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March 2009 Archives

March 2, 2009

Artistic specimens

Detail from Eduardo Kac's Move 3

Twenty-somethings donning funky scarves and businessmen in neatly pressed suits danced around each other to find seats before the start of last Monday's ARS Scientia salon, an event held twice a month at the Chicago Cultural Center. Knowing I couldn't stay for the entire event, I gave up my seat for another attendee. With the 6 p.m. start time looming, strangers reluctantly split from their parties and plopped into the few random single seats available while two Cultural Center staffers quickly squeezed a few more chairs onto the floor for some of the remaining crowd that was spilling out the doorway.

We didn't know it, but during the find-a-seat commotion, Dario Maestripieri, professor of comparative human development and evolutionary biology—and one of the event's four panelists—logged our predictable pre-event behavior as only a researcher would.

Watch as Maestripieri turned his amusing observations of our shuffling into one of the highlights of the evening:

Joy Olivia Miller

March 3, 2009

Phoenix Pix: Mar. 2-6, 2009

portrait of Jason Salavon

With appointments in visual arts and the Computation Institute, Jason Salavon churns raw figures through computer programs to make distinctive art.

Photo by Dan Dry.

Submit your best University of Chicago-themed photos to Phoenix Pix.

March 4, 2009

Filming just as fast as they can

Fire Escape Films took over the basement lounge of Stuart Hall last weekend, transforming it into an impromptu film-editing studio for the third annual 48-hour Film Festival. For the festival, open to anyone, students form film crews that write, shoot, and edit a whole movie.

On Sunday afternoon, two hours before the 6 p.m. deadline, I visited Stuart. Earlier in the afternoon Claire Tolan, ’09, woke up late after pulling an all-nighter to record her dialogue in a sweltering hallway. The ten-person film crew for Tolan's movie—Myrtle Goes to Her Sister’s—had topped off the evening with a breakfast at Valois before taking much-needed naps. Then Tolan and part of her group (Aidan Roche, ’09, and Jon Kurinsky, ’09) edited the film and put in final touches.

The basement scene was somewhat hectic—Bollywood music and guitar riffs blared from speakers. Some groups sat in front of computer screens, paying rapt attention to their works, while others frantically tried to recall everyone they needed to thank in the credits. Fire Escape required that group members attend an introductory meeting where they were taught some basics (how not to break the camera), but for many groups, a lot of the footage splicing involved learning as they went along. Fire Escape's committee members meandered among the editing computers, answering questions about background music and how to make a credits sequence.

In the end, 16 groups completed the marathon. Last night Fire Escape screened the completed movies in Max Palevsky cinema. Students gathered to see an ode to vices (with John Donne’s poem A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning recited as voiceover), a mash-up of the beginning of the animated dinosaur classic A Land Before Time, and a Slumdog Millionaire parody. All the films were met with applause—the viewers knew that they were watching the results of an atypical college weekend. This time, it was on the big screen.

Rose Schapiro, ’09

Select entries from 2008's 48-hour Film Festival

March 9, 2009

They’ve created a monster

When we learned that two Chicago alumni were opening a state-of-the-art ice cream laboratory in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, we knew that this was an assignment that needed in-depth investigation (all in the name of good reporting, of course).

The mad scientists behind iCream Café—which opened Saturday—are Cora Shaw, MBA’07, and Jason McKinney, MBA’06, who met as students at Chicago Booth.

Shaw expects the shop will be brimming with new customers and employees, but it was nearly empty during our sneak preview on Friday—aside from a few curious people, the only ones behind the counter were Shaw, general manager Liz, and Neil Schinske, a representative from Cryotech International, who was there to confirm all was right with the café’s key ingredient: liquid nitrogen. Injected into a mix of milk and cream or yogurt, it freezes the icy treats within minutes. The liquid evaporates, and the crystals are much smaller than in regular ice cream or frozen yogurt, which creates a smooth and creamy texture. It’s essentially a science experiment for food lovers.

Indecisive people beware: the menu is fully customizable and offers myriad combinations. First, choose your base: ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, hot pudding, Italian soda, or a shake. Then select up to three flavors, which are injected into a beaker via syringe (the science-experiment ambiance doesn’t end with the liquid nitrogen). Fancy purple ice cream? The truly brave can inject food-safe coloring into their creation. And once the sweet treat has been created, top it off with candy. Lactose-intolerant patrons needn’t feel left out: soy-milk ice cream is an option, which Shaw says tastes much like real ice cream thanks to the liquid nitrogen.

