Shenandoah Makes List for “Voracious Readers”
Do you like to read? Do you like lists? Would you like a thoughtfully curated list of things to read? Then check out 100 Essential Sites for Voracious Readers, which had the good sense to include Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee Literary Review on said list.
The list is a feature of the Masters in English website, an aggregator of programs that offer online graduate studies in English. It came up with the list in response to the growing popularity of e-readers and divides it into five categories, with Shenandoah falling under “Literary Magazines.”
The latest issue of Shenandoah, Spring 2013, features a special portfolio of New Zealand poetry edited by Lesley Wheeler, the Henry S. Fox Professor of English, and two students, seniors Drew Martin and Max Chapnick. Here’s an article about their collaboration.
W&L faculty and students (including novelist Tom Wolfe ’51) founded Shenandoah in 1950. It’s been going strong ever since. It transformed into an online-only format in the fall of 2011; Rod Smith, a writer-in-residence at W&L, has edited it since 1995.
Studio 11 Features Authors Leah Naomi Green and John Casteen
Writers at Studio 11 reading series will feature authors Leah Naomi Green and John Casteen on Monday, March 4, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Studio 11 Gallery in Lexington. Green will read from her chapbook, “The Ones We Have,” and Casteen will read from his latest, “For the Mountain Laurel.”
The readings are free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. Books will be available for sale.
Green’s poems have appeared in “The Squaw Valley Review” and “Dirtcakes Literary Journal,” among other places. She is the recipient of many honors, including the Flying Trout Press Award, the Dirtcakes Poetry Award, the Bain-Swiggett Poetry Prize and the University of California Humanities Center International Travel Grant.
Green received her M.F.A. from the Poetry Workshop at The University of California, Irvine, and teaches writing and environmental studies at Washington and Lee University. She lives in Rockbridge County where she and her partner, Ben, grow food and homestead on 80 acres.
Casteen’s “Free Union” (2009) and “For the Mountain Laurel (2011) are part of the VQR Poetry Series from the University of Georgia Press. His poems have appeared in “The Paris Review,” “Prairie Schooner,” “Ploughshares,” “Shenandoah” and other magazines, and in “Best American Poetry” and “The Rumpus Poetry Anthology.”
Casteen is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and for 10 years was self-employed as a designer and builder of custom furniture. He has taught on Semester at Sea (Summer 2008, Fall 2011) at the University of Virginia and as visiting artist faculty in residence at New York University. He lives in Earlysville, Va., and teaches poetry at Sweet Briar College.
The Studio 11 event will include student writers from Washington and Lee University (Cameron Higgins, a senior English major), Dabney S. Lancaster Community College (Taylor Goodwin) and Virginia Military Institute (VMI senior Woody Sudkin).
Other readers will be Toni Shirey, a 2006 graduate of Rockbridge County High School, who attended Blue Ridge Community College and works at Blue Sky. Peggy McCaulley, a member of Sub Terra, who is actively involved in Rockbridge area volunteer work. She is currently writing her memoirs as well as fiction. Janice Bell, also a member of Sub Terra, is a Virginia native with an admitted addiction to knitting. She is a volunteer at Project Horizon.
Ellen Mayock and Stacey Vargas will read from some collaborative work. Mayock has published a book-length study on Spanish women writers, a translation of a one-act play titled “Man Woman Hombre Mujer” written by W&L Professor Chris Gavaler, and 30 articles on Spanish, Latin American and U.S.-Latin literature. Mayock is also co-editor of “Feminist Activism in Academia.” She is the Ernest Williams II Professor of Spanish at W&L.
Vargas is a professor of physics at VMI and also runs a laser spectroscopy research laboratory. She researches and studies the optical
properties on ions doped into solid state crystals and glasses. She has written a variety of publications and presentations on her research.
Studio 11 is located at 11 S. Jefferson St. in downtown Lexington. The artist exhibiting at Studio Eleven during March is local artist Janette Coleman. The reading series is coordinated by Mattie Quesenberry Smith of DSLCC and Lesley Wheeler of W&L with help from both schools, including the Glasgow Endowment at W&L.
A Son's Memoir of a Famous Father
As the son of one of America’s most famous preachers, John S. Peale, of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1958, saw a side of his father, the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, that few others ever glimpsed.
John has written about his experiences in a new memoir, “Just How Far From the Apple Tree?: A Son in Relation to his Famous Father.”
A professor of philosophy emeritus at Longwood College, John, who lives now in Charlottesville, majored in philosophy at W&L and thought he would please his father when he enrolled in Union Theological Seminary. As he told the Charlottesville Daily Progress in a story about the new book, his father’s reaction was surprising.
“Dad wrote me a one-sentence letter, which I’ll never forget,” Peale said. “He wrote, ‘Dear John. I do not know why you are going into the seat of my most implacable enemies. Love, Dad.’
“I guess he thought I was leaving him, but I thought he wasn’t letting me make my own decisions. I thought I could be loyal, loving and respectful to him and go to this really good school.
“That’s the whole tension in my background. Finding my own way for myself, and dealing with my love for my dad.”
Called “God’s salesman” by one biographer, Norman Vincent Peale is widely known for his 1952 book, “The Power of Positive Thinking,” which sold millions of copies. He was the minister at Marble Collegiate Church, in New York City, for 52 years. He broadcast sermons on radio and television, and the congregation grew from 600 to more than 5,000 during his tenure there. In 1945, he and his wife, Ruth, started Guideposts magazine, a nondenominational periodical that shares inspirational accounts from famous and ordinary people and is still being published.
As John explained in the Daily Progress interview, his memories of his father concern his detachment from the family.
“From the early 1940s, a pattern developed in our home, which was an apartment in New York City. My father would lead services and preach on Sunday as the pastor of Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan.
“Then he would leave and go on speaking engagements around the country…. Back he’d come on Thursday afternoon or Friday, closet himself in the study to prepare for services on Sunday, and leave again on Monday.
“Mother did a lot of what she did to support his work. She was on boards and committees connected with the church, so she was absent a lot, too. The only thing that meant anything in our home was what he was doing. Everything revolved around that.”
John called his father one of the best public speakers he’s ever heard and said that he was committed to what he wanted to do, including helping people.
In addition to his B.A. from W&L and his M.Div. from Union, John has an M.A. from Boston University and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The memoir is his third book. He has also written “Biblical History as the Quest for Maturity” and “The Love of God in China: Can One Be Both Chinese and Christian?” He has made numerous trips to China and has conducted research on the resurgence of the Chinese Christian Church.
Ray Suarez to Speak on “Media, Politics and Washington”
Ray Suarez, Washington-based senior correspondent for “The News Hour” on PBS, is the Fishback Visiting Writer at Washington and Lee University for 2013 and will present a public lecture on Monday, March 11, at 5 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater of Elrod Commons.
The title of his talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Media, Politics and Washington: An Evening with Ray Suarez.”
Before joining “The News Hour” in 1999, Suarez had been host of NPR’s nationwide, call-in news program “Talk of the Nation” since 1993. Prior to that, he spent seven years covering local and national stories for the NBC-owned station, WMAQ-TV in Chicago. He is currently at work on the companion volume to an upcoming documentary series for PBS chronicling the history of Latinos in America.
Suarez is the author of “America, The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America” (Harper Perennial, 2007), a book examining the tightening relationship between religion and politics. He also wrote “The Old Neighborhood: What We Lost in the Great Suburban Migration 1966-1999” (Free Press, 1999) and has contributed to several other books, including “What We See” (New Village Press, 2010), “How I Learned English” (National Geographic, 2007) and “Brooklyn: A State of Mind” (Workman, 2001).
Suarez also hosts the monthly foreign affairs radio program “America Abroad” for Public Radio International, and the nationally broadcast weekly political program “Need to Know” for PBS. At “The NewsHour,” Suarez is the lead correspondent for the program’s global health coverage.
Over the years he has narrated, anchored or reported many documentaries for public radio and television including the nationally broadcast “Anatomy of a Pandemic” (2009, PBS) and “Jerusalem: The Center of the World” (2009, PBS); a weekly series, “Follow the Money” (1997, PBS); and programs including “Homeland” (2012, PBS) “Who Speaks for Islam?” (LinkTV, 2005, 2009) and “By The People” (PBS, 2004-07).
In 2010, Suarez was inducted in the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. He is a co-recipient of NPR’s 1993-94 and 1994-95 DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton Awards for on-site coverage of the first all-race elections in South Africa and the first 100 days of the 104th Congress, respectively. He was honored with the 2005 Distinguished Policy Leadership Award from UCLA’s School of Public Policy and the 1996 Ruben Salazar Award from the National Council of La Raza.
He is a winner of a Benton Fellowship in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Chicago. He has also been honored with a Distinguished Alumnus Award from NYU and a Professional Achievement Award from the University of Chicago.
A native of Brooklyn, Suarez holds a B.A. in African history from New York University and an M.A. in the social sciences from the University of Chicago. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by many colleges and universities, most recently by the State University of New York.
The Fishback Fund for Visiting Writers is the result of a generous gift by Sara and William H. Fishback Jr., Class of 1956, in memory of his parents. The fund brings an outstanding writer to the W&L campus annually who delivers a public lecture to the Lexington-Rockbridge community.
Previous Fishback Visiting Writers have included New Yorker writer Jane Mayer, author and journalist Steve Coll, author and legal scholar Stephen Carter, political scientist Larry Sabato and columnist and Brookings Institution Fellow E.J. Dionne.
Yale Professor Shelly Kagan to Lecture at W&L
Shelly Kagan, the Clark Professor of Philosophy at Yale University, will give a talk at Washington and Lee University on Monday, March 11, at 5:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library. The lecture is part of the Living Philosophy Series sponsored by W&L’s Philosophy Department.
The title of Kagan’s talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Why is Death Bad for You?” His latest book, published in 2012, is titled “Death” (as is a popular class he teaches at Yale.) A book sale will be held after the talk.
Kagan is the author of four books including “The Geometry of Desert” (Oxford, 2012); “Death” (Yale, 2012); and “Normative Ethics” (Westview, 1998). He is also the author and editor of many articles including “Do I Make a Difference?” (Philosophy & Public Affairs, Spring 2011); “Well-Being as Enjoying the Good” (Philosophical Perspectives, 2009); and “The Grasshopper, Aristotle, Bob Adams and Me,” in “Metaphysics and the Good,” (Oxford, 2009).
According to Kagan, “My main research interests lie in moral philosophy, in particular normative ethics. Much of my work centers on the debate between consequentialism and deontological moral theories, with publications on the nature of well-being, moral desert, utopia and the connections between Kantianism and consequentialism.”
Kagan holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. from Princeton. He previously taught at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Kagan’s talk is sponsored by the Morton Endowment for Philosophy and Religion.
W&L's Locy Writes Legal Reporting Textbook
The first time Toni Locy covered a trial as a young journalist, she didn’t know the difference between a plaintiff and a defendant.
Now, after 25 years reporting on the American justice system at all levels for some of the nation’s biggest and best news outlets, she has written one of the few textbooks on covering courts. It is aimed at journalism students as well as reporters who are new to legal reporting, providing them with the foundation they need to write accurate, fair, clear and compelling stories for mass audiences.
Locy is the Donald W. Reynolds Professor of Legal Reporting at Washington and Lee University’s department of journalism and mass communications, and her new textbook is “Covering America’s Courts: A Clash of Rights” (Peter Lang, Feb. 2013).
“I wish someone had introduced me to the principles of legal reporting before I ever stepped foot inside a courtroom,” said Locy. “It would have made things a lot easier. There are basics that journalists should know when covering any legal proceeding, and what they need to know about the law is different from what lawyers need to know.”
Some books have been published on legal reporting but were written for professional journalists assigned to the beat rather than for journalism students. Few professors teach a course on legal reporting and that may be due to the lack of a textbook to date. “It’s hard to build a course from scratch with no textbook. I know, because I’ve done it at Washington and Lee,” said Locy. “So I hope this book will provide a framework to help professors create a course.”
Locy’s book is based on her approach to the subject in her W&L classes in which she uses examples from her experiences as a reporter. She wrote the book with her Washington and Lee journalism students in mind and acknowledged that they helped form the book through the questions they asked in class.
Locy has reported for the Washington Post, Boston Globe, USA Today and the Associated Press. She covered the 9/11 attacks and was one of three reporters to break the first published story in the Washington Post about the independent counsel’s investigation into President Bill Clinton’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky. She was also nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for a series she wrote for the Boston Globe about the Boston Police Department’s inability to solve serious crimes.
But it was her time at USA Today that thrust Locy into the national spotlight.
In 2008, she refused to comply with a federal judge’s order to reveal the identities of confidential sources who had provided information she used in reporting on the FBI’s investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people.
A U.S. Army scientist, Dr. Steven Hatfill, was called a “person of interest” by then-attorney general John Ashcroft but Hatfill was never charged.
“I didn’t like the term ‘person of interest’ because it’s so vague and highly negative,” recalled Locy. “I looked it up in the U.S. Attorney’s Manual and couldn’t find it because it’s not a legal term. If you name someone as a target of a grand jury investigation, there are certain things that kick into gear that prosecutors are supposed to do. So ‘person of interest’ is a squishy term designed to circumvent those rules.”
Hatfill sued the government and claimed he needed the identities of reporters’ sources to prove that government officials had leaked information about him in violation of the Federal Privacy Act. When Locy refused, the judge held her in civil contempt of court.
The judge, Reggie B. Walton, imposed fines on Locy that escalated to $5,000 a day over a three-week period. He also banned anyone—family, friends and her former employer—from helping her pay the fines. A federal appellate court granted Locy’s request to stay the fines pending her appeal. The U.S. Justice Department eventually settled Hatfill’s lawsuit, and Walton vacated the contempt order against Locy. The National Press Club awarded her the John Aubuchon Freedom of the Press Award because she protected her sources.
