Board of Trustees Appoints Anthony W. Marx 18th President of Amherst College

April 4, 2003
Contact: Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs

EDITOR'S NOTE: Marx will meet with reporters at a 12:45 p.m. news conference in the Bruss Room on the first floor of Johnson Chapel. He also is available to the media by phone or in person from 1:40 to 3:15 p.m. today; call Media Relations Director Paul Statt, 413/542-2321.

Amherst, MA – The Amherst College Board of Trustees has named Anthony (Tony) W. Marx the 18th president of Amherst College. His appointment, announced at noon today during an all-college meeting at Johnson Chapel, is effective July 1, 2003.

Currently professor and director of undergraduate studies of political science at Columbia University in New York, Marx is a respected teacher and an internationally recognized scholar who has written three books on nation building, particularly in South Africa, but also in the U.S., Brazil and Europe. He also has established and managed programs designed to strengthen secondary school education in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to his faculty post at Columbia, he currently serves as director of the Gates Foundation-funded Early College/High School Initiative at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, which establishes model public high schools as partnerships between school systems and universities; and he is founder of the Columbia Urban Educators Program, a public school teacher recruitment and training partnership. He also was founder of Khanya College, a South African secondary school that helped prepare more than 1,000 black students for university.

Marx succeeds Tom Gerety, who announced last May that he would step down on June 30, 2003, after nine years as Amherst’s president.

In announcing Marx’s appointment, Amos B. Hostetter, Jr. ’58, chair of Amherst’s Board of Trustees and chair of the presidential search committee, said, "Tony’s career – and his life – reflect the intersection of three strong interests: the social role of education, contemporary world politics, and the workings of history. He has approached these interests both through rigorous scholarship and in practice. Tony’s interests – and the way in which he has engaged them both intellectually and pragmatically – are very consistent with Amherst’s ideals of intellectual curiosity and service, and our commitment to inclusion and access.

" As a teacher, scholar and administrator, Tony Marx has worked hard to realize his tenacious vision of the promise of education in a turbulent world," Hostetter added. "We are delighted that he now has this opportunity to continue his career as an educational innovator in the context of Amherst’s longstanding commitment to excellence in the liberal arts."

Marx said, "It is an honor to be asked to lead Amherst College and to work with the faculty, students, alumni, staff, parents and friends who rightfully love this great place. As we get to know each other, discuss and debate, we will build further on Amherst’s distinguished past and energetic present.

"Amherst is remarkably strong – academically, financially and in spirit," Marx added. "It is an extraordinary institution, with a tradition of intellectual rigor and energetic debate. But we undertake this new beginning in troubled global times. We must be mindful of our responsibilities to understand the world we inherit, to send out the best educated young men and women we can so that they can lead and engage in helping to solve our problems here at home and beyond."

Marx is widely recognized as a scholar. A member of the Columbia faculty since 1990, he is the author of a dozen substantive articles and three books, Lessons of Struggle: South African Internal Opposition, 1960-1990 (Oxford University Press, 1992), Making Race and Nation: A Comparison of the United States, South Africa and Brazil (Cambridge University Press, 1998) and Faith in Nation: Bound by Hatred (forthcoming later this month from Oxford University Press). Making Race and Nation received the American Political Science Association’s 1999 Ralph J. Bunche Award (co-winner for the best book on ethnic and cultural pluralism) and the American Sociological Association’s 2000 Barrington Moore Prize (for the best book of the preceding three years in comparative-historical sociology.

Marx is co-director (with wife Karen Barkey, a professor of history and sociology) of Columbia’s Center for Historical Science. In 2001-02 he was faculty director of Columbia’s Masters in International Affairs program. In that same year he helped establish the Columbia Urban Educators Program, which provides funds that allow recent Columbia graduates to earn a tuition-free M.A. degree while teaching in the New York City public schools.

Before joining the faculty at Columbia, Marx worked in a variety of administrative posts, primarily in organizations connected to education. After graduating from Yale with a B.A. degree in 1981, he worked for more than two years as an aide to Sheldon Hackney, president of the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1984 and 1986, Marx lived in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he helped found Khanya College for the South African Committee for Higher Education (SACHED) Trust. He has served as a consultant to the United Nations Development Programme in South Africa, and also was a consultant to the Southern Education Foundation’s Comparative Race Relations Initiative, which compared educational opportunities in the U.S., Africa and Brazil.

