Amherst College Museums Extend Opening Hours through Jan. 25

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

December 14, 2007
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Amherst College Museum of Natural History, the Emily Dickinson Museum and the Mead Art Museum will have extended public hours during Amherst College’s winter academic recess, Dec. 22, 2007 through Jan. 25, 2008. “We are delighted to announce this new collaborative initiative among the college’s three museums, which is intended to help us better serve our audiences throughout the Pioneer Valley,” explained Jane H. Wald, director of the Emily Dickinson Museum. “It’s our holiday gift to the community,” added Tekla Harms, director of the Natural History Museum. “Museums offer such a wonderful range of family experiences—places for people of all ages to look together, laugh together and explore,” commented Elizabeth Barker, director of the Mead. “I’d love it if Amherst College’s museums helped create a few family memories this holiday season.”

The Museum of Natural History will be open to the public 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 26 through Dec. 30, and then closed Dec. 31 through Jan. 7. It will reopen for its regular hours—Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.—starting Jan. 8. Housed within the college’s Earth Sciences and Museum of Natural History Building, the museum contains the collections of the former Pratt Museum. The natural history collections at Amherst include vertebrate and invertebrate paleontology, dinosaur trackways, minerals and other geologic specimens acquired through expeditions, exchanges, donations and purchases from the 1830s to the present. The geologic history of the Connecticut Valley region is highlighted. The museum has a Web site at www.amherst.edu/museumofnaturalhistory.

The Emily Dickinson Museum: The Homestead and The Evergreens is devoted to the story and legacy of poet Emily Dickinson and her family. “Interest in Emily Dickinson is clearly on the rise. We see extended hours as an excellent opportunity to encourage this interest and better connect with the year-round residents of the Amherst area and beyond,” says Wald. Located at 280 Main Street in Amherst, just north of the campus, the Emily Dickinson Museum will be open Dec. 26 through Dec. 30 from noon to 4 p.m. There is no charge for admission to the museum’s tour center, which includes the exhibit my Verse is alive, recounting the posthumous publication of Dickinson’s poetry. Guided tours of The Homestead and The Evergreens will be offered between 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.; tour admission fees range from $3 to $8. After Dec. 30, the museum will be closed until March 1, 2008. For more information, visit www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org.

The Mead Art Museum holds an encyclopedic collection of more than 16,000 works of art and is distinguished for its American and European old masters, ancient Assyrian carvings, African sculpture, Japanese prints and Mexican ceramics. Five galleries display fresh selections from the permanent collection, while three galleries feature the following special exhibitions: A Room with a View: The Photography of Abelardo Morell, Amherst College Portraits: Wendy Ewald/Brett Cook Collaborative Project (both on view through Jan. 25, 2008) and Chuck Close: Self-Portrait/Scribble/Etching Portfolio, 2000 (on view through March 18, 2008.) The museum is free, fully accessible and open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Thursdays until 9 p.m. The Mead will be closed Dec. 25 to 26, 2007 and Jan. 1, 2008. To learn more, visit www.amherst.edu/mead. (Images of Guidoccio Cozzarelli’s Madonna and Child with Angels and Thomas Birch’s Winter Scene, Pennsylvania are available upon request.)

In case of inclement weather, please check this Web site: cms.amherst.edu/campuslife/museums/naturalhistory.

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Amherst English Professor Judith Frank Lands NEA Grant for New Book

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

December 18, 2007
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass. – Judith Frank, professor of English and creative writing at Amherst College, has a received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) 2008 Literature Fellowship in creative writing. The author secured the $25,000 award for her novel-in-progress, Noah’s Ark.

Frank received the fellowship based on her submission of the first chapter of Noah’s Ark. One of just 42 writers chosen from 777 applications to receive the award, she plans to use it to finish her book and will take leave from Amherst during the 2008-09 academic year to do so.

Noah’s Ark tells the story of a gay couple living in Northampton, Mass. When a family member is killed in a café bombing in Jerusalem, his two children are sent to live with the couple. Drama ensues, however, when the couple’s extended family expresses concerns about the children being raised by gay parents. The novel addresses the issues of terrorism, bereavement, parenting and the conflicted connections between Israel and American Jews.

Frank is also author of Crybaby Butch ($14.95, 416 pp., Firebrand Books, 2004), which traces the connection between two butch lesbians of different generations: a middle-class, 30-something adult literacy teacher and her older, working-class student. In the book, Frank examines the relationship between education and gender, class and racial identity against the backdrop of a disparate group of adult learners. The novel earned her the 2000 fiction prize of the Astraea Foundation’s Emerging Lesbian Writer’s Fund and the 2005 Lambda Literary Award, which celebrates the publication of gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual literature.