Because we are dedicated to service journalism, these enterprising reporters sampled chocolate-and-peanut-butter frozen yogurt, mint-chocolate-chip ice cream, burnt-sugar-and-cinnamon hot pudding (with a dash of purple food coloring), and pomegranate Italian soda—the perfect way to spend the first spring-like day in months. We returned to the office with full stomachs and sugar highs.

Elizabeth Chan and Ruth E. Kott, AM’07

iCream Cafe toppings and flavors

iCream Café is located at 1537 North Milwaukee Avenue.
Bring your U of C ID card and receive 10 percent off your purchase.

March 12, 2009

Phoenix Pix: Mar. 9-13, 2009

Grey City

When a snow storm passed through Chicago last week, Justin Kern, AB'04, was reminded of a line from the University's alma mater: "The City Gray that ne'er shall die."

Photo by The Windy Pixel's Justin Kern.

Submit your best University of Chicago-themed photos to Phoenix Pix.

March 13, 2009

Laugh it off

Paul Chan, Law & Order still

I don’t find myself visiting Cobb much after winter-quarter classes end. The coffee shop closes, there are no more discussion sections to attend, and the building becomes nearly desolate. But even though it’s reading period, on Thursday night a few dozen students, myself included, plodded our way to Cobb’s fourth floor to attend a laughter-yoga study break sponsored by the Wrens, the student group affiliated with the Renaissance Society.

Walking into Paul Chan’s exhibit My Laws Are My Whores was slightly unsettling—and not just because of the detailed pen-and-ink drawings of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices, smiling serenely and staring down at me from 15 feet up the gallery’s wall. Coats, bags laden with course books, and shoes were strewn in the corner of the gallery, and students gathered in the corner of the exhibit. As students continued to trickle in, curator Hamza Walker, AB’88, introduced both the Renaissance Society and the exhibition.

Paul Chan, My Laws Are WhoresWalker characterized Chan as a “post-medium” artist. The huge drawings of Chan’s “fonts” were on display on the back wall of the gallery. In his opening talk March 1, Chan emphasized the thought process that went into each font. Some of them speak in the voices of characters from the Marquis de Sade, while others echo historical or literary figures: Dr. Ebing and Gertrude Stein. Chan coyly noted in his talk that the fonts “say what you really meant to type.” Walker explained how Chan had used the fonts to subtitle an episode of “Law and Order,” emphasizing the themes of law, sex, and power that provide the structures for the show. He had stripped out most of the audio track, leaving only the characteristic menacing music, which intermittently descended upon the gallery.

After Walker finished, Ricardo Rivera, ’10, lead laughter-yoga exercises by directing the students to form straight lines. Walker turned the “Law and Order” music down, and the group began stretching. The purpose of laughter yoga (aside from providing a pleasant study-break opportunity) is to elicit unconditional laughter and combine it with Yogic breathing techniques. More extensive poses and exercises that stretched both the body and the diaphragm followed. The laughter-yoga exercises continue next week—this time away from the kind smiles of the Supreme Court. The Wrens are hosting daily study breaks on Bartlett quadrangles, weather permitting.

Rose Schapiro, ’09

Video still from Paul Chan's "The Mother of All Episodes," 2009; detail from Paul Chan's My Laws Are My Whores, 2008.

Images courtesy the Renaissance Society


March 16, 2009

Urine good company

UT Urinetown practice

It’s a story you’ve heard before: boy from the wrong side of the tracks meets girl from the right side, they fall in love at first sight and sing about it. Will their slightly misguided yet genuine love conquer all?

Of course, there are parts you haven’t heard: boy is inspired to take over the town's pay-to-pee toilet facilities and kidnaps girl as collateral—and, oh, the whole shebang is a farce on the nature of musical theater.

Expect no less in Urinetown, a Tony Award–winning musical written by Mark Hollman, AB'85, and Greg Kotis, AB'88. The play was performed the last two weekends by the University of Chicago’s University Theater. It might have betrayed its Chicago origins a bit—few audiences likely laugh as uproariously at gags about Malthus, Hume, the free market, and the nature of metaphysics. At one point the villainous father, Caldwell B. Cladwell (Augie Praley, ’09), asks his painfully sincere daughter, Hope (Molly Zeins, ’09), “Did I send you to the most expensive university in the world to teach you how to feel conflicted, or to learn how to manipulate great masses of people?”

