Newsmakers Winter 2013

Radcliffe Affiliates Making their Mark

Honor Roll

In the 2012 elections, Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren AM ’93, RI ’02 defeated Senator Scott Brown for a post in the US Senate, becoming the first woman senator from Massachusetts.

Dean Lizabeth Cohen AM ’97, RI ’02 was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in October. Since its founding, by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock, and other scholar-patriots, the academy has elected leading “thinkers and doers” from each generation. The current membership includes more than 300 Nobel laureates, some 100 Pulitzer Prize winners, and many of the world’s most celebrated artists and performers.

Honored for her transcendent poetry, Marie Howe BI ’90 is the latest winner of the New York State Poet Award. She is a member of the writing faculty at Sarah Lawrence College, and her poems have appeared in the Atlantic, the Harvard Review, the New Yorker, Poetry, and Ploughshares. Her honors include National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim fellowships.

Justin Torres RI ’13 was one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” honorees in the fiction category. He is the author of the short-story collection We the Animals (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011).

Tiffani Williams RI ’05, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been selected as a PopTech Science Fellow: Class of 2012. Each year, PopTech selects 10 to 12 fellows drawn from different research fields.

The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India (Faber and Faber, 2011) earned Siddhartha Deb RI ’10 a 2012 PEN Award. He completed the book during his time at the Institute.

Adelaide Anderson Cummings ’34 was named poet laureate of Falmouth, Massachusetts, in recognition of her six books of verse.

When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home: How All of Us Can Help Veterans (MIT Press, 2011), by Paula Caplan ’69, was named the Independent Publisher Indie Groundbreaking Book the month it was published. The book also won the 2011 American Publishers Award for Professional and Schol­arly Excellence (PROSE Award) in psychology and the silver medal in the psychology/mental health category at the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards.

Magda Teter RI ’08 won fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. These will support her research and writing of a new book, The Popes’ Dilemma: Politics and Power of Blood Libel in Italy and Poland, under contract with Harvard University Press. In addition, Teter has been editing the AJS Review, a flagship journal for the Association for Jewish Studies, since July 2012, and she has published Sinners on Trial: Jews and Sacrilege after the Reformation (Harvard University Press, 2012), which she calls “the fruit of my year at Radcliffe.”


In the December 30 issue of the New York Times Magazine, The Lives They Lived, Cheryl Strayed published an eloquent tribute to Adrienne Rich ’51, which reviewed the experiences that shaped the poet’s work, including those of her undergraduate years at Radcliffe. In her memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Knopf, 2012), Strayed talks about her admiration for Rich’s The Dream of a Common Language: Poems, 1974–1977 (Norton, 1978). She writes, “It was true that The Pacific Crest Trail, Volume 1: California was now my bible, but The Dream of a Common Language was my religion.”

An essay by Zadie Smith RI ’03, “Joy,” appeared in the January 10 issue of the New York Review of Books. In it, she eloquently differentiated between “pleasure” and “joy” as she has experienced them. It should be noted that Smith earned a spot on the New York Times list “The 10 Best Books of 2012” with her recently published novel NW (Penguin Press, 2012), and also that James Wood singled out the book in the New Yorker blog Page-Turner. Speaking of the New Yorker, Smith contributed an article to the December 17 issue, “Some Notes on Attunement,” in which she reflects on how she learned to like Joni Mitchell.

Also published in the December 17 issue of the New Yorker was “Creatures,” a short story by Marisa Silver ’82 about parents who are called to their son’s school to talk about his controversial behavior.

Junot Díaz RI ’04 was named a 2012 MacArthur Fellow. He was also among the five fiction finalists for the National Book Awards, for This Is How You Lose Her. The short-story collection appeared on the New York Times “100 Notable Books of 2012” list. In September, Díaz stopped by the NPR studios to guest DJ on the music show Alt.Latino.

In a New York Times Opinionator blog post from November 12, “An Ode to the King of Writerly Tools,” Lois Leveen ’90 wrote a tribute to her dog-eared thesaurus. Leveen is among seven poets whose work is being installed at the new Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro, Oregon.

The winter 2012 issue of the Georgia Review contains an essay, “Metamor­phosis: From Light Verse to the Poetry of Witness,” by Maxine Kumin ’46, AM ’48, BI ’63.

Alma Guillermoprieto RI ’07 exposed how her fellow journalists risk their lives every day in her home country in “Mexico: Risking Life for Truth,” which appeared in the New York Review of Books on November 22.

