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Restless Minds

Chronicling intellectual life at Oxy

April 8, 2014

Women only make up 9 percent of Wikipedia editors

Adrianne Wadewitz, a Mellon Digital Scholarship Fellow, is hoping to change that. In a BBC News article "How can Wikipedia woo women editors?" she says the disparity between male and female editors "means that a lot of perspectives are being left out."  

Adrianne is a Wikipedia expert, having helped found and shape the Wikipedia Education program and numerous efforts to decrease the gender gap over the past few years. At Occidental, she has taught classes on virtual worlds, media revolutions, children's literature, and the digital humanities. You...

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December 4, 2013

Exploring Noguchi's Modernism

A new book by Amy Lyford, professor of art history and visual arts, examines the work of Isamu Noguchi, a revered Japanese-American artist and landscape architect. Her book, Isamu Noguchi's Modernism: Negotiating Race, Labor, and Nation, 1930-1950, will serve as the basis for her talk on Sunday, December 8 at the Noguchi Museum in New York. In her talk at 3 p.m., Lyford "will explore the complex interplay of community and identity in Noguchi's work of the 1930s and 40s. Although it is not always immediately apparent in the full range of his diverse artistic activity, Noguchi was always cognizant of, and deeply committed to, understanding and fostering art's social relevance."

Lyford's research engages with the history of photography and photojournalism; issues of gender, identity and race in 20th-...

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October 23, 2013

Why language shouldn't be taught in isolation

A new policy created by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to provide separate instruction for elementary school students who are not fluent in English from native speakers in all core classes, has come under scrutiny. In a recent Christian Science Monitor article, Ronald Solórzano, chair of the Department of Education weighs in on the controversial plan. Solórzano, who is also a former LAUSD bilingual elementary school teacher, has researched and published in the areas of school effects, teacher assessment, bilingual education, and state teaching standards. He also is an affilated faculty member in Latino/a and Latin American Studies. You can read the full article on the Christian Science...

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June 11, 2013

The economics behind a drag queen on Broadway.

Sunday's Tony Awards in New York City sang the praises of "Kinky Boots," a musical about a drag queen who helps save a struggling British shoe company. So far the show has grossed $13.5 million. But will the production cash in on a Tony win? An MSN Money article "Tony Award will bring a 'Kinky Boots' windfall," looked to associate professor of economics Leslie Chiou and economist Melissa Boyle of Holy Cross College for the answer.

Chiou and Boyle say in a 2009 paper that "the effect of a Tony win can linger for as long as a year after the announcement of the award. Revenue in the week after a Tony victory surges by about 12%. Conversely, nominees that fail to win the Tony are 'penalized heavily' by theatergoers....

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April 24, 2013

A Chechen Connection?

Since last week’s bombings in Boston, the public’s interest in Chechnya and its war-torn past surged. Last month, Walt Richmond, adjunct assistant professor of German, Russian and Classical Studies, wrote on “Russia’s Forgotten Genocide” for the History News Network, which outlined the nineteenth Russian conquest of the Caucasus Region, including Chechnya. He is the author of The Circassian Genocide.

Today, Walt will join Larry Caldwell...

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April 9, 2013

Students dissect their own educational path

The liberal arts is under fire. In fact, higher education as a whole is under fire. With high unemployment rates, increasing student loan debt and the rising cost of college, many people are asking if a college degree is worth it? Carey Sargent, a sociologist and head of instruction and research, thought who better to pose the question to than students who chose a liberal arts education. Her spring semester course, CSP 61: Liberal Arts at the Brink? Navigating the Crisis in Higher Education, asks students "to reflect on the fate of liberal arts education through a focused analysis of its past and present. Specifically, how do economic pressures and technological innovations impact the sustainability of liberal arts values such as social justice, serving the public good, and cultivating a 'life of the mind'?"

Her students' responses are candid and complex -...

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March 12, 2013

L.A.'s high stakes and low turnout

Angelenos took to the polls last week for the city's mayoral primary. Well, 20 percent of Angelenos took to the polls - the lowest rate for a primary without an incumbent since at least 1978. Derek Shearer, the Stuart Chevalier Professor of Diplomacy and World Affairs, weighs in on how changing the date of the election could increase voter turnout in a recent New York Times article, "Los Angeles Frets After Low Turnout to Elect Mayor." According to the Times, Shearer...

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February 26, 2013

Examining U.S.-Iran relations

In an op-ed in today's Los Angeles Times, "Why Iran Says No," Hussein Banai argues that reaching a lasting deal with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has never been about Iran's nuclear program but rather the political legitimacy - and thereby survival - of the Islamic regime. 

Hussein is an assistant professor of diplomacy and world affairs and the coauthor of “Becoming Enemies: U.S.-Iran Relations and the Iran-Iraq War, 1979-1988.” You can read more of Hussein’s work on his...

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February 21, 2013

The state of the presidency

In today's political landscape it's never too early to discuss future presidential elections, and here at Oxy we have a strong voice in those discussions. Caroline Heldman, associate professor and chair of the department of politics, is a leading presidential scholar. Caroline will be a featured speaker at ...

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February 14, 2013

Comfort food gets serious

In honor of all the heart-shaped boxes flying off the shelves on this Valentine's Day, we look back at the work of former student Jamal Fahim, who in 2010 wrote his senior comprehensive project in sociology on the marketing of chocolate. Jamal, who won distinction for his project, argues that chocolate marketing exemplifies the way a commodity’s fetish status may be created and intensified through the promise of an object’s capacity to transform the consumer’s deepest aspects of his or her self. 

You can read Jamal's paper "Beyond Cravings: Gender and Class Desires in Chocolate Marketing...

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