Beckman Foundation Awards Science Grant to Amherst College

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

AMHERST, Mass. — The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation (Irvine, Calif.) has selected Amherst College as one of 13 recipients of the 2006 Beckman Scholars Program award. The award will provide $77,200 over the next three years to support student research in chemistry, biochemistry and neuroscience, and recognizes Amherst’s commitment to quality undergraduate research. Amherst was one of 122 colleges and universities invited to compete for an award last fall, and is one of only three liberal arts colleges among the 13 participants in the Beckman Scholars Program this spring.

Established in 1997, the Beckman Scholars Program is designed to encourage and support research activities by exceptionally talented undergraduates working in the areas of chemistry, biochemistry, biology and the medical sciences. Amherst’s award will enable participating faculty over the next three years to select four juniors as Beckman Scholars, each one completing a senior thesis that addresses a significant research problem. Each Beckman Scholar will work closely with an individual faculty mentor for two summers and the intervening academic year; the final summer will focus on helping the graduate to prepare his or her work for possible publication. In addition, all Beckman Scholars will attend an annual research symposium at the Beckman Center of the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering in Irvine, Calif., during the two summers of their scholarship.

“These funds will allow four undergraduates over three academic years to receive stipends to participate in summer undergraduate research,” says Patricia O’Hara, the Thalheimer Professor of Chemistry at Amherst. “We have sketched out a tiered progression through the undergraduate research experience, starting with a research proposal and ending up with presentation of results at a scientific meeting. In this way, we have tried to mirror experiences students will have in graduate school and guide our undergraduates through these experiences so that they will be fully prepared to meet the challenges of the best graduate schools in the country.”

The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation was established in 1977 by the late inventor, philanthropist and founder of Beckman Instruments, Inc., a manufacturer of biomedical laboratory technologies. The foundation makes grants to non-profit research institutions to promote research in chemistry and the life sciences, broadly interpreted, and particularly to foster the invention of methods, instruments, and materials that will open up new avenues of research in science.

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Danielle Allen Appointed Trustee of Amherst College

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

AMHERST, Mass. — Amherst College has appointed Danielle Allen, dean of the division of humanities, professor of classics and political science and a member of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, to a term on its Board of Trustees effective March 4. Allen’s term will end March 30, 2009.

A scholar of Greek literature of the classical period, Allen also has brought her study of the social, cultural and political history of Athens into her consideration of modern political philosophy. Her most recent book, Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown vs. the Board of Education (2004), used the 1957 events in Little Rock, Ark., as a starting point for an analysis of democratic politics and the place of loss, sacrifice and disappointment in democratic life. She argued for an ideal of citizenship that inculcated habits for interacting with strangers that might convert distrust into trust. The recipient of a 2001 MacArthur fellowship or “genius award,” Allen was cited for her ability to combine “the classicist’s careful attention to texts and language with the political theorist’s sophisticated and informed engagement.”

Allen graduated from Princeton University summa cum laude with an A.B. degree in classics and a minor in political theory. She went on to King’s College at Cambridge University, where she received the M.Phil. (first class degree) in 1994 and Ph.D. in classics in 1996. She later received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in government (political theory) from Harvard University. A member of the University of Chicago faculty since 1997, Allen previously taught at Tufts University, Suffolk University and Cambridge University.

Allen is the author of The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (2000), and is now at work on Literature in Crisis, which examines Athenian literature from the years around the oligarchic coups of 411 and 404/3 and under the threat of Macedon.

A member of the editorial boards of Critical Inquiry and Classical Philology, Allen also serves on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Humanities Council. She is a member of the American Philological Association, the American Political Science Association and the Chicago Political Theory Group. Reflecting her deep interest in public education and its connection to institutions of higher education, Allen also serves on the Board of the University of Chicago charter schools.

A resident of Chicago, Ill., Allen is married to Robert von Hallberg and has two stepsons, aged 17 and 14.

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Nasser Hussain To Give Lazerowitz Lecture at Amherst College April 12

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

AMHERST, Mass.—Nasser Hussain, assistant professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought at Amherst College, will give the annual Max and Etta Lazerowitz Lecture, on “Guantanamo: It is No State of Emergency; Matters are Much Worse” on Wednesday, April 12, at 4:30 p.m. in the Alumni House at Amherst College. The talk is free and open to the public, as is a reception immediately following.

Hussain, who received a B.A. degree from Yale University (1988), has both an M.A. (1990) and a Ph.D. (1995) from the University of California at Berkeley. Before coming to Amherst in 1994, Hussain was a fellow with the Harvard University Society of Fellows. His 2003 book, The Jurisprudence of Emergency, analyzed the historical uses of a host of emergency powers, ranging from the suspension of habeas corpus to the use of military tribunals.

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.

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Shahzid Bashir To Speak on Sufi Thought at Amherst College March 28

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

AMHERST, Mass.— Shahzad Bashir, a professor of religious studies at Carleton College, will speak on “Love and Gender in the Age of Sufi Orders” at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28, in Chapin Hall 101 at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Hamilton Fund and the Religion Department at Amherst College, the talk is free and open to the public.