Marx received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 1997 (the youngest member of the Columbia political science faculty to be so honored). He also has received fellowships from the United States Institute of Peace, the National Humanities Center, the Howard Foundation and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation.

Marx attended Wesleyan and Yale, where he graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. degree in 1981. He received his M.P.A. degree from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University in 1986, then earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Princeton in 1987 and 1990.

Marx is married to Karen Barkey, professor of history and sociology and director of undergraduate studies in sociology and historical sociology at Columbia. A popular teacher and prominent scholar, she is the author of Bandits and Bureaucrats: The Ottoman Route to State Centralization and co-editor (with Mark von Hagen) of After Empire: Multiethnic Societies and Nation-Building, the Soviet Union and the Russian, Ottoman, and Habsburg Empires. Barkey holds a B.A. degree from Bryn Mawr, and earned her Ph.D. at the University of Chicago.

Marx and Barkey, both 44, have an eight-year-old son, Joshua, and a four-year-old daughter, Anna-Claire.

Departing President Tom Gerety and his wife, Adelia Moore, plan to move to New York, where Gerety will continue to serve on the boards of the International Rescue Committee and Save the Children while considering other professional opportunities, possibly involving humanitarian or global issues.

"Tom has had a remarkably strong run at Amherst," said board chair Hostetter. "Under his leadership, Amherst has more than doubled its endowment, strengthened its admission standards, increased the diversity of its student body and retained its commitment to need-blind admission. Tom leaves a college that is well prepared to advance confidently under Tony’s leadership, and we’re grateful for his good work."

Founded in 1821, Amherst College enrolls 1,600 students from nearly every state and from 30 countries. Amherst awards the B.A. degree in 33 fields of study, and is consistently regarded among the very best liberal arts colleges in the U.S.

Amherst College Professor Catherine Epstein Considers German Communists in New Book

April 30, 2003
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.- In her new book, The Last Revolutionaries: German Communists and Their Century ($29.95, 352 pp., Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 2002), Catherine Epstein, an assistant professor of history at Amherst College, tells the story of German communism through a collective biography of eight longtime communists. Epstein will read from The Last Revolutionaries and discuss her work at the Jeffrey Amherst bookstore in Amherst on Saturday, May 3 at 1p.m.

These German communists were political outcasts before 1933 in the Weimar Republic, courageous resisters in Nazi Germany and finally dictators of the German Democratic Republic until swept from power in 1989. The Last Revolutionaries include the successful East German leaders Walter Ulbricht and Erich Honecker. But others, such as Franz Dahlem and Karl Schirdewan, suffered in East German purges. Epstein also writes about female and Jewish communists who faced their own sets of difficulties in the movement. The Last Revolutionaries relates the hopes, fears, dreams and disappointments of the most enduring and influential generation of Central European communists.

Epstein has taught at Amherst College since 2000. Before coming to Amherst, she taught at Stanford University and Mount Holyoke College. She earned her Ph.D. in history at Harvard University. She has previously published A Past Renewed: A Catalog of German-Speaking Refugee Historians in the United States after 1933 (1993).


Amherst College Professor Martha Sandweiss Receives Billington Prize

April 30, 2003
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.-The Organization of American Historians has given the Ray Allen Billington Prize to Martha A. Sandweiss, professor of American studies and history at Amherst College for Print the Legend: Photography and the American West, a cultural history of photography in the American West during the 19th century that tracks how the new medium of photography created and shaped popular understanding of the region.

The prize committee noted, "Sandweiss's book is obviously of immense importance to historians of the American frontier. But it is no less valuable for a much wider circle of historians, who will learn much from Sandweiss's rewarding excavation of technological frontiers and from her instructions in how photographs were read and how we might read them."

Resurrecting scores of little-known images of the 19th-century American West, Print the Legend offers tales of ambitious photographic adventurers, missing photographs and misinterpreted images. Sandweiss shows how Americans first came to understand western photographs and, consequently, to envision their nation.

A member of the Amherst College faculty since 1989, Sandweiss was also the director of the Mead Art Museum from 1989 until 1997, and formerly the curator of photographs at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Tex. She received her Ph.D., M.Phil. and M.A. degrees in history from Yale University, and a B.A. from Radcliffe College. She is the author of Laura Gilpin: An Enduring Grace (1986), co-author of Eyewitness to War: Prints and Daguerreotypes of the Mexican War, 1846-1848 (1989), editor of Photography in Nineteenth-Century America (1991), co-editor of The Oxford History of the American West (1994) and a contributor to numerous volumes on the art and photography of the American West.

