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Segregating History

Posted on: March 30th, 2015 by mh6br No Comments

By: Corinne Field, Lecturer, Corcoran Department of History and Women, Gender & Sexuality Program

For historians who focus on the lives of African American women, late winter is a busy time.  First come invitations to celebrate Black History Month in February, then requests to honor Women’s History Month in March. As this year’s celebrations wind down, it is worth considering the often hidden connections between these two commemorative events.

picture-335Put simply, we celebrate black history and women’s history in separate months because both events began at the height of Jim Crow segregation in the 1910s.  The idea for a national celebration of women began in 1909 with a call by the Social Party of America to honor women as workers and citizens.  While socialists made some efforts to include black workers, their main focus was on the needs of white, working-class women.  As a result, Women’s Day celebrations marked the contributions of white women, but did little to address the particular history and experience of African American women.

Meanwhile, in 1915, the historian Carter G. Woodson—for whom UVA’s African-American and African Studies program is named—and the minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.  In 1926, this group choose to celebrate Negro History Week in mid-February to honor both Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’s birthdays.  As educators and community leaders, black women often took the lead in organizing commemorative events, and they ensured that some of these focused on the contributions of black women.  During the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, celebrations of black history grew in scope and importance culminating in 1976 when President Gerald Ford officially declared February Black History Month.

Celebrations of Women’s Day, meanwhile, followed an entirely distinct trajectory.  The holiday faded in the US after World War I as the federal government suppressed socialist organizations, but remained a vibrant event in Eastern Europe every March.  In 1975, feminists convinced the United Nations to revive celebrations of International Women’s Day in the West on March 8.  Educators and community called on school boards to honor women’s history in March to coincide with this event and in 1981 Congress requested the President declare “Women’s History Week.”

Every year since, community groups, grade schools, and colleges have celebrated Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March.  A few black women inevitably make an appearance in both events.  In school hallways around the country, pictures of Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman appear next to Frederick Douglass one month and Susan B. Anthony the next.  This mode of commemorating our history gives the impression that the only connections between the black civil rights and women’s rights movement were a few black women brave enough to join both.

women-historyThis is an entirely inaccurate impression of both women’s history and black history.  From the American Revolution through the Civil War, the movements to end slavery and win women’s rights were closely intertwined.  As I document in my recent book, The Struggle for Equal Adulthood: Gender, Race, Age and the Fight for Equal Citizenship in Antebellum America, early activists focused on questions of equal rights and opportunities broadly, arguing that all Americans should be able to claim the same rights and opportunities as adults without regard to race or sex.  Black men such as David Walker and Frederick Douglass deeply influenced the way white activists such Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony thought about adult citizenship.  White female intellectuals such as Margaret Fuller, meanwhile, talked about self realization in ways that resonated with black activists.  Black women such as Maria Stewart and Frances E. W. Harper developed a vocabulary for talking about human equality that encompassed both the goals of antislavery and women’s rights.  In short, the connections between these movements were deep and long lasting as many activists—not just a few black women—debated ideas and strategies across the color line.

These activists did not always agree with each other.  Indeed, tensions often ran high as some black men phrased their claims in terms of equal manhood rather than personhood and white women expressed deeply racist ideas about the superiority of northern European peoples.  Despite acrimonious disagreements, black and white activists continued to collaborate, debate, and join with each other throughout the nineteenth century.  During the 1890s, however, the rise of Jim Crow racial segregation both North and South increasingly divided black and white activists from each other.  By the 1910s, white and black activist intellectuals shared an impulse to call for national commemorations of disenfranchised citizens, but they did so from separate organizations divided by race.  A century later, it is time for us to look beyond these divisions and recover a more complicated story of the American past in which we acknowledge the historical force of racial and gender segregation but also celebrate the moments when many people—not just a few exceptional black women—collaborated to gain equal rights and opportunities for all Americans.  Perhaps it is time to call special attention to the turn of the calendar between February and March, taking a moment to honor and remember that the connections between black history and women’s history are much deeper and more complex than our separate commemorations reveal.

Seeing Double Doubled

Posted on: February 26th, 2015 by mh6br 2 Comments

By: Stephen Cushman, Robert C. Taylor Professor of English

It’s as though a mischievous genie waggishly exaggerated the divine command to Noah:  Bring two of everything.  Not just male and female animals in pairs, but two coffee cups to fill, two doorknobs to grasp and turn, two rows of buttons on a shirt to fumble with, two wristwatch faces to decipher, two sets of icons on a computer screen or smart phone to try to click on or touch.  It’s called “diplopia,” or double vision, combining Greek “diplo-” for “double” or “two-fold” (originally, a diploma was a document folded double, often carried by diplomats) and “-opia,” signifying a visual condition, as in myopia or presbyopia, and descending from ōps, Greek for “eye.”  Whatever we call it, it’s usually no fun, after one has outgrown childhood experiments of crossing the eyes on purpose, and it’s often alarming and upsetting.  True, it can be a symptom of nothing more serious than fatigue or, oh yes, one too many glasses of champagne at that wedding reception.  But it can also accompany trauma, migraine, sinusitis, Lyme’s disease, vertigo, and many other serious conditions.  Nobody wants to wake up seeing double involuntarily.