Locy devotes a chapter in her book to the importance of protecting sources, with a sidebar about her experiences in the Hatfill case. “I have no regrets about the Hatfill case whatsoever,” said Locy. “I know I did the right thing, and I would do it again. If you’re going to develop sources, then you need to be prepared to protect those sources if a federal judge is yelling at you to reveal their names. If you make a promise to a source and don’t keep that promise, you hurt everyone else who comes after you. I know, because that happened to me. Reporters who had gotten into that kind of trouble before me made concessions that I was then forced to make, and that hurts the profession.”
The first section of the book introduces students to the courts and identifies the key players and their roles in the courtroom — police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and reporters. Locy then takes the reader through the entire process from the 911 call, the investigation, the indictment and the pretrial stage to a trial which could end in a plea agreement. If a case goes to trial, Locy walks the reader through testimony, deliberations and sentencing for both criminal and civil litigation.
Another section explains how to find and interpret key documents.
Locy also discusses the challenges of covering high profile trials and how they can become sensationalized if reporters don’t know enough about how things are supposed to work.
According to Locy, American history is full of such high profile cases, going back to the Boston massacre, when British Army soldiers killed five civilian men in 1770, and Samuel Adams, a columnist at the time, attacked the jury’s verdict. Then there was the 1954 case of Dr. Sam Sheppard in Cleveland. Sheppard was found guilty of murdering his pregnant wife but was later acquitted in a retrial. More recently, the O.J Simpson trial was, in Locy’s words, “a year and a half of national drama played out on cable television.
“These sensational trials are covered like sporting events, and although you can’t get away from that completely, if you know about legal procedures and how things are supposed to work, then you’ll be able to recognize when they aren’t working and be able to explain why,” she said. “Right now, I don’t think we have enough reporters in that category.”
Another concern Locy addresses in the book is secrecy in the courts, pointing out that it has increased considerably since she began her career in 1981. At that time, the war on drugs was raging, and prosecutors would regularly ask federal judges to seal entire cases to protect drug snitches, arguing that they would be killed if their partners in crime found out that they were cooperating.
Locy recalled one case she covered in Philadelphia where a federal judge claimed in an interview with her that the FBI had lied to him. The FBI wanted a snitch to cooperate so badly that agents agreed to let him keep a million dollars of his drug profits, only they didn’t inform the judge of that part of the plea agreement. “This guy played the FBI for years,” said Locy, “and never gave them any real information about the mobsters he had dealt with.”
She said another example of when secrecy can be abused is in product liability cases when people don’t know about previous incidents. Also, according to Locy, some people have been arrested, indicted, tried and sentenced in secret.
“That’s why having reporters in the courtroom is essential to keep tabs on what’s going on and look into the real reasons for secrecy,” she said. “If you don’t shine some light on what the government is doing, then you create the opportunity for people to try and hide their mistakes.”
Another issue Locy covers in her textbook is anonymous juries. While she acknowledges the importance of protecting jurors from tampering and intimidation (in 1988 she covered the Mafia trial of Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo in Philadelphia), she is concerned that anonymous juries have increased and are now occurring in white-collar crime cases.
“Of all the players in the criminal justice system, jurors probably have the most carte blanche,” she explained. “Where people are that powerful, someone needs to evaluate who these people are and whether they have an axe to grind or any ties that they didn’t disclose during the jury selection process. If you don’t know their names, then it’s impossible to evaluate if they lied to get on the jury for whatever reason. There have been cases where that happened, and sometimes nobody realizes it until after the fact. Anonymous juries hamper reporters from doing their job as a check on the system. I think that’s problematic.”
While Locy has been described as “one of the most gifted, tenacious court reporters,” she has no regrets about leaving the profession. “I promised myself early on that I wouldn’t become an old lady reporter because I believe that journalism is a young person’s game,” she said. “At some point, I transitioned from being a reporter who was being mentored to becoming a mentor myself, and I liked that role. I haven’t looked back because I enjoy teaching, and this book is a way for me to contribute to journalism by training future reporters.”
Locy received two of W&L’s Summer Lenfest Grants that enabled her to travel to Colorado and Washington, D.C., to talk with judges and other officials about cases and gather information. “It was a comfort to know that I had the financial and moral support that the Lenfest Grants provide, and I’m very grateful,” she said.
Locy received her B.S. in journalism from West Virginia University and her M.S. in the Studies of Law from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named.
“Covering America’s Courts: A Clash of Rights” is available at the University Store and through its website at http://bookstore.wlu.edu
Neuroscience Expert Headlines W&L’s Institute for Honor Symposium
Michael Gazzaniga, professor of psychology and director of The SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will deliver the keynote address at the 13th annual Institute for Honor Symposium at Washington and Lee University on Friday, March 1.
Gazzaniga will present his address, “Who’s in Charge: Free Will and the Science of the Brain,” at 3:45 p.m. in Room 214 of the Science Center. It is free and open to the public.
The theme of this year’s institute is “Neuroscience and the Law: ‘My Brain Made Me Do It!’ ” In addition to the keynote, participants will hear presentations and panel discussions during the two-day event, which runs on March 1 and 2.
Over several decades, Gazzaniga has studied patients who have undergone split-brain surgery that reveals the division of labor between the two hemispheres of the brain. In his recent lectures and in a new book, which has the same title as his W&L lecture, he examines the uses of neuroscience in society and particularly in the courtroom.
Gazzaniga received a Ph.D in psychobiology from the California Institute of Technology, where he worked under the guidance of Nobel Laureate Roger Sperry on groundbreaking studies of persons with surgically divided brains. He has published many books accessible to a lay audience, such as “The Ethical Brain,” “Mind Matters” and “Nature’s Mind,” which, along with his participation in the 1988 PBS show “The Brain and the Mind,” have made information about brain function generally accessible—essential in obtaining public support for clinical and basic science research.
His many scholarly publications include the landmark 1995 book “The Cognitive Neurosciences,” now in its third edition, the sourcebook for the field.
Gazzaniga’s long and distinguished teaching and mentoring career has included beginning and developing centers for cognitive neuroscience at the University of California-Davis and at Dartmouth, and most recently the SAGE Center at UC-Santa Barbara. He has advised various institutes involved in brain research, belonged to the President’s Council on Bioethics and was the founding director of the MacArthur Law and Neuroscience project. He was recently elected to the nation’s most influential and prestigious scientific organization, the National Academy of Sciences.
He was the subject of an October 2011 “Profiles in Science” feature in the New York Times, which has an accompanying video interview.
Other speakers at this year’s Institute for Honor include Tyler Lorig, the Parmly Professor of Psychology and chair of neuroscience Washington and Lee; David Caudill, the Goldberg Family Professor of Law at Villanova University Law School; and Judge Jed S. Rakoff, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Aside from Gazzaniga’s keynote speech, the presentations at the institute are open only to members of the University community. Others may register for the event by contacting the Office of Special Programs at (540) 458-8916. Additional details are available at http://www.wlu.edu/x59368.xml.
Established in 2000 at Washington and Lee by a generous endowment from the Class of 1960, the Institute for Honor promotes the understanding and practice of honor as an indispensable element of society. Its mandate is to provide an educational and resource management facility dedicated to the advocacy of honor as the core value in personal, professional, business and community relations.
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Auburn University Professor Matthew Bagger to Speak at Washington and Lee
Matthew C. Bagger, the Goodwin-Philpott Eminent Scholar in Religion at Auburn University, will give a lecture at Washington and Lee University on Monday, March 4, at 5:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.
The title of Bagger’s talk, which is free and open to the public, is “William James on the ‘Science of Religions’ and the Province of Faith.”
As the author of “The Will to Believe” and The “Varieties of Religious Experience,” William James is often interpreted as an apologist for supernaturalism and religious faith. This view of James is no doubt accurate, but it overshadows James’s interest in establishing and contributing to a science of religions that explains religion in naturalistic terms.
The key to an undistorted reading of James on religion lies in properly relating his apologetic interests to his naturalism. One way to achieve this reading is to read The Varieties in light of the response to “The Will to Believe.”
Bagger teaches and writes in the areas of philosophy and theory of religion. He is the author of “The Uses of Paradox: Religion, Self-Transformation, and the Absurd” (2007, Columbia University Press) and “Religious Experience, Justification, and History” (1999, Cambridge University Press).
His articles on topics such as the epistemology of religious experience, mysticism, Hume, the ethics of belief, pragmatism and the place of religion in American public life have appeared in a variety of journals. He is currently working on the topic of pragmatism and religion.
He previously taught at Dartmouth College, Columbia University and Brown University.
Bagger holds an A.B. from Dartmouth and an M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Columbia University.
W&L Law BLSA Moot Court Teams Advance to National Finals
Members of the Washington and Lee University School of Law Black Law Students Association (BLSA) recently participated in the moot court and mock trial competitions at the organization’s regional convention, placing second and third in their respective competitions. Those teams will now move on to the national competition in Atlanta in March.
The team of Brian Buckmire ’14L and Teressa Campbell ’14L took second in the Frederick Douglass Moot Court competition, which focuses on appellate advocacy. The W&L team competed in the final round against a team from Georgetown. In all, there were nine teams in the Moot Court competition in the mid-Atlantic regional.
W&L entered two teams in the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial competition. After several rounds of competition, the W&L team of Tunde Cadmus ’15L, Doris Okafor ’13L, Maisie Osteen ’14L, and O’Dane Williamson ’14L placed third out of 18 mock trial teams. The W&L team of Halima Adenegan ’15L, Samantha Brewster-Owens ’14L, Josh Laguerre ’14L, and Dominik Taylor ’14L also competed in the mid-Atlantic regional.
This is only the second year that W&L has fielded teams for the BLSA national moot court and mock trial competitions. W&L teams advanced to the national finals in both competitions last year as well.
More information about the upcoming National BLSA convention is available online.
W&L's Kirk on WMRA's “Virginia Insight”
Athena Kirk, Mellon Junior Faculty Fellow in the Classics Department at Washington and Lee University, appeared on NPR affiliate WMRA’s “Virginia Insight” show on Monday, Feb. 25, to discuss humans, philosophy and animals.
When it comes to animals, humans can be a bit schizophrenic. Americans lavish billions on the beasts we consider pets, but few of us give much thought to the life of the creature providing us with our next cheeseburger. But it was not always that way. The show takes a look at how attitudes toward animals have changed both in recent decades and over thousands of years.
Kirk was joined by Cynthia Hurst, acting director of the Charlottesville, Albemarle SPCA and by call-in guest Dr. Lauren Keating, a member and past president of the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association.
Kirk received the 2012 Distinguished New Course Award from the Humane Society of the United States for her course “The Ancient Animal World,” a comparative study of animals in ancient literature and philosophy and our relationships with animals in contemporary fiction and theory.
“Virginia Insight,” hosted by Tom Graham, is a live call-in show, and can be found at 89.9 in Lexington, 90.7 in Harrisonburg and 103.5 in Charlottesville. Listen to the program below:
Shenandoah Calls for Submissions for the Bevel Summers Prize
Shenandoah, the Washington and Lee University Review, will be accepting entries of short short stories for the annual Bevel Summers Prize from March 13 to March 31. This year’s judge will be disclosed after the 2013 winner is announced, which should occur in May.
Up to three unpublished entries of less than 1,000 words each may be submitted either via postal mail or through the submissions site accessed through Shenandoah’s website (https://shenandoah.submittable.com/submit). Anyone with questions about submissions should email email@example.com.
The prize category will be accessible through this same submissions link on March 13. The winner of the contest will receive $1,000 and will be featured prominently in the next online issue.
The prize is named for the fictional evangelist Bevel Summers and the also fictional impressionable young boy who adopts his name in “The River,” by Flannery O’Connor, a widely acclaimed writer of short stories.
When the prize began in 2011, there were over 200 entries and in 2012, over 400. The 2011 winner was Marsha McSpadden, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., for her piece “Facsimile in Boots,” and the 2012 winner was Jim McDermott of the Washington, D.C., area for “The Pointer.” The judge in 2012 was Prof. Chris Gavaler of the Washington and Lee English Department.
The 2013 prize winner will be announced on the Shenandoah and the Washington and Lee websites as well as in other news media. All finalists will be eligible for publication in Shenandoah.
Postal mail should be addressed to: Shenandoah, 17 Courthouse Square, Lexington, VA 24450
W&L Law Grad Receives Papal Honors
After graduating from the Redemptorists’ minor seminary in 1979, Tim had spent 11 years in the Redemptorists’ priestly formation program. He entered the W&L Law School in 1987, however, before ordination and making final vows.
After receiving his law degree from W&L, he spent two and a half years with a Norfolk law firm before he received acceptance into the Richmond Diocese’s priestly formation at Pontifical North American College and academic studies at the Pontifical Gregorian in Rome. He was ordained a priest on June 29, 1996, at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, in Norfolk, and served there that summer. In October 1996, he returned to Rome to finish graduate studies in dogmatic theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University.
“Monsignor Keeney’s dedication, collegial manner and oversight of the ongoing formation of the priests of this diocese are invaluable,” said Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo, of the Diocese of Richmond.
Tim had served as pastor of St. Anne Parish, in Bristol, Va., until Jan. 15, when he moved to Williamsburg.
W&L Transnational Law Institute Presents Lecture on Africa and International War Crimes Tribunals
The Washington and Lee Transnational Law Institute will present a public lecture by Dr. Kamari Maxine Clarke of Yale University on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 11:00 am in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall.
Dr. Clarke is Professor of Anthropology and International and Area Studies at Yale University, where she is also Senior Research Scientist at the Yale Law School and Chair of the Council on African Studies. Her work examines questions of religious nationalism, legal institutions, international law, and the interface between culture and power, specifically in Africa. She addressed these themes in a recent New York Times op/ed titled “Treat Greed in Africa as a War Crime.”
