Lawrence University’s Inaugural African Studies Series Opens with Film, Lecture

A screening of the award-winning African film “Pieces of Identity” Thursday April 29 at 4:30 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium opens the first Lawrence University African Studies Lecture Series.

Winner of the 1999 Étalon de Yennenga, the most prestigious award in African cinema, “Pieces of Identity” confronts issues of identity facing people of African descent in an ever-widening diaspora through the story of an old village king entering the Westernized world and his beautiful, but wayward, daughter.

Following the film, Professor Jude Akudinobi in the Department of Black Studies at the University of California-Santa Barbara, presents the address, “Identity, Cultural Production and African Cinema.” Both the film and the lecture are free and open to the public.

Akudinobi, who teaches cinema in the UC-Santa Barbara black studies department, will discuss the roles modernity and tradition play within the African social fabrics of music, art, religion, myth and ritual, among others, and how African film makers engage the issue of ‘identity’ in their craft.

Akudinobi, who earned a Ph.D. in cinema-television critical studies from the University of Southern California, is the founding film editor of the scholarly journal “African Identities.” In addition, he has written essays for “The Black Scholar,” “Social Identities” and “Nka: The Journal of Contemporary African Art,” among others, and co-wrote a screenplay adaptation of playwright/poet Aime Cesaire’s “The Black Tempest,” a radical adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”

Lawrence’s African Studies Lecture Series is sponsored by the Susan and Richard Goldsmith African Studies Fund. Established in 2000 by Susan and Richard Goldsmith, who served as Peace Corps volunteers in Africa after graduating from Lawrence in 1965 and 1964, respectively, the fund promotes the study of issues of global significance with respect to the cultures and societies of Africa.

Lawrence University Earth Day Festival Features State Legislator, Literature Drop

Live music, information booths, a rock climbing wall, a literature drop and an address by State Representative Spencer Black (D-Madison) highlight Lawrence University’s sixth annual Earth Day Festival Saturday, May 1 on the Lawrence Main Hall Green. All Earth Day Festival activities are free and open to the public. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be moved inside the Lawrence Memorial Union.

Black, one of the state legislature’s strongest environmental advocates, presents “Protecting the Earth in a Time of Challenges” at 1 p.m. Black will review recent environmental accomplishments, examine some of the biggest challenges that remain and discuss ways individual citizens can affect decisions that are made regarding the environment.Black, one of the state legislature’s strongest environmental advocates, presents “Protecting the Earth in a Time of Challenges” at 1 p.m. Black will review recent environmental accomplishments, examine some of the biggest challenges that remain and discuss ways individual citizens can affect decisions that are made regarding the environment.

First elected to the state assembly in 1984, Black’s work on behalf of conservation and environmental issues has been recognized with the Clean Water Action Council Environmental Advocate of the Year Award, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association Environmental Excellence Award, the Audubon Society Environmentalist of the Year Award and The Nature Conservancy President’s Public Service Award, among others.

Lawrence’s Earth Day Festival activities begin at 9 a.m. with a trash pickup along the north banks of the Fox River adjacent to the Lawrence campus. All volunteers interested in participating can meet at the front of the Lawrence Memorial Union.

Between 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the Main Hall Green, the festival will feature information booths addressing various environmental issues, including environmentally friendly hybrid automobiles, energy efficiency, wildlife rehabilitation and rock identification conducted by members of the Lawrence geology department. Lawrence’s Lower Six Brass Band will provide musical entertainment from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Beginning at 2 p.m., members of Greenfire, Lawrence’s student environmental awareness organization, and other area residents, will participate in a door-to-door “literature drop” to an estimated 2,700 households in the Fox Cities. Greenfire is part of a 57-member, state-wide coalition of organizations and businesses that is distributing information aimed at educating Wisconsin residents about recent attacks on environmental protections and urging them to contact their elected officials. In addition to Appleton, the literature drop is targeting Milwaukee, Madison, La Crosse and Green Bay with a goal of reaching 40,000 households across the state.

“Earth Day has always been a time when Americans come together to demonstrate their concern for the environment and acknowledge that we must care for our Earth if we are to care for ourselves,” said Steve Rogness, president of Greenfire. “This Earth Day, we hope to empower
Wisconsinites to participate in the political process by proclaiming their love for the outdoors and demanding better environmental protections from our state and federal government.”

