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Find other members to get together for shared interests, whether it is forming a book club or a photography club, or getting together to take a hike. Send email to the following link to contact member who would like the same activity!
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If you would like to find other EUEC members interested in taking a MOOC together, an OLLI course together, or possibly teaching together in an OLLI course, click on the following link to send an email:
Click on the link below to register for the next Lunch Colloquium on Monday March 2 at 11:30 am.
March 2 Colloquium Opening Arts Reception
To celebrate the opening of an exhibition of art by EUEC members in the Schwartz Center, there will be a reception on Sunday, March 8, from 3:00 - 5:00 pm in the Chace Lobby of the Schwartz Center. All members are welcome. Please click on the link below to let us know you are coming so we will have enough refreshments!March 8 Reception
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This issue of our newsletter is sent to members and friends of the Emory University Emeritus College (EUEC). I hope the newsletter will help keep you informed about our activities and help you feel connected with our members throughout the U.S. On the left are links to our website and links to contact either me or the EUEC office.
With best wishes,
Gray F. Crouse
Message from the Director
We have two special events coming up. One will be the opening of an exhibition of art by EUEC members at the Schwartz Center on March 8. I hope many of you will be able to come to the opening reception. See below for details. The other is our next Lunch Colloquium, celebrating Women's History month with our guest, the Dean of the Chapel and Spiritual Life, Bridgette Young Ross. It is a great privilege to have her with us.
We also have a report from a previous Heilbrun Fellowship recipient, EUEC member Sidney Kasfir, and another part of the report from the Interdisciplinary Seminar on The University in Crisis.
Much less enjoyable is the report about the Anthem cyber security breach. I am extremely grateful to Jim Keller and Sid Stein for trying to obtain as much information as possible about this breach and the possible implications for members. We will keep you informed as we learn more details, but it is very likely that at least some of you have had personal information stolen. The hope is that the information is not going to be sold, but it is much too early to know about the fate of the stolen information.
I hope you all have survived the bitter cold wherever you have been, and hope to see many of you at our next events.
I am very grateful to Herb Benario, Gretchen Schulz, and John Bugge for help with proofing and editing.
March 2 Lunch Colloquium
For this Colloquium, we are delighted to have Bridgette Young Ross, the new (as of last July) Dean of the Chapel and Spiritual Life. Her talk about "building bridges" should resonate with all of us.
The Luce Center, Room 130, 11:30-1:00
For more information, click here
Celebrating the Arts in EUEC
The first event in our celebration of the Arts this spring will be March 8.
Anthem Cyber Security Breach
Most of you have probably heard about the massive cyber security breach that could have affected as many as 80,000,000 or more customers of Anthem, Inc. Jim Keller and Sid Stein have been closely following information about this breach, but there is a lot that is still not known. It is likely that people with Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance are affected, but beyond that it has been difficult to get reliable information.
Report from Sidney Kasfir
EUEC Member Sidney Kasfir, Professor of Art History, Emerita, was awarded a Heilbrun Distinguished Emeritus Fellowship in 2013. She gives a report on her research to date that has been funded by the fellowship.Click here to read her report
If you have a suggestion of an activity that you think other members would enjoy, let us know. Click below to see what Jan Pratt suggests.
The University in Crisis
The EUEC members who participated in last fall's Interdisciplinary Seminar on the topic of The University in Crisis
have compiled a report of their discussions. In this issue, we feature a third part of their report. For the first two parts, please see Issues 12 and 13.
Celebration of the Arts--Reception on March 8
Ten EUEC Members made submissions for the exhibition of EUEC art that will be on display in the Schwartz Center from March 8 to April 6. Many thanks to our EUEC Committee consisting of Katherine Mitchell, Pat Miller, and David Goldsmith. They have put in enormous effort in selecting pieces to be displayed and working with Randy Fullerton in the Schwartz Center to get them located and mounted for the exhibition.
