Volume 75
Number 4









Vanessa Siddle Walker earns $200,000 Grawemeyer Award

Vanessa Siddle Walker, associate professor in the division of educational studies at Emory, has received the 2000 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Education for her book Their Highest Potential: An African-American School Community in the Segregated South. Walker says educators who are seeking to understand failure among African-American students in schools today can learn from the experiences of black students during segregation. Using a case study of Caswell County Training School in North Carolina from 1933 to 1969, she argues that, despite the limited resources of segregated schools, many children in the African-American community believed in their ability to achieve at the school. She attributes the students’ high motivation to the school’s strong administrative leadership, intense parental and community involvement, and high expectations among teachers.

Shore leads Center on Rituals and Myths in Working Families

Emory anthropologist Bradd Shore will lead the new Center for Myth and Ritual in American Life, established with a $3.6 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Shore and a group of ten anthropologists, psychologists, and other social scientists and fourteen graduate students and post-doctoral fellows will study middle-class families in the contemporary American South. “People are always puzzled by the very idea that one can actually study myth and ritual in middle-class American life,” says Shore. “Something as basic as the viability of dinnertime has become a matter of national debate. Myth and ritual are hardly dead in our lives, but they are taking on many new and sometimes surprising forms.” He says that the issues shaping myth and ritual for American families today include the struggles to balance home and work obligations, the rise of mass media in creating modern myths, the growth of culturally and religiously mixed marriages, the changing role of organized religion for American families, and the proliferation of new forms of communication.





EM précis
A Rhodes for Danielle Sered

EMORY SENIOR DANIELLE L. SERED has been named a Rhodes Scholar. She is the sixteenth Emory student—and only the second woman from Emory—to be chosen for the scholarship, which provides for two or three years of graduate study at Oxford University in England.

“After spending a whole day with all the candidates and learning of all the amazing and inspiring work they are doing, it is a very humbling experience to have been chosen,” says Sered, a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Sered, an English major with a minor in French, will pursue a master’s degree in English at Oxford. Her concentration at Emory has been contemporary Irish literature, particularly Irish women poets. Last summer, the Evanston, Illinois, native spent nine weeks in Ireland interviewing a dozen women poets for her senior honors thesis.

A highlight of her research, she says, was discovering poet Kerrie Hardie, whose work is not published in the United States. “I think she’s stunning. She’s the real thing,” says Sered.

Her concentration at Emory has been
contemporary Irish literature.

Sered’s critical essay on the work of Irish poet Medbh McGuckian won a national Norton Scholars Prize from W. W. Norton Company and the Modern Language Association.

“Danielle is an extraordinary student, an incredible scholar, and a wonderful member of the Emory community,” says Assistant Dean of Emory College Joanne B. Brzinski. “The kudos are all hers.”

Sered has served as editor-in-chief of The Emory Fever, a student literary and art magazine, and is president of the Stipe Society. She is the founder of ArtsReach, an arts program that teaches conflict resolution, prejudice reduction, and AIDS and sex education in Atlanta city schools and juvenile detention centers. She also founded the Emory Women’s Alliance.

Emory’s most recent Rhodes Scholar was Stanley J. Panikowski III, a 1992 Rhodes Scholar. The first Emory woman to receive a Rhodes Scholarship was Heather A. Warren ’85T, in 1981.

Trinidadian Barrow expresses faith through music at Oxford  
Oxford students have been blessed with a new chaplain and director of religious life who also brings the rich traditions of the Caribbean to this tiny Georgia town. “You can’t limit spiritual formation just to sitting down and talking,” says Trinidad native Reverend Darryl R. Barrow, an accomplished steel-pan and congo drum musician, who joined the Oxford community this fall. “Music is another way to grow and connect spiritually.” Barrow has served pastorates in Jamaica and the Leeward Islands and, most recently, as associate minister at First United Methodist Church in Pensacola, Florida, where he founded the Success Youth Steel Band Orchestra. “I am looking forward to being part of this community and to opening my home and my faith to those here. I have a passion for this work, and I am ready to share it.”

“You can’t limit spiritual formation just to sitting down and talking.”
Scholar-activist An-Na’im
receives human rights award
Asa G. Candler Professor of Law Abdullahi An-Na’im has received the 1999 Dr. J. P. Van Pragg Award from the Dutch Humanist Ethical Society for his work in promoting human rights. The society cited An-Na’im for his role “as a broker between Western advocates of universal human rights and the Islamic world, and for his academic work that encourages dialogue and understanding on human rights between secular and religious leaders." A specialist in comparative and Islamic law, An-Na’im directs two international research projects aimed at connecting scholarship with real-world reforms. The first, “Women and Land in Africa,” is a grass-roots investigation of women’s legal and actual access to land ownership in seven African countries. The other is a global mapping of the legal, cultural, sociological, demographic, and political realities of Muslims in forty countries. “For advocacy to be effective,” says An-Na’im, “exchange of information is critical. [Without advocacy,] the real world will never change.”


© 2000 Emory University