Dr. Clarke’s talk is titled “The Tribunalization of African Violence and Making Sense of Africa’s Push-Back.” In her remarks, Dr. Clarke will address the potential and limits of the International Criminal Court’s involvement in Africa. To date, all of the International Criminal Court’s situations involve African countries – Libya, Kenya. the DRC, Darfur (Sudan), Uganda, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire and, now, Mali. This localization persists despite the global realities of mass atrocity.
Dr. Clarke’s articles and books have focused on religious and legal movements and the related production of knowledge and power. These works include Mapping Yoruba Networks: Power and Agency in the Making of Transnational Communities (Duke University Press) and Fictions of Justice: The International Criminal Court and the Challenge of Legal Pluralism in Sub-Saharan Africa (Cambridge University Press).
This event is free and open to the public.
The Transnational Law Institute, directed by Professor Mark Drumbl, was established in 2006 to support and coordinate teaching innovations, externships, internships, a speaker series and visiting faculty to help prepare students for the increasing globalization of legal practice.
Learn more about the W&L Law Transnational Law Institute at http://law.wlu.edu/transnational.
Harwood '74, Belt '72 Named to Va. Communications Hall of Fame
For the second year in a row, Washington and Lee will be well represented when the Virginia Communications Hall of Fame holds its induction ceremony in Richmond. Don Belt, of the Class of 1972, and Doug Harwood, of the Class of 1974, are among the five inductees at this year’s event on April 11 in Richmond.
Don Belt is the former chief foreign affairs correspondent and former senior editor of National Geographic magazine. His assignments have taken him from Siberia to India, from Jordan to Pakistan, 50 countries in all. In recent years, he’s specialized in the Middle East; you can read several of his stories on this National Geographic website.
For more than two decades, Doug Harwood has been editor of The Rockbridge Advocate, a monthly publication that routinely tackles controversial stories. He previously worked for the Buena Vista News and its successor publication, the Rockbridge Weekly. In addition to his newspapering, Doug continues to host the radio program on WLUR-FM that he began as a W&L sophomore in 1971. “The Anti-Headache Machine” runs for four hours every Saturday night.
The Hall of Fame honors communications professionals with exceptional careers in journalism, public relations, advertising and other media fields. Honored along with Doug and Don will be Dorothy Abernathy, of the Associated Press; Steve Bassett, of The Martin Agency; and Tom Silvestri, of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. This newest class of five inductees will bring the total to 145. Here’s the list of the Hall of Fame members.
Last year the inductees with W&L ties were Hampden H. Smith III, Washington and Lee professor emeritus of journalism and communications, and Mike Allen, of W&L’s Class of 1986 and currently chief White House correspondent for Politico, were inducted along with the late Robert Dementi, of the Class of 1940, and Jim Raper, past visiting professor of journalism and contributor to the University’s alumni magazines.
W&L Law Dean Pens Op/ed for Huffington Post
An op/ed at the Huffington Post by Washington and Lee School of Law Dean Nora Demleitner explores the prison population cap controversy in California and its effect on the mentally ill.
Demleitner is an expert in sentencing and collateral sentencing consequences. She is currently serving as a consultant to the Vera Institute of Justice in its European-American Prison Project. The project is funded by the Prison Law Office in California, which has been the chief litigant in the prison health care case against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
In her piece, titled “Locking Mental-Health Patients Away in Prisons: Is There a Way Forward?,” Demleitner examines the situation in California, where the State was held to be in violation of the Eight Amendment cruel and unusual punishment clause for the State’s failure to provide adequate health care to the mentally ill. She writes:
“As mental-health wards of the past have been replaced with prisons, the horrors remain the same: mental-health patients labeled threats are locked into small cells for 23 hours a day, with so-called recreation areas that allow them merely to pace back and forth for an hour; dementia patients are locked behind bars, incapable of doing harm but not of doing time. It may be too late for many of them to lead meaningful lives, but the next generation of mental-health patients does not have to end up in prison if we are willing to invest in mental-health services on the outside.”
The full piece is available on the Huffington Post website.
Duke's Swartzwelder to Address Alcohol's Effects on the Brain
Scott Swartzwelder, professor of psychiatry, psychology and neuroscience at Duke University and senior research career scientist at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, will give a talk at Washington and Lee University on Thursday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. in the Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons.
The title of Swartzwelder’s talk, which is free and open to the public, is “Hangover III: The Long-lasting Effects of Alcohol on the Brain.”
Swartzwelder primarily studies the ways in which alcohol and other drugs interact with the brain, particularly with brain mechanisms of learning and memory during adolescence and early adulthood.
“Scott is one of the foremost experts on the impact that alcohol has on the young adult brain in relation to the formation of new memories and what is happening in the hippocampus,” said Jan Kaufman, director of health promotion at W&L.
“His current research advances our understanding of the long-term impact of alcohol use and abuse. This should provide some very clear concrete guidelines to young adults – specifically college students – around alcohol consumption. He is a very personable, down to earth, and engaging speaker who can convey complicated scientific information to lay audiences. He has spoken at W&L several times to a packed Stackhouse Theater.”
Swartzwelder has written four books, including “What Are They Thinking?! The Straight Facts about the Risk-Taking, Social-Networking, Still-Developing Teen Brain” (W.W. Norton, 2013) and “Buzzed: The Straight Facts About the Most Used and Abused Drugs From Alcohol to Ecstasy” (W.W. Norton, fourth edition, 2013) and “Just Say Know: Talking with Kids about Drugs and Alcohol” (W.W. Norton, 2002).
He has published over 130 scientific papers, translating the science of drug actions into lay language, and has trained more than 50 scientists and clinicians. In addition, he has created and taught several innovative college courses on brain mechanisms of memory and drug effects, and has consulted extensively as a scientific advisor with a number of national institutes and departments, as well as with numerous public education and policy organizations.
Swartzwelder has also appeared and consulted on national television and radio. He now lectures and consults to promote effective education about the developing brain, alcohol and other drugs.
W&L's King Curates Major Atlanta Art Exhibit
Elliott King, assistant professor of art history at Washington and Lee, curated a major exhibition at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art on the work of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, the two central figures of Mexican Modernism.
Elliott joined the W&L faculty last fall. He will give the opening lecture at the High for the exhibition, “Viva la Vida: The Art of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera,” this Saturday, Feb. 23.
“Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics, and Painting” features some of the best examples of Kahlo and Rivera’s art with over 140 works, including 60 photographs, primarily drawn from three distinguished Mexican private collections. The exhibition contains almost one-quarter of Kahlo’s entire body of work and a range of Rivera’s painting styles, from his early cubist period and studies for his Mexican murals to his portraits and later landscapes.
The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color catalogue co-authored by King and Dot Tuer, of the Ontario College of Art and Design.
Speaking about the exhibition in an interview distributed by the Associated Press, Elliott said: “What our show really tries to do is bring these two artists together, to talk about their shared context, the influences that really brought them together as a couple — their shared commitment to Mexico, their shared politics, their commitment to the Marxist revolution — and I think that’s a story that really hasn’t been told fully because the two artists have been seen in isolation.”
A major piece in the Atlanta Journal Constitution about the exhibition also quoted Elliott on the pairing of the artists: “The driving force of the exhibit is to answer the question of why these two artists stayed together. We know about the affairs that both of them had, the one-year divorce, then they got back together. But it’s hard to conceive of both Frida and Diego without that political dimension.”
According to another article in the Journal Constitution, the exhibition “has the potential to expand the High’s audience in the long term at a time when it is trying to grow.” One of the firsts for the exhibition is that the signage, recorded audio guides and labeling are in both Spanish and English.
The High Museum is the only United States venue for the show, which has received notice in national media from USA Today to the Wall Street Journal.
Few artists have captured the public’s imagination with the force of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907–1954) and her husband, the Mexican painter and muralist Diego Rivera (1886–1957). During their marriage, Rivera achieved international prominence as a muralist artist, while the Surrealist movement and the Mexican art world embraced Kahlo’s intimate paintings. They were not well known, however, in the broader context of art and modernism. After the deaths of both artists in the 1950s, important retrospectives of Kahlo’s work enshrined her as one of the most significant women artists of the 20th century, largely eclipsing Rivera’s fame as Mexico’s greatest muralist painter.
Elliott is no stranger to the High Museum. In 2010, he curated a Salvador Dali exhibit, which the Journal Constitution called “hugely successful.” You can listen to him discuss the exhibition in the audio below from City Café on Atlanta’s public radio station, WABE:
W&L History Professor Pens Op-ed for Washington Post
Last week, we blogged about two alumni who’d just published op-eds in national newspapers. Today, we’re bragging on Molly Michelmore, associate professor of history at Washington and Lee, whose column, “Why the Income Tax is Worth Celebrating,” appeared in the Feb. 17 edition of the Washington Post. The occasion is the 100th birthday this month of the federal income tax.
In the op-ed, Molly, whose recent book is “Tax and Spend: The Welfare State, Tax Politics, and the Limits of American Liberalism,” explains the one-time popularity of the income tax and its development as an object of national importance, court decisions and wartime expansions. With this historical backdrop, she guides us through our present-day political debates about taxes.
Over the past two years, Molly also has published op-eds about tax politics in the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Christian Science Monitor. And she and her book received a glowing reference in the New Yorker of Nov. 26, 2012; you can read our blog about that here.
Molly, who arrived at W&L in 2006, teaches U.S. history and 20th-century social, political and cultural history.
New Book by W&L's Miranda Gives a Voice to California Indians
Deborah Miranda’s new book, “Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir” (Heyday, Jan. 2013), is both a tribal history of California Indians and a memoir of her own family’s experiences. She is associate professor of English at Washington and Lee University and a member of the Ohlone Costanoan Esselen tribe of California Indians, also known as “Mission Indians.”
The book is a collage of family stories, poems, newspaper clippings, anthropological recordings, photographs, old government documents and personal reflections as well as the occasional writings or testimony from Indians.
One reviewer described the book as “beautiful and devastating” and contended that it should be required reading for anyone seeking to learn about California Indian history, past and present. The book has already been picked up by a variety of departments in several universities including English, native studies, creative writing and history.
“American Indians get written out of American history a lot, but especially California Indians. Many people, even other Indians, think we’re all dead,” said Miranda. “I wanted to bring a voice to the California Indian community and provide a correction of our history that has mostly been presented to Americans in a mythological way.
“The book is also about me and my Dad, but in order to understand him I had to go way back to the beginning of what happened to the California Indians.”
Following a mostly chronological order, the book begins in 1770 California with the arrival of the Spanish who built a string of 21 missions along the coastline from San Diego to San Francisco. Following the model they had established in Mexico, the Spaniards began a forced conversion of the Native Indians, perceiving them as animals but with souls that could be saved. They also brought germs that were new to the indigenous people.
Many family lineages in missionary records came to a complete halt since many Indians died and left no survivors. “That is one reason people don’t hear the story of California Indians, since every time a person died a whole library of stories was lost,” said Miranda.
The Spanish were followed, in 1836, by the Mexicans who closed the missions as churches. By that time, the Indians had no land to return to, and the Mexicans established rancherias and continued the idea that Indians lived and worked for them in return for food and shelter. According to Miranda, the largest loss of life occurred during this period, with the Native population falling from around one million pre-contact to between 5,000 and 10,000 in less than 100 years.
The horrors continued with the arrival of Americans in the mid-1800’s following the war with Mexico. Implementing the plantation ideal, they bought and sold the Indians as slaves, especially the children. When the Gold Rush started (mostly north of San Francisco), the government initiated a bounty system that paid $2.5 million for Indian scalps between 1851 and 1857.
“The word ‘extermination’ was used by government officials,” pointed out Miranda, “and the slavery continued long after the slavery of African Americans was officially ended.”
Miranda included stories about her grandfather, Tom Miranda, in the American section of the book since he was born in 1900. His grandparents were enslaved in the missions and his parents were the first generation of Mission Indians “born free” in California since 1769. It was Tom’s collection of 10 cassettes of stories about growing up and the Indians he knew that formed the basis of Miranda’s research, supplemented by 25 boxes of genealogy left to her by her mother.
“She gathered all these bits and pieces, nothing was whole, because California Indians didn’t have a lot of records,” Miranda explained. “I wanted to pick up as many fragments as I could and make these people real to the reader, because people have forgotten the price that was paid and who paid that price.”
In the fourth section of her book Miranda writes from her own perspective about the price California Indians continue to pay today, examining the love/hate relationship she had with her violent father.
“I grew up watching my Dad beat my little brother, and I saw violence in other California Indian families as well,” she said. “A lot of the violence my Dad brought into our family came from hundreds of years ago. He was taught to be violent, his father was violent and so was his grandfather. This was something that was completely unnatural to Indians.”
During her research for the book, Miranda found a series of anthropological questions about the Indians that Spain sent to the padres at the missions. Without fail, all the padres reported that the Indians treated their children like idols and never corrected or beat them. This was considered a huge flaw under the Spanish Inquisition’s tradition of sin and punishment.
Over time the padres reported that they had taught some of the Indians to turn their children over to the soldiers in the mission for discipline. Later, reports indicate that some of the Indian parents were finally starting to discipline their children themselves. And eventually, the parents were beating their children.
According to Miranda, the violence she witnessed in her home was a manifestation of historical trauma known as post-colonial stress disorder, a field of study that has grown in recent years. She compared the California Indians to the children of Holocaust survivors who, although healthy, well-fed and well-educated, experienced neuroses that would usually be associated with camp survivors themselves.
“We’ve certainly been traumatized for 500 years with never a chance to catch our breath,” said Miranda. “It’s not like we could get over it and raise a healthy generation. Every generation has faced a bombardment, from the Spanish, Mexicans and Americans to contemporary drug abuse, alcohol, diabetes and domestic abuse.”