The Billington Prize is given biennially to the best book in American frontier history, defined broadly so as to include the pioneer periods of all geographical areas and comparisons between American frontiers and others.


Amherst College Professor Martha Saxton's Being Good Examines History of Women in America

April 30, 2003
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.- In her new book, Being Good: Women's Moral Values in Early America ($30, 416 pp., Hall and Wang, New York, 2003), Martha Saxton, professor of history and women's and gender studies at Amherst College, examines the history of the moral values prescribed for women in early America, and concludes that the fetish of female chastity has been "one of the most enduring hindrances to women's equality."

Saxton considers the lives of girls, young unmarried women, young wives, mothers and older widows in 17th-century Boston, 18th-century Virginia and 19th-century St. Louis. Reading their diaries and personal papers, Saxton argues that as the country, the economy and slavery all expanded, white women's symbolic moral value rose as black women's fell. She explores how these changes both reflected and affected trends in the nation at large.

Saxton, the author of Louisa May Alcott: A Modern Biography (1977) and Jayne Mansfield and the Fifties (1975), has taught at Amherst since 1997. She received a B.A. from the University of Chicago and Ph.D. from Columbia University.


Ecologist David Abram To Speak at Amherst College May 7

April 30, 2003
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.- Philosopher and ecologist David Abram will speak about "Becoming Animal: Language and the Ecology of Sensory Experience" on Wednesday, May 7, at 7:30 p.m. in Stirn Auditorium at Amherst College. A reception and book signing will take place from 3:30 until 5:30 p.m. at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment at 525 South Pleasant Street in Amherst.

A philosopher and cultural ecologist, Abram is the author of The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World (1996), for which he received the Lannan Literary Award for Non-Fiction.

The Washington Post wrote, "In a rat-race scramble filled with laptops, cell phones, beepers and web sites, Abram adds his voice to those of other observers who lament humanity's fading relationship with 'the breathing earth.' Drawing on such diverse sources as the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Balinese shamanism and Apache storytelling, Abram argues that men and women can only be fully human by maintaining contact with what is not human." The Los Angeles Times said, "This book ponders the violent disconnection of the body from the natural world and what this means about how we live and die in it."

Abram's talk is sponsored by Amherst College through the Transdisciplinary Fund and the Pick Readership in Environmental Studies; Five Colleges, Inc.; the Hitchcock Center for the Environment; the natural sciences program at Hampshire College; the departments of earth and environment and English, and the dean of the college at Mt. Holyoke College; the landscape studies program at Smith College; and the department of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


Amherst College Photographer Justin Kimball is 2003 Guggenheim Fellow

April 27, 2003
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.-Photographer Justin Kimball, a visiting assistant professor of fine arts at Amherst College, is among the 184 artists, scholars and scientists awarded 2003 Fellowships by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Kimball, who has been at Amherst since 2001, received a B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design and an M.F.A. from Yale University in photography. He has also taught photography at Orange Coast College and the Rhode Island School of Design. He is a nationally exhibited and published photographer.

Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment. Each fellow receives his or her grant for a minimum of six months and a maximum of 12 months. Since the purpose of the Guggenheim Fellowship program is to help provide fellows with blocks of time in which they can work with as much creative freedom as possible, grants are made freely. No special conditions attach to them, and fellows may spend their grant funds in any manner they deem necessary to their work.


Annual Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk Set For May 17

April 23, 2003
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.-The Dickinson Homestead and The Evergreens in Amherst will sponsor the annual Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk on Saturday, May 17, at 1 p.m. The walk honors the memory of the poet Emily Dickinson, who died on May 15, 1886. The event is free and open to the public.

The walk will begin at 1 p.m. in the Dickinson Homestead garden at 280 Main Street, and proceed through Amherst, stopping at various sites significant in Dickinson's life. (A full schedule is below.) Members of the Amherst community will read a selection of Dickinson's poems at each location. At 2:30 p.m. the procession will arrive at West Cemetery on Triangle Street to gather at the Dickinson grave, where all are welcome to read their favorite poems and to join in a lighthearted toast to the poet's memory.