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But seeing double–sometimes voluntarily, sometimes not–is a crucial ingredient of poetry.  Look at a sunrise and think, Nice sunrise, and you’re on one page, but look at the sunrise and think, Rebirth, rejuvenation, second chance, resurrection, and you’re on another.  In the second case, you’re on the page of what’s figurative rather than literal, what stands for itself and more than itself, something unseen or abstract, something otherwise hard to express.  Poetry doesn’t have a monopoly on the figurative; it’s also a staple of good prose fiction, most religions, national symbolism (an eagle or a piece of cloth with stars and stripes on it), team mascots or icons (the Cavalier or the pair of crossed sabers), and all advertising campaigns designed to brand the consumer mind with a brand.  Think of the tiger you associate with a particular gasoline–or is it a breakfast cereal?  To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, most people think they have no use for poetry, and yet in our deep, often unconscious involvements with this kind of figurative double vision, we’re all poets all the time.

the red listA poem begins for me when I look at something and see both it and something else.  The Red List (LSU, 2014), for instance, began with thinking about the bald eagle, on the brink of extinction in the early 1960s because of DDT use, but now no longer on the endangered species register, also known as “the red list.”  I happen to love bald eagles and seeing one sitting in a dead tree or coasting effortlessly on its huge flat wings is as good as seeing a sunrise, maybe better.  The literal eagle is already plenty, abundant, bountiful.  But then came seeing double; then came thinking about all the other endangerments in our world, not just environmental but social, economic, political, religious, educational psychological, emotional.  Suddenly, the mischievous genie was hard at work.  In particular, I found I couldn’t stop thinking about all the ways in which our young people–our children, our students–face many kinds of endangerment.  And I couldn’t help hoping that, like the eagle, they’d come through endangerment and get off the red list.  From this base The Red List grew into a fast-paced, book-length steeple-chase of associations, punctuated at regular intervals by rest-stop haikus.  My aim was to weave the serious into the playful and produce another kind of doubleness, a two-fold tone.

Some historians may not like the connection, but history, like poetry, sees double as well.  If you pull off the road to read that historical marker about Revolutionary War barracks or the Lewis and Clark expedition or a Civil War battle, you run the risk of seeing double.  All at once, that roadside pull-off or parking lot or shopping center or tract development is no longer just itself; it’s also the place where the past took place, and still takes place before your mind’s eye.  In advanced stages, this condition–call it “historiopia”–may even lead to seeing the present landscape as the less substantial one, the flitting ghost or phantom, while the eighteenth- or nineteenth- or whatever-century one, which has been there much longer than the new cineplex or carwash, is more solid and real.

belligerent museMy interest in the Civil War is older than my interest in poetry.  It began when, as a first-grader during the Civil War centennial, I came across those uncanny black-and-white photographs in the American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War, first published in 1960 and still very much in print.  Staring at those photographs, and the colorful maps that went with them, I stepped through the looking glass and have never crossed back.  My first book about the war, Bloody Promenade: Reflections on a Civil War Battle, published by UVA Press in 1999, took the May 1864 Battle of the Wilderness, the nearest major battle to Charlottesville, and tried to think about all the kinds of writing through which our memories or imaginations can approach it: eye witness accounts, newspapers and weekly magazines, histories, memoirs, poems, and prose fictions.  In the second book, Belligerent Muse: Five Northern Writers and How They Shaped Our Understanding of the Civil War (UNC, 2014), I took the writings of five major figures–Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, William Tecumseh Sherman, Ambrose Bierce, and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain–and tried to think about another kind of doubleness, about how each writer is both a narrator of military events and a self-conscious artist, using words, phrases, and various kinds of echoes to produce certain aesthetic effects.  In many ways these aesthetic effects could be considered poetic–think of them as the poetry of history–and they have played a crucial role in shaping the ways we remember and imagine those events here at the end of the Civil War bicentennial.

When I joined the UVA faculty in 1982, I was writing about the history of poetry, especially American poetry, and now, thirty-three years later, it’s the poetry of history.  But how different are they really?  Poetry and history, history and poetry: for me they’ve become an inseparable pair of double visions.  The genie won’t go back in the bottle.

Join Stephen Cushman for the interactive reading program HooReads!

The Work of the Enslaved Laborers at UVa in the Early Days

Posted on: February 10th, 2015 by mh6br 2 Comments

By: Kirt von Daacke, Associate Professor of History and Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and Co-Chair, President’s Commission on Slavery and the University

As the spring 2015 semester begins at the University of Virginia, we are now only two years away from the beginnings of what will surely be several years of bicentennial celebrations. These are exciting times indeed! This is also, however, a good time to begin to reflect on that past—the University was a very different place almost two centuries ago.

Construction on what would become the University of Virginia began in 1817 on an abandoned farm about two miles outside of the hamlet of Charlottesville. Charlottesville is located in the center of the large Albemarle County (over 720 square miles), situated in the western Piedmont on the east side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. By 1820, after the state had officially chartered the University (1819), the county remained overwhelmingly rural, with farms and plantations dotting the countryside. At that time, the county was home to only 8,715 white residents. However, Virginia was the largest and most important slave state in the young nation, so Albemarle County was unsurprisingly also home to over ten thousand slaves and a few hundred free people of color. As the University was being constructed, fifty four percent of the residents of the geographically large county were enslaved people.

In that milieu, it should come as no surprise that enslaved laborers formed a significant portion of the UVA construction workforce. In 1825, when the University admitted its first class of students, enslaved laborers continued to work on construction of the University’s buildings and also represented a significant component of the on-Grounds labor force, cooking food, cleaning rooms and Pavilions, hauling provisions and supplies, chopping wood, and so on. This pattern continued through the Civil War. By 1860, the county was home to nearly fourteen thousand slaves out of a total population of nearly twenty-seven thousand. In that year, more than ten percent of the white population owned slaves, with 254 whites owning ten or more slaves (ten individuals in the county owned between one and two hundred slaves). Well over one hundred slaves lived and worked on Grounds. Thus, slavery and the enslaved themselves remained important elements in the unfolding story of the construction, opening, and development of the University of Virginia from 1817 to 1865.

