Sept. 21, 2000
Vol. 20 No. 1

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    In the News

    Jacqueline Stewart, Assistant Professor in English and Cinema Studies, was featured in an article published in the Friday, Sept. 8 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Stewart, who earned her Ph.D. in 1999 from the University and whose dissertation explores pre-Birth of a Nation films and the emergence of black urban film culture from 1893 to 1920, was highly sought after by universities, including Chicago, from which she accepted an offer. Kenneth Warren, Professor in English Language & Literature, was quoted in the story about Stewart’s research, which he deems “archivally groundbreaking. It’s one of the best efforts that I know of to recover the history of early African-American cinema.”

    President Randel was the subject of a full-page story in the Chicago Sun-Times Wednesday, Sept. 13, the day before civic leaders in Chicago honored him with a dinner on Navy Pier. The story quoted Randel as well as Frank Richter, Professor in Geophysical Sciences and chairman of the faculty committee that recommended Randel to the University Board of Trustees. “The joke was that no matter who talked to him, they thought his undergraduate major was in their field because he knew so much about it,” said Richter.

    Thomas Pavel, Professor in Romance Languages & Literature, and Francoise Meltzer, Professor and Chairman of Comparative Literatures, were quoted in a Friday, Sept. 15 Chicago Tribune story about a recent revelation by Vice President and presidential candidate Al Gore about his favorite tome: The Red and the Black by Stendhal, a 19th-century French novelist. “It probably appeals to Gore’s intellectual, quirky side,” said Meltzer. “Given how ambition has shadowed his life from the time he was born, is it surprising that he would be interested in this great 19th-century novel? I’m sure Gore is aware of the pitfalls of constant and dominating ambition.”

    W.J.T. Mitchell, the Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor in English Language & Literature, was interviewed for the column “Culture Front,” which appears in the Chicago Tribune. Mitchell, author of The Last Dinosaur Book (University of Chicago Press), which explores dinosaurs as cultural icons, discussed that topic in the context of the exhibition of Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found, which is on display at the Field Museum. The column appeared Thursday, Sept. 7.

    A story reported by the New York Times about a discovery made by Gordon Bendersky, quoted Robert Perlman, Professor in Pediatrics and Neurobiology and editor of Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, in which Bendersky’s research article appeared. The research linked ancient two-faced figurines from Mexico to a rare congenital aberration called diprosopus. “Lots of people had seen these figurines before, but he was the first to think that they might represent human congenital anomalies,” said Perlman.

    George Chauncey, Professor in History, was quoted in a story published in the Chicago Tribune Friday, Sept. 15, which reported on shifting American attitudes toward gay and lesbian rights and a conference organized by the History Department and the Lesbian and Gay Studies Project at the University. The four-day conference titled “Future of the Queer Past: A Transnational History Conference,” included more than 50 discussion panels. The exhibition “Homosexuality in the City: A Century of Research at the University of Chicago,” which is on display at the Joseph Regenstein Library in conjunction with the conference, was the subject of Neil Steinberg’s column in the Chicago Sun-Times Sunday, Sept. 17, the last day of the conference. The Chicago Tribune also published an article on the conference in its Sunday, Sept. 17 issue.

    Susan Mayer, Associate Professor in the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, cowrote an op-ed with Christopher Jencks from Harvard University, which appeared in the Sunday, Sept. 1 New York Times. Mayer and her co-author wrote that standardized test scores in high schools may increase student drop-out rates, which then translate into disparities in wages earned by those who drop out of school and students who complete their high school education. Mayer also was quoted in a recent story published by Fortune Magazine, reporting on the inequalities between the nation’s wealthiest citizens and its poorest.

    Richard Epstein, the James Parker Hall Professor in the Law School, wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 7 New York Times about the proposed Medicare overhauls of both presidential candidates, George W. Bush and Al Gore. Epstein wrote that Bush’s plan “will not achieve its laudable objective of weaning the elderly from government programs. It will only reaffirm the status quo, in which everyone stays in Medicare.” Likewise, Epstein criticized Gore’s plan. “His prescription drug plan will surely increase the overall cost of running Medicare by expanding benefits that are covered.”

    Emily Teeter, Associate Curator of the Oriental Institute, and Janet Johnson, Professor in the Oriental Institute, were quoted in a story that appeared in the Sunday, Sept. 3 issue of the Chicago Tribune’s MetroSouthwest section. The story described the Oriental Institute’s courses in ancient Egyptian and the demand for such instruction. While many people have become passionate about learning the “dead language” of hieroglyphics, they also have learned that to become a full-fledged Egyptologist requires long and intensive study. Ward Miller, from the architectural firm that installed the Art Institute’s exhibition “Pharaohs of the Sun,” said of Teeter’s ease at reading an ancient tablet that lay resting on a dolly before its installation, “It was incredible. I knew some people could read glyphs, but I thought they had to do research. Just to be able to do that off the cuff took me by total surprise.”

    In a New Scientist story that reported on dying languages throughout the world, Salikoko Mufwene, Professor and Chairman of Linguistics, described what he sees as one of the biggest threats to languages that are considered endangered–economic globalization. “Native Americans have not lost pride in their language, but they have had to adapt to socio-economic pressures. They cannot refuse to speak English if the majority economy is run in English.”

    Steven Kaplan, the Neubauer Family Professor of Entrepreneurship & Finance in the Graduate School of Business, was quoted in a Chicago Tribune article Friday, Sept. 15, which described a business competition in Chicago and its goal to promote the Midwest’s digital economy.

    The Oriental Institute’s recently reopened Persian gallery was featured in two recent stories published in the Sunday, Sept. 10 Chicago Sun-Times and the Saturday, Sept. 9 Chicago Tribune. “The Oriental Institute has a great history of learning and discovery in Iran. I am hoping that this region will teach us more,” said Abbas Alizadeh, Research Associate in the Oriental Institute.