Virtual Reality for All

Submitted on Thursday, 4/14/2016, at 11:44 AM

If Marisa Parham has her way, future students won't just study Gettysburg, they'll be there for the battle. Parham, professor of English and director of the Five College Digital Humanities Project, told New England Public Radio how virtual reality could make that happen, and what she's doing to help.

History Professor Offers Thoughts on Next President’s First Year

Submitted on Thursday, 3/24/2016, at 1:58 PM

“[H]uman rights would be the key to securing U.S. interests and recapturing American ideals,” wrote Vanessa Walker in an essay for the Miller Center of Public Affairs’ First Year 2017 project, which is designed to influence the national conversation during the first year of the new presidential administration.

Wall Street Journal: Professor’s New Book on Alleged Nazi “a Masterful Account”

Submitted on Tuesday, 3/15/2016, at 12:43 PM

In The Right Wrong Man, Lawrence Douglas, Amherst’s James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought, “deftly delivers disquisitions on nuanced legal questions as if they were plot points in a thriller, making his demanding book a pleasure even for readers unschooled in the particulars of international law,” according to the review.

History Professor Offers Thoughts on First Year of Next Presidential Administration

Submitted on Tuesday, 3/15/2016, at 12:43 PM

“[H]uman rights would be the key to securing U.S. interests and recapturing American ideals,” wrote Vanessa Walker in an essay for the Miller Center of Public Affairs’ First Year 2017 project, which is designed to influence the national conversation during the first year of the new presidential administration.

’03 Tech Entrepreneur’s Startup Profiled on Business Website

Submitted on Tuesday, 3/15/2016, at 12:42 PM

How innovative is Giphy, the GIF search engine that Adam Leibsohn ’03 helped create? As Bloomberg Businessweek might say: Rainbow explosion. Sunglass twinkle.

The City of Light Under the Nazis

Submitted on Wednesday, 3/16/2016, at 9:14 AM

With a National Book Foundation award nomination and write-ups in the Washington Post, Reuters and other news sources, readers are talking about When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation 1940-1944, the new book by Ronald C. Rosbottom, the Winifred L. Arms Professor in the Arts and Humanities and Professor of French and European Studies.

“I wanted to give a sense of what it felt like to get up every morning either as a German or a Parisian and have to worry about feeding your family or going to work or saying the wrong thing or what to do if your Jewish neighbor asked a favor of you,” Rosbottom told Reuters about the collection of first-hand accounts. The book grew out of a course that he taught at Amherst.

“The French after only four years of occupation are still, seven decades later, trying to reconcile their memories with what history reminds that they did in order to survive,” he told Examiner.com.

Infinite Jest, Brick by Brick

Submitted on Friday, 10/3/2014, at 11:46 AM

If you you have been too intimidated to tackle Infinite Jest, the master work by David Foster Wallace ‘85, take hope in the news that an 11-year-old in Ohio has been able to piece the book together. Out of Legos.

Tor.com writes that Kevin Griffith, a Professor of English at Capital University, and his son Sebastian were inspired by The Brick Bible, by Brendan Powell Smith. Sebastian created over 120 scenes from the 1,079-page novel, following his father's descriptions of the plot.

“Wallace's novel is probably the only contemporary text to offer a similar challenge to artists working in the medium of Lego,” the elder Griffith writes at the project’s website. You can see the whole work at www.brickjest.com, but be warned: there are spoilers.

Courting Low-Income Students

Submitted on Wednesday, 3/16/2016, at 9:14 AM

Boston's NPR affiliate WBUR recently devoted a segment to Amherst's dedication to recruiting low-income students on "the belief that all students benefit from an economically diverse student body."

The piece focused on Amherst College's practice of each year paying to transport more than 100 accepted students —first-generation, low-income or students of color— in order to persuade them to enroll.

“Many of them worry about leaving home for college even when all expenses are paid because they are accustomed to being contributors to their families’ welfare back home, and if they don’t have enough financial aid to cover their expenses, and also, potentially, to travel, that puts them in a very difficult position,” Biddy Martin, Amherst’s president, told WBUR.

Stavans: Making Amends for Alhambra

Submitted on Friday, 4/25/2014, at 4:06 PM

The Spanish government recently decided to grant citizenship to the descendants of Jews expelled from the country in 1492. Ilan Stavans, the Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst, doesn’t think anyone needs to be packing their bags just yet.

In a column for the New York Times, Stavans wrote “Spain's latter-day conversion to philo-Semitism … is more apparent than real. The truth is that the Jews left in 1492 — but the anti-Semitism stayed behind.”

“Spain finds itself still mired in the worst financial crisis in memory,” he wrote. “Inviting Jews to settle in times of economic trouble is a strategy employed before, including in the Hispanic world. At the end of the 19th century, Jewish immigrants were courted as harbingers of modernity by Argentina and Mexico. And in the 20th century, the region of Sosúa on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic was allocated for Jewish refugees from the Holocaust — in hopes that they would push the underdeveloped region forward.”

He concluded “it would be foolish to think of Spain's self-interested offer as the end of that diaspora. In fact, we are in the midst of a Sephardic cultural revival, largely in the United States and Israel.”