Tom Marshall & RJ Bee’s Live ‘Couch Report’ Will Welcome Steve Pollak & Mike Greenhaus During Phish’s NYE Run

first_imgOn Friday, December 28th, Phish opens up their four-night New Year’s run at The World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden.The following evening, Saturday, December 29th, Tom Marshall and his Osiris Podcast co-founder and CEO, RJ Bee, will be hosting their Couch Report live via Relix at 6:30 p.m. (EST). Marshall and Bee will welcome longtime Phish collaborator and lyricist Steve Pollak (a.k.a. the Dude of Life), as well as Relix’s editor-in-chief Mike Greenhaus.The upcoming webcast will feature a discussion of the first night of the NYE run and the history of Phish at The Garden, plus a special conversation between fellow Phish lyricists Marshall and Pollak.Phish will also be webcasting for each of their four upcoming sold-out New Year’s run shows, set to take place from December 28th–31st at New York’s Madison Square Garden.The LivePhish webcasts are available to order as a discounted four-night package or by individual night in 4K, HD, and SD quality. In addition to the webcasts, Phish announced a contest to give away a four-night 4K webcast pass and a $500 LivePhish gift certificate. Three additional winners will receive a New Year’s Eve 4K webcast and a $100 LivePhish gift certificate. You can enter the contest for free here.For more information, or to pre-order your Phish New Year’s run webcasts now, head here.While you wait for New Year’s run to arrive, you can get in the mood with our Phishmas 2018 Advent calendar as we’ve been revealing one Phishy surprise per day.[H/T Jambands.com]last_img read more

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Mark Barnes appointed chief research compliance officer

first_imgMark Barnes has been hired as Harvard University’s chief research compliance officer and senior adviser to the provost. Working closely with the vice provost for research, Barnes will play a leading role in reviewing and revising research administration policies across the University to ensure consistency. A lawyer, Barnes also will monitor educational and training programs for Harvard’s research faculty, students, and staff. He will oversee the Office for Sponsored Programs (OSP). In a related appointment, Cathy Gorodentsev, most recently acting dean for administration for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), has been named the new director of OSP.last_img read more

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HSPH faculty, alumni reflect on progress one year after Haitian earthquake

first_imgHSPH’s Michael VanRooyen, director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, spoke to the Harvard Gazette about HHI’s response over the past year to the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which included a joint effort with Brigham and Women’s Hospital to manage a temporary field hospital on the border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The facility launched within 48 hours of the disaster and treated 2,000 patients before closing in May. To continue meeting the needs of rehabilitating patients and of Haitians living in a nearby displaced persons camp, HHI-led personnel opened Klinik Lespwa (Clinic of Hope), which transitioned to Haitian staff in November. This hands-on involvement expanded HHI’s traditional academic role, VanRooyen told the Gazette. Going forward, HHI will resume a research-based role in post-earthquake recovery and will continue to provide consultation to frontline organizations.The Gazette article also quotes Joia Mukherjee, M.P.H. ’01, and David Walton, M.P.H. ’07, both members of the Harvard Medical School faculty and physicians at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, on the slow pace of recovery efforts.  They are working in Haiti with Partners In Health, a not-for-profit Harvard affiliate which has had a presence in Haiti since 1985. It was co-founded by Paul Farmer, the Maude and Lillian Presley Professor of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and professor in the Department of Global Health and Population at HSPH.last_img read more

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A look inside: Dunster House

