Barnard BOLD Honors Students & Organizations Dedicated to Community

studentsactivismpublic servicestudent life Student Life celebrated five students and three organizations committed to engaging and supporting the Barnard community at the Barnard BOLD dinner reception on February 16 in the Diana Event Oval. Barnard BOLD recognizes the dedication to community that philosopher and activist Grace Lee Boggs ’35 exemplified. As Boggs said, “We urgently need to bring to our communities the limitless capacity to love, serve, and create for and with each other.”


DaMonique Ballou ’17

DaMonique Ballou is the director of The Black Theater Ensemble, an active and creative member of BOSS (Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters), and a Community Assistant in the Office of Student Life. DaMonique is committed to the arts and believes deeply in using theater, performance, and visual culture as ways to engage differences and to work toward social change. In her BOLD work at Barnard, DaMonique centers black experiences and those of other people of color and always invites everyone into the dialogue—creatively.


Helen Cane ’17

Helen Cane is a co-founder of the Divest Barnard from Fossil Fuels campaign, a Well Woman Peer Educator, and a Writing Fellow. She works tirelessly to sustain a community with (in the words of Boggs ’35) “limitless capacity to love, serve, and create for and with each other.” As a social justice organizer, she is deeply invested in anti-oppression analysis and group dynamics.


Valerie Jaharis ’19

Valerie Jaharis runs numerous Facebook groups for Barnard students, including “Barnard Pay It Forward” and “Barnard/Columbia Safety Network.” These groups support students with marginalized identities and reach the larger Columbia University community.



Nadia Mbonde ’17

Nadia Mbonde has an impact on student life through her photography projects and communities on social media. As director and president of the performing arts group V-Day, Nadia launched a platform to publically discuss people’s experiences with disability by creating an exhibit in Sulzberger Parlor. As president of MISC, she has created a new space for transnational people to discuss the intersections of their identity. Nadia has modeled in Columbia’s Afropolitan arts showcase and Culture Shock, presenting a monologue of her Asian heritage.


Aneliza Ruiz ’19

Aneliza Ruiz protested against police brutality in New York and marched for women’s rights in Washington, DC. She has reached out to students of color through her involvement with Mujeres as well as through her positions in Student Life and Well-Woman. As a Resident Assistant, she has organized coloring activities and brunches for her residents. Aneliza constantly works to better the lives of her friends, classmates, and community.        


Latinx Heritage Month Committee

Latinx Heritage Month (LHM) creates community by working with Latinx groups on campus to hold events such as the Maya Hip Hop and Showcase that celebrate different Latinx identities. Almost every single Latinx group on campus is involved, including graduate student groups. LHM enables conversations that often don’t occur, such as discussions about mental health. Students are challenged to take what they learn to their Latinx community as well as to other spaces.


She’s The First

She’s the First (STF) is a non-profit organization devoted to providing scholarships, mentorship, and empowerment to more than 800

Visit original >

Break This Down: Q & A with Prof. Robert McCaughey on Barnard’s Evolving Identity

college history In his first presentation kicking off a series of lectures on the history of Barnard, “Location, Location, Location: Barnard’s Belated Embrace of Its Urban Identity” (February 21, 6 p.m. in Sulzberger Parlor, Barnard Hall), Professor of History and Janet H. Robb Chair in the Social Sciences Robert McCaughey discusses the significance of the College’s setting. He also reveals that the College resisted its city identity for much of its first six decades, illustrating how the times have changed. A Barnard professor since 1969, Prof. McCaughey is the author of seven history books, including Stand, Columbia: A History of Columbia University in the City of New York, 1754-2004. His research has been supported by the New-York Historical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Prof. McCaughey’s lecture series offers a preview of his forthcoming book on Barnard’s past and present.

Prof. Robert McCaugheyYour lecture poses the question: Barnard has always been “in the City of New York,” but has it always been “of the City of New York”? What has your research shown?

Into the 1940s, Barnard remained skittish about too closely identifying with New York City. The concern was with frightening off the daughters of wealthy families who were the mainstay of the “country” Sisters [Seven Sisters; other women-only colleges]. Some Barnard officials worried that the College was attracting too many first- and second-generation immigrants from the City’s public high schools. Barnard had sought to be the women’s college of the comfortably “arrived,” but as board chairman Silas Brown Brownell said in 1914, instead the College was educating New York’s “deserving and aspiring crowds.”

