O'Shea Report: November 2001
At every monthly faculty
meeting during the school year, Dean of Faculty Donal O'Shea presents
brief overviews of recent publications and other achievements
by the Mount Holyoke faculty. Here are excerpts based on his report
for November 2001.
professor of history, has just come out with two papers. The first,
a transcript of a talk she gave at the American Historical Association,
is entitled "Jerome's Heroic Christianity: The Virgin as Martyr."
How can you resist a paper that begins: "Alone in the desert,
a friend of scorpions, Jerome marshals every weapon in his battle
against sin: fasting, vigils, sackcloth, and tears. Still visions
of dancing girls burn his mind with lust."? Especially when the
second sentence is footnoted. You can't, and you shouldn't. The
second, entitled "Gregory, Cassian, and the Cardinal Vices" is
on sins: the seven deadly ones. It is a dazzling comparison of
how the two church fathers, Cassian and Gregory I, viewed sin
and the human condition. Cassian listed eight vices in order of
combat: gluttony, fornication, avarice, anger, sadness, acedia,
vainglory, and pride. Gregory elevates pride to the queen of the
vices and lists seven vices in reverse order to Cassian's--pride,
vainglory, envy, anger, sadness, avarice, gluttony, and lust--each
giving birth to the succeeding, each generating subsidiary sins,
and each being capable of being rationalized as virtuous by the
A review article by
Aaron Ellison, Marjorie Fisher Professor of Environmental
Studies, and his colleague, Nick Gotelli, has just appeared in
Trends in Ecology & Evolution. They review recent work
on carnivorous plants. One learns that there are more than 600
species, that flypaper (sticky) traps have separately evolved
in more than five different plant families, and that a number
of interesting mathematical models have been proposed to model
population growth of carnivorous plants.
review article that has just appeared is by Lynn Morgan,
professor of anthropology: "Community Participation in
Health: Perpetual Allure, Persistent Challenge" in Health Policy
and Planning. She reviews the debates about community participation
among anthropologists, epidemiologists and other health care professionals,
and examines what constitutes participation and why one might
want it. There are lots of examples drawn from Latin America.
A Portuguese translation of the paper will appear shortly.
professor of Asian studies, is one of the editors
for the Norton Anthology of World Literature, Second Edition.
Part I has just appeared and Part II is due out soon. Peterson
has added new and more translations in the Indian epic selections
and has rewritten headnotes for most everything else. Part I also
includes poems from Peterson's own 1989 work, Poems to Siva,
in the section on the mystical poetry of India. In Part II of
the Norton Anthology, Peterson adds a whole new section
on Rabindranath Tagore's poetry, with a new intro, and Anita Desai's
wonderful short story "The Rooftop Dwellers." (Desai has taught
at Mount Holyoke.)
I have just received
new papers from Tom Wartenberg, professor of philosophy:
"Humanizing the Beast: King Kong and the Representation of Black
Male Sexuality," and Karen Remmler, associate professor
of German studies and codirector of the Weissman Center for Leadership:
"Teaching the Shoah in Context: A Course on Jewish German Relations."
Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences,
has received a grant of $153,332 from the National Institutes
of Health AREA program for her project CD+8 Cell Antiviral
Response vs. Murine Leukemia Virus. The project will allow
her to work with a number of students over the next few summers.
professor of English and codirector of the Weissman Center for
Leadership, has contributed an introduction and one of three essays
to a sumptuous book of Jerry Liebling's photographs of the places
of Emily Dickinson's life: the Homestead, and her brother's place,
the Evergreens. The book is entitled The Dickinsons of Amherst.
Benfey also has a superb essay entitled "Flawed Perfection" in
the November 5 New Republic. It examines two recent
biographies of Edna St. Vincent Millay.