Sylvia Earle BI ’68 isn’t just a re­nowned scientist, conservationist, and explorer—she’s also a record-setting deep-sea diver. She was profiled in the New York Times Sunday Review on October 20.

Linda Greenhouse ’68 explored the connection between the Massachusetts compounding pharmacy scandal and the Supreme Court in “The Sound of Silence,” which appeared in the New York Times Opinionator blog on October 31.

Is the appeal of literary orphans born of something other than their tragedies? Margot Livesey RI ’13 worked it out in “From Jane Eyre to Harry Potter: Why Readers Love Orphans” on WBUR’s Cognoscenti blog on October 15.

Annette Gordon-Reed JD ’84, RI ’13—a law professor and an expert on Thomas Jefferson—reviewed the latest biography of him in an article titled “Thomas Jefferson Was Not a Monster: Debunking a Major New Biography of Our Third President.” It appeared in Slate on October 19.

On October 10, the Boston Globe’s Chowder blog talked to Joanne Chang ’91 about her big plans for Flour 4 and Myers + Chang.

In a “most-emailed” New York Times opinion piece from October 13, “The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent,” Chrystia Freeland ’90 advised America’s very rich not to confuse their own interests with the common good.

Andrea Campbell ’88, RI ’13, a political scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the coauthor of a new study that’s explored in “Health Care Case Is Seen as Helping Law but Hurting Court.” The article appeared in the New York Times on October 1.

Nancy Hopkins ’64, PhD ’71 contributed to the article “Bias Persists for Women of Science, a Study Finds,” which appeared in the New York Times on September 24. An MIT professor, Hopkins has long been concerned with the issue of gender parity in the sciences.

On October 1, the Boston Globe featured an analysis by Meira Levinson RI ’03, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, of Boston’s proposed school zoning plans. In “Study Finds Inequities in Schools’ Zone Plans,” Levinson suggested that the proposed plans are less fair than the current system.

David Redmon RI ’11 and his filmmaking partner, Ashley Sabin, contributed an “op-doc”—a video opinion piece—to the New York Times on September 12. Published during New York Fashion Week, “Scouted” explored one source of the industry’s young models.

On August 25, Ellen Goodman ’63 published her “Equal Rites Awards” in the Boston Globe. In the article, she called out those doing the most to slow down women’s progress.

“Peering Into the Exquisite Life of Rare Books,” which appeared in the New York Times on July 24, reported on the Rare Book School, of which Michael Suarez RI ’06 is the director. It’s not your average summer school.

Shelf Life

Our Kind of People: A Continent’s Challenge, A Country’s Hope (Harper, 2012) is the nonfiction debut of Uzodinma Iweala ’04, RI ’12, whose previous effort, the novel Beasts of No Nation (HarperCollins, 2005), won wide acclaim. The Los Angeles Times said in a review, “What Iweala evokes is the human cost of AIDS, and this is where ‘Our Kind of People’ excels.”

The prizewinning poet Cynthia Zarin ’81 makes her prose debut with An Enlarged Heart: A Personal History (Knopf, 2013). The collection of essays is an exploration of her life, her loves, and the passage of time.

Agewise: Fighting the New Ageism in America (University of Chicago Press, 2011), by Margaret Morganroth Gullette ’62, PhD ’75, BI ’87, won the 2012 Eric Hoffer Award in the health category. The book has garnered praise from the likes of Katha Pollitt ’71, who said, “Eloquent and infuriating, packed with facts and bristling with ideas, Agewise is essential reading for anyone who is ‘aging’—which is to say, everyone.”

Hauwa Ibrahim RI ’09 has published Practicing Shariah Law: Seven Strategies for Achieving Justice in Shariah Courts (American Bar Association, 2012), a book she conceived during her fellowship year. Ibrahim is currently a visiting lecturer at the Harvard Divinity School and a research associate at the Women’s Studies in Religion Program.

The Refrain (Dos Madres Press, 2012) is the latest collection of poems by Anne Whitehouse ’76. “Heartfelt, profound, and deeply insightful, her poems matter,” said Boston Literary Magazine. “A lot.”

In “Drawn into a Circle of Poetry Giants,” which appeared in the Washington Post on December 5, Michael Dirda reviewed a memoir by Kathleen Spivack BI ’71, With Robert Lowell and His Circle: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, Stanley Kunitz and Others (University Press of New England, 2012), saying, “Spivack . . . can be winningly guileless.”

