March 11, 02

Vol. 17 , No. 09   

The Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health
MONDAY, MARCH 11, 2002

In a full-star review Publishers Weekly wrote that Laurie Garrett's book Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health (2000) is "on par with Rachel Carson's Silent Spring (1962)... this chilling exploration of the decline of public health should be taken seriously by leaders and policy-makers around the world."

Garrett's Athenaeum lecture, based on material in Betrayal of Trust, will bring the audience into countries around the world - such as India, Zaire, Russia, and the United States - and reveal how numerous health catastrophes are occurring simultaneously and creating a global health disaster.

As a science writer for New York Newsday, Laurie Garrett has traveled the world to report and research the spread of some of the most deadly viruses in existence. She also is a frequent contributor to such publications as The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and Foreign Affairs.

Her skill in engaging and intelligent scientific commentary is obvious. She remains the only person to have won all of the top four awards in American journalism: The Pulitzer Prize, The George Foster Peabody Broadcasting Award, The George C. Polk Award for Best International Reporting, and the Overseas Press Club of America Award. Additionally, her first book, The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance (1994), was named one of the best books of 1994 by The New York Times Book Review.

Garrett graduated with honors in biology from the University of California-Santa Cruz and attended graduate school in the department of Bacteriology and Immunology at UC-Berkeley. Her interest in journalism was sparked when she started reporting on science news at KPFA, a local radio station. She later moved on to become the science correspondent for NPR.

Please join us at the Athenaeum for what promises to be a provocative and compelling discussion on the current state of global health.

Laurie Garrett's Athenaeum lecture is cosponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies.

The Women in Combat Debate

Should women be able to serve in ground combat units? Absolutely. Should they serve in ground combat units alongside men? Absolutely not. Dr. Anna Simons, author of The Company They Keep: Life Inside the U. S. Army Special Forces (1997), and associate professor of defense analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School, makes the case that it is time to throw out the usual arguments about physical fitness differences between men and women, and instead concentrate on what the presence of women does to cohesion among men.

After earning her Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard University, based on fieldwork conducted in Somalia (1988-89), Simons next found herself at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. There she engaged in a second stint of fieldwork-this time among Special Forces soldiers. Not only did this enable her to observe male bonding more closely than most academics who write about cohesion, but she continues to have a front row seat. Three years ago she left the anthropology department at UCLA to join the Special Operations Academic Group at the Naval Postgraduate School, where she teaches Special Operations officers, and her research continues to focus on cohesion as well as the likely nature of future war.

Simons' perspective is unusual not only because there are very few anthropologists who study modern warfare and modern militaries, but there are fewer still who concentrate on combat units. In general, proponents who favor lifting the combat exclusion laws have spent little time with soldiers in the field.
Thus, it is easy for them to seek gender equity when, perhaps, the more important goal should be maximizing combat effectiveness. So social equity or military effectiveness? - that's just one of the questions driving the women in combat debate.
Dr. Simons received her B.A. in Biological Anthropology from Harvard University. Her other publications include Networks of Dissolution: Somalia Undone (1995). Her Athenaeum lecture is sponsored by the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies.

Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: Stress, Disease, and Coping

As a boy in New York City, Dr. Robert M. Sapolsky wanted to live in one of the dioramas at the Museum of Natural History. He wrote fan letters to primatologists, started reading their textbooks at the age of fourteen, and even learned Swahili, all in the hopes that one day he could go to Africa and see his primate brethren. One week after graduating from Harvard in the mid-1970s, he finally achieved his dream: he made a trip to Kenya to study the social behavior of baboons. Ever since, he spends three months out of each year in the Serengeti of East Africa studying wild baboons and what their dominance rank, social behavior, and personality have to do with patterns of stress-related diseases.

According to author Pete Dexter, "Mr. Sapolsky has been to the end of the road and come back with some of the best stories you will ever hear and, in the process, has put his finger on some vast common denominator." Salpolsky will share some of these stories with the Claremont audience in his Athenaeum lecture. Specifically, in a fascinating look at the science of stress, he will present an intriguing reason for stress disorders in humans: people develop such diseases partly because our bodies aren't designed for the constant stresses of a modern-day life-like sitting in daily traffic jams or growing up in poverty. Rather, they seem more well suited for the kind of short-term stress faced by a zebra-like outrunning a lion.

