Kent W. Faerber Elected to Lead Emily Dickinson Museum Board

November 9, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Emily Dickinson Museum: The Homestead and The Evergreens has announced that Kent W. Faerber, who has served on the museum’s board of governors since its founding in 2003, has been elected as its new chair. Faerber, the president of the Springfield, Mass.-based Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, takes over leadership of the museum’s board from Dickinson biographer Polly Longsworth, who has served as chair since the museum’s formation.

Longsworth is stepping down from her duties as chair to complete work on a long-planned biography of the poet, but will remain on the museum’s board. She has had a remarkably successful tenure as the chair of the museum, which was formed in July 2003 when the Dickinson Homestead, the home of poet Emily Dickinson, merged with The Evergreens, the home of Dickinson’s brother Austin and sister-in-law Susan. Highlights of Longsworth’s leadership include the museum’s successful completion of its first capital campaign and the adoption of a master plan that serves as the long-range blueprint for the restoration and improvement of the museum site.

“All of us owe Polly Longsworth a huge thanks for serving as the prime mover of the momentous events of the past several years,” stated Faerber. “The merger, the building of a highly accomplished, professional staff, the stabilization of the finances of the museum with regular fundraising, the restorations, the master plan and the first successful capital campaign all would not have been possible without her extraordinary breadth of skills and hard work. It will be impossible to fill her shoes, but she has formed a strong organization, and I am both grateful and excited to be given the opportunity to build on her work by taking the museum to the next level.”

“What Dickinson wrote of people is visible as well in their institutions,” said Longsworth: “‘We never know how high we are/Till we are asked to rise . . .’ The small band of board and staff who began this task has proved to be a mighty force, and Kent is key among them. I’m confident from years of working with Kent, beginning as fellow trustees of The Evergreens, that he has the energy and commitment to carry the museum forward. We’ve chosen the right leader at the right time.”

Faerber’s appointment as board chair comes at a vital time for the young institution. The new master plan, which emerged from the board’s strategic vision for the museum, identifies urgent infrastructure concerns, as well as major restoration and site development goals that the museum will attempt to embark upon over the next decade. Fundraising will undoubtedly be a top priority of Faerber’s chairmanship as the execution of the full master plan, estimated at $13 million in today’s dollars, must be phased in as funds permit. As he makes clear, the prospect challenges but does not daunt him.

“Emily Dickinson is considered not only America’s finest poet, but one of the greatest in the English language. We’re so lucky to have available the single site where she lived with her family and wrote her poetry. Preservation and restoration are within reach of possibility,” said Faerber. Noting the many strengths of the museum, he added, “To stand in the bedroom where she wrote, to experience the home and landscape where she breathed and created, is a rare gift to those familiar with the power of her literary legacy. As more and more people come to Amherst to experience that gift, we’re confident the Emily Dickinson Museum will become one of the most important literary sites in the world.”

Faerber has served on the Emily Dickinson Museum’s board of governors since 2003. Prior to that appointment, he was a trustee of the Martha Dickinson Bianchi Trust, which owned The Evergreens, and was instrumental in the transfer of the trust’s assets to Amherst College, resulting in the establishment of the Emily Dickinson Museum.

A 1963 graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Law School, Faerber has served since 1999 as the president of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, a Springfield, Mass.-based foundation with grant-making responsibilities for $114 million in assets supporting the Connecticut River Valley. From 1977 through 1994, he served as Amherst College’s Alumni Secretary and then its chief development officer.

While serving as a consultant for Amherst College from 1995 through 1999, he prepared a report on the assets that would be available if The Evergreens and the Dickinson Homestead were merged, sparking his own interest in the possibility of a combined museum, and serving as a basis for the subsequent consideration of such a merger. He has also been active in a number of other professional, civic and charitable organizations, both locally and nationally.

In addition to Faerber’s appointment, the museum announced the election of two new members to the board of governors, Dr. William P. Gorth and Kenneth Rosenthal.