Why was it only in the last four decades that the College moved away from a country identity to embracing an urban one?

There were several reasons: A rejection of anti-Semitism, which made earlier discriminatory practices unacceptable and illegal; a belated but serious effort to recruit students of color, which extended an earlier openness to class and religious differences to racial difference; Barnard’s leadership becoming more welcoming of the City’s “best and brightest”; its faculty becoming more reflective of the wider society; a string of enlightened admission directors who recognized there was a national clientele attracted to Barnard for the New York characteristics that are different from those found at Ivies and other Sisters; and administrative leadership from Presidents Millicent Carey McIntosh, Ellen Futter ’71, and Judith Shapiro, Ph.D. ’70 GSAS.

How did this identity shift help the College, the surrounding community, and students?

It gave the College a distinctive identity that was no longer that of a [Seven] Sister wannabe. The construction of Sulzberger Hall in 1988 made it possible for city-dwelling applicants to be eligible for on-campus housing.

What are some facts you’ll share during the lecture that will surprise most?

For the lecture, I’ll share new takes on founder Annie Nathan Meyer’s aspirations for “her” college, new insights on former Dean of the College Virginia Gildersleeve, Class of 1899, as a New Yorker, as well as insights on changes in the social composition of the

Visit original >

Leading Black Feminist Scholar Hortense Spillers: For the Enslaved, Love Was Unstable

BCRWrace and ethnicityslaveryfeminism Literary critic and black feminist scholar Hortense Spillers—one of the foremost scholars today in African American criticism—delivered a lecture on campus to a packed audience of 275 Barnard community members on February 16. Spillers—whom Barnard Center for Research on Women (BCRW) director Tina Campt described in her introduction as the “fierce, radical, and uncompromising author of transformational essays”—is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor in the English Department at Vanderbilt University. Her lecture, titled “Shades of Intimacy: Women in the Time of Revolution,” was sponsored by the BCRW.

Hortense SpillersSpillers spoke about the implications for intimacy, touch, and love when one is enslaved and does not possess self-ownership. “If family members can be sold off,” she said, “then feelings of love can be shown to be unstable.” Moreover, “bodies lose their integrity when they can be invaded by coercive power.” Touch for the enslaved—particularly women—was the power to wound and violate. “Sexual abuse and use of women” by masters “was the rule.” Spillers emphatically rejected the concept of love between enslaved women and their masters. When some historians argue that “the white master really loved his black slave, we need to say, ‘What does that mean?’ … Even if there was love, what does it mean when there was no self-ownership?” She added, “There are no conditions I can imagine where it would be okay to be loved by Thomas Jefferson or George Washington.”

Paradoxically, slavery existed during a time of revolution when many around the globe fought for constitutional freedom. Spillers noted that the narrative of revolution elevated the “public” or judicial sphere of men’s rights and masculinity while abolitionists evoked the slave economy as oppositional to “female purity” so that enslaved women’s bodies became “the quintessential image of the peculiar institution.” Enslaved women stood at the border between “public” and “private” revolutions. 

Spillers rose to academic stardom after publishing her 1987 essay, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book,” in which she presented a rupturing of the dominant white American “grammar” of race and gender. The essay is included in her 2003 book Black, White, and in Color. Spillers argued that she refused to accept the labeling of the black American family as “illegitimate” or lacking something fundamentally American. Instead, Spillers argued that the normative, white-centered concept of “family” does not take into account slavery and its aftermath. The racialized violence of slavery, Spillers demonstrated, dislodged gender as a site of difference.  This poststructuralist intervention has deeply influenced a generation of scholars delving into issues of race and gender.

Spillers’s lecture was delivered in memory of Helen Pond McIntyre ’48, who had served as president of the Barnard alumnae association and as vice chair of the Board of Trustees. This annual lecture series is a gift of Eleanor Thomas Elliott, trustee emerita, Helen McIntyre’s classmate and friend, and brings to Barnard a scholar who has made an extraordinary contribution to the field of women’s studies.