That story, and the history of the lives of the enslaved at the University, has remained largely hidden from view for nearly two hundred years. Happily, that has begun to change. In 2007, the Board of Visitors passed a resolution expressing regret for the school’s use of slaves and the University also installed a memorial plaque at the west entrance floor to the Rotunda hallway recognizing the enslaved and free workers who built the University and brought Jefferson’s vision to reality. In 2012, a memorial plaque was placed in the brick walkway adjacent to the University chapel commemorating Henry Martin, a slave and later free person who lived and worked at the University most of his life.

In 2013, President Sullivan, responded to combined student-faculty-alumni-community initiative and energy (Memorial for Enslaved Laborers, UCARE, IDEA Fund, among others) by forming the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University. She charged the commission with researching systematically that past, collaborating with external partners on research and public outreach, creating new ways to incorporate that story into the history presented to the public, considering appropriate memorialization, and proposing future educational and cultural projects related to slavery and the enslaved. To learn more about the commission’s work, please watch our short film, “Unearthed and Understood: Slavery and the University of Virginia,” by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Eduardo Montes-Bradley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsLkEqOUooc.

Remember, this is just the beginning.

Make your Money Work for You in 2015 and Beyond!

Posted on: February 2nd, 2015 by mh6br 2 Comments

By: Karin Bonding, Lecturer in McIntire Commerce School

We live in a time of near zero percent interest on our savings, whether they be at a bank, in a money market fund or money market account. We might be able to squeeze out 1% on a one-year CD or even 1.8% on a 5-year CD. This neither encourages us to save nor enriches us. Taking inflation into account, we are not breaking even. Bond rates are low reflecting the low interest rates by the Federal Reserve.

On the other hand, we are afraid to take on too much risk and place the money in the stock market, though dividends are there to be had, or in Master Limited Partnerships, which may also offer good dividends. The argument is: the stock market has gone up so much since 2009, how much longer will that go on? MLPs are often thought to be related to the energy market, so isn’t the drop in the price of oil going to affect those dividends? ( MLPs can be bought as a closed-end or open-end mutual funds.)

Investments incur risks. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance, as all investment-related documents will tell you. I am not here to recommend specific investments, but I may try to give you some guidelines.

As for dividend paying stocks, one of the best indicators of whether a company will continue to pay out its dividend is to look at their history. When you find companies that historically, year after year, have increased their dividend, and it is easy to see whether they did so in the downturns of 2000-2002 and 2008-2009, the companies will probably be able to weather another downturn in the stock market. Whereas the price of the stock may go up and down, the dividend remains the same. That’s an important piece of information when choosing a stock.

As for Master Limited Partnerships related to the energy industry, you may want to review the investments in the fund. Are the investments directly dependent on the price of oil, or are they providers of the pipelines, the gauges or the infrastructure? These will function whether the price of oil is $40 or $100 a barrel.

Finally, a thought you may wish to entertain. If you have debt – specifically a mortgage or student loan – and you have money sitting at close to zero percent in an account, you may want to pay off that debt now. If you argue that the interest on a mortgage or a student loan is deductible on your 1040, you are right, so going forward you will be missing that deduction. However, if you calculate how much interest you are paying yearly to the mortgage bank – and very soon you will be getting a statement that shows what you paid in 2014 in preparation for your 1040 – you can then see how much you’d save by paying off your debt. Take that money and give it to a charity! I am sure you have a favorite charity. In that way, you will still have a tax deduction and in the exact same amount as if you were paying the money to the bank. Does the bank deserve it more than your favorite charity? No, I didn’t think so.

Happy investing hunting in 2015. Make your money work for you in ways you’d never thought possible. Consult your adviser and CPA for additional guidance.

Pitch Perfect and the Perfect Pitch

Posted on: December 17th, 2014 by Lifetime Learning No Comments

by Ryan Hargraves
Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate Admissions

unnamed4This fall, an old (well, oldish) dean tried something new.  Late this summer, I was fortunate to meet German Professor, Bill McDonald (aka Herr Mac), who described to me his new teaching method designed to maximize participant engagement.  With rusty German language chops and Herr Mac’s encouragement, I have observed and participated in his Conversation and Composition course several times this semester, thereby, seeing him and current students in action.  I have not been disappointed.  The students participate fully and connect with him and each other en route to learning German stylistics based on the thoughtful use of small groups, full-class discussions and technology.  The students are graced with McDonalds’ charming sense of humor and a brief text break to help them avoid the shakes.  Herr Mac is gifted – one of countless, über-talented professionals educating U.Va. students.

Observing and chatting with faculty members around Grounds has been truly valuable for me as an admission dean.  I consider faculty authentic partners in the mission to build a class.  Having heard them speak on countless panels about memorable students, I gather that the unifying theme among their best pupils is a desire for engagement.  History professor Claudrena Harold describes the young woman who made a presentation in her class, despite not being on the course roster; colleague John Mason elaborates about another who elected his course and the experience ultimately led to her post-graduation research.  The faculty possess tremendous insight.  And on the occasion they want to shed light or provide input, I listen.