We will have a reception to celebrate the opening on Sunday March 8 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm in the Chace Lobby of the Schwartz Center. This will be a great time to enjoy the art along with refreshments, to thank the Committee members, to talk with other EUEC members, and to meet most of the artists and find out more about their work. We ask that you register to let us know you are coming so we can have enough food and drink. There is a registration link in the left panel of this newsletter, or you can register by clicking here.
We hope to see you on March 8!
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Anthem Cyber Security Breach
It appears that a lot of personal information of Anthem customers was stolen, but it is not certain what will be done with that information. The cyber-attack appears to have been carried out with support of the Chinese government, and there are questions about whether the information will be sold on the black market. One area of concern for all Georgia residents on Medicare is that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia and its affiliates have the contracts to process both Medicare Part A and Part B claims. So far, no one at Emory has been able to determine whether any of that information was included in the security breach.
The most complete information comes from Anthem with a general page of information:
and a page of FAQs:
On the FAQ page is found:
Does this impact Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans not owned by Anthem?
Yes, BlueCard members are impacted. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association's BlueCard is a national program that enables members of one Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plan to obtain healthcare services while traveling or living in another Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plan's service area. The program links participating healthcare providers with the independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans across the country and in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide through a single electronic network for claims processing and reimbursement.
The independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans affected include some members of Arkansas BCBS, BCBS of Alabama, BCBS of Arizona, BCBS of Hawaii, BCBS of Kansas, BCBS of Kansas City, BCBS of Louisiana, BCBS of Massachusetts, BCBS of Michigan, BCBS of Minnesota, BCBS of Mississippi, BCBS of Nebraska, BCBS of North Carolina, BCBS of North Dakota, BCBS of Rhode Island, BCBS of South Carolina, BCBS of Tennessee, BCBS of Vermont, BCBS of Wyoming, Blue Cross of Idaho, Blue Shield of California, Capital Blue Cross, CareFirst BCBS, BCBS of Florida, GeoBlue, HealthNow New York, Highmark BCBS, Horizon BCBS, Hospital Service Association of Northeastern PA, Independence Blue Cross, La Cruz Azul, Lifetime Healthcare, Inc., Premera BCBS, Wellmark BCBS, BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, BlueCross BlueShield of Texas, BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma, BlueCross BlueShield of New Mexico, BlueCross BlueShield of Montana, Regence BlueCross BlueShield (in Oregon & Utah) and Regence BlueShield (in Idaho and portions of Washington state).
Certainly members with Blue Cross Blue Shield plans should read all of the information on the Anthem pages. There is a report in the Atlanta Business Chronicle that several Georgians have already filed suit against Anthem. To read that report, click here. Another article has suggestions for what people who think they may have been affected should do. For that article, click here. One additional protection would be to file an Identity Theft Affidavit with the IRS. They will EVENTUALLY send folks a PIN to add to the signature line on their tax return. The form to fill out can be found at:
Don't become a victim of phishing attempts!
Almost everyone who uses email has received phishing attempts. Phishing refers to emails that try to trick you to click on links that will take you to bad places or will try to get you to give up personal information. (For a more detailed explanation of phishing, you can read this Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phishing.) Although early phishing attempts tended to be fairly crude, the problem now is that some cyber criminals have gotten much more sophisticated. Phishing emails can look quite legitimate and take you to sites that also look like the intended website. Unless you are absolutely sure of a source, you should not click on links in email, but rather go directly to the website of interest. (You don't have to be concerned about links in this newsletter because for the links here to be compromised, someone would have to create a newsletter that looks like this and send it to you directly.)
There are already a number of phishing attempts that target people who are, or think they might be, Anthem customers. Given the large scale of the security breach, someone could send an email to every person in the U.S. telling them that they were a victim of the breach, and that they should click on this link as soon as possible. That link would then take them either to a bad website or to a site that would request personal information. Anthem is apparently sending postal mail to its affected customers, and any of you who are concerned can click on the links above to take you directly to the websites that Anthem has set up. Be very careful of any email that is sent to you!
Unfortunately, there is still a lot to find out about this case. We will let you know when and if we obtain additional information.
Thanks to both Jim Keller and Sid Stein for all of their help and information.