Visit original >

Prof. Peter Balsam: Timing is Everything

psychology Timing is everything, according to Peter Balsam. The professor of psychology and Samuel L. Milbank Chair spoke to a packed crowd at Barnard Hall on January 26 as he delivered the Faculty Research Lecture about his life’s work: studying the profound relationship between time and all of our actions and perceptions.

According to Balsam, thought and behavior are organized in relation to time. “Time is a fundamental part of our perceptions and experiences,” he said. Everything we do—from picking up a glass of water to the daily rhythms of eating and sleeping—relies on timed signals from the body and brain that convey information about the right time to do it. The brain allows us to organize the temporal structure of our actions and physiology on scales ranging from milliseconds to days.

Like the air we breathe, we are not often aware of time, but it is the infrastructure for all of our everyday functions. When these mechanisms become disordered or fail to offer temporal information to guide our behavior, they can contribute to the symptoms of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, mood disorders, and substance abuse. For example, a depressed person can’t anticipate that something good will eventually happen. A schizophrenic person may experience time as standing still or speeding up. 

One research area Balsam highlighted was his work on dopamine D2 receptors in the brain. Patients with schizophrenia have a variant of these receptors, resulting in a lack of “anticipatory motivation” and willingness to expend effort. He studied this variant in animal models, examining mice’s ability to anticipate future rewards, which is key to healthy everyday function. The motivational system “cranks up the willingness to engage in goal-directed activity,” Balsam said. This work showed how studying timing and anticipation in animal models can be harnessed to suggest new treatment strategies. 

Balsam arrived at Barnard in 1975 and since then has published over 100 journal articles. Beloved as a teacher, mentor, and passionate researcher, he has worked with dozens of graduate students and 150 Barnard and Columbia undergraduates. He is a fellow of the American Society for the Advancement of Science and the American Psychological Society and is a past president of the Pavlovian Society.

Visit original >

Prof. Joel Kaye Wins Prestigious 2017 Haskins Medal

academiafacultyhistory Prof. Joel KayeJoel Kaye, professor of history, will be awarded the 2017 Haskins Medal for his latest book, A History of Balance, 1250 – 1375: The Emergence of a New Model of Equilibrium and Its Impact on Thought, by the Medieval Academy of America. This award is presented annually to a single book, recognized by the Academy as a “distinguished publication in the field of medieval studies.”

Prof. Kaye’s book examines an important shift in the modeling of balance that occurred within four intellectual disciplines over the period 1280-1360: economic thought, medical theory, political theory, and the philosophy of nature.  It traces the sources of this remodeling  to socio-economic, institutional, and intellectual factors, showing the ways in which they intersected to produce the new model.  Always more a tacit “sense” than a formulated idea, balance moved from being identified with 1:1 equalization to a much more fluid vision of dynamic equilibrium, self-generated by the interaction of multiple moving parts within an overarching system.  Given the centrality of the ideal of balance to virtually every intellectual discipline in this period, the shift in the modeling of balance from a basis in a fixed hierarchical plan to a base in the dynamism of systematic activity made possible a profound rethinking of the world and its workings.     

Associate Provost Patricia Denison applauded this recognition. “As recipient of the prestigious Haskins Medal, Joel Kaye joins an eminent group of medieval studies scholars,” she said. “The award brings recognition to his fascinating, multi-faceted historical inquiry.”

In addition to receiving the Haskins Medal, A History of Balance was also awarded the 2015 Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History by the American Philosophical Society. Prof. Kaye’s previous book, Economy and Nature in the Fourteenth Century: Money, Market Exchange, and the Emergence of Scientific Thought, earned the John Nicholas Brown Prize from the Medieval Academy of America as the best first book by an author in medieval studies.

His previous research and scholarship have been supported by the Institute for Advanced Study, School of Historical Studies; the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers; the National Science Foundation; and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Prof. Kaye will be presented with the 2017 Haskins Medal during the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Medieval Academy at the University of Toronto from April 6-8.