A research associate with the Institute of Primate Research, National Museums of Kenya and a winner of the MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, Sapolsky is the author of three books, including Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: Stress, Disease, and Coping (1993) and A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons (2001). In addition to his books, his articles have appeared in many publications, including Discover and The New Yorker. His lecture and article topics cover a wide range: stress and from where stress related diseases originate; the biology of individuality; the biology of belief, the biology of memory; diseases such as schizophrenia, depression, aggression, and Alzheimer's; and, of course, baboons.

Robert Sapolsky is the David E. French Lecturer for the 2002 academic year.

A Tribute to Ricardo Quinones

Charles Johnson worked on Dreamer (1993) for more than seven years. Set in Chicago in the summer of 1966, this extraordinary historical novel focuses principally, of course, upon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Quite early in the novel, however, Johnson introduces one Chaym Smith, a perfect body double and spiritual alter-ego of Dr. King. Of King's and Smith's relationship, Dennis McFarland writes in his The New York Times review article that Johnson created the doppelganger "in order to explore the soul of inequality and some of the unpleasant ways in which the world divides those favored by God, those not so favored (the `Abelites,' . . . and the `Cainites,' . . .). As a journey Dreamer. . . hold[s] up a mirror in which the interrelatedness of these apparent opposites can be viewed." Johnson attests that what enabled him to flesh out the character of Chaym Smith-and thereby realize and render most forcefully and truthfully the Cain/Abel dichotomy-was Ricardo Quinones's The Changes of Cain: Violence and the Lost Brother in Cain and Abel Literature (1991), which Johnson calls "scholarship at its finest."

In the nearly forty years since Ricardo Quinones first arrived at CMC, he has earned an international reputation in comparative literature-especially as a critic of Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, and writers of the Italian Renaissance; and as a Dante scholar with few peers ("the premiere Dantiste in North America," as the editor of Lectura Dantis described Dr. Quinones). His commanding classroom presence, humor, and accessibilty made him the first winner of the Huntoon Award for Outstanding Teaching. As teacher, scholar, and founding director of the Family of Benjamin Z. Gould Center for Humanistic Studies, Quinones's influence on the cultural and intellectual life of the College and community has been profound and all encompassing.

When Charles Johnson, who will deliver the keynote address at this tribute to Dr. Quinones, captured the National Book Award for his novel Middle Passage (1988), he became the first African American male to receive such formal recognition since Ralph Ellison some forty years earlier. Often described as literary and intellectual heir to Ellison, Richard Wright, and John Gardner (under whose tutelage he wrote his first novel, Faith and the Good Thing (1974)), Johnson has always brought to his fiction, essays, and criticism the kind of preparedness, expansiveness of view, and devotion to craft characteristic of, and essential to, an artist of the highest order. Soulcatcher and Other Stories, published in 2001, is the most recent Johnson's many books, which include four novels, two collections of short stories, two collections of comic art, and two works of aesthetics and criticism (Being and Race: Black Writing Since 1970 (1988) and I Call Myself an Artist: Writing By and About Charles Johnson (1999), edited by Rudolf Byrd).

The Arab Jihad in Afghanistan: Pictures From an Occupation
MONDAY, MARCH 25, 2002

Imagine a collection of 100,000 photographs, 3,000 hours of video and 1,600 audiotapes documenting the recent history of Afghanistan. But don't just imagine-join the Athenaeum for an inside look into this archive, when Williams College Afghan Media Project director David Edwards will share pictures and stories from Afghanistan. A man who became an expert about Afghanistan long before September 11th, Edwards oversees efforts to preserve one of the most extensive collections of visual and audio records from Afghanistan. In his Athenaeum lecture, Edwards will also consider the failure of the Arab Afghans to mobilize a base of support among Afghans for their objective of global jihad.

Seeking to combat decreasing coverage of Afghanistan in the late 1980s, the Pakistan-based Afghan Media Resource Center (AMRC) facilitated trips from 1987 to 1995 to Afghanistan for journalists, cameramen, video crews, and photographers. These photos, television reports, and audiotapes from remote regions (some of which required travel of up to a month to reach) were dispatched to media outlets including the BBC, CNN, and Time. Edwards, in recognizing the importance of the AMRC archive-as well as the danger posed to the archive by Pakistan's hot and dusty climate-is working to digitalize and preserve the collection.