Gorth is co-founder and president of National Evaluation Systems, an Amherst, Mass.-based educational testing company. He is active in several civic and professional organizations, and serves on the boards of Cooley Dickinson Hospital, the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts and The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Gorth and his wife, Janet, live in South Amherst.

Rosenthal is a 1960 graduate of Amherst College and Yale Law School. From 1966 through 1976, he participated in the founding of Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., serving as the college’s treasurer and secretary. Most recently, until his retirement to Amherst this year, he was president of The Seeing Eye, Inc. of Morristown, N.J., an organization that breeds, trains and provides guide dogs for the visually impaired.

The Emily Dickinson Museum is dedicated to educating diverse audiences about the poet’s life, family, creative work, times and enduring relevance. The museum also is committed to preserving and interpreting the Homestead and The Evergreens as historical resources for the benefit of scholars and the general public.

The Emily Dickinson Museum: The Homestead and The Evergreens is owned by the Trustees of Amherst College. The museum has its own board of governors, which is charged with responsibility for raising its operating and capital funds. In November, the museum is open Wednesday and Saturday, 1-5 p.m. The Emily Dickinson Museum is a member of Museums10, a partnership of 10 museums in the Pioneer Valley. For more information about the museum, please call 413/542-8161 or visit the museum's website.

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Amherst College Professor Lawrence Douglas Says Hussein Trial “Not a Complete Sham”

November 7, 2006
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—“The trial of Saddam Hussein was not a complete sham,” writes Lawrence Douglas, associate professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought at Amherst College, in The Jurist, but “it won’t do simply to focus on the quality of the justice dispensed. For the trial had other goals, and we need to ask whether these were accomplished. Chief among these was the didactic purpose of the trial.” A leading scholar of War Crimes trials, Douglas is the author of The Memory of Judgment: Making Law and History in the Trials of the Holocaust (2001).

“Like the Nuremberg, Eichmann and Papon trials, the Hussein proceeding meant to clarify the historical record; it sought to give an accounting to an Iraqi and international audience of the crimes perpetrated by Saddam’s regime,” Douglas says. “Here, however, the trial stumbled. In part, this was a result of the very focus of the trial. Eager to establish a manageable case, the prosecution focused on a relatively minor act—the reprisal killings of 148 Shiites in Dujail in 1982. While this narrow focus might have made prosecutorial sense, the crimes themselves pale in comparison to the violence that grips the Iraqi nation on a daily basis. This fact alone creates a strong case for delaying Saddam’s execution until the completion of his present trial for atrocities committed against Iraqi Kurds during the Anfal military campaign in the late 1980s. That trial at least promises to do fuller justice to the abominable crimes of Saddam’s regime.”

“The didactic value” of this proceeding “was also upset by Saddam’s showmanship,” Douglas writes. “Stealing a page from the playbook of Slobodan Milosevic, whose death in March deprived the Hague Tribunal from ever passing judgment, Saddam showed himself more than adept at disrupting proceedings.”

“By upstaging the trial as a didactic exercise, Saddam also undermined its function as a tool of reconciliation,” but it’s too early to call the Hussein trial a failure, Douglas writes, noting that “in the decades directly following the Nuremberg trial, the majority of Germans viewed the trial with contempt, as an exercise in victor’s justice. Now Nuremberg is generally viewed in Germany with respect—as an event that prodded Germans to a collective reckoning with their troubled past.”

“At the heart of these [Holocaust] trials,” Douglas wrote in The Memory of Judgment in2001, “lay competing conceptions of the law itself. On one hand, the trials sought to introduce sober, rule-bound authority into a terrain of lawlessness by bringing perpetrators of atrocity to justice. On the other hand, the trials sought to serve the interests of history and memory.” Douglas’s 2001 book considered the leading trials of the perpetrators and deniers of the Holocaust—the first Nuremberg trial, the trials of Adolf Eichmann and Ivan Demjanjuk in Israel, the French trial of Klaus Barbie and the Canadian trials of Holocaust negationist Ernst Zundel. He demonstrated that some trials, such as Nuremberg and Eichmann’s, succeeded in serving both justice and history, while others, such as the Zundel and Demjanuk trials, failed Douglas defends trials of “traumatic history” as “dramatic and necessary acts of legal and social will.”

