Newsmakers Winter 2012
Annette Gordon-Reed JD ’84, RI ’12—the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, a professor of history at Harvard University, and a professor of law at Harvard Law School—was among 179 of the nation’s most influential artists, scientists, scholars, authors, and institutional leaders who were inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on October 1, 2011.
Among the 50 finest artists in the United States in 2011? Kara Oehler RI ’12, who works in radio interactive media, and Lee Breuer RI ’06, cofounder of the experimental theater company Mabou Mines. Both were named USA Fellows by United States Artists, which awards $50,000 to each recipient. Oehler shares her grant with collaborator Ann Hepperman.
Barbara Savage RI ’05, a professor of history and American social thought at the University of Pennsylvania, has won the 2012 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion for her book Your Spirits Walk Beside Us: The Politics of Black Religion (Harvard University Press, 2008)—a book, said the award committee, “filled with fresh insights on the relationship between black politics and religion.” The award, given by the University of Louisville, carries a $100,000 prize.
For her accomplishments, achievements, and contributions to the visual arts, art historian Whitney Chadwick RI ’12—a professor emerita at San Francisco State University—has earned a 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women’s Caucus for Art.
Public historian Tiya A. Miles ’92, a “scholar of range and promise,” was among the winners of the 2011 MacArthur Fellowships. A professor at the University of Michigan, she explores the complex interrelationships between African and Cherokee people living and working in colonial America.
The National Book Foundation named the finalists for the 2011 National Book Awards in October. Edith Pearlman ’57 earned a nod in the fiction category for Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories (Lookout Books, 2011), while Adrienne Rich ’51 was among the poetry contenders for Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007–2010 (W. W. Norton, 2011).
“Tito Trivia,” a short story written by Kristen Ghodsee RI ’11 after she joined a creative writing group of fellows last year, has won the 2011 Ethnographic Fiction Prize from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association. Meanwhile, her recent book, Muslim Lives in Eastern Europe: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Transformation of Islam in Postsocialist Bulgaria (Princeton University Press, 2010), was awarded the 2011 William E. Douglass Prize in Europeanist Anthropology.
The Massachusetts Center for the Book announced its Must-Read Books for 2011, from which the 11th Annual Massachusetts Book Awards were chosen. Among the contenders in the fiction category were The Widower’s Tale (Pantheon, 2010), by Julia Glass RI ’05; 36 Arguments for the Existence of God (Random House, 2010), by Rebecca Neuberger Goldstein RI ’07; and World and Town (Knopf, 2010), by Gish Jen ’77, BI ’87, RI ’02, which won.
Southwest Florida resident Dawnmarie Driscoll BI ’91 has been named by Strategic Insight as one of the 60 most influential visionaries of the US mutual fund industry in 25 years. Driscoll serves as an independent director of both DWS Investments and Sun Capital Advisors Trust mutual funds. She is a past member of the board of governors of the national mutual fund association and a nationally recognized business ethics leader.
Laura Shapiro ’68 wrote an essay about the Americanization of Elizabeth David’s classic 1954 cookbook, Italian Food. “Culinary Alliance” ran in the New York Times Book Review on November 20. Incidentally, the Schlesinger Library is the repository for David’s papers; those of her American editor, Avis DeVoto; DeVoto’s working copy of the book; and their correspondence on the project.
Publishers Weekly released its PW Best Books 2011 list in early November, and among those included were State of Wonder (HarperCollins, 2011), by Ann Patchett BI ’94; The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India (Faber and Faber, 2011), by Siddhartha Deb RI ’10; and I Married You for Happiness (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2011), by Lily Tuck ’60.
Alma Guillermoprieto RI ’07 reported on El Salvador’s “warring maras” in a New York Review of Books article titled “In the New Gangland of El Salvador,” published on November 10. She also wrote a lengthy post, “Day of the 40,000 Dead,” for the NYRBlog on November 2. It examines the impact of narcowar violence on Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos.
Deep history, an intellectual approach proposed by Daniel Lord Smail AM ’06, RI ’12 and others who took part in a 2008 Exploratory Seminar, may be the beginnings of an intellectual coup. The New York Times explored the possibilities in an article, “History That’s Written in Beads as Well as in Words,” published on September 26.
