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Kevin Young, NewsPoet
Kevin Young, Atticus Haygood Professor of Creative Writing and English, composed and read his version of the news in verse on the National Public Radio show All Things Considered.
Young’s appearance was a continuation of a project called NewsPoet, in which a poet spends a few hours in the NPR newsroom listening to reports of the day’s events, then reflects his experience in poetry at the end of the day.
According to All Things Considered host Audie Cornish, Young took careful notes at the morning meeting while the staff pitched ideas. “People seemed very calm about it,” said Young on the NPR Website, even though they had “a spy in their midst.”
One segment in particular, about what might happen if Texas seceded from the U.S., caught his attention. “I had spent last May in Texas, living there and writing,” Young said. His poem built on the story's theme and began to imagine the challenges of creating a new currency and a new anthem. He combined it with another news story that detailed the demise of the Canadian penny. “Somehow trade relations with Canada seemed to play in. . . . The death of the penny became the death of other things, and a way of mourning something perhaps more grand,” Young said.
The result was “Anthem”:
Click here to read the rest of the poem and the full article on the NPR website.
Why do Supreme Court Justices bother to show up at the State of the Union address anymore, given that they’ve frequently criticized the circus-like atmosphere of the event? For example, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. called the address “a political pep rally.” Justice Antonin Scalia called it “a juvenile spectacle.” Justice Clarence Thomas said he disliked “the catcalls, the whooping and hollering and under-the breath comments.”
During the 2010 State of the Union address, President Obama took direct aim at the court when he strongly criticized its controversial Citizens United decision that allows unlimited election campaign-related spending by corporations.
Micheal W. Giles, Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Political Science at Emory, and Todd C. Peppers, Henry H. and Trudye H. Fowler Chair in Public Affairs, and Associate Professor at Roanoke College, took a look into the trends regarding the Supreme Court and the State of the Union address, assembling huge amounts of data, including videos, photographs, and newspaper articles along the way. Their work was reported on in the January 23 New York Times.
Justices’ attendance at the address has fallen, they found: From 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson spoke, through 1980 the attendance rate was 84 percent. But over the next two decades, the number dropped to 53 percent. Since 2000, the rate has fallen to 32 percent, according to the researchers. In three of those years, only Justice Stephen G. Breyer attended. In 2000, Breyer had the flu and no justices attended.
That general pattern is not unusual, according to the researchers, who found that the likelihood of attendance declined with age and length of service.
“I went into this project assuming that ideology was going to explain these patterns,” Peppers told the Times. “That doesn’t appear to be the case.”
A year after the Citizen’s United comment (and Justice Samuel A. Alito mouth dissent, “not true), the chief justice told a told a law school audience that attending State of the Union addresses was problematic and unpleasant, but he nonetheless attended the subsequent address, as did five other justices—a strong turnout by recent standards. Five justices attended this year's address.
Giles said the justices were wise to attend: “This is a very visual age. I do think that it’s important that they show up. It shows an image that is beneficial to the court.”
To read the entire article, visit
David J. Bederman, K.H. Gyr Professor of Private International Law, died on December 4, 2011. He was 50.
Bederman was the author of twelve books and 125 articles, and he presented more than eighty public lectures at distinguished universities and learned societies in North America and Europe. He was the counsel of record in fifty-two cases in the United States Courts of Appeals, and he argued four cases before the US. Supreme Court.
“David’s record of scholarly achievement was impressive to the point of being improbable,” said Interim Law School Dean Robert Schapiro.
In 2011, Emory Law established the David J. Bederman Distinguished Lecture, along with a summer fellowship at The Hague Academy of International Law, in honor of Bederman’s career and accomplishments.
Fray Marshall, chair of the Department of Urology in the School of Medicine, died on December 2, 2011. He was 67.
Candace Lang, associate professor of French and Italian, died on October 31 after a battle with cancer.
Lang played a central role in the leadership of the Department of French and Italian, serving as its chair from 2006-2009, and again from 2010 until her recent medical leave.
Robin Forman, Dean of Emory College, wrote about Lang: “I had several opportunities to work closely with Candace over the last year. While others surely knew her better, I quickly came to admire her fierce enthusiasm for the scholarship and teaching of her colleagues, her wry sense of humor, and the grace and disarming candor with which she confronted her illness. Her devotion to French studies and to the department was evident in everything that she did, and she brought her wit, humor, and shrewd judgment to her work as chair. I learned a great deal from her about the department, about the study of literature, and about how we might face moments of great challenge with courage and dignity.”
A service to celebrate the memory of Candace Lang will take place on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011 from 4-5:30 p.m. in Cannon Chapel. All members of the University community are welcome. If you would like further information, please contact Kate Bennett in the Department of French and Italian (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In 2009, Emory celebrated the publication of The Letters of Samuel Beckett, 1929-1940. Last month, it followed up with the publication of The Letters of Samuel Becket, 1941-1956, (Cambridge University Press).
The collection was edited by a group of Emory scholars, the University of Sussex, and the American University of Paris. More than 100 undergraduate and graduate students also assisted on the project.
Emory’s Laney Graduate School marked the event by the presentation “Words Are All We Have: From ‘Watt’ to ‘Godot,” featuring readings by Irish actor Barry McGovern and Atlanta actors Carolyn Cook, Robert Shaw-Smith and Brenda Bynum, who is a former resident artist and lecturer with Theater Emory. Several departments, along with the Consulate General of Ireland, the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and the Consulate General of France in Atlanta co-sponsored the event in Glenn Memorial Auditorium.
The reclusive Beckett was a reclusive, avant-garde novelist, theater director and poet, who once wrote that “every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness.” His more than 15,000 letters, spanning six dynamic decades of the 20th century, tell a different story, revealing a softer side of the self-effacing, reticent writer who refused to attend his own Nobel Prize ceremony and preferred to let the words on the page speak for themselves.
“Beckett is the most abstract of authors,” said Jan Steyn, an Emory doctoral student in comparative literature, who began working for the Beckett Letters Project in 2006 as an undergraduate at The American University in Paris. “His landscapes could be anywhere, his characters could be anyone.”
The Beckett Letters Project exemplifies Emory's core mission of fostering sustained intellectual effort, said Vice President and Secretary of the University Rosemary Magee.
To read the entire article in The Emory Report, visit this link.
A recent New York Times article described Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society and professor of oncology and epidemiology at Emory, as the public face of the cancer establishment: “He operates in a world of similarly high-achieving, multiple-credentialed, respectable professionals, where insults tend to be delivered, stiletto-style, in scientific language that lay people aren’t meant to understand.”
Brawley, the article continued, has been the target of sharp attacks for his position on prostate cancer screening. One critic accused Brawley of being more concerned about saving men’s sex lives than about saving the men themselves. The criticism stems from Brawley’s skepticism about the routine use of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screen for early prostate cancer.
“I’m not against prostate-cancer screening,” Brawley told the Times. “I’m against lying to men. I’m against exaggerating the evidence to get men to get screened. We should tell people what we know, what we don’t know and what we simply believe.”
The PSA test has become a yearly routine for millions of middle-aged men who assume that finding the cancer early will prevent death, said the article. But the evidence is not convincing to Brawley and many others. Fueling the debate are recent studies indicating that routine PSA testing may reduce mortality related to prostate cancer only to an exceedingly modest extent.
The controversy has polarized views. One side claims simply that the test reduces the chance of dying of prostate cancer. But there is a multibillion-dollar industry that has huge financial stakes in the testing and treatment of the disease. Screening, argues Brawley and others, “can lead heal thy men into a cascade of further testing and treatments that end up injuring or even killing them,” according to the article. Even the discoverer of a prostate-specific antigen, Richard Ablin, wrote in a Times op-ed piece that relying on the PSA test to screen for cancer has been “a public health disaster.”