Education Scholar Examines Impact of Desegregation in Schools on 50th Anniversary of Landmark Brown Decision

In May, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the doctrine of “separate but equal” unconstitutional, outlawing segregation in public schools with its ruling in the landmark case, Brown vs. Board of Education.

Fifty years to the month after that historic decision, author and education scholar Jack Dougherty discusses the impact of the Brown case in the Lawrence University address, “Looking beyond ‘Brown’: What we will — and won’t — hear on its 50th Anniversary.” The lecture, Thursday, May 13 at 4:30 p.m. in Science Hall, Room 202, is free and open to the public.

Dougherty, assistant professor and director of the educational studies program at Trinity College in Connecticut, will examine the commonly accepted historical understandings of the Brown case, offer a new interpretation of Brown that will challenge assumptions about school desegregation and provide insights for educational reform in the 21st century.

A specialist on the connections between educational history, policy and practice, Dougherty is the author of the 2004 book “More Than One Struggle: The Evolution of Black School Reform in Milwaukee.” In tracing the history of reform movements in Milwaukee from the 1930s to the 1990s, Dougherty challenges traditional views that suggest African Americans offered a unified voice concerning the Brown decision. He argues instead that black activists engaged in multiple, overlapping and often conflicting strategies to advance African Americans by gaining greater control over schools.

A former high school social studies teacher, Dougherty teaches courses on educational policy and education reform at Trinity. He earned his Ph.D. in educational policy studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dougherty’s appearance is co-sponsored by the Lawrence English and history departments.

Former EPA Official Discusses Post-9/11 Health Hazards in Lawrence University Earth Day Celebration Address

Former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hazardous waste ombudsman Robert Martin will discuss the health disaster affecting New York City following the 9/11 attack and provide an insider account of federal environmental regulation “as it really works” in an address at Lawrence University as part of the college’s Earth Day celebration.

Martin presents “The Bush Administration and the Environment,” Wednesday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m. in Youngchild Hall, Room 121. The event is free and open to the public.

Martin will discuss the Bush administration’s handling of the situation in New York following the World Trade Center collapse which produced a toxic cloud that covered lower Manhattan for days after the tragedy and left substantial quantities of toxic materials in buildings.

In his role as ombudsman, Martin joined other government scientists in urging officials at the EPA and the Department of Justice to alert the public to the hazard and provide direction on ways to reduce health impacts.

That urging, along with investigations Martin was conducting into possible conflict of interest charges involving EPA chief Christine Whitman, brought him into direct conflict with the Bush administration and eventually led to the abolishment of the ombudsman’s office by Whitman.

He was later reassigned to the Inspector General’s Office to answer phones on the EPA hotline. Martin, who had spent more than nine years with the EPA, claimed the move to eliminate the ombudsman’s position was an attempt to squelch the ability to independently investigate wrongdoing at the agency. His subsequent resignation on Earth Day in
2002 made national headlines.

Martin’s visit, part of a state-wide speaking tour on the ongoing rollback of major environmental laws under the Bush administration, is sponsored by Greenfire, the student environmental organization, and the Co-op House.

U.S. Foreign Service Veteran Offers Insights on Middle East in Lawrence University International Studies Lecture Series

Jonathan Greenwald, a former Lawrence University Scarff Distinguished Visiting Professor of Diplomacy and Foreign Policy, discusses current U.S. strategies for peace in the Middle East and the challenges of building democracies in the region in the fourth and final installment of Lawrence’s Mojmir Povolny Lectureship in International Studies.

Greenwald presents “Prospects for Peace in the Middle East” Tuesday, April 20 at 7 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium on the Lawrence campus. The event is free and open to the public.

A veteran foreign service officer and former director of the U.S. Department of State office of counter-terrorism, Greenwald’s address will focus on current developments in Iraq, the Israel-Palestine problem and the potential danger posed by Iran, where he recently spent two weeks. He will discuss some of the latest headlines from those areas while analyzing the strategic concepts the Bush administration is employing to foster peace and democracy.