Heilbrun Report from Sidney Kasfir
The visual power of African ritual objects has only been interpreted as "art" since around 1915--before that they were regarded as "fetishes," "idols," and their enactors as "witch doctors" or "devil-dancers." Even into the period
|Tiv ihambe figure|
between the two World Wars, the collecting institutions were ethnology and not fine art museums and the objects regarded as specimens. The African country with the largest and longest (more than 2000-year) reputation for such production is Nigeria, once a British colony. As a result many such objects found their way into British museum collections and were a vital part of the eventual (post-1960) formation of a canon of African art.
My Heilbrun project is about this piece of African art history and the connectivity among its various elements. One might call it a triage between the British colonial government's collecting policies as a part of Indirect Rule, the objects their colonial officers collected, and the museums in England that received and catalogued them. Among these two stand out, the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and the British Museum in London, both with large ethnology collections and curators eager to acquire specimens from Africa.
A Department of Anthropology was founded in the Nigerian Colonial Service in 1925, as part of the implementation of Indirect Rule. The policy of Indirect Rule as proposed by Frederick Lugard made it possible for a large colony like Nigeria to be administered by only about two hundred officers, but it was important for them to collect information on the subjects in their charge. Consequently, short training programs were set up
|Death of the Jukun King diary entry|
in England including, most famously, one at the London School of Economics run by renowned anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski and one at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford run by its curator, Henry Balfour. The core of my archival research so far has been at the Pitt Rivers where I have been examining Balfour's papers as well as the object lists of masks and figures sent to the Museum by colonial officers such as R.C. Abraham, also author of the standard ethnography on the Tiv. Balfour not only personally saw to the accession of these early collections (1915-1930), carefully drawing each object in his accession notebooks, but was motivated to also visit Nigeria himself, and kept a diary while traveling. I am currently collating the diary entries with correspondence and the PR collection itself. Read an excerpt of diary entries by clicking here
These diaries and letters provide a unique point of entry into much larger issues, such as the Tiv witchcraft and cannibalism accusations based on a fundamental misunderstanding by early colonial administrators. They had learned of the power of the mbatsav, a senior men's secret society, and took literally what they were told about the mbatsav consuming the bodies of their victims. There ensued a long and drawn-out government investigation in which many ritual objects said to be used by the mbatsav were confiscated by the Abinsi Provincial Administration and divided equally between the British Museum and the Pitt Rivers. Capt. Abraham, acting as the collector and facilitator in these transactions, believed at the time that the Tiv really did practice ritual cannibalism and it was only much later in the 1950s that he changed the record to reflect the fact that this was indeed "metaphorical" (ie, soul-destroying) eating.
|Tiv ax collected by Balfour 1930|
This is but one of many examples and I offer it here as a revealing detail of this three-sided story of how African art came to be represented in Western collections. I plan to return to Oxford in April to continue my work there on this multi-year project. At the moment I am trying to decide whether the book should make the ethnographer-collectors or the curators the organizational focus.
Heilbrun Fellow 2013-14
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Jan Pratt says: The play Silent Sky is currently at the Theatrical Outfit. It is written by a former local writer, Lauren Gunderson, who received her BA in English/Creative Writing at Emory University, and had several of her plays produced while still at Emory. Silent Sky is a dramatization of the life of Henrietta Swan Leavitt (1868 to 1921) and her enormous contributions to astronomy. Although she got little recognition in her life time, her discoveries allowed later astronomers to calculate the distance between Earth and other galaxies and was foundational to the work of Edwin Hubble. It is a really good play and probably would be of interest to Emeritus College members. At the Theatrical Outfit on Luckie Street.
A review of the play can be seen by clicking here.
The University in Crisis, Part II
Emory University Emeritus College
The University in Crisis
January 8, 2015
TRADITIONAL LIBERAL EDUCATION AND ITS VALUES UNDER THREAT
The second main concern raised in the seminar was the future of liberal education in American universities, which is increasingly under siege in all but a precious few institutions, and sometimes even in elite and expensive private institutions where it would seem to be most likely to flourish.