Brawley once believed that routine screening was the best medical practice. He began to rethink his position while he was a fellow at the National Cancer Institute in 1988. One of his mentors, Barnett Kramer, an oncologist and epidemiologist, explained to Brawley why he thought the PSA test was not effective.
“In his discussions with Kramer, Brawley saw that … two pieces of information — the fact that a certain number of prostate cancers will never cause harm, and that doctors can’t reliably predict which cancers will be dangerous — had powerful and potentially devastating consequences for men,” the Times said.
The article went on: “For Brawley, the greatest tragedy of PSA screening is that it has been a distraction from making greater progress in reducing deaths with the one clear helpful thing: distinguishing between the prostate tumors that really need to come out and those that are better left alone. Instead, new types of PSA screening are being promoted.”
“We live in a time when our failure to define questions properly has delayed our progress and harmed health,” Brawley said.
To view the entire article, visit this link.
Last month a Wall Street Journal book review came down hard on “The Cambridge History of the American Novel,” co-edited by Benjamin Reiss, professor of English. Reiss responded in an article that appeared recently in Slate.
He called the review a “diatribe” that identified “the usual academic murder weapons: multiculturalism, literary theory, and hatred of America. English professors have abandoned the central task of criticism—defending great works from pop-cultural rubbish—and have given ourselves over exclusively to such buzzkilling concepts as race, class, gender, and disability.”
The reviewer, Joseph Epstein, writes Reiss, rails against the books focus on context, “especially those that might trouble happy narratives of national progress,” and calls for a return to the glory days of forty or fifty years ago. “If only we could just teach students to love the canon again, we could return to the golden age,” Reiss continued.
Reiss called the reviewer’s characterization of the book “closed-minded and inaccurate,” but acknowledges that the “rant” raises a good question: “what is literary history and how should it be brought to bear on the genre of the novel.” The book, he continues, “is really a biography of the novel as it intersects with American history. Part of the explanation for the changing shape of the American novel involves individual genius (i.e., great writers), but it also involves the stuff of national history: wars, slavery, emancipation, democracy, territorial expansion, civil rights, women's rights, immigration, and capitalism. . . . Simply recording our appreciation for the ‘high truth quotient’ (the measure Epstein wants) of a stream of canonical novels won't do.”
To read Reiss’s entire article, visit Slate.
To read the book review, visit The Wall Street Journal.
National Endowment for the Humanities Professor in Emory's Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts (ILA) Ivan Karp passed away on September 17. Karp was a member of the Emory faculty from 1993 until his retirement last May.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorial gifts to the Ivan Karp Donation Fund in one of the following ways. The IK Fund will be used to continue our collaborative work with universities and museums in Cape Town on public scholarship, African studies and Ivan’s other interests (social theory, history of anthropology etc.). Donations will be tax deductible.
Contributions should be directed to the Ivan Karp Donation Fund and show the following account number: 1891283663.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has selected a research team from Emory University to develop new drugs for stroke as part of the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research. The Blueprint includes projects by seven teams of investigators throughout the United States focusing on conditions including stroke, vision and hearing loss, neurodegenerative diseases, and depression.
The Emory team, led by principal investigator Raymond Dingledine, executive associate dean for research and chair of the Department of Pharmacology in Emory School of Medicine, will be supported by $969,000 in NIH funding over five years. It aims to develop drugs based on compounds called prostaglandins, which have been shown to protect animals from brain damage following a stroke.
The team has identified compounds that enhance these protective effects by acting on a specific receptor for prostaglandins, known as EP2. Because stroke interventions work best when given shortly before or after stroke, the team plans to focus on developing EP2-targeted drugs for individuals with subarachnoid hemorrhage, a kind of stroke caused by a ruptured blood vessel. In the weeks following hemorrhage, such individuals are at increased risk for another stroke and could benefit from a protective drug while they are in intensive care.
The NIH Blueprint pulls together resources from fifteen of the agency’s institutes and centers and creates a Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network that will serve as a resource for investigators to develop new drugs and prepare them for clinical trials. The Network will be funded at up to $50 million over five years.
In addition to research funding, project teams will have access to millions of dollars worth of services normally only available to pharmaceutical companies. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry consultants will assist investigators throughout the drug development process, from chemical optimization, to biological testing, to advancing the drug into early-stage clinical trials.
“This new Blueprint Network will allow us to move our research forward more rapidly into drug development and meet a challenging but critical need for better therapies for one of the primary causes of death and disability,” said Dingledine. “This is a significant opportunity for the federal government to optimize the discoveries of its funded researchers and laboratories for the benefit of patients.”
In the August 6 New York Times, Drew Westen, professor of psychology, wrote an op-ed piece, “What Happened to Obama” that is highly critical of the president. What makes this a little different is that Westen is a Democratic consultant and had been a strong Obama supporter.
Westen laments that Obama has not fulfilled the expectations of those who voted for him and has squandered his potentially historic role in reshaping America. When Obama was elected, Westen said, many who voted for him were desperate for a leader who could create a narrative that would help them make sense of the economic disaster they were suffering through, and then fight and lead them out of the gloom.
“Yet,” wrote Westen, “Instead of indicting the economic policies and principles that had just eliminated eight million jobs, in the most damaging of the tic-like gestures of compromise that have become the hallmark of his presidency — and against the advice of multiple Nobel-Prize-winning economists — he backed away from his advisers who proposed a big stimulus, and then diluted it with tax cuts that had already been shown to be inert. The result, as predicted in advance, was a half-stimulus that half-stimulated the economy. That, in turn, led the White House to feel rightly unappreciated for having saved the country from another Great Depression but in the unenviable position of having to argue a counterfactual — that something terrible might have happened had it not half-acted.”
In similar circumstances, Westen said, Franklin D. Roosevelt “offered Americans a promise to use the power of his office to make their lives better and to keep trying until he got it right.”
Westen went on to say that even now, he has no idea what Obama believes on any issue:
To read Westen’s article, click here.
Westen’s article led to significant media follow-up, including interviews on CNN and MSNBC, and mentions in numerous publications, including the following:
The field of psychology needs to do a better job educating the public and regulating itself, according to Scott Lilienfeld, Professor of Psychology. His paper, “Public Skepticism of Psychology: Why Many People Perceive the Study of Human Behavior as Unscientific,” appears in American Psychologist.
“In everyday life, in love, relationships and work, everyone deals with psychology, and most of us find it fascinating,” Lilienfeld said in an article in Emory’s eScience Commons. “That’s great, but it’s a mixed blessing because people confuse familiarity with true understanding. Your mind is actually a lot more complex than you think.”
Lilienfeld’s paper counters what he describes as the widespread perception that psychology is “a soft, gooey science” based largely on common sense. The same rigorous, scientific methods applied to the “hard” sciences are used in psychology, Lilienfeld writes. He cites analyses showing psychology research can yield repeatable results comparable to the findings in particle physics.
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) is calling for the National Science Foundation to defund its social and behavioral sciences division and focus on “truly transformative sciences with practical uses outside of academic circles and clear benefits to mankind and the world.”
“Media therapists” like Laura Schlessinger and Phillip McGraw are just adding to the confusion, he said. “Dr. Phil makes claims that go way beyond the scientific evidence, or in some cases, directly contradict the science.”