While Miranda described much of the history of California Indians as “gruesome and devastating,” she also had some fun with it.
“There has to be something you can laugh about,” she said. “I found this great newspaper article from 1909 with the headline ‘Bad Indian Goes on Rampage at Santa Ynez.’ It describes an Indian coming out of his cabin with a 44-caliber Winchester followed by his daughter with a six-shooter and his wife with a double-barreled shotgun.
Miranda found the phrase “bad Indian” used innumerable times by priests, soldiers, government officials and teachers. “I realized that to be a ‘bad Indian’ was to be resistant to colonization when no other avenue of resistance worked,” she said. “These people were my heroes.” In addition to getting the title to her book from the article, Miranda wrote a poem called “Novena to Bad Indians,” using the names of real “bad” people she found in old records from the different periods of the California Indians.
Miranda also had fun with the “mission project” given to all fourth-graders in California, whereby they visit one mission and then create a diorama about its history. “The mission projects reiterate the false history that the mission was a wonderful place. Maybe the Indians had a hard time but they were Christianized, they learned how to wear clothing, to farm and it was really the best thing for them,” she said.
Since Miranda wasn’t in California as a fourth-grader, she decided to create her own mission project as an adult and include it as a chapter in the book. “I decided on a booklet format because the mission gift shops sell little booklets, one for each mission, that are full of lies. I wanted mine to tell the truth,” she said.
“The effect of the typical mission project has been to not just implant racial stereotypes about Native Californians in children’s minds, but also to assert that those racial stereotypes are, in fact, OK —sanctioned by all of the authorities in a child’s life, from parents right on up the chain of school administration and into government,” she added.
Miranda said she hopes readers will come away with not only knowledge of the human suffering, ingenuity, sacrifices and small triumphs of the California Indians but also some insight into the biases in historical records and publications.
She noted the irony that in order to write a book about California she had to move across the country to Washington and Lee. “I received two fabulous sabbaticals from W&L,” she said. “The first one enabled me to take a fellowship at the UCLA for 10 months with W&L making up the shortfall to cover all my expenses. I also received Lenfest grants so I could continue working during the summers. So I have had tons of support that colleagues in other schools envy.”
Miranda received her B.S. in Teaching Moderate Special Needs Children from Wheelock College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Washington.
She is the author of two poetry collections, “Indian Cartography” and “The Zen of La Llorona,” and co-editor of “Sovereign Erotics: An Anthology of Two-Spirit Literature,” which was a silver medalist at the Independent Publisher Book Awards. A collection of essays, “Hidden Stories of Isabel Meadows and Other California Lacunae,” is forthcoming from the University of Nebraska Press.
W&L Law Moot Court Board Announces Mediation Competition Results
The Representation in Mediation Competition concluded in the Millhiser Moot Court Room with the final round on Wednesday, February 13. W.G. Beecher and Christina Randall-James emerged as the winning team.
The team of Karissa Kaseorg and Matthias Kaseorg received second place. Kellen Lavin and Anaeli Sandoval and Jessica Piltch and Shahnam Yazdani also competed in the finals.
The Honorable James G. Welsh, Jr., United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Virginia, Erin B. Ashwell, attorney at Woods Rogers, and Michael J. Finney, attorney at Gentry Locke, judged the final round.
Sponsored by the American Bar Association Law Student Division, the Representation in Mediation Competition helps students develop practical legal skills and emphasizes teamwork and the ability to resolve disputes in a mediation setting. During the competition, teams of students acting as lawyers and clients for opposing parties receive confidential information about how they can best represent their clients’ interests. The teams work together in a limited time frame to find a compromise that is acceptable to both of their clients.
Administrators for the Representation in Mediation Competition were third-year students Christopher Bou Saeed, Misha Daha, and Garrett Greiner. The Moot Court Executive Board administers all competitions for the Moot Court Program, which includes the Robert J. Grey, Jr. Negotiations Competition, the John W. Davis Moot Court Competition, Client Counseling, Mock Trial, and Mediation in Representation. For more information about Moot Court, please visit http://law.wlu.edu/mootcourt.
Alum Publishes Book about WWII Resistance Fighter
Two Czechs turned Canadians are the subject of a fascinating article in a recent edition of the Vancouver Sun: The late Vladimir Krajina, a resistance fighter during World War II, and his friend, Jan Drabek, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1957. The occasion is the publication of Jan’s book, “Vladimir Krajina: World War II Hero and Ecology Pioneer” (Ronsdale Press).
More on Krajina in a moment; Jan has a life story that’s just as interesting as his subject’s. He was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and grew up there during World War II, as well as in Germany, France and the U.S. After his time at W&L, where he studied journalism, he pursued a many-faceted career that has included stints as a reporter, a refugee settlement officer, a broadcaster, a taxi driver, a travel clerk and a teacher. He moved to Canada in 1965. Oh, and don’t forget a stint in Czechoslovakia in the 1990s, when he served as the Czech ambassador to Kenya and Albania and as chief of protocol.
The subject of Jan’s new book made for an unlikely hero: he was a botanist. But Krajina joined the Czech resistance movement after Jan’s father pointed him in that direction, and he performed daring and dangerous work to help vanquish the Nazis. He survived the war and ended up as a professor of botany at the University of British Columbia.
Jan has written 17 books so far, including several novels and—no surprise, given his eventful life—a couple of memoirs. “His Doubtful Excellency: A Canadian Novelist’s Adventure’s as President Havel’s Ambassador” concerns his diplomatic career, and “Thirteen” tells the dramatic story of how his family survived World War II. You can read more about Jan at the Czech Literature Portal.
W&L Marks Centennial of President Custis Lee's Death Today, Feb. 18
Today, Feb. 18, 2013, marks the 100th anniversary of the death of George Washington Custis Lee (1832-1913), who served as president of Washington and Lee University from 1871 to 1897. He succeeded in that office his father, Robert E. Lee.
A commemoration will be observed at Lee Chapel today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A spray of flowers will be placed at Lee’s grave in the family crypt in Lee Chapel, and a pamphlet written by Judi McParland, a former guide at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield and an admirer of Lee, will be distributed to visitors. The pamphlet commemorates his life and accomplishments.
Lee graduated first in the class of 1854 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He served in the Confederate Army as a captain of engineers and worked as a military advisor to Jefferson Davis. Union troops captured him during the Battle of Sailor’s Creek, three days before the April 9, 1865, surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.
After the war, Lee taught at VMI, and became president of Washington and Lee after his father’s 1870 death. He donated many of his family’s treasures to the University, including the Charles Willson Peale portrait of George Washington that hangs in Lee Chapel today.
W&L Students Ponder Social-Media Dilemmas at Ethics Bowl
So here’s the dilemma: A mother reveals to her daughter, a recent college graduate, that her father, Jack, is not the daughter’s biological father. The mother had concealed an affair to protect Jack. The mother and daughter agree to continue the secret, and the mother lets the daughter know that the information she needs to contact her biological father is in the mother’s online diary. She promises to give the daughter the password when the daughter is ready to learn about her biological father. But the mother dies unexpectedly, and, with her, the password. In his grief, Jack wants to read his wife’s online diary, but the company that hosts the site claims it is not legally obligated to reveal passwords of the deceased.
Now to the question: Should the daughter encourage her father to take legal action or to hire a hacker to gain access to the diary in order to find her biological father, knowing that this will also give him access to information about the affair and her biological father?
This was the case that Washington and Lee’s team in the 14th annual Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges Ethics Bowl had to analyze in the championship round. Students from 15 Virginia colleges examined case studies related to ethics and social media during the two-day event earlier this week at Randolph College, in Lynchburg.
W&L’s five-member team entered the championship round unbeaten but lost in the finals to Hampden-Sydney.
“Our team did an amazing job, and I could not have been more proud of all of them,” said Paul Gregory, professor of philosophy and faculty coordinator.
The W&L team comprised senior Reilly Kidwell, a philosophy and neuroscience major from Ottsville, Pa., and juniors Miles Abell, a philosophy major from Houston, Sarah Hugg, a philosophy and English major from New Orleans, Paul Kuveke, a philosophy major from Ridgefield, Conn., and James Spencer, a philosophy and politics major from Acworth, Ga.
This competition marked the seventh time in 14 VFIC Ethics Bowls that W&L had advanced to the championship round. The W&L team has won five previous championships.
Course by W&L's Kirk Wins Award from Humane Society
Athena Kirk, Mellon Junior Faculty Fellow in the classics department at Washington and Lee University, has received the 2012 Distinguished New Course award from the Humane Society of the United States and the Animals and Society Institute for her seminar “The Ancient Animal World,” which she taught in Fall 2012.
The annual award recognizes college and university classes that explore the relationships between animals and people. Criteria considered included depth and rigor within the topic, impact on the study of animals and society and originality of approach. Kirk shares the award with a course at Lund University, Sweden. She taught the seminar in Fall 2012.
While much study of human-animal relationships focuses on modern society, Kirk’s course conducted a comparative study of animals in ancient literature and philosophy and our relationships with animals in contemporary fiction and theory.
“It was a melding of the ancient and the modern,” said Kirk. “Students were really interested to learn that a lot of scholars feel that how we treat animals today is rooted in the Stoics—a group of philosophers in ancient Greece and Rome—who thought that because animals don’t have reason and speech we don’t have to treat them in an ethical way. We can do whatever we want with them. That idea continued through the Christian era, with people thinking it was fine to use animals for work and food.”
Kirk aimed to introduce students to the completely different mindset of the ancient world and the different ways in which people interacted with animals. For example, when making a sacrifice, the people would adorn a cow and bring it to a holy place to be revered, and although they were about to slit its throat they put measures in place to prevent the cow from knowing what was happening.
“That’s very different from the cold and distant relationship we tend to have with the animals we eat,” noted Kirk. “It led to a conversation about factory farming today and our motivations for the ways in which we either consume animals or treat them before we consume them.”
Students also examined the strange ideas about animals in the ancient world and the superstitious beliefs about the intelligence and powers of certain animals.
For example, in “On the Nature of Animals,” Aelian wrote: “The fly is the most daring of creatures but it cannot swim. When it falls into water it drowns but if you pick the fly’s body from the water, sprinkle it with ashes and set it in a sunny spot the fly will come back to life.”
Among the ancient texts studied was Euripides’ “Cyclops” where goat-like men called satyrs occupy a space between the animal world and the human world. “I think it was interesting to see that side of ancient dealings with animals,” said Kirk “and that there wasn’t such a clear distinction for them between what is human and what is not human.”
In comparing animals in ancient and modern fiction, students read Anna Sewell’s “Black Beauty” alongside Apuleius’ “The Golden Ass,” a Roman novel about a man who accidentally turns into a donkey and realizes some of the pains of a beast of burden. “Black Beauty” traces a horse’s life through its youth and working life and highlighted the condition of working horses in the Victorian era, including the use of the painful checkrein to keep horses’ heads held high in a lofty manner.
“This was the first time I taught the course,” said Kirk. “One of the things I learned was how difficult it is to tease out one’s own opinions and feelings about human and animal relationships through reading all this material. My views about animal ethics were not completely set in stone before I began, and I didn’t teach the course with any particular agenda in mind. But by the end we all realized how complex this subject is and that we really struggle with our relationships with animals. It became clear to all of us that we can be much more careful with animals and that there are some simple ways in which we can treat them better.”
In order to consider the ethics of animal captivity and habitat displacement, Kirk organized a visit to the Virginia Safari Park, funded by a grant from W&L’s Dean of the College, Suzanne Keen. Kirk described the trip as “an odd anthropological experience: it was strange to be characters in this artificial scene and drive up to animals we would never normally have around us.” They also visited a local antique shop to see an ancient Egyptian bronze cat head. Students also conducted “Zoological Observations” in which they had to interact with and then write about a non-human animal and its behaviors.
The Humane Society award consists of $750, which Kirk hopes to use toward further student involvement with the human-animal community around Washington and Lee, with a possible formal program of study with the Rockbridge County SPCA, zoos, animal preserves and farms in the area.
W&L’s Versatile Learning Classroom Turns Tradition Upside Down
For college professors accustomed to standing at the front of a classroom, Washington and Lee University’s new Versatile Learning Classroom is a major departure.
“Traditional classrooms are arranged with the teacher at the front, who is supposed to be the sage, disseminating knowledge,” said W&L biology professor Helen I’Anson. “But that’s not the way science works anymore.”
Nor is it the way foreign-language instruction works, according to Paul Youngman, associate professor of German.
“A language classroom moves fast. We do a lot of partner work. I want to be in the middle of things, listening and interacting,” he said.
I’Anson and Youngman are two of the four W&L faculty who are finding themselves in the middle of things this semester as they test an experimental classroom in Leyburn Library. Professors Sarah Blythe, in biology, and Denny Garvis, in business administration, are also teaching in the new space.
As they find how the new arrangement works for them and their classes, the quartet is providing feedback to Julie Knudson and Flash Floyd, the members of the Academic Technology team who put the classroom together.
“This semester is a test drive,” Knudson said. “We want to see what works and what doesn’t. As new classroom space is considered for both new and rehabilitated facilities like the Integrative and Quantitative (IQ) Center or the Center for Global Learning, we will take what we learn here and incorporate the best ideas into those new classroom spaces.”
W&L’s Versatile Learning Classroom incorporates elements of the Steelcase LearnLab environment, developed by the office furniture company in an effort to support “frequent collaboration and communication, easy transfer of information between individuals and groups, the effective display of content and the need for teams to constantly reconfigure and switch between different ways of working.”
Although the W&L classroom was retrofitted into existing space in the library it adheres to the philosphy of the LearnLab, and one of the main differences between a traditional classroom and the LearnLab configuration is that there is no front or back of the room. Four tables are located on the perimeter of the room. The professor has a podium on wheels, allowing him or her to move around.
