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Stories this week at Wake Forest University

February 20, 2008


Emily Wakild, assistant professor of Latin American history at Wake Forest, has closely followed events in Cuba since she spent time studying at the University of Havana in 1999, the 40th  anniversary of the revolution.  “What I remember most from speaking with Cubans was what a wide spectrum of opinions existed about what might happen after Castro was gone—everything from ‘nothing will change’ to ‘the U.S. will come in immediately’—which was a marked difference from the narrow debate going on the United States at the time over Monica Lewinsky.  I imagine that spectrum of opinion is still vibrant.” Wakild holds a doctorate in modern Latin American history from the University of Arizona and earned a Fulbright Fellowship to study in Mexico in 2005.

Contact:  Eric Frazier, or (336) 758-5238.

Luis Roniger, Reynolds Professor of Political Science and Latin American Studies, is available to talk about Cuba under Castro and what to expect now that he has announced he will resign.  Roniger is an expert on political exiles, redemocratization processes and human rights in Latin America.  His past teaching appointments included the Catholic University of El Salvador and National Universities of La Plata and Cordoba in Argentina.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-4393.

PROFESSOR TAKES STAND ‘AGAINST HAPPINESS’ Eric G. Wilson, professor of English at Wake Forest, is available to discuss his new book, “Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy,” which has generated strong interest nationwide and abroad since its publication last month by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.  Book reviews and/or author interviews have appeared in Newsweek, Publishers Weekly, The Economist, on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” in the New York Post, the Raleigh News & Observer, the Winnipeg Free Press and the Vancouver Sun.  “We are eradicating a major cultural force, the muse behind much art and poetry and music.  We are annihilating melancholia,” Wilson wrote in an essay based on his book that appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education Jan. 18.  Wilson looks back nearly 200 years to the 1819 “Ode to Melancholy” by John Keats and finds literary precedent for his concern that American culture’s overemphasis on happiness and the increasing tendency to “cure” mild depression or even “the blues” through pharmaceutical means will breed a blandness and complacency with the status quo that is antithetical to creativity and ultimately to true joy.

Contact:  Eric Frazier, or (336) 758-5238.

HELMS SCHOLAR TO GIVE LECTURE AT WAKE FOREST William A. Link, Richard J. Milbauer Professor of History at the University of Florida, will present a lecture titled “Jesse Helms and Modern Conservatism” at 6 p.m. Feb. 20 in Room 102 at Wake Forest’s Scales Fine Arts Center.  The event, sponsored by history department, is free and open to the public.  Link will discuss how the controversial former U.S. senator from North Carolina amassed power, influenced the rise of the political New Right and exported his conservative southern values into U.S. foreign policy.  From 4 to 5 p.m. prior to his talk, Link will sign copies of his new book, “Righteous Warrior: Jesse Helms and the Rise of Modern Conservatism,” at the College Bookstore on the ground floor of Taylor Residence Hall.  Link is the author of numerous books and articles on American history, including “The Paradox of Southern Progressivism, 1880 to 1930” and “Roots of Secession: Slavery and Politics in Antebellum Virginia.”  He holds a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College and a doctorate from the University of Virginia.

Contact:  Eric Frazier, or (336) 758-5238.

NYSE CHIEF ECONOMIST TO DISCUSS 'TOMORROW'S STOCK MARKET' — As chief economist of the New York Stock Exchange, Paul Bennett is responsible for analytical support for the exchange’s various business and public policy activities.  He is speaking as part of the Babcock Leadership Series at 2 p.m. Feb. 20 in the Law Auditorium (Room 1312) of the Worrell Professional Center.

Contact:  Lisa Snedeker, or (336) 758-3615

‘WHEN RELIGION BECOMES EVIL’ UPDATED – This landmark book published in 2002 by Charles Kimball, professor of comparative religion, will be reissued this month with updates throughout the book, including the Catholic Church scandal and the anti-religion arguments of outspoken atheists such as Christopher Hitchens.  Kimball says, “Whatever religious people may say about their love of God or the mandates of their religion, when their behavior toward others is violent and destructive, when it causes suffering among their neighbors, you can be sure the religion has been corrupted and reform is desperately needed.”  An ordained minister, Kimball began studying the ways religion becomes corrupt long before the events of September 11th.  Kimball is a frequent lecturer across the country and is often called upon for his analysis on issues related to the Middle East, Islam, Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations, and the intersection of religion and politics in the United States.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-4393.

WAKE FOREST TO HOST CONFERENCE ON INTEGRATING VALUES AND WORK – Columnist David Brooks and former congressman Lee Hamilton are among a group of distinguished authorities who will speak at a two-day conference titled, “Why Work? Business, Professions and the Common Good,” at Wake Forest University March 27-28.  The conference, part of the university’s 2007-2008 Voices of Our Time speaker series, will bring together experts from the fields of business, education, government, law, medicine and religion to discuss the key challenges faced in professional life today.

Contact:  Eric Frazier, or (336) 758-5237.

PAKISTAN POLITICS EXPLAINED - Charles H. Kennedy, professor of political science at Wake Forest University and an expert on the politics of Pakistan, travels frequently to the region and is available to talk about the results of this week’s election in Pakistan. In addition to a wealth of information about the political parties and their leaders, he can explain how the constitutional crisis and the upheaval in the judiciary system led to voters’ rejection of the policies of President Pervez Musharraf. Kennedy is a former director of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, and remains on the board of directors of that organization as well as the Kashmir Study Group. He is author of several books and articles on Pakistan including “The Kashmir Dispute at Fifty: Charting Paths to Peace” and “Islamization of Laws and Economy: Case Studies on Pakistan” among many others. Recently he published a chapter titled “Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Regime” in Saeed Shafqat’s book “New Perspectives on Pakistan: Contexts, Realities and Visions for the Future.”

Contact:  Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-5237.

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