Tag Archives: courtney coelho

Questions for Rick Benjamin: Rhode Island’s New Poet Laureate

Rick Benjamin, adjunct assistant professor of environmental studies and public humanities, was recently appointed state poet of Rhode Island by Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee. A five-year position, the state poet serves as principal advocate for poetry in Rhode Island. Benjamin has dedicated much of his career to the intersection of poetry and community service, a relationship he incorporates into “Poetry and Community Service,” a course he teaches at Brown and other schools. Courtney Coelho spoke with Benjamin about his poetry, his mission of service, and how he intends to incorporate the two in his new position.

Describe your poetry. What is your style? What are your influences?

I have a wide range of influences. I tend to learn everything through the ear. My early influences were always oral and musical, starting with poetry I probably didn’t really understand by Eliot that my mom was reading me. So she would say things like, “So intimate, this Chopin, that I think his soul should be resurrected only among friends some two or three, who will not touch the bloom that is rubbed and questioned in the concert room.” There’s not a lot of that that I would have understood when she said it, but I did hear it and I really loved the sound of it. And Langston Hughes is a poet I became acquainted with really early on and again it was the sound and the rhythm and the music in the poetry that I responded to first. In terms of poets that I read now: Lucille Clifton, Adrienne Rich, Ruth Stone, Robert Hass, Kevin Young. (more…)

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Questions for B. Anthony Bogues: Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice

Created on recommendation of the 2006 Report of the Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice, the new Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice will expand upon the work of that committee, creating a space for student and faculty research and public discussion of the history and legacies of these issues. Here, inaugural director B. Anthony Bogues shares his vision for the Center.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — In 2003, a University steering committee undertook a three-year project on slavery and justice. One of the committee’s recommendations was the creation of a center that would continue to expand upon that work. Earlier this year, Anthony Bogues was named director of the new center. He is hiring staff and finding the center a permanent home on campus, which he expects to have within the next two years. For now, the Center will be located in Alumnae Hall.

Part of the center’s mission will be to act as a public forum for the discussion of the history of slavery and its legacy. On Wednesday, Oct. 3, the center and the Office of the Dean of the College will sponsor the 2012 First Readings Lecture, which will take place at 5 p.m. in the Salomon Center for Teaching. Author Charles Rappleye will discuss his book Sons of Providence: The Brown Brothers, the Slave Trade and the American Revolution. (more…)

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Rose McDermott: The Political Genome

A recent review of research co-authored by Rose McDermott highlights the role that genes play in political preferences, an area of study that began to draw significant attention in the last decade. McDermott speaks with Courtney Coelho about this growing field of research, its evolutionary roots, and whether it means anything for the prediction of future election results.

The connection between biology and political science is relatively new, but it’s one that has grown rapidly, with a boom in research linking genetics and political preferences in the last decade. Rose McDermott, professor of political science, has done research on this topic and recently co-authored a review, published in Trends in Genetics, of studies in recent years. (more…)

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Richard Arenberg: Defending the filibuster

In Defending the Filibuster: The Soul of the Senate, political scientists and former Senate staffers Richard Arenberg and Robert Dove argue that the solution to recent criticism of the filibuster is not to do away with it. Arenberg speaks with Courtney Coelho about the history of Senate debate, how its use has been distorted in recent years and why reforms, not abolishment, are key to preserving Senate minority rights.

A new book co-authored by Brown University political scientist Richard Arenberg argues that the filibuster, used to extend debate on pending legislation in the Senate, is a necessary entity, giving a voice to the minority and preserving the Constitution’s principles of checks and balances. The filibuster has come under fire in recent years, with critics saying it serves no purpose other than to perpetuate partisan polarization and stall the decision-making process. (more…)

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Combating Global Problems at BIARI

Some 140 participants and 30 visiting faculty from more than 45 countries arrived at Brown to take part in the Brown International Advanced Research Institutes (BIARI). The two-week program began June 11, 2012.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Some 140 participants and 30 visiting faculty from more than 45 countries arrived at Brown to take part in the Brown International Advanced Research Institutes (BIARI). Participants, who were chosen from a pool of more than 850 applicants, come from several countries, including Brazil, China, Nigeria, India, and Ethiopia.

The two-week program began Monday, June 11, 2012. Now in its fourth year, BIARI is centered around four two-week intensive institutes, convened concurrently by Brown faculty, in which participants and leading scholars in their fields share their research and develop new collaborative projects through sustained, high-level dialogue spanning disciplines and continents. This year’s institutes touched on global health and HIV/AIDS; theater and civil society; population and development; and climate change. (more…)

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Annika Finne Investigates a Modigliani

Annika Finne, senior and aspiring conservator, jumped at the chance to investigate the authenticity of a Modigliani painting stored in the archives of the RISD Museum of Art. What followed was a year-long journey of research and discovery and a senior thesis that, Finne hopes, will secure the painting’s place in art history.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — To the causal observer, the painting is most striking in its simplicity: a two-dimensional image of a woman, her face elongated, head slightly tilted, the background giving away little of her surroundings, the parameters devoid of a signature identifiying the artist.

It’s a painting that senior Annika Finne has come to know intimately. The aspiring art conservator has spent the last year investigating the authenticity of the painting for her senior thesis. Her research has revealed that the painting carries with it a history far richer than its outwardly simple appearance. Through an analysis that took her to museums around the country, diving deep into provenance files and performing a battery of scientific tests, Finne was able to prove that the painting, an oil sketch titled Portrait of Anna Zborowska, is quite likely the work of one of the best-known artists of his time: Amedeo Modigliani. (more…)

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Julie Hunter and the Beat of A Different Drum

Cultural taboos have long kept Ghanaian women away from drumming. But two significant political movements began to break down those barriers in the last 60 years, bringing women into the musical fold. It is that shift — and its political, social, and cultural implications — that Julie Hunter studied to earn her Ph.D. this spring.

Drumming has always been an important part of Ghanaian culture. Long a genre reserved for ceremonial occasions, drumming became increasingly secularized after the Gold Coast claimed independence in 1957. That postcolonial period, followed by a national women’s movement in the 1980s made the culture ripe for political and social change. In this climate, drumming, once strictly reserved for men, has been adopted by women, marking a significant shift in gender roles within Ghanaian culture. It is this shift that Julie Hunter studied to write her thesis, “The Rise of Women’s Drumming in Africa: Performing Gender and Transforming Community in Southeastern Ghana.” Hunter will earn her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology this spring. (more…)

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Dennis Hogan: Understanding Families of Children with Disabilities

In his recently published book, Family Consequences of Children’s Disabilities, Dennis Hogan offers the first comprehensive account of families of children with disabilities. He talked with Courtney Coelho about his findings, including some of the more surprising ways having a child with a disability can affect the family structure.

Families of children with disabilities often face a plethora of challenges, ranging from the financial to the emotional. Still, little research has been done to document exactly how families are affected by a child with a disablity. Dennis Hogan’s recently published book, Family Consequences of Children’s Disabilities (Russell Sage Foundation), is the first comprehensive account of these experiences. Motivated by his own experience of growing up with a brother with Down syndrome, Hogan, the Robert E. Turner Distinguished Professor of Population Studies, merged existing data with interviews with more than two dozen family members of disabled children. He talked with Courtney Coelho about his findings, including some of the more surprising ways having a child with a disability can affect the family structure. (more…)

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