first_img Rub it in Stephanie Havens ’14 (from left), Allison Ray ’14, and Bryce Gilfillian ’12 give each other back rubs to get loose before the performance. In character Thomas Wilhoit ’13 (from left), Michael Cherella ’11, and Bridget Haile ’11 in a scene from “Die Fledermaus.” A night at the opera Rosalind Rosalind, played by Bridget Haile ’11, rejects the advances of her baron husband, performed by Ben Nelson ’11. Short on pants Stewart Kramer ’12 irons his pants before going on stage. Drill, baby, drill “Die Fledermaus” cast members Jack Ausick ’13 and Stephanie Havens ’14 work on the set prior to rehearsal. Positively batty Lead actors Ben Nelson ’11 and Bridget Haile ’11 get dramatic in “Die Fledermaus,” or, “The Bat.” Lady in waiting Allison Ray ’14 pauses while Dunster House Opera Society members work with the set. The conductor Matt Aucoin ’12 steps out of the shadows. When Dunster House was built in 1930, the fee for a room was based on its size and location, understandable in light of the fact that Dunster has six floors — and no elevator. Located on the banks of the Charles River next to the Weeks Footbridge, Dunster is recognizable by its crimson and gold dome, and was modeled after a church tower at Oxford. Like other Harvard Houses, Dunster has its traditions, the major ones being the Dunster House Opera, the “Messiah” sing-a-long, and a goat roast in the spring.The Dunster House Opera Society was founded in 1992, and unlike the longer-standing Lowell Opera, it utilizes only undergraduates for its cast, staff, and orchestra. This means that everyone involved pitches in and shares multiple roles, with singers assembling sets shortly before they go onstage to deliver their arias. For many members of the cast, it is their first experience with opera. The society’s goal is to “provide the Harvard community with exposure to opera, as both a valuable art form and an accessible, enjoyable form of entertainment.” As if to underscore this point, performances take place in the Dunster dining room, which each night is quickly transformed from a sea of tables and chairs to a stage. This season’s performance was the operetta “Die Fledermaus” by Johann Strauss II.The camaraderie built on the set by producers, singers, and stagehands working side by side extends throughout the House. Senior Diana Suen said, “Since my first day at Dunster, when I was smothered with hugs from our House mascot, I have never felt for want of a friendly face. The Dunster community is incredibly welcoming, and there is nothing that compares to the bonds formed over intense IM games, late nights in the dining hall slaving over problem sets with friends, delicious study breaks hosted by the masters and resident tutors, and, yes, even the sometimes-too-cozy intimacy of walk-through rooms. Dunster truly feels like my home away from home.” Off the wall Kirby Haugland ’11 faces a wall in the kitchen serving area to avoid distractions. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer Mustachio Michael Cherella ’11 gets by with a little help from his friend Sofia Selowsky ’12. Backbeat Jess Rucinski ’13 keeps the beat of the performance. Break a leg The cast gets amped up pre-performance.last_img read more

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For Libya, ‘no compromise’ in sight

first_imgWhen the popular protests that have swept the Mideast reached Libya in mid-February, Ali Suleiman Aujali knew what he had to do. The longtime Libyan diplomat, who had served as ambassador to the United States for the past two years, abruptly quit and threw his support behind the rebel uprising.Libyan leader Moammar “Gadhafi made it very easy for me,” Aujali told a packed audience at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum on Tuesday (March 29). “He is killing his own people without discrimination and without limit.”When dealing with an authoritarian ruler such as Gadhafi, Aujali said, he learned that “there is no compromise.”It