In May 2010, I received a call from a professor advocating for the consideration of a waitlisted student.  He thought U.Va. would be a “good fit for this young man” based on interactions with those who knew him well.  He passionately believed the student would add a great deal to the community.   Fortunately, we had space to add a few students to the 2014 class.  Upon review of the committee, it was determined that this young man, Nick, would be offered admission.  The professor was correct; Nick was outstanding.  Among other things, without any prior formal singing experience (besides a few fun shower tunes, perhaps), Nick joined the Hullabahoos and became a Lawnie.

mainWith 16,000 early first-year applications this season, I am optimistic a handful of Nicks will emerge.  (Compare: U.Va. received roughly 14,000 total applications for Fall 2000.)  The expanding application pool is a reality faced by many highly-selective institutions.  According to National Association of College Admission Counselors data, approximately 33% of students applied to seven or more colleges in 2011 as compared to only 9% in 2000.  The rise in applications per student along with the increase in the number of students applying to college has resulted in a record number of applications at many U.S. colleges and universities.  Our job is quite difficult.  Certainly raw academic credentials matter.   Nonetheless, the pool dictates that academic achievement is merely the ground floor of a competitive, if not, compelling application.  Admitted student applicants are loved by their communities and are thoughtfully engaged in their areas of passion.  They facilitate urban farming.  They are fascinated by Fibonacci, and are wise and fervent foodies.

While there is no template for the perfect student, we are seeking those who will add a dimension to a shapely class.  The student organizations and faculty members depend on us to fill their rosters with quality folks ready to advance their missions and take classroom discussions to the next level.  As the committee, we toil to ensure each applicant is evaluated, thoroughly and thoughtfully, to make the decisions that will ultimately yield the incoming class.  Though the decisions are often difficult, I find it a privilege to take part in this mission.  In part, with the guidance of faculty members’ perspectives, I hope I will play a small role in matriculating the next ready-to-be-engaged student leaders.

Alas, it’s Monday night and football game viewing has been sidelined for the current batch of application files.  Maybe I’ll wrap up soon, but if not, perhaps just in the Nick of time.

Elimination of Violence Against Women: How Do We Respond?

Posted on: December 2nd, 2014 by mh6br 2 Comments

Charlotte-Chapmanby Charlotte Chapman, Director of Counseling at the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center at U.Va.

We have just acknowledged Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October and in November we have Elimination of Violence Against Women Day. These events, along with awareness and prevention activities, always bring up questions for me. As Director of Counseling at the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center at U.Va., I have heard too many women speak about their experiences of violence. In fact we often have a waiting list for services as we cannot accommodate all of the requests from students and staff who want help with this issue.

The first question that always comes to mind: How can this behavior be prevented, the physical, emotional and verbal violence that is happening in our culture, mostly to women? This violence impacts everyone, even those who are not victims, because it shatters assumptions about living in a safe world and being able to trust each other. It can cause reactions such as blaming the victims, parents, or media because it is hard to understand what causes this. It can cause reactions of denial in efforts to pretend it does not happen. One of the experiences I have had numerous times when I give talks on Grounds is someone asks; Why do we need a Women’s Center at UVA? Depending on the audience, I give several different answers but the fact that I continue to get this question speaks to the issue of not wanting to recognize what is happening in our culture to women. When we come out of denial, our reactions may be anger and fear and a range of emotions that are hard to accept. It is easy to feel overwhelmed or discouraged and believe nothing can be done.

thSo to prevent relationship violence, what needs to happen? At the heart of the answer for me is the issue of values and how these are taught to each generation. When a child is raised in a community where there is violence this impacts the development of values. Research on children tells us time and again that they behave based on what they have seen and experienced more than on what they have been told. A child, who sees a parent looking at pornography or hears neighbors yelling obscenities at each other, is impacted. Children who are abused often continue this pattern in their relationships as they age – either as a victim or a perpetrator.

It can be painful to look at our own behaviors and to take responsibility for what we have modeled. I want to be clear that this is not about blaming. This is about responsibility for creating a community of non-violence and for all adults to take seriously the role of modeling and communication in all of our roles, not just as parents. It requires an assessment of personal values and how those are evidenced in day to day interactions with everyone. One place to start is to consider what would be different if we had a community that supported non-violence, respect and acceptance.

One answer is that everyone would feel safe to be wherever they wanted to be at any time of day or night. This might invoke laughter as a response but it is one of the values that has fueled activities such as Take Back The Night. We can accept a value system that says it is okay for communities to be unsafe and we all need to be afraid and cautious, or we can challenge that value system. This also challenges all the messages that go out to women on how to watch for danger signs and not to travel alone, etc. Where are the messages to the perpetrators saying their violent behavior will not be tolerated?

When there is any type of violence it is taken seriously and dealt with in a way that communicates that this is not acceptable. And this is not about the criminal justice system responding. This would be a social justice response that says these are not the norms we accept. This would mean looking at other issues such as economics where violence to women and girls is connected to income such as trafficking and prostitution.

And then there is the question related to our own personal behavior. If I want to create a culture of non-violence how do I need to change? Showing compassion to others, even when I disagree with what they are doing, is a challenge but it is something worth working on if it helps to decrease the anger and fear that fuels violent reactions in others.
Everyone has a choice in how we respond to gender violence. We are all impacted by gender violence and even though there is the option to do nothing, hopefully more of us will start acting in ways that create an environment where violence is not tolerated. I invite you to think of ways to acknowledge Elimination of Violence Against Women Day as a step towards changing our culture.