In fact, basic psychology research has played a role in everything from reducing errors made by airplane pilots to helping law enforcement catch criminals, Lilienfeld said.
To read the complete story at Emory’s eScience Commons, visit
To see the paper’s abstract, visit http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2011-12007-001/
Citing evidence that shows notable deficiencies in the food industry’s latest labeling system called Nutrition Keys, health experts challenged the industry’s action in an article published in the June 23, 2011, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
In their “Perspective” piece, Jeffrey Koplan, Vice President for Global Health and Director of the Emory Global Health Institute, and Kelly Brownell, Director of the Rudd Center of Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, noted that even though the industry’s action may seem positive at first glance by creating a single system with objective nutrition information, the approach is contrary to what research shows would be helpful to consumers. They said it also preemptively undermines the deliberations of the Food and Drug Administration and the Institute of Medicine, which are scheduled to release a report on food labeling in the fall.
The food industry announced its own nutrition labeling approach in January 2011. Brownell and Koplan argue that this action may have been taken to “lock in a system that would change food choices as little as possible and preempt the imposition of an alternative system that would be based on the available and relevant science.”
Several front-of-pack labeling systems have already been scientifically developed, tested and found helpful to consumers, including the “traffic-light” system developed in Britain in which red, green, and yellow symbols are used to show which foods might be eaten freely, in moderation or sparingly. The traffic-light system is based on a nutrient profiling method that is used to determine which foods can be marketed to children in Britain and will be used in Australia as the basis for allowing health claims on food packages.
The authors assert that compared with the easy-to-understand traffic-light approach, the industry’s Nutrition Keys system is too complex, with too many symbols, and may create confusion for consumers. The average shopper only examines a package for a few seconds before making a decision, hence it is concerning that the industry system presents numbers that many consumers may not understand, such as the % Daily Value. Further confusion may arise because a high score is considered good for some nutrients like fiber and bad for others such as saturated fat.
They conclude that “industry leaders who profess to be responsible partners in preventing and controlling the obesity epidemic have an opportunity now to reject this noncollaborative, premature approach and show good faith by awaiting the IOM report and endorsing the best evidence-based approach to front-of-package labeling. Otherwise, “industry may have proven itself untrustworthy again and raised the risk of what it wishes to avoid – government’s exercising of its authority to mandate some types of labeling and to restrict others.”To read the NEJM article, visit http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1101033
Mummies from along the Nile are revealing how age-old irrigation techniques may have boosted the plague of schistosomiasis, a water-borne parasitic disease that infects an estimated 200 million people today.
According to a study published in the June issue of The American Journal of Physical Anthropology, an analysis of the mummies from Nubia, a former kingdom that was located in present-day Sudan, provides details for the first time about the prevalence of the disease across populations in ancient times and how human alteration of the environment may have contributed to its spread.
The study was led by Emory graduate student Amber Campbell Hibbs, who recently received her PhD in anthropology, and co-authored by George Armelagos, Goodrich C White Professor of Anthropology, along with colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Colorado at Boulder.
About 25 percent of the mummies in the study that were dated to about 1,500 years ago were found to have Schistosoma mansoni, a species of schistosomiasis associated with more modern-day irrigation techniques.
“Often in the case of prehistoric populations, we tend to assume that they were at the mercy of the environment, and that their circumstances were a given,” said Hibbs. “Our study suggests that, just like people today, these ancient individuals were capable of altering the environment in ways that impacted their health.”
As far back as the 1920s, evidence of schistosomiasis was detected in mummies from the Nile River region, but only in recent years did the analysis of the antigens and antibodies of some of the individuals become possible.
“The Nubians were probably in healthier shape than many other populations of their time, due to the dry climate, which would reduce their bacterial load, and because they were getting tetracycline,” Armelagos said. “But the prevalence of schistosomiasis shown in this study suggests that their parasite load was probably quite heavy.”
Armelagos has been studying ancient Nubian populations for more than three decades. Through extensive analysis, he and colleagues have shown that nearly two thousand years ago, the Nubians were regularly consuming tetracycline, most likely in their beer, at levels high enough to show they were deliberately brewing the antibiotic effects.
For more information, visithttp://www.livescience.com/14505-mummies-schistosomiasis-irrigation.html
Deborah Lipstadt, the Dorot Professor of Jewish Studies at Emory, has been featured prominently in print and on the radio recently.
On April 8, her book The Eichmann Trial was reviewed in the New York Times Book Review. The book covers a lot of ground, including (unavoidably) the controversial views of Hannah Arendt, the German-American political theorist. Lipstadt also argues, according to the review, that that the testimony of Holocaust survivors at the trial of war criminal Adolf Eichmann shattered the self-image of Zionists: “Israelis had imagined that European Jewry had been too meek to defend itself during the war, the characterological opposite of the macho sabras [native born Israelis],” wrote the reviewer. “It was only during the Eichmann trial that Israelis came to appreciate the impossibility of resisting the Nazis, that Israelis weren’t morally superior to their diaspora cousins. ‘Some Israelis began to grasp that, rather than constituting a different breed of Jews, they were simply generationally and geographically lucky,’ [Lipstadt] writes. The nation suddenly understood the centrality of the Holocaust to its national story.”
Lipstadt also wrote an op-ed piece in the May 16 New York Times about John Demjanjuk, who was found guilty last month by a German court on 28,060 counts of accessory to murder, one for each of the Jews exterminated during the six months that he worked as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Poland. The trial, Lipstadt wrote, will probably be the last Holocaust war crimes trial to grab headlines. She pointed out that, coincidentally, the verdict came fifty years after the Eichmann trial.
“What happened at both of these trials is more important than the ultimate fates of the guilty. Now as then, the victims were given a chance to tell their story, not in a book, interview or speech, but in a court of law,” Lipstadt wrote. “At the Eichmann trial close to 100 witnesses testified about their suffering. At the Demjanjuk trial we heard from the victims’ children. They joined the prosecutor in pointing their fingers at the man who facilitated their parents’ murders. In other words, the Demjanjuk trial proves that while Eichmann himself may be history, the robust process that made Holocaust trials into something more than mere court proceedings is still effective. And finally, the Demjanjuk case, by its very complexity, is a fitting coda to the Eichmann trial because it reminds us that adjudicating genocide is, like the act itself, rarely straightforward. These cases raise difficult questions about how to punish different types of participation in a genocide; does a guard who carried it out deserve more or less punishment than a bureaucrat who planned it?”
On May 18, Lipstadt was interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) about the Demjanjuk and Eichmann trials and their relative importance. She was also interviewed on WABE, Atlanta’ public broadcasting radio station, on May 10.
To read the articles and interview transcripts, and listen to the interviews, visit the following websites:
Findings from the first study of its kind measuring the link between daily growth and sleep show the two are strongly linked. Specifically, growth spurts are tied to an increase in total daily hours of sleep as well as an increase in the number of daily sleep bouts, and the time from the onset of sleep until awakening.
“Little is known about the biology of growth spurts,” said lead study author Michelle Lampl, Samuel C. Dobbs professor of anthropology at Emory. “Our data open the window to further scientific study of the mechanisms and pathways that underlie saltatory growth.”
Practically speaking, the study helps parents understand that irregular sleep behavior is a normal part of growth and development. “Sleep irregularities can be distressing to parents,” said Lampl. “However, these findings give babies a voice that helps parents understand them and show that seemingly erratic sleep behavior is a normal part of development. Babies really aren’t trying to be difficult.”
