Political Analysts Dee Dee Myers and Nicolle Wallace To Speak on Women, Media, Electorate at Amherst College Jan. 16

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

January 4, 2008
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

audioPhotos and audio of this event

AMHERST, Mass.—Dee Dee Myers, former Clinton White House press secretary, and Nicolle Wallace, former Bush White House communications director, will participate in a discussion titled “Hot Buttons—and Who’s Pushing Them” at a forum at Amherst College on Wednesday, Jan. 16. The event, which will take place on campus at 4 p.m. in Fayerweather Hall’s Pruyne Lecture Hall, is part of the Amherst College Colloquium Series (ACCS) and is free and open to the public.  

Serving under former President Bill Clinton, Myers is the first woman and youngest person ever to hold the position of White House press secretary. Since leaving the post in late 1994, she has worked as an analyst and writer and is currently a contributing editor of Vanity Fair magazine and a frequent political commentator on NBC and MSNBC. In addition, she has been a consultant to the NBC series The West Wing and co-host of the CNBC talk show Equal Time, discussing daily political developments with co-hosts Mary Matalin and, later, Bay Buchanan.

Now a political analyst for the CBS Evening News, Wallace is former White House communications director for President George W. Bush. She has also served as communications director for the 2004 Bush-Cheney election campaign and as special assistant to the president and director of media affairs at the White House, where she oversaw regional press strategy and outreach. Before joining the Bush Administration, she was Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s press secretary and communications director for the Florida State Technology Office. She served California’s Assembly Republican Caucus from 1997 to 1998 and worked for the California Republican Party in 1998.

Amherst’s ACCS explores pressing societal concerns in depth and features renowned speakers taking divergent positions. Each colloquium includes two days of lectures by the speakers and culminates in an open forum that is free to the general public. It is sponsored by the Office of the President at Amherst College.

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Commentators David Brooks and E.J. Dionne To Discuss “America” at Amherst College Jan. 21

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

January 4, 2008
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

audioPhotos and audio of this event

AMHERST, Mass.—David Brooks, columnist for The New York Times, and E. J. Dionne Jr., columnist for The Washington Post, will participate in a discussion titled “What Do We Mean by ‘America?’ Liberalism, Conservatism and the Future of the Culture Wars” at a forum at Amherst College on Monday, Jan. 21. The event, which will take place on campus at 4 p.m. in Converse Hall’s Cole Assembly Room, is part of the Amherst College Colloquium Series (ACCS) and is free and open to the public.  

Brooks has written a column for the Op-Ed page of the Times since September 2003. He has served as a senior editor at The Weekly Standard, contributing editor at both Newsweek and the Atlantic Monthly and op-ed editor at The Wall Street Journal, among other positions. At present, he is a commentator on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer and frequently appears as an analyst on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and the Diane Rehm Show. He is also the author of Bobos In Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There (2000) and On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (and Always Have) in the Future Tense (2004) and editor of the anthology Backward and Upward: The New Conservative Writing (1996).

Dionne joined the Post in 1990 as a reporter covering national politics. He began his op-ed column with the paper three years later, and it was syndicated in 1996. Also a 14-year veteran with the Times, he has been a frequent commentator on politics for NPR, CNN and NBC’s Meet the Press. His first book, Why Americans Hate Politics (1991), won The Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a National Book Award nominee. Another book, They Only Look Dead: Why Progressives Will Dominate The Next Political Era, was published in 1996.

The ACCS explores pressing societal concerns in depth and features renowned speakers taking divergent positions. Each colloquium includes two days of lectures with the speakers and culminates in an open forum that is free to the general public. It is sponsored by the Office of the President at Amherst College.

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Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill To Speak at Amherst College Jan. 30

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

January 2, 2008
Contact: Emanuel Costache '09
Media Relations Intern
413/542-2321

Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

audioPhotos and audio of this event

AMHERST, Mass.—Christopher R. Hill, assistant secretary of state in the bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, will speak on “The Ethics of Diplomacy: Conscience and Pragmatism in Foreign Affairs” on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at 8 p.m. in Johnson Chapel* at Amherst College. A reception will follow the talk. Both events are free and open to the public.

Hill is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service whose most recent assignment was as ambassador to the Republic of Korea. On Feb. 14, 2005, he was named head of the U.S. delegation to the Six-Party Talks on the North Korean nuclear issue. Previously, he held the positions of U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia and Special Envoy to Kosovo. He also worked as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Southeast European Affairs in the National Security Council.