Photo: The Haskins Medal. The Medieval Academy of America

Visit original >


Krista Suh’s ’09 “Sea of Pink”

activismalumnae As protests against the Trump administration began to take shape in the weeks after the election, screenwriter Krista Suh ’09 began thinking of possible ways to make an impact. The outcome was the Pussyhat Project, a simple hat-knitting initiative that resulted in a sea of hand-made, hot pink cat ears flooding Washington, D.C., and many of the sister marches in cities around the world on January 21. The unique idea drew dozens of national headlines for Suh and her co-creator Jayna Zweiman. 

Suh told the Los Angeles Times that the idea was born as she remembered her Barnard professors’ advice to incorporate a visual element to her work. “How can I visually show someone what’s going on? […] I realized as a California girl, I would be really cold in D.C.—it’s not tank-top weather year-round. So I thought maybe I could knit myself a hat.” She echoed this sentiment in an interview with the Boston Globe, noting that her art history degree from Barnard inspired her to think of herself as a performance artist, expressing her beliefs in in a manner that can have an impact on other people. Even the project’s name has significance: Suh told CBS News that the Pussyhat Project seeks to “reclaim that word [pussy]—it’s not just about trolling [Trump].”


I’ve always wanted to see the inside of one of these news vans! Thanks ABC7 for interviewing us! You can see more press on #pussyhatproject at #Pussyhat

A photo posted by Krista Suh (@kristasuh) on Jan 11, 2017 at 7:56pm PST


A common thread in the media coverage is the role the hats play as conversation starters. The act of knitting the hats was also a method of stress relief for many. Suh was quoted in a Cosmopolitan story that “Right after the election, there was this national grief, and knitting is very therapeutic. It’s something for people to actually do with their hands.” A Huffington Post piece highlighted the often-communal nature of knitting and the avenue that Suh and Zweiman had created for knitters to embrace community organizing, noting that many hats had been created specifically to be donated to marchers.

Suh encapsulated her vision for the Pussyhat Project in an interview with Hello Giggles:

It’s another way of uniting women all over the country, crossing barriers of geography, age, race, class, sexual orientation, etc. […] It’s almost like 2 million women are there, 1 million marchers and 1 million pussyhat makers, all who care about women’s rights and want to be heard and demand to be heard.


Related Content: All Eyes on D.C.: Professors Respond to the Women’s March on Washington

Visit original >


All Eyes on D.C.: Professors Respond to the Women’s March on Washington

academiasocial justice On January 21, hundreds of thousands of passionate Americans will unite for the Women’s March on Washington. The mission of the March is “to stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families—recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.” Here, Barnard professors reflect on why this March is significant, how it might have an impact on public policy, and what the president should know or do regarding issues important to women.

Prof. Sheri BermanProfessor Sheri Berman, Department of Political Science

“Marches are important as an outlet for citizens to collectively express their views and communicate with government and other people in positions of leadership. They are peaceful, legal ways for citizens to participate in the political process. As for how the March might impact women’s rights, that is hard to say—as it is often difficult to draw direct connections between collective action and political outcomes. That said, politicians do notice and even often respond (!) to the views of citizens in general and their constituents in particular, so the more widespread and fervent particular views appear, the more politicians may take them into account when voting.  

“As for what the president should do to enhance women’s rights, that is a giant question. There are literally thousands of policies, regulations, and statements that he could make that would influence the status and position of women in contemporary society. Depending on your view of what the most pressing issues facing women today are, that list could also vary immensely. It is safe to say that Trump has not made women’s rights a cornerstone of his campaign for the presidency thus far, so we will have to wait and see what, if anything, he might do to change the status quo, positively or negatively.”

Prof. Tina CamptProfessor Tina Campt, Director of Barnard Center for Research on Women and Chair of the Department of Africana Studies

“The March is important first of all because it’s really important to occupy space—to physically take control of the nation’s capital and to demonstrate that there is more than one perspective on the way in which this country should be governed. And it’s even more important that that space be occupied by people of color and by women. This is a visible demonstration that cannot be overlooked or overseen right at the moment that our new president is taking office. So the demonstration is important so that we can show that this is our nation’s capital. I grew up in D.C., and for a long time when I was growing up D.C. was overwhelmingly black. So It’s time to make D.C. visibly a place that is owned by the people who potentially could be marginalized by this administration.

