SBS Newsletter – February 2011
In this issue
Sociologist Specializes in Immigration
Undergraduate Research Opportunity Lays Groundwork for Future Study
Photojournalist, GI Bill Student Reflects on War Experience
SBS Ad Airs on WGBY
Financial Aid to be Increased
Scholarships for SBS Students
Ethics in Science and Engineering National Clearinghouse (ESENCe)
Ethics for Economists
Pérez Nominated for NAGPRA Review Committee
Fountain Leads Session at World Economic Forum
From time to time the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences sponsors lectures, panels and programs that may be of special interest to alumni. Most of these take place on campus, generally in the late afternoon or early evening, and are free. While most are organized well in advance and are publicized on the SBS event calendar, sometimes they develop quickly in response to political and social events. For example, with the recent unrest in Arab countries, a group of SBS faculty very quickly organized a discussion of those events and their implications. Notice was short: only three days. If you are interested in receiving notification of these events, let us know and we'll put you on a listserv.
Ian Gurfield ’00 (STPEC) owns Ian’s, a Madison, Wisconsin, pizza institution, that successfully used Facebook to help feed demonstrators who congregated at the statehouse to dispute the anti-union bill. Gurfield, a former employee of Amherst's beloved Antonio’s, took the concept to Madison, with the Amherst business’s blessing, and he now has Ian’s Pizza shops in Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago. Read more...
Shaneka Davis ’09 (journalism) is in Romania, working as a Peace Corps volunteer. She is currently helping Habitat for Humanity build homes for poor families.
Eric Athas ’08 (journalism), who writes for the Washington Post, published "The Story Behind the Ice Cream Cone Man," about an image of a coatless young man racing through a major snowstorm holding the sweet--and cold—treat that appeared on the front page of an earlier edition of the paper. Getting the story behind the story...because people want to know! Read the article.
Matthew Farrey ’90 (communication) is director of development at the Pew Research Center in Washington, DC.
William Bennett ’87 (political science), senior development officer at Wellesley College, passed the CFRE exam, making him a Certified Fund Raising Executive.
Please send us your news! Also, view upcoming alumni events, sponsored by the Alumni Association, on their Events Listing. And check out MaroonCentral, the Alumni Association's online community. This is a FREE social networking service that encourages communication and professional networking among alumni and students through class notes, profiles, a searchable directory, and more.
The National Science Foundation has posted the white papers that its Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE) solicited. SBE asked authors, including Elizabeth Chilton (anthropology), chair of the department and director of the Center for Heritage and Society on campus, to outline grand challenge questions that are both foundational and transformative as they frame innovative research that enhances fundamental knowledge. Chilton's paper, "A Call for the Social Science of the Past," highlights UMass as a leader in the burgeoning field of heritage. Click here for more information about SBE; click here for link to Chilton's paper.
Peter Kumble (landscape architecture and regional planning) received a 2011 Learn and Serve Fellowship from Commonwealth Honors College. One of five faculty across campus to receive this year's fellowship, Kumble will develop the community service learning component of his field study course (LA 591G) focused on sustainable eco-tourism issues in Guatemala. The course already has developed a composting facility in Guatemala City and created plans for visitor facilities at the ancient Mayan site and present-day village of La Compuerta.
Carol E. Heim (economics) has been awarded a Visiting Fellowship at All Souls College, Oxford, for Hilary Term 2012 (January 15 to March 10). Visiting Fellows engage in study and research in Oxford and participate in the academic life of the College. Heim’s project is a comparison of urban growth and property development in Chicago in the nineteenth century and Phoenix in the twentieth.
Journalism brings lots of guest speakers to campus. In February Brad Tuttle's Intro to Multimedia Reporting class hosted Jeff Wagenheim, an editor for the Boston Globe sports department for more than 20 years who now covers mixed martial arts for Sports Illustrated online. Later in the month, award-winning filmmaker Jeff Zimbalist spoke and showed his riveting documentary "The Two Escobars," thanks to funding from Elisa Thomas ’95 (journalism).
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union has produced a music video with recording artists Tom Juravich (labor studies) and Teresa Healy to highlight the exodus of Ontario's home care professionals from an unstable work environment. Read more...
Professor Emeritus Ethan Katsh (legal studies) was the keynote speaker at the 10th International Forum on Online Dispute Resolution in Chennai, India, February 7-9, 2011. Katsh, who is the director of SBS's National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution, is the 2010-2011 Fulbright Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Haifa, Israel.
Prof. Emeritus Alan Swedlund (anthropology) has published Shadows in the Valley: A History of Illness, Death and Loss in New England, 1840-1916 (UMass Press, 2010). Exploring the impact of changing medical practices on ordinary people from mid-19th- to early 20th-century America, Swedlund closely examines the history of mortality in several small communities in western Massachusetts—from just before the acceptance of the germ theory of disease through the early days of public health reform in the United States. He says, "It used resources from right here in the Valley for its case studies, involved lots of UMass and SBS connections over the years while I was researching it, and has a very photogenic cover and many historical photos inside. It is an academic book, but written for general audiences." For more information, click here.
