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Check back for regular updates on subjects covered in the Academic Exchange and other matters of interest to Emory faculty.


 

Emory's Anthony Stringer Receives Rare Board Certification in Clinical Neuropsychology

Anthony Stringer, director of neuropsychology in Emory’s Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, has attained board certification in neuropsychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology, an achievement reached by only five hundred neuropsychologists in the U.S. and seven in the state of Georgia. Stringer is also the first African American to achieve board certification in neuropsychology.

Neuropsychology is a specialty area within the field of psychology focusing on the relationship between brain dysfunction and its effects on cognitive skills and behavior. In rehabilitation medicine, neuropsychologists work with patients who experience memory loss resulting from a variety of physical impairments such as stroke, epilepsy, surgery, and traumatic brain injury.

Although board certification is the standard for medical doctors, it is the exception for psychologists. The certification process includes a close examination of the candidate's clinical experience, a one-hundred-question, three-hour written exam, the submission of two case reports including support materials, and a three-hour oral exam. ''It's an arduous process, but one that's worth it," says Stringer, adding that he is surprised he is the first African American to achieve certification. ''It's certainly a nice honor. There are perceptions that neuropsychology is a very difficult field to go into, and therefore many people are deterred from trying to enter it. I hope I have created a perception that a door has been open, and more people will follow in my footsteps."


Flannery's Thomas Moore book and recording to be featured on nationwide radio program "Thistle and Shamrock"

James Flannery’s book/recording Dear Harp of My Country: The Irish Melodies of Thomas Moore will for the third time be featured in October on Public Radio’s nationally syndicated “The Thistle and Shamrock.” Host Fiona Ritchie has described Flannery’s recording of thirty-nine of the airs of Moore as “a landmark collection” and credits his work with gaining an understanding of Moore as Ireland’s first internationally-known Irish artist as well as a seminal figure in the revival of Irish traditional music and the establishment of the Irish literary and dramatic movement. She also praises Flannery’s effort to establish the connections between Moore and the Scottish bard Robert Burns, especially in their effort to create a cultural identity for their respective nations by writing patriotic lyrics to ancient Celtic airs.

In Atlanta, the PBS-affiliate WABE (90.1 FM) will broadcast “The Thistle and Shamrock” program devoted to Flannery’s work on Sunday, October 17, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. “The Thistle and Shamrock” is broadcast internationally via NPR Worldwide and is also streamed on many affiliate stations.

“The Thistle and Shamrock” is the most popular and influential program devoted to Celtic music and culture on the airways. In the United States it is broadcast weekly on over 390 PBS stations nationwide while it is also broadcast throughout Europe on the BBC international network. Fiona Ritchie, who first began broadcasting “The Thistle and Shamrock” from Charlotte, North Carolina in 1983, is often credited with making the single most important contribution to the worldwide interest in Celtic music.

Flannery holds the Winship Chair of Arts and Humanities at Emory University where he teaches mainly in Irish Studies. He is currently working on another book/recording, Heart Mysteries: Traditional Love Songs of the Irish. He also produces the annual Atlanta Celtic Christmas Concert, now in its twelfth season.


Theology professor comments in New York Times on hip-hop and the church

You’ll probably never hear the music from hard-edged rappers like Slim Shady or Dr. Dre right before the preacher’s sermon. But according to a recent New York Times article, the long-standing antagonism between hip-hop and the church (one Harlem Reverend literally drove a steamroller over a pile of CDs 11 years ago) has diminished to the point where the blunt rhythms are heard more frequently during services, though fleshed out with gospel messages. The idea is to embrace at least part of the hip-hop culture, fill up the pews and spread the Word to young people who are drawn to the street-wise honesty of hip-hop. Said Alton Pollard III, the director of black church studies at the Candler School of Theology, who is quoted in the article, the resistance that many churches have shown to hip-hop culture resembles previous battles over gospel music or drums in church. “This is just the latest version" of the battle, he said. "It's about the continuing need for new expressions of what it means to be human, and the church oftentimes is not able to keep up, whether we're talking about jazz, the blues, soul or gospel music.”

To read the full text of the Times article, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/13/arts/music/13hiph.html

 


Presidential Powers of Recall

The September 20 edition of Newsweek magazine includes a mention of a recent article in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology that examines a case-in-point of the plasticity of memory, a key notion explored in the September 2004 cover story of the Academic Exchange on memory research. In "President Bush's False Flashbulb Memory of 9/11/01"(published online in March 2004 in Applied Cognitive Psychology), Daniel Greenberg of Duke University notes that President George W. Bush's reported recollections of how he learned of the attacks on the World Trade Center are factually impossible. The inacurracies, suggests Greenberg, are a prominent example of evidence that "flashbulb memories"—memories of major events people believe they remember perfectly—are not as perpect and indelible as experts once thought.

Visit http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5970907/site/newsweek/ to read the Newsweek article.

Visit http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/107639961/ABSTRACT for an abstract, references list, and downloadable .pdf file of the full Applied Cognitive Psychology article text.

