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Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898

May-June 2021

Letters

"Shoddy," maskupmanship, American exceptionalism

President Bacow on the principles by which to steer the University

Balancing past obligations, the pandemic, and the future of Harvard’s core mission

The College Pump

Photograph of Harvard economist Martin Feldstein

Martin S. Feldstein

Photograph by Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

Wisdom from the Great Depression—plus an accomplished economist, and rowdiness on the Charles

Treasure

a hat made of jaguar pelt

Hat courtesy of the Houghton Library. Photograph by Jim Harrison

Two explorers strip to stay aloft.

In this Issue

“I really had to talk to people about their experiences,” says Sandra Susan Smith about her revealing research.

Photograph by Jim Harrison

Sandra Susan Smith studies work and incarceration in an unequal, atomized America.

An illuminated manuscript page from thirteenth-century Iraq showing two men on a camel arriving in a village, depicted as two-story white buildings with people looking out the windows

Click on arrow at right to view full image

An illuminated page showing Abu Zayd and his friend al-Harith, narrator of the Impostures, arriving in a village, from a copy of the Maqamat (“Impostures”) created in Baghdad in 1237 by Yahya ibn Mahmud al-Wasiti. No portrait of al-Hariri is known to exist.

Image ©BnF, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais/Art Resource, NY

Brief life of a master storyteller

Photograph of Chris Wallace moderating 2020 presidential debate

The moderator in the middle, as Donald Trump defines “debate” to mean “brawl” in his first face-off with Joe Biden, Cleveland, last September 29.

Photograph by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Chris Wallace has “the toughest job of any television journalist.”

An illustration of people engaging in vigorous, animated dialogue

Illustration by Robert Neubecker

Active citizens are humanists.

Letters

"Shoddy," maskupmanship, American exceptionalism

President Bacow on the principles by which to steer the University

Balancing past obligations, the pandemic, and the future of Harvard’s core mission

Right Now

Illustration of a man pushing a wheelbarrow full of petitions up the steps to Congress.

Illustration by Phil Foster

Petitioning campaigns are a vital complement to democratic voting.

Illustration of a man looking through a pair of binoculars with three, not two, objective lenses

Illustration by Dan Page

Ellen Langer rejects binary thinking, embracing instead a “third way.”

Photograph of Vikram Patel visiting with family members of a farmer in Maharashtra, India, who committed suicide

Vikram Patel, left, speaks with family members of a farmer in Maharashtra, India, who committed suicide.

Photograph courtesy of Vikram Patel

Around the globe, Vikram Patel finds, improvements in financial or mental health support both.

Harvard Squared

Wide view of formal gardens with a historic mansion in the background

Click on arrow at right to view additional images

(1 of 5) Highfield Hall and the sunken garden

Photograph by Tom Croke/Alamy stock photo

The renewed community life of a grand Cape Cod estate

The painting “Love Potion” features two lovers craning toward each other in a boat on roiling ocean waters.

Click on arrow at right to view full image

The evocative Love Potion

Image courtesy of Alexander Gassel and the Museum of Russian Icons

A blend of Russian Orthodox iconography and mythical motifs

Photo of red, white, and orange Houston Astros jersey from 1983 worn by pitcher Joe Niekro

A 1983 Houston Astros jersey worn by pitcher Joe Niekro

Courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum/Milo Stewart Jr. B-50-83 

The Worcester Art Museum spotlights baseball garb.

A photograph of Piattini’s sunken patio in Boston

Piattini's sunken patio on Newbury Street, in Boston 

Photograph courtesy of Piattini

Boston's Piattini Wine Café 

John Harvard's Journal

Interior photograph of Harvard COOP main floor renovation

Photograph by Jim Harrison

Renovation and consolidation at a Harvard Square institution

Photograph of Bridget Terry Long, dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education

Bridget Terry Long

Photograph by Rose Lincoln/HPAC

Harvard Graduate School of Education introduces core courses and a restructured professional curriculum.

Braxton Shelley sits at a keyboard

Braxton Shelley

Photograph courtesy of Braxton Shelley

A gospel scholar shapes music theory.

Drawing of a female mallard flying down to her nest on a Harvard rooftop with food for her seven ducklings, each bearing a letter on its chest spelling out H-A-R-V-A-R-D.

