Philosopher Alan Soble To Talk About Sex at Amherst College March 31

March 3, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Alan Soble, University Research Professor and professor of philosophy at the University of New Orleans, will give a talk titled “We All Know What Sex Is” at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 31, in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Amherst College Department of Philosophy and the Joseph Epstein Lecture Fund, Soble’s talk is free and open to the public.

A leading contemporary philosopher of sex, Soble is the editor of Sex from Plato to Paglia: A Philosophical Encyclopedia (2005) and author of Pornography, Sex, and Feminism (2002), The Philosophy of Sex and Love (1998), Sexual Investigations (1996), The Structure of Love (1990) and Pornography: Marxism, Feminism and the Future of Sexuality (1986). Soble has a B.S. degree in biology from Albright College, an M.A. in pharmacology and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the State University of New York at Buffalo. In 1977, while an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, he founded The Society for the Philosophy of Sex and Love, and he served as its director until 1992.

He is working on Immanuel Kant’s metaphysics and ethics of sexuality and has published “Sexual Use and What to Do about It: Internalist and Externalist Sexual Ethics,” in Essays in Philosophy 2:2 (2001).

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“The Ethics of War and the Ethics of Peace” at Amherst College April 20

March 31, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Nostoi Project will present a symposium on “The Ethics of War and the Ethics of Peace” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, in Johnson Chapel at Amherst College. The symposium is free and open to the public.

The panelists will be Randy Kehler, peace activist and founder of the Traprock Peace Center; Al Miller, Vietnam veteran, farmer and poet; Jonathan Shay, M.D., psychiatrist and author of Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming; and Lt. Col. David T. Vacchi, Iraq veteran and coordinator of Army ROTC at the Five Colleges and Springfield. The panel will be moderated by Kristin Henderson, a military spouse and author of While They’re at War: The True Story of American Families on the Homefront.

The Nostoi Project is a spring semester event organized by Hampshire College professor of epic drama and religion Robert E. Meagher using ancient literature, particularly concerning the Trojan War, as means for addressing the needs of today’s returning veterans. The project takes its name from the lost ancient Greek epic, “Nostoi,” meaning “the return home,” which recounts the Greek soldiers’ return from the Trojan War. The many speakers will include veterans, a psychiatrist, a poet, military professionals, a journalist, an author and a playwright. Six documentaries dealing with veterans returning from war will also be shown, along with a play performed by Hampshire College students and an exhibit of Pulitzer Prize-winning photos of Iraq. See The Nostoi Project Website.

The Nostoi Project is collaboration of Hampshire College, The Veterans Education Project and the American Friends Service Committee with institutional support from Amherst College, Smith College, the Five Colleges Humanities Fund, Greenfield Community College, Holyoke Community College, Mount Holyoke College, The University of Massachusetts, Springfield College School of Social Work and Christ Church Cathedral in Springfield.

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Amherst College Orchestra Celebrates the Class of ’06 and Mozart April 8

March 30, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Amherst College Orchestra will celebrate its graduating class of 2006 and the 250th birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in its annual senior concerto concert at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 8, in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center at Amherst College. Tickets are $5 and are free to Amherst College students. Reservations can be made at amherstorchestra@gmail.com.

Three seniors will perform three complete concertos by the Viennese master. Orchestra president and French horn section co-principal Hikaru Okamoto ’06 will open the concert with the boisterous Horn Concerto No. 2 in E-flat major, K. 417. Woodwind section leader Paul Park ’06 will then perform Mozart’s final instrumental work, the sublime Clarinet Concerto in A major, K.622. The concert will close with the fiery and dramatic Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K.466, with music honors graduate Tamina Park ’06 as soloist. Rob Lane ’05 and Mark Lane Swanson will conduct the Amherst College Orchestra.

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Artists’ Talk about “Some Assembly Required: Cumulative Visions” at Mead Art Museum at Amherst College April 8

March 30, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The artists June Ahrens, Elisa D’Arrigo, Carol Hepper, Nene Humphrey and Rebecca Smith will talk about “Some Assembly Required: Cumulative Visions,” an exhibition of their sculptural assemblages, at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 8, in the Fairchild Gallery in the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College. A reception will follow in the Rotherwas Room. The talk and reception are co-sponsored by the Amherst College Departments of Fine Art and Women’s and Gender Studies. The Mead Museum is presenting “Some Assembly Required” until May 7. Support for the exhibition is provided in part by the Hall and Kate Peterson Fund.