Carol Moldaw ’78 published a poem, “Of an Age,” in the October 3 issue of the New Yorker. Her most recent book of poetry, So Late, So Soon, was published in 2010 by Etruscan Press.
Maria Tatar AM ’79, BI ’78, RI ’07, the John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures and chair of the Program in Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University, published an op-ed, “No More Adventures in Wonderland,” in which she compared classic children’s literature with more recent young adult popular fiction. It ran in the New York Times on October 9.
Siddhartha Deb RI’10 published an op-ed in the New York Times that considered the cars of aspirational India: “Behind the Wheel, Moving Up” ran on September 29.
An oral history of Ms., titled “How Do You Spell Ms.,” ran in the October 30 issue of New York magazine. The article included the perspectives of Radcliffe Institute medalist Gloria Steinem, College alum Jane O’Reilly ’58, and past fellow Vivian Gornick RI ’08. It also quoted the work of Ellen Willis, whose papers are at the Schlesinger Library.
In the August 19 issue of the New York Times, Claire Messud RI ’05 reviewed The Submission, a recently published novel by Amy Waldman RI ’07. Messud praises Waldman, saying, “With the keen and expert eye of an excellent journalist, Waldman provides telling portraits of all the drama’s major players, deftly exposing their foibles and their mutual manipulations.”
Fred L. Shuttlesworth died of cancer on October 5, 2011, the same day as Steve Jobs. In her October 6 New York Times op-ed, “Marching in King’s Shadow,” Diane Mcwhorter RI’12 gives this civil rights champion his due.
In her article “Ban Birth Control? They Wouldn’t Dare …”—published in the October 5 issue of The Nation—Katha Pollitt ’71 offers some strong words about how opposition to abortion could lead to diminished access to birth control.
Poetry magazine published a logophilic poem by Reginald Dwayne Betts RI ’12, “For you: anthophilous, lover of flowers,” in its September 2011 issue.
On September 1, the New York Times published “Helping the Modern Get Over Itself,” relating how Ann Temkin ’81, chief curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, and her team are shaking up this New York institution.
In Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books (Yale University Press, 2011), Leah Price ’91, RI ’07—the director of the humanities program in Academic Ventures at the Radcliffe Institute and a professor of English in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences—visits the homes of 13 novelists to bring us a look at their personal libraries. Among those featured are Junot Díaz RI ’04, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein RI ’07, and Claire Messud RI ’05.
Lisa Randall ’84, PHD ’87, RI ’03 recently published Knocking on Heaven’s Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World (Ecco, 2011). In a New York Times review, Jim Holt calls Randall, who is a professor of physics at Harvard, “one of the more original theorists at work in the profession today.”
Esmeralda Santiago ’76 has published an epic novel set in the colonial era of her native Puerto Rico, titled Conquistadora (Knopf, 2011), which the Washington Post deemed “a triumph.” Santiago suffered a stroke while finishing the book and had to relearn reading and writing in English in order to complete it. She has not yet remastered Spanish, her first language.
A new collection of stories, Tales of the New World (Black Cat/Grove/Atlantic, 2011), is just out from Sabina Murray BI’00. The New York Times praised it, saying “Murray writes of Italian noblemen, African chiefs, Russian prisoners, Australian Aborigines, even Aztec kings; of times and places, horrors and joys; of oceans, deserts, starvation—of quite simply everything—very beautifully, bringing it all close to us, to here, to now.”
During his Radcliff e Institute fellowship, Siddhartha Deb RI ’10 worked on a nonfiction book, just published, titled The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India (Faber and Faber, 2011). The New York Times says, “Deb works largely within the format of the profile, which allows him to closely inspect the dents made by modern India in his characters’ lives.”
Patricia Marx ’75, a humorist at the New Yorker and a former Saturday Night Live writer, has published Starting from Happy (Scribner, 2011). The book includes illustrations by the author, who also makes an appearance as the narrator. In a New York Times review, Alexandra Jacobs says, “Marx doesn’t just break the fourth wall, she makes origami of it (indeed, there are instructions for making origami on Page 13).”