Greenwald is currently the vice president of research and publications at the headquarters of the International Crisis Group, a non-governmental, conflict prevention organization based in Brussels. As such, he oversees some 90-100 full length reports and briefing papers the ICG publishes on conflict situations around the globe, based on extensive on-the-ground research and analysis by ICG experts. The reports make policy recommendations directed to governments and international organizations.

During a 30-year career with the U.S. State Department that began in 1969, Greenwald held embassy and consular posts throughout Europe, including Budapest, Madrid and East Berlin, where he supervised the incarceration of Nazi leader Rudolf Hess in Spandau Prison. He served as the political counselor at the U.S. Embassy when the Berlin Wall fell, providing crisis analysis to Washington and later assisting with German Unification negotiations.

From 1991-93, Greenwald directed the state department’s office of counter-terrorism. He devised diplomatic strategies for dealing with Libya, negotiated U.N. sanctions against Mu’ammar Qadhafi for the Pam-Am 103 bombing and led a State Department/CIA/Special Forces response team on a classified counter-terrorism mission abroad during the Gulf War. He spent the 1998-99 academic year teaching courses on the origins of war and the Cold War at Lawrence under the auspices of the Scarff Professorship.

Greenwald is the author of the book, “Berlin Witness: An American Diplomat’s Chronicle of East Germany’s Revolution” and serves as a member of the United States Council on Foreign Relations.

He earned a bachelor of arts degree summa cum laude in history from Princeton University, spent a year as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow in Classics at Princeton and earned a degree in international law from Harvard University Law School in 1968.

Named in honor of Lawrence’s long time professor of government, the Mojmir Povolny Lectureship in International Studies promotes interest and discussion on issues of moral significance and ethical dimensions.

Biblical Archaeologist Discusses Existence of King Solomon in Lawrence University Address

William Dever, a noted expert in biblical archaeology, will challenge recent European revisionists’ claims that King Solomon was no more a historical figure than King Arthur in an Archaeological Institute of America illustrated lecture at Lawrence University.

Dever, professor of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona, presents, “The ‘Age of Solomon,’ History or Myth? The Archaeological Picture” Monday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. in Lawrence’s Wriston Art Center auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. An informal reception with the speaker follows the address.

The revisionists argue against the existence of a 10th-century B.C. “United Monarchy,” saying writers several hundred years later fabricated the stories as a “foundation myth” to help create an identity for the Jewish people.

Dever, the author of more than 25 books, will present archaeological evidence supporting the presence of a true “state” in 10th-century B.C. Israel, including monumental royal architecture and non-biblical texts that mention “kings of Israel” and a “dynasty of David.”

Dever, who has conducted extensive fieldwork throughout Israel, is a past director of the Nelson Glurck School of Biblical Archaeology in Jerusalem. He earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University.

Intellectual Legacy of Provocative Author Edward Said Examined by Lawrence University Faculty Panel

The influence of award-winning and often-controversial author and social commentator Edward Said will be examined from the perspective of several different academic disciplines in a Lawrence University Main Hall Forum.

A six-member faculty panel presents “Edward Said’s Intellectual Legacy” Tuesday, April 13 at 4:30 p.m. in Main Hall, Room 201. The event is free and open to the public.

Rosa Tapia, instructor in Spanish, will serve as moderator for the forum, which will feature the personal insights of the panelists as well as a question-and-answer session following the individual presentations.

Joining Tapia on the panel will be Peter Blitstein, assistant professor of history, Alexis Boylan, assistant professor of art history, Catherine Hollis, assistant professor of English, W. Flagg Miller, lecturer in anthropology, and Lifongo Vetinde, associate professor of French.

Born in Jerusalem in 1935 and raised in Egypt, Said spent nearly 30 years teaching English and comparative literature at Columbia University. He wrote more than a dozen books and edited numerous others, establishing himself as a provocative cultural critic while writing on topics as diverse as the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the Middle East peace process to literary criticism, cultural theory and opera. Once described as “one of the premier political intellectuals of his generation,” he was widely recognized as an astute commentator on Middle Eastern affairs and as a respected proponent of Palestinian
national rights. He served as a member of the Palestine National Council from 1977-91.