“This allows a lot of flexibility for a professor who can very quickly and seamlessly switch from lecture mode to working with smaller student groups,” said Knudson.
Each table seats six students and has a large computer display on the wall at one end. A large monitor sits at what would have been considered the front of the room, along with a large whiteboard.
Each table has power and four computer connections, which allow students to plug in laptops and tablets. Using a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse on the mobile podium, the professor can project information onto the single display or on all four displays, and can also project what is appearing on a student’s computer onto those displays.
“The most common scenario will be that the instructor might lecture for 20 minutes, then give an assignment to the students in their groups,” said Floyd. “Now, all the students in the group might be using their individual computers, and they have the ability to have their own computer show up on the group display, and the instructor might choose one of those to go to the main display for everyone to see. There are lots of possibilities.”
Another feature, much less high-tech but equally valuable, is a series of “huddle boards” — small, lightweight whiteboards — that students can remove from a rack and take to their tables, to share information with the group and then with the entire class.
Blythe is teaching vertebrate endocrinology in the new classroom. She says the environment has changed the way she prepares for class, and she warned the students on the first day that they were going to be doing far more interactive activities and explaining the material to one another.
One of those activities involved having the students make Claymation movies using iPads and Playdough to demonstrate the way cells talk to each other through specific receptors.
“I find the best way to understand this process is to watch it move,” said Blythe. “Groups of three students created their own movies with a storyboard and a script. Not only did the technology play a pivotal role since they could share the work on the screens, but they mapped out the movies on the huddle boards.”
The space, adds Blythe, has forced her to ask how she can actively engage the students instead of having them sitting in their seats as passive learners. When there is a lectern at the front of the room, she said, “you feel like you’re obligated to lecture.”
Youngman, a 1987 graduate of W&L who is in his first year on the faculty, has two sections of intermediate German using the classroom. He was intrigued about the possibilities when the Academic Technologies group previewed the classroom for faculty in the late summer.
Both the displays and huddle boards prevent students from hiding behind their books, says Youngman.
“The classroom snaps and pops,” he said. “There are so many screens that there is no way students can avoid seeing what we’re doing. There are a lot of little features, too. The huddle boards are perfect for partner work in a language classroom. I gave each group a different political party to look up on the web one day. With one push of the button, I could share with everybody what the different groups found.”
For Garvis, the course on strategic management he is teaching in the Versatile Classroom is a discussion-type class in which students analyze business cases. Although he says he is still learning what he likes and doesn’t like about the setting, Garvis believes that space “increases the ‘student-to-student’ learning that can occur.”
In her Fundamentals of Biology course, I’Anson has used the jigsaw technique with each group. She gives them a series of questions about something they’ve read. They work on the questions together, then one member of each group moves to a different table and provides that group with the information.
“At first I was thinking, ‘They’re doing my teaching for me,’ but it actually works well,” she said. “A lot of data says they learn better from each other. When they move into new groups, I can walk around and listen to discussion and correct any misconceptions.
“One problem this classroom addresses is that when we are working with a class of 20 students, as we are in the fundamentals courses, we try to do more than stand and lecture. We want to start at the very get-go to show science as an interactive process. Trying to get them to work in groups and learning in groups is hard when they are in fixed rows in the traditional classroom. Somebody gets left out.”
I’Anson believes the arrangement in the Versatile Learning Classroom is clearly the right direction. She is working on the development of the new IQ Learning Center on the second floor of Telford Science Library and thinks it will adopt many of the features of the Versatile Learning Classroom.
“I expect the one difference will be that we’ll have round rather than square tables,” she said. “Students in groups of three seem to be the magic number. They’ll likely be working at large, nine-person round tables in the IQ Learning Center”
Throughout the current semester, W&L’s Academic Technologies team is assessing the progress and offering sessions for faculty to learn about the space.
According to David Saacke, W&L’s chief technology officer, the non-technological tools, from the tables and chairs to the huddle boards, are as important to faculty as the ready availability of the technology.
Concluded Saacke: “For us, this is a beta version of how classrooms should and could be.”
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
W&L’s Writer-in-Residence Reading to Feature Three Faculty Readers
Washington and Lee University’s 4th annual Writer-in-Residence Reading, featuring R.T. Smith, Lesley Wheeler and Chris Gavaler, will be Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 4:30 p.m. in Northen Auditorium in the Leyburn Library. The reading is free and open to the public.
The title of the reading is “Genre Bending and Blending?” Refreshments, a book signing and a Q&A period will follow the reading.
Where are the boundaries between fiction and poetry, poetry and drama, fiction and autobiography? What happens when the mystery story becomes a romance, when the western morphs into a whodunit? Or the satire becomes a narrative poem?
Three members of the W&L English Department, Smith, Wheeler and Gavaler, will read samples of their genre-bending work and entertain questions about the reasons behind and results following the refusal to color within the lines.
Smith is writer-in-residence at Washington and Lee and editor of Shenandoah. His two most recent books are “Sherburne,” a series of mystery stories full of western conventions and “The Red Wolf: A Dream of Flannery O’Connor,” a series of poems about a fiction writer.
Gavaler’s most recent book, “School for Tricksters,” is a historical novel in stories, and his first, “Pretend I’m Not Here,” is a mass-market romantic suspense. His short fiction has appeared in “Best American Fantasy” and numerous literary journals. He blogs about pop culture at www.thepatronsaintofsuperheroes.wordpress.com.
Wheeler’s latest book, “The Receptionist and Other Tales,” blends poetry with several fiction genres including the campus novel, fantasy, horror, fairy tales and zombie apocalypse. Her current project, “Poetry’s Possible Worlds,” combines personal narrative with criticism. She’s the Henry S. Fox Professor of English at Washington and Lee.
The reading is sponsored by the Office of the Dean of the College and the Glasgow Endowment. The Glasgow Endowment was established by the late Arthur G. Glasgow for the “promotion of the expression of art through pen and tongue.” In the past four decades the endowment has hosted authors including W.S. Merwin and Mary Oliver.
W&L Honors Donors at Dedication of Re-created Benefactors' Wall
Washington and Lee’s re-created Honored Benefactors’ Wall, in the foyer of Washington Hall, was christened last Friday, Feb. 8, during a brief ceremony during the Board of Trustees meeting.
The Honored Benefactors’ Wall was established in 1983, with 15 names to start. It contains the names of individuals, corporations and foundations whose gifts to W&L exceed $1 million. The wall now has 125 names.
As part of the recent renovation of Washington Hall, the foyer now also features an exhibition that tells the story of George Washington’s historic gift of canal stock to Liberty Hall Academy. That gift enabled the survival of the institution that became Washington and Lee.
Four current members of the Board of Trustees and one emeritus Trustees were recognized at the Feb. 8 event:
Kimberly Thrall Duchossois
When her son, Tyler Lenczuk ’08, attended and played lacrosse for Washington and Lee, Duchossois became a University volunteer, sharing her leadership skills as a member of the Parents Council and as a member of the Board of Trustees from 2006 to 2010. Her impact also has been felt through her generous support of the Parents Fund, the construction of Hillel House and the renovations to Wilson Field. In 2010, she created a $1 million endowment to support competitive salaries for coaches and to name the athletic director’s position in honor of former athletic director Michael F. Walsh.
Kathryn R. and Harry J. Phillips Jr. ’72
Among the many projects that the Phillipses have supported are the Houston/Fox Benton Honor Scholarship and the construction of Wilson Hall and Hillel House. They are consistent supporters of the Annual Fund and made a $1 million gift in support of the restoration of the Colonnade.
Susanne and William E. Pritchard III ’80
Bill Pritchard has served as class agent since 2008 and chaired his class’s 30th reunion committee. He was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2012. The Pritchards established the William E. Pritchard III ’80 Professorship in Geology with a $1.25 million gift matched by the Lenfest Challenge.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Sadler Jr. ’67
In 2007, Bob Sadler established the Robert E. Sadler Jr. Professorship to support a distinguished professor who is an accomplished scholar and exceptional teacher in the Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics. He has also supported the Class of 1967 Scholarship, the construction of Hillel House and W&L’s athletic program.
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas V. Wall IV ’80
In addition to consistently donating to the Annual Fund and supporting projects such as improvements to athletic facilities, Tom Wall has also supported the Class of 1980 C. William Pacy Jr. Memorial Honor Scholarship, the renovations to Wilson Field, and the restoration and renovation of the Colonnade. In 2010, he established the Thomas R. Wall IV Endowment for Support of Coaches to fund athletic coaches’ salaries.
Other donors whose names have been newly added to the Benefactors’ Wall will be recognized at upcoming events.
W&L Historians Analyze the Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI
Two Washington and Lee University historians, reflecting on Pope Benedict XVI’s stunning resignation this week, conclude that while Benedict has often been criticized for doctrinal rigidity, his decision to resign displays a capacity for innovative thinking.
“The history of the papacy suggests that pious Catholics who strive to lead holy lives do not think in the utilitarian terms that guide most organizations pondering whether a leader should step down,” said William Patch, Kenan Professor of History. “When a pope suffers illness or physical decline, they recall instead the sufferings of Christ on the cross and ponder what God seeks to teach us through suffering. Choosing to resign as he has, Benedict is effectively declaring that practical considerations about the effectiveness of a leader should guide this decision.”
The 85-year-old pontiff made his announcement on Monday, Feb. 11, citing his advanced age and deteriorating strength as the reasons for his decision to step down on Feb. 28. He was elected the 265th pope in April 2005.
Patch noted that since the reign of Pope Pius IX, there has been an expectation that a pope’s last illness should be “a role model for Christians everywhere for how we should confront death, how we experience in our own body the sufferings of Christ on the cross.”
Added Patch: “Pope Benedict’s letter says, ‘I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.’ He goes on to say that in the modern age, because of all the problems facing the church today, we need a more active pope. But he is, in essence, apologizing to those who will be disappointed that he did not die in office and show us an example of how a true Christian suffers.”
Meanwhile, another W&L historian, David Peterson, who studies medieval church history, added that in the Middle Ages, “if you were elected pope, it was almost as if a death sentence had been imposed,” because of an assumption that no pope would exceed the 25-year reign of St. Peter, who is regarded as the first pope.
While Benedict is technically the first pope to resign in office since Pope Gregory XII in 1415, Peterson said that the more apt comparison is with the resignation of Celestine V in 1294.
Gregory’s resignation, explained Peterson, was aimed at ending a schism in the church caused by the presence of three competing popes and came at the request of the Council of Constance.
“In Celestine’s time, the papacy was very much dominated by competing Roman aristocratic families,” said Peterson. “The College of Cardinals was deadlocked and couldn’t get a majority for any candidate. Celestine V was a very pious, devout man. When he was elected pope, he walked into St. Peter’s, which was filled with lawyers and judges because the papacy had become very bureaucratic, and he resigned. Celestine didn’t regard his position as offering much scope for spirituality.”
It was Celestine, added Peterson, who defined the circumstances under which a pope could resign. “He justified his own resignation. He gave advance notice that he was going to resign,” Peterson said. “What’s key is that the resignation has to be free. What church lawyers have been most concerned about is the possibility that a pope might be coerced or forced into resigning, and that would be illegitimate.”
Peterson and Patch hold slightly different views on Benedict’s papacy. Peterson said Benedict is identified with a “particularly monarchic vision of the church” and with the conservative principles of his predecessor, John Paul II. “Perhaps that is most striking — to see this pope who is so deeply committed to restoring papal monarchy resigning,” said Peterson.
Patch, meantime, called Benedict “truly a theologian by training and temperament,” adding that “it’s not clear to me that he had any great ambitions to increase the powers of his own office or any great interest in being a CEO of a multinational corporation.”
In addition, Patch thinks the trial of Benedict’s former butler last October offers some clues to the resignation. The butler, Paolo Gabriele, was convicted for stealing Benedict’s private correspondence. “This episode suggested strange things about Benedict’s loss of power within the Vatican,” Patch said. “The butler kept making the argument that the pope was no longer being informed about major decisions, that he was, in essence, out of the loop. That is one reason why rumors are flying that Benedict felt a sense of marginalization, or lack of interest, or lack of ability, to control the decision-making process.”
Neither Peterson nor Patch would hazard a guess about the identity of the next pope. Patch does think, however, that the age of the next pope will be an interesting signal about the future direction of the church.
“If the Vatican thinks that a lot more scandals are going to emerge with regard to priest sexual abuse, they will choose a very old candidate,” Patch said. “But if they think things are turning around, and they are in a constructive phase rather than a put-the-wagons-in-a-circle-and-be-defensive phase, they will choose a younger candidate.”
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
W&L Seniors Smithson, Reynolds Named Generals of the Month for February
Washington and Lee University seniors Connor Smithson and Bethany Reynolds will be recognized as General of the Month for February during a presentation on Thursday, Feb. 14, at 12:15 p.m. in the Marketplace in Elrod Commons.
Smithson, of Cary, N.C., is a business administration major. He attended the Marine Corps Officer Candidates School during the summers before his junior and senior years. Before his senior year he completed training for his May 23, 2013, commissioning as an officer in the U.S. Marines. He will attend flight school to become a pilot.
A graduate of Cary Academy, he is a Robert E. Lee Scholar, a varsity lacrosse player, an ODAC Scholar Athlete Recipient, a varsity wrestler and holds the Captain Jay Stull Memorial Scholarship. Smithson is the president of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and works for W&L Dining Services.
Reynolds, of Baltimore, is an East Asian languages and literature major with a concentration in Chinese. She is a member of Phi Eta Sigma Freshman National Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa, the W&L Singers, and the Dean’s List. She works for W&L’s Tucker Multimedia Center in the language/humanities lab and is an advanced pianist.
A graduate of Dulaney High School, she is the founder of Preparing for Tomorrow, a biannual series of discussion forums aimed at educating W&L about contemporary global issues. She will present a research paper to the Society for Applied Anthropology in March 2013 on her work at the North Carolina State University Ethnographic Field School in Guatemala.
