Tiersky asks Chen Guangcheng

Submitted on Tuesday, 6/19/2012, at 9:28 AM

Ronald F. Tiersky, Joseph B. Eastman '04 Professor of Political Science, had a chance to put a question to Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng at a May 31 forum hosted by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. Tiersky asked Chen about struggles going on within the top leadership between old-style communists and those with a perspective more like Chen’s.

Chen responded, “Everything is in a state of historic transition…the development of civil society in China and how to have it function well after it's established -- that's going to depend on the Chinese people…many people want to move the mountain in one week. That's not realistic. We have to move it bit by bit and start with ourselves. If everybody would do that, then maybe the effect would be very good. But you can't expect it to happen overnight.”

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Little White Houses in the News

Submitted on Friday, 6/15/2012, at 9:22 AM

The Boston Globe recently wrote about "The Little White House Project: ‘Dwell in Possibility’," an art installation on the grounds of the Emily Dickinson Museum. The houses, designed by Deerfield Academy student Peter Krasznekewicz, are emblazoned with lines of the poet’s work, painted large. When the exhibit is dismantled at the end of June, materials used in the construction of the houses will be recycled by Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity for a new, actual home.

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Stavans on the passing of Carlos Fuentes

Submitted on Thursday, 6/14/2012, at 12:17 PM

After Mexican novelist and essayist Carlos Fuentes died May 15 at the age of 83, National Public Radio and PBS turned to Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture, for perspective. He told NPR’s Robert Siegel, “He liked to see Mexico in epic tones and with a very broad brush and scope of things. He used history as the main engine that drove Mexico…The issue of identity for him was crucial. He was forthcoming in the idea that Mexicans were always looking for a collective identity, and he could help them dig in and shape that identity in a clearer fashion.”

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Bethune on a Brighter Economy

Submitted on Thursday, 6/14/2012, at 12:15 PM

Brian A. Bethune, Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics, recently weighed in on hiring surges and unemployment drops reported by the U.S. Labor Department. Noting reports that the United States added 243,000 jobs in January, Bethune told the Associated Press, “This is a very positive employment report from almost any angle.”

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Corrales Speculates on Succession in Venezuela

Submitted on Tuesday, 5/8/2012, at 11:41 AM

Political Science Professor Javier Corrales weighed in on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recently making appointments to Venezuela’s Council of State: "There are no surprising names here," he told CNN. He said that it remains unclear whether a successor to the ailing Chavez might be picked from this powerful group. "Anything is possible," Corrales said. He suggested a hypothetical scenario in which Chavez might remain president, but delegate power to the council.

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Mead Director Discusses Mellon Endowment Grant

Submitted on Wednesday, 4/25/2012, at 10:50 AM

The Daily Hampshire Gazette  spoke with Elizabeth Barker, director of the Mead Art Museum, about news that the museum is receiving a $1,000,000 Endowment Challenge Grant from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This grant will allow Amherst to endow its Coordinator of College Programs position, which is dedicated to best integrating the college's art collection with curriculum. As a condition of the grant, Amherst College has committed to raise a minimum of $1,000,000 within three years. The college seeks to raise an additional $500,000 to underwrite the museum-based academic programs, which engage 90 percent of Amherst's student body each year. "Making visual literacy part of the learning experience really brings a new dimension to the classroom," Barker said. "It has a way of sticking in students' minds that goes beyond a lecture or a traditional seminar ... and the questions students come up when they look at a piece of art can really give us a new way of looking at our own collection."

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Kansas City: Douglas has a "Lovely Sense of Humor"

Submitted on Tuesday, 4/24/2012, at 2:21 PM

Andrea Kempf, a retired librarian writing for the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, gave a thumbs-up for The Vices, by Lawrence Douglas, James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought. “This elegant witty novel is a delight to read,” she wrote. “[Douglas] has come to fiction late, but his novels are all the better for his maturity and in addition he also has a lovely sense of humor. I would seriously recommend this novel for book clubs.”

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Joel Gordon Builds a Better Stylus

Submitted on Tuesday, 4/24/2012, at 9:59 AM

The Daily Hampshire Gazette spoke with Joel Gordon, professor emeritus of physics, about his manufacturing a low-cost stylus for use with touch-screen devices such as the iPad or iPhone. He’s selling them for $5 each, with all the proceeds to benefit the Amherst Senior Center. Gordon is chairman of the town’s Council on Aging.

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Huffpost: Biddy Tweets

Submitted on Monday, 4/23/2012, at 2:36 PM

Amherst College President Biddy Martin recently got a nod from Huffington Post blogger Amanda Walgrove for being among an emerging population of college presidents who have Twitter accounts. “The territory is wide open for educational higher-ups to incorporate social strategy into how they inform and engage with large groups of people, especially when they oversee young, often digitally savvy constituencies,” wrote Walgrove, who is the research assistant to Sarah Lawrence College President Karen Lawrence. Biddy Martin and Lawrence got mentions along with Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun, Rice University President David Leebron, and Tufts University President Anthony Monaco. If nothing else, college presidents should join Twitter to keep up with students engaging in parody of them, Walgrove wrote.

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