“Some Assembly Required” investigates the multi-faceted work of artists who employ multiples of a single form in inventive ways that result in accumulated visions. Each work begins with a discrete form—sometimes a “ready-made” object that has a specific association or a function in our everyday lives, sometimes a form fabricated entirely from scratch. As each artist undergoes a labor-intensive exploration with her medium and process of addition, repetition and manipulation, the overall form takes on a life and spirit all its own. The work represents an experience that is both intensely physical and spiritual in nature. It is the intensive repetitive activity, and the explorations into domestic, feminist and social issues that bind them together.

June Ahrens finds much potential from the simple and commonplace—she breathes new life into an eggshell or a safety pin. Often she turns a sculptural project into a collaborative effort, working closely with diverse communities. She involves children, senior citizens and the socially disadvantaged in an effort to generate hope and healing.

Working intuitively, Elisa D’Arrigo makes many small elements of painted fabric, which she then stitches together, creating organic assemblages that simmer with unleashed energy. While perhaps not a conscious goal, her work often delves into issues that relate to personal events such as the fragility of life and the poignant bonds between a mother and child.

Nene Humphrey also employs the needle when making art; she is interested in maps and in neuroscience. Using scans of the human brain taken by an electron micrograph as a springboard, Humphrey’s most recent work incorporates her “signature,” tightly wrapped organza forms that resemble rosebuds. One work can consist of thousands of these exquisitely fabricated blossoms pinned directly onto the wall in configurations that are distant iterations of the initial brain scans.

Carol Hepper grew up on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, and this experience has informed her aesthetic direction throughout her career. While her early work sometimes featured the skins of animals found in her immediate environment, Hepper has turned her attention to the diaphanous qualities of fish skins. In her recent work, she hand-stitches dried and treated fish skins while she experiments with light, tension, color and movement.

Rebecca Smith uses her work as a vehicle to explore psychological disorders and language; a recent commission was based on Nü Shu, the secret language created centuries ago by Chinese women. One of her works in the exhibition refers to the alter egos of composer Robert Schumann; the other work at the Mead is a site-specific wall drawing that translates the elusive poetry of Emily Dickinson into a different dimension.

For each of these artists, working is an intense and intimate exercise, reflecting a time-consuming and elaborate physical endeavor. As each assemblage in the exhibition embarks on its chameleonic journey, it acquires its own mysterious persona and demonstrates the valiant commitment and passion that drive these five women in their ongoing evolution as artists.

The Mead Art Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Thursday evenings until 9 p.m. More information is available on the museum’s Website or by calling the Mead Art Museum at 413/542-2335. All events are free and open to the public.

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Francis Deng To Speak on “New Sudan” at Amherst College April 10

March 30, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Francis Deng, the director of the Center for Displacement Studies and a research professor of international law, politics and society at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, will speak on “New Sudan in the Making” at 8 p.m. on Monday, April 10, in Pruyne Auditorium (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Sponsored by the President’s Office at Amherst College, Deng’s talk is free and open to the public.

Deng is a former Sudanese minister of state for foreign affairs and ambassador to Canada, the United States and Scandinavia. Since 1992 he has been the representative of the U.N. Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons. He is also a co-director of the Brookings-SAIS Project on Internal Displacement, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Deng earned a J.S.D. degree from Yale University. Deng’s many publications include A Strategic Vision for Africa (co-author, 2002), African Reckoning: A Quest for Good Governance (co-editor, 1998), Masses in Flight: The Global Crisis of Internal Displacement (co-author, 1998), The Forsaken People: Case Studies of the Internally Displaced (co-editor, 1998), Sovereignty as Responsibility: Conflict Management in Africa (co-author, 1996), War of Visions: Conflict of Identities in the Sudan (1995), Conflict Resolution in Africa (co-editor 1991) and Human Rights in Africa: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (co-editor, 1990).

The Amherst College Board of Trustees voted in January to divest any direct holdings, and refrain from future direct investment, in nearly two dozen multinational companies whose business activities have been identified as supporting the Sudanese government. A complete list of those companies is online at www.amherst.edu/magazine/darfur.

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Pianist Leon Fleisher Presents Music at Amherst April 11

March 30, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Pianist Leon Fleisher will return to Amherst for the final concert in the 2005-06 Music at Amherst Series on Tuesday, April 11, at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Building at Amherst College. The program will include solo pieces and a couple of duets with pianist Katherine Jacobson. Tickets are available only to subscribers and students.

Fleisher’s celebrated collaboration with George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra resulted in a series of recordings that have remained touchstones of the classical catalogue to this day. Of his new recording, “Two Hands,” Fleisher says, It’s a state of grace; it’s a state of ecstasy. It’s wonderful. How else can I describe it? There is another level of awareness of the keys, the way I’m holding my hand, the sense of contact.” “Two Hands” also has been a critical success. “He has long since transcended the methods of music. In his hands now is the capacity to illuminate the soul,” according to the Denver Post.

