Gift Supports Novel Faculty Projects
President Ruth Simmons announced today that three faculty members Peter Rose, Marjorie Senechal and Andrew Zimbalist -- have received three-year grants to undertake "novel and flexible projects" which complement their teaching and scholarship. They will engage in a set of activities that will further existing work while allowing them to go in new directions. The grants are made possible by a gift from Peggy (Block '62) and Richard Danziger, who were interested in creating space within the college for working in new ways. In providing the gift, the donors acknowledged that, in colleges and universities, it is often difficult to find opportunities for innovation. They wanted to make new ideas possible.
Peter I. Rose, Sophia Smith Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, plans to use the grant funds to support three projects. The first is his continuing work on the rescue and resettlement of refugees and the people who made it possible in the early days of the Emergency Rescue Committee and those who make it possible today. As part of the 2000-2001 Kahn Institute faculty/student colloquium on "The Anatomy of Exile," he will chair a symposium on "The Rescue of Refugee Intellectuals: 1930-1945." His second ongoing project is on issues of globalization and university development, which complements his international efforts on behalf of the college. As a member of the Salzburg Seminar's Universities Project, he will serve as a site visitor to several universities in central and eastern Europe. Yet another project involves research for an illustrated book of new essays and photographs on "pilgrimages," special trips to old countries and old sites that will combine his interests in migration, ethnicity and exile.
Marjorie Senechal, Louise Kahn Professor of Mathematics and director of the Program in the History of the Sciences, will use the grant funds to continue research on the silk industries of Northampton, Massachusetts, from 1832 to 1932 and Shkoder, Albania, from 900 to 1994. The two case studies in the history of science and technology explore the impact of these industries on their local economies and cultures as well as the supporting roles these industries played in the worldwide silk trade. This work has already helped to generate the Northampton Silk Project, a unique town/gown effort to uncover the story of the industry that diversified the city of Northampton. The project involves not only Smith faculty and students but also residents of Florence and Northampton, historical societies of the two cities, area teachers and others. The project culminates in 2002-2003 with a symposium, exhibitions and published materials. The Danziger grant will support the project's brown bag lecture series, annual planning conferences, and a science exhibit. It will also be used to support a course on Albania and the Balkans.
Andrew Zimbalist, Robert A. Woods Professor of Economics, will use his Danziger grant to support the exploration of competitive balance in professional team sports, a subject of vital interest in labor relations. Professor Zimbalist's work will include the assembly of a database to facilitate a rigorous examination of the subject as well as the conduct of interviews and historical research. The organization of a conference on the subject, to include academic economists as well as practitioners in the industry, is envisaged during the final phase of the grant. Additionally, Professor Zimbalist will be editing a collection on the economics of sports for the series of "The International Library of Critical Writings in Economics" under the directorship of Professor Mark Blaug. The volume will be published by Edward Elgar Publishers during 2001.
President Simmons said, "It is rare that we have the opportunity to allow faculty to design a unique program of teaching and scholarship tailored so specifically to their interests and expertise. I know that these projects will benefit our students and the college, and I am pleased that the Danzigers have given us the ability to offer this opportunity to our faculty."
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