The Dickinson Homestead and The Evergreens will host an Open House after the Walk from 3 to 4:30 p.m. The houses will be open for self-guided tours during that time, and guides will be on hand to answer questions. No reservations are necessary, and admission is free. The Dickinson Homestead was the birthplace and home of the poet Emily Dickinson and is a National Historic Landmark owned by the Trustees of Amherst College. The Evergreens was the home of the poet's brother and sister-in-law Austin and Susan Dickinson and is owned by the Martha Dickinson Bianchi Trust. For more information call the Dickinson Homestead at 413/542-8161 or visit

Maps of the one-mile route of the Poetry Walk will be available at the Homestead. Participants are welcome to join the walk at any point along the route. Those who wish to participate only in the cemetery reading should meet at the Dickinson grave in West Cemetery on Triangle St. at 2:30 p.m.

Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk
Schedule of Readings

1 p.m. Dickinson Homestead garden, 280 Main Street
1:20 p.m. Amherst Train Station, Railroad Street
1:40 p.m. Front steps of The Evergreens, 214 Main Street
2 p.m. Front lawn of the Jones Library, 43 Amity Street
2:20 p.m. Parking lot behind Zanna, 187 North Pleasant Street
(next to Ren's Mobil Service, site of Dickinson home)
2:30 p.m. Dickinson grave site, West Cemetery, Triangle Street


John L. and Jean Comaroff To Speak on the "New South Africa" at Amherst College April 24

April 21, 2003
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.-Anthropologists John L. and Jean Comaroff of the University of Chicago will speak on "Criminal Justice, Cultural Justice: The Limits of Liberalism and the Pragmatics of Difference in the New South Africa," on Thursday, April 24, at 4:30 p.m. in the Cole Assembly Room in Converse Hall at Amherst College. The talk, about their current research on the cultural dimensions of law and order in post-apartheid South Africa, is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

Inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995, the Comaroffs are among the most important anthropologists practicing in the United States today. They are the authors of Revelation and Revolution, Ethnography and the Historical Imagination and many journal articles. They also edited Modernity and Its Malcontents, Civil Society and the Political Imagination in Africa and Millennial Capitalism and the Culture of Neoliberalism.

The talk is hosted by the department of anthropology and sociology at Amherst, and cosponsored by the departments of history and law, jurisprudence and social thought at Amherst, and the department of anthropology at Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.


Amherst College Zumbyes Advance to International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Finals in New York April 26

April 10, 2003
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.- The Amherst College Zumbyes have been selected as one of six finalist groups from 108 groups representing more than 1500 singers, to compete for the top prize in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) on Saturday, April 26, at New York's Beacon Theater.

Amherst's oldest a cappella group, the Zumbyes first were formed more than fifty years ago. From the outset, the Zumbyes adhered to the theory that blend is the single most important element of small group singing. Today, the Zumbyes continue to arrange songs with energy, complexity and significant jazz influence. In addition, the group's long history allows it the luxury of drawing on tried-and-true jazz favorites.

The ICCA, which has been held since 1996, is a competition of collegiate a cappella groups from schools across North America. Its Website is at


Carolee Schneemann and Kristine Stiles To Discuss Fluxus, Process and Purpose at Amherst College April 15

April 10, 2003
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.- The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College presents "A Conversation between Carolee Schneemann and Kristine Stiles on Fluxus, Process, and Purpose," on Tues., April 15, at 4:30 p.m. in Pruyne Lecture Hall, Fayerweather 115. Originally scheduled for Feb. 17, this event takes place in conjunction with the Mead's exhibition, "Critical Mass: Happenings, Fluxus, Performance, Intermedia and Rutgers University, 1958-1972." This talk is co-sponsored by the departments of fine arts and women's and gender studies.

Schneemann was one of the first artists to use her body to examine the relationship between actual experiences and the imagination, often addressing issues that are erotic, sacred or taboo. A prolific writer, she incorporates thoughts from her journals and feminist essays into her work, ultimately producing a visceral fusion of sensory encounters (as evidenced in the video of her 1964 performance piece, Meat Joy, on view at the Mead).

Kristine Stiles, associate professor of art and art history at Duke University, teaches and writes widely on topics of avant-garde and experimental art. Her work stems from the intersection of art, the body, memory and societal taboos. Her publications include Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists' Writings (co-edited with Peter Selz) and the forthcoming Uncorrupted Joy: Art Actions, History and Social Value, as well as the essay "Anomaly, Skit, Sex and Psi in Fluxus" in Critical Mass: Happenings, Fluxus, Performance, and Intermedia at Rutgers 1958-1972, the catalogue of the current exhibition. A noted commentator on Schneemann's work, she has just completed Correspondence Course: Selected Letters of Carolee Schneemann and Her Correspondents: An Epistolary History of Art and Culture.





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