The play is framed by dialogue between Lil’ Sally (Amanda Jacobson, ’12), a poor child who counts her coins to use the toilet and asks questions like, “What about hydraulics?” and Officer Lockstock (Morgan Maher, ’09), who answers deadpan, “In a musical, sometimes it’s better to focus on just one thing.”

On Friday evening the 16-person cast performed to a packed house in the Francis X. Kinahan Third Floor Theater. Kotis and Hollman were in the audience, surveying the work of the students and Jeffrey Award–nominated theater professional Jonathan Berry, whom UT brought in to direct this show. Berry hand-picked a professional design staff, who worked with student apprentices to create the eerie, dirt-encrusted setting. The cast threw itself wholeheartedly into numbers about the inanity of most revolutionary discourse—see the initials of our hero, Bobby Strong (Lucas Whitehead, ’09)—and what can happen if water is mismanaged to the point of absolute scarcity. Although Urinetown may have, as Lil’ Sally puts it, “happy songs,” the moral is anything but.

Rose Schapiro, ’09

Molly Zeins, ’09 (Hope), and Lucas Whitehead, ’09 (Bobby), sing together during rehearsal in late February.

Photo by Dan Dry.

March 18, 2009

Phoenix Pix: Mar. 16-20, 2009

Wolf Kahn

Painter Wolf Kahn, AB’50, divides his year between a Manhattan studio and a summer home in rural Vermont. One recent Friday afternoon in New York City, he stepped back to gain perspective on a recently completed New England landscape. A profile of Kahn will appear in the May-June Core.

Photo by Dan Dry.

Submit your best University of Chicago-themed photos to Phoenix Pix.

March 19, 2009

A life in layers

Meresamun

As soon as we started reporting our March-April/09 feature on the Oriental Institute’s mummy Meresamun—the focus of a special exhibit this year at the museum—we knew that a few pages in the Magazine wouldn’t be enough for the whole story we wanted to tell. So we took what wouldn’t fit in print and put it on the Web.

Meresamun was a high-ranking singer in Thebes’s Karnak Temple around 800 BC, but since 1920, when James Henry Breasted brought her coffin back from a trip to Egypt, the OI has been her home. Over the decades her life became a slowly unraveling mystery as Egyptologists there pieced together bits of information about who she was and how she might have lived. This past fall the mystery unraveled even further when the folks at the OI and the Medical Center strapped Meresamun to a gurney and loaded her into a new, 256-channel, “intelligent” CT scanner. Peering inside the mummy’s coffin, they saw a 30-year-old woman with bad teeth and perfect bones, an elite priestess who ate well and had a bunion on her right foot. Tendons still connected the fingers to the wrists, and everywhere expensive linen packing filled empty crevices.

And yet, other mysteries remained. Did she ever have children? Radiologists couldn’t tell. How did she die, and why so young? And what was that granular, gummy material that embalmers stuffed down her throat? Egyptologists had rarely seen anything like it.

So, alongside the online version of our story about Meresamun on the Magazine’s Web site, look for the interactive feature Meresamun: A Life in Layers. You can listen to Egyptologist Emily Teeter, PhD'90, talk about the sacred rattle Meresamun would have played during her work in the sanctuary and the scholarly debate over whether temple singers were celibate. You can see an ancient rendering showing what Meresamun might have looked like in life and view the CT images that convinced radiologist Michael Vannier that she had a pretty face. Examine her teeth, so worn they were almost concave, and zoom in on the hieroglyphic inscription that offered scholars the first clues to her identity.

Then head over to the OI exhibit for even more artifacts and images. You have until December 6, when the show closes.

Lydialyle Gibson

Meresamun's first home on campus was Haskell Oriental Museum, the predecessor to today's Oriental Institute.

Photo courtesy of the Oriental Institute.

March 20, 2009

Calling all helicopter parents

Intern Rose Schapiro, '09, waves to the Magazine staff from Bartlett Quad

I'm no longer a helicopter parent, hovering over the lives of my undergraduate offspring. It helps that my daughters have both graduated.

Also keeping me grounded—at least partially—was the response to my first attempt at "helping" my younger daughter negotiate college life. A polite but firm note from the student-affairs office let me know that if my yet-to-matriculate child had a problem with her freshman-year roommate assignment, the staff was sure she would tell them about it herself. I quickly wrote back, cc'ing my chagrined daughter, to say that the only problem she had was me and promising never to write them again.