was a lesson that Aujali hoped to drive home at Harvard, and one that the United States and its allies must learn now that they have entered the escalating conflict, he said at “Libya After the No-Fly Zone: Political Change or Civil War?” — a discussion hosted by the Harvard Kennedy School’s (HKS) Middle East Initiative and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and moderated by R. Nicholas Burns, Sultan of Oman Professor of the Practice of International Relations at HKS.Aujali, who is now a part of the unrecognized transitional government of Libya, said Libyans are united in their desire to see Gadhafi go, and urged the United States to provide arms and money to rebels to help speed his exit. “Libyans want some justice, and they want help for their future,” he said. “We want also, of course, to exercise our right as a democratic country.”But the road to Libyan democracy is paved with unanswered questions: How strong are Gadhafi’s forces on the ground? Just who are the rebel forces the American-backed international coalition is supporting? And now that the United States has intervened in a potentially protracted civil war, how does it formulate an efficient and effective strategy for putting Libya on a path to true reform?To help answer those questions, Aujali was joined by Dirk Vandewalle, associate professor of government at Dartmouth College and an authority on Libyan politics, and Stephen Walt, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs and faculty chair of HKS’s International Security Program.American leaders shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking Gadhafi can be negotiated with, Vandewalle argued. Gadhafi, who rules Libya more like a warlord than a modern head of state, is driven by a kind of “tribal ethos” to maintain power at all costs and to quash dissent within his ranks. Furthermore, Vandewalle said, Gadhafi “truly believes … that he represents the true voice of the Arab people.”“If you live in that kind of self-referential world for so long, where no one ever questions you, you come to believe what you’re saying,” Vandewalle said.Where Aujali was hopeful for a democratic Libya, Vandewalle was skeptical. Libya has had “no real institutions or state to speak of” since Gadhafi came to power, he said. “How likely is democracy in a country that doesn’t even have the very basic institutions of what democracies need to sustain themselves?”In the short term, the international coalition that instituted a no-fly zone in Libya on March 18 will have to figure out how to get Gadhafi out — and how it will respond if he doesn’t leave quickly and quietly.“The best outcome here is a rapid transition of power,” Walt said. “If this [allied intervention] is a success, NATO will get some credit, and the United States will get a lot of the credit … but if this goes south, the U.S. will end up getting a lot of the blame as well.”The allied air strikes arrived just in time to save the lives of perhaps tens of thousands of Libyans in Benghazi, the panelists agreed. But the danger, Walt said, is that what began as a humanitarian intervention in Libya could ultimately lead to much more bloodshed if Gadhafi isn’t driven from power soon. If he remains steadfastly in power, Walt said, America and its allies “will face a whole series of very awkward choices” on whether to arm or provide funds to the rebel army, and perhaps even whether to send ground troops into the country.“This is a society that most of us don’t understand particularly well, and getting a desirable outcome is not going to be easy and not going to be quick,” Walt said.But if the United States and its allies help see Libya through a gradual transition to representative government, Aujali concluded, the United States could finally achieve that most elusive of successes, one that today seems as unlikely as Mideast revolutions did before this year: “more respect and more credibility in the Arab world.”last_img read more