The study appears in the May 1 issue of the journal Sleep. Lampl and co-author Michael Johnson, professor of pharmacology with the University of Virginia Health System, also found that longer sleep bouts in both girls and boys predicted an increase in weight and body fat composition tied to an increase in length. What’s more, the study showed differences in sleep patterns related to growth depending on the sex of the baby. “Growth spurts were associated with increased sleep bout duration in boys compared with girls and increased number of sleep bouts in girls compared with boys,” said Lampl.
In general, boys in the study exhibited more sleep bouts and shorter sleep bouts than girls. But neither the sex of the infant nor breastfeeding had significant effects on total daily sleep time. However, breastfeeding as opposed to formula feeding was associated with more and shorter sleep bouts.
Unlike previous studies, this study did not rely on parental recall of infant sleep patterns and growth. Instead, data on twenty-three infants were recorded in real time over a four- to seventeen-month span. Mothers kept daily diaries detailing sleep onset and awakening and noted whether babies were breastfeeding, formula feeding, or both and whether their infant showed signs of illness, such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever or rash.
David J. Sencer, former director of the CDC and considered one of the “founding fathers” of the Rollins School of Public Health, has passed. He was 86. Sencer was the longest serving CDC director, holding the post from 1966 to 1977. During his tenure, he oversaw a substantial expansion of the agency as it dealt for the first time with malaria, nutrition, anti-smoking efforts, health education, and occupational safety. The CDC’s greatest success under his leadership was a program that eradicated smallpox, beginning in central Africa and eventually extending worldwide.
While at the CDC, Sencer was instrumental in starting Emory’s program in public health in 1974. By the 1990s it had evolved into the Rollins School of Public Health. He considered this, along with his leadership during the smallpox eradication campaign, among his greatest contributions to public health.
“Dave Sencer was a public health giant,” Thomas Frieden, the current director of the CDC, said in the New York Times. “And until the end he continued to be a thoughtful and vibrant member of the public health community. At the height of the H1N1 pandemic of 2009, he was here full time, and I said, ‘Can I pay you?’ He said, ‘No, this is a labor of love.’”
“I never asked him for anything that he didn’t deliver,” added William H. Foege, who led the smallpox eradication project at the CDC and who succeeded Dr. Sencer as director. “He said you couldn’t protect U.S. citizens from smallpox without getting rid of it in the world, and that was a new approach. People in the field got all the praise, but he was the unsung hero. He just kept providing what we needed.”
In 2008, the Rollins School established the David J. Sencer Scholarship Fund with generous support from the Sencer family. This endowment provides scholarship support for an MPH student who personifies the characteristics that Sencer demonstrated throughout his remarkable career. Gifts in his memory may be made online at www.sph.emory.edu/alumni_giftTo view Sencer’s obituary in the New York Times, visit www.nytimes.com/2011/05/04/us/04sencer.html
Emory University tops a list of the ten best American colleges for writers, according to USA Today in conjunction with the website collegedegree.com.
Here’s how the website describes Emory’s program:
Filling out the list:
2. Hamilton College, Clinton, NY
To read the entire article, click here.
The New York Times recently reviewed Deborah E. Lipstadt’s new book, The Eichmann Trial. Lipstadt is the Dorot Professor of Jewish Studies at Emory and a well-known scholar of the Holocaust.
According to the review, “Lipstadt has done a great service by untethering the trial from [Hannah] Arendt’s polarizing presence, recovering the event as a gripping legal drama, as well as a hinge moment in Israel’s history and in the world’s delayed awakening to the magnitude of the Holocaust.” Arendt, a political theorist, wrote a controversial book, “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” about Eichmann’s 1961 trial in Jerusalem for war crimes.
Lipstadt’s book begins by detailing how Eichmann was caught. A German-born, half Jewish Argentine man grew suspicious about a man her daughter was dating — chiefly about his obvious anti-semitism and evasive answers about his background. The father wrote about the man to a German prosecutor who happened to be Jewish. That lead to a stealth operation that involved the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, and led to his arrest. He turned out to be Adolf Eichmann. The Mossad captured him and took him to Israel where he stood trial, found guilty of crimes against humanity and hanged in 1962.
To read the entire review, visit
To hear the podcast review, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/ref/books/books-podcast-archive.html
Emory researchers predict that rates of depressive disorders among men will increase as the twenty-first century progresses. In an editorial published in the March 2011 issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, author Boadie Dunlop, assistant professor and director of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, writes that “compared to women, many men attach a great importance to their roles as providers and protectors of their families. Failure to fulfill the role of breadwinner is associated with greater depression and marital conflict.”
Since the beginning of the recession in 2007, roughly 75 percent of the jobs lost in the United States were held by men. On the other hand, women are increasingly becoming the primary household earners, with 22 percent of wives earning more than their husbands in 2007, versus only 4 percent in 1970, according to Dunlop. But there is little reason to believe that traditional male jobs will return in significant numbers with economic recovery.
Additionally, biological and sociological differences in men and women may make it harder for men to fit into the role of primary provider for young children. “Men in the changing economy will face the same risks for depression that women faced in older economies: trapped in a family role from which they cannot escape because of an inability to find employment,” Dunlop says.
Finally, the expectations for men to be tough, stoic, and hide their feelings is significantly eroding. The growing awareness about mental health through education, and hearing prominent male figures talk about their depression, has had a significant impact in opening up the public space for men to validate symptoms of depression.
One of the most well-established findings in the epidemiology of psychiatric disorders is that women have nearly twice the lifetime risk than men of developing a major depressive disorder. “The changing socioeconomic positions of the West could lead to prevalence in the rates of depression in men increasing, while rates in women decrease,” said Dunlop. “Practitioners need to be aware of these forces of life, and be prepared to explore with their patients the meaning of these changes and interventions that might be helpful.”
An Emory study reinforces suspicions that mental health care across the United States is uneven for children age twelve to seventeen years who suffer from major depression.
Researchers from Emory Rollins School of Public Health, Janet R. Cummings, associate professor of health policy and management, and Benjamin G. Druss, Rosalyn Carter Chair in Mental Health, analyzed five years of data (2004–2008) collected from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health. Their representative sample included 7,704 adolescents from the target age range who had received a diagnosis of major depression within the previous year.
Their paper, “Racial/Ethnic Differences in Mental Health Service Use Among Adolescents With Major Depression,” published in the February 2011 edition of Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, indicates that the percentage of non-Hispanic whites who received any major depression treatment was 40 percent, compared with 32 percent in Blacks, 31 percent in Hispanics, and 19 percent in Asians after adjusting for demographics and health status.
Cummings and Druss report that one fourth of all adolescents with major depression received school-based counseling. They write that “Investment in quality improvement programs implemented in primary care settings as well as school-based mental health services may reduce unmet need for mental health services in all adolescents with major depression and reduce the sizeable differences in service use across racial/ethnic groups.”
In a February 1 opinion piece on CNN.com, Carrie Rosefsky Wickham, Emory Associate Professor of Political Science, offered her take on what role the Muslim Brotherhood might play in a changing Egypt.
Where, though, will the Muslim Brotherhood fit into the picture? Wickham writes that the Brotherhood is “a large umbrella organization that encompasses different views and trends. While the group poses no immediate danger to the reform process, it remains a wild card, because its willingness to participate on equal terms with the country’s much smaller secular parties in the formation of a new democratic order is unclear.”
She goes on to say that while the Brotherhood has a presence among the masses, it no longer stands as the defiant ant-establishment movement it once was. The organization has, at least publicly, renounced violence as a means to achieve its domestic agenda of Islamic change. Wickham contends that it has “adopted a stance of caution and pragmatic self-restraint in the face of the overwhelming power of a regime, which treats it as an existential threat. Paradoxically, the Brotherhood’s very size and popularity have prevented it from flexing its political muscles, and launching a direct confrontation with the regime.”