The latest information can be obtained from the Amherst College Concert Website.

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Poet Joy Harjo To Perform at Amherst College April 19

March 30, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Poet, performer, writer and musician Joy Harjo will speak at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 19, in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Sponsored by the English Department at Amherst College, Harjo’s performance is free and open to the public. Refreshments will follow.

A member of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation, Harjo has published seven books of poetry, among them She Had Some Horses (1983), In Mad Love and War (1990), The Woman Who Fell From the Sky (1994) and her most recent, How We Became Human, New and Selected Poems (2002). She co-edited an anthology of contemporary Native women’s writing: Reinventing the Enemy’s Language, Native Women’s Writing of North America (1997), one of the London Observer’s Best Books of 1997; and wrote the award-winning children’s book The Good Luck Cat (2000). She also provided poetic prose to accompany Stephen Strom’s photographs in Secrets from the Center of the World (1989). A book of stories is forthcoming.

In 1997 Harjo released her first musical recording, Letter from the End of the 20th Century, which Pulse Magazine called the “best dub poetry album recorded in North America.” She co-produced the album and is featured as poet and saxophone player. Her new CD of original songs is Native Joy for Real.

Harjo is the Joseph M. Russo Professor of Creative Writing at the University of New Mexico and has served on the National Council on the Arts. When not teaching and performing she lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she is a member of the Hui Nalu Canoe Club.

Her poetry has won many awards, among them the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award; Oklahoma Book Awards, 2003; The American Indian Festival of Words Author Award from the Tulsa City County Library; the 2000 Western Literature Association Distinguished Achievement Award; 1998 Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award, the 1997 New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts; the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.

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Archaeologist Simon James To Speak at Amherst College April 10

March 28, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Simon James, a reader in archaeology at the University of Leicester, will deliver a lecture titled “Desert Fortress: Life and Violent Death in Roman Dura-Europos, Syria” at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, April 10, in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, his talk is free and open to the public.

Educated at the London Institute of Archaeology, James is interested in the Roman world and societies on its borders, including northern “barbarians” such as the Iron Age ‘Celtic’ societies, and the peoples of the ancient Middle East. His long-standing interest in the archaeology of the Roman military resulted in a major monograph on the arms and armor from Dura-Europos, Syria, and wider work on the role of martial violence in ancient societies. He is a member of the Franco-Syrian-led expedition to Dura-Europos, working on Roman military aspects of the site.

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Slavic Soul Party! at Amherst College April 9

March 28, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Slavic Soul Party! will perform their “Balkan soul Gypsy funk” on Sunday, April 9, at 8 p.m. in the Friedmann Room in the Keefe Campus Center at Amherst College. A workshop and discussion will take place in the McCaffrey Room in the Keefe Campus Center at 4 p.m. Sponsored by the Global Sound Project of the President’s Initiative Fund at Amherst College, the show and discussion are free and open to the public.

Brash and strong as slivovitz, the musicians of Slavic Soul Party! have forged a virtuosic new brass band culture from the heart of Brooklyn, melding Gypsy, East European, Mexican and Asian immigrant backgrounds with American jazz and soul. According to The New York Times, Slavic Soul Party! has “developed a reputation for delivering a good time.”

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Amherst College Provides Interest Rate Subsidy to Amherst Cinema Arts Center

March 23, 2006
Director of Media Relations
(413) 542-8417

AMHERST, Mass. — Amherst College recently announced a gift of $75,000 to the nonprofit Amherst Cinema Arts Center. The funds are a subsidy to be used to lower the group’s cost of capital needed for the interior fit-out of the three-screen, state-of-the-art cinema planned for downtown Amherst.

Scheduled to open this fall, the Amherst Cinema Arts Center will have a full schedule of mainstream and independent films by award-winning artists as well as documentary films and film festivals from around the world. Anchoring a new multi-use complex on Amity Street, the Cinema Center will be a focal point for downtown Amherst, an educational resource, and a community gathering place.

“The town of Amherst is already a cultural destination for many,” says Anthony W. Marx, the president of Amherst College, “The Amherst Cinema Arts Center’s distinctive year-round programming will enhance the region’s cultural attractions and benefit the entire community.” Peter Shea, the treasurer of Amherst College, notes, “We’re especially happy to be able to provide this kind of financial support for the Amherst Cinema Arts Center at this critical early stage of its fund-raising.”

Carol Johnson, the president of the Amherst Cinema Arts Center, says, “We are grateful to Amherst College for this generous gift, which will be a great help in our important first year of operation.”

Visit the Amherst Cinema Arts Center website.

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