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Plotting the demise of AIDS

first_imgScientists, physicians, activists, and others on the front lines of the 30-year fight against AIDS gathered on Harvard’s Longwood Campus on World AIDS Day Thursday to plot a strategy to achieve something that most once thought impossible: ending the AIDS epidemic.The discussion was part of a two-day conference called “AIDS@30: Engaging to End the Epidemic.” The conference, sponsored by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and held at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center, was an effort to reflect on the many advances and milestones that have transformed AIDS from a death sentence to a manageable, chronic disease. But the conference also worked to engage those who know the ailment best to plot its end.“We’re tired of this virus, this epidemic, and now hopefully are able to plan its demise,” wrote Richard Marlink, the program chair and Beal Professor of the Practice of Public Health, in a message to participants. “I, for one, do not want to be discussing AIDS at 40 years or AIDS at 50 years. The conversation starts now, for planning the end of AIDS.”Conference participants have been cheered by the continued expansion of antiretroviral treatment to the developing world, and by new findings on how to reduce mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy and breastfeeding, on how male circumcision and vaginal gels used during sex can reduce transmission, and on progress toward a vaccine.The conference featured recorded comments from former President Bill Clinton, who has targeted global AIDS through his Clinton Foundation. Kent Dayton/HSPHNonetheless, there are an estimated 34 million people infected with the AIDS virus, and many cases still go undiagnosed. Just 47 percent of those in need of antiretroviral treatments get them. About the same percentage of pregnant women who need medicine get it to prevent transmission to their children.World AIDS Day is held on the anniversary of when the first scientific report on the disease was issued. In Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama declared that “We can beat this disease” and pledged an additional $50 million to fight the ailment in the United States. He also promised to increase assistance to help 6 million more people gain access to antiretroviral drugs overseas.HSPH Dean Julio Frenk introduced the event and said AIDS has been the largest public health threat in the history of humankind.Over the decades, AIDS has generated an enormous response around the globe that stretched far beyond science and medicine. The disease and its toll touched the arts, society, and even government, prompting a new generation of activism and changing the way people view sexual preference and social stigma, Frenk said.Frenk highlighted the contributions of Harvard researchers to understanding AIDS and HIV, including Lasker Professor of Health Sciences Max Essex’s 1983 discovery that the disease was caused by a retrovirus and the 1986 discovery of a second virus, HIV2, most prevalent in West Africa. Frenk also mentioned progress to prevent mother-to-child transmission, and work on AIDS policy by former HSPH Dean Harvey Fineberg. Frenk cited the current efforts of faculty at Harvard’s affiliated hospitals, such as the work of Bruce Walker at Massachusetts General Hospital. Frenk also mentioned the work of Jonathan Mann, who was the first director of HSPH’s François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, and who focused on the disease’s social justice aspects.The conference featured recorded comments from former President Bill Clinton, who has targeted global AIDS through his Clinton Foundation. Clinton emphasized that although advances in the laboratory can lead to new drugs, and even potentially a vaccine, the problem of obtaining enough resources to deliver those advances to people in need remains daunting.“AIDS is not simply a matter of health and life, it’s also a matter of resources and commitment,” Clinton said.Harvard Provost Alan Garber said he was just starting his medical career in 1981 when the epidemic struck. Working in San Francisco General Hospital, he encountered desperately ill young men stricken with a mystery ailment that nobody knew how to treat. He recalled years later, as a resident there, that doctors knew a bit more about the disease, but still could do little.During those years, Garber said, he and his colleagues thought they’d eventually discover the cause and have an antibiotic to treat it — or understand that it couldn’t be cured. He never thought it would become a chronic disease that could be managed for years.“I call that extraordinary progress,” Garber said. “I’m struck by how much there is still to do.”“I’m struck by how much there is still to do,” said Harvard Provost Alan Garber, who was just starting his medical career in 1981 when he encountered desperately ill young men stricken with a mystery ailment that nobody knew how to treat. Kent Dayton/HSPHThe conference was intended to promote conversations, Marlink said. Session topics included the future of HIV prevention and treatment; ending pediatric AIDS; the prospects of an HIV vaccine; funding the fight against the disease, international and national leadership; and health disparities.The conference also featured the premier of a film, “From Stigma to Hope,” by Staffan Hildebrand, who has been documenting HIV/AIDS for 25 years.Marlink said recent studies have provided new tools to attack the disease and have shown that an HIV-free generation is possible.“This is the worst possible time to slow down,” Marlink said.last_img read more

