Fifty years ago, a chasm opened between New Left activists and the liberal-labor old guard, as seen in May 1968 in Paris, the Prague Spring, and Chicago’s ’68 Democratic convention. Rieko Kage (PhD ’05, government) explores one specific aspect of the New Left’s legacy—its embrace of direct, participatory democracy. Who Judges? Designing Jury Systems in Japan, East Asia, and Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2017) compares the introduction of juries (under common law) or lay judges (under civil law) in Japan, South Korea, Spain, and Taiwan. The role and autonomy of such lay justices varies widely: “rulings of jurors/lay judges are binding on professional judges in Spain and Japan,” Kage notes, but not in South Korea or Taiwan (in the latter, reform proposals remain unpassed). He concludes that the more strongly the left-leaning political parties are influenced by New Left values, the more substantial the resulting judicial reforms. Surprisingly, in Britain and America, where jury systems are ancient (but perhaps taken for granted), the institution is little-studied. Yet such studies are vital, Kage contends, because juries and lay judges offer one of the few opportunities for regular citizens to play a direct, deliberative, and consequential role in government decision-making.
James Barnes (PhD ’60, history) was born legally blind, sightless in one eye and with very limited vision in the other. Facing seemingly insurmountable barriers, he went on to be a Rhodes Scholar (1954–56). His memoir, Unforeseen: The First Blind Rhodes Scholar (William Charles Press, 2017) recounts his story, beginning with an idyllic childhood in Minnesota and Upstate New York. Benefiting from supportive family and teachers, and various assistive technologies, but mainly from his own scrappy, “full speed ahead” attitude, Barnes rode horseback, took up stamp collecting, thrived academically, and even played (and lettered in) high school football. He went on to Amherst College and Oxford (for his Rhodes Scholarship). In 1955, he had the sudden sensation of “a curtain coming down, as though at the end of a play.” Thus, he lost what had remained of his vision. Undeterred, Barnes acquired a seeing-eye dog and volunteer readers, completed a PhD at GSAS, and went on to a long academic career. Throughout, he met challenges head-on.
Adam Cohen and Eliza Barlow are in love, engaged, and having their rehearsal dinner in upscale Brookline, Massachusetts. They are also the slender reed binding two reluctant families—the crassly materialistic, suspicious, and judgmental Barlows and the warm and quirky (but equally suspicious and judgmental) Cohens. Pater familias Pindar Cohen, hoping to avoid his unwanted dinner guests, disappears upstairs for a nap. Opposing pater familias Stephen Barlow denigrates his future son-in-law (a poet?) and the outdoor dinner setting—the Cohens’ beloved garden. The Garden Party (Random House, 2018) is a comedy of manners with a strong sense of place. Indeed, the house and grounds (the eponymous garden and a pond and woods beyond) serve almost as another character. Grace Dane Mazur (PhD ’81, cellular and developmental biology) defers to the young (the children are pivotal in the novel’s denouement), old (Leah Cohen, age 91, and Nathan Morrill, age 89), and the garden, but etches the foibles of the rest in an acid bath of sharply observed prose, counterposing—to comic effect—two vinegar-and-oil families: the Barlows (WASP-y lawyers, to a one) and the Cohens (Jewish humanists and would-be humanitarians). Clearly, Adam and Eliza have their work cut out for them.
Kimerer LaMothe (PhD ’96, study of religion) edited a special issue of the journal Dance, Movement & Spiritualities, contributing an introduction and one of the articles. The issue offers multicultural and multireligious perspectives on how the action of dancing helps humans cultivate mutually enabling relationships with the earth in them and around them. Nine articles were written by scholar-dancers who participated in an exploratory seminar that LaMothe organized at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study in June 2016.
Arlene Holmes-Henderson (GSASP ’05) published an edited volume showcasing innovative practice in classics education around the world. Forward with Classics: Classical Languages in Schools and Communities discusses how the number of schools offering classics continues to rise in state vs. private schools. Holmes-Henderson investigates the motivations of teachers and learners behind this increase in interest and explores ways in which knowledge of classical languages is considered valuable for diverse learners in the 21st century.