Frank received a doctorate in English literature and a master’s degree in fiction writing from Cornell University. She has also published Common Ground: Eighteenth-Century English Satiric Fiction and the Poor.

The 2008 NEA Literature Fellowships recognize writers of prose, encouraging the production of new work by affording these writers the time and means to write. Each literature fellow receives a $25,000 award.

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Douglas C. Wilson ’62 Publishes an Anthology of Writings on Amherst College History

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

December 12, 2007
Contact: Emanuel Costache '09
Media Relations Intern
413/542-2321

Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Longtime Amherst College editor Douglas C. Wilson ’62 is the editor of the new book Passages of Time: Narratives in the History of Amherst College (298 pp., Amherst College Press, 2007). The book chronicles the history of an institution described as “unsightly” during the first decades of its existence and—more than a century later—the tree-shaded campus that alumni know as “the fairest college.”

Of the new book William H. Pritchard ’53, Henry Clay Folger Professor of English, said, “Douglas Wilson’s splendidly imaginative assemblage of writings from and about Amherst’s history is exactly what this history-minded reader has been waiting for.” In it, readers can learn about the anti-slavery effort and Civil War casualties, about the Amherst of Robert Frost, Julian Symons and Emily Dickinson, about revolutionary educators like Alexander Meiklejohn and Joseph Hardy Neesima.

Wilson—who contributed several articles in the collection—worked for 27 years in the publications office at Amherst, retiring in 2002. For most of his career at the college, his responsibilities included editing Amherst magazine—where most of the selections in Passages of Time first appeared. He also served as secretary to the college and college editor, and was responsible for the Amherst College Press, media relations and official events such as inaugurations, memorial services, convocations and commencements. In 2003, he was awarded the Medal for Eminent Service for extraordinary devotion to his alma mater.

After graduating from Amherst in the 1960s, Wilson worked as a reporter for The Providence Journal for 13 years, starting out in its Pawtucket, R.I. bureau and later moving to Newport, Providence and, in 1969, Washington, D.C. In 1975, he received the Merriam Smith Memorial Award from the White House Correspondents Association for the first news report of President Nixon’s decision to resign.

At Amherst, Wilson majored in history and was chairman of the student newspaper, The Amherst Student. He went on to earn a master’s degree in international studies from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University in 1964. His historical essay “Web of Secrecy: Goffe, Whalley, and the Legend of Hadley” received the 1986 Walter Muir Whitehill Prize in Colonial History from the Colonial Society of Massachusetts.

Wilson has been a member of the Western Massachusetts Broadcasting Council and the Town of Amherst Historical Commission and Conservation Commission. He and his wife, Cheryl B. Wilson, live in South Amherst, where they raised their three children.

Passages of Time: Narratives in the History of Amherst College is available for $25. To place an order, call 413/542-2321 or e-mail press@amherst.edu.

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Former Amherst College President Tom Gerety Publishes New Book of Speeches

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

December 12, 2007
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass. Former Amherst College President Tom Gerety has just published The Freshman Who Hated Socrates: A College President Reflects on Life in the Liberal Arts (Amherst College Press, 2007). The book is a collection of speeches on topics ranging from teaching to residential life, from Shakespeare to the liberal arts, from war to love and loss. Together, the essays offer insight into one of our nation’s leading thinkers and into the lives of college students today.

Gerety spent 14 years as a college president, first at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., and then at Amherst, where he served from 1994 to 2003. At present, he serves as Collegiate Professor at New York University, where he formerly led the Brennan Center for Justice at the School of Law. He was also the Dean and Nippert Professor at the College of Law of the University of Cincinnati, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh and a visiting professor of constitutional law and jurisprudence at Stanford Law School. As a law professor, he taught and wrote on constitutional law and political philosophy with a special emphasis on First Amendment freedoms, including speech, privacy and religious freedom. With Judy Woodruff, he wrote and narrated the PBS series Visions of the Constitution.

During his tenure as the 17th president of Amherst, Gerety taught philosophy courses, including a first-year seminar. He received a bachelor’s from Yale, where he also earned a master’s and doctorate, both in philosophy, as well as a degree in law.

Gerety lives in New York City with his wife, Adelia Moore. The Freshman Who Hated Socrates is available for $25. To place an order, call 413/542-2321 or e-mail press@amherst.edu.

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Second Amherst Lecture in Philosophy Now Available Online

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

December 11, 2007
Contact: Emanuel Costache '09
Media Relations Intern
413/542-2321
Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The second issue of The Amherst Lecture in Philosophy—which features Stanford University’s John Perry, the Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy—has been published at www.amherstlecture.org. Each year, The Amherst Lecture in Philosophy invites a distinguished philosopher to Amherst College for a public lecture that is then fully archived and catalogued and available online at no cost.