Megan Sweeney RI ’08 continues her study of women in prison in her latest edited book, The Story Within Us: Women Prisoners Reflect on Reading (University of Illinois Press, 2012). The book features in-depth interviews with 11 incarcerated women, each of whom recounts her life story and reading experiences in prison.

A new collection of essays by Katie Roiphe ’90, In Praise of Messy Lives (Dial Press, 2012), was lauded by Dwight Garner in the New York Times. He called the book “devastatingly good” and her essays “lean and literate, not unlike Orwell’s, with a frightening ratio of velocity to torque.”

The latest from Kiana Davenport BI ’93 is The Spy Lover (Thomas & Mercer, 2012), an epic novel set during the Civil War and based on her own family history.

Marguerite Guzmán Bouvard AM ’60, PhD ’65, BI ’72 recently published The Invisible Wounds of War: Coming Home from Iraq and Afghanistan (Prometheus Books, 2012). Her previous book, The Unpredictability of Light: Poems (Word Press, 2009), was a MassBook of the Year for Poetry.

The work of Amy Greenfield ’62, BI ’75 is the subject of a new book by the film curator Robert A. Haller, Flesh into Light: The Films of Amy Greenfield (University of Chicago Press, 2012). Greenfield began directing films in 1970 and is one of the pioneers of the cinema dance genre.

Eve M. Troutt Powell ’83, AM ’88, PhD ’95, RI ’06 has published Tell This in My Memory: Stories of Enslavement from Egypt, Sudan, and the Ottoman Empire (Stanford University Press, 2012). In the book, she reconsiders slavery in the modern Middle East, where the practice crossed racial and ethnic lines.

A memoir from Marina von Neumann Whitman ’56, The Martian’s Daughter (University of Michigan Press, 2012), provides a fresh, personal glimpse into the life of her father, the renowned mathematician and inventor of game theory John von Neumann, and recounts her experiences serving on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers in the early 1970s and as GM’s vice president and chief economist in the 1980s. Whitman, a highly respected economist, is currently a professor of business administration and public policy at the University of Michigan.

Theda Skocpol AM ’72, PhD ’75, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard, published Obama and America’s Political Future (Harvard University Press, 2012) shortly before the election. Publishers Weekly said, “Anyone who is passionately concerned about politics and prefers thoughtful discussion to polemic will find this book invaluable.”

Our Andromeda (Copper Canyon Press, 2012) is the third poetry collection from Brenda Shaughnessy RI ’01. The New Yorker’s Hilton Als called it a monumental work that “makes hash of those tired superlatives that will no doubt crop up in subsequent reviews."

Audry Lynch '55 has been quite productive these past few years. She recently published Garth Jeffers Recalls His Father, Robinson Jeffers: Recollections of a Poet's Son (Edwin Mellen Press, 2012), right on the heels of The Development of Roy Simmonds as a Steinbeck Scholar as Evidenced through His Letters: The Life and Achievement of an Independent Academic (Edwin Mellen Press, 2010) and The Rebel Figure in American Literature and Film: The INterconnectedness of John Steinbeck and James Dean (Edwin Mellen Press, 2009).

In The Generation of Postmemory: Writing and Visual Culture after the Holocaust (Columbia University Press, 2012), Marianne Hirsch BI '85 fleshes out the concept of postmemory: that memories of traumatic events live on to mark the lives of those who were there to experience them.

Jane Goldsmith '62 has published her first novel, Indian Winter (Full Court Press, 2012). The book is a coming-of-age story set on a Montana ranch in 1970.

A new novella and iPad app by Alexandra Chasin BI '97, Brief (Jaded Ibis Productions, 2012), is written, designed, and programmed specifically to be read as an interactive book. Brief randomly pulls images to illustrate the text of the novel, providing a different visual experience for every reader. Chasin teaches in the literary studies department at Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts.

Joan Aleshire '60 published a fifth book of poems, Happily (Four Way Books, 2012). Aleshire has been a visiting writer in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College since 1983.

Margaret W. Rossiter '66 has published the third volume of her landmark survey Women Scientists in America: Forging a New World since 1972 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012). She is the Marie Underhill Noll Professor of History of Science at Cornell University, served as the editor of Isis from 1994 to 2003, and was named a 1989 MacArthur Fellow.

Olabode Omojola RI '05, a Five Colege Associate Professor of Music at Mount Holyoke College, published a new book, Yorùbá Music in the Twentieth Century: Identity, Agency, and Performance Practice (University of Rochester Press, 2012). Omojola draws on extensive field research conducted over the course of two decades to examine both traditional and contemporary Yorùbá genres.