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GSAS Dean Allan Brandt to step down

first_imgAllan M. Brandt, who pioneered a new approach to curricular development with the launch of the Graduate Seminars in General Education, led a transformation in admissions practices that resulted in the enrollment of a record number of minority students, and shepherded Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) through the recent fiscal downturn, announced Wednesday that he will step down as GSAS dean this spring owing to health considerations, following a recently diagnosed illness. He plans to return to the faculty when his treatment is concluded.“It has been a truly great honor to serve in this role, to work with the remarkable staff of the Graduate School, our talented alumni, and our exceptional faculty and students,” Brandt said, in a message to GSAS staff. “I have found a deep sense of satisfaction and pride in leading this Graduate School since 2008, and I have been tremendously rewarded by my connection to all of you, and to our important work. I will greatly look forward to my return to the faculty and re-engaging in the critically important work of graduate education.”“In a period marked by dramatic change across the Harvard community, Allan Brandt distinguished himself as a dedicated leader of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and as an eloquent voice in support of the University’s highest intellectual aspirations,” President Drew Faust said. “His innovative work on pedagogy, support for teaching and learning, and steadfast leadership through fiscal challenges will continue to be felt by students, faculty, and staff across Harvard. I am deeply grateful for his service, and wish him a speedy and full recovery.”In a message to many in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) community announcing Brandt’s departure, FAS Dean Michael D. Smith said Brandt has overseen a period of unprecedented change and growth that transformed nearly all facets of the Graduate School.Since being appointed in 2008, Brandt has overseen five GSAS admission cycles, during which application totals have risen steadily. Under his leadership, the Graduate School also committed itself to increasing diversity in its Ph.D. programs. Changes in recruitment, admission, and retention efforts last year resulted in the most successful yield of admitted minority students, and a 23 percent jump in applications this year.Once students arrive on campus, Brandt has been instrumental in enhancing their experience at Harvard through efforts to adopt best practices in graduate advising and mentoring, through increases to the funding package offered to graduate students, and through the creation of programs that help graduate students navigate a challenging academic job market by developing pathways for Ph.D.s in industry and policymaking as well as the academy.In addition to efforts to bring graduate students into the curricular development process through the Graduate Seminars in General Education, Smith said, Brandt was instrumental in increasing support for graduate student teaching through innovative course work at the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. Such programs have helped graduate students continue to play a critical role in sustaining Harvard’s academic excellence at both the undergraduate and graduate level.“In addition to being a medical historian of international standing, Allan has been a truly remarkable dean for our Graduate School,” Smith said. “I feel privileged to have worked alongside Allan for the past four years. Please join me in thanking Allan for his service to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and for stewarding our Graduate School with such discerning vision and far-reaching dedication.”“Dean Brandt was incredibly attuned to the challenges that graduate students face,” said Benjamin Woodring, a Ph.D. candidate in English. “I worked with him on a variety of issues as president of the Graduate Student Council, and he was always receptive to our concerns and willing to help us think about how to advance them. His dedication to strong mentoring practices at the graduate level made a qualitative difference in the way many of us have experienced our graduate programs.“Dean Brandt also inspired students to think expansively about the potential of the work we’re doing at Harvard,” Woodring added. “He made us believe in the impact our work could have on the world — and in the crucial importance of the mission we’re all engaged in.”Richard Tarrant, the Pope Professor of the Latin Language and Literature, will serve as interim dean while the search for Brandt’s replacement takes place. Tarrant previously served as acting dean from 1995 to 1996.Richard Tarrant, the Pope Professor of the Latin Language and Literature, will serve as interim dean while the search for Brandt’s replacement takes place. Tarrant previously served as acting dean from 1995 to 1996. Photo by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer“Allan Brandt has led the Graduate School with commitment, imagination, and boundless energy, and it saddens me to be standing in for him under difficult circumstances,” Tarrant said. “I wish him all the very best for his treatment and recovery. I am deeply grateful to Allan and to Dean Smith for the trust they have placed in me, and I look forward to working with Administrative Dean Margot Gill and the outstanding GSAS staff to carry forward the mission of the Graduate School in the coming months.”Brandt, professor of the history of science and Amalie Moses Kass Professor of the History of Medicine, first came to Harvard as an instructor in 1982. He was promoted to assistant professor, then associate professor, before leaving for the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, from 1990 to 1992. He returned to Harvard in 1992 as a professor in both FAS and the Medical School.In his nearly three decades at Harvard, Brandt has been an active member of numerous FAS committees, including the Health Policy Interfaculty Initiative, Special Concentrations, the Library Committee, and the Historical Studies Core Committee. He also served as a member of the Faculty Council (1992-95). At the Medical School, he has served on the Conflict of Interest Committee, Rare Books and Archives Committee, Joint Library Committee, Subcommittee of Professors, and Academic Promotions Committee. He served as chair of the Department of the History of Science from 2000 to 2006, and from 1996 to 2004 as director of the Division of Medical Ethics at the Medical School.Brandt’s major research interests include the social history of American medicine, science, and public health; ethics and values in health care; history of human subject research; and American social and political history. He has written extensively about ethical and policy issues in the history of disease. His 2007 book on the social and cultural history of tobacco use, “The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America,” was awarded the Albert J. Beveridge Prize from the American Historical Association and the Arthur Viseltear Prize from the American Public Health Association.Outside of Harvard, Brandt has been adviser and committee member for numerous health organizations, including the World Health Organization AIDS/HIV Program, the Hastings Center Study Group on AIDS and Civil Liberties, and two AIDS/HIV-focused committees of the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine.Born in Washington, D.C., Brandt received an M.A. (1975), an M.Phil. (1978), and a Ph.D. (1983), all in American history from Columbia University. His B.A. degree in history is from Brandeis University.last_img read more