“This March is bigger than rights. It’s about affirmation, it’s about respect. It’s about dignity. It’s about possibility. It’s about literally the dignity of being able to interact on an interpersonal level and be

Visit original >

Prof. Hisham Matar Nominated for Two Prominent Literary Awards

literature & poetrywriting PEN America and the National Book Critics Circle announced this week that they have nominated English professor Hisham Matar’s book, The Return: Fathers, Sons, and the Land in Between, as a finalist for their annual awards. The memoir, which details Matar’s journey to his native Libya in search of answers regarding his father’s imprisonment and eventual disappearance, also appeared on several “Best of 2016” lists by prominent news outlets including The New York Times and Financial Times. Matar, who is also the founder of the Barnard International Artists Series, was shortlisted in 2016 for the Baillie Gifford Prize, Britain’s most-prestigious award for creative non-fiction.

In addition to these nominations, Matar was also named the winner of France’s new “Prix du Livre Etranger” (Foreign Book Prize), conferred by radio station France Inter and Le Journal du Dimanche, the weekly newspaper.

The National Book Critics Circle Award is awarded by a jury of book critics and editors to authors in each of six categories: autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Finalists will read selections from their works on March 15 at 6:30 p.m. at The New School in New York City; the award ceremony will take place on the following evening in the same location.

The PEN America/Jean Stein Book Award honors one book each year for its “originality, merit, and impact.” The ceremony for this prestigious award will take place on March 27 at 6:30 p.m. at The New School in New York City. An anonymous panel of judges reviews each work and confers $75,000 to the winner.

Visit original >


Break This Down: Q & A with Prof. Jonathan Rieder on MLK, Jr.

social justice It’s been over three decades since Martin Luther King Jr. Day became a federal holiday—but the public image of the man hasn’t grown with the times.  Sociology professor Jonathan Rieder, a leading Dr. King expert, offers his opinions based on decades of pioneering research.  His most recent books are The Word of the Lord is Upon Me: The Righteous Performance of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gospel of Freedom: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the Struggle That Changed a Nation.  Thanks to a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and one from the Dubois Institute at Harvard’s Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research, he spent 2015-16 in Cambridge and Alabama working on his new project, Crossing Over: Black-White Encounters in the Transition from Rhythm and Blues to Soul and Beyond.

Who was the real King and how should we remember him correctly?

Professor Jonathan RiederThat’s always the nagging question, and there’s no simple answer to it. The main problem is that we’re constantly inundated with images of the dreamer, the ambassador of love, who envisioned little black and white children holding hands. Surely there’s some truth to that image.

But that image is too often put in the service of national self-congratulations; look how far we’ve come!: It marks  off the time of unfreedom from the freedoms of today. And so it’s easy to forget that for all his honeyed words and diplomacy,  King was a tough-minded warrior for justice who never stopped chastizing the larger society for racism and all manner of other evils. Nor was he naive about the power of moral appeal to move white conscience, though he never stopped trying. And finally he thought there were always suffering people on the Jericho Road. The task of justice is never finished. Vincent Harding called King “an inconvenient hero.” King meant to unsettle, to disrupt, to speak inconvenient truths.

What are some of our biggest misconceptions?

That image of King as a dreamer is one of many misconceptions.  For starters, and it’s not really surprising, King tended to show only certain sides of himself before white audiences, and even certain black audiences. He tended to keep up a public image of great dignity and refinement.  Backstage, it was a different story. King could be hilarious,  and bawdy too. He was a wicked tease. He and his preacher buddies joked about sex, about “white crackers” and fried-chicken eating black preachers.

The popular mythology also obscures King’s sympathetic view of black anger, as if he was never an angry black man. But King went  through a long period of hating white people, which is why he rarely judged the people who had yielded to hate.  “I know the temptation to become bitter . . .it comes to all of us,” he told one audience after the Watts riots, placing himself in that “us” of black anger. Only then did he elevate his audience and preach, “but there is the better way of Jesus Christ.”

