Nov. 1, 2001
Vol. 21 No. 4

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    In the News

    The Chronicle’s biweekly column In the News offers a digest of commentary and quotations by a few of the University faculty members, students and alumni who have been headlining the news in recent weeks. Chicago faculty members are some of the most frequently quoted experts, so space allows publishing references to only selected examples. To read many of the full newspaper articles mentioned in this column, visit the In the News column at the University News Office Web site at: http://www-news.uchicago.edu/.

    Danielle Allen, Associate Professor in Classical Languages & Literatures and the College, was featured in the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune Wednesday, Oct. 24, following the announcement that she had won a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, popularly known as a ‘genius grant.’ Allen will receive an unrestricted prize of $500,000 over a period of five years. She also was featured in a USA Today article in its Wednesday, Oct. 24 issue. Allen presented the Aims of Education address to the Class of 2005 this year, and her speech was reprinted in an edited version in the Sunday, Oct. 21 Chicago Tribune Magazine. Allen wove the events of Tuesday, Sept. 11 into a study of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, Plato’s The Republic and the Declaration of Independence to emphasize the value of education and democracy. In her speech, Allen stated: “As you speak with your fellow students, developing a strong confidence in your own ability to think, talk and judge as well as a confidence in the ability of others to do so with you, you practice citizenship. Understand that the intellectual progress you will make here is the product of freedom and a culture of openness.”

    Results of a National Opinion Research Center survey, the National Tragedy Study, were published in the Chicago Sun-Times Thursday, Oct. 25. The study, which measured a wide-range of attitudes and included a special survey for New York, was based on random telephone calls to more than 2,100 U.S. residents during the two weeks following Tuesday, Sept. 11. The results were compared with similar questions asked recently in the General Social Survey, a continuing study of American values, attitudes and behaviors on a wide variety of subjects. Tom Smith, Director of the GSS at the University, said the data in the National Tragedy Study also contrasted with reactions people had reported in a 1963 survey, following the assassination of President John Kennedy. “Emotionally, Kennedy’s assassination seems to have had a larger impact on psychological well-being than the terrorist attacks,” said Smith in the Sun-Times story. The Chicago Tribune published a portion of the study Sunday, Oct. 14, which reported only on the Illinois data.

    John Cochrane, the Theodore O. Yntema Professor in the Graduate School of Business, was quoted in a Tuesday, Oct. 23 story published in The Wall Street Journal Europe. The story reported on the American government’s current spending to boost the economy, which follows a popular post-World War II policy that economist John Maynard Keynes believed could restore economic growth. Cochrane said such a policy does not create new wealth.

    Saskia Sassen, Professor in Sociology, was quoted in a BusinessWeek story published Monday, Oct. 22. The story described how the Tuesday, Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have taken a major toll on businesses in New York and about the city’s long road to recovery.

    Marvin Zonis, Professor in the Graduate School of Business, was interviewed for a Tuesday, Oct. 23 story that appeared in the Chicago Tribune. The story reported how local governments across the state are spending more on safety and security measures to protect citizens from any future terrorism, which Zonis said are worthwhile and necessary expenditures. Pointing to some potential targets in Illinois, Zonis said, “Certainly McDonald’s is at the leading edge of globalization, and it’s a principal brand in the world that represents the United States. They have faced problems overseas already.”

    Norman Golb, the Ludwig Rosenberger Professor of Jewish History and Civilizations in Near Eastern Languages &Civilizations, was interviewed for a Sunday, Oct. 21 Chicago Tribune story about the discovery and exhibition of rare Hebrew manuscripts that include real estate deeds, marriage contracts, divorce decrees, court records and many other items that describe the lives of Egyptian Jews during the 11th to 13th centuries. The texts were found in a synagogue in Cairo, Egypt, in a mausoleum-like storeroom called a geniza. Golb said the materials found there illuminate more than Jewish life, as they reveal information about Islamic people during the Middle Ages as well.

    Richard Shweder, Professor in the Committee on Human Development and the College, was a guest on WBEZ’s Odyssey program on Friday, Oct. 19. Shweder discussed the impact of traumatic events on memory.

    Kevin Murphy, the George Pratt Shultz Professor in the Graduate School of Business; Steven Kaplan, the Neubauer Family Professor in the Graduate School of Business; and Gary Becker, University Professor in Economics and Sociology, were all quoted in a Chicago Tribune business column Friday, Oct. 19. The columnist wrote about their participation in a panel discussion that addressed the Tuesday, Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and their aftermath.

    Kenneth Dam, the Max Pam Professor in the Law School and U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary, was quoted in articles that were published Monday, Oct. 22, in the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune about the freeze on terrorist financial assets throughout the United States and across the world.

    A Chicago Sun-Times story that reported the results of a poll, which was taken to determine whether people believed putting pressure on Israel to make concessions to Palestinians would deter or encourage more terrorism in America, quoted Charles Lipson, Associate Professor in Political Science and the College. The poll results show that 61.5 percent of those responding said it would only encourage more terrorism. Lipson agreed: “The connection between the terrorists and the Israel/Palestine conflict is real, but it is not a primary connection. [The terrorists’] main concern is to drive all Westerners out of the entire Muslim world, a very extreme view.” Lipson also was recently interviewed on New York’s WCBS-TV and provided commentary for several news broadcasts on WMAQ-TV and WGN-TV in Chicago.

    Yuval Levin, a graduate student in the Committee on Social Thought, wrote an op-ed in support of a U.S. missile defense program. The op-ed appeared in the Friday, Oct. 12 Chicago Sun-Times.

    Robert Pape, Associate Professor in Political Science and the College, wrote an op-ed that was published in the Friday, Oct. 19 Washington Post. Pape wrote about the government’s use of air strikes in Afghanistan. “Air power alone rarely achieves ambitious foreign policy objectives. Punishment from the air rarely coerces other countries, but it often makes them angry . . . What does coerce is the prospect of certain military defeat, regardless of how determined the target government is to resist,” he wrote.

    Olaf Schneewind, Professor in Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology and in the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division, was quoted in a Sunday, Oct. 14 Chicago Tribune story that reported on an increase in the production of vaccines and research into medicines to counter deadly micro-organisms that could be used as biological weapons in future terrorist attacks.

    Jean Bethke-Elshtain, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor in the Divinity School, commented on a sensitive American social policy that may affect gays, lesbians and their children who are survivors of the victims of the Tuesday, Sept. 11 tragedy. The policy, which currently does not recognize gay and lesbian people as “relatives” or “family,” may mean federal funds dispersed to survivors of the tragedy will not include compensation for victims’ same-sex, domestic partners or their children. “It’s a tragedy that changes the landscape. Something in me balks at the notion that we’re going to say, ‘You are mourning and devastated, but you don’t qualify for help.’ Erring on the side of inclusivity and generosity is much closer to Christian understanding of the human person than a cramped and narrowly legalistic approach.”

    Chester Drum, a doctoral candidate in Medicine, was interviewed for a Sunday, Oct. 21 Chicago Tribune article that reported on the history of anthrax. Drum, who is writing a journal article on the molecular structure of one of the three toxins anthrax secretes, said literary descriptions of the deadly bacterium that trace back to the Bible are medically accurate. “Anthrax may be the earliest pathogen in recorded history. Moses took ashes from a fire and produced the symptoms of cutaneous anthrax among Pharaoh’s soldiers and livestock. That’s fascinating to me because we know today that the incineration of animals is not sufficient to kill the spores of anthrax.”