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Faculty News

Word and Image: An Introduction to Early Medieval Art, by associate professor of art William Diebold, was released in a paperback edition by Westview Press. Herbert L. Kessler, art history professor at Johns Hopkins University, wrote that “The book is original in concept and offers brilliant new observations on many important issues. Eschewing the usual history of style approach, Diebold writes a history of one of the central problems that theologians and painters had to deal with from c. 600 to c. 1150, and he tracks the evolution of responses in a well argued and historically grounded fashion. The book will surely be used by teachers of medieval art; but it will also be read by everyone concerned with the field.” In the book Diebold describes the diversity