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Mount Holyoke College News and Events Vista The College Street Journal Archives

December 13, 2002

Front-Page News

A Life in Research The Bush administration is misguided in its continuing efforts to curb medical research involving embryos, Lynn Morgan, MHC professor of anthropology, argues in a commentary in the November 29 edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Morgan offers the example of Carnegie No. 836, an embryo that is "eighty-eight years old and still going strong" in the world of research. The embryo, removed from a woman's uterus after a 1914 hysterectomy, has been photographed, sketched, and, in a twenty-first century development, scanned into a computer for online 3-D reconstruction and image sharing. "Many scientists hope that enhanced embryo imagery will make the public appreciate the need for embryological research. Paradoxically, the latest pictures could have the opposite effect. In a political climate that filters everything about embryos through the lens of abortion, the very same image can be interpreted either to promote respect for the mysteries of life that unfold through scientific research or to cast every embryo as a sacred symbol of life off-limits to researchers," Morgan writes. "Of course science does need to be regulated, but by personifying the embryo the administration has chosen the wrong course."

The Risks of Silence Gail Hornstein, MHC professor of psychology and education, writes in the November 15 edition of the Chronicle Review of finding herself remaining silent about her Jewish identity during a semester in Britain, and her realization of the cost of being hidden. "Anti-Semitism is so deeply ingrained in British daily life, and Jewishness so totally absent from popular culture, that even the slightest reference to Jews seems out of place," she writes in "The Risks of Silence, or How I Went to England and Disappeared in Plain Sight," in the magazine's "Diary" section. Through a variety of encounters and observations, she develops a new feeling for the risks she takes by not speaking up in the presence of anti-Semitism. Despite her attachment to and admiration for British culture, she writes, being Jewish "feels anomalous, requires disclosure, becomes an ‘issue' that has to be dealt with" in Britain. "Every time I hear a colleague being dismissed as ‘unrefined,' or I read one of the Guardian's tirades against Israel, I think about protesting. But, wary of reinforcing the stereotype of Jews as ‘overly sensitive,' I say nothing. Now, ashamed of my cowardice, I worry that I've become complicit in the very system that silences me."

Mad about Madness Susan Pliner, acting director of the College's Speaking, Arguing, and Writing Program, reviews Through Madness, a film about three people living with psychiatric disabilities, in the September 2002 issue of MultiCultural Review. Pliner calls the film "a useful tool for initiating discussions about psychiatric disabilities and the disparate experiences of those who live life with mental illness. . . . The use of personal narratives is an effective and engaging way to humanize psychiatric disabilities, challenge commonly held stereotypes, and dismantle the distance between people with and without direct experience of mental illness."

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