A Different Kind of Thanksgiving Ritual

Posted on: November 21st, 2014 by mh6br 3 Comments

by Susan Bauer-Wu, PhD, RN, FAAN

Tussi and John Kluge Professor in Contemplative End-of-Life Care
Director, UVA Compassionate Care Initiative
University of Virginia School of Nursing
Adjunct Faculty, University of Virginia, Department of Religious Studies
Author, Leaves Falling Gently: Living Fully With Serious & Life-Limiting Illness Through Mindfulness, Compassion, & Connectedness (New Harbinger, 2011)

Susan_Bauer-Wu_05HR_DAThe Thanksgiving holiday brings us together with family and friends. It’s a time of pausing to count our blessings, sharing a delicious meal, and reaching out to the lonely and disadvantaged. And yes, there’s also watching professional football, which, according to a National Football League commentary, “has become as essential as turkey and mashed potatoes.” Now I will go out on a limb and offer a suggestion for another, different kind of Thanksgiving ritual:  having difficult conversations and talking with those you love about your end-of-life wishes.

In our society that is obsessed with youthful looks and staying alive at all costs, Americans avoid such conversations. It’s as if not talking about death will prevent it from happening to you. Clearly, on an intellectual level, we know that’s not the case. Nonetheless, the messages we get from the media plus our own discomfort with death delude us and leave us ill-prepared for the inevitable last breath.

As a professional nurse who has witnessed literally hundreds of deaths, some expected as is the case with terminal illnesses and some unexpected from fluke accidents, I can confidently say that having had such conversations about end-of-life wishes makes a difference, not only to the person who is dying but also to those trying to navigate and make decisions on the patient’s behalf—spouses, children, and grandchildren as well as doctors, nurses, and others on the health care team.

More than three-quarters of Americans would like to die at home, but fewer than 25 percent of us do. Of those who die in hospitals, many are in intensive and critical care units, who are delirious, connected to tubes and sometimes in pain, with distressed family members by their side — uncertain and sometimes unable to make decisions about their care. The primary reason why many people die this way is because they didn’t convey their wishes.

hands-in-prayerEven when illness is present, we hold back from having such conversations. The vast majority of “do not resuscitate” orders (DNRs) are written within two days of the end of life, often times when all heroic measures have been tried, family members are completely depleted, and the opportunity to die a peaceful death at home is lost. In a study that I led of advanced-stage cancer patients, more than half had not discussed their end-of-life wishes with their doctors or families, despite being given months to live. I am reminded of a young woman I knew well. Living with extensive metastatic cancer she was couldn’t bear to tell her family she was ready to die (for fear they weren’t ready to hear it). She confided in me of her readiness to pass. But between her husband’s hope for a miracle cure and her mother’s determination to nurse her daughter back to health, she died in the ICU. No one felt good about the way her life ended.

I also recall countless other instances when families had the conversations and the end of life was visibly more pleasant and peaceful. One example, a middle-aged husband and father was aware of his decline and worsening illness. He honestly explored his medical options, had a heart-to-heart talk with his family, and thoughtfully made a decision to stop intensive treatment. With wonderful hospice care and support from his family, he enjoyed sitting on his deck and feeling the fresh air and sunshine on his face, taking walks and naps with his dog, eating his favorite homemade meals, and sharing stories and laughing with his wife and children. He died quite comfortably a few months later, his beloved family and dog at his side.

Take a few moments to reflect on what is most important to you. And over the Thanksgiving holiday, take advantage of the time together and try a different kind of ritual. Have those difficult conversations. By taking the time to really listen to one another’s end-of-life wishes, you will not only be prepared for that unavoidable moment, whenever it may be, you will also be reminded of the preciousness of life and your relationships. May you pause in gratitude and not take anything for granted, including one another.

Visit to “Mr. Jefferson’s University”

Posted on: November 18th, 2014 by mh6br 2 Comments

A Message from Henry Spearman from Ken Elzinga’s The Mystery of the Invisible Hand

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I recently visited with my friend Marshall Jevons at the University of Virginia, the place he calls “Mr. Jefferson’s university.”  Because I’ve heard the University of Virginia called “UVA” many times, Marshall’s term for the place seems odd to my ears.  I mean, nobody on the Harvard faculty, myself included, ever calls Harvard, “Mr. Harvard’s university.”

Sometimes Marshall will even refer to UVA as “the University,” as if every other school was just “a university.”  There must be something special about the place.  I’ve tried to lure Marshall to Harvard, but he won’t consider it.

This was my second visit to the campus (or what Marshall always calls, ‘the grounds’ – which I always associate with coffee).  I gave a talk in the “Dome Room” of the Rotunda, and I have to say: there’s nothing at Harvard to match that setting.  My wife Pidge came along for her first trip to Charlottesville.  She immediately fell in love with the architecture, at least the part designed by Thomas Jefferson – or what our friend calls “the Lawn.”

Marshall told us that Thomas Jefferson considered UVA to be an “academical village.”  I was struck at how the Lawn’s design efficiently reduces transaction costs among faculty and students.  But not all my colleagues at Harvard would want those costs reduced.

Marshall and I have been working on the whole question of art and economics.  When someone buys a cup of coffee, that’s a consumption good.  When someone buys 500 shares in Intel, that’s an investment good.  But when someone buys a painting, that acquisition could be a consumption good, an investment good, or both.