I kept my promise, but I didn't keep my distance, thanks in part to her campus's Web cam. I'd be sitting at my computer when my office phone would ring. "I'm about to cross Marsh Plaza," she'd say. "I'm wearing pink. Near the statue. See me waving?" I'd wave back at the computer screen, and we'd go on about our day.

I recommend it—to College parents and their kids. The best of the campus Web cams is the one that scans the quad between Bartlett Dining Commons and the Regenstein Library. Since College kids have to eat—and study—it's a convenient place to phone home. If the conversation gets sticky, you students can always end it, "Gotta go read my Western Civ," leaving your parents feeling proud.

Mary Ruth Yoe

Intern Rose Schapiro, '09, waved to Magazine editors from the quad between Bartlett Dining Commons and the Regenstein Library.

March 24, 2009

Phoenix Pix: Mar. 23-27, 2009

Wolf Kahn

Bagpipers march to Rockefeller Chapel before Winter Convocation begins.

Photo by Dan Dry.

Submit your best University of Chicago-themed photos to Phoenix Pix.

March 25, 2009

Artistic tourism

Henry Moore's Nuclear EnergyInspired by Mayor Daley's stint as an art-minded tour guide on Monday, the Magazine chatted by e-mail with Smart Museum senior curator Richard A. Born, AM'75, about campus public art and downtown's must-see sculpture.


QandA_QDrop.jpgWhat public sculpture draws the most campus visitors?
QandA_ADrop.jpgHenry Moore’s Nuclear Energy is the most popular public sculpture on campus. Moore was an internationally renowned 20th-century sculptor, and this bronze sculpture sits on the site of a momentous event in modern history: the first sustained nuclear reaction. In light of the current debates about energy policy, Moore’s monumental sculpture continues to reverberate in complex ways.
QandA_QDrop.jpgWhat’s the newest piece of public art on campus?
QandA_ADrop.jpgIt's probably the large, black-painted metal construction Star Sentinels by American master Louise Nevelson. The sculpture is on long-term loan in the Smart Museum’s newly re-landscaped Elden Sculpture Garden.
QandA_QDrop.jpgFor those who haven't been back to Chicago lately, what do you recommend as don't-miss public art?
QandA_ADrop.jpgDefinitely the “Bean”—as the Indian-born artist Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate is popularly and affectionately called. It is a work of tremendous visual appeal and sensual form, and has in a very short time become an iconic image for Millennium Park and the City of Chicago. The sculpture’s reflections and inversions of passing people, buildings, and the landscape of the park brilliantly capture the flux of Michigan Avenue.

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March 26, 2009

No. 497

Winter Convocation, 2009

Unlike many of its peers, Chicago ceremonially confers degrees at the end of each quarter, giving people who love academic pomp and circumstance plenty of opportunities to indulge. This year's Winter Convocation, held last Friday afternoon, marked No. 497 in a series that began in 1893.

With the largest number of graduates, Spring Convocation gets broken into four separate ceremonies over three days and is held in Harper Quadrangle. Like its summer and fall cousins, No. 497 took place in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, where the pews were crammed with robed degree candidates and their well-wishers.

The day's first degree was conferred upon musicologist and Chicago president emeritus Don Michael Randel, now president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In presenting Randel with an honorary doctorate of humane letters, Provost Thomas F. Rosenbaum termed him "an inspiring teacher and a brilliant speaker" who "called the University community to greatness, stressing the essential need for the highest forms of intellectual inquiry and expression, and embracing diversity as a personal obligation."

After a composition from Spain's Golden Age (Randel's area of expertise) was performed on the chapel's E. M. Skinner organ, the roll call of graduates began. Of the 565 degree recipients, the majority were Chicago Booth graduates, including 406 MBAs, urged by President Robert J. Zimmer to develop economic resources "for the benefit of all people," and one PhD (dissertation: "Why Are CEOs Rarely Fired? Evidence from Structural Estimation").

As the last candidate, Tiffany Noelle Mehling, came forward, the audience burst into long-awaited applause, growing to a low roar. A minute later, when it was time to sing the Alma Mater, the noise level dropped noticeably. Not to worry—Chicago's newest alumni have a lifetime to learn the lyrics.

Mary Ruth Yoe

President Robert J. Zimmer (right) watches as Don Michael Randel is hooded by professor emerita Lorna Strauss, SM’60, PhD’62.