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High schoolers get an introduction to field of public health

first_img Read Full Story Yaendy Matos, a student at Fenway High School in Boston, says she is interested in a medical career but the field of public health has not been on her radar. “We don’t know what public health is. We’re just checking it out,” Matos said, as she sat with her friends in the Kresge cafeteria at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). Matos was among about 60 Boston and Cambridge high school students from diverse backgrounds who attended the first “Why Public Health? Youth and Public Health Conference,” sponsored by HSPH and the School’s Office of Diversity on April 26, 2013.There are too few opportunities for high school students to learn about public health and engage with professionals in the field, according to conference co-directors Claire Perkins, SM2 Health Policy and Management, and Jason Park, SM2 Epidemiology, student ambassadors for the Office of Diversity. “When most high school students think of jobs in health care, they only think of physicians and RNs. It is time we change that!” Perkins said.“Public health often goes unrecognized,” keynote speaker David Hemenway, professor of health policy and management and director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, told the students. He compared the work of public health professionals to that of the nearly invisible elves in a popular children’s storybook who churn out shoes for a shoemaker while the shoemaker sleeps.last_img read more

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Thinking backward

In the life and work of UCLA’s Carlo Ginzburg, who will deliver Harvard’s Tanner Lectures on Human Values April 15-17, one finds intertwined layers of living history and historical study. Ginzburg was born into a family of no small significance, not least because it included many noteworthy figures in the Italian anti-Fascist resistance. Both of his parents were of Jewish descent. His mother, Natalia (Levi), would recall her experiences as a member of this family in “Lessico famigliare” (“Family Sayings”), a book that has been translated into more than 10 languages. Carlo’s father, Leone, taught Russian literature at the University of Turin; his career ended because he refused to swear the oath of allegiance to the Fascist regime. In 1943, while directing an underground anti-Fascist newspaper in German-occupied Rome, he was imprisoned and tortured; he died in jail in February 1944. Meanwhile, Natalia and her three children, including 5-year-old Carlo, fled to the Tuscan hills, where they evaded the Nazis’ last attempt to slaughter as many Jews as possible while retreating from Allied forces.While still a young student, Ginzburg decided that he would study history, specifically focusing on the sentiments of the persecuted during witchcraft trials under the Inquisition. His prolific work on this topic has spanned decades. His fourth book, “The Cheese and the Worms” (1976), has been translated into 24 languages and is a standard on university syllabi worldwide.Ginzburg’s historical approach balances philological rigor and imaginative thinking. One influential method for which he is a forerunner is the microhistorical approach. A specific moment, place, individual, or group — often overlooked in grander histories — is analyzed with sharp focus. The implications of a specific case result in the construction of a new generalization.Ginzburg has referred to his feeling when undertaking a new historical inquiry as “euphoric ignorance,” denoting the joy of encountering a puzzling fragment of information or an unknown topic. An endeavor to make sense of it then follows. He found such moments full of embedded possibilities; thus, as he has said, he deliberately chose to delve into areas with which he was personally less familiar. Throughout his years of historical inquiry, Ginzburg has remained a part of living history, and his scholarship has continued to be informed by it. When discussing his own work, he occasionally indicates retroactive realizations on how certain political climates influenced his topical choices. Likewise, his initial choice of studying people persecuted during the witchcraft trials, he later realized, was influenced by various personal factors, including the fact that he and his family had been severely persecuted themselves.GAZETTE: Given the occasion of your Tanner Lectures, my first question relates to the general scope of the lecture series: Do you consider that there is one (or several) overriding ethical or moral charge(s) in your study of history?GINZBURG: A distinction should be made between ethical issues as a topic of historical research and the ethical implications of the historian’s work. Concerning the former, the general topic of my Tanner Lectures — casuistry and the controversies generated by it — has been at the center of debates about ethics for centuries, in different cultures. Even if my lectures will not address the relevance of casuistry in our world today, that relevance (especially related to bioethics) certainly provides the context in which my historical questions emerged. The ethical implications of the historian’s work are a different matter. I am fully aware of them, but I usually refrain from focusing explicitly