The Department of Political Science in conjunction with the Civic Initiative Speaker Series hosted Andrew S. Natsios, speaking on "The Future of Sudan." Natsios is a Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and served as administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, 2001–06. He is the author of U.S. Foreign Policy and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1997) and The Great North Korean Famine (2001), with a forthcoming third, Sudan and Darfur: What Everyone Needs to Know.
Jan Servaes (communication), director of the Communication for Sustainable Social Change (CSSC) center, recently returned from a lecture and conference tour in Hong Kong, China and Thailand. Read more...
SBS in the News
Boston Globe, 2/26/11. Eve Weinbaum (labor relations), director of the Labor Center, says Stop & Shop Supermarket Company needs to participate in an effort by Florida farm workers to pay more for tomatoes and improve the pickers' working conditions. She says the only way to improve working conditions is for the whole industry to support proposed new rules. WHMP, "The 9 O'Clock Show," 2/24/11. Host Bill Newman discusses the war on collective bargaining and the protests in Wisconsin with Weinbaum.
The Real News Network, 2/25/11. Robert Pollin (economics), co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, and Jeff Thompson (PERI) discuss the movement in Wisconsin and other states to cut public sector wages, the impact such cuts would have on the overall economy, and the real causes of these fiscal predicaments. The Nation, 2/16/11. An article by Pollin and Thompson, "The Betrayal of Public Workers," discusses why public sector workers and their unions are not responsible for the budgetary problems that have emerged out of the Great Recession. The Real News Network, 1/26/11. Pollin discusses President Obama’s State of the Union address and why more attention needs to be paid to states that are facing their own fiscal problems.
Springfield Republican, 2/25/11. Gerald Epstein (economics), chair of the department and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute, says rising gasoline prices caused by political unrest in the Middle East could damage the fragile economic recoveries underway in the U.S. and Europe. The Real News Network, 1/20/11. Epstein says Republican control of the U.S. House likely means that there will be efforts to weaken new regulations on Wall Street. He also believes that the Frank-Dodd legislation was watered down to achieve passage in Congress and, from a regulatory perspective, Republican influence will make it even weaker.
Brattleboro Reformer, 2/24/11. John Mullin (landscape architecture and regional planning), dean of the Graduate School and director of the Center for Economic Development, comments in a story about efforts to plan for the economic future of Windham County in Vermont if the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant closes down.
Springfield Republican, 2/24/11. David Mednicoff (public policy), acting director of Social Thought and Political Economy, says accusations that Moammar Gadhafi ordered the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 fit in with his generally unpredictable behavior over the years. He says Gadhafi justified his rule over Libya based on anti-western and anti-colonial sentiments. WWLP-TV 22, 2/24/11. Mednicoff comments in a television report on the unrest in Libya and elsewhere. Russia Today "Cross Talk on Political Theater," 2/11/11. Mednicoff was a guest on Peter Lavelle's television program, discussing global democracy promotion and why it tends to yield unintended consequences. The Emily Rooney Show [WGBH radio, Boston], WGBY-TV 57 “Connecting Point,” 1/31/11. Mednicoff discusses the protests in Egypt and what it may mean for U.S. foreign policy. CorreioBraziliense [Brazil, published in Portuguese], 1/31/11. Mednicoff comments on the political unrest in Egypt. Boston Globe, Truth-out.org, 1/30/11. Mednicoff writes about how the U.S. government has traditionally supported secular governments in the Arab world, which has often meant backing autocratic and repressive regimes. He says the recent revolution in Tunisia and the unfolding events in Egypt show how the U.S. policy has often led to backing the wrong side in democratic calls for open government in the Arab world.
Phillipine Daily Inquirer, 2/24/11. A story cites a report by James K. Boyce (economics) showing that wages of unskilled and skilled workers in the Phillipines declined annually during the rule of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos was ousted from power 25 years ago.
EarthTechLing.com, 2/23/11. A news story notes that a recent report by the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) says new anti-pollution regulations will create jobs, not kill jobs, as asserted by many conservatives in Congress. The report, by Ceres and James Heintz, associate director of PERI, also supports the idea of making power plants cleaner and more efficient. Colorado Independent, 2/15/11. A Congressman from Colorado is criticizing new EPA regulations, even though a majority of people in his district support the new rules.The article also notes the PERI report cited above. Boston Globe, 2/12/11; MLive.com [Michigan], New York Times, 2/11/11 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/9/11. Forthcoming power plant regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are expected to create thousands of jobs installing pollution control equipment, according to the PERI report.