Finally, King is often treated as if he was some lone Moses

Visit original >

A Message to the Barnard Community on Tolerance, Diversity and Inclusion

The following message was sent  from President Spar to the Barnard Community on December 22, 2016.
Dear Members of the Barnard Community,
As we await the start of a new year—a time when we strive to look ahead with renewed optimism and hope—there is no doubt that the tone on campus and across the country is tinged with concern for the future. How might potential changes in federal law and policy affect us and our students? And how can we, as an institution of higher learning, best deploy our resources to contribute to the well-being of our community, our country, and our world?
These are questions that the Barnard community has been grappling with, and for which there are no easy answers. On December 20, I received a petition signed by over 350 members of the faculty, staff, alumnae and students calling on Barnard to reaffirm its commitment to values of tolerance, diversity, inclusion, educational opportunity, and academic freedom, and to reiterate its commitment to the protection and empowerment of all members of our community.  I appreciate this collective voice and want to reiterate that Barnard will always remain committed to these core values.  They are, as ever, essential to our work and lie at the very heart of our mission.
It is also critical that we continue to provide a range of support for any member of our community who might face threats to their safety and security as a result of their identity or immigration status. As we look closely at the resources we already provide, we are open to exploring ways to build in additional support.
In November, along with fellow college and university presidents, I signed a statement calling for the continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and in support of our undocumented immigrant students. The statement was clear in its message: “To our country’s leaders we say that DACA should be upheld, continued, and expanded.”
Still, in light of the multitude of concerns, I want to reiterate that Barnard remains dedicated to protecting the privacy and safety of our entire campus community. We will continue to abide by our long-held privacy policies and, pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), will never release confidential student records without judicial warrant, subpoena or court order, unless authorized by the student or otherwise required by law. If, for any reason, federal enforcement agencies come to campus, we will ensure that they comply with the letter of the law.  And we will not ask our own public safety officers to involve themselves in federal immigration enforcement efforts by detaining or questioning any individual solely on the basis of immigration status.
Barnard’s undocumented students currently receive 100% financial support from private donors. Should the number of undocumented students on our campus increase, we will strive to provide that same level of support, and we will do all that we can to make these students feel and believe that they have a home here. We also encourage the use of available

Visit original >

The Best Books of 2016 and The Professors Who Wrote Them

Throughout the year 2016, many Barnard professors have published works from journal articles to full-length books.  Several of the College’s professors have landed on notable “Best of 2016” book lists. Below are five authors who have been singled out for recognition.

Professor Séverine Autesserre ISA | Best Book of the Year 2016

Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention
by Prof. Séverine Autesserre

Prof. Séverine Autesserre spent several years doing fieldwork on the concept of peace-building in conflict zones around the globe.  The result is her book, Peaceland: Conflict Resolution and the Everyday Politics of International Intervention, in which she explains why some countries are better able than others to reach resolutions.  This year, the political science expert received the International Studies Association’s “Best Book of the Year Award 2016.”

Professor Gergely Baics

Financial Times | Best Books on History

Feeding Gotham: The Political Economy and Geography of Food in New York, 1790-1860
by Prof. Gergely Baics

In his new book Feeding Gotham, Prof. Gergely Baics reveals what it took to feed New York City during the first half of the nineteenth century. In response, the Financial Times* names it one of the “best books of 2016 on history,” writing that “Baics has produced one of the year’s most original books with this analysis of food markets in New York City in the decades up to the Civil War.”  

*To read the full piece, users must sign up for a free account.

Professor Alexandra Horowitz

Multiple Bests | Best Science Book of 2016

Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell
by Prof. Alexandra Horowitz

Prof. Alexandra Horowitz, a leading researcher in dog cognition, explains how smells change a canine’s perception in her book Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell. By sharing interesting facts (a human can detect a teaspoon of sugar in a cup of coffee, while dogs can detect that amount in a million gallons of water), Horowitz has captivated the public.  Her book was singled out in the podcast Science Friday and in Library Journal.