Generals of the Month is coordinated by the Celebrating Student Success (CSS) initiative and sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs to inspire engaged citizenship at Washington and Lee University. CSS seeks to recognize students who are not typically or sufficiently touted for the depth and breadth they add to our campus community.
Smithson and Reynolds were selected by the CSS Committee, which is composed of students, faculty and staff. Any member of the campus community can nominate a W&L student at any time with the online form at go.wlu.edu/css.
Future CSS presentations during the 2012-2013 academic year will be held during lunch in the Marketplace in the Elrod Commons on dates in March, April and May, which are yet to be determined.
Alumni Offer Expertise in National Op-eds
Two Washington and Lee alumni published op-eds in national newspapers last week.
On Feb. 5, Jack Goldsmith, of W&L’s Class of 1984, wrote about the United States’ need for a “new legal and political foundation” for secret wars in a Washington Post column titled “U.S. needs a rulebook for secret warfare.”
In Jack’s view, “What the government needs is a new framework statute — akin to the National Security Act of 1947, or the series of intelligence reforms made after Watergate, or even the 2001 authorization of force — to define the scope of the new war, the authorities and limitations on presidential power, and forms of review of the president’s actions.”
A former assistant attorney general in the George W. Bush administration, Jack is a professor at Harvard Law School and a member of the Hoover Institution task force on national security and law. He has written several books on U.S. foreign policy in response to terrorism, including “Power and Constraint: The Accountable Presidency After 9/11” (W.W. Norton & Co., 2012) and “The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration” (W.W. Norton & Co., 2007).
On Feb. 6, Alvin Townley, of the Class of 1997, wrote a USA Today piece about the debate over changing the policy prohibiting gays from participating in the Boy Scouts of America. Alvin’s op-ed, “Boy Scouts must camp in a big tent,” concluded, “We need to make Scouting more accessible to entire families and embrace multicultural communities with relevant programs and open philosophy.”
An Eagle Scout himself, Alvin has written two books on scouting and its impact. He based “Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America’s Eagle Scouts” (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007) on his interviews with fellow Eagle Scouts during a year-long tour of the country. He followed that in 2009 with “Spirit of Adventure: Eagle Scouts and the Making of America’s Future” (Thomas Dunne Books), which explores how young Eagle Scouts are shaping America.
W&L Creates Website for Stonewall Jackson Cemetery Census
Washington and Lee University’s Leyburn Library has created a new website that catalogues almost 60 percent of graves in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Va.
Stonewall Jackson is buried in the cemetery along with 144 Confederate veterans, two Virginia governors and the poet and author Margaret Junkin Preston. But it was the thousands of graves of lesser-known Lexington citizens that fascinated Lexington resident Tom Kastner and led him to conduct the census.
So far, Kastner has documented 2,800 graves and he expects to take at least two more years to complete the task.
Kastner enlisted the assistance of Washington and Lee to present the research to the public through the online database, which includes photographs of the graves.
After Kastner received complaints four years ago that a brochure listing the 20 most prominent citizens in the cemetery contained errors, he decided to visit the cemetery to check. “I was intrigued because, here was the grave of Governor McDowell, but who was that next to him? There were a lot of graves that weren’t mentioned,” said Kastner. “And I think a lot of what the town of Lexington is today is due to a large extent to all the citizens, not just the 20 most important people. So I was curious as to who these people were.”
Kastener found that the cemetery records were kept not by who was in each grave, but by who bought the grave site. Consequently, someone looking for a great grandmother, for example, would have great difficulty finding her unless they knew who bought the plot she was in.
Kastner’s work is sponsored by Preservation Virginia, the Rockbridge Historical Society, the Rockbridge Area Genealogical Association, the City of Lexington and now Washington and Lee University.
He visited each grave and compared it to past records, taking a photograph of the inscription on the grave and noting pertinent information such as birth and death dates and anything significant with respect to accomplishments. He then gave the information to the genealogical society which checked its records and provided any additional information.
During his research, Kastner gained a good idea of society at a particular time. “For example, the way graves were laid out showed the importance of family,” he explained. “And married women were buried under their maiden names. If it was sufficiently important to inscribe their maiden names on the tombstones, then that meant something from a social point of view.”
He also found a new appreciation for child mortality at the time.
“Everybody knows about Colonel John Jordan, the Virginia builder who was a splendid citizen and a leading light in Lexington, and his wife Lucy, a great big strapping woman who was well known throughout the community,” said Kastner. “But if you go to the southeast of Col. John Jordan’s monument, there’s a monument erected by Lucy that shows that four of her ten children died. They were born two years apart and none of them lived more than 18 months. So when you look at that monument it gives you a different appreciation of the Jordans in particular that you won’t find anywhere else.
“And if you go about ten paces south east from the monument there’s a little marble plaque that says “Rose” but nobody knows who Rose was,” he added.
Emily Crawford, a junior classics major at Washington and Lee, worked on the website project by resizing, sorting and labeling the thousands of photographs Kastner took.
She wrote in an essay that “the voices that speak to us from the inscriptions on the gravesites are real and for a few brief moments an observer is aware of the type of life the deceased person led. I saw many tombstones that were erected in memory of a loving mother, a brave soldier, a small child. One tombstone even explicitly told the cause of death of a small child—the child had drowned in a terrible accident at the age of four. Another inscription told of the ‘long and fruitful life ‘ another person had led.”
Crawford also noted that in the oldest sections of the cemetery graves are worn down, overgrown with plants and sinking into the ground with the inscriptions barely visible.
Crawford was supervised on the project by Carol Karsch, library data and statistical support specialist at W&L’s Leyburn Library. Karsch took Kastner’s spreadsheet of data and designed and created the searchable website. The website includes a link to a form that people can fill out if they spot an error or can give additional information. “”We’ll double check any new information and add it to the database,” said Karsch.
But even with the website it will be hard to find a particular grave, according to Kastner, because it doesn’t yet include a map of the cemetery. He hopes to persuade the city to create a map that can be posted online in the next few months.
People researching genealogy often end up at W&L’s Leyburn Library, which has a very active association with the Lexington Historical Society. John Tombarge, associate professor and head of public services at the library, described the new website as “a tremendous aid in that type of research because researching families is one the hardest things to do and people take it so personally.
“This is just one more step the library can take to help both the local historical society and visitors that come to our library. But it also helps us to show that libraries are more than just books and manuscripts, or passive recipients of items. Through this website we are also generating information that will be available to everybody.”
The Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery website can be found at http://library.wlu.edu/SJCemetery/
2013 W&L Phi Alpha Delta Charity Auction Raises over $28,000 for Local Charities
On Thursday, Jan. 24, students at the Washington and Lee University School of Law raised over $28,000 during the 2013 Phi Alpha Delta (PAD) charity auction. The last eight auctions together have raised nearly $130,000 for local charities and other initiatives.
Every year PAD members choose charities and other causes to benefit from the auction. The proceeds this year will be split amongst several organizations, including HoofBeats Therapeutic Riding Center, Meals for Shut-Ins, and the Rockbridge Area Free Clinic. Some auction proceeds also will go to help provide a scholarship for a W&L law student working in a public interest position.
During the PAD auction, students bid on items donated by Law School faculty, staff and students. Items auctioned this year included numerous meals and outings with professors, wine and beer tastings, Kenny Chesney concert tickets and BarBri tuition vouchers. In addition, students bid on the honor of becoming “Dean for a Day,” which includes a good parking spot and the privilege of issuing one “edict.”
Phi Alpha Delta is a service fraternity that works for the law school and local communities and sponsors many charity events including the auction, a canned food drive, and a blood drive. PAD holds membership drives in both the fall and spring semesters.
W&L Sophomore Named to Campus Pride Board
Congratulations to Washington and Lee sophomore Timothy J. (TJ) Fisher, who has been named to the eight-member board of directors of Campus Pride. The national organization serves LGBT and ally student leaders and campus organizations in leadership development, support programs and services to create safer, more inclusive LGBT-friendly colleges and universities.
A Johnson Scholarship recipient from Potomac, Md., TJ is a double major in theater and history with a minor in museum studies. He’s busy with numerous campus activities at W&L, serving as an admissions tour guide and appearing weekly on WLUR with his show, “Stacks of Wax with DJ TJ.” He’s the vice president of member development for the Virginia Epsilon chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon and has been involved in several theater productions.
TJ also is one of four student members of the University Committee on Inclusiveness and Campus Climate. This past summer, he participated in the Camp Pride summer leadership camp, which draws students from colleges and universities around the country. As a member of the board of Campus Pride, he’ll serve as a liaison to the organization’s Young Adult Advisory board, which helps chart the organization’s future. He was one of two students named to the board in January.
We blogged about TJ last August, when he published a piece about his summer internship in the Washington Post Magazine about his work at Maryland’s Glen Echo Park on the historic 1921 Dentzel Carousel. You can find our blog here, and he also described the internship for the “Sound Bite” section of the SigEp website.
Rowan Taylor Joins W&L Board of Trustees
Rowan G.P. Taylor, of New Canaan, Conn., took the oath as a new member of the Washington and Lee University Board of Trustees on Feb. 8, during the board’s winter meeting, in Lexington. He is the founding partner of Liberty Hall Capital Partners L.P., a private equity firm in New York City.
Taylor, a member of the W&L Class of 1989, earned his B.A. in economics, summa cum laude. While attending W&L, he played on the football team, served as a freshman dormitory counselor and belonged to the Student Recruitment Committee and Phi Kappa Psi social fraternity. He also was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa, the academic honorary society, and Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership organization.
He began his financial career in 1989 as an analyst in the merchant banking group of CS First Boston Inc. Taylor then became a principal of the Clipper Group L.P. and its successor, Monitor Clipper Partners L.L.C., private equity firms associated with CS First Boston. In 1999, he joined Oak Hill Capital Management L.L.C., a private equity firm with more than $8 billion under management. As a partner and head of its basic industries group, he led a team of investment professionals focused on industrial and transportation businesses, including those serving the aerospace and defense industry, and served on the investment committee. He founded Liberty Hall in 2011. It focuses on investments across the global aerospace and defense industry.
Taylor has served on the boards of several private equity-owned businesses and currently serves on the board of regents of Portsmouth Abbey School in Portsmouth, R.I.
For W&L, Taylor has served as a member and chair of the Williams School Board of Advisors since 2001, and as a member of the campaign cabinet for the University’s current campaign, Honor Our Past, Build Our Future, since 2010. He served as co-president of the Westchester-Fairfield Alumni Chapter and will co-chair his class’s 25th reunion committee in 2014. In 2010, he and his wife, Julie Salerno Taylor ’89, established The Taylor Family Scholarship to support financial aid.
The Taylors, who are both members of W&L’s first coeducational class, have four daughters: Callie (who will enter W&L this fall as a member of the Class of 2017), Mary Lena, Felicity and Pippa.
Associate Director of Communications and Public Affairs
U.S. Appeals Court Judge Jeffrey Sutton to Deliver Powell Lecture
The Hon. Jeffrey S. Sutton, Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, will deliver the eleventh annual Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Distinguished Lecture. His public lecture, titled “Lewis F. Powell, Jr., and the Practice of Law,” will take place on Feb. 26 at 5:00 pm in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall.
Prior to his appointment to the bench in 2003, Judge Sutton was a partner with Jones Day Reavis & Pogue, where he practiced appellate law and constitutional and commercial litigation. From 1995-98, he served as State Solicitor of Ohio, where he oversaw appellate litigation on behalf of the Ohio Attorney General and participated in complex litigation at the trial level. Judge Sutton has argued 12 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, filed over 50 merits and amicus curiae briefs at the U.S. Supreme Court, and argued 15 cases in state Supreme Courts.
As an adjunct professor at Harvard Law School, Vanderbilt Law School, and the Ohio State University College of Law, Judge Sutton has taught courses in constitutional law, state constitutional law, U.S. Supreme Court practice, and effective legal writing in the real world. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. appointed him chair of the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure in October 2012.
A graduate of Williams College, Judge Sutton earned his law degree at the Ohio State University, where he graduated first in his class. Following law school, he clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Lewis F. Powell Jr. and Antonin Scalia and for Judge Thomas J. Meskill, Circuit Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
The students at Washington and Lee University School of Law founded the Lewis Powell, Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series in 2002 in honor of Justice Powell ’29A, ’31L, who was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1972. Justice Powell’s judicial legacy was defined by a respect for both sides in a dispute and a desire to craft judicial opinions that struck a middle ground. Chaired this year by Penn Clarke and Michael DiSiena, this student-run lecture series features nationally prominent speakers who embody Powell’s spirit in their life and work.
For more information, please contact Penn Clarke at Clarke.L@law.wlu.edu or visit the Powell Lecture website.
Photographer Neil Johnson '76 Publishes E-Book
After publishing two coffee-table books of photography and 14 books for young readers, Louisiana-based photographer Neil Johnson, of Washington and Lee’s Class of 1976, has taken a new direction with his latest offering.
“Take That!” is an e-book designed specifically to take advantage of the iPad’s vivid retina display. “The ‘retina display’ screen of the newest iPad seems to be the most ideal way yet to view photographs,” Neil has said. “The overall quality, richness of color and crispness of each image is nothing short of stunning. What a technological leap for this medium!”
Currently available on the iTunes bookstore, “Take That!” contains 150 interactive images. By touching an image, the reader makes it fill the screen. It has 40 chapters, each about one image. “My goal, in telling the stories behind my images,” Neil wrote, “is that readers will learn from them about photography in general. It’s not magic. It’s about being curious and keeping one’s eyes open constantly while exploring this amazing world with a camera. It’s about always, always looking.”
The book begins with a short video in which Neil introduces himself and the book, and concludes with photographic lessons, based on more than three decades as a professional photographer, that he wants to share.