Businessweek.com; Bloomberg, 2/22/11. Michelle Budig (sociology) comments in a story about efforts to pass legislation that would grant federal workers four weeks of paid leave to care for newly born children. Researchers say the U.S. is one of just three nations out of 181 that don’t have such a benefit. Budig says a significant reason for earnings gaps between men and women is this lack of maternity leave.
Providence Journal, 2/20/11. M.V. Lee Badgett (economics), director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, participated in a panel at Brown University on the debate in Rhode Island about legalizing same-sex marriage. Badgett says her research shows that allowing same-sex marriage has no negative impact on the institution of marriage between men and women. Providence Journal, Rainbow Times, 2/9/11. A study co-authored by Badgett, who also is director of the Williams Institute at UCLA, finds that recognizing same-sex marriage in Rhode Island would generate $1.2 million for the state over three years. The study only looked at state tax revenues and didn’t consider the broader impact on the economy.
Christian Science Monitor, 2/14/11. Nancy Folbre (economics) says a new survey by the Women’s Policy Institute offers the first empirical data on the effects of requiring employers to offer paid sick leave to employees in San Francisco. The research could have a decisive impact on efforts to promote similar policies elsewhere. The U.S. is one of the few rich countries with no paid sick leave requirement. New York Times (Economix blog), 2/14/11. Folbre writes in her weekly blog about how public support for students in community colleges and public colleges is dropping, creating a new generation of unemployed and underemployed young people. She says creating this group of people who can’t become productive citizens is a drag on efforts to boost the overall economy. New York Times (Economix blog), 2/7/11. Folbre writes about the difficulty of determining the actual rate of poverty when using standard economic statistics. She says even during an economic downturn it is unclear how many people have slipped into poverty, or even how to measure what that means. New York Times (Economix blog), 1/31/11. Folbre writes about the debate among economists about the proper role of freedom in the field. She says some economists value freedom above all other values, while others recognize that some people will give up some freedom to care for families, children or the less fortunate members of society. New York Times (Economix blog), 1/24/11. Folbre notes that a law prohibiting polygamy in Canada is under review by the British Columbia Supreme Court for possible violation of religious rights guaranteed under the Canadian constitution. Pointing to the television series "Big Love" that has modernized the cultural image of polygamy (polygyny), she discusses the implications of polygynous marriage. The Economist, 1/20/11. A columnist writing about the power of labor unions and the jobless recovery cites a blog entry by Folbre in the New York Times. Folbre argues that jobs aren’t being created as the economy recovers because a “borderless” and globalized economic system is at work.
Chicago Tribune, 2/13/11. A social network analysis approach to gang crime reduction is paying off in Chicago neighborhoods, just as it has in smaller cities such as Boston and Cincinnati, notes Andrew Papachristos (sociology), who studied Chicago gangs for his graduate research. Like other epidemics, a crime epidemic follows certain rules as it spreads, he says.
Washington Post, 2/8/11. If the severe backlog in filling federal judicial vacancies eases, President Obama will have the chance to appoint dozens of judges who might gradually reverse what many consider a conservative drift in the lower federal courts. Sheldon Goldman (political science), an expert on judicial selection, points out that 75% of Obama’s appointments to the federal judiciary to date have been women or minorities, and that this impact will continue.
Springfield Republican, 2/10/11; Southbridge Evening News, 1/30/11. Mark Hamin (landscape architecture and regional planning) comments on a land use and zoning study completed by UMass Amherst students for the town of Brimfield. Town officials sought the study after residents raised concerns about issues such as a proposed casino in a nearby town and the possible installation of wind turbines on West Mountain. The study will be discussed at a community meeting on March 5.
Springfield Republican, 2/4/11. A story on how area residents are following events in Egypt includes comments by Jillian Schwedler (political science) about a forum hosted on campus on Feb. 3. She also signed a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to “move beyond rhetoric” and support the democratic forces in Egypt. Toronto Star, 2/1/11. Schwedler comments in a story about Jordan's King Abdullah II being among the least threatened leaders in the Middle East.
WGBY-57 TV "Connecting Point," 1/26/11. The show featured Steve Fox (journalism), Rosie Walunas '11 (journalism), and MassLive.com's Ed Kubosiak discussing Walunas's mini-documentary on Phoebe Prince, the South Hadley High School freshman who committed suicide last year after repeated bullying incidents. The suicide received national attention, led to indictments of several of Prince's peers, and has caused school districts across the country to develop anti-bullying policies. WHMP, "The 9 O'Clock Show," 1/26/11. Fox discusses the trial and acquital of former Pelham police chief Edward Fleury. Fleury was an organizer of a gun show during which an 8-year-old boy was killed when the semi-automatic he was learning to shoot kicked back. (Sorry, that particular podcast doesn't appear to be working. It has been reported to the station.)
The Real News Network, 1/21/11. Emeritus Prof. Rick Wolff (economics) blogs about budget cuts for public services in state government and $15 billion bonuses for Goldman Sachs execs.
A Word from SBS
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