One of Said’s best-known works, “Orientalism,” took a critical view of European and American representations of Middle Eastern people and societies, charging traditional Western scholarship on the region painted stereotypes of its cultures as irrational, unchanging, violent and morally degenerate. He argued that those stereotypes have been used as justification for Western economic and political domination of the Middle East. Said died of leukemia last September at the age of 67.

Making History: LU’s Jonathon Roberts Vies for National ACTF Sound Design Title

It wasn’t a case of stage fright that Jonathon Roberts overcame to earn himself a place in the Lawrence University theatre department’s history book.

Roberts turned a little self-doubt and a bout of procrastination into an award-winning sound design that has him in the running for a trip to the national finals of the American College Theatre Festival April 12-18 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., where his work would be showcased with the best of the best in U.S. college theatre in a variety of design and acting categories.

Roberts became a footnote in Lawrence history — with the possibility of becoming a much more prominent note — by winning the ACTF’s sound design category at the five-state Region III competition earlier this year at Illinois State University in Normal, Ill. He is the first Lawrence student in any category to win at the ACTF regional level and advance to the national competition.

Cited for his work on Lawrence’s fall 2003 production of Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale,” Roberts’ design is one of eight regional winners that will be selected as the ACTF’s national winner. In addition to an invitation to appear at the Kennedy Center, the winner receives a month-long summer fellowship with the sound director of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Conn.

Roberts was responsible for all sound aspects of the production, which included composing nearly 25 minutes of original music for scene changes and underscoring and writing the music for four songs that were performed in the play. His design incorporated an eclectic mix of conventional and exotic instruments — marimba, Indian Noah bells, a “singing bowl,” wood and metal wind chimes — along with the distinctively non-conventional musical sounds of different types of gravel being poured, dropped and rubbed.

Timothy Troy, associate professor of theatre arts, who directed “The Winter’s Tale,” describes Roberts as “really quite brilliant.”

“Getting to the ACTF nationals is confirmation from the outside that he’s good,” said Troy, who competed in the ACTF himself as a graduate student in 1987. “But I can tell you, he’s really good. Jonathon is as talented a sound designer as anyone I’ve ever worked with in my 15-year professional career. He has an uncanny ability to find a sonic metaphor for the action on stage that perfectly reflects the deepest meanings of the play. That is a rare and highly valued talent.”

Being selected a national sound design finalist is all the more surprising for Roberts considering he barely made it to the regional competition.

“It was right down to the wire to get my materials together and get them submitted for the regional and I was telling myself, ‘I don’t even think I should be doing this,'” said Roberts, a senior double degree candidate majoring in music composition and theatre and drama from Sturgeon Bay. “I wound up turning in an all-nighter to get everything put together.”

The effort proved to be well worth it when, after intense questioning and review by a jury of professionals, Roberts’ design was selected from among 15 regional finalists.

The regional competition involves much more than merely submitting a tape or CD of the productions sounds. Roberts had to assemble a large display that explained how his sounds were created and more importantly, why they were created. The designer’s presentation to the judges plays a role in the process as well.

“I was really nervous,” recalled Roberts, who has served as sound designer for five productions at Lawrence. “The judges were pretty intimidating. They really know their stuff. You have to thoroughly explain exactly why you did everything in your design. I was so impressed with their comprehensive knowledge. I learned a tremendous amount about sound and theatre design in a very short time.”

Roberts had to leave the regional competition before it was concluded, not knowing his status. He wound up learning the good news several days after he returned to Lawrence.

“I found out from a friend at UW-Green Bay who also was there that my design was the one selected as the winner,” said Roberts. “I was really blown away with what I saw at the regional competition, so it was quite thrilling to learn the judges picked mine. I expect to see some truly amazing designs at the national competition.”

Thanks to support from the ACTF regional, Roberts will travel to the Kennedy Center to attend masterclasses and design workshops whether he’s selected the national winner or not.

Unlike NCAA athletics, the ACTF doesn’t designate divisions based on institutional size or curriculum, which means Roberts is competing against sound designers from more than just peer institutions, including those with graduate programs in theatre.

“Regardless of what happens from here, just getting to the national finals is a win,” said Troy.

Roberts’ design work has drawn the attention of several prestigious programs. If the national title and the O’Neill Theater Center fellowship eludes him, he is hoping to land an internship this summer with either the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre or the Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts in Santa Maria, Calif.