on them, for a very simple reason: I dislike sermons, I detest preaching. The ethical side of the historian’s work must emerge from the work itself, since it is (in my view) synonymous with the search for truth, which historians must pursue. I say truth without quotation marks: The truth we are looking for is a human endeavor — fallible, revocable. That’s the reason why I insist on proofs — and disprovals. In the title of the Menahem Stern Lectures I gave in Jerusalem in 1993 — “History, Rhetoric, and Proof” — the polemical word was the last one, “proof.” But then I argued that despite the widespread perception of rhetoric and proof as mutually incompatible, proofs have been regarded as a central element of rhetoric from Aristotle, to Quintilian, to Valla — a tradition which had been ignored or tacitly dismissed by late-20th-century neo-skeptics. The ethical implications of my argument are obvious. If a contemporary neo-skeptic feels unable to refute the arguments (or pseudo-arguments) of so-called negationists who claim that the extermination of the European Jews never took place, then there must be something rotten in the historical profession. This neo-skepticism is largely out of fashion, but the need to place the search for truth (an extremely demanding task) at the center of the historian’s work is still there, and it will remain there.GAZETTE: In your early intellectual development, what are some of your most vivid memories and/or important moments of formation?GINZBURG: My intellectual trajectory has many roots, like anyone else’s. But working on Inquisition archival evidence has been fundamental — something I have sometimes compared to the field experience of an anthropologist. It shaped my later research in many ways, although after a few decades I started to work in different directions. I vividly remember the long days spent completely alone in the Udine Ecclesiastical Archive in the early ’60s (half a century ago, I can’t believe it) transcribing Inquisition trials nobody had seen before me — except for the inquisitors themselves. I was thrilled by what I read, thrilled by my solitude, thrilled by the encounter with a phenomenon (the benandanti) which no scholar had been aware of. Names of completely unknown peasants, men and women, emerged from those 16th-century trials — along with their dreams, their emotional reactions, and so forth. I have never since experienced something comparable in my life as a researcher.GAZETTE: Do you consider that chapter of your life, so to speak — referring to your early archival experiences — one that is still open?GINZBURG: Yes and no. That particular archival experience came to an end in 1989, with the publication of “Storia notturna” (translated into English as “Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath”): a book which sought to unfold, on a completely different spatial and chronological scale, the implications of my first one, “I benandanti” (translated into English as “The Night Battles”). But some of the issues I dealt with in “Ecstasies” — for instance the relationship between morphology and history — fueled much of my later work.GAZETTE: How might you regard the subsequent chapter in your life as a researcher? One notices an increasing presence of apparently disparate nodes in cultural history in your work.GINZBURG: What I have done since 1989 is difficult to describe: My research path may seem erratic, although I can detect a certain logic in it. Indeed, I have tried to repeat over and over the thrill of ignorance, addressing subjects I was completely unfamiliar with. First of all, I would say, it is a pleasure: I love teaching but I love learning much more. But there is probably another, more hidden, reason. I encountered my research topic, along with the books which deeply shaped my mind as a scholar, when I was in my 20s. Being precocious is not necessarily a bliss. Later I tried, more or less unconsciously, to disentangle myself from what I had become, testing what I had learned so far on new, unfamiliar topics. Casuistry was one of them. I first come across it in an essay on Machiavelli. Then Pascal came, and his opponents: the Jesuits. I will talk about both of them in my Tanner Lectures. But casuistry also required a reflection upon case studies and their implications. Once again, writing history and reflecting on the historian’s craft were inextricably connected, as they have always been since my early experiences in the Friulian archives.GAZETTE: You have written that you were often your own greatest antagonist and that you often held objections to your work that differed from those of your critics. Is this still so? If yes, what are your greatest objections as of now?GINZBURG: For a long time I have been fascinated by the devil’s advocate: a figure that has played a crucial role in Catholic canonization trials since the early 17th century. The topic of the Martin Buber lecture I gave in Jerusalem a few years ago was “Inner Dialogues. The Jew as Devil’s Advocate.” I feel involved in an endless, contentious conversation with the devil’s advocate. What does he say to me in these days? He says: “You are trying to tame me. You are not listening to me as you did in the past.” Maybe he is right. But self-satisfaction would be the end — a ludicrous end. I will try to do my best to avoid it. read more