A professor at Amherst since 1990, Douglas received an A.B. degree from Brown University, an M.A. from Columbia and a J.D. from Yale Law School. His essays and commentary have appeared in numerous publications, including The Washington Post, The Boston Globe Magazine, The TLS and The New Republic.

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Amherst College Professor Scott Kaplan Receives Fulbright Scholarship for Study in Chile

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

AMHERST, Mass.— Scott F. Kaplan, an associate professor of computer science at Amherst College, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to travel and conduct research on “Adding Experimentation and Analysis to Systems Courses: Memory Management Techniques for Reducing Process Switching Delays” at the Federico Santa Maria Technical University and Adolfo Ibanez University in Valparaiso, Chile from January through June.

A 1995 graduate of Amherst with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, Kaplan has taught at the college since 1999, the year he received a doctorate in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin. His research in computer memory has concentrated on compressed caching.

Kaplan is one of approximately 800 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad to some 140 countries in the 2006-07 academic year as Fulbright Scholars. Established in 1946 by the late Senator William J. Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Scholar Program seeks to build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the world.

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Jazz ’Round Midnight at Amherst College Nov. 10

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

AMHERST, Mass.—The Amherst College Jazz Ensemble will present “Jazz ’Round Midnight” at 11:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10, in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center at Amherst College. At Amherst, ’round midnight means that the free concert indeed begins at 11:30 p.m., and that the music will include the theme song by Thelonious Monk, as well as music of Woody Herman, Count Basie, Nancy Wilson and Les Hooper. Elegant refreshments will be served.

This is the first of several performances by jazz students at Amherst College on Homecoming Weekend. All six jazz combos will join the jazz ensemble in performance during the reception held in the Coolidge Cage after the football game on Saturday, Nov. 11. An alumni jam session will follow the Choral Society Concert on Saturday, Nov. 11, at around 10 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall. More information is available at the Jazz@Amherst Website.

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Ukrainian Scholar Mariya Ustymenko Working at Amherst College on Fulbright Grant

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

AMHERST, Mass.—Mariya Ustymenko, an assistant professor of English at the Institute of Philology, Department of English Language for Humanitarian Faculties at the Taras Shevchenko Kyiv University in Kyiv, Ukraine is doing research on the topic of “American Women Poets and the Quest for Self-Identity” at Amherst College this academic year on a Fulbright Foreign Scholar grant.

Ustymenko’s work at Amherst is supported by Karen Sanchez-Eppler, professor of American Studies and English at Amherst.

Ustymenko is one of approximately 800 international faculty and professionals who will travel to the United States in the 2006-07 academic year as Fulbright Scholars. Established in 1946 by the late Senator William J. Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Scholar Program seeks to build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the world.

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Amherst College Russian Professor Catherine Ciepiela To Read Nov. 9

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

AMHERST, Mass.—Catherine Ciepiela, professor of Russian at Amherst College, will read from The Same Solitude, her new book that follows the epistolary romance between Russian poets Boris Pasternak and Marina Tsvetaeva, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9, at Amherst Books (8 Main Street). Sponsored by the Creative Writing Center at Amherst College, this event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

The book represents a fascinating study of the unlikely yet lasting relationship that arose between two of Russia’s greatest modernist poets during the 1920s. The correspondence began in 1922, after Pasternak sent a letter praising the poetry of the newly exiled Tsvetaeva, and Ciepiela masterfully develops the ensuing decade-long affair through previously untranslated letters and poems. The title of the book comes from a poignant excerpt from one of Pasternak’s letters: “Still, we have the same solitude, the same journeys and searching, and the same favorite turns in the labyrinth of literature and history.” Ciepiela’s work reveals the widening gap that grew up between an increasingly radical Soviet Russia and European Russian émigrés during this tempestuous period. The book has received superior critical praise, and Clare Cavanaugh applauds Ciepiela’s “impeccable scholarship, theoretical acumen and rich, resourceful close readings.”