Benjamin Markovits RI ’09 has published Childish Loves: A Novel (W. W. Norton, 2011), the last book in a trilogy based on the life of Lord Byron. Markovits worked on the novel during his Institute fellowship.
Janny Scott ’77 has published a biography of Stanley Ann Dunham, titled A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother (Riverhead Books, 2011). In the biography, says the Los Angeles Times, Scott portrays a woman who “was tough and unconventional, aloof and occasionally distant, not unlike her son.”
The New York Times calls the latest book by Jill Bbramson ’76, The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout (Times Books, 2011), “unaffected, unironic and lovingly goofy”—not unlike a puppy.
In Direct Sales and Direct Faith in Latin America (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), Peter s. Cahn ’96, RI ’09 examines the relationship between direct-sales companies like Amway and Avon and Latin American Catholicism. Cahn worked on the book during his Institute fellowship.
Armine Kotin Mortimer ’64 examines Balzac’s varied approaches to realism in For Love or for Money: Balzac’s Rhetorical Realism (Ohio State University Press, 2011). Mortimer is a professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an expert on Balzac.
In her latest book, Education Reconfigured: Culture, Encounter, and Change (Routledge, 2011), the philosopher of education Jane Roland Martin ’51, EDM ’56, PHD ’61, BI ’81 asks, “What is education?” and puts forth a new educational paradigm.
In The Prospective Spouse Checklist: Evaluating Your Potential Partner (New Horizon Press, 2011), Isabelle Fox ’47 (a clinical psychotherapist) and her husband, Robert M. Fox (a lawyer with experience in divorce law), provide commonsense tips—and highlight possible red flags—to help couples with the decision to marry.
The Annotated Peter Pan (W. W. Norton, 2011), edited with an introduction and notes by Maria Tatar AM ’79, BI ’78, RI ’07, was published on the centennial of J. M. Barrie’s celebrated children’s book.
In October, Sallie Bingham ’58 published Mending: New and Selected Stories (Sarabande Books, 2011). Publishers Weekly calls the book an “omnibus of Bingham’s tight, sparkling short fiction.”
Ann Hodgman ’78 has published a revised and updated edition of her 1993 Beat This! Cookbook: Absolutely Unbeatable Knock-’em-Dead Recipes for the Very Best Dishes (Houghton Miffl in Harcourt, 2011), which a Vanity Fair reviewer calls “the funniest, most engaging book about food I’ve ever come across.”
Anne Whitehouse ’76 recently published her fourth collection of poetry, One Sunday Morning (Finishing Line Press, 2011). The title poem previously appeared online in Poetic Medicine.
The latest book from Suzanne Braun Levine ’63 to explore the lives of women over 50 is How We Love Now: Sex and the New Intimacy in Second Adulthood (Viking, 2012). In it, she looks at how these women in second adulthood are finding love and redefining their relationships.
In Twelve Weeks: An Artist’s Story of Cancer, Healing, and Hope ((sixoneseven)
books, 2012), Karen Lee Sobol ’70, MAR ’74 chronicles her struggle with—and eventual remission from—a rare, incurable blood cancer, Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia.
Rebecca J. Scott ’71 and Jean M. Hébrard relate the saga of a Caribbean slave, Rosalie, and her descendants as they work to secure their freedom through the Haitian revolution, the French Revolution, and the Civil War in their book Freedom Papers: An Atlantic Odyssey in the Age of Emancipation (Harvard University Press, 2012).
Geraldine Brooks RI ’06 recently edited The Best American Short Stories 2011 (Mariner Books), which includes work by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie RI ’12, Allegra Goodman ’89, RI ’07, and Elizabeth McCracken RI ’09.
A new exhibition of work by Sarah Sze RI ’06 opened in New York City on December 13. Sarah Sze: Infinite Line—which includes a new site-specific installation and beautifully intricate works on paper—will be up at the Asia Society Museum through March 25, 2012.
Physicist Lisa Randall ’84, PHD ’87, RI ’03 conceived and cocurated an exhibition, Measure for Measure, which explored the concept of scale. Randall, her cocurator Lia Halloran, and Peter Mays, executive director of the Los Angeles Art Association, all participated in an opening panel discussion on November 3. The exhibition, which also included work by Susan Sironi, ran through December 22 at the Carpenter Center’s main gallery.