Just out, Raving Violet (Black Opal Books, 2013) is a memoir in the form of short stories by Valerie Gilbert '85. Gilbert, a naive New Yorker and natural storyteller, started putting her stories on stage in solo shows, stand-up comedy, storyteling gigs, and competitions. She has just started committing them to the written page, and her second book, Memories, dreams, and Deflections, will be published by Black Opal in late 2013.

In her book The American Red Cross from Clara Barton to the New Deal (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013), Marian Moser Jones '91 is a history of the charitable organization from its inception in 1881 through the 1930s. Jones is an assistant professor of family science at the University of Maryland School of Public Health.

Susan Hodara '75 is among the four writers who share surprising and moving memories of their mothers in Still Here Thinking of You: A Second Chance with Our Mothers (Big Table Publishing, 2013). Hodara is a journalist, memoirist, and teacher who has been teaching memoir writing since 2003. Her short memoirs have appeared in avariety of literary journals and anthologies—one was nominated for a Pushcart Prize—and her articles are published in Communication Arts, the New York Times, and elsewhere.

Watch for a new book from Sheryl Sandberg '91, MBA '95, COO of the social-networking site Facebook, to come out in March. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (Knopf, 2013) grew out of a TED talk she gave about women and the workplace.

Also out in March, Tiger Writing: Art, Culture, and the Interdependent Self (Harvard University Press, 2013) is the written version of the 2012 William E. Massey Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilizations, which Gish Jen '77, BI '97, RI '02 delivered at Harvard from April 30 to May 2 of last year. In it, she offers a multilayered view into art, narrative, and the profound differences that exist between East and West. Jen dedicates the book to Werner Sollors, the Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Professor of English Literature and a professor of African and African American studies at Harvard.

Art Aware

Romuald Karmakar RI ’13 and Sarah Sze RI ’06 will both present their work at the Venice Biennale. Karmakar will represent Germany, alongside the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei; Sze, the United States. The 55th International Art Exhibition will take place from June 1 to November 24 of this year.

Photographs and video works by Sharon Lockhart RI ’08, about the textile work and choreography of the Israeli artist Noa Eshkol, are on view at the Jewish Museum in New York City. The show, appropriately named Sharon Lockhart | Noa Eshkol, is up through March 24. Lockhart also appeared at the Harvard Film Archive on September 17 to screen her film Double Tide (2009), a portrait of a Maine clam digger during a rare day with two low tides.

Jesseca Ferguson ’71 most recently showed her artwork—images, photo objects, and collages—in the show Sampler—The USM Teaching Collection, which ran from September 27 to December 9 at the University of Southern Maine. Prior to that, she was in the group show Off the Books: Three Photographers in Brattleboro, Vermont, and held a solo exhibition, Jesseca Ferguson: Museum of Memory, at the University of Louisville’s Hite Art Institute.

Jennifer Amadeo-Holl ’81 showed her artwork in an exhibit, The Possibles, at the Howard Yezerski Gallery in Boston, from September 7 to October 2. Her paintings explore the potential for simple shapes to trigger memories and emotions, along with the familiarity and strangeness inherent in abstraction.

Roxane Zand ’75, a director at Sotheby’s, is now blogging about art from new markets: India, the Middle East and North Africa, and Turkey. Her blog, titled “Cultural Crossroads,” can be found under the Inside Sotheby’s tab on its website.

On Stage and Screen

Leviathan—a film by Lucien Castaing-Taylor RI ’10, AM ’11 and Véréna Paravel RI ’13—was nominated for the Stella Artois Truer Than Fiction Award of the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards. The film, which had its US debut at the New York Film Festival, also generated a bit of buzz at the Toronto International Film Festival. The New York Times featured their work in “The Merger of Academia and Art House: Harvard Filmmakers’ Messy World,” which appeared on August 31.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, HBO has signed the playwright Lydia R. Diamond RI ’12 to adapt her work Stick Fly into an hourlong drama. Diamond’s play rose from the Huntington Theatre to Broadway, where it was coproduced by Alicia Keys.