Earlier in his Foreign Service career, Hill served tours in Belgrade, Warsaw, Seoul and Tirana and on the Department of State’s Policy Planning staff and in the Department’s Operation Center. While on a fellowship with the American Political Science Association, he worked as a staff member for former New York Congressman Stephen Solarz, addressing Eastern European issues. He also served as the Department of State’s Senior Country Officer for Poland. He received the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award for his contributions as a member of the U.S. negotiating team in the Bosnia peace settlement and was a recipient of the Robert S. Frasure Award for Peace Negotiations for his work on the Kosovo crisis. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon.

Hill earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Bowdoin College and a master’s degree from the Naval War College. He speaks Polish, Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian and Albanian.

The event is sponsored by the Schwemm Fund. 

* Originally scheduled to take place in the Cole Assembly Room of Amherst’s Converse Hall, the location of the lecture was changed to Johnson Chapel due to media coverage needs. 

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Harlem Gospel Choir to Perform at Amherst College Feb. 22

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

January 18, 2008
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—As part of Amherst College’s celebration of the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the renowned Harlem Gospel Choir will perform on campus at Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Building Friday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. While advance tickets to the event are currently sold out, some free tickets will be made available at Buckley. Doors will open at 7 p.m. 

The Harlem Gospel Choir is known for both its music and its ministry. The group is often called “God’s People from Harlem” and includes some of Harlem’s most outstanding gospel singers. Each performance by the choir is dedicated to “bringing nations together and giving something back.” Through its music, the group hopes to create a better understanding of African American culture and the inspirational music called gospel.

Allen Bailey, who has more than 30 years of experience in the music industry, formed the Harlem Gospel Choir in 1985. The choir’s repertoire includes traditional and contemporary gospel, as well as jazz and blues.

The event is sponsored by Amherst’s Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee.

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Former Pres./CEO of the United Negro College Fund William H. Gray III to Speak at Amherst College Feb. 8

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

January 18, 2008
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

** Editor’s Note: Due to unforeseen circumstances, William H. Gray will be unable to participate in the evening’s services. The celebration, however, will go on as scheduled without him. **

AMHERST, Mass.—William H. Gray III, former president and CEO of The College Fund/United Negro College Fund (UNCF), will deliver an address during Amherst College’s celebration of the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Friday, Feb. 8. The service—which is free and open to the public—will take begin at 7 p.m. in Johnson Chapel.

Gray currently serves as the chairman of the Armani Group, a governmental, educational and business advisory group. He served as president and CEO of The College Fund/UNCF from 1991 to 2004; during his tenure he raised $2.3 billion of the $3 billion raised by UNCF in its 60-year history.

Prior to becoming president of UNCF, Gray served in the U.S. Congress. He was the first African-American to serve as chair of the House Budget Committee and later became the chairman of the Democratic Caucus. He was also the first African-American in the 20th century to become Majority Whip of the House of Representatives. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1978, Gray left his mark on Congress in many other areas. He played a key role in implementing economic sanctions against South Africa and, as chair of the Budget Committee for four years, earned a reputation as a consensus builder.

Gray attended Franklin and Marshall College, where he earned a B.A. degree in history. He received a master’s degree in divinity from Drew Theological Seminary and a M.A. degree in church history from Princeton Theological Seminary.

The event is sponsored by Amherst’s Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee.  

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Amherst College Playwright-in-Residence Constance S. Congdon Awarded Grant for New Play

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

January 31, 2008
Contact: Katherine Duke '05
Writer/Editor
413/542-2927

Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Constance S. Congdon, Amherst College’s Playwright-in-Residence, has been awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant for the commissioning and research for an as-yet-untitled play about water in the Western United States.

Congdon’s grant comes through The Magic Theater in San Francisco and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the latter being the theater where the play will first be workshopped. She will spend most of December in Colorado and Arizona, where she will interview people directly involved in the current conflicts over water in those regions.         

Congdon received her M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1982. Her original play Tales of the Lost Formicans has been produced more than 200 times worldwide. In the summer of 2007, she premiered So Far: The Children of the Elvi and adaptations of Molière’s The Imaginary Invalid and Carlo Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters. Her new verse version of Molière’s Tartuffe will be published in 2008 in a single-volume critical edition by W.W. Norton, as well as in the upcoming Norton Anthology of Drama. Congdon has previously won grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the W. Alton Jones Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation and has taught playwriting at Amherst since 1993.