The key question now is whether the Muslim Brotherhood will exercise its current self-restraint if the Mubarak regime falls: “My sense is that it will, for three reasons. First, seizing power for itself is not the Brotherhood’s primary objective. What it wants is the opportunity to spread its message and influence policy, not call the shots by itself. Second, the prominent role of secular political figures, and a large sector of politicized but ideologically unaffiliated youth, in the reform movement, will limit the Brotherhood’s ability to monopolize power even if it wanted to do so. Finally, the Brotherhood is keenly aware that neither the Egyptian military -- the ultimate arbiter of power in the country, or the West, would be likely to welcome a Brotherhood-dominated government.”
However, she continued, whether the Brotherhood will compromise on its demand for sharia rule remains unknown. “At the same time,” Wickham writes, “given the depth of its popular support and more than thirty-year record of responsible behavior, it has earned a place at the table, and no transition to a democratic process can occur without it.”To read the entire article, visit http://edition.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/02/01/wickham.muslim.brotherhood/
Emory Mathematician Develops New Theory, Formula, to Solve Old Problem
February 2, 2011
While hiking to Tallulah Falls in the North Georgia mountains last September, Ken Ono, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Mathematics, and postdoctoral fellow Zach Kent, experienced a Eureka moment that led to a solution to an age-old math conundrum.
For more information about Ono and his team’s work, visit:
Jean Toomer, a light-skinned black man of mixed heritage, was best known for his 1923 book Cane, which portrayed African-American life in the early twentieth century. Now, two scholars have concluded that Toomer spent years "passing" as white.
In a seventy-page introduction to a re-release of Cane, Rudolph P. Byrd, Emory's Goodrich C. White Professor of American Studies, and Harvard Scholar Henry Louis Gates write that their judgment is based on “an analysis of archival evidence previously overlooked by other scholars,” including Toomer’s draft registrations, his and his family’s census records, and his writings and public statements.
Most liquid over-the-counter children’s medications contain variable and inconsistent dosing directions and measuring devices, according to a new study. Nearly all the products had directions that did not match what was marked on the measuring device.
In November 2009, in response to reports of unintentional drug overdoses among children given OTC medicines, the FDA released new voluntary industry guidelines that recommended greater consistency and clarity in dosing directions for OTC medications and their measuring devices.
The guidelines recommended that all OTC liquid medications include a measuring device, the product’s device and directions should use the same abbreviations and units of measurement, devices should have only necessary markings and should not hold much more than the largest dose described, abbreviations should be standard and defined and decimals or fractions should be used carefully. They also recommended more research to confirm accurate use of this information by consumers.For more information about the study, visit http://pubs.ama-assn.org/media/2010jer/1130.dtl#1
Genetic factors are more influential than environmental factors in determining human levels of vitamin D, but only during wintertime, according to researchers at Emory and in Brazil.
According to Christina Karohl, a visiting scholar in the Department of Medicine, and her colleagues at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, 70 percent of the variation in vitamin D concentration levels during winter are the result of genetic factors. The findings were reported by UPI, Business Week, and other news outlets.
In their paper, the researchers concluded that blood concentrations of vitamin D “are highly heritable during the winter season only. In the summer, environmental conditions (e.g., sun exposure) prevail over genetic backgrounds in determining serum concentrations.”
In the summer, the authors explained, 53 percent of the variation in vitamin D concentrations were the result of shared environmental factors, and 47 percent to unique environmental factors.
The study is scheduled for publication in the December issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN). Karohl and her colleagues looked at 510 middle-age men: 310 identical twins and 200 fraternal twins who were living in different North American locations. Generalized estimating equations and structural equation models were used to test the association between levels of Vitamin D and other study factors.
Vitamin D is necessary for maintaining health. Most foods contain little or no vitamin D, so it must be manufactured by the body. Exposure to sunlight is thought to be a key factor in the process.
According to a statement from the AJCN, “Future studies designed to better understand what these factors are will be especially useful as public health experts continue to explore ways to increase vitamin D status in different populations living under varying environmental and dietary situations.”
Researchers at a number of institutions, including Charles Raison of the Department of Psychiatry at Emory, say that meditation can change brain circuitry, according to the CNN Belief Blog.
Richard Davidson, a professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a long-time practitioner of Buddhist meditation, told CNN that he and his team have evidence that meditation permanently changes the brain for the better. “We all know that if you engage in certain kinds of exercise on a regular basis you can strengthen certain muscle groups in predictable ways,” said Davidson. “Strengthening neural systems is not fundamentally different. It’s basically replacing certain habits of mind with other habits.”
Davidson and his team have scanned the brain activity of scores of Buddhist monks and other meditators. In one recent study, they found that novice meditators stimulated their limbic systems – the brain’s emotional network – during the ancient practice of compassion meditation. Davidson said that was not a big surprise, because one aim of compassion meditation is to produce the specific emotional state of intense empathy. Buddhist monks who have meditated for more than 10,000 hours showed much higher limbic system activation.
Contemplative neuroscience, the field of neuroscience that studies the effects of meditation, is not without controversy. The article stated that “scientists have scanned just a few hundred brains on meditation do date, which makes for a pretty small research sample.” And some scientists say researchers are over eager to use brain science to prove the that meditation ‘works.’
Recently, the field has gained increased funding from the National Institutes of Health, some of which has gone to Emory. “This is a field that has been populated by true believers,” says Emory's Charles Raison, who has studied meditation’s effect on the immune system. “Many of the people doing this research are trying to prove scientifically what they already know from experience, which is a major flaw.”
Baby boomers appear to be driving a dramatic rise in suicide rates among middle-aged people, according to a study co-authored by Emory sociologist Ellen Idler.
“The findings are disturbing, because they’re a reversal of a long-standing trend,” Idler says. The findings were published in the September/October 2020 issue of Public Health Reports.
The overall suicide rate for the U.S. population has been declining for decades, according to Idler. People aged 40 to 59, in particular, have long had a moderate suicide rate. But the baby boomers, people born between 1945 and 1964, have broken that pattern. By 2000, most people aged 40 to 59 were baby boomers and the suicide rate started climbing steadily in that age range.
The authors found significant increases of more than 2 percent per year for men and more than 3 percent per year for women from 1999 to 2005. (By 2005, all middle-aged people were baby boomers.) The post-1999 increase has been particularly dramatic for those who are unmarried and those without a college degree, the analysis showed. Middle-aged people with a college degree appeared largely protected from the trend.
“You might think that the higher rates in adolescence would lead to lower rates later because the most suicide prone people would be gone but that doesn’t appear to be the case,” Idler says. “Clinical studies often show that knowing someone who committed suicide is considered a risk factor for later doing it yourself, and that may be one factor here. The high rates in adolescence could actually be contributing to the high rates in middle age.”
Traditionally, midlife has been considered a time when people are at their peak of social integration. “We need to pay attention to this new increase in suicides during a period of life previously thought to be stable and relatively protected from suicide, and in an age group now occupied by extraordinarily large numbers of people,” Idler says.
Threat of Malpractice Suit Make Physicians Play Defense
In the August 31 issue of The Washington Post, Manoj Jain, an infectious disease specialist an adjunct assistant professor at the Rollins School of Public Health, wrote about his experience of being sued for malpractice. Right after he read the notice that a malpractice suit was being considered, Jain was stunned: “My white coat, which held the daily tools of my profession — my list of patients, the Sanford antibiotic manual, a black stethoscope — felt extraordinarily heavy.” The patient had died about a year earlier, but Jain couldn’t recall him or his own “alleged misdeed.”