Visit http://www.emory.edu/ACAD_EXCHANGE/2004/sept/lead.html for the Academic Exchange article on the art and science of memory.


The Poetry of Memory

In the cover story of the September 2004 issue of the Academic Exchange, Emory scholars from the sciences to the liberal arts reflect on their investigations into the nature and mechanisms of memory. Such inquiries also loom large in the work of associate professor of creative writing and poet Natasha Trethewey.

The cultural and the chemical processes of memory making are similar because their meaning takes shape over a period of time. In both processes, meaning may change as memories are recalled repeatedly. For Tretheway, this plasticity in cultural memory allows for a productive tension between history and imagination.

Even though each of her books is different, Trethewey says, “the underlying obsession is the same. I’m really interested in the way we make cultural memory and the gaps between personal stories and authoritative history—what gets written down and what gets written out.” Trethewey’s current project examines the “Native Guards” during the Civil War in her home state of Mississippi. Newly freed slaves joined the Union troops on Gulf Coast barrier islands that are now home to a national park.

“If you don’t know to ask who those soldiers really were, the park ranger doesn’t mention it," she says. "So the idea of the Native Guards became for me both the literal subject of poems—the soldiers I’m writing about—and a figurative connection to myself as a mixed-race daughter of the South, standing at the borders of this history.”

Below is a poem inspired by Trethewey's explorations of memories of the Native Guards.

Elegy for the Native Guards

Now that the salt of their blood
Stiffens the saltier oblivion of the sea…

—Allen Tate

We leave Gulfport at noon; gulls overhead
trailing the boat—streamers, noisy fanfare—
all the way to Ship Island. What we see
first is the fort, its roof of grass, a lee—
half reminder of the men who lived there—
a weathered monument to some of the dead.

Inside we follow the ranger, hurried
though we are to get to the beach. He tells
of graves lost in the Gulf, the island split
in half when Hurricane Camille hit,
shows us casemates, cannons, the store that sells
souvenirs, tokens of history long buried.

The Daughters of the Confederacy
have placed a plaque here, at the fort’s entrance—
each Confederate soldier’s name raised hard
in bronze; no names carved for the Native Guards—
2nd regiment, Union men, black phalanx.
What is monument to their legacy?

All the grave markers, all the crude headstones—
water-lost. Now fish dart among their bones,
and we listen for what the waves intone.
Only the fort remains, near forty feet high,
round, unfinished, half-open to the sky,
the elements—wind, rain—God’s deliberate eye.

[originally appeared in The Atlanta Review, Fall 2002]

New Associate Editor of the Academic Exchange

For five years, Amy Benson Brown served as the assistant and later associate editor of the Academic Exchange. With her poet’s ear and her doctorate in literature, Brown brought the rich perspective of a humanist to bear on major issues in the sciences at Emory, as well as larger questions of university life. Brown is now devoting her energies to the continued growth of the Provost’s Program in Manuscript Development, an initiative she launched two years ago to help faculty respond to the changing landscape of scholarly book publishing.

Succeeding Amy Brown as associate editor of the Exchange is Steve Frandzel, an accomplished science writer and editor whose work has focused on healthcare and related sciences, as well as the social and economic impact of medicine. Frandzel joined the staff on August 9.


Member of Emory Psychiatry Department Killed in Car Crash in China

Xiaohong Wang, MD, PhD, a promising researcher at the interface between immunology and psychiatry with particular regard to anxiety, depression and mood disorders in patients with cancer and other medical illnesses, was killed Saturday, July 24, in a car accident along with his sixth-grade son Jim while vacationing in Wuhan, China. He had returned to China for the first time in a number of years to visit his parents. Dr. Wang’s wife, Dr. Xiao Lan Ou, and their older son, John, escaped injury in the accident.

Dr. Wang, 47, was an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences in the Emory University School of Medicine. He practiced throughout the Emory system at Emory University Hospital, Emory Crawford Long Hospital, Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital, and Grady Memorial Hospital, where his main clinical responsibilities were in the psychiatric emergency room.

“Xiaohong Wang was a model faculty member who was universally liked and respected,” said psychiatry department chairman Dr. Charles Nemeroff. “This is a tragedy and a shock whose pain will be felt not only by his family but by all his friends and colleagues here at Emory.”

Dr. Wang was a graduate of the Tongji Medical University in Wuhan, China, who had served an internship at Wayne State University in Detroit and a residency at the State University of New York – Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. He had also pursued his education at Texas A&M where he earned a PhD. A member of the American Psychiatric Association, he had been recognized with a Janssen Psychiatry Resident Award of Excellence, a Janssen Faculty Career Development Award, a Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, a
psychiatric research fellowship sponsored by the APA and Wyeth-Ayerst, and a Research Scientist Development Award from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Dr. Wang was also an outstanding teacher, receiving the psychiatry residents’ teaching award in 2003. He came to Emory in 2001 and his research program was regarded as extremely promising. His studies provided novel insights into the role of inflammation in the development of mood disorders as well as the regulation of the neuroendocrine system. He had taken on three postdoctoral research fellows just in the past several months.