The economics of art is not unexplored terrain, but it raises important questions.  For example, if a consumer valued art purely as an aesthetic experience, and not as an investment, is that consumer better off or worse off because other buyers value art solely as an investment good?   We’ve also been asking ourselves: how many other assets have this dual consumption good/ investment good characteristic?

Here’s another puzzle my friend Marshall and I noodled over: when faced with a budget shortfall, why don’t museums sell those paintings they keep in inventory and never display to the public?  With my economist’s hat on, I can’t really explain this.

Our work on art and economics has not been without controversy.  Humanists worry about the intrusion of the economic way of thinking into the world of art.  Recently, when I was a visiting professor at Monte Vista University in Texas, I had a colleague who claimed that “once the wheels of economics commodify something… you may have a price, but you don’t have a value.”  My friend Marshall is a G.K. Chesterton fan – and he reminded me of Chesterton’s contention: “Price is a crazy and incalculable thing, while value is an intrinsic and indestructible thing.”

During my visit to UVA, I told Marshall about meeting a member of the Board of Trustees at Monte Vista University.  She told me something I never heard at Harvard: that universities should have artists on the faculty “not so much to teach as to inspire.”  Marshall and I wondered whether inspiration from a faculty member is limited to the field of art, or if it should be a trait common to faculty across all disciplines?  I see a problem, though: articles, books, and research grants can be counted. I asked my UVA friend how Harvard or “Mr. Jefferson’s university” could assess and reward a faculty member’s “inspirational output”?

Recently, I’ve gone back to reading Adam Smith.  That’s where I got my start in economics, and I may still read Smith after I quit trying to accumulate human capital.  Although this last time, I came across something I’d missed every time before.  Smith wrote that “power and riches produce a few trifling conveniences… which despite all our care, are ready every moment to burst into pieces or crush their possessor.”  Sounds like the hedonic treadmill principle that modern psychologists now teach.  With so many of my Econ students wanting to go into investment banking these days, I wonder what Smith would tell them?

OK: if you follow my blog, you may know I’m a night owl.  But it is 3 AM and I have a nine o’clock price theory class to teach tomorrow.

Definitely time to turn in.

So Good Night, Good Luck, and Go Hoos!

H. Spearman

 

Join HooReads! on December 10 for a live-stream interview with Ken Elzinga. You can submit your own questions for Ken.

South’s Oldest Rivalry Needs a Jumpstart

Posted on: October 21st, 2014 by mh6br 3 Comments

By Kevin Edds

“No jokes, no flattery, no sympathy. This is a serious business.”

Kevin_EddsThese were the words spoken by U.Va. President Edwin Alderman to a crowd of supporters at a “football mass meeting”—or pep rally—in 1924.  The scene was the precursor to the U.Va.-UNC football game, a rivalry that was born in 1892.  That initial matchup was so popular they decided to play twice that season, with U.Va. winning the first, UNC the second.  The latter was part of a Thanksgiving week football tournament in Atlanta that included Auburn, Duke and Georgia Tech, with teams playing as many as three games in five days.  No joke.  And no sympathy for weary players.  Talk about a serious business.

I read Alderman’s notes for his speech (many thanks to Ann Southwell of the Special Collections Library staff for first discovering them) while researching my documentary “Wahoowa: The History of Virginia Cavalier Football” now available at The UVa Bookstore.  Alderman became U.Va.’s first president in 1904 but was a UNC graduate and its former president from 1896-1900.  After 20 years in Charlottesville, though, he bled Orange & Blue.  During the pep rally, he fanned the flames of the rivalry with the statement, “We praise Carolina for their constancy… in being good losers.”

It was true: Virginia had gone 18-8-2 in the annual clash with “Carolina”; no directional designation was needed amongst these fans.  The Thanksgiving timing of the contest began during the tournament in Atlanta and eventually came to be known as the “South’s Oldest Rivalry.” This is a bit of a misnomer, as Auburn and Georgia first played in 1892, too, six months earlier.  More accurately, U.Va.-UNC is the longest consecutive rivalry and the one with the most games played, as Georgia-Auburn did not play one year during WWII and have played one fewer game overall (117 compared to 118, which will be matched if Auburn and Georgia meet in an SEC championship game; U.Va. and UNC cannot achieve this as they are both members of the Coastal Division in the ACC’s conference split).

1950_NorthCarolina Game ProgramFrom 1892-1950, UNC and U.Va. met in the finale each year they played, save for seven (WWI and other scheduling issues getting in the way)—almost 60 years of history where this showdown was the most important game of the season.  Until WWI, the matchups were held in Richmond where fans from both schools could meet on a larger stage, and the two groups were an easy train ride away.  Eventually, the contests moved to their home fields, where the rivalry grew even fiercer.

Tensions between the two were bitter, never more so than in 1898 when a member of the UNC faculty scored the winning touchdown. Yes, eligibility rules were lax in those days (imagine if young ECON professor Ken Elzinga lined up next to the great Frank Quayle in the backfield during U.Va.’s amazing 1968 season!).  In 1904 Virginia tied the score late in the rivalry game but kicked the extra point too low—so low, in fact, it hit the back of the head of an offensive lineman.  The ball ricocheted up and through the uprights giving Virginia a 12-11 victory.  A heady play to say the least.

The Thanksgiving rivalry continued unabated until 1950.  Governors of both states regularly attended.  Lady Astor made appearances at Lambeth Field when UNC visited.  Even President Calvin Coolidge and his entourage took in a game in 1928.