A journalism and communications major at W&L, Neil spent four years as a darkroom technician in a custom color photo lab in his hometown of Shreveport, before launching a career as a freelance photographer. He’s shot mostly for commercial clients, as opposed to weddings or portraits. He’s self-taught and has traveled the country and the world in pursuit of his photos. In 2012, he won the Michael P. Smith Award for Documentary Photography from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.
Sample Neil’s work on his website, Neil Johnson Photography, where you can browse his portfolio and purchase prints and books. “Take That!” can be downloaded for the iPad for $9.99 from iTunes.
W&L Law Symposium to Explore Discrimination Against Muslim Americans
This month, the W&L Law Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice, in partnership with the Frances Lewis Law Center, will host a symposium exploring the impact of 9/11 on the treatment of Muslims in America.
The symposium, titled “Discrimination Against Muslim Americans in a Post-9/11 World,” will take place on Feb. 15 in the Millhiser Moot Court Room, Sydney Lewis Hall on the grounds of Washington and Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is available online.
The keynote speaker for the symposium will be Nancy Hollander, an internationally recognized criminal defense lawyer who represents two prisoners at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Her lunchtime lecture will discuss the case of the Holy Land Five, who were once the co-founders and chief staff of the Holy Land Foundation, then the largest Muslim charity in the United States, and are now serving prison terms up to 65 years under convictions for material support of terrorism.
The symposium will include two panel discussions with a variety of experts specializing in civil rights law and Muslim-American issues. The topics of the panels will be “Muslims in America Today: Where We Are, Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Going” and “Sharia Law: What it is, what it isn’t, and what role it should have in the courts.” A complete schedule for the symposium is available online.
The mission of the Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice (JCRSJ) is to explore the intersection of majority and minority culture through discrete legal issues. To that end, the Journal seeks to provide a space for scholars of all persuasions to expand and develop a theoretical, critical, and socially relevant dialogue with the legal community. The Journal is excited to further this mission in hosting the 2013 Symposium.
“Make Up” by Stacey Davidson at Staniar Gallery
“Make Up,” an exhibition of paintings and sculptures by Stacey Davidson, will be on view at Washington and Lee’s Staniar Gallery from Feb. 13 to March 15. The artist will give a public lecture at a closing reception for the exhibit on March 13 at 5:30 pm. The event will be held in Wilson Hall’s Concert Hall on the campus of W&L.
In her work, Davidson explores the genre of portraiture in painting and sculpture, using each method of figural representation to inform the other. Trained as a painter, she decided to pursue sculpture in order to make three-dimensional doll forms that would serve as subjects. From the wigs to the costumes, her cast of characters is meticulously handcrafted.
The artist has created a sculptural installation specifically for the Staniar Gallery, reacting to architectural details in the exhibition space.
Davidson received a B.F.A. in painting from the Maryland Institute, College of Art (MICA) and an M.F.A. in painting from the University of Cincinnati. She recently relocated to Rock Hill, S.C., where she is an assistant professor of fine arts at Winthrop University. She previously lived in St. Paul, Minn., for 14 years as a practicing artist and teacher.
Davidson’s work is in the collections of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Weisman Art Museum, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. She is represented by Marlborough Gallery, N.Y.
Staniar Gallery is located on the second floor of Wilson Hall, in Washington and Lee University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please call 540-458-8861.
One Alum's Round-the-World Adventure
Jeb Brooks says he lives by this central philosophy: Everybody’s got to be somewhere.
During the course of 34 days last November and December, he was everywhere.
Jeb, a member of Washington and Lee’s Class of 2005, took a sabbatical from his job as president of research and development at The Brooks Group, a sales training company, in Greensboro, N.C. He packed a couple of bags (honest, just two), boarded an airplane in Atlanta and set off on a RTW trip.
That’s RTW as in Round the World. He traveled about 142,000 miles and spent 88.5 hours in airplanes. His itinerary featured stops in Paris, Copenhagen, Cape Town, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Sydney, Auckland and Queenstown.
And just so he didn’t leave anybody in the dark, Jeb wrote about his experiences all along the way. He’s a prolific writer, editor of the Ring-tum Phi while he was at W&L and co-author of “Perfect Phrases for the Sales Call.” He filled his blog, GreenerGrass.com, a great read even when he’s not gallivanting around the globe, with lively accounts of his experiences.
As Jeb explained in a post from Paris, his first stop on the journey, “I’m doing my best to disconnect from the world while not losing touch with it. . . . I’m taking in the world without taking it on.”
The blog features plenty of interesting observations, and the photos and captions are equally engaging.
His writing did not go unnoticed or unappreciated. In addition to the comments he received from his blog followers, the Greensboro News & Record in his hometown published excerpts from the blog on the front of its Ideas section last month. The paper’s front page even featured a photograph of Jeb diving out of a plane (for fun, not in frustration) over New Zealand.
Once he unpacked and stopped blogging about the trip, Jeb put all the posts together and produced an e-book that you can purchase on Amazon. It’s titled “Around the World in 80 Hours: My RTW Adventure In Search of Greener Grass.”
If you don’t get to the blog or the book (and, really, you should), here’s a particularly poignant passage from Jeb’s summing-up chapter in December:
When I set out on this journey, I planned to take in the world, not take it on. I went to places I’d read about, but never seen. Nowhere I visited was “undiscovered.” There were Starbucks, Apple Stores, and KFC’s most everywhere I went (for the record, I avoided them all).
I planted no flags, claimed no lands, delivered no blankets covered with smallpox. I’m not Columbus, da Gama, or Magellan. I just wanted to meet some new people, learn about these places, and begin to understand just how big the world is.
And, he concluded, “it’s freaking huge.”
Nova Clarke '96 Takes Refuge in New Ranger Post
As a politics major at Washington and Lee, Nova Clarke had an internship in the Clinton White House during the Washington Term. She had considered heading to law school after graduating in 1996.
But Nova had also participated in the Outing Club as an undergrad, enjoying hikes along the Appalachian Trail.
So once she landed a post-graduate internship with the National Park Service and began working at White Sands National Monument, in New Mexico, the hiking won out over the law school. And she’s been working in the great outdoors ever since.
Nova recently joined Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, in Louisiana, as a refuge ranger, with specialties in interpretation and education. Shortly after her arrival, she was the subject of a feature story in the Monroe (La.) News-Star.
As that story reports, Nova has enjoyed stints at a number of parks through the country. Her resume includes stops at Utah’s Canyonlands National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, California’s Mojave National Preserve and Redwood National and State Parks, Arizona’s Rainbow Bridge National Monument, and Alabama’s Russell Cave National Monument, to name several. Prior to heading to Louisiana last October, she had been an interpretive ranger at the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, in Alabama.
Black Bayou is one of more than 550 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. It features a 1,600-acre lake as part of a 4,500-acre refuge that is a habitat for migratory waterfowl, neotropical migratory songbirds and many resident wildlife species.
Nova is responsible for the educational programs at the refuge, which hosts numerous groups throughout the year. To get a sense of the environment in which she finds herself these days, browse through the photos on the Black Bayou Facebook page.
W&L Law Professor Benjamin Spencer Elected to American Law Institute
Prof. A. Benjamin Spencer, Assoc. Dean for Research and Director for the Frances Lewis Law Center at Washington and Lee University School of Law, has been elected to the American Law Institute, the most prestigious law reform body in the U.S.
The American Law Institute (ALI) is focused on producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and otherwise improve the law. It has a membership 4300 judges, lawyers, and teachers from all areas of the U.S. and many foreign companies.
Among its projects, the ALI publishes restatements of basic legal subjects to inform the legal profession of what the law is, or should be, in a particular subject. One such restatement, focused on the law of restitution and unjust enrichment, was the focus of a recent symposium hosted by W&L Law.
Spencer joined the W&L faculty in 2008. A distinguished scholar and teacher, Spencer is an expert in the fields of civil procedure and federal jurisdiction. In addition to numerous law review articles, he has authored two books in the area of civil procedure, Acing Civil Procedure and Civil Procedure: A Contemporary Approach. Both are used widely by professors and students throughout the country.
Spencer’s scholarship was included in a recent study analyzing the most-cited law review articles of all time. In addition to producing a listing of the 100 most-cited articles of all time, the authors of the study generated most-cited lists for recent scholarship by year for 1990-2009. Two of Spencer’s articles were included in the recent scholarship lists. “Plausibility Pleading,” in the Boston College Law Review, was the third most-cited article of 2008 and “Understanding Pleading Doctrine,” in the Michigan Law Review, was third on the 2009 list. Spencer is one of only a handful of legal scholars to appear more than one time in the study.
Spencer has also been honored for his teaching. In 2007 he was awarded the Virginia State Council of Higher Education “Rising Star” award, given to the most promising junior faculty member among all academic fields at all colleges and universities in Virginia. Spencer was the first law professor to receive this award.
In addition to his teaching and research, Spencer serves as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia. In this capacity, he has argued and won several cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on behalf of the government, including United States v. Stewart, United States v. Hicks, and United States v. Burns. Spencer is also Chair of the Virginia State Bar’s Section on the Education of Lawyers and a member of the West Publishing Company Law School Advisory Board.
Prior to joining the Washington and Lee faculty, Spencer was an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law. He also formerly worked as an Associate in the law firm of Shearman & Sterling and as a Law Clerk to Judge Judith W. Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Professor Spencer holds a B.A. from Morehouse College, a J.D. from the Harvard Law School and a Master of Science from the London School of Economics, where he was a Marshall Scholar.
New ALI members are selected based on professional achievement and demonstrated interest in improving the law. Spencer joins several other W&L Law faculty who are already members, including professors Doug Rendleman, Rick Kirgis, Margaret Howard, Tim Jost, Lyman Johnson, Brian Murchison, Erik Luna, Robin Wilson and Dean Nora Demleitner.
Poetry Book by W&L's R. T. Smith Evokes Flannery O'Connor
In his new book of poetry, “The Red Wolf: A Dream of Flannery O’Connor,” (Louisiana Literature Press, Jan. 2013) R.T. Smith gives voice to, if not the actual O’Connor, then a possible O’Connor or even a probable O’Connor.
A cult literary celebrity who wrote in the Southern Gothic subgenre, O’Connor published only two novels (with a third uncompleted) and a collection of short stories, “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” (1955). More of her work was published after her death from lupus at age 39.
Smith is writer-in-residence at Washington and Lee University, editor of W&L’s literary journal “Shenandoah” and author of a dozen books of poetry. The “Georgia Review” has described him as “one of the most vital voices in contemporary American poetry.”
“I’ve always been a devotee of O’Connor’s short stories and the maimed, the bewildered and insane that appear in them,” said Smith. “I immediately gravitated to them when I was in college.”
The kinship Smith felt with O’Connor began with proximity, since he lived on a farm in Griffin, Ga. close to where O’Connor lived on a family farm in Milledgeville, Ga. The Smith family had no idea that the famous American writer lived close by. “So it was proximity, but also literary appetite, admiration, envy, curiosity—a whole kettle of fish,” Smith wrote in the book’s introduction.
When he discovered that the child O’Connor had rebelled at being forced to learn to play the accordion, Smith recalled his own childish rebellion against playing the clarinet and wrote a poem about it: “Accordion Days.”
Smith wrote that he imagined the girl child in Savannah “wrestling an oversized squeezebox under the attentive eye and ear of a private music teacher. I heard the wheeze of the reeds as she fidgeted, and then the cry of a peacock, which would so steadily accompany her in later life. In that child I also detected the gifted and sassy contrarian of the rumors and biographies and found myself laughing out loud.”
Four years ago “Shenandoah” was set to celebrate its 60th anniversary and Smith thought that Flannery O’Connor would be an interesting figure for a special issue. So he wrote two more poems and proposed teaching a seminar on the writer.
Smith discovered that besides re-reading all of O’Connor’s short stories and essays, he had a new resource in the O’Connor biography by Brad Gooch, which had access to the O’Connor family’s papers. He also visited Georgia College and State University where the O’Connor Collection and manuscripts are located.
“I met some people who had sat on O’Connor’s front porch in a rocking chair and talked to her about literature and Catholicism and the South. And I wanted that conversation to continue, rather like carrying on a séance in a metaphorical way,” he said. “A few projects in my life have come upon me like a compulsion, and this one did.”
By writing poetry about O’Connor, Smith wanted to “bring her a little over into my own court. Having her think in 10 syllable lines gave me a feeling of authority, because I’m sure if I had talked with her I would immediately have withered in the presence of someone so smart and I would have just sat there listening.”
According to Smith, O’Connor could be “really spiky” in her essays, and her letters were sometimes “puckish” and didn’t necessarily say what she was thinking.
“She could pretend to a kind of off-putting brittleness, but at the same time she was a really serious go-to-mass-every morning Catholic who was also trained to be a southern belle,” said Smith. “I thought that those different pieces didn’t quite fit together. They needed some leavening, because she looks like three different women.”
In some of the poems Smith wrote about things that O’Connor mentioned in passing in a letter. For example, she lived in a part of Georgia where there was a lot of Ku Klux Klan activity. She mentioned it two or three times but never explored how she felt about it. “I think you can see how she felt through her stories, but I wanted to create poems where I make it explicit what I think she was harboring,” said Smith. “Most of the episodes I explore are fictitious and based on slight evidence, but credible just the same.”
“I admire O’Connor a great deal,” he added. “One of the basic ingredients of her personality was that she knew she had lupus and that it was destroying her immune system—her father had died of it. And the courage she showed in avoiding self-pity and wallowing and instead getting up every morning to go to Mass and then coming home to write for three hours every day.”
