And other topics of interest...
Professor Harper Briefs New U.S. Ambassador to Hungary
Krista Harper (assistant professor of anthropology and public
policy) was invited by the State Department to help
prepare Ambassador April Foley for her posting in Hungary. The
July 13 briefing covered a range of topics intended to
familiarize the new ambassador with Hungarian business, politics, and
culture. Ambassador Foley is a 1969 Smith College graduate. Harper was joined by several other academic and private-sector
experts on Hungarian economy and society. Fluent
in Hungarian, Harper has studied social movements around the issues of
health, environment, and human rights in Hungary since 1994. "I was honored by the opportunity to brief Ambassador Foley," she says. "Anthropologists study other cultures in depth and can offer
insights to policymakers." Adds Jane Fountain, director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration, "This invitation exemplifies the high caliber of the faculty at the Center for Public Policy and Administration and the relevance of their research and expertise to decision-makers at all levels of government."
Journalism Program Chosen to Create New England News Council
The Journalism Program has been awarded a $75,000 grant to establish a New England News Council to investigate complaints about the media and promote public trust in the news. Read more...
Economics Professors Publish New Book
New Departures in Marxian Theory (Routledge, 2006) by Stephen Resnick and Richard Wolff (economics), has been released simultaneously in hardcover and paperback. The book uses concepts of overdetermination and class to create a new way to understand capitalism's contradictions and lapses. The authors’ new nondeterminist and class-focused Marxist theory is both
responsive to and critical of other movements, such as post-
modernism and feminism, transforming modern social though. Resnick and Wolff have confronted
basic incompatibilities among dominant modern versions of Marxian theory and the fact
that Marxism seemed cut off from the criticisms of determinist modes of thought offered by post-
structuralism and post-modernism as well as by some of Marxism’s greatest theorists. This collection of essays enables readers to understand and make use of a major
new paradigm in Marxist thinking and showcases analytical breakthroughs now
punctuating a Marxism in transition.
Other books by Resnick and Wolff include Class Theory and History, also published
Good to Go: A Glimpse at Members of the Class of 2006, One Month Removed
What defines a UMass Amherst education? The class that turns an academic interest into an intellectual passion? The summer internship that catapults into a career? The semester spent in a foreign country and nothing ever looks the same again– even once you get back home? Read more...
Safety and Security Issues Addressed
When students arrive on campus in September, some extra eyes will be watching them. This fall every residence hall will have a camera at its entrance and exit. The 10-year phase-in program of surveillance cameras, started in 2002, and other security initiatives were accelerated after the ABC News show "Primetime" named the campus the most violent among the nation's largest universities during a broadcast in November. The project will be completed this year, adding 325 video cameras to campus at a cost of more than $500,000. UMass Amherst Police Chief Barbara O'Connor says that to date every time the police department has issued a photo of a suspect taken by one of the high-resolution, color video cameras, the suspect has been identified by the public. Other security initiatives include expanding the police department, including a deputy chief of operations and the addition of two officers a year over five years that will bring the department up to 69 officers. In addition, two police dogs, trained for drug detection and general patrol, will be a campus presence this fall.
An editorial in the Springfield Republican praised the installation of the cameras, noting that not only do students and their parents need to know that they are safe at school, but also that "the cameras will deal with both reality and perception. They'll lessen crime, of course. Someone who is thinking about acting violently—whether toward a person or against property—will doubtless think twice if he knows that his actions are being recorded. As for the perception,...while the statistical method used [by ABC's 'Primetime'] was badly flawed, much of the nation might have gotten the perception that UMass Amherst is unusually dangerous. Even if that perception is undeserved—which it most decidedly is—it is the kind of thing that can stick in people's minds. The security cameras will go a long way toward changing that."
Journalism's Media Giraffe Conference Viewable in Quick Time, Blogs Available
"Democracy & Independence: Sharing News & Information in a Connected World," the first summit conference of Journalism's Media Giraffe Project at UMass Amherst held June 28-July 1, was a tremendous success with more than 200 participants. Sponsors included The Boston Globe, Omidyar Network, MassLive/The Republican newspaper, and the New England Press Association, among others. Conference events, including the keynote address by veteran White House Correspondent Helen Thomas, are now viewable on Quick Time. Independent logs are also available. Go to mediagiraffe.org for links.
In the News
Monthly Review, July/August 2006. An in-depth story entitled "Women and Class: What Has Happened in Forty Years?" co-authored by Stephanie Luce (Labor Relations and Research Center) recounts how women workers have fared. The article covers what has changed, what hasn't changed, and trends with explanations. The article notes, "After forty years of the women’s movement, the gains of some segments have led to a greater class divide among women workers. This challenges us to consider if it would be possible to build a cross-class women’s movement today." Included are links to other sources of information on the subject. Read the article.
Workers World, 7/17/06. In the article "What’s behind the Darfur Campaign" by Catherine Donaghy, Enoch Page (anthropology), an expert on the anthropology of genocide, discusses the situation in the Darfur region of Sudan during a recent forum held at Smith College. Read the article. The entire meeting is available on audio.
Los Angeles Times, 7/17/06. In the article "Right, Wrong? In a Group, It's Harder to Tell" by Shari Roan, Ervin Staub (psychology) comments about how people in groups often have a difficult time resisting very reprehensible or illegal and violent acts for fear of losing connections with others in the group. Overall, Staub says, groups make it more difficult for people to decide right and wrong and to act on their decisions. Read the article.
Asia Times Online, 7/12/06. A column by Max Fraad Wolff, a doctoral candidate in economics, says developing countries such as China are seeking access to key commodities, including energy and minerals, but are also counting on building consumer demand for the new products they will manufacture. Wolff says the demand side of the equation needs careful review. Read the article.
Enter Stage Right. "Omnibus of Evil" by John W. Nelson, web posted 7/10/06, reviews the book From the Gulag to the Killing Fields, edited by Paul Hollander (emeritus professor of sociology). It notes that Hollander did a survey of UMass students in 2000 and found that not one in a class of 300 had been taught about Communist repression while they were in high school and that three had never heard the word “gulag." Read the article.
Mail and Guardian (South Africa) 7/3/06: In the commentary "For an Interest Rate Cut" by Lumkile Mondi, Gerald Epstein (economics) is cited for his recent research on how lowering interest rates can boost the GDP of South Africa. Read the article.
Springfield Republican 6/28/06: "Veteran White House Reporter Blasts Iraq War, Media Failures" by Holly Angelo gives an overview of news correspondent Helen Thomas' keynote address on June 28 at the beginning a four-day conference on the future of journalism at UMass Amherst. The conference, “Democracy and Independence: Sharing News and Information in a Connected World” was organized by the Media Giraffe Project, a non-profit research group affiliated with the journalism program.
A Word from SBS
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