“Xiaohong was a treasured friend, whom we will all miss terribly,” said Dr. Andrew H. Miller, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of psychiatric oncology at Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute. “He was on a major upswing in his career, and his premature death is all the more tragic when considering his immense potential to make significant contributions to the lives of so many.”

The funeral was held in China. The department plans to hold a memorial service in Atlanta. Dr. Wang resided in Tucker.


Faculty and racism
In a recent essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education (“White Professors Can Help Uproot Racism,” May 7, 2004, B16), Julie W. de Sherbinin, associate professor of Russian at Colby College, discusses her efforts to form a collective of mostly white faculty members to become better allies to students of color on her campus. Earlier in her career, de Sherbinin writes, she was primarily concerned with tenure, but she became increasingly interested over the last decade in race-related issues. She began attending lectures, films, and forums on race; she read extensively about white privilege; and she eventually became involved with the campus chapter of the Society Organized Against Racism in New England Higher Education (SOAR). Finally, after talking with many colleagues who had served as mentors to students of color and hearing stories of students’ encounters with racism on campus, she invited faculty members to get together to discuss these issues, resulting in the formation of a group called Faculty Allies. This group’s goal, writes de Sherbinin, is “to contribute to the academic and social success of students of color through informal faculty-student interactions.” Faculty Allies has been involved with planning faculty-student events; it provides faculty mentors for students at the students’ request; and it recently sponsored the publication of a poetry volume by African American and Latino students. Although de Sherbinin recognizes that this group “does not represent an unmitigated success story” and acknowledges that “uprooting racism happens excrutiatingly slowly,” she does assert that white faculty members can do their part by working as academic mentors and through social interactions. To read the full article, visit http://chronicle.com/prm/weekly/v50/i35/35b01601.htm.

To read the April/May Academic Exchange examination of race and the faculty, visit http://www.emory.edu/ACAD_EXCHANGE/2004/aprmay/lead.html


Highlights from “Coping with Copyright”
A panel discussion sponsored by the Manuscript Development Program and the Academic Exchange on April 15, 2004

Topics included: basic definitions in copyright law; trends toward broader copyright restrictions; the process, time, and cost of securing permissions for scholarly books; and issues covered by the TEACH (Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization Act). Below are highlights from the four speakers’ remarks. Contact Amy Benson Brown at abrow01@emory.edu if you are interested in obtaining a transcript.

“There is a broad march of expanding copyright to cover anything that anyone considers creative and pretty soon we will have nailed everything down, and we won’t be able to use anything without a license. . . . We have a trend that’s not favorable for academics."

—Sara Stadler Nelson, Assistant Professor in the School of Law.


“What was particularly surprising was the amount of time this process of securing permissions took—and how much it cost, even after my negotiations. And it is possible to negotiate with the publishers. As Routledge says in their packet: 'Don’t be afraid to try to negotiate the fees or have them waived entirely.' But simply collecting these permissions took me approximately six months.”

—Kim Loudermilk, Director of Special Academic Projects in Emory College


“My press said, 'We can’t go forward with your book until you clear this permissions issue up.' I asked my editor, 'Will you consult your legal department?' The legal department came back and said, 'You’ve got to clear this up.' I called Emory University’s General Counsel Office, and the response was that I needed to find a lawyer. What I was faced with was educating myself on the state of the fair use laws in copyright at my own expense, to try and figure this thing out.”

—Matthew Bernstein, Associate Professor in the Film Studies Department

“We all need to do something about it because right now the content provider industry has the ear of Congress, and they have it very effectively. If we don’t stand up and let our voices be heard, the long-term repercussions . . . [will] impact creativity in this country. The way derivative works are being interpreted today, they seem to cover any and all uses of the original copyrighted work, and that’s a real problem. It’s not only creativity at stake but also innovation, even technical innovation in the long, run if we don’t address this.”

—Doris Kirby, Director of Policy and Compliance for IT at Emory


April 15, 2004
More on Scholarship in an Age of Terror
Emory Professor of Religion Paul Courtright was featured in a Washington Post article about recent attacks on scholars of Hinduism. The wave of attacks has been orchestrated by the Hidutva movement, which claims, “scholars are imposing a Eurocentric world view” on their culture, writes Post reporter Shankar Vedantam in the April 10, 2004, issue. A brief section of Courtight’s 1985 study of the Hindu god Ganesha (published by Oxford UP) incensed some readers by offering a psychoanalytic reading of one part of the mythology.

The article connects the email threats and online petition against Courtright to recent attacks on other Hinduists. In November, University of Chicago scholar Wendy Doniger was “egged" in London but escaped injury. And in January a work by Macalester College Professor James Laine on an ancient Hindu King sparked an assault on one of his collaborators and on materials in an institute housing rare manuscripts in India.

Registered users may view the Post article by clicking here.

Click here to read Coutright's reflections on the charges against his work, threats against his person, and the challenges that this kind of attack poses for scholars, students, and scholarly associations, in the April edition of the Academic Exchange.