Photo by Dan Dry

Silk Road in Hyde Park

After spending eight years on campus as a student and staff member, it feels distinctly strange to be living in Chicago but not in Hyde Park. So I’m especially looking forward to returning to the quads next week for a special event hosted by the Center for Middle East Studies, a talk by Israeli playwright and peace activist Motti Lerner. In my role as director of advancement at the Silk Road Theatre Project (founded by Artistic Director Jamil Khoury, AM’92) I’ve been busy preparing for our production of Lerner’s powerful play Pangs of the Messiah (through May 10—visit www.srtp.org for more info), and I am looking forward to hearing what he has to say, surrounded by other U of C alumni, staff, faculty and students.

In Chicago fashion, Lerner is an interdisciplinarian to the core, balancing work as a playwright, professor, and peace activist. A true Israeli patriot, he has never hesitated to challenge his own countrymen on issues of nationalism, messianism, and the intersection of religion and government. His talk will focus on the role of writing plays in a society struggling with recurring wars, the obligations of the playwright to oppose the wars, and creating public discourse that will suggest alternative policies that are not lethal.

The U of C has never shied away from controversial or difficult topics, as evidenced by the Center for Middle East Studies’ enthusiasm to host Motti (an idea that seemed to frighten the faculties of some other Chicago-area universities). The talk will be followed by a Q&A, and we’re looking forward to a vigorous discussion—otherwise, how would I know I was back on campus?

The talk will be held Tuesday, March 31, at 4 p.m. in Pick 001. All are welcome to attend.

Kyle Gorden, AB’00

March 27, 2009

UChi Bizarre-ketplace: March 2009

Trying to get pregnant?
Speak to Me in Foucault!
Robert Pape's *Bombing to Win*

Most of the listings on UChi Marketplace—the University’s version of Craigslist—are fairly banal: books for sale, rooms to rent, the kind of thing that would have appeared on fliers in an earlier era. But like everything on the Internet, the easier it is to post, the easier it is to be weird. Here are excerpts from last month’s more remarkable listings, as selected by an unscientific poll (sample size: me).

DEMON BEANBAG FOR SALE

Do you desire a giant, hulking blue behemoth to take up your entire living room and to leer evilly at visitors amongst your furniture?

WELL LOOK NO FURTHER! I have discovered in MY VERY OWN APARTMENT a bean bag that suits your exact needs! My bean bag is about four feet in diameter when sat upon. It is the shade of blue that you could only know once you have experienced the sort of mind-numbing terror that causes you to forget your family, your friends and yea, your very name.

Reader: if this is the sort of bean bag you are looking for, you should be astonished that I am not asking for more than a mere $25 to take it! The dark murmurings of another dimension are simply no longer fitting in with the rest of my voodoo ensemble. You have to be the one to pick it up, though.




Almost 25 LB of white flour


We have a mostly-full 25-pound bag of white flour. We regret that we cannot deliver. The flour is offered as-is, without any warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.




Yiddish and Big Band Records-AWESOME.


As the last remaining member of my family with a basement, I have come to take possession of my great-uncle's 78 collection. If you have an ancient phonograph and feel that your Yiddish music collection is lacking, make me an offer.




teach me some basic acupuncture


My boyfriend and I would like to learn a few acupuncture techniques from an experienced practitioner to treat our classic U of C ailments: headache, back ache, anxiety, and insomnia. We'd like some advice on a good manual to buy, and we'd like one or more demonstrations/lessons on how to find the right spots and how to use the needles.




FREE: front door


Was the front door to my apartment. Possible uses: Replace your own front door. Set on bricks or trestles for an unusual desk. Saw into shelves. Make something for FOTA. Who knows? The possibilities are limited only by your imagination, and perhaps your tool collection. Pickup only. Thanks.


Oh, wait. That last one’s mine. Anybody want a door?

For more from UChi Bizarre-ketplace, check UChiBLOGo the last Friday of each month and the next issue of the Core, the College supplement to the University of Chicago Magazine, available in late May.

Carrie Golus, AB’91, AM’93

March 29, 2009

Peeps show reminder

Although you have until April 9 to enter the Chicago Tribune's Peeps diorama contest, the Magazine’s contest ends Tuesday night at midnight.

