by Chad Mills '04. Sarah Davis '05 and Katherine Willis '06 will direct the Amherst College Madrigal Singers. Other musicians will include organist James Maes and trumpeters Douglas Purcell and Kevin Daley '05. The Choral Society will perform music of Morten Lauridsen, Edwin Fissinger, Randall Thompson, David Willcocks and others. Members of the college community will read the scripture lessons. The congregation will be asked to join in the singing of traditional carols and the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah.

###

"Emily Dickinson-Her True Colors": A New Oil Portrait of the Poet

November 24, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-A new color portrait in oil of Amherst poet Emily Dickinson will be on display during a special reception in the Special Collections Department at the Jones Library in Amherst on Thursday, Dec. 9. Sunderland artist Guillermo Cuéllar painted the portrait. The Jones Library, the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, the Emily Dickinson Museum and the Friends of the Jones Library are sponsors of the reception, which will begin at 5 p.m. with a formal unveiling of the portrait and remarks by Cuéllar, Dickinson scholar Polly Longsworth and Daria D'Arienzo, the head of Archives and Special Collections at Amherst College. The reception also marks the beginning of an exhibit about Dickinson's image that will run through Thursday, Feb. 10 at the Jones Library, located at 43 Amity Street in Amherst.

Cuéllar used all three local Dickinson institutions to research his Emily Dickinson oil portrait, which is based on the poet's well-known daguerreotype in the collection of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections. In addition to using local resources, Cuéllar traveled to museums and consulted historians of the 19th century to research every aspect of the elements captured by the photograph: the hair, skin, dress, jewelry and even the original photographer's props, such as the tablecloth and waxed orange blossom flowers.

Cuéllar's goal with his portrait was to render the poet in her true colors: "Most people have a color-blind image of Emily Dickinson since there was only one daguerreotype that portrays the poet in varying shades of gray," he said. "For example, I did not know that she was a redhead." He made the painting "as if I were a portrait artist living in the 1840s." He was intrigued by the fact that the poet was a teenager in the daguerreotype, and wanted to show "not only who she was, but also who she was becoming."

In addition to pursuing an avocation in portraiture, Cuéllar is the president of the Center for Creative Consciousness in Sunderland, Mass., and the co-founder of the New England Art Therapy Institute. He is a private consultant in many areas of organizational development, such as managing diversity, addressing organizational culture change and innovation.

The Special Collections Department of the Jones Library houses extensive collections in the fields of local and regional history, genealogy and Amherst authors. Its large collection of Emily Dickinson materials was begun in 1921 by Charles R. Green and helps to place the poet within the context of her community in the mid-19th century. The Amherst College Archives and Special Collections houses the college's rare books, literary manuscripts, written materials of unique value, and those that relate to the college and its history. The collection includes one of the two major holdings of Emily Dickinson's manuscripts, along with several personal items, including her daguerreotype. The Emily Dickinson Museum at 280 Main Street in Amherst was formed last year when the Dickinson Homestead, the poet's birthplace and home, merged with The Evergreens, home of the poet's brother and sister-in-law. The Museum offers guided tours of the two houses from March through mid-December.

The exhibit "Emily Dickinson - Her True Colors" will run from Dec. 9 through Feb. 10, in the Special Collections Department at the Jones Library. The Department is open Tuesdays through Fridays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Mondays and Saturdays from 2 to 5 p.m.; closed Sundays and some holidays (call for more information). For more information, please contact Tevis Kimball, Curator of Special Collections at the Jones Library, at 413/256-4090.

###

Emily Dickinson Museum Celebrates the Poet's Birthday Dec. 11

November 24, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-The Emily Dickinson Museum will host its annual Open House on Saturday, Dec. 11, from 1 to 4 p.m. in honor of Emily Dickinson's birthday (Dec. 10, 1830). The event is free and open to the public. The Emily Dickinson Museum is composed of the Dickinson Homestead, birthplace and home of the poet, and The Evergreens next door, the home of Austin and Susan Dickinson, the poet's brother and sister-in-law.

Visitors will immediately recognize what the Museum has been up to this year, as they observe the newly completed exterior restoration work on the poet's Homestead. Over the summer and fall, the Homestead was painted in the color scheme it sported when the poet wrote her poetry there in the second half of the 19th century: a light ochre (or mustard) color popular then, off-white architectural trim, dark green shutters and charcoal window sash. Paint analysis by a team of preservation consultants provided the detail needed to cover the house in the authentic color scheme used at the time of poet Emily Dickinson's residence. The restoration work also included repairs to failing masonry and deteriorating carpentry. Interior storm windows were installed to complete the project.

Jane H. Wald, the Museum's director of resources and collections, commented, "This project is one of a number undertaken in the last few years that give the Homestead and The Evergreens the unified appearance they shared in the 19th century. In 1998 the main block of The Evergreens was painted in its original 1856 color scheme, and the rear ell was painted just last year. The Homestead's kitchen and laundry have also been restored to a nineteenth-century color scheme, and the rear ell now serves as the Museum's Tour Center. Looking ahead, the Emily Dickinson Museum is preparing a master plan for the site that will help to guide ongoing restoration of the landscape and historic buildings over the next decade." The Homestead exterior restoration was funded in part by a generous Save America's Treasures grant administered by the National Park Service.

In addition to admiring the new paint job, visitors to the Birthday Open House can explore the interiors of the two houses on self-guided tours. A new exhibit about Dickinson's poetry and letters will be on view for the first time. Visitors will also have the chance to sample the coconut cake recipe from a friend of Emily Dickinson's, as well as the poet's own gingerbread recipe. And a much-anticipated annual tradition of the Open House will occur once again when an anonymous donor will offer a rose to the first 174 visitors to the Museum. An activity guide is available for children.