Political Systems Expert Discusses Democratization of China in Lawrence University Address

Minxin Pei, senior associate and director of the China Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C., discusses China’s current economic transition and explores the possibility of the country’s democratization in a comparative perspective in the third installment of Lawrence University’s four-part international studies lecture series, “Democracy, Development and Human Rights.”

Pei presents “Democratizing China: Lessons from East Asia” Wednesday, April 14 at 7 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium on the Lawrence campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Drawing upon other recent transitions in the area — the gradual reform that marked Taiwan’s experience, the authoritarian collapse that precipitated change in the Philippines and Indonesia as well as the Thailand and South Korea models where change was both slow and crisis-induced — Pei will provide some context as to what extent China’s future political transition, if it happens at all, will resemble the experience of its neighbors. Pei calls China “a test case” for the validity of various theories of democratization in general and the theory linking economic development to democratization in particular.

A specialist in the development of democratic political systems and the politics of economic reform, Pei is the author of the forthcoming book, “China’s Trapped Transition: The Limits of Developmental Autocracy” as well as the 1994 book “From Reform to Revolution: The Demise of Communism in China and the Soviet Union.”

In addition, Pei contributes regularly to a wide range of professional journals, including “Foreign Policy,” “Foreign Affairs,” “China Quarterly” and “Journal of Democracy,” among others.

A former professor of politics at Princeton University, Pei has been recognized with numerous honors and awards, among them the Robert S. MacNamara Fellowship of the World Bank and the Hoover Institution’s National Fellowship. He earned his Ph.D. in political science at Harvard University.

Gender, Sexuality Issues Explored in Lawrence University Conference

Former high school librarian Debra Davis, now the executive director of the Gender Education Center, a Minnesota-based advocacy and education organization that promotes understanding, acceptance and support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities, will deliver the keynote address at a day-long conference examining gender identity and sexuality issues Saturday, April 3 at Lawrence University.

The conference, “Who are the People in Your Neighborhood? Recognizing the ‘T’ and ‘B’ in GLBTQ,” will feature Davis’ address, a series of workshops, a documentary film and a drag show/dance.

Attendance at the conference is open to the public, however registration is required to attend the workshops. Interested participants can register the day of the conference ($15), beginning at 8:30 a.m. April 3 in the Science Hall Atrium on the Lawrence campus. Registrations will be accepted throughout the day until 5:30 p.m. The conference is open to Lawrence faculty, staff and students free of charge.

Highlighting the conference will be Davis’ keynote address, “Reading Rainbows: An Evening with a Transgendered Librarian,” at 7:30 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium. Unlike the rest of the conference, there is no charge to attend Davis’ lecture.

The conference will feature morning and afternoon workshop sessions conducted in Briggs Hall and Wriston auditorium led by Lawrence University faculty and students. Workshop topics scheduled include:

• Gender 101, led by Davis.

• What a Lesbian Looks Like: The Problems and Promise of Picturing Identity, led by Alexis Boylan, assistant professor of art.

• Rejecting Labels, Embracing Ambiguity: Challenging Gender and Sexual Binaries, led by Lawrence seniors Courtney Doucette and Erin Knapp.

• Boys in Skirts: Cross-dressing and Fluidity of Desire in Shakespeare, led by Gina Bloom, assistant professor of English.

• Putting a Queer Cast into a Straight Past, led by Edmund Kern, associate professor of history.

• Connecting the Personal, the Political and the Academic, led by Monica Rico, assistant professor of history.

• Conceptualizing No Gender: Buddhist Views of Sexual Identity, led by Dirck Vorenkamp, associate professor of religious studies.

• What Does Biology Have to Do With It?, led by Nancy Wall, associate professor of biology.

Other conference activities include a screening of Joelle Ruby Ryan’s documentary film, “TransAmazon: A Gender Queer Journey” at 3:30 p.m. in the Wriston Art Center auditorium and a drag show/dance at 9 p.m. in Riverview Lounge of the Lawrence Memorial Union. Additional conference information can be found at

The conference is sponsored by the student organization GLOW, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Class of 1965 Student Activities Grant.