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Amherst College Professor of Russian Catherine Ciepiela Honored with Writing and Editing Recognitions

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

January 31, 2008
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Amherst College Professor of Russian Catherine Ciepiela has received three prestigious recognitions for her writing and editing. Her book The Same Solitude (Cornell, 2006) won awards from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL) and the American Library Association’s Choice magazine, while an anthology she co-edited, The Stray Dog Cabaret (NYRB Classics, 2006), was named a finalist for a 2007 PEN Award for poetry in translation.

AATSEEL honored The Same Solitudewhich details the epistolary romance between modernist poets Marina Tsvetaeva and Boris Pasternak during the 1920s and early 1930sat its annual conference this past December with its Best Book of Slavic Literary/Cultural Criticism recognition. “Catherine Ciepiela’s The Same Solitude has rightly been praised for its ‘impeccable scholarship, theoretical acumen and rich, resourceful close readings,’ its ‘degree of insight that borders on the uncanny’ and its ‘very careful, illuminating, and nuanced analysis,” AATSEEL’s citation reads. “Professor Ciepiela … shows herself to be a splendid translator of these two fantastically difficult poets. The translations as well as the overall argument open this book to readers far beyond specialists in the Silver Age or in Russian poetry. To quote one last review of the book, it is a ‘remarkable and moving work of criticism and biography.’”

The book was also honored by Choice, which named it an Outstanding Academic Title. Every year in its January issue, the magazine publishes a list of publications that were reviewed during the previous calendar year and that “reflect the best in scholarly titles reviewed by Choice,” according to its Web site. Criteria for the award include overall excellence in presence and scholarship, importance relative to other literature in the field, distinction as a first treatment of a given subject in book or electronic form, originality or uniqueness of treatment, value to undergraduate students and importance in building undergraduate library collections. 

Lastly, the anthology Ciepiela co-edited with poet Honor Moore, The Stray Dog Cabaret, was named one of three finalists for the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. The prize recognizes book-length translations of poetry from any language into English and is judged by a single translator of poetry appointed by the PEN Translation Committee. The Stray Dog Cabaret gathers translations by Paul Schmidt, whose distinguished career as an actor and dramaturge shaped his unique approach to translating the Russian modernist poets. As Ciepiela writes, “this is poetry as theater, the pleiad as ensemble, the translator as director.” The book was acknowledged at the 2007 PEN Literary Awards ceremony at Lincoln Center last May.

Ciepiela, who received her B.A. in interdisciplinary studies from Amherst College in 1983, has been a member of the Amherst faculty since 1989. She holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University and has received fellowships from Yale University, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation.

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Amherst College Earns High Marks on Sustainability Report Card

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

January 30, 2008
Contact: Emanuel Costache '09
Media Relations Intern
413/542-2321

Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI) has ranked Amherst College in the top one-third among its peer institutions for the school’s campus and endowment sustainability activities, awarding the school an overall grade of B, up from last year’s grade of B-. The SEI’s list, titled College Sustainability Report Card, is the only independent sustainability evaluation of campus operations and endowment investments. It assesses initiatives in eight categories, including administration, green building and transportation.

Amherst earned A grades in three of the SEI’s categories: climate change and energy, food and recycling and investment priorities. In the first, the college was recognized for its commitment to reducing carbon emissions through a green computing program and the forthcoming start-up of an $8 million cogeneration plant. Amherst was likewise honored in the food and recycling category: the college was commended for its efforts to buy local food, its highly successful recycling programs and its composting program that diverts over three tons of food waste to a local farm every year. Amherst’s Zipcar initiative—one of the few that enrolls drivers 18 to 21—and the green building program, which lays out in the college’s “High Performance Building Design Strategies” guidelines and includes computer automated temperature and lighting control, were also lauded. In the final category, Amherst earned praise for optimizing investment return while investing in renewable energy funds.

“It’s very gratifying that our efforts have been recognized by the SEI,” said Jim Brassord, director of facilities and associate treasurer for campus services, who oversees the college’s sustainability initiatives. “Global climate change is a defining issue for students today, and we feel that it is critical for Amherst to lead by example. In doing so, we hope to instill in our students a sense of responsibility for environmental stewardship that they will continue to embrace after they graduate from college.” 

The SEI is a Cambridge-based nonprofit organization engaged in research and education to advance sustainability in campus operations and endowment practices. Founded in 2005, the organization is a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Two hundred public and private universities with the largest endowments—ranging from $230 million to nearly $35 billion—are assessed annually by the SEI. A copy of Amherst’s report card is available online at www.endowmentinstitute.org/report2008/profile30.pdf.

