Around Campus

Around Campus


Discussion on Islam tomorrow afternoon

Hillel Fradkin, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC, will present "Islam and the Contemporary Crisis" tomorrow, Nov. 14, at 4 p.m. in McGuinn 121.

Fradkin, who directs the center's Islamic Studies and Jewish Studies programs, has researched and written on the role of religion in American democratic life as well as contemporary politics in the Muslim world. While a member of the Committee of Social Thought at the University of Chicago from 1986-98, he taught the history of political and religious - Muslim, Christian and Jewish - thought as well as other courses in political science.

A buffet dinner and discussion led by Prof. Ali Banuazizi (Psychology), co-director of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program, will be held in the McElroy Faculty Dining Room following the lecture.

The event is being sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Politics and Religion. For more information, call ext.2-0438.

Musical performers sought for Arts Fest

Members of the University community interested in presenting musical performances at the 2004 Boston College Arts Festival are asked to contact the Arts Festival office by tomorrow, Nov. 14.

Ensembles and individuals can perform at the festival, which will take place April 29-May 1. Those wishing to submit CDs or tapes for consideration should go to Lyons 422 tomorrow and fill out an audition form. Live auditions will take place on Thursday, Nov. 20, from 3-5 p.m. in Lyons 429.

The Arts Festival office can be reached at ext.2-4935 or by e-mail at

Pulitzer winner Muldoon to visit BC

Paul Muldoon, the 2003 Pulitzer Prize winner in poetry, will read from his work on Thursday, Nov. 20, as part of the Lowell Lecture Humanities Series. His appearance, co-sponsored by the Irish Studies Program and Poetry Days, will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Higgins 300.

Born in Belfast and now living in the United States, Muldoon serves as professor of humanities and director of the Creative Writing Program at Princeton University and professor of poetry at Oxford University.

The event is free and open to the public.

Employee programs for late November

Alumni Association Executive Director Grace Regan will discuss her job at a Nov. 21 "Meet Your Colleagues" session, one of several events being sponsored this month through the Human Resources Employee Development Program.

Also on tap are two workshops for supervisors, "How to Get the Best from Your Temporary Worker" on Nov. 18 and "Performance Management Program: The Supervisor's Role" on Nov. 20.

On Nov. 25, Student Services Project Leader Gregory Keswick will lead a seminar on project management, using an overview of a Boston College project as a case study.

For more information, contact the Employee Development Office at ext.2-8532 or visit the Web page.

Spending Account Plan enrollment

University employees may enroll between now and Wednesday, Dec. 10, in the Flexible Spending Account Plan for 2004. The plan consists of a medical-dental account and a dependent care account.

The plan allows employees to save taxes on money they spend for certain uncovered medical-dental or dependent care expenses. Employees set aside money through payroll deductions throughout the year to pay for predictable expenses, and amounts are deducted from their gross pay before federal, state and Social Security taxes are withheld.

For more information, visit the Human Resources Web site and click on the links for "All Employees" and "Forms and Documentations." Employees also many contact the Benefits Office at ext.2-3329 or by e-mail at defbebfit.

College of Arts & Sciences

In the spotlight

Not a bad autumn for Prof. Ali Banuazizi (Psychology) and Prof. Benjamin Braude (Theology), co-directors of the increasingly popular Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program.

Student interest in the interdisciplinary program's offerings - Introductory Arabic is now the fourth most-enrolled foreign language undergraduate course - has validated the efforts of Banuazizi, Braude and other faculty to strengthen and expand the program through a federal education grant last year.

More good news came last month, when Banuazizi was elected president of the Middle East Studies Association, the principal professional organization for more than 2,600 American and Canadian academics engaged in various fields of Middle Eastern studies through the social sciences, humanities, languages and religion.

Then earlier this month, the New York Times cited Braude's work in a story on the biblical Curse of Ham, or Noah's Curse. Noah, in Genesis 9, cursed the descendants of his son Ham with servitude; according to the article, many historians believe the curse came to be used as a justification for racial slavery, notably by 19th-century Southern Christians.

The Times described some contemporary interpretations of Noah's Curse, quoting Braude and other scholars attending a Yale University conference on slavery and the construction of race. A paper written by Braude, for example, terms the Curse of Ham as a 18th and 19th-century Euro-American "foundation myth for collective degradation, conventionally trotted out as God's reason for condemning generations of dark-skinned peoples from Africa to slavery.

"In prior centuries," Braude adds, "Jews, Christians and Muslims had exploited this story for other purposes, often tangential to the later peculiar preoccupation."

The Corcoran legacy

While the Boston College community mourned the death last month of former trustee and long-time benefactor John Corcoran '48, his passing was deeply felt at the BC Center for Christian-Jewish Learning, for which Mr. Corcoran provided the foundational endowment.

In 1998, during public debate over the Vatican document "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah," Mr. Corcoran told University President William P. Leahy, SJ, that he hoped Boston College would take a prominent role in improving Christian-Jewish relations.

Two years later, he donated $5 million to help establish the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning, which sponsors research, events and educational programs and develops resources to aid the inter-faith dialogue.

"John wanted the center to be a national and international force for promoting amity between Christians and Jews," said center director Adj. Assoc. Prof. Philip Cunningham (Theology). "His generosity ensured that the center would be a high-quality endeavor.

"John was particularly concerned about reshaping attitudes at a grass-roots level. He believed that people need to be affected where they live."

Graduate School of Social Work

Models, practices and harmful words

Two Graduate School of Social Work faculty members will take to the podium on consecutive days next week to discuss ways of shielding children from abuse, whether physical, emotional or verbal.

On Tuesday, Nov. 18, Adj. Assoc. Prof. Richard Rowland will lead a panel discussion on "Protecting Children: Models and Best Practices" from 7-9 p.m. in Merkert 127. The following day, Prof. James Garbarino makes his public debut at BC with the lecture, "And Words Can Hurt Forever: Protecting Adolescents from Bullying, Harassment, and Emotional Violence," from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Gasson 100.

Rowland is a former commissioner of elder affairs in Massachusetts and directed the Gerontology Program at the University of Massachusetts-Boston prior to coming to BC. But at this event, he says, the focus will be on addressing concerns about the supervision of children in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

Representatives of other non-profit and service organizations, including the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, as well as area Boy Scout and Girl Scout administrators, will discuss their experiences in planning and instituting child-protection programs, said Rowland: "Our panel members have years of experience in being advocates for children and their parents. We seek to learn from our mistakes and not be defensive about the future."

Garbarino, who joined the GSSW faculty this past summer, is a widely read author and frequent commentator on child mistreatment, youth violence, school bullying and harassment, and the limits of parental influence.

His talk next week takes its title from his recent co-authored book that, drawing on interviews with students, teachers, and administrators from around the country, indicated emotional and physical violence is a rampant problem in American schools. The book contends that since adults have used legal action or other interventions to combat similar problems in their workplaces, they should work to create a safer school environment for children.

Among the steps Garbarino and co-author Ellen deLara suggest are the formation of community teams of parents and students, more parent volunteerism and a fresh look at what constitutes appropriate or adequate supervision in schools.


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