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Jailing practices appear to fuel coronavirus spread, study says

first_img How COVID turned a spotlight on weak worker rights Tracking mobility of individuals offers hints of whether a problem is rising or falling Americans are weary of lockdowns, but if COVID surges, what then? This is part of our Coronavirus Update series in which Harvard specialists in epidemiology, infectious disease, economics, politics, and other disciplines offer insights into what the latest developments in the COVID-19 outbreak may bring.American jails and prisons, in which large numbers of inmates live together in close quarters, have become COVID-19 hotspots. In fact, one published analysis found that the top 10 biggest clusters of the virus in the U.S. are now in correctional facilities.A new study, however, takes a look at the possible ripple effect these clusters may have in surrounding communities. The findings suggest that short-term cycling of prisoners through local jails for arrest and pretrial procedures may be putting entire cities and states at risk, especially communities of color, according to a new peer-reviewed study in the journal Health Affairs. The research also fuels the ongoing concerns over mass incarceration policies in the nation.The paper, co-authored by Eric Reinhart ’10, a Ph.D. candidate in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the Department of Anthropology, and Daniel Chen ’99, J.D. ’09, a professor at the Toulouse School of Economics and a principal investigator for the World Bank’s Data and Evidence for Justice Reform program, examined the relationship between jail cycling and community infections across different neighborhoods in the state of Illinois using publicly available data on booking, release, and COVID-19 status from Cook County Jail in Chicago and known coronavirus cases from the Illinois Department of Public Health.The quantitative study tracked inmate release data and found corresponding rises in COVID-19 cases in home communities. The analysis suggests that as of April 19, almost 16 percent of all coronavirus cases in the state were associated with the presence of people who in March had cycled through the Cook County Jail, one of the nation’s largest jails. That one-in-six figure held true for the city of Chicago itself. “If we had the ability to test at intake beginning in January it would have shown the virus was coming in from the street, not the other way around.” — Cook County Sheriff’s Department Block and Sachs point to flaws in the social safety net, an indifferent OSHA, and a system that favors employers over employees Relatedcenter_img “You can think of cycling people through jail as having a multiplier effect,” said Reinhart, who is also a student at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. On average, “For every one person you cycle through the jail [whether that person becomes infected or not], in the ZIP code from which they have come and which they will return to, within a three to four week lag you’re going to see 2.149 more cases. That doesn’t sound like so much, but when you consider that 100,000 people are cycled through this jail every year, and then across the country approximately 5 million people are cycled through jails every year, then that multiplier effect acquires a huge scale.”The Cook County Sheriff’s Office and the Chicago Department of Public Health, which sent a letter to Health Affairs asking that the paper be removed, strongly disputed the study’s results.“If we had the ability to test at intake beginning in January it would have shown the virus was coming in from the street, not the other way around,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “Further supporting this is the fact the majority of the positive cases are coming from the communities hit the hardest by COVID-19.”The statement also notes the facility began testing all arriving inmates after capacity became available and that “virtually all of the new cases in recent weeks have come from newly arrested individuals.”A spokesperson for the journal said that the print publication was going ahead as planned.The researchers stress that their findings represent only a correlation between infection rates and jail cycling. They did not trace infected individuals and could not establish a clear causal relationship through a randomized controlled trial, because adequate data to perform that type of analysis does not exist. They note that it’s possible that factors for which they did not control could help explain the association.Reinhart and Chen also point out that they could not link community spread to jail employees because they did not have access to data on the ZIP codes of where staff live, limiting their analysis. During the period they studied, jail staff in Cook County made up more than 100 of its 600-plus coronavirus infections.The researchers argue in their paper, however, that “these provisional findings are consistent with the hypothesis that arrest and jailing practices are augmenting infection rates in highly policed neighborhoods.”The researchers reached their results after running two types of statistical analyses on data from the jail, the state’s Department of Public Health, and the U.S. Census Bureau. They looked at the ZIP code-level relationship between the presence of released Cook County Jail detainees and the rate of coronavirus infection.In their more rigorous multivariate analysis, in which they controlled for factors such as race, poverty, public transit use, and population density, Reinhart and Chen found that the cycling of 2,129 individuals through Cook County Jail in March was independently associated with 4,575 additional known community infections in Illinois as of mid-April. That’s 15.7 percent of all cases across the state at the time. In Chicago, the figure was 15.9 percent.Both numbers suggest that jail cycling is the most significant predictor of COVID-19 spread in Chicago and Illinois, even more than the factors for which they controlled. When those variables were considered together and controlled for overlapping associations, they accounted for about 60 percent of all cases in Chicago and about 37 percent of cases across all ZIP codes in Illinois, according to the study.In the bivariate analysis, which did not control for any other confounding factors and is considered the less rigorous of the two methods, they found that 55 percent of COVID-19 cases in Chicago were linked to the jail.The authors also say that the risks tend to fall disproportionately on minority communities. In Chicago, for example, Black residents represent only 30 percent of the population, but make up about 75 percent of detainees at the Cook County Jail. It’s not surprising then, that about 60 percent of the cases associated with cycling through Cook County Jail were in majority-Black ZIP codes, according to the study.“[We forget] these institutions are not simply contained spaces, but a part of our communities,” Reinhart said. “They’re very porous. People go in and they go out.”The authors conclude that American policing practices — long criticized for overreliance on arrests and incarceration — pose an enormous public health risk during the pandemic, especially for minorities, who are jailed at higher rates.About 28,000 people are arrested every day in the U.S.; in a year, that comes to more than 10 million arrests, according to the FBI. Another estimate says that at least 4.9 million people cycle through often-overcrowded county jails each year. Finding COVID clues in movement Experts are thinking through the options as a jump is possible in fall There are “potentially millions of preventable cases,” Reinhart said. “The vast majority of these individuals are cycled through jails for reasons associated with socio-economic status [like being unable to post bail] and petty alleged offenses. [According to studies], 95 percent of the people booked into jails nationally are booked for nonviolent offenses … [and] approximately 42 percent of those booked into jails will be proven innocent.”Reinhart and Chen have been working together since they met at Harvard in 2007. They are now working on a national expansion of the study.The paper, which was published in early June, comes at a critical moment as the coronavirus continues disproportionately affecting black and minority communities and thousands of Americans across the country have taken to the streets for anti-racism protests, leading to arrests and, as a result, increased jail cycling.“Last I checked, it was more than 15,000 people who had been arrested over about two weeks with the protests,” Reinhart said. “This, I expect, will provoke a lot of infections, not just to the people who protested and were arrested, but to their communities, and their family members.”last_img read more

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