The readings on this general theme pointed to the erosion of a species of higher education that has been distinctive, indeed unique, to American culture. Based on wide exposure to different disciplines and ways of knowing, liberal education aims at the holistic development of the human person through a non-specialized course of study across the arts and sciences. In the words of Michael Roth, the President of Wesleyan College, it is "a broad education that sets the foundation for a lifetime of learning" above and "Beyond the University" - his title for the book that turned out to be central in our discussions.
What is the Point of Liberal Education in the 21st Century?
Deborah Ayer, Senior Lecturer Emerita in the Department of English, posed this question as the topic for a seminar that struck to the heart of the matter; she also set the readings for the session, and moderated the discussion that ensued.
Certain chapters of Roth's Beyond the University helped us remember how tightly our ideal of a liberal education is interwoven with other strands of American intellectual and cultural history. One of these was Jefferson's Enlightenment belief that the health of a democratic republic depends on the education of its citizens, which means that even common people should be exposed to something beyond simple vocational training. Another such strand was the Emersonian conviction, seen best in "The American Scholar" (1837) and "Self-Reliance" (1841) that education should lead to a transformation of the self and thence of society and culture. American higher education is of course also heavily indebted to John Dewey and the tradition of American pragmatism (as seen in the works of Booker T. Washington, Jane Addams, and William James), in which higher learning should aim at more than just individual growth, but social good as well, especially insofar as it helps overcome "a certain blindness in human beings" that prevents us from understanding, tolerating, and even appreciating the very diverse experiential reality of others, and thus allows us to prevail over our "hideous ancestral . . . cruelties" (in James's words).
This grand tradition, so quintessentially American at its core, is under threat from several powerful ideas.
The most serious contemporary challenge comes from what Roth calls "radical instrumentalism," the belief that the main purpose of American higher education is to equip people to play a useful role in the national economy, and that therefore it should focus on developing practical skills that can be monetized immediately upon graduation. This view is in the ascendancy just now because of two factors, the spectacular rise in college costs over the last few decades coupled with high unemployment stemming from the Great Recession.
Another "idea" working subtly against liberal education is the concept of the modern research university. Following Wilhelm von Humboldt, institutions of higher learning in nineteenth-century Germany operated according to the ideal of pure science, where practical outcomes are secondary to the pursuit of knowledge as an end in itself. University education then was not explicitly about the general intellectual preparation or moral training of the individual (tasks relegated principally to the Gymnasium), or even less so about social betterment. The modern American research university partakes of this emphasis when it seeks everywhere to promote specialized research (even, quite often, at the undergraduate level); and because faculty who teach at research universities are ipso facto specialists in their particular disciplines, they are often less inclined (and perhaps even less qualified) to concern themselves with what might constitute a broad liberal education. In such an intellectual climate, in other words, guidance in the Socratic dictum of "know thyself" may no longer play a prominent role.
For some, another factor working against traditional liberal education is what Allan Bloom has termed (in The Closing of the American Mind, 1987), a "disabling relativism," which he sees as the result of the revolutionary campus activism of the late 1960s, when students demanded instruction in courses that were "relevant" to their own concerns. When universities "gave in" to these demands, they put themselves in the position of no longer insisting that students be exposed to the works of those thinkers who addressed the "permanent questions" lying at the heart of a humanistic education, and gave up their collective role as the guardian of Western cultural values.
A final notion working to undermine liberal education is a resurgent class-conscious elitism that says, in effect, that "college is not for everyone" - even in a country that counts Jefferson as one of its founding fathers. Roofers and plumbers have no need of higher education, it says; this assertion is predicated on the assumption that a college education is really all about annual earnings, which would not be greater for a plumber with a B.S. in psychology, for example, or a roofer with a B.A. in philosophy. In this economically class-based view, the few who will benefit from a true liberal arts education will increasingly be the children of the already well-situated, who can afford to pay a high sticker price for the polish and cachet that a "traditional" college experience will furnish their offspring.
