Amherst Magazine

College Row
Judith Frank
Professor Judith Frank

Faculty awards and activities

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Anthony Bishop received the Cottrell College Science Award, a grant aimed at supporting “significant research that contributes to the advancement of science and to the professional and scholarly development of faculty at undergraduate institutions along with their students.” The $42,184 award will support Bishop’s study of the chemical biology of cancer-associated protein tyrosine phosphates. 

Professor of History Fredric Cheyette delivered a public lecture on Ermengard of Narbonne and the world of the troubadours in November at the Salle des Synodes. Cheyette is the author of Ermengard of Narbonne and the World of the Troubadors (2001), which has received several major awards.

Research by Assistant Professor of Biology and Neuroscience Ethan Clotfelter, published in August’s Animal Behavior and September’s New Scientist, indicates that the increasingly bizarre behavior of animals all over the world—manic goldfish, confused frogs, fearless mice and seagulls that can’t stand upright—may have an environmental cause: chemicals that interfere with the production and transportation of hormones.

Lawrence Douglas, associate professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought, was invited to lecture to the International Criminal Court in The Hague this past year. At the invitation of the prosecutor’s office, Douglas discussed “From Eichmann to Milosevic: Reflections on Perpetrator Trial” in January. Douglas is currently working on Reflections on the Glass Booth, a book on perpetrator trials that will be published by Princeton University Press. 

Professor of English Judith Frank received the Lambda Literary Award for her new book, Crybaby Butch, a novel that examines the surprising turns that issues of education, gender, class and racial identity can cause in people’s lives. Frank’s novel was the winner in the Lesbian Debut Fiction category. Crybaby Butch was also nominated for American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Roundtable’s 2006 Stonewall Book Awards, which will be presented next January. In 2000, a chapter of Crybaby Butch was published in The Massachusetts Review and received the fiction prize of the Astraea Foundation’s Emerging Lesbian Writer’s Fund.

Deborah Gewertz, the G. Henry Whitcomb 1874 Professor of Anthropology, was invited to spend a month as a professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Gewertz and her collaborator, Frederick Errington of Trinity College, delivered a series of lectures on food, globalization, class and gender in various seminars during May and June. Gewertz and Errington are the authors of Yali’s Questions: Sugar, Culture, and History, a new book that tells the remarkable story of Ramu Sugar Limited, a sugar plantation in a remote part of Papua New Guinea. 

Allen Guttmann, Emily C. Jordan Folger Professor of English and American Studies, received the annual Book Award of the North American Society for Sport History for Sports: The First Five Millennia, a social history of the world’s sports from pre-historical times to the present. A selection of the History Book Club, Gutt-mann’s narrative traces the history of sports, plotting their evolution from “a myriad of particularistic pre-modern forms to the universalistic modern forms now taken for granted everywhere in the world.”

Maria Heim, assistant professor of religion, is a 2005 Guggenheim Fellow. Heim will use the award to support her study of Buddhist theories of moral intention. Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of distinguished achievement and exceptional promise for future accomplishment. 

Mark Marshall and Helen Leung, professors of chemistry, are among the authors of a recent paper that explored the bond between the hydroxyl radical and water. Their research, first reported online in Chemical Physical Letters last December and appearing in print in January, examines the manner in which the extremely reactive hydroxyl radical interacts with potential reaction partners such as water.

Peter Pouncey, president, emeritus, is the author of Rules for Old Men Waiting, a novel about three wars of the 20th century and a marriage. According to novelist and memoirist Frank McCourt, it is “a deeply sensual, moving, thrilling novel that calls for a second and third reading—it is that rich.”