Professor Janna Levin


Multiple Bests | Science Books of 2016

Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space
by Prof. Janna Levin

“An incredibly gifted novelist” is how Prof. Janna Levin, a working astrophysicist, is described by Brain Pickings for her book Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space, which leads the website’s “Greatest Science Books of 2016” roundup. The Wall Street Journal gives Levin a seat at its curated table for “The 20 Books That Defined Our Year,” where the title also holds a position on “The WSJ Top 10 Nonfiction Books of 2016.” According to the WSJ, this is “a splendid book for anyone with an interest in how science works or in the power of human imagination.”  Yahoo! News reports that IANS, India’s largest independent newswire, recognizes Black Hole Blues as one of the year’s best non-fiction books. The cover, created by book deisigner Janet Hansen, also receives praise on Buzzfeed as one of the most 32 beautiful book covers of

Visit original >

Prof. Kimberly Marten Receives Prestigious Council on Foreign Relations Fellowship

academiaRussiaPolitical Science Kimberly Marten, the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science, has been awarded an International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars by the Council on Foreign Relations.  Marten is a member of the first class of senior scholars selected for this year-long fellowship in its nearly 50-year history.
The goal of this new program is to help close the gap between research and practice on peace and security issues, as well as to enrich the teaching and scholarship of tenured academics.  Prof. Marten, who also directs the Program on U.S.-Russia Relations at the Columbia University Harriman Institute, will focus her fellowship work on U.S. relations with Russia.
Associate Provost Patricia Denison congratulated Prof. Marten, calling her “an important voice, particularly in this historical moment.  The Council on Foreign Relations fellowship will greatly aid Prof. Marten’s research and our understanding of this crucial area of inquiry.”
Upon her completion of the fellowship, Prof. Marten plans to write a book about U.S.-Russia relations.  She hopes that this experience will provide new insights for her to share with Barnard students about how the U.S. government really works, and about potential career paths in Washington.  She plans to design and teach a new undergraduate course on U.S. foreign and security policy decision making that features a simulation component and a course for master’s degree students at Columbia University on the Russian military and Security Policy.
In addition to Prof. Marten’s scholarly contributions, she is frequently featured in mainstream media, both as a quoted expert on current events and a featured writer.  Most recently, she was a guest on National Public Radio to discuss Donald Trump’s and Hillary Clinton’s different approaches to Russia and provided commentary to Bloomberg BNA on how U.S. and European sanctions on Russia affect Arctic trade. She appeared on CBS, WNYC, and several other outlets in the final days of 2016 to explain the reasons for and potential effects of U.S. sanctions against Russian hacking.

Visit original >

Barnard Presidential Task Force Recommends Divestment from Companies that Deny Climate Science

environmentsustainabilityclimate change NEW YORK, Dec. 7, 2016 – The Barnard Presidential Task Force to Examine Divestment has submitted to the Board of Trustees its report on fossil fuel divestment. After a nine-month review, the Task Force recommends that the College divest from all fossil fuel companies that deny climate science or otherwise seek to thwart efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change. The Task Force, comprised of trustees, faculty, staff and students, was formed in response to a student campaign led by the group Divest Barnard.

The recommendation to divest from climate change deniers would align the College’s investments with its core mission, centered on academic freedom and scientific integrity. This will enable the College to distinguish between companies based on their behavior and willingness to transition to a cleaner economy and could create incentives for the poorest performers to change their ways.

“Barnard acknowledges the increasing demand, both from our students and the greater public, to act as ‘ethical investors’ and do our part to fight climate change,” President Debora Spar said. “The College is proud of its history of proactive engagement with social and political issues, from divestment from apartheid South Africa in 1985 to the 2015 decision to expand our admissions policy to include transgender women. Our relatively small size allows us to serve as incubators for new ideas, and divesting from companies that deny climate change is an intriguing and potentially impactful next step.”

The Task Force maintains that a decision to divest must be balanced with the need to protect and grow the endowment, a critical component of Barnard’s financial health and a key goal of its current $400 million capital campaign, The Bold Standard.

The Task Force also recommends that the College undertake a robust climate action program to reduce its carbon footprint, appoint a sustainability officer or dean to lead a campus-wide effort to set time-bound, measurable goals, and engage members of the community in instilling a culture of sustainability across the campus.

“Divesting from companies that actively distort climate science findings or block efforts to plan for a world free from carbon pollution would support the College’s academic mission,” said Task Force member Professor Stephanie Pfirman, a leading climate scientist and Co-Chair of the Department of Environmental Science with a joint appointment at Columbia University. “Divestment is not only a symbolic gesture – it is an important next step in Barnard’s 360-degree approach to responsible management of the planet and its resources for future generations.”