Jesseca Ferguson ’71 was recently included in two group shows, Panopticon Gallery’s 40th Anniversary Exhibition, in Boston from September 8 to October 31, and More Back Forty: A Selection of Artists Who Have Shown Here over the Last Forty Years, at the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, Massachusetts, from September 11 to January 15.
The environmental sculpture of Beth Galston BI ’91 was recently on view at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, on Cape Cod. Suspended: Installations by Nathalie Ferrier and Beth Galston ran from October 28 to January 15.
Leslie Hewitt RI ’10 had a solo exhibition, titled Blue Skies, Warm Sunlight, at D’Amelio Terras in New York City. Her photo sculptures were on view from October 29 to December 23.
Nine Houses (Tawahus Press, 2010), a boxed folio of prints by Maxine Valovitz-Blankenship BI ’94, was recently published in an edition of 50. Included with the prints were statements about the images from Maxine Kumin ’46, AM ’48, BI ’63, Florence Ladd BI ’71, Alan Lightman, Ann Patchett BI ’94, Richard Wendorf, and others.
On Stage and Screen
Once, a stage adaptation of the Oscar-winning 2006 film, directed by John Tiffany RI ’11, opened on November 6 at the off -Broadway New York Theatre Workshop. A pre-Broadway workshop presentation of the musical took place last spring at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, while Tiffany was in town for his fellowship.
Girl Model, a documentary by David Redmon RI ’11 and Ashley Sabin, has been making the festival rounds since its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. It has traveled to festivals in Abu Dhabi, Rio, Rome, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam. LA Weekly named Girl Model, completed during Redmon’s fellowship, a “must-see film.”
Lee Breuer RI ’06 brought his critically acclaimed play Mabou Mines Doll-House to ArtsEmerson at the Cutler Majestic Theatre from November 1 to 6. A Boston Herald review proclaimed, “Novelty and awe are the name of the game for Mabou Mines DollHouse, an adaptation of Ibsen’s classic by the legendary avant-garde New York troupe.”
The House of the Spirits, a play by Caridad Svich RI ’03 based on the novel by Isabel Allende, was produced at Vortex Theatre in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in November and December; at Florida International University at Miami in November; and at the University of Missouri at St. Louis in October. Its Spanish-language version also played a limited engagement in November at Miami Dade North Campus Actors Arena. Her 12 Ophelias (a play with broken songs) was produced at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in November, while her In the Time of the Butterflies/En El Tiempo de Las Mariposas, based on the novel by Julia Alvarez, had a run through October and November at Repertorio Español in New York City.
Margot Loines Wilkie ’34 appears in the PBS documentary Prohibition—a three-part series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick—talking about her experience growing up during that charged and changing time.
On February 15, HBO held a screening for Raising Renee (2011), directed by Steven Ascher ’82 and Jeanne Jordan BI ’93, RI ’03. The network plans to air the film, which follows painter Beverly McIver RI ’03 as she takes care of her mentally disabled sister, in late February.
The Society for the Study of Early Modern Women chose La Donna Musicale’s Anna Bon: La virtuosa di Venezia CD as one of its 2011 award winners in the arts and media category, saying, “This array of arias, divertimenti, and sonatas reflects the ensemble’s firm grounding in the archival and scholarly world.” Laury Gutierrez RI ’09 is both a viola da gambist and the director of the early music ensemble.
Jane Waldfogel ’76, EDM ’79, MPA ’91, PHD ’94, RI ’09, a professor of social work at Columbia University, appeared on the public radio show The Takeaway on November 7 to help explain the Census Bureau’s new metrics for measuring poverty.
In September, Judith S. Palfrey ’67 was named executive director of Michelle Obama’s national Let’s Move! campaign, which targets childhood obesity. Palfrey is taking a leave as director of the Children’s International Pediatric Center at Children’s Hospital Boston and master of Adams House at Harvard College to promote her view that health isn’t only about doctor’s visits and prescriptions.
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