But soon after the birth of the ACC, schedule-makers tried to create a border rival for Maryland.  They matched the Terrapins with Virginia as the season-ender from 1963-1989.  With the South’s Oldest Rivalry played earlier each fall, the intensity of the competition began to wane.  Younger fans today believe the U.Va.-Virginia Tech rivalry has been an ages-old way to end their college football season, but that scheduling matchup didn’t begin until 1990.  While that in-state battle has taken on a life of its own, old-time U.Va. and UNC fans will tell you their biggest rival in football is on the other side of the state line.

1941_NorthCarolina Game ProgramWhen Alderman gave his pep talk 90 years ago, the country was in the midst of Prohibition, and UNC and Virginia were members of a new alliance called the Southern Conference.  Along with most of the original members of the ACC, they were joined by a majority of the founding members of the SEC in this 22-member super-conference that included VMI, Washington & Lee, and Virginia Tech.  It makes the 15-team ACC of today seem cute.

Bragging rights and conference hierarchy were at stake in 1924 when Alderman implored his team to “Fight this battle as you fought Georgia to the last inch” and “Don’t hold them. Wipe ‘em out!”  A college president giving strategy on holding penalties sounds unusual (President Sullivan and her advice to Coach London on the Cover 2 Defense notwithstanding), but Alderman loved football and saw it as a way to toughen young men and bind alumni more closely to the university.

That season, U.Va. was also sporting a new moniker, the Cavaliers, after a school contest for a new fight song the previous year resulted in “The Cavalier Song” taking top honors.  A new conference, a new mascot, and a new coach—Earle “Greasy” Neale—made Virginia Football an exciting property.  Neale was a major league baseball player who coached football in the offseason.  In 1924, he played for the Cincinnati Reds before heading to Charlottesville to lead the Cavaliers.

There were 12,500 ticket-buyers in attendance at the 1924 Thanksgiving game, which filled the athletic department coffers.  According to the Washington Post, temporary wooden stands were built to accommodate the overflowing fans, giving it “the same crowded appearance that New York [has] at midday.”  The Governors of both states were in attendance, as was Virginia State Senator N. B. “Bull” Early, a member of U.Va.’s team from the 1892 kickoff to the rivalry.  Despite 31 years’ passage of time, alumni were still keenly interested in the outcome of the South’s Oldest Rivalry.

Virginia won the contest 7-0 when a fumbled lateral by UNC was recovered by U.Va. near the Tarheel goal line and ultimately driven in.  U.Va. captain Sam Maphis had an 80-yard punt which still stands as a school record, tying his own 80-yarder against Virginia Tech the previous year.  The game was a punting duel, as Virginia gained only five first downs and UNC but one.  U.Va. was 0-for-5 passing and UNC not much better.  The Tarheels brought in one of their basketball stars at quarterback—no surprise, considering that a football more closely resembled a basketball in shape and size back in those days.  Only one of their eight passes was caught, though—which makes you wonder if the QB was throwing bounce passes instead of chest passes.

1941_Bill Dudley at UNCFrom defense-dominated clashes like the one in 1924, to showdowns with bowl game implications, the U.Va.-UNC rivalry has endured for well over a century.  So as Virginia and UNC renew their rivalry this Saturday, let’s make a plea to the athletics departments from both schools as well as the schedule-makers at the ACC:  Keep the U.Va.-Virginia Tech rivalry alive with a season-ending game when Virginia visits Blacksburg; but on odd years, rekindle the intensity of the South’s Oldest Rivalry with UNC visiting Charlottesville for the final game of the season.  Virginia Tech can be the penultimate game for U.Va. in those seasons—the gate receipts surely won’t suffer (in 2005 U.Va. ended the season with Miami, having hosted the Hokies the week prior. And that VT game is still the third-largest home crowd in U.Va. history.)  Scheduling UNC as the season-ending game may guarantee sellouts at Scott Stadium in both games—something we haven’t seen in Charlottesville in a while.

In an age of conference expansion, where century-old rivalries like Texas versus Texas A&M take a backseat to financial gain, let’s do something simple that would make President Alderman proud.  That would make “Bull” Early proud.  That could once again grab the attention of both governors.  No jokes, no flattery, no sympathy. This is a serious business.

Kevin Edds, COL ’95, is the director of Wahoowa: The History of Virginia Cavalier Football.  For an update on the release of his new film on the 1989-90 U.Va. football seasons please send an email to UVaFootballHistory@yahoo.com

The Future of Drone Warfare

Posted on: September 12th, 2014 by Lifetime Learning No Comments

hitzSource: Harvard Law School, Harvard National Security Journal August 13, 2013

(Join us for More Than The Score on September 27, 2014 as Fred Hitz speaks on “What to do About Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency?”)

By Frederick P. Hitz, Adjunct Professor, University of Virginia School of Law; Senior Lecturer, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy; Former Inspector General, CIA, 1990-98.

“Relentless NON-humanity.” This is the term I have used to describe the impact of the Predator Drone as a weapon in the Afghanistan/Pakistan (Af-Pak) region in the U.S.’s Global war on Terrorism (GWOT). It is not just that the Predator is an application of lethal force that, without warning, annihilates suspected terrorists and sometimes innocent bystanders. Rather, my concerns stem from the fact that controllers target and dispatch these deadly weapons remotely, often while thousands of miles from the battlefield. One of my law students expressed it succinctly a year ago when he described his experiences “driving the Predator” for the previous seven years. “Where did you do that, Jonathan?” I asked him, to which he quickly replied, “outside of Las Vegas, and sometimes when I got off duty, I wandered into town to play the slots.