Ciepiela, who received her B.A. in interdisciplinary studies from Amherst College in 1983, has been a member of the Amherst faculty since 1989. She holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University, and has received fellowships from Yale University, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation. She also co-edited and wrote the introduction for The Stray Dog Cabaret: A Book of Russian Poems(2006).

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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Explorer Spencer Wells To Speak at Five College Geographic Information Systems Day at Amherst College Nov. 8

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

AMHERST, Mass.—Spencer Wells, a population geneticist using science to tell the story of how humankind traveled from its origins in Africa to populate the planet, will speak on “The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey” at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8, in Lecture Hall 1 of Merrill Science Center at Amherst College. Free and open to the public, the day-long Five College seminar on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in teaching and scholarship will also explore the uses of GIS in history, demography and even French culture.

An “explorer-in-residence” and a fellow at the National Geographic Society, Wells has been studying genomic diversity in indigenous populations and unraveling age-old mysteries about early human migration since 1994. His field studies began with his survey of Central Asia. Wells and his colleagues have expanded their study across the globe. His research findings have led to advances in the understanding of the male Y chromosome and its ability to trace ancestral human migration. Wells is also the project director of The Genographic Project, an ambitious effort to collect DNA samples from 100,000 people around the globe and fill in the details of the “Map of Us All.” Wells’ talk is presented in association with National Geographic Live!, a mission program of speakers and events that brings the National Geographic experience to communities worldwide.

Ian Gregory, a member of the faculty of arts and social sciences at Lancaster University, will speak on “GIS and Demography: Methods, Analysis, Results” at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8, in the Mullins and Faerber Room in Valentine Hall at Amherst College.

Gregory is the senior lecturer in digital humanities at Lancaster University. He is the chief architect of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project, and has written extensively on applications of GIS in history and demography, including A Place in History: A Guide to using GIS in Historical Research.

Robert M. Schwartz, a professor of history at Mount Holyoke College, will speak on “Teaching History with Geographic Information Systems” at 12 noon on Wednesday, Nov. 8, in the Mullins and Faerber Room in Valentine Hall at Amherst College.

Schwartz is the E. Nevius Rodman Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College. He has recently secured funding for his GIS-based research through a two-year NEH Collaborative Research Grant.

Joel Goldfield, a professor of modern languages and literature at Fairfield University, will speak on “GIS and the Exploration of French Society and Culture” at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 8, in Merrill Science Center, Lecture Hall 2 at Amherst College.

Goldfield serves as director of the Charles E. Culpeper Language Resource Center at Fairfield University. He has published numerous articles and reviews on computer-assisted language learning and methods of computer-assisted literary research. He has also published annotated hypermedia short stories from 19th-century French literature. His recent research into the transforming role of technology in the profession appears in “Technology Trends in Faculty Development, Preprofessional Training, and the Support of Language and Literature Departments” in the MLA/ADFL’s Chairing the Foreign Language and Literature Department, Part 2 (Spring 2001). He currently teaches courses on French language/culture, French/English translation, French “commercial culture,” foreign language methodology and technology.

Posters that feature GIS in scholarship and teaching will be on display from 2 until 4 p.m. in the lobby on the third floor of Merrill Science Center at Amherst College.

Five College GIS Day is supported by contributions from the Departments of Anthropology and Sociology, Biology and Geology, the Information Technology Department, the Pick Environmental Studies Fund and the Dean of the Faculty’s First-Year Seminar Fund at Amherst College; the Office of Geographic Information and Analysis at the University of Massachusetts; the Department of Earth and Environment and Library, Information, and Technology Services at Mt. Holyoke College; and the Spatial Analysis Lab and the Environmental Science and Policy Program at Smith College.