O’Connor seldom wrote about Catholics, although she often wrote about the benighted side of Protestantism. “Her stories are full of Protestant preachers, wannabe preachers who are hypocrites and pay lip service to Christianity and are as venal and greedy as the people they are directing their sermons at,” said Smith. “A lot of her characters who are great sources of humor for the reader are people striving for all the trappings of salvation but they don’t really want to be saved because that would be a great inconvenience. They would have to stop doing the things they are doing and give up the things they have acquired.”
In a review of “Red Wolf,” Alice Friman wrote:
Raise the curtain. Here she is: R.T. Smith’s Miss Flannery herself, stumping her crutches onto the stage to wrestle “the prophets and blessed dimwits” down to the mat and onto the page. Here she is, no nun, no saint, but flesh out funny in all her ambition and longing: “Did you reckon I was all thistle/inside?” Here she is pecking away at her Royal or “unsteady on her legs,” but fierce as the “joyful mysteries, luminous and sorrowful.” Smith has given us a book that’s an act of love if ever there was one.
Smith has written four collections of stories and is the author of over 12 poetry collections, including “Outlaw Style: Poems,” “The Hollow Log Lounge,” “Brightwood” and “Messenger.” He has received one fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, two Virginia Arts Commission fellowships, three Alabama Arts Council fellowships and the Alabama Governor’s Award for Achievement by an Artist. He also received three fellowships for an individual artist from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Smith’s writings have won the Pushcart Prize three times, have been published five times in “New Stories from the South,” and have also been published in “Best American Short Stories,” “Best American Poetry,” “Atlantic Monthly” and “Southern Review,” among others. He won the Library of Virginia Poetry Book Award for “Messenger” and “Outlaw Style: Poems.”
“The Red Wolf: A Dream of Flannery O’Connor” is available at the University Store or find it on their website at http://bookstore.wlu.edu
Place Your Super Bowl Bet on the Markets
Today is the Super Bowl. Tomorrow is the day you call your broker with instructions about how to position your portfolio for the coming year based on which team is victorious: San Francisco or Baltimore.
Washington and Lee University finance professor George Kester has been examining the Super Bowl Stock Market Predictor for the past several years. So once the competing teams get to the site of the championship game, George’s phone begins ringing in Lexington, and media start asking him about the study.
This year, for instance, he was interviewed by BBC and quoted on Smart Planet. In previous years, he has been interviewed by NPR and quoted in the Wall Street Journal and numerous news websites such as CNNMoney, CNBC, WSJ MarketWatch, Fortune Small Business and Forbes
Here’s the thesis in a nutshell: If the Super Bowl’s winning team has its roots in the original National Football League, the stock market increases the following year. If the winning team was originally from the old American Football League or is an expansion team, the market will decline.
Using data from the 22-year period of 1967 through 1988, two researchers published a paper in 1990 that concluded the predictor had been accurate 91 percent of the time.
On a lark back in 2009, George decided to extend that original study and fill in the next two decades’ worth of data. From his calculation, he concluded that, during the 42-year period from 1967 to 2008, the predictor had been right 76 percent of the time.
Those findings along with simulated investment results based on the predictor not only led to an article in the Journal of Investing but also put George and the predictor in the spotlight for the last several years come Super Bowl time.
Then, last year, he wondered: If the predictor can beat the market, how would it fare against professionally managed mutual funds?
So George recruited his colleague, Scott Hoover, associate professor of finance, to collaborate on another study. Together, they compared the performance of all 99 mutual funds that have been in continuous operation since the first Super Bowl in 1967 to 2011 , 45 years of Super Bowl results.
Here’s what they found: Their simulated Super Bowl-based, market-timed portfolios outperformed 95 of the 99 mutual funds based upon return and terminal portfolio value. On a more appropriate risk-adjusted basis using the Sharpe (reward-to-variability) ratio, the simulated portfolios outperformed all 99 mutual funds.
“We know full well that this all represents a spurious correlation, but imagine: The predictor outperformed 99 mutual funds—every one of them!” George said.
“The implication of these results is that a portfolio manager could have sat on the couch, munched chicken wings and watched each year’s Super Bowl. Then, depending upon the original league affiliation of the winner, that manager could have either invested in the S&P 500 Index or U.S. Treasury Bills the next day. The time and expense of security analysis and selection would have been avoided, allowing lots of time for tennis, golf, skiing and other leisure activities each year, with the full assurance that his or her portfolio would outperform every one of the other 99 mutual funds over the 45-year period 1967-2011.”
Now, there is one minor complication with this year’s game, and it involves the Baltimore Ravens. Sports fans know that the Ravens franchise was formed in 1996, when late owner Art Model moved the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore. So where do the Ravens fit? An original NFL team or an expansion team?
George and Scott initially disagreed on this matter, but George’s treatment of the Ravens as an expansion team in his previous study won the day. His reasoning was that the original NFL Browns’ nickname, colors, logo and records all remained in Cleveland, and its franchise was suspended until 1999, when it was reactivated.
Others disagree with that view and consider the Ravens one of the original NFL franchises. With that philosophy, it doesn’t matter who wins Super Bowl XLVII, San Francisco or Baltimore, because the markets are going up either way.
W&L Music Professor Eases Daughter's Autism with Music
Barry Kolman wasn’t expecting the outpouring of emotion from the audience after he and his 13-year-old daughter, Emmanuela, finished their clarinet duet at the annual convention of the Virginia Counselors Association last November. Then again, Kolman did realize that it was no ordinary performance: Emmanuela has autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
“People were just floored because they had never seen a kid who has autism play the clarinet,” recalled Kolman. “Children with autism can play piano because it’s easier—you press a button and get a sound. But with the clarinet there are a lot of things going on at once, and kids with autism have a hard time doing more than one thing at a time. People came up to us afterwards with tears in their eyes to hug my daughter.”
Kolman is a professor of music at Washington and Lee University. His wife, Grace, is a counselor and a doctoral student in counseling and supervision at James Madison University. Along with Emmanuela—Mano, for short—the couple had attended the convention to present their paper, “Autism Spectrum: Emotional Regulation through Clarinet Lessons.” Attendees included guidance counselors and music therapists.
The paper resulted from their three-month investigation into how learning to play the clarinet affected Mano’s emotional behavior. In their presentation, Grace Kolman explained how music stimulated the neurons in Mano’s brain, while Barry Kolman described the lessons from his point of view as the teacher, and how learning to play affected Mano’s behavior.
The idea for the family project came from the couple’s desire to combine music, the psychology of music and counseling. “We were constantly talking about music and psychology, and music and the brain,” said Barry, “especially with Mano having autism. When you love your daughter as much as I do, you have to ask yourself, ‘What can I do with what I know?’ And I know that music heals. Perhaps with my music and Grace’s experience and knowledge of assessment and treatment, I could find the key to make Mano’s life easier.”
Mano’s musical studies began when the band director at her school invited her to play in the beginner’s band. She chose the clarinet, her father’s instrument.
Before, Mano felt excluded from groups at school, bullied and ridiculed. “Being chosen for the band was a big deal,” Barry explained. “Now she was part of a group and was wanted and needed. It gave her more confidence that she was not so different from everyone else. So that gave us the impetus to give her clarinet lessons at home to reinforce the band classes at school and to start this investigation.”
Barry stressed that, unlike most music therapy, his approach used music as a total experience. He did not take just one aspect, such as rhythm, to modify her behavior. “I knew this approach could produce results for Mano, but I was also interested in observing my own changes as a teacher,” he said.
On the autism spectrum, Mano is high-functioning, which means she can talk and express her feelings. Before learning the instrument, she often succumbed to emotional breakdowns and outbursts and couldn’t explain why. “She was very frustrated at school because nobody would play with her and she felt alone, so she would act out her frustration, especially on the weekends at home,” said Barry.
Now, post-music, “there is barely an outburst,” Barry said. “She is aware of her feelings and can stop herself from going there. There’s something in playing music that evened out her behavior and calmed her down a lot.” She has more confidence in school, not only in music but in other subjects as well, and is also speaking more English to express her feelings. (She came to the United States two years ago from her native Brazil.)
Mano also has short-term memory problems, forgetting what she had for lunch, her coat, her books and her homework. To remedy the situation, Barry gave Mano his own first clarinet, explaining that his father had given it to him and that it was a very special instrument. He told her to take care of it and bring it home every day. “That’s a big deal for someone who tends to forget,” said Barry. “But because I gave her that talk and because she was learning clarinet, she brought it back every single day. She never forgot the clarinet.”
The clarinet lessons also had an effect on Barry. Despite his bachelor’s degree in music education, “basically everything I learned in school I had to throw out of the window,” he said. “For example, I give private lessons to middle-school kids, and I’m used to saying maybe three commands in one sentence. Finger it this way, breath this way and tongue that way. And most children accept those three commands. But with Mano I couldn’t do that. I had to take really small baby steps and do one thing at a time.”
He also found that if he went beyond 20 minutes for a lesson, Mano would lose concentration. And lessons needed to be at a time when she wasn’t tired or easily distracted.
Where the lessons took place was also important. The downstairs laundry room at home did not work, but the dining room, with the rest of the family as an audience, did. “She reacted well and was almost showing off in front of everyone,” he said. “I couldn’t believe how well she played. Things we’d been working on for three weeks, all of a sudden just popped out with the right rhythm, the right timing and the right tone.”
Barry also learned to be flexible. When giving private clarinet lessons, he has a certain regimen and an idea of what he wants to accomplish in each lesson. “Teaching Mano taught me a lot of things and changed my attitude,” he said.
One example came when father was trying to convey to daughter the difference between the black notes (which indicate individual single beats) and notes that are not colored in (half notes which last for two beats). Mano suddenly said, pointing to the black notes, “It’s like dark chocolate.” And, pointing to the white notes: “It’s like white chocolate.”
“In a different situation, I would probably have said ‘That’s very nice,’ and moved on,” admitted Barry. “But I know Mano loves chocolate, and so I diverted from my path and it was a delightful lesson. I accomplished the same thing, just in a different way, from following Mano’s cues.
“I was also impressed with Mano’s progress in learning to play the clarinet. To even get a tone out of the clarinet was amazing, but she did it in the second lesson. She was able to get a decent sound and not just a squeak or a squawk,” he said. “That’s quite an accomplishment. Many children get frustrated if they can’t make that first sound, but Mano was persistent and tried continuously until she made a good sound.”
Barry also taught Mano how to play a duet with him. “Sometimes she would stop playing when we were trying a duet because she thought I was playing the wrong note, or that I wasn’t quite at the right spot. So I tried to explain to her what a duet was all about,” he said. “I chose on purpose a duet where one part is different from the other part to see how independent she had become.”
Mano’s new independence was evident at the November presentation to the counselors. After the first duet, the audience wanted an encore. Mano chose “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” It had no harmony part, so Barry made one up while she played. “I thought I might mess up her concentration because my harmony was so different to what she was playing. But she played right along with the correct beat—she didn’t rush or slow down—and people were just amazed and gave us a standing ovation,” he said.
Since her parents began this project, Mano was selected by the school’s band director to play in the band’s debut holiday concert at the high school, placing her in the upper echelons of that group and furthering her acceptance.
Mano now practices her clarinet in her own time. “This is awesome, because kids with autism don’t practice,” noted Barry. “She can also now read music and gets good grades in all her quizzes and tests in music.”
Both Grace and Barry appreciate the band director’s invitations to Mano. “For the first time in her life, Mano felt part of a group. She feels like she belongs to the band and even brags about being better than other band members,” said Grace. “Teaching children and adolescents with ASD to play an instrument is a matter of inclusion more than performance. School counselors need to work closely with music teachers to support them and the children during the learning process.”
Barry Kolman kept a journal of his lessons with Mano, which can be found on his website: www.maestrokolman.com.
He conducts the University-Shenandoah Symphony Orchestra (USSO), along with teaching music fundamentals, introduction to music, applied clarinet and conducting. He is a frequent guest conductor of orchestras around the world and is the author of a book, “The Language of Music Revealed” (Universal Publishers, 2012).
W&L Alumna Helps Refugee Children as UN Worker
After the European Union (EU) won the Nobel Peace Prize last December, it selected four projects of the EU’s Children of Peace initiative, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to receive the money. One of the boots-on-the-ground employees of the UN putting those funds to good use is Verónica Vaca-Moreno, a member of W&L’s Class of 2007.
Verónica, who holds a B.A. in psychology, is in charge of external relations and works with donors and fund-raising at the UNHCR’s program unit in Quito, Ecuador. She tells us that her home country, Ecuador, has “the largest refugee population in Latin America, with 55,480 officially recognized refugees and a total of over 160,000 persons in need of international protection. . . . Most of them have escaped from the internal armed conflict in neighboring Colombia.” She often travels to the volatile Columbian border as part of her job.
The official title of Verónica’s project is “Improving Access to Education for Children in Conflict in Colombia and Ecuador.” According to the EU press release, the donation will underwrite “access to basic education and child-friendly spaces” for more than 5,000 Columbian children. The EU boosted the Nobel prize of 930,000 euros to 2 million.
You can get a vivid glimpse of Verónica’s work—not to mention her dedication—in her essay about a family that the program is helping. They escaped from their home in Colombia after their father and husband was killed by an illegal armed group. In this excerpt, she focuses on a five-year-old girl, Alejandra:
The mother is the sole parent of seven young children. Luckily, they are not alone. From the moment they arrived, they received humanitarian assistance from UNHCR. First they were given shelter, and once they were able to settle in their own home, they received assistance to obtain household items and food. They have also received support from UNHCR to be able to access the asylum process, health care and education. They still need many things, but at least here they are safe. Here, they are beginning to heal.
As soon as we came into the humble house where the family lives, Alejandra sat right next to me. The whole time we spoke with her mother, she held my hand. When it was time for us to go, she stood by the door, blocking the way with her arms and asking me to stay. At this point, I was trying hard not to cry. Even if my heart is breaking, I don’t feel it’s fair to cry in front of little children who are forced to be much braver than most people ever have to be, just in order to survive.