To read the complete article, click here.
Emory researchers have found evidence that an ancient culture added antibiotics to its beer, according to an article on the Discovery website. George Armelagos, Goodrich C. White Professor of Anthropology, found that the bones of 2,000-year-old African mummies contained large doses of tetracycline. In addition, the antibiotic probably made it into their bodies from beer.
He likened the shock of the discovery to “unwrapping a mummy, and all of a sudden, you see a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses on it.”
To read the entire article, click here.
Justice for Long-Ago Crimes too Long in Coming
To read the entire Washington Post article, click here.
In a recent article at CNN.com, Rudolph Byrd, Goodrich C. White Professor of African American Studies, disputed a colleague’s claims about James Weldon’s hymn “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” Some have called the hymn a Black national anthem.
In the July 6 issue of The New Yorker, Pulitzer-prize winning poet Natasha Trethewey spoke about her series of poems, “Congregation,” the second installment of Virginia Quarterly Review’s In Verse multimedia collaboration with “Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen. Here are excerpts from that interview:
What inspired “Congregation”?
The concept of “documentary poetry” is fascinating, and also somewhat counterintuitive. How does being tied to the truth affect your ability to make poetic leaps?
To view the entire interview, visit The New Yorker here.
China’s booming economy has lifted millions of its citizens out of poverty. But according to a review co-authored by Emory researcher Justin Remais, air and water pollution still cause a significant number of deaths and diseases in the country. The review appeared in a special China issue of The Lancet (March 27), which examined the air and water quality concerns and the steps the nation has taken toward addressing the problems.
In a June 22 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Paul Rubin, professor of economics, describes the British Petroleum oil disaster and Hurricane Katrina as mirror images of each other. For example, Katrina harmed state land, and President Bush and the federal government’s powers were limited. But the oil spill occurred on federal offshore territory, for which the federal government has primary responsibility.
Irish poet Eamon Grennan has placed his papers with Emory’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL).
“We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome both Eamon and his papers to Emory,” said Naomi Nelson, interim director of MARBL. The collection contains poem drafts, poetry notebooks, academic papers and lectures, handwritten personal journals, and electronic records.
Grennan’s papers join a world-renowned Irish literary collection at MARBL, which includes the papers of writers and poets such as W.B. Yeats, Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, and Paul Muldoon.
“Being a fellow inhabitant of what I feel is an Irish Village there in Emory pleases me very much, feels right to me in ways no other location could,” Grennan said by e-mail in early June.
Kevin Young, Haygood Professor of English and Curator of Literary Collections of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at MARBL, announced the pending acquisition when Grennan was a guest reader in April.
Grennan said at the reading he felt that with his papers being placed at MARBL, he had another home at Emory. “I will, every so often, have to visit myself,” he said.
A Dublin native and Irish citizen, Grennan has lived in the United States for more than three decades. He was educated at University College in Dublin and Harvard University and taught at Vassar College for 30 years, where he was the Dexter M. Ferry Jr. Professor of English.
Grennan is considered one of the premier poets and translators working today. His books include Leopardi: Selected Poems, which earned the 1997 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, and his own Still Life with Waterfall, which received the Lenore Marshall Award for Poetry from the American Academy of Poets. His next book, Out of Sight: New and Selected Poems, is due out in July.
Stella Lourenco, an assistant professor of psychology, has been awarded a $300,000 grant over four years by the John Merck Fund for her outstanding neurobiological and cognitive post-doctoral research.
The other recipients of the award are Yingxi Lin, an assistant professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who is studying activity-dependent regulation of GABAergic synapses and neural circuit plasticity, and Adam Kepecs, an Assistant Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, who is researching functional dissection of the central cholinergic system in cognition.
Rising obesity rates will cost the nation nearly $350 billion by 2018, according to a recently released report based on Emory research.
The report, titled “The Future Cost of Obesity: National and State Estimates of the Impact of Obesity on Direct Health Care Expenses,” relies heavily on work by Ken Thorpe, Woodruff Professor and Chair of the Rollins School of Public Health, and executive director of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease. It is the first report to estimate obesity prevalence and costs at the state and national levels ten years from now.
If current trends continue, the report says, 43 percent of U.S. adults will be obese and obesity spending will quadruple to $344 billion by 2018; however, if obesity rates are held at current levels, the U.S. would save nearly $200 billion in health care costs.
“At a time when Congress is looking for savings in health care, this data confirms what we already knew: obesity is where the money is,” said Thorpe. “Because obesity is related to the onset of so many other illnesses, stopping the growth of obesity in the U.S. is vital not only to our health—but also to the solvency of our health care system.”
The report projects that obesity will surpass 50 percent of the adult population in six states (Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota) with an associated increase in health spending linked to obesity of more than $1,600 per person.
Projected obesity rates will remain below 35 percent in only four states (Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia) and the District of Columbia; nevertheless, obesity-attributable health spending will climb to more than $800 per person by 2018 in each of those places.
A rare type of fossil found in southwestern Wyoming has provided new insights into the ancient ecology of the former Fossil Lake. The fossil is not of the fish itself, but of the trail it made along the bottom of the lake. Such trace fossils are extremely rare.
Emory University researchers are participating in a groundbreaking clinical trial to treat patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) using human neural stem cells.
To watch an interview with Jonathan Glass, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tln2i19wUs
Alan Abramowitz, professor of political science, described in a recent Washington Post article how polarization can actually benefit the democratic process. While it seems to be a matter of faith in this country that polarization and the lack of bipartisanship is bad for American democracy, Abramowitz contends that, when not taken too far, polarization invigorates the political process. “A certain amount of polarization and partisan conflict can actually be very beneficial in a democracy… And the evidence from recent elections indicates that far from turning off ordinary Americans, partisan polarization has led to increased levels of interest and participation among the public,” he wrote.
Visit this link to read Abramowitz's entire essay.
Shoshana Felman, Robert Woodruff Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and French, has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies and a center for independent policy research.
“Shoshana Felman has pushed the boundaries of multiple disciplines through her writing, research, and teaching on the complex relationships between French and comparative literature, and on basic insights of the humanities at large,” said Provost Earl Lewis. “She has explored the links between literature and psychoanalysis, philosophy, theater, women's studies, Holocaust studies, testimony, trauma and the law.”
Felman is the author of ten books and dozen of essays. She recently issued new editions of her major books initially published in France: The Scandal of the Speaking Body and Writing and Madness: Literature/ Philosophy/Psychoanalysis. In 1993 she contributed to the fields of education and feminist reflection her collection of essays, What Does a Woman Want?
In a recent opinion piece on CNN.com, Robert Schapiro, professor of law, recounted the distinguished career of retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. According to Schapiro, Stevens probably will be best remembered for his insightful opinions about cases of great national significance, but he “should also be remembered for his equally compelling commitment to justice in scores of other decisions that received little public notice.”
Click here to see the entire article.
Why the “States’ Rights” Argument is Unlikely to Defeat the Health Care Bill
To view the entire article, visit http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0310/34948.html
Fastest Water Oxidation Catalyst Makes Hydrogen Fuel a Little Closer
Emory chemists have developed the most potent homogeneous catalyst known for water oxidation, considered a crucial component for generating clean hydrogen fuel using only water and sunlight. The breakthrough, to be published in Science, was made in collaboration with the Paris Institute of Molecular Chemistry.