Illustration by Mark Steele

Headlines from Harvard’s history

Photograph of Ruth J. Simmons, Harvard’s virtual graduation speaker in May

Ruth J. Simmons

Courtesy of Prairie View A&M

The spring semester, coronavirus KO’s in-person Commencement, and fall prospects

A withering investigation of sexual harassment

Screen shot of Harvard University home page featuring climate-change stories

The Harvard home page highlighted work on climate change.

Harvard Management Company issues its first “Climate Report,” and an update on divestment advocacy, and other institutions’ progress

Project plan showing first and proposed second phases of Enterprise Research Campus development in Allston

Tishman Speyer unveiled its vision for a second, post-2024 phase of development (outside the blue dotted line delineating the phase-one project perimeter)—encompassing an additional million square feet of office/lab and residential space.

Credit: Henning Larsen, Studio Gang, Utile, and Scape.

Bigger Allston ambitions, an admissions-lawsuit appeal, and a new center for cities

Aerial view of Adams House, now being renovated

A renovated Claverly Hall shines at the center of this aerial view of Adams House, as work continues in other parts of the complex.

Photograph by Peter Vanderwarker

Less construction in prospect, quantum science and engineering, and more

A group photo of the four Harvard undergraduates, including the author, with their project adviser and two local, older mentors

The team with mentors (from left): Kale Catchings, Percy Green, Saul Glist, Robin McDowell, Catie Barr, Jamala Rogers, and the author.

Photograph courtesy of Che R. Applewhaite

The Undergraduate learns about making knowledge mutual.

Andrew Rueb speaks to members of his team.

For the energetic Rueb, raising an athlete’s floor is as important as raising his ceiling.

Photograph courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications

Andrew Rueb’s experience on the professional tennis circuit informs his coaching.

Montage

Johnson plays his harmonica with the Boston Pops orchestra behind him.

Johnson performs “What a Wonderful World” with the Boston Pops at his twenty-fifth reunion.

Photograph by Pierce Harman

Scott Albert Johnson finds his path.

Photograph of someone wearing a Juneteenth T-shirt

Juneteenth pride: commemorating June 19 in 2020, in Greenwood, the site of the Tulsa, Oklahoma, race massacre of 1921

Photograph by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

Annette Gordon-Reed on the real history of Texas, and Juneteenth

Portrait photograph of Marilyn Booth

Marilyn Booth

Photograph by David Levenson/Getty Images

Marilyn Booth translates Arabic literature for Anglophone readers.

Reproduction of Veronese’s “The Wedding Feast at Cana” (1563), the subject of a new book about art theft by Cynthia Saltzman

Object of Napoleon’s desire: Veronese’sThe Wedding Feast at Cana (1563)

Image in the Public Domain

Recent books with Harvard connections

Photograph of a carved relief showing orator dictating to a scribe, from the fourth-century Roman Temple of Hercules at Ostia Antica

An orator dictating to a scribe, Roman, 4th century, Temple of Hercules at Ostia Antica

DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI/De Agostini via Getty Images

From a huge new book on the history of information, an excerpt on the role of secretaries

Portrait photograph of Maggie Shipstead

Maggie Shipstead

Photograph courtesy of Maggie Shipstead

Maggie Shipstead’s time-spanning, globe-circling new novel

Photograph of earth scientist Andrew Knoll at work in the field

Knoll in the field

Photograph courtesy of Andrew Knoll

Andrew Knoll on the planet’s past—and fraught future

Correspondence on not-so-famous lost words

Alumni

Pediatrician Eileen Costello stands next to the Boston Medical Center’s mobile pediatric clinic.

Eileen Costello says working at a hospital like BMC “is the reason I went to medical school.”

Photograph by Stu Rosner

A pediatrician cares for a city’s children.

The Overseer and Harvard Alumni Association director slates

The College Pump

Photograph of Harvard economist Martin Feldstein

Martin S. Feldstein

Photograph by Harvard Public Affairs and Communications

Wisdom from the Great Depression—plus an accomplished economist, and rowdiness on the Charles

Treasure

a hat made of jaguar pelt

Hat courtesy of the Houghton Library. Photograph by Jim Harrison

Two explorers strip to stay aloft.