These four prevailing mind-sets (and perhaps others as well) challenge our uniquely American tradition of higher education and are present on every campus in the United States, including Emory's. All members of the seminar - not just those retired from the College of Arts and Sciences or Oxford College - agreed that our colleges and universities need to mount a sustained counterattack against all of them. At Emory in particular there is real danger that the ethos of the research university, with its emphasis on specialized research in the objective pursuit of truth, will swamp the very different (and in many ways quite opposed) culture of the liberal arts that is still viable, though far from vibrant, in the Emory College of Arts and Sciences. (Those of us with knowledge of both the ECAS and Oxford College felt that Oxford's relative isolation, 37 miles from the Atlanta campus, makes possible a more authentic liberal-arts education there than that which is available around a quadrangle overshadowed by Schools of Medicine, Public Health, Law, and Business.)
There was also concern that, like many other institutions, Emory College has drifted over the last decade or so into making the case for liberal education not on its own merits but on the promise of professional-school admission or lucrative job placement - in effect "caving" to instrumentalism or vocationalism. This can be seen as part of a pattern of thinking that (not just at Emory, of course) turns higher education into a business, makes the university into a corporation, turns students into customers, and regards knowledge as a product. We conclude that it is essential for the University to engage in some sustained, collective thinking about the question that inspired this session of our seminar: What, indeed, is the point of liberal education in the twenty-first century?
The Importance of the Fine Arts to the Educational Mission of the University
If a liberal arts education is finally about intellectual and spiritual growth, then the fine arts must play a central role in the university-wide campus culture. Such was the argument made by James Flannery, Winship Professor of the Arts and Humanities Emeritus, in the very first session of the seminar; it proved a keynote for several other meetings in which the "arts" in the formulation "the arts-and-sciences" were found to be too often devalued as "soft" and nugatory in contrast to the "hard" and essential sciences.
Flannery proposed that we read several chapters of an important book by Martha Nussbaum, Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (Princeton, 2010), and then several shorter pieces of his own dealing with the status of the arts and artists in American higher education.
Nussbaum's book is a powerful defense of traditional humanistic education for spiritual, not economic "profit"; she bases her views on Rabindranath Tagore's useful distinction between "moral man" and "commercial man." With Jefferson she believes that democracy is doomed to fail without a citizenry that has been schooled in both critical thinking - for creative solutions to political problems and for resistance to dangerous ideas - and in empathic thinking, the ability to "feel into" the life-situation of persons very different from ourselves. This latter ability comes only through the exercise of imagination, which is the purview of the fine and applied arts. Cultivating the imagination through the arts breeds empathy, allows us to become "intelligent readers of others' stories," and counteracts the institutionalized narcissism of the present age by enabling us to see others not as things but as independent selves - an essential requirement for all of us in a diverse democratic society.
With Nussbaum's book as prologue, Flannery went on to discuss his own writings, all of which dealt with why an institutional presence for the arts in the life of the University is essential if it wants to achieve the otherwise elusive sense of intellectual community universities usually advertise themselves as aspiring to, but seldom attain. The following are excerpts from a summary Flannery wrote about the overall thrust of these three essays:
The various statements of mine I have shared with our colleagues in the seminar, including, the "Modest Proposal for the Arts" that I wrote for the Emory Report in conjunction with the groundbreaking ceremony for the Schwartz Center back in October 2000, contained my basic thoughts on the marginal role of the arts in relation to the lack of intellectual community at Emory. That article also concerns the opportunities for the arts as they might help to inspire a more meaningful purpose and relevancy to the liberal arts. In that regard I would particularly call the attention of our colleagues to the connections between these goals and the ideas of Jim Gustafson regarding the need to base education on the holistic nature of human beings, with excellence being defined not through mental activities alone, but rather through activities that involve the whole personality - intellect, body, sensibility and imagination - as an integrated whole. That ideal, of course, runs entirely counter to the increasing pragmatic and utilitarian emphases of higher education today.
