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Stories this week at Wake Forest University

August 27, 2008

SORORITY MONOPOLY GAME AIMS AT WORLD RECORD — Members of the Pi Omicron Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority at Wake Forest University will team up with Monopoly board game enthusiasts in cities around the world Aug. 27 in an attempt to set a world record for the most people ever to play Monopoly at the same time.  The event, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Shorty’s in Benson University Center, is being held in conjunction with the release of Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition by game maker Parker Brothers.  The new edition features 22 international cities on the game board, as well as updated tokens, houses and hotels that reflect influences from around the world.  The familiar “Water Works” and “Electric Company” spaces have been replaced with “Wind Energy” and “Solar Energy” to further modernize the popular game created in 1935.

Contact: Maya Yette,, (336) 300-2118.

MAKING SENSE OF POLITICAL CHANGES IN PAKISTAN Charles Kennedy, professor of political science at Wake Forest University, can put President Pervez Musharraf’s resignation Monday into perspective.  He can explain the events leading up to his resignation and what this will mean for Pakistan’s relationship with the United States and the ongoing war on terror. 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 his most recent book, “Government and Politics in South Asia,” published this week. Other books include “Pakistan: 2005,” “Pakistan at the Millennium,” “The Kashmir Dispute at Fifty: Charting Paths to Peace,” and “Islamization of Laws and Economy: Case Studies on Pakistan” among many others. He published a chapter titled “Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Regime” in “New Perspectives on Pakistan: Contexts, Realities and Visions for the Future.” Kennedy travels frequently to the region and is available to discuss the current state of affairs in Pakistan.

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


COFFEE SHOP PERKS UP LIBRARY— Dramatic renovations made to the Z. Smith Reynolds Library during the summer include renovated study rooms with staircases leading to new second-level seating areas, a Starbucks coffee shop and new meeting rooms.  Work began in May to renovate the 5,900-square-foot area at the front of the library.  The lower level of the space to the left of the front entrance will house a Starbucks coffee shop, expected to open by the end of September.  The large study space to the right of the entrance will be completed in late August.  After talking with library directors across the country, Lynn Sutton, director of Wake Forest’s Z. Smith Reynolds Library, decided it would be important to have a coffee shop in the renovated space.  “Coffee shops have become common in university libraries,” Sutton said.  “Instead of leaving the library for a study break, students can stay in the building and have more of their needs met.”  The 23-foot ceilings in the two study spaces allowed for the construction of two mezzanines, which add another level of about 2,000 additional square feet.  In addition to the main study rooms, the renovated space at the front of the library will include three new meeting rooms for small groups, a graduate student lounge and new bathrooms.

Contact: Cheryl V. Walker, or (336) 758-5237.

OUTSIDE THE BOX: WHY SOME LIVE WITHOUT TV— Shielding children from sex and violence, avoiding commercials and finding extra time for other activities are among the key reasons Americans live without television, according to a new book by Marina Krcmar, associate professor of communication at Wake Forest University. “Living without the Screen” is an in-depth study of American families and individuals who choose not to watch television. It will be published today. Krcmar (pronounced “Krutch-mar”) wanted to find out why some people permanently turn off the TV, while the average American watches three hours of television each day. “Non-viewers perceive television to have power,” Krcmar said. “They believe it can steal time, can affect consumer behavior and can influence how autonomous children are.” She interviewed 120 adults and children from 62 different households who do not watch television.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, or (336) 758-5237.


CAN A WOMAN BE ELECTED PRESIDENT? – Peter Siavelis, associate professor of political science at Wake Forest and expert on South American politics, returned this week from a think tank meeting in Chile. Siavelis can compare the presidential electoral success in 2006 of Chile’s Michelle Bachelet to the steep political challenges faced by seasoned female politicians in the United States.  Bachelet took office despite being a single mother, an avowed agnostic and a relative outsider to Chile’s machismo political process. Siavelis co-edited a new book, “Pathways to Power: Political Recruitment and Candidate Selection in Latin America,” published this month by the Pennsylvania State University Press.

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


DOES EVERY VOTE COUNT? — Voting and its quagmires have heavily influenced politics in the 21st century.  In his timely fall course for freshmen, “The Mathematics of Voting,” Jason Parsley, assistant professor of mathematics, introduces students to such mathematical principles as “Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem,” which indicates that if three or more candidates are running, there is no “fair” system for deciding a winner.  The course will examine the strengths and weaknesses of various voting systems in use, including plurality rule, instant runoff voting, approval voting and the Electoral College.  Students will also discuss current election topics such as the debates over electronic voting machines and felon disenfranchisement.

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

FRESHMEN SEEK SUSTAINABLE ENERGY — As high gas prices and national energy policies continue to dominate the news and the presidential campaigns, a first-year seminar called “Seeking Sustainable Energy” encourages freshmen to decide for themselves which energy options the nation should pursue.  “History has many examples of civilizations that rose and thrived using unsustainable resources and then collapsed when the resources were exhausted,” says Dilip Kondepudi, Thurman D. Kitchin Professor of Chemistry, who is teaching the course for the first time.  “When resources become insufficient, political conflicts and wars ensue.  Therefore, it is imperative that we base our global economy on resources that are sustainable.”  Students will review the historical relationship between economic growth and energy consumption and consider current energy resources, environmental impacts, and the role of technology, innovation and public policy in forming their conclusions.

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


RELATIONSHIP WITH CHINA IS FOCUS OF FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR—The Olympic games in Beijing gave television viewers their most extensive look ever inside China.  That nation’s recent rapid development has prompted much speculation about future relations with China, but most people lack a broad, historical context for understanding Chinese-Western relations.  “Encountering the Other: Cultural Contact, Conflict and Confluence Between China and the West,” is a multidisciplinary course for freshmen which aims to provide that context by looking at cross-cultural exchanges between China and the West since the 16th century.  “China is no longer a distant country on the other side of the globe,” notes Yaohua Shi, assistant professor of East Asian languages and cultures.  “It directly impacts people’s daily lives from the things they buy at Wal-Mart to the mortgage rates that they are able to secure from their banks.”

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


“WHAT WE SEE: THE TEXTURE OF CONSCIOUS EXPERIENCE”— Fred Dretske, senior research scholar at Duke University, is challenging the claim that we are unable to truly experience the overwhelming details of the world—for example, all the leaves on a tree or all the people in a crowded room. The claim asserts that our ability to see by moving our eyes creates an illusion that we consciously experience, at one given moment, all this detail, but in fact we only experience as much of this detail as we choose to look at. Dretske disagrees that there is very little of the detail in the world that makes its way into our conscious experience. “I will argue that our experience is, indeed, much richer and more textured than this view recognizes,” says Dretske. He will make those arguments at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 11 in the Wake Forest Philosophy Library, Tribble Hall, Room B316.

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

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