Salman Rushdie’s recent announcement that he would write about his years in hiding after a fatwa was issued by the Supreme Leader of Iran has, not surprisingly, garnered substantial attention in the media.
Rushdie, Emory’s Distinguished Writer in Residence, revealed his plans during the public opening of his archives and accompanying multi-media exhibition, “A World Mapped by Stories: The Salman Rushdie Archive.” The exhibition will be on display in the Robert W. Woodruff Library’s Schatten Gallery through September 26, 2010.
The archive includes the author’s manuscripts, drawings, journals, letters, photographs, and digital materials. It also includes several computers, which hold the complete digital environments in which Rushdie worked. In addition to providing a searchable database of the files, Emory has developed emulations of the original machines that will allow researchers to see and experience the files as Rushdie did when he used them.
The Associated Press and a number of other news outlets recounted Rushdie’s time in hiding after the Grand Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa in 1989 ordering Muslims to kill him because his book, “The Satanic Verses,” insulted Islam. In 1998, the Iranian government said it would no longer support the fatwa, but neither did it rescind it.
At a news conference, Rushdie said that “It's my story, and at some point, it needs to be told. That point is getting closer, I think. When it was in cardboard boxes and dead computers, it would have been very, very difficult, but now it's all organized.”
The exhibit will be on display in the Woodruff library through September.
It's Not Just A Good Idea, It's the Law
“I am not offended if they make one big scientific blunder in a given film,” Perkowitz said. “You can have things move faster than the speed of light if you want. But after that I would like things developed in a coherent way.”
To see the entire article, visit http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/feb/21/hollywood-films-obey-laws-science.
An Emory researcher has found striking connections between a mid-1800s plantation diary and William Faulkner’s 1942 novel “Go Down, Moses,” and other Faulkner stories. One notable discovery was that the names of the slaves recorded in the diary matched those in the book.
Emory is expanding its portfolio of undergraduate programs, bringing the total number to fifty-seven undergraduate minors.
This fall, two new minors—Media Studies and Sustainability—will be available, according to the Director of Student Academic Services Operations, Lee Smith.
Sustainability continues to be an emerging discipline among students. Anthropology Professor and Faculty Liaison to the Office of Sustainability Initiatives Peggy Barlett says that “the new Sustainability minor will support students’ understandings of the ‘triple bottom line’ of social, environmental, and economic dimensions of contemporary sustainability challenges, as well as the cultural beliefs and political strategies emerging around the world. Students in literature, sciences, and social sciences will find rich cross-fertilization of their thinking as they learn analytical and ethical approaches through the minor.”
Students minoring in sustainability will be required to demonstrate their developing body of knowledge with an electronic portfolio, written over the course of the minor and reviewed by a faculty steering committee. Peter Wakefield, director of undergraduate studies in the Institute Liberal Arts department will help students interested in more information on the minor. “Another requirement of the new minor that lets students apply their sustainability interests,” says Wakefield, “is an approved Capstone Project that integrates classroom work with experimental learning through research, internship or other activity. This project will strengthen social and technical skills and offer experience with a hands-on project.”
Professor and Chair of the Film Studies department Matthew H. Bernstein explained that “the new interdisciplinary minor in media studies will draw on resources in thirteeh departments and programs to combine social science, humanities and performing arts perspectives on various media forms that pervade our world today.” The minor will allow students to explore the media’s social impact and its industrial organization, to evaluate critically many kinds of media texts, and to appreciate the nature of creativity in various forms, nationally and internationally. “We truly believe that equipping Emory students with the tools they need to become media literate, media savvy and media fluent is one of the vital roles of liberal education: creating an engaged citizenship in the twenty-first century,” says Bernstein.
With the new media studies minor, students can pursue one of two tracks—media arts and cultures or sociocultural approaches to media. Bernstein says “each track provides a seven-course structure that retains flexibility in terms of courses from several departments, including anthropology, film studies, interdisciplinary studies, journalism, sociology, visual arts, and area studies from around the college.”
More information on both minors can be found on the Emory College of Arts and Sciences website (http://college.emory.edu/minors).
Emory has received a $2.4 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the reassessment, reconfiguration, and strengthening of the humanities across the university.
Andra Gillespie, an assistant professor of political science, recently spoke with the Atlanta Journal Constitution about her two new books on the history of Black politics, Whose Black Politics? Cases in Post Racial Leadership (Routledge) and Newark and the Class of Two Black Americas (working title, NYU Press).
To see the entire interview, visit http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/emory-professor-s-book-286870.html
Kevin Young Talks about Poetry
The article describes Young as one of the leading younger poets in America, with eight collections of poems since his 1998 debut, Most Way Home. He is a “a self-described heir to the ‘blues poetry’ tradition of Langston Hughes” and “writes poems widely praised for their musicality and storytelling.” He was a 2003 National Book Award finalist for Jelly Roll: A Blues, and he’s also earned a variety of other honors and prizes.
When asked about the popularity of poetry today and the possible influence of hip-hop on its resurgence, Young replied that “Hip-hop and spoken word are important, but I think reports of the death of poetry were always greatly exaggerated. It's always been diverse and varied, with lots of different forms of poetry being produced and read.”
He said also that “People turn to poetry in moments when they need it, and I think it's very much needed today. Especially after 9-11, people realized poetry is an essential part of our lives. But I also think poetry is intimate, it's you and the page, and that intimacy is sorely missed in some areas of contemporary life.”
A growing number of Emory faculty are stepping into the limelite as public scholars. Here are a few who were featured in various media over the holidays:
Choosing a top-ten list of anything is of course highly subjective, but picking one that includes the best films of the decade that just came to a close would seem to require a Herculean distillation. That being said, who better to ask than the people who study film for a living? When the Atlanta Journal Constitution asked faculty in Emory’s Department of Film Studies were asked for their picks, here’s what they came up with:
(Faculty raters include Matthew H. Bernstein, chair of film studies, along with lecturers William Brown and Eddy Von Mueller.)
To view detailed descriptions of the films and why they were selected, visit http://blogs.ajc.com/arts-culture/2009/12/28/the-decades-top-10-movies-emory-film-faculty-picks-their-faves/
The most recent mission of the space shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station carried a musical representative from Emory: The album Renaissance, a tribute to jazz pianist Oscar Peterson by Gary Motley, Emory’s director of jazz studies. Mission Specialist Bobby Satcher, an orthopedic surgeon who happens to be Motley's cousin, took the CD with him on his first trip into space.
“I was more focused on what my cousin was doing than on the CD going up,” said Motley. “Here’s someone on a space mission that I’m actually related to, and oh yeah, he did take my music with him. That’s kind of cool too.”
Even better, Motley was invited to play at a reception for Satcher’s friends and family on the night before the launch, which he said was even more exciting than knowing his music was orbiting the earth. In the building that houses the last remaining 363-foot Saturn V moon rocket, which hangs from the ceiling, Motley played jazz on a solo grand piano to a gathering of about 300 people. Among his selections: “How High the Moon.” He watched the launch the following afternoon.
During the eleven-day mission, his cousin walked in space with colleague Randy Bresnick to install an experiment involving nanoparticles and to replace an oxygen tank. Motley plans to speak with Satcher soon and would like to know what the other crew members thought about his music. He added that he’s always been a big fan of science and even began his college career as an engineering major.
The collection and scope of brief podcasts developed and produced by the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence (CFDE), is growing steadily, and all are easily accessible through iTunes U at Emory.
In a series of six podcasts, Emory faculty from various departments describe how they face the challenge of staying creative in their work, their own creative processes, and their generative highs and lows.