Flannery then turns to a second essay:
In recommending the creation of an "Office for the Arts" serving the entire campus community, I also attempt to deal with the difficulties of the arts themselves in creating a collaborative, genuinely interdisciplinary, and productive community of their own. In the words of Yeats,"For a people to become a community, they must live like one." The same axiom applies not only to the arts at Emory but, as the recent Report by the Commission on the Liberal Arts at Emory makes abundantly clear, the guiding ethos of the entire campus. The Commission recommends several strategies for dealing with the particular lack of an intellectual community at Emory. These include the establishment of a two-day festival located in multiple, highly visible locations around the campus that would celebrate the accomplishments of faculty members and students. I would point out that an Office for the Arts could play an important role in realizing this goal.
Finally, Flannery mentions his "letter to Dean Robert Paul from October 2006 which provides a record of the unhappy effort to respond to the designation of the arts as a cross-cutting high priority theme of the 2005 Strategic Plans of the College and the University. President Wagner, in supporting this decision, went so far as to describe the arts as 'one of the building blocks of who we are and are attempting to become.'" Flannery feels that the "Arts at Emory report commissioned by the Dean . . . fell far short of what was actually needed," and he points to "the extraordinary success of a campus-wide Initiative in the Arts . . . at Columbia University under the leadership of its President, Lee Bollinger. That effort responded to two of the high priorities of President Bollinger, namely to enable the arts to play an integral role in every Columbia student's educational experience, regardless of their academic discipline; and to promote lifelong involvement with the arts for Columbia graduates as a means to their personal and professional fulfillment."
Flannery concludes by writing, "As I indicated to Dean Paul, the Columbia model would enable Emory to realize the significant investment made in the arts programs already while, in the process, helping to foster the idea of community as envisaged and promulgated by Presidents Laney, Chace, and Wagner for many years. [ . . .] I continue to recommend the establishment of an Office for the Arts that would serve the entire campus. I am convinced that it is only by addressing in practical terms the possibilities inherent in the arts that Emory can fulfill its own promise [as a] "real community (rather than a collection) of scholars bound together by their intellectual and human accomplishments."
To be continued...
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Bridging the Gaps: Building Community in the Midst of Differences
Lunch Colloquium, March 2
BRIDGETTE YOUNG ROSS, Dean of the Chapel and Spiritual Life
Popular culture and media often exploit the differences between groups and individuals, resulting in polarity and enmity. Consequently, there appear to be fewer opportunities for people to engage in collaborative efforts that increase understanding and appreciation of differences. Through her work with young adults, in corporate settings and in religious communities, Reverend Young Ross has developed a skill set for seeking common ground while respecting those with whom we differ. In sharing her experiences building bridges across backgrounds and orientations which divide us, she will engage the group in exploring their own experiences and questions about how to "bridge the gaps." How do we move from tolerance to respect? What does it mean to maintain one's integrity and identity while being in community with others? How do we navigate the issues that make us uncomfortable? What do we do when nothing seems to help us move forward?
From the Emory website:
For the past five years, Young Ross has served as assistant general secretary of the UMC General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, in Nashville, Tennessee. Responsible for supporting and equipping more than 500 collegiate ministries in the United States and for helping develop collegiate ministries in many of the more than 800 institutions of higher education in the Methodist tradition around the world, she has led the church in providing new training programs, online support, national networking, and leadership development.
Young Ross previously served at Emory from 2000 to 2009 as associate dean of the chapel. In that capacity she was a vital spiritual leader, committed to the religious and ethical formation of the entire University community, including faculty and staff as well as students.
A native of Chicago, Young Ross earned a bachelor's degree in management and marketing from Illinois Institute of Technology and an MBA degree from the University of North Carolina, as well as an M.Div. degree from Gammon Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta. She gained extensive experience in management in the corporate world before entering the ministry in 1990.
On Thursday, February 19, 2015 EUEC Member Paul Courtright, Professor of Religion, Emeritus, gave a lecture at Georgia State University. The title of his lecture was Gazing at Sacred Horror In India: British Colonial Experiences of the Sublime. A poster for the talk can be seen by clicking here.
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Emory University Emeritus College
The Luce Center
825 Houston Mill Road NE #206
Atlanta, GA 30329