Alumni or their families are invited to create a Maroon-themed scene using the sprinkled-sugar and marshmallow chicks and bunnies. Then e-mail us a high-resolution JPEG of the finished scene (a campus spot, a local hero, or a book, phrase, film, or production inspired by Chicago or linked to a Chicago alum) and sit back to see if you’ve won a prize (first-, second-, and third-place prizes of $250, $150, and $100). The winning dioramas will appear in the May–June/09 issue, and all entries will be exhibited in an online gallery.

March 30, 2009

Let's play two... or 300

Brian BaldeaAlready the winningest head coach in Chicago baseball history, Brian Baldea earned his 300th career victory on March 23 during the Maroons’ ten-game, season-opening spring-break tour. Now in his 19th season at Chicago, Coach Baldea spoke to us from Phoenix while the team warmed up for a double-header against Colby College. The Maroons, now 5-5, play their first home games April 4, 5, and 7.


QandA_QDrop.jpgWhat went through your mind when you notched your 300th career victory?
QandA_ADrop.jpgI wasn’t thinking about it all until after the game and the guys told me. It feels good, obviously, but I’ve never focused on the number of wins as the No. 1 priority here, and certainly not the number of wins for me—that’s not what’s important.
QandA_QDrop.jpgSo what is important?
QandA_ADrop.jpgThe priority is the development of these young men and what they get out of their experience from four years of baseball combined with the most outstanding undergraduate education they can get. It’s all about how the experience they have with me and with baseball here contributes to them being better men and better people.
QandA_QDrop.jpgWhat are fans going to notice about this year’s team?
QandA_ADrop.jpgWe’re scoring a lot more runs than we have in the past couple of years. We’ve had some freshmen come in and immediately contribute to key spots in our order. I think we averaged about 13 runs a game in our first seven games. So this team is putting up big numbers like we used to do five, six, eight, ten years ago.
QandA_QDrop.jpgWhat are your goals for the 2009 season?
QandA_ADrop.jpgI’d like to see us be a very, very strong defensive team. I need all of our pitchers to contribute so we can still compete with anybody we play, even if we don’t have our top two or three pitchers available that day. If that happens, I’d like to see this team win 25 or more games this year, and I think that’s possible.
QandA_QDrop.jpgWhat would you do if you got some baseball-free, University of Chicago–free time?
QandA_ADrop.jpgIf I had total free time and no obligations, I probably would find myself watching baseball somewhere. To me, it would be awfully relaxing and satisfying just to travel around in Arizona or south Florida this time of year and watch all the guys who are trying to make their bones in Major League Baseball do it.
QandA_QDrop.jpgLast question: White Sox or Cubs?
QandA_ADrop.jpgSox. I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, so that’s a no-brainer.

Elizabeth Station

Portrait courtesy of Dave Hilbert/University of Chicago Athletics Department

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March 31, 2009

Remembering John Hope Franklin

John Hope Franklin, professor emeritus of history, died Wednesday at Duke Hospital in Durham, NC. He was 94. James A. Rogerson, AM’69, PhD’80, shares his memories. Add your condolences below in the comments section.

I delivered a personal message to John Hope Franklin in 1967. At the request of my mother-in-law, I told him about the death of their mutual friend, the head reference librarian at the University of North Carolina’s Wilson Library, who helped him with his doctoral dissertation, The Free Negro in North Carolina, 1790-1860. Their friend had made space for Franklin to work in her office and retrieved materials for him when, by law, he wasn’t allowed to use the library’s materials.
After reminiscing, Franklin asked about my studies, and I told him about my research in Czechoslovak history. He asked why I chose this area, and I told him that after the betrayal at Munich in 1938, Czechoslovaks were referred to as “a people of whom we know nothing” by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, and I did not want that to happen again. As a Southerner—from North Carolina—I wanted to understand racism in the American South. But I did not think that as a white Southerner, I could be objective. If I could understand racism in East-Central Europe, I decided, I could understand it everywhere.
After this first meeting, Franklin recommended me in 1970 for the University of Chicago doctoral program, and ten years later I completed my doctorate in East-Central European history.
The second time I met Franklin at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte at a 2007 event. He was there to speak about his autobiography Mirror to America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005). He signed my book, and I thanked him for his recommendation at the U of C. He was gracious, and we spent time catching up.
Looking back, I am one "redneck" who is grateful and proud that Franklin's reach was broad enough to include me.

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About March 2009

This page contains all entries posted to UChiBLOGo in March 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

February 2009 is the previous archive.

April 2009 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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