Austin Sarat, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, was elected president of the Consortium of Undergraduate Law and Justice Programs, a national organization for colleges and universities that have interdisciplinary programs geared toward undergraduate education about law and justice. Sarat’s two-year term began in July. Sarat is the editor of Dissent in Dangerous Times, a collection of essays by six distinguished scholars who provide their own distinctive takes on the interplay of loyalty, patriotism and dissent, and co-editor of The Cultural Lives of Capital Punishment: Comparative Perspectives, which examines the practice and representation of capital punishment in other cultures. Sarat is also the co-author (with Stuart Scheingold, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Washington) of Something to Believe In: Politics, Professionalism and Cause Lawyering and The Worlds Cause Lawyers Make: Structure and Agency in Legal Practice. In a recent essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and in a forthcoming book, Law in the Liberal Arts, Sarat argues that the study of law is, and ought to be, one of the liberal arts—and “law just might be saved from the lawyers” if it were taught to more undergraduate college students. For his work on cause lawyering and the books he has produced on the subject, Sarat received the 2004 Reginald Heber Smith Book Award, given biennially to honor the best scholarship on “the subject of equal access to justice,” from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association in December. This is the first time that the award has been given to a professor at a liberal arts college. 

Natasha Staller, associate professor of fine arts, is a 2005 Guggenheim Fellow. The grant will support her research on Goya’s black paintings and the culture of the monstrous in Spain. Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment.

Assistant Professor of Music Eric Sawyer received a 2004–05 ASCAPlus Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, a performing rights organization. The award, given each year, rewards writers whose works have a unique prestige value for which adequate compensation would not otherwise be received and to compensate those writers whose works are performed substantially in media not surveyed by the ASCAP. Sawyer’s award is based upon his catalog of original compositions, as well as recent performances.

Lewis Spratlan, the Peter R. Pouncey Professor of Music and recipient of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize in music, has released a new recording on Albany Records. The CD, titled “When Crows Gather and Other Works,” contains four pieces performed by the New York ensemble Sequitur. 

Ilán Stavans, the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture, gave the second annual Commonwealth Humanities Lecture, titled “This Land is Our Land: The Challenges of Diversity in Massachusetts,” in March at the National Heritage Museum in Lexington, Mass. Each year, the Northampton-based Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth, recognizes a humanities scholar or writer for his or her contributions to public understanding of contemporary issues or civic affairs in Massachusetts. Stavans is also the editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia Latina: History, Culture, Society, a multidisciplinary, one-million word, four-volume reference work on Latinos in America. 

Professor of American Studies and History Kevin Sweeney has received an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History for Captors and Captives: The 1704 French and Indian Raid on Deerfield (2003), which reexamined the so-called “Deerfield Massacre” of 1704. 

Jane Taubman, professor of Russian, is the author of a new book, Kira Muratova, the first comprehensive study of the Rus-sian film director. Taubman spoke at a symposium in November at Trinity College, Cambridge, England, to celebrate Muratova’s 70th birthday, and introduced the British premiere of Muratova’s latest film, The Turner

William C. Taubman, the Bertrand Snell Professor of Political Science and recipient of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for biography, received the Wayne S. Vucinich Book Prize for the most important con-tribution to Russian, Eurasian and East European studies in any discipline of the humanities or social sciences, for Khrushchev: The Man and His Era (2003), the first comprehensive biography of the Soviet Communist leader and the first of any Soviet leader to reflect the full range of sources that have become available since the U.S.S.R. collapsed. The American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, the leading private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of knowledge about Russia, Central Eurasia, and Eastern and Central Europe, presented the award to Taubman at its 36th national convention in Boston, Mass., in December.

Martha Merrill Umphrey, associate professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought, Austin Sarat and Lawrence Douglas are the editors of Law on the Screen, a collection of essays that explore the connections between law and film, examining film for its jurisprudential content. The contributors to Law on the Screen are among the scholars who have only recently begun to examine how law works in the movies and to explore the consequences of this cinematic representation of law. 

David W. Wills, the Winthrop H. Smith ’16 Professor of American History and American Studies (Religion and Black Studies), is the author of Christianity in the United States: A Historical Survey and Interpretation, a brief but comprehensive study of the history of Christianity in the United States. Wills considers the diversity of American Christianity, charting the growth of American religious pluralism, but he also emphasizes Christian efforts to build a “holy commonwealth” and the role of religion in the nation’s effort to come to terms with the complexities of race. 

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Photo: Samuel Masinter '04