A 1991 graduate of Amherst College, Bashir is an expert on Sufi thought and society in pre-modern Iran and is currently writing a book on how the body is understood and depicted in Sufism. He will focus on Sufi hagiographical narratives that emphasize love between masters and disciples: Masters are presented as channels for divine love while disciples are exhorted to love their masters above all others. He will show that the master-disciple relationship is predicated on two different modes of love: filial and erotic. Both presume differentiation between male and female roles, but stories of interactions between men and women who become masters and disciples reflect on gender as an identity that is partly stable and partly in flux.

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Elizabeth Kolbert To Speak at Amherst College April 5

March 22, 2006
Director of Media Relations
(413) 542-8417

AMHERST, Mass. — Elizabeth Kolbert, a staff writer for the New Yorker, will read from her newly released Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change, at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5, in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Based on her groundbreaking three-part series for the New Yorker, Kolbert’s book offers a startling, sober account of climate change and its wide-ranging effects on the environment. Despite one senator’s description of global warming as "the greatest hoax ever," the news from the field isn’t good: Kolbert’s investigation took her from a tent on the ice in Greenland to the floating houses of the Netherlands, and the experts she interviewed warned of the end of the world as we know it. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said of the book, “In this riveting view of the apocalypse already upon us, Kolbert mesmerizes with her poetic cadence.” A former political reporter for the New York Times, Kolbert lives with her family in Williamstown, Mass.

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center puts on a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. For more information, please call 413/542-8200.

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Critic and Director Robert Brustein ’47 To Speak at Amherst College March 31

March 16, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Drama critic, essayist and director Robert Brustein will speak on “Territorial Art: The Politics of Adaptation” at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 31, in Holden Theater at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Victor S. Johnson 1882-1943 Lectureship Fund, Brustein’s talk is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

A 1947 graduate of Amherst College, Brustein has been a professor of English at Harvard University, where he is now a senior research fellow, the drama critic for The New Republic and a former dean of the Yale Drama School. He was the founding director of the Yale Repertory Theatre and the American Repertory Theatre and served for 20 years as director of the Loeb Drama Center.

The author of 14 books, Brustein is a critic of stage and society. His books include The Theatre of Revolt (1964), Revolution as Theatre (1965), The Third Theatre (1969), Making Scenes (1981), Reimagining American Theatre (1991), Who Needs Theatre (1997), Dumbocracy in America (1994), Cultural Calisthenics (1998), The Siege of the Arts (2001) and Letters to a Young Actor (2005).

As a director, Brustein has supervised more than 200 productions, acting in eight and directing 12, including his own adaptations of The Father, Ghosts, The Changeling and the trilogy of Pirandello works: Six Characters in Search of an Author, Right You Are (If You Think You Are) and Tonight We Improvise. He has written 11 adaptations for the American Repertory Theatre, most recently Schlemiel the First, The Wild Duck, The Master Builder, Three Farces and a Funeral, Enrico IV and his final production for the ART, Lysistrata. His full-length plays include Demons, Nobody Dies on Friday, The Face Lift, Spring Forward, Fall Back and The English Channel.

The recipient of many fellowships and awards, Brustein has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.

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Director Werner Herzog To Preview and Discuss New Film at Amherst College April 9

March 16, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Werner Herzog, the director of Grizzly Man (2005), will show some of his new work and discuss “Seeking Images—Making Movies” at 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 9, in Stirn Auditorium at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Georges Lurcy Lecture Series Fund and the Department of German at Amherst College, this event is free and open to the public. Grizzly Man will be shown at 4 and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 6, in Stirn Auditorium as part of the Department of German film series. The film is also free and open to the public.

One of the leaders—with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders and Volker Schlöndorff—of the influential postwar New German Cinema in the 1970s in the Federal Republic of Germany, Herzog studied history, literature and music in Munich and at the University of Pittsburgh. Herzog’s films—whether dramas, or, as most of his recent work, documentaries—are noted for both their deeply felt mystical foundations and their surreal exoticism. His exacting techniques—the casting of dwarves or mentally ill actors, hypnosis for the entire cast and asking his actors to haul a 300-ton ship over a mountain for Fitzcarraldo (1982)—are sometimes controversial.

Lebenszeichen (1967, Signs of Life) was Herzog’s first feature. Herzog’s further documentaries and films include Auch Zwerge haben klein angefangen (1970, Even Dwarfs Started Small), Fata Morgana (1971), Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (1972, Aguirre, the Wrath of God), Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle (1975, Every Man for Himself and God Against All or The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser), Stroszek (1977), Herz aus Glas (1977, Heart of Glass), Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979, Nosferatu the Vampyre), Woyzeck (1979), Schrei aus Stein (1991, Scream of Stone) and Invincible (2000).

