PHILADELPHIA -- The Modern Language Association is famous for the provocative titles of sessions at its annual meeting. But the provocative title of one session Sunday night -- so surprising to several MLA members that they expressed disbelief when told about it -- contained no sexual wordplay or trendy literary buzzwords. The title: Does the English Department Have a Jewish Problem?
The Cultural Capital of Asian American Studies (New York University Press) explores the state of the discipline more than 40 years after its founding amid the student protests of the 60s. Mark Chiang, associate professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, writes about how the field has grown and also changed since its early days. In an e-mail interview, he discussed the themes of the book.
Months ago, Sandra Soto was asked by her dean to be the faculty speaker at the graduation convocation last week for the University of Arizona's College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Soto didn't know it at the time, but her commencement speech would closely follow the adoption of two new Arizona laws. One gives the police more authority to question anyone they believe may be in the United States illegally -- powers that critics say will lead to widespread ethnic profiling.
WASHINGTON -- While he described himself as “stunned” to be chosen as this year’s Jefferson Lecturer, Leon Kass was hardly apologetic. The University of Chicago professor is best known for the years he spent as chair of President Bush’s Council on Bioethics, and he was invited to give the lecture last fall by the then-chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Bruce Cole, himself twice appointed by President Bush.
In 1932, doctors from the U.S. Public Health Service began a study on untreated late-stage syphilis. The doctors were all white men; the study's subjects were all black men, as the doctors believed that the afflicted person's race would have an impact on the progression of the disease. The study included some 400 men who were presumed to have late-stage syphilis, as well as about 200 controls presumed to be free of the disease.
For over three decades, Robert Burns Stepto has been writing about and teaching African American literature. His book From Behind the Veil: A Study of Afro-American Narrative (University of Illinois Press), which focuses on several autobiographies of and novels about young black men growing up in America, was first published in 1979.