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Author Katharine Weber to Read at Amherst Books on Nov. 14

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

AMHERST, Mass.—Celebrated novelist Katharine Weber, a New York native and author of four critically acclaimed novels, will appear at Amherst Books (8 Main Street) at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Weber will read from Triangle, her latest novel that explores the lingering questions surrounding the devastating Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire of 1911. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. The talk is sponsored by the Amherst College Creative Writing Center.

Weber’s novel, which the Los Angeles Times calls “an unabashedly witty, boldly postmodern approach to an iconic American tragedy,” begins with the death of Esther Gottesfeld, the last survivor of the infamous factory fire. When news of her death leaves those around her still questioning how she alone survived the tragedy, both Esther’s granddaughter and an agenda-driven feminist historian vow to uncover the truth behind the deepening mystery. The result is what Cynthia Ozick applauds as “a marvel of ingenuity…a wide-awake novel as powerful as it is persuasive, probing and capturing human verities.”

Weber began her fiction career writing short stories for The New Yorker. Her three previous novels—The Little Women, The Music Lesson and Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear—were named Notable Books by The New York Times Book Review. In 1996 Weber was selected by the U.K.-based Granta literary magazine for inclusion in its controversial list of 50 Best Young American Novelists, and her novel The Music Lesson has been translated into 11 languages. She is currently a trustee and administrator for the Kay Swift Memorial Trust, founded to preserve the memory of Kay Swift, the first female songwriter on Broadway and Weber’s maternal grandmother.

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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Brazil’s Lula Exemplifies the Many Lefts of Latin America, says Amherst College Political Scientist Javier Corrales

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

AMHERST, Mass.—Expect the unexpected from the Latin American left, predicts Javier Corrales, associate professor of political science at Amherst College and author of an article on “The Many Lefts of Latin America” in the most recent issue of Foreign Policy.

After his recent landslide re-election, Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called for national unity to push a common agenda that would accelerate economic growth and help slash glaring inequalities in his country, but “Lula will probably shift away from his emphasis on fiscal responsibility, which led him to try to keep spending under control and interest rates relatively high during his first term,” says Corrales, an expert on presidential power in Latin America.

“In his second term, Lula is more likely to emphasize the stimulation of demand and social spending,” Corrales predicts. “The international economic situation has been extremely favorable for the past few years; he has earned the respect of both international financial institutions and bond traders, and he has kept inflation in check. He no longer needs to prove his credentials abroad as a fiscally responsible statesman, as he had to do during his first term. Now, he can take advantage of these economic and political credentials to shift emphasis toward feeding state spending on social programs.”

“If the goal of [Lula’s] first administration was to keep the macroeconomy in check to sustain growth,” according to Corrales, “the theme for his second administration might be: spend more on human capital development to stimulate growth.”

Corrales says that Lula’s shift to an emphasis on economic growth demonstrates that “the left” is no longer monolithic in Brazil. “The left wing of [Lula’s] party, and many of his voters in this election, are eager to see this shift take place, and this time Lula is in a better economic and political position to comply.”

In “The Many Lefts of Latin America” in Foreign Policy magazine (Nov./Dec. 2006), Corrales writes, “For half a decade now, the headlines from Latin America have touted the rise of the Latin left. As leftists have moved off the streets and into government in Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela and elsewhere, however, the story line has changed. The vision of a united leftist coalition of Latin nations opposing the United States and free market reforms is an illusion. Instead, intense fights have broken out within the left as protest movements struggle to govern. The Latin American “left,” it is now clear, actually comprises a wide range of movements with often conflicting goals.”

An expert on presidential power in Latin American politics (Presidents Without Parties, 2002), Corrales has taught at Amherst since 1997, has been a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and worked at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. He has taught in Argentina, Paraguay and Venezuela. Corrales earned a B.S. in foreign service from Georgetown University, and a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University.

Contact Corrales at 413/542-2164 or jcorrales@amherst.edu.

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Contact

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