For example, Andra Gillespie, an assistant professor of political science, describes how her background as a political pollster and a fascination with the mayoral race in Newark in 2002, which pitted two black democrats against each other, inspired her to take creative risks with her academic career. Greg Berns, Distinguished Chair of Neuroeconomics, recounts how rock and roll helped him clear a creative plateau after he wrote first book.
Other selections include abbreviated versions of lively CFDE panel discussions, whose topics have included civil discourse in the classroom, the pains and pleasures of Wikipedia, and strategies for working with English as a Second Language students.
Future CFDE podcasts will address how to instill professionalism in students as they embark on their careers and the many ways of using technology to communicate with students and augment and enliven class work.
To listen to any of the CFDE podcasts, click here.
To visit the CFDE website, go to cfde.emory.edu.
Emory recently lost two eminent figures. Steven K. Strange, associate professor of philosophy and a member of the Emory faculty since 1990, died on October 28.
To read an AE essay by Steve Strange on crises in scholarly publishing and library acquisitions, click here.
Emory faculty whose individual research papers have been cited at least a thousand times in academic literature are now being honored by the newly formed MilliPub Club.
MilliPub Club members and the number of papers with 1000+ citations:
Religion Dispatches, the online religion magazine based at Emory, has received a grant of $870,000 from the Ford Foundation to finance operations over the next three years.
In coming months, Religion Dispatches will roll out a new design and architecture with an eye toward expanding multimedia content. Plans also include marketing its content to religion scholars as a resource for classroom use, and continuing outreach to other web and social networking sites. Religion Dispatches stories already have appeared on sites such as the Huffington Post and The Washington Post’s "On Faith" blog.
The Utne Reader’s second annual list of fifty visionaries who are changing the world includes Emory Professor of Women’s Studies Rosemarie Garland-Thomson. The publication cited her most recent book, Staring: How We Look (Oxford UP 2009), about why disabled people attract stares and why that attention sometimes transforms a would-be stigma into empowerment.
To see the complete Utne Reader list of visionaries, visit http://www.utne.com/Politics/50-Visionaries-Changing-Your-World-Hope-2009.aspx
Our inner thoughts are ours and ours alone—an impenetrable refuge that no one else can breach. Do advances in brain imaging technology threaten that sanctum sanctorum? That’s what Paul Root Wolpe, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Bioethics and the director of the Center for Ethics at Emory, pondered in a commentary on the Forbes magazine website.
To see the entire article, visi: http://www.forbes.com/2009/10/09/neuroimaging-neuroscience-mind-reading-opinions-contributors-paul-root-wolpe.html
To read the AE interview with Paul Wolpe from the December 08/January 09 issue, visit http://www.emory.edu/ACAD_EXCHANGE/2009/decjan/wolpeqa.html
Mark Bauerlein is a professor of English at Emory. After the 2008 publication of his most recent book, “The Dumbest Generation: How Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future,” Bauerlein has been interviewed by dozens of media outlets in and beyond the U.S. He writes regularly about the influence of technology on the social and educational development of young people in The Chronicle of Higher Education, and his work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. We asked him about his role as a public scholar.
Academic Exchange: How have you dealt with the repetition of so many interviews?
AE: Why did you decided to direct your work to a public audience rather than an academic one?
If you believe that what you’re saying is important, has some meaningfulness to the larger culture, and if you want your beliefs and values to have an impact, you have to go the public route.
AE: How has your own way of thinking changed about technology and its influence on young people as you’ve continued to discuss the topic in the public arena?
Craig Hill, Goodrich C. White Professor of Chemistry, has been awarded the 2009 Herty Medal for his work on green energy. The medal is handed out each year to an outstanding chemist from eleven southeastern states.
To prevent emergency rooms from being overwhelmed by patients who have the H1N1 flu, or who just think they do, Emory faculty are developing an algorithm to help clinicians and patients determine who really needs to go to the hospital and who should simply stay home and rest.
Kellerman described the algorithm at an Institute of Medicine workshop in Washington, D.C., in early September. It begins with questions that people can answer about their health via the Web or telephone. Depending on the answers, respondents are directed to either go to the an emergency room, call their doctor, or stay home and take care of themselves.
As the spread of H1N1 influenza accelerates, emergency rooms may find themselves overwhelmed by patients seeking treatment, as happened in several areas of the country last spring. Many of those patients did not need emergency care because they either had mild symptoms, were in groups at low risk for H1N1-related complications, or didn’t even have the H1N1 virus.
In fact, people who unnecessarily make the trip to the ER strain resources that could be used for very ill patients. They also increase risk of getting sicker or further spreading the disease. And people who don’t actually have the virus risk contracting it amid the confined space of a hospital waiting room.
Ideally, the new tool, if adopted and widely deployed, could reduce health system surge, relieve emergency department overcrowding, save time, prevent risk for symptomatic individuals, and free healthcare workers to focus on the most severely ill. Kellerman and Isakov believe the algorithm could be used in a variety of settings by individuals as well as by healthcare workers.
Kellerman discussed the need to keep flu-related ER traffic to a minimum in a September 11 National Public Radio report. Overflowing emergency rooms, he said, can be dangerous places: “It’s bad if you’ve got three hundred people at the triage desk, and the 301st person is severely ill,” because that 301st person may have trouble getting seen, he told NPR. He cautioned also that “if you didn’t have H1N1 when you got to the ER, you’ll probably have it when you go home.”
To see or listen to the complete NPR story, visit
The British Royal Society journal, Proceedings B, contained an article by Emory scientists on their discovery that live chimps will imitate an animated image of a chimp yawning.
According to Matthew Campbell, a psychobiologist at Yerkes and lead author on the study, the findings could assist in the future study of empathy and how children might imitate what they see onscreen in computer games.
The researchers used animation, Campbell says, “because we can control all the features of what we show [the chimps].” Their evidence showed that chimpanzees “process animated faces the same way they process photographs of faces.”
The scientists also wanted to demonstrate the use of animations in behavioral experiments.
The Proceedings B article was reported on the BBC News website. To read the report, visit http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8244963.stm
Conservatives who are attacking health care reform because they say it will lead to rationing or end-of-life counseling, or waiting lists are taking aim at the wrong targets, according to David Howard, an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Emory University.
To see the entire article, visit http://www.ajc.com/opinion/conservatives-hit-the-wrong-128162.html
Emory’s Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) has issued an update about the H1N1 flu virus (formerly known as swine flu). Here are some key points:
An August 20 article about the new virus in the Chronicle of Higher Education noted that more than fifty students each at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge have reported flu-like symptoms to the universities’ student-health centers. Flu outbreaks were also reported at several colleges’ summer programs.
“College-aged students are particularly vulnerable to this virus, and they are not necessarily seeing a doctor on a regular basis,” Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, said in a conference call with reporters Thursday. “A lot of them have not had regular vaccination updates. They need to be encouraged to not only take care of themselves, isolating themselves when they are sick, but also to take advantage of the vaccine when it becomes available.”
The article went on to say that guidelines from the CDC urge colleges to make it easy for students, faculty, and staff members with flu symptoms to miss class or work. They also ask colleges to consider offering alternative housing for sick students who live with roommates and to consider telling students who have medical complications putting them at high risk for severe cases of the flu to stay home or in their rooms during outbreaks.
To read the complete CEPAR advisory, visit http://www.emory.edu/home/H1N1-flu/advisories/cepar-august26.html
For the complete Chronicle of Higher Education article, visit http://chronicle.com.proxy.library.emory.edu/article/Colleges-Get-Ready-for-Swin/48144/