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Peter Row to Perform North Indian Music at Amherst College on Friday, March 31

March 10, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—A semester-long festival of Indian music at Amherst College continues on Friday, March 31, at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall with a performance of North Indian music. The concert features Peter Row on rudra vina and sitar with tabla accompaniment by Nitin Mitta. The evening will open and conclude with presentations of modern Hindustani music, while the centerpiece of the concert will be a solo on rudra vina in the binkar performance style that reached its apogee during the Mughal period (1556-1858). Nowadays, performances on the rudra vina are extremely rare, even in India.

A performer on sitar and rudra vina, Peter Row is a member of the faculty of New England Conservatory, where he served as dean (1983-1990) and provost (1990-1996 and 2000-04). Row studied sitar and rudra vina in Kolkata, India (from 1965 to 1973) with Pandit Gokul Nag of the Vishnupur Gharana and obtained the B. Music, M. Music and Doctor of Music (Sangitacharya) degrees from the Prayag Sangit Samiti in Allahabad, India. Peter has performed in concert throughout North America and India and has made numerous radio and television appearances. A former president of the Northeast Chapter of the Society of Ethnomusicology, he is widely published and has lectured about Indian music across the U.S. He was the recipient of a JDR Fund Fellowship for doctoral studies in India.

Most recently Row has performed sitar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and on rudra vina at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Nitin Mitta, born in Hyderabad, India, now makes his home in New York City. He is one of the most prominent tabla players of the younger generation and has performed with a number of major soloists, including Pandit Jasraj, Prabha Atre, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and Buddhaditya Mukherjee. He is the student of Pandit Arvind Mulgaonkar, who studied with the legendary tabla maestro the late Ustad Amir Hussain Khan of the Farukhabad Gharana.

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Amherst College Concert Office at 413/542-2195, or e-mail concert manager Kevin Daly at kpdaly@amherst.edu.

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Emily Dickinson Museum to GoDutch! with Katharine Martinez Lecture March 29

March 6, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Katharine Martinez of the Fine Arts Library of Harvard College Library will lecture on “The Art of Display: Collecting and Displaying Art in a 19th-Century Amherst Home” at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29, at the Amherst College Alumni House. The event is sponsored by the Emily Dickinson Museum. Focusing on the Dickinson family at The Evergreens, Martinez will discuss the ways in which the 19th-century American middle class collected and displayed art in their homes. The event, part of the Museums10-sponsored GoDutch! festival, is free and open to the public.

The Evergreens, the home of Austin and Susan Dickinson, Emily Dickinson’s brother and sister-in-law, served as a hub of Amherst social life in the mid-to-late 19th century. The Dickinsons were avid consumers of art, compiling a varied number of works that ranged from the Hudson River school to English, French and Dutch imports.

Martinez has been the Herman and Joan Suit Librarian of the Fine Arts Library of Harvard College Library since 1998. She has written extensively on the display of art and visual culture in late 19th- and early 20th- century American homes. Her most recent publication, “At Home with Mona Lisa: Consumers and Commercial Visual Culture 1880-1920,” was in the anthology Seeing High and Low: Representing Social Conflict in American Visual Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press).

GoDutch! is a region-wide celebration of Dutch Art and culture spearheaded by Museums10, and supported by the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau. GoDutch! is open to cultural organizations throughout the Pioneer Valley (Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden Counties). For more information, go to Museums10.org. See a full list of all GoDutch! events.

The Emily Dickinson Museum, comprising the Dickinson Homestead and The Evergreens, two historic houses in Amherst, is devoted to the story and legacy of poet Emily Dickinson and her family. The Dickinson Homestead was the birthplace and residence of the poet (1830-1886). The Evergreens was the 1856 home of the poet’s brother and sister-in-law, Austin and Susan Dickinson. Merged into a single museum in 2003, both properties are owned by the Trustees of Amherst College. For more information, go to the Emily Dickinson Museum website.

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Gryphon Trio Presents Music at Amherst March 11

March 6, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Gryphon Trio will present the fifth concert in the 2005-06 Music at Amherst Series on Saturday, March 11, at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Building at Amherst College. The program includes piano trios by Dvorak, Mozart and Beethoven.

The Gryphon Trio was founded in 1993, and has toured Canada and Europe, appearing at many festivals. Over the years, the group and has become known for its integrity in interpreting the classics of piano trio literature.

The members of the trio—Annalee Patipatanakoon, violin; Jamie Parker, piano; and Roman Borys, cello—are also committed to performing and commissioning new works by contemporary international composers.

The Los Angeles Times has written that the Gryphon Trio “accumulated deeply felt energies and released them with expressive finality” and “blew all the dust off its genre stereotype with big, bold, almost orchestral performances.”

The latest information can be obtained from the Amherst College Concert Website. Admission to the concert is $22; senior citizens and Amherst College employees, $19; and students $5. For more information and brochures call the Concert Office at 413/542-2195, or e-mail concert manager Kevin Daly at kpdaly@amherst.edu.

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Contact

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