Diamond, Caridad Svich RI ’03, and Anna Deavere Smith BI ’92 were invited to contribute to the project MyAmerica by Centerstage, the state theater of Maryland, in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Fifty playwrights each contributed a short monologue that answers the question “What is my America?” These are available at

A new play by Svich, Spark, received readings at the University of Iowa on December 4 and at the University of California, Davis, on December 7. Her plays Love in the Time of Cholera and In the Time of the Butterflies ran through December at Repertorio Español in New York City. Other plays that were produced this past fall include 12 Ophelias (a play with songs) and Fugitive Pieces. Recently in print are Svich’s Blasted Heavens: Five Contemporary Plays Inspired by the Greeks (Eyecorner Press, 2012) and Iphigenia Crash Land Falls on the Neon Shell That Was Once Her Heart (a rave fable) (Broadway Play Publishing, 2012). Finally, Svich’s Guapa—which played at Borderlands Theater in Tucson, Arizona, in October—received a 2012 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, and Magnificent Waste was a finalist for the 2012 PEN Center USA Literary Award in Drama.

Queen of Versailles, the well-received film by photographer Lauren Greenfield ’87—it won her the US Directing Award: Documentary after screening on the opening night of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival—came out on DVD in November. Queen of Versailles, which follows the time-share mogul David Siegel and his wife, Jackie, as they experience a reversal of fortune, was one of last year’s most-watched documentaries.

A performance piece by David Levine AM ’05, RI ’13—which showed at Essex Street Market in New York City from September 21 to September 30—appealed to fans of conceptual, site-specific theater . . . and voyeurs. The New York Times called Habit a “genre­bending art-theater project.”

The Color of Conscience: Human Rights in Idaho, a documentary produced by Marcia Franklin ’84, was the winner in the television category of a 2012 Silver Gavel Award for Media and the Arts, awarded by the American Bar Association. The hourlong program chronicles the efforts by Idaho human rights advocates over more than 20 years to counter the Aryan Nations, a white supremacist group that had a compound in the northern part of the state, and examines current human rights concerns in the state. Franklin has been a producer and host at Idaho Public Television since 1990. In 2000, her documentary, Hearts and Minds: Teens and Mental Illness, won a George Foster Peabody Award.

Grace Notes

The world premiere recording Laura Elise Schwendinger: 3 Works for Solo Instruments and Orchestra (Albany Records, 2012) became available in December. The audio CD, produced by the Grammy Award winner Judith Sherman, features the compositions of Laura Schwendinger RI ’03 and performances by Matt Haimovitz, Christina Jennings, and Curtis Macomber.

The musical Once—workshopped at the A.R.T. by John Tiffany RI ’11 during his fellowship year—continues to take the showbiz world by storm. On December 5, Once, which won the 2012 Best Musical Tony Award, picked up a Grammy nomination for Best Musical Theater Album. It will compete for the prize with Follies, The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess, Newsies, and Nice Work If You Can Get It. The Institute will be rooting for Tiffany on February 10, when the Grammy Awards take place. Tiffany announced in December that he was stepping down as the associate director of the National Theatre of Scotland to focus on freelance projects.

Public Life

Two recent moon missions, led by Maria Zuber RI ’03, revealed “features not previously resolved, including tectonic structures, volcanic landforms, basin rings, crater central peaks, and numerous simple craters.” The findings were announced at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union, and “Gravity Field of the Moon from the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) Mission” was published online by Science Express. “We have known that the moon’s crust and other planetary crusts have been bombarded by impacts, but none of us could have predicted just how cracked the lunar crust is,” said Zuber, who is the E. A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics at MIT.

Joan V. Ruderman AM ’89, RI ’11 has been named the first woman president and director of the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, the nearly 125-year-old nonprofit research center for biology, biomedicine, and environmental science. She served as a senior advisor to the Institute’s science program through the end of 2012.

Maria Tatar BI ’78, AM ’79, RI ’07 appeared on WBUR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook on October 17 discussing fairy tales. She’s the editor and translator of The Annotated Brothers Grimm (W. W. Norton, 2012)—an uncensored volume containing translations that preserve the spirit of the originals. Tatar was also pro.led in the Boston Globe on October 27.

Tatar and many other Radcliffe affiliates participated in the Boston Book Festival on October 27: Junot Díaz RI ’03, Tsitsi Jaji RI ’13, Tayari Jones RI ’12, Claire Messud RI ’05, Edith Pearlman ’57, Leah Price ’91, RI ’07, and Justin Torres RI ’13.

Meenakshi Narain RI ’07 is part of the CERN team responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson, or “God particle.” CERN confirmed in September that the new particle had been observed at the Large Hadron Collider and upheld by peer review.

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