The Museum is located on Main Street in Amherst and is owned by the Trustees of Amherst College. For more information about the Open House, please call 413/542-8161 or visit www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org. Accessible parking is available at the Homestead; all other vehicles are asked to park on the street or in an Amherst College lot on Spring Street. Call for more information about accessibility. The Museum will be closed for the winter from Dec. 12 through March 1.

###

Amherst College History Professor Fredric Cheyette Will Give Invited Lecture in Narbonne, France

November 22, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-The mayor and the director of cultural services of Narbonne, France has invited Fredric L. Cheyette, professor of history at Amherst College, to give a public lecture on Ermengard of Narbonne and the world of the troubadours on Sunday, Nov. 21, in the Salle des Synodes, in what was once the medieval archiepiscopal palace and is now the city hall.

Cheyette is the author of Ermengard of Narbonne and the World of the Troubadours (2001), which received the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award from the Phi Beta Kappa Society, an Honorable Mention (History) from the Association of American Publishers Awards Program, the David Pinkney Prize from the Society for French Historical Studies and the Eugene M. Kayden Book Award from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Cheyette's book tells the story of Viscountess Ermengard, who ruled the major medieval port of Narbonne and much of present-day Languedoc in the 12th century. The medieval warrior princess cuts an obscure figure today. Yet "it was among the poets and songsmiths of her own lands that Ermengard was best known, among the troubadours," Cheyette writes, asking what role the love poetry of the troubadours might have played in this aristocratic world of war and diplomacy. "The earliest passions she may have learned were the passions for power and for the friendship and loyalty needed to sustain that power."

In the world of the troubadours, beautiful women were powerful lords, maintaining the equilibrium of a stateless society through loyalty and family ties, but also preserving their realms by playing pragmatic political games. Ermengard's cosmopolitan world came to an end when the established church launched the Albigensian Crusade to destroy the heretics.

Cheyette, who has taught at Amherst since 1963, received an A.B. from Princeton University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University.

###

Amherst College Professor William Taubman Receives Slavic Studies Prize

November 22, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-William C. Taubman, the Bertrand Snell Professor of Political Science at Amherst College, will receive the Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize for the most important contribution to Russian, Eurasian and East European studies in any discipline of the humanities or social sciences, for Khrushchev: The Man and His Era (2003), the first comprehensive biography of the Soviet Communist leader, and the first of any Soviet leader to reflect the full range of sources that have become available since the U.S.S.R. collapsed. The American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, the leading private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about Russia, Central Eurasia, and Eastern and Central Europe, will present the award to Taubman at its 36th national convention in Boston, Mass., on Thursday, Dec. 6.

Khrushchev: The Man and His Era, which earlier received the Pulitzer Prize for biography, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Robert H. Ferrell Book Prize of the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations, tells the story of Khrushchev's personal triumphs and tragedy and those of his country. Drawing on newly opened archives in Russia and Ukraine, Taubman traveled to places where Khrushchev lived and worked, and interviewed Khrushchev family members, friends and colleagues, to write a biography that combines historical narrative and political and psychological analysis.

Taubman, a member of the Amherst faculty since 1967, was educated at Harvard and Columbia Universities. An associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard, chair of the Advisory Committee of the Cold War International History Project at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. and a former International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations with the Department of State, Taubman is the author of many books. He wrote Moscow Spring (1989) with his wife, Jane Taubman, a professor of Russian at Amherst College, Stalin's American Policy (1982), Governing Soviet Cities (1973) and The View from Lenin Hills (1967). He has contributed to The New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, among many other newspapers, magazines and journals.

###

Susan Wolf To Speak on "Happiness" at Amherst College Dec. 2

November 15, 2004
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-Susan Wolf, Edna J. Koury Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, will speak on "Happiness, Meaningfulness, and the Meaning of Life" on Thursday, Dec. 2, at 4:30 p.m. the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Wolf's talk, sponsored by the Department of Philosophy at Amherst College and the Forry and Micken Fund in Philosophy and Science, is the first of a series on "Well-Being." The lecture is free and open to the public.

Wolf works in moral theory and the philosophy of mind; her current research focuses on the relations among happiness, morality, and meaningfulness in life. The author of Freedom Within Reason (1990), Wolf has published articles that include "Asymmetrical Freedom" (The Journal of Philosophy, 1980), "The Importance of Free Will (Mind, 1981), "Moral Saints" (The Journal of Philosophy, 1982), "Self-Interest and Interest in Selves" (Ethics, 1986), "Above and Below the Line of Duty" (Philosophical Topics, 1986), "Sanity and the Metaphysics of Responsibility" (Responsibility, Character, and the Emotions, ed. by Schoeman, 1987), "Morality and Partiality" (Philosophical Perspectives, 1992), "Meaning and Morality" (Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society,1997), "Happiness and Meaning: Two Aspects of the Good Life" (Social Philosophy & Policy,1997), "Morality and the View from Here" (The Journal of Ethics, 1999), "The True, the good, and the Lovable" ( The Contours of Agency, ed. by Buss and Overton, 2002) and "The Role of Rules" (Rationality, Rules, and Ideals, ed. by Sinnott Armstrong and Audi, 2002).

###

Pages

 

Contact

Office Communications
(413) 542-2321
comm@amherst.edu


eNews

eNewsSubscribe to the biweekly eNews by emailing alumni@amherst.edu.