Who Knows: LJST Professor Nasser Hussain on Guantanamo Bay and Detainee Rights

June 15, 2009

On his second day in office, President Obama signed an executive order committing to close the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by January 2010 and to review the legal status of the “enemy combatants” detained there. It was a development closely followed by Amherst’s Nasser Hussain, associate professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought, who has spent years writing about the writ of habeas corpus (the judicial mandate requiring that prisoners be brought before the court to determine whether the government has the right to continue detaining them) and the use of emergency powers. He spoke with Public Affairs’ Caroline Hanna recently about his work and the new administration’s policy on detainee treatment.

The Hunting Professor

Fall means more to Professor Jan Dizard than a return to teaching, grading, advising and other academic tasks. For Dizard, the Charles Hamilton Houston Professor in American Culture, autumn also signifies another hunting season. It means weekends spent in the woods of New England and beyond, accompanied by his birddog, Dee, stalking feathered prey such as ruffed grouse, woodcock, pheasants and wild turkey.

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Arsenic: Poison and Building Block for Life?

The press conference announced last week by NASA promised to reveal details about “an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.”

The news, that researchers conducting tests in the harsh environment of Mono Lake in  California had, according to NASA , “discovered the first known microorganism on Earth able to thrive and reproduce using the toxic chemical arsenic,” was indeed intriguing.

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Philosophy Lectures by George Probe Miracles and Religion

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Amherst College Professor of Philosophy Alexander George will deliver three lectures later this month as part of the prestigious 2011-12 Romanell Professorship, awarded by Phi Beta Kappa to one leading philosophy scholar each year. George has taught at Amherst since 1988, holds degrees from Harvard and Columbia Universities and is himself a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

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Who Knows: Deborah Gewertz, G. Henry Whitcomb 1874 Professor of Anthropology, on Thanksgiving

Editor’s Update: Writer and editor Katherine Duke ’05 sat down with Deborah Gewertz, G. Henry Whitcomb 1874 Professor of Anthropology just before Thanksgiving 2008 to get an anthropologist’s perspective on the biggest meal of the year.

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Who Knows: LJST Professor Lawrence Douglas on the International Criminal Court

With a new U.S. president moving into the White House in January, many around the world are hoping for increased American involvement in the International Criminal Court (ICC). The independent, permanent court, formed in 2002, tries people accused of the most serious crimes of international concern. Amherst’s Lawrence Douglas, James J. Grosfeld Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought and an expert on international courts and war crimes trials, spoke with Director of Media Relations Caroline Hanna about the organization and what he sees in its future.