Inside Out: Shakespeare in Jail

Submitted on Thursday, 4/5/2018, at 3:24 PM

“The Amherst College Inside-Out Program aims to give inmates a chance to earn college credit and to let visiting college students learn alongside inmates in a different kind of classroom setting — behind bars,” The Daily Hampshire Gazette wrote in a recent editorial about the program.

“It’s a program that’s still going strong,” The Gazette writes, taking a peek at a Shakespeare class taught by Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture. The program was the subject of a March 9 article by Gazette reporter Steve Pfarrer.

Javier Corrales on Religion in Costa Rica's Election

Submitted on Thursday, 4/5/2018, at 3:21 PM

For the recent presidential election in Costa Rica, where a major candidate gained momentum through opposing same-sex marriage, numerous news outlets once again turned to Javier Corrales, professor of political science, to help make sense of it.

Carlos Alvarado Quesada, a former labor minister and novelist from the governing Citizen Action Party, won three-fifths of the vote in the April 1 election. Evangelical Christian singer Fabricio Alvarado Muñoz received the remainder.

In coverage Corrales discussed the increasing involvement by evangelical churches in Latin American politics.

“Even when they don’t win, they emerge as actors all politicians need to contend with,” he told the New York Times.

James Anderson '85 Tapped for DoD Post

Submitted on Thursday, 4/5/2018, at 3:17 PM

Defense News and other outlets are reporting the White House’s recent announcement that James Anderson ’85 is being tapped as a new US Assistant Secretary of Defense for strategy, plans and capabilities. 

Anderson currently serves as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Marine Corps University, and previously served as the Director of Middle East Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Director of the Program of Advanced Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. 

From 1986 to 1989, he served on active duty as an intelligence officer in the United States Marine Corps. He is the author of the 1999 book America at Risk: The Citizen’s Guide to Missile Defense.

Amherst's "Eye-Popping" Success at the Hoops

Submitted on Thursday, 3/29/2018, at 10:46 AM

“It might just be the country’s best basketball team you’ve never heard of,” wrote the Boston Globe, marking the occasion of the Amherst women’s basketball team’s 65-45 victory over Bowdoin in Rochester, Minnesota. That game culminated the team’s second straight undefeated season by winning another NCAA Division III title.

“The small school is known more for rigorous academics than big-time athletics, so the team’s unstoppable march across the basketball landscape has barely registered beyond the college’s bucolic campus in the Pioneer Valley,” wrote Globe staffer Michael Levenson. “The Mammoths say they don’t mind their small-scale fame. In fact, they’re thrilled.”

“Amherst College long has been regarded as an academic powerhouse. Its athletic teams also are formidable, winning 11 national championships in the last 12 years,” wrote the Daily Hampshire Gazette in a March 20 editorialWWLP-TV in Springfield profiled the celebrating team, too.

Charles Mann '76 and Town Meeting

Submitted on Thursday, 3/29/2018, at 10:32 AM

Charles C. Mann ’76,  author of such books as "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus" and "1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created," recently wrote about his becoming disenchanted with the town meeting style of government in Amherst. Voters in Amherst agreed, and in a historic vote this week elected to create a 13-member town council, replacing the five-member board of selectmen and town meeting. Mann moved back to Amherst in 1990.

"The structure of town meeting allows people to make virtuous stands," Mann wrote for the Pacific Standard blog, which was excerpted by the Daily Hampshire Gazette leading up to the March 27 vote. “People at town meeting make choices based on gut feelings about right and wrong, regardless of whether those impulses are conflicting. I still love living here but worry that we are becoming ungovernable."

Stavans on Building the Wall

Submitted on Thursday, 3/29/2018, at 10:31 AM

Ilan Stavans, Lewis-Sebring Professor of Humanities and Latin American and Latino Culture, takes a personal and poetic look at the U.S.-Mexican wall through the eyes of immigrants, border patrol, soldiers and activists in his new book “The Wall.” He recently spoke with WBUR Boston about this converging of the personal and the political.

A History of Loneliness

Submitted on Thursday, 3/29/2018, at 8:53 AM

“Is loneliness our modern malaise?” asks English professor Amelia Worsley in her recent essay, “A History of Loneliness,”written for The Conversation.

“While writing a book on the history of how poets wrote about loneliness in the Romantic Period, I discovered that loneliness is a relatively new concept and once had an easy cure. However, as the concept’s meaning has transformed, finding solutions has become harder,” she wrote.

Dole on Billy Graham's Legacy

Submitted on Friday, 3/16/2018, at 1:26 PM

Could there be another Rev. Billy Graham? Andrew Dole, Amherst College professor of religion, marked the passing of the evangelist by pondering, in a column for The Conversation, the historical and sociological forces that brought about Graham’s rise as the pastor to presidents.

“It is true that Graham did not single-handedly rescue evangelicalism from fundamentalism, but his contribution remains unmatched,” Dole wrote.

“Success in the business of reviving evangelicalism will require more in the way of personal qualities than just integrity, charisma and good preaching: It will require a deep bench of supporters, whether persons or institutions, capable of withstanding criticism,” he concluded.

Talking Litfest 2018

Submitted on Friday, 3/16/2018, at 1:15 PM

Media accounts of Litfest 2018 included coverage of Junot Diaz’s talk by the Daily Collegian and an article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette about the talk given by Masha Gessen, John J. McCloy '16 Professor of American Institutions and International Diplomacy and author of the new The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, and her brother Keith Gessen, author and co-founder of n+1 literary magazine.

The article included a followup to a more lighthearted part of the event, when Keith Gessen took a question from, and gushed about, his high school newspaper advisor, George Abbot White, who drove out from Boston to see the talk. The paper tracked down White for his thoughts.

“All I cared about was that they take things seriously and do something good for the world,” White said about his teaching days.

#NeverAgain Protests and Admissions

Submitted on Friday, 3/16/2018, at 10:08 AM

Pieces in Newsweek and Mother Jones referenced a February 25 Facebook post by the College’s Office of Admission and Financial Aid about the #NeverAgain movement, declaring “First Amendment rights are among the most prized of Amherst’s values and the college encourages all students to engage in civil and meaningful discourse on issues of critical importance.”

In the wake of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, high school students across the country are holding protests under the banner of #NeverAgain, including a mass walkout from schools March 14. 

In response to some high schools announcing that students staging walkouts or other protests would be disciplined, a growing number of institutions, including Amherst College, have responded that engaging in peaceful protest won’t capsize a student’s college application.

“The Office of Admission, will, as always, consider the unique circumstances of any reported disciplinary action related to civic engagement,” the Facebook post stated. “Peaceful protest has never been a reason for a student to be denied admission or to have an offer be rescinded.”