The Task Force recognizes that these recommendations build upon an already strong effort at Barnard to reduce carbon emissions and a long history as a pioneer in environmental research and education. Barnard was one of the first colleges or universities to require a course on climate for environmental majors, and now at least thirteen programs offer a course focused on climate, sustainability, or the environment. Faculty are also deeply involved with high-profile climate and sustainability research and education around the world.

“Divest Barnard is glad that the Task Force is recommending divestment from fossil fuels,

Visit original >

Golden Globe Nominee Lauren Graham ’88 Presents the New Gilmore Girls

alumnae Photograph by Chris Taggart It has been nearly a decade since Lauren Graham ’88 first starred as the matriarch in Gilmore Girls, but it may not feel that way to fans of the cult classic, which got a reboot on Netflix this year. To celebrate the release of the new four-part miniseries and Graham’s return to the famous role, Barnard’s Young Alumnae Committee hosted a screening of the premiere episode, “Winter,” on December 3. Before the screening, more than 200 alumnae and students in attendance were treated to a conversation between Graham and classmate and Dean of Enrollment Management Jennifer Fondiller ’88, in which they discussed topics such as community, sisterhood, and self-confidence.

Photograph by Chris Taggart

In a room brimming with women who arrived with friends from their days at Barnard, Graham shared advice when asked by an alumna how talented women can alleviate self-doubt: “You have to push those feelings aside and just go for it,” she said. “Of course, it also helps to have a close circle of friends,” she added. Graham’s presence and advice energized the alumnae and students.


Visit original >

Lynn Garafola, Dance Historian and Critic, Retires from Barnard College

visual arts The eminent dance historian and critic Lynn Garafola ’68 is retiring from Barnard College this fall after serving on the faculty for 16 years.  Garafola is the founder of the Columbia University seminar Studies in Dance and a leading expert on Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, probably the most influential twentieth-century ballet company.  She is the author of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and Legacies of Twentieth-Century Dance, the editor of several books, and former editor of the series “Studies in Dance.”  Garafola is also a critic, feature writer, radio and on-camera commentator, and exhibition curator.

On December 12, Garafola is being honored with a prestigious Dance Magazine Award for her outstanding contribution to the field of dance at New York Live Arts.  This award recognizes those who have made a lasting impact on the dance world and has been granted to dance luminaries since 1954.

Garafola has held numerous fellowships including, most recently, from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and New York Public Library’s Cullman Center to support her research for a biography of the Russian-American choreographer Bronislava Nijinska.  For the Guggenheim Fellowship, she was among 175 artists, scholars, and scientists chosen from a group of nearly 3,000 applicants.  She has curated numerous public programs as well as exhibitions  on Jerome Robbins, the New York City Ballet, the Ballets Russes, and Italian dance from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century.  During the centenary year of The Rite of Spring, she lectured across the United States and Europe and participated in the Bolshoi Theater’s festival that explored Nijinsky’s ballet.

“Lynn Garafola essentially helped to shape the field of dance history,” notes Barnard College Provost Linda Bell.  “A true public intellectual, she has enabled dance enthusiasts to understand the meanings of dance in a deep and serious way.  At Barnard, she has gone well beyond the classroom, bringing dance as an art form to research, learning, and the creation of an intellectual community.”  

“Lynn is our high priestess of the dance studies world,” adds Julie Malnig, a professor of dance and performance studies at the Gallatin School of NYU.  “When we need an expert, we always turn to Lynn. She has done it all—writing, researching, editing, teaching, lecturing, mentoring, organizing—and always with mastery and aplomb. Her impeccable historical research and writing set the bar for future scholarship in our field.”

Professor Katie Glasner, senior associate in Dance and co-chair of the Department of Dance, points out that Garafola not only has carved a unique position at the intersection of dance and literature; she also has shaped a generation of young scholars.  “She is a fierce proponent of so many things which are both the foundation of a Barnard education and reflective of that education,” says Glasner, adding that Garafola intimately knows Barnard because she also is an alumna.  Her students “have learned that dance is reflective of political activities, economic realities, and shifting cultural determinations of gender, race, and ethnicity.  As she has demanded much of her own research, her example of ‘doing’ is often inspirational

Visit original >