This is not Star Wars. This is the real thing. And, in my view, it is why drone warfare is increasingly, if mistakenly, compared by observers to the terrorist activity it seeks to suppress. Most scholars who sought to define terrorism unite on the basic principle that terrorism is hostile action designed to achieve a political goal by intimidating a civilian population, but not ultimately to defeat a state as Germany and Japan were defeated in World War II. It is to destroy the population’s morale, their will to resist, and to bring them into compliance with the wishes of the terrorist. What I am suggesting is that drone warfare has a similar goal. It is fighting fire with fire, terror with terror.

Recognizing that the Government of Pakistan will never allow U.S. troops on Pakistani soil to pursue the Taliban in the disputed regions of the North-West frontier and Afghanistan, the U.S. has been able to strike the Taliban effectively with Predator drones guided from two continents away. In fact, the U.S. gained access to Pakistani airspace by helping the Government of Pakistan eliminate an Al Qaeda leader in the North-West frontier that the Pakistanis had spent years trying to chase down. The predator’s distinguishing characteristic is its ability to hover indefinitely over a given target area and when it catches sight of its target to strike instantly and without warning. Nobody is certain of the precise numbers of bystanders who have been killed in the drone attacks but because there is no warning of its presence, innocents are bound to have been included.

This was not in the mind of the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) when he purchased six Predator drones from the General Atomic Corporation in 1997. DCI James Woolsey was buying a sophisticated surveillance device with a negligible radar profile, powered by a golf cart engine that could hover endlessly and silently over a remote target, sending precise images back to its control. Soon thereafter, the U.S. Military fitted the Predator with a Hellfire missile, turning it into a formidable killing machine!

Its use in the Af-Pak region has been game changing. CIA officials have stated that the Predator has decimated the Al Qaeda command structure in both Afghanistan and Pakistan with a minimum of casualties on the U.S. side. This is a formidable achievement. But as desirable as it may be as a military goal, it recently became an issue in and of itself. It is almost too effective a weapon. According to the international media, it has excited strong opposition among citizens and tribals in the entire Af-Pak region, ostensibly because of civilian casualties but really because of its effectiveness, what I call its “relentless non-humanity.”

Is the Predator drone a “legal” weapon under the laws of war? U.S. Government lawyers defended its use under the President’s authority to use all military force at his disposal to pursue and kill the 9/11 attackers – the “Authorization to Use Military Force” (AUMF) of September, 2001. Until recently, the President’s primary international lawyer, adviser to the U.S. State Department, and former dean of Yale Law School, Harold Koh, prominently defended use of the Predator drone in the Af-Pak theater. Recently, however, he and others raised questions about usage of the Predator for “targeted killings” in the region. Mr. Koh and some of his colleagues are now on record demanding a more transparent process for authorizing drone strikes that target suspected Al Qaeda operatives and U.S. citizens.

This came to a head several months ago when the United Press published a 10-12 page document obtained from U.S. Government files that sought to describe the process followed before American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, was targeted and assassinated in Yemen in 2011. The question is simply – does anyone in the U.S. Government have the authority to target for assassination a U.S. citizen or enemy terrorist, and if so, by what process is the decision made? Is it the President alone? And if so, does this occur because of his Constitutional authority as Commander-in-Chief or because of the AUMF? Further, is this targeted assassination of Al Qaeda leaders, American citizens or otherwise, congruent with the laws of war generally, proportionate to the threat posed by Al Qaeda and suitably limited in purpose? These are good questions that deserve some scrutiny. For example, the state of Israel has been in the targeted killing business in its struggle with the Palestinians for many years and the Israeli Supreme Court has never okayed the practice. What that says is that even Israel in fighting for its life in a dangerous region has felt the necessity of embarking on a campaign of assassinations of suspected terrorists with or without the approval of its highest court. This is clearly a tough business.

There are many unsettled questions, legal, political, and otherwise surrounding the use by the U.S. of the Predator drone in combat. But I keep coming back to the one issue that most captivates me as a lawyer, U.S. citizen, and teacher. In the case of the GWOT, by our continuing and conspicuous use of the Predator drone, the United States is fighting terror with terror. We are confronting hostile acts of terror such as the 9/11 hijackings and deaths of over 3,000 people with warning-less Predator drone strikes on Al Qaeda’s suspected leaders and operatives – and, deservedly or not, we are giving rise to the identical reactions of outrage in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. Perhaps this is an inevitable result of the most effective method we can devise to counter Al Qaeda terrorism in the region, but it has complications and consequences. I believe it is the obligation of the U.S. to explain more fully our policy for using the Predator in the manner we have thus far in the War on Terror, the process we follow in target selection, and the safeguards in place against making mistakes. It may be that the United States will enjoy a dominant position indefinitely in the utilization of drone strikes for targeted killings, but while we are in the driver’s seat, to make a bad pun, we ought to be transparent in our reasoning. Otherwise, we may find that the “relentless non-humanity” of drone warfare makes our international actions to combat terrorism as repugnant as the acts of the terrorists themselves. We have an obligation to pursue zealously and effectively those who attacked the U.S. on 9/11, but as a leader of the world’s strongest democracy and a proponent of the rule of law, we must be conscious of the need to explain ourselves when we are as dependent as we have become on such an unanswerable, terrifying and heavy-handed weapon as the Predator drone.

(Join us for More Than The Score on September 27, 2014 as Fred Hitz speaks on “What to do About Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency?”)