For more information, visit www.endowmentinstitute.org.

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Scholar E. Patrick Johnson to Discuss the History of Gay Black Men of the South at Amherst College Feb. 2

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

January 28, 2008
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—E. Patrick Johnson, professor, chair and director of graduate studies in the Department of Performance Studies and professor in the Department of African American Studies at Northwestern University, will deliver a lecture titled “Pouring Tea: Gay Black Men of the South Tell their Tales,” based on excerpts from his forthcoming book, Sweet Tea: An Oral History of Gay Black Men of the South, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2, at Amherst College. The gathering, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Friedmann Room in the school’s Keefe Campus Center.

Johnson’s oral history of Southern gay black men explores the relationship between blackness, sexuality and southern culture. Johnson himself traveled throughout the South, interviewing men from three generations for the book, and he brings together the stories of approximately 70 individuals from Maryland to Texas. He organized the interviews into thematic sections on a variety of topics: family, coming out, church, drag, HIV/AIDS, etc. The result is a mosaic of the varieties in experiences of gay black men in the south, offering a better understanding of men’s social and private lives in the region.

A scholar/artist, Johnson has performed nationally and internationally and has published widely in the area of race, gender, sexuality and performance. His book Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity (Duke University Press, 2003) has won several awards, including the Lilla A. Heston Award and the Errol Hill Book Award, and was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. His next projects include a book of auto-ethnographic essays on race, class and gender and an anthology on black and Latina/o queer performance. 

Johnson’s talk is sponsored by Amherst’s Pride Alliance, Black Student Union, English and Women’s and Gender Studies departments, Keefe Campus Center, Dean of Students and Office of Diversity & Inclusion, as well as the African & African American Studies department of Mount Holyoke College.

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Amherst College to Host Conference on Childhood and Youth Feb. 9

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

January 22, 2008
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations

413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Amherst College will host a conference titled “Generation: A Conference to Celebrate the Launch of the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth” on Saturday, Feb. 9, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Alumni House. The gathering—which will feature discussions of children in wartime, religion and adolescence and the history of children with disabilities, among other issues—will mark the inaugural issue of the new publication Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth (JHCY). The event is free and open to the public.

Published by the Johns Hopkins University Press, JHCY is a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal addressing the history of childhood and youth cultures and the experience of young people across diverse times and places. B
ased in the Five Colleges, the journal is co-edited by Brian Bunk (History, University of Massachusetts Amherst), Laura Lovett (History, University of Massachusetts Amherst), Karen Sánchez-Eppler (American Studies and English, Amherst College) and Martha Saxton (History and Women and Gender Studies, Amherst College). Jon Pahl (History, Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia) is book review editor and Hamilton Cravens (History, Iowa State University) is chair of the editorial board.

The first issue of the
JHCY includes essays by Paula Fass, Jacqueline Bhabha, Alcinda Honwana and Pamela Reynolds. A special section titled “Defining the Field: Nations and Childhoods” explores the different implications of childhood studies in different national contexts with essays by various experts. Another cluster of essays address age as a category of analysis. Each issue will publish contributions on some aspect of material culture and some aspect of policy relevant to children and youth.

The emerging field of scholarship devoted to the history of young people has seen a growth that merits the kind of intellectual forum that the journal provides. Over the past 25 years, the history of children and youth has grown in prominence within the humanities and social sciences. The JHCY publishes articles from historians and scholars employing a range of methodologies and perspectives on children and young people. As an international journal, it also creates links between scholars working in a variety of time periods and geographic contexts and has already received submissions from scholars working in the United States, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, Great Britain, Germany, Mongolia and Turkey. In addition, the journal’s website (http://www.umass.edu/jhcy) has attracted visitors from at least 23 different nations, including China, Italy, Brazil, Ethiopia and Japan.

JHCY has received major support from the UMass vice provost for research, graduate dean’s office, history department and College of Humanities and Fine Arts; the dean of faculty’s office and the English department at Amherst College; and the Five College/Graduate History Program and Five College Childhood Studies Faculty Seminar.

For information about subscription and submission of articles, please contact jhcy@history.umass.edu, or visit the publication’s Web sites at www.umass.edu/jhcy and www.press.jhu.edu/journals/journal_of_the_history_of_childhood_and_youth.

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