Edwards is professor and departmental chair of Anthropology at Williams College. He has published articles on religious ideology in Afghanistan (again, long before most of the rest of us thought to take notice). His book, Before Taliban: Genealogies of the Afghan Jihad (1998), is from the University of California Press.

Professor Edwards delivers the fourth annual L. J. Kutten Lecture on Philosophy and Religion, made possible through the generosity of CMC alumnus L. J. Kutten '74.

Can Juries Differentiate Between Good Science and Bad Science?

The stakes can be life or death. Are our juries acting prudently? The United States judicial system assumes that jurors are able to critically analyze testimonies when forming their decisions. But when psychological expert testimony is made in cases that may or may not bear the death penalty, do jurors effectively differentiate between strong expert evidence and more subjective clinical opinion?

While our justice system assumes this competency on the part of juries, CMC Psychology Professor Daniel Krauss believes otherwise. In an article in the June 2001 issue of Psychology, Public Policy, & Law, he argues that jurors typically are more affected by clinical opinion expert testimony than more scientifically sound testimony.

Krauss joined CMC in the summer of 2000 and teaches Forensic, Abnormal, and General Psychology. The Supreme Court of the United States recently named him to one of four Fellowships for the coming year. The Fellowship places "exceptionally talented" individuals in the administration of the federal judiciary; Krauss will serve in the United States Sentencing Commission, an independent agency that establishes sentencing guidelines.

Currently, Krauss is Legal Editor of the American Psychology - Law Society Newsletter, and is member of associations in the fields of psychology and law. Krauss completed his Ph.D. in a joint major in clinical and psychology, policy, and law at the University of Arizona. He earlier graduated with honors both from the school's College of Law and from Johns Hopkins University with an undergraduate degree in psychology.

Krauss clearly has a strong foundation and expertise in the interplay of psychology and law. Please join the Athenaeum for what promises to be an insightful look at the justice system from a man recognized by the Supreme Court itself for his talent.

The lecture by Professor Krauss is part of the Athenaeum series Faculty Ideas in Progress.

Cesar Chavez Commemoration

. . . for any piece of farmworker legislation to be acceptable to the Hispanic Caucus, it must start and end with the protection of farmworkers' basic needs for adequate housing and working conditions.

-Congressman Xavier Becerra, July 28, 1998, to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

Si se puede (yes we can).

-Cesar Estrada Chavez

Though awards and commemoration are important, Cesar Chavez did not seek recognition for himself. Instead, he fought for what he called "La Causa" - a commitment to improving the plight of the millions of exploited arid vulnerable farrnwarkers, From 1962 to 1993, the year he died, Cesar Chavez worked to instill in the United Farm Workers the principals of nonviolence practiced by Mahatma Gandhi. His leadership and commitment to nonviolence culminated in such important actions as the Delano grape strike and the 340 mile march from Delano to Sacramento in 1966. In 1988, at the age of 61, Chavez conducted his last - and longest-public fast for 36 days, to call attention to farrnworkers and their children stricken by pesticides. Therefore, The Claremont Colleges are honoring this hero who brought dignity to the voiceless men, women, and children laboring in America's croplands.

We are privileged to have with us a leader who has embodied Cesar Chavez's ideals and vision through his lifelong social activism and support of farmworker legislation. Congressman Xavier Becerra's leadership on this front has brought about change and improvement for the lives of farmworkers and their families. It is fitting, therefore, that Congressman Becerra deliver the keynote address for the First State holiday that honors the birthday of Cesar Estrada Chavez.

In 1980 Congressman Becerra earned his Baccalaureate degree in economics from Stanford University. He was awarded a Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School in 1984. Congressman Becerra is the first in his family to attend college.

Prior to his election to Congress in 1992, Congressman Becerra served one term in the California Legislature. A former Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justices he commenced his legal career in 1984 working in a legal services office representing the mentally ill.

The address by Congressman Xavier Becerra is sponsored by the Cesar Chavez Commemoration Committee of The Claremont Colleges.


Application forms for the position of Athenaeum Fellow for the 2002-2003 academic year will be available in the Athenaeum office on Monday, March 4. Completed applications must be returned by Thursday, March 28 at 5:00 PM. Students desiring to be considered for the following year (2003-2004) but who will be away from campus during the next year's selection process may submit their application now in order to be considered for the future position.