This fall, Perry gave a talk titled “‘Borges and I’ and ‘I,’” which considered the “strained and complex” relationship the “I” who tells the story has with “Borges,” whose name is also listed as author. Perry makes the distinction between Jorge Luis Borges, the author of the short story; “Borges,” the character in the story; and “I,” the first-person writer of the story. Perry tries “to understand in some detail the thoughts Borges ex­presses and how the language he uses allows him to express those thoughts.” He asserts, too, that this “is worth the risk of obscuring, temporarily, the charm of the story.”

Perry has made scholarly contributions in logic, philosophy of language, metaphysics and philosophy of mind, yet may be best known for writing that reaches a wider audience, such as his humorous 1995 online essay, “Structured Procrastination.” Since 2005, Perry has hosted, with Kenneth Taylor, Philosophy Talk, a radio program. In A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality (1978), Perry dealt with problems in the theory of personal identity in the form of a dialogue between a terminally ill university professor and two friends.

Winner of the prestigious Jean Nicod Prize in philosophy in 1999, Perry holds a B.A. in philosophy from Doane College and a doctorate in philosophy from Cornell University. He is also a participant in the Center for the Study of Language and Information, an independent research center.

The Amherst Lecture in Philosophy is available to all for free and is supported by  the Forry and Micken Fund in Philosophy and Science. It is published annually by the department of philosophy in cooperation with the Frost Library and information technology department.

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Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease to Discuss the Fight Against AIDS Dec. 7 at Amherst College

Submitted by Emanuel Costache

December 5, 2007
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—In an effort to inform students about the treatment, care and prevention of the AIDS pandemic in Africa and to inspire and empower them to get involved in relief efforts, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), will show portions of the new film Give Us Hope: Making a Difference in the Fight Against AIDS and deliver a lecture of the same title at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7 in Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. The talk and viewing—both of which feature Amherst first-year student Jaime Cohen—are free and open to the public.

Fauci will discuss the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), his own non-partisan efforts to persuade administrations to back such programs, his partnership with AIDS activists and his belief in standing behind his convictions. Throughout the lecture, he will show segments of Give Us Hope, which is still being filmed in Durban, South Africa.

Cohen volunteered for the past two summers at the AIDS clinic of Durban’s McCord Hospital, called Sinikithemba (in Zulu, the phrase means “give us hope”), and will discuss her own experiences working in the facility. McCord is located in KwaZulu Natal, the region of South Africa with the highest prevalence of HIV in the world.

In his position as director of NIAID, Fauci oversees an extensive research portfolio of basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose and treat infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria and illnesses from potential agents of bioterrorism. He has held various visiting professorships at major medical centers throughout the country and received a number of prestigious awards for his scientific accomplishments, including the National Medal of Science, the George M. Kober Medal of the Association of American Physicians, the Mary Woodard Lasker Award for Public Service, the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research and 32 honorary doctorate degrees from universities in the United States and abroad. He currently serves as one of the key advisors to the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services on global AIDS issues and on initiatives to bolster medical and public-health preparedness against emerging infectious disease threats such as pandemic influenza.

The event is sponsored by the Amherst College President’s Office.

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Amherst College Professor Ilán Stavans Publishes New Book

Submitted by Emanuel Costache

December 5, 2007
Contact: Emanuel Costache '09
Media Relations Intern
413/542-2321
Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Ilán Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino culture at Amherst College and Five College Fortieth Anniversary Professor, and collaborator Verónica Albin have published Love and Language ($25, 261 pp., Yale University Press, 2007), a series of Socratic dialogues on the nature and expression of love.

According to Stavans and Albin, the concept of love today is not the same as Plato’s concept of it in the fourth century B.C.E. Nor is it the same as the courtly love of the Renaissance or love as defined by Stendhal or Proust or Freud. In their book, Stavans engages Albin in a lively dialogue about love and its various manifestations. “Love’s boundaries,” he writes “are deliberately unspecified. Ask a dozen people what love is, and you’re likely to get a dozen different definitions.”

Albin observes that Stavans is “at once an incisive thinker and a powerful storyteller.” He readily quotes from Coleridge, Borges, Shakespeare and de Sade but ponders with equal care telenovelas and Walt Disney cartoons.

In addition to serving on the faculty at Amherst, Stavans is editor-in-chief of the four-volume Encyclopedia Latina: History, Culture and Society in the United States (2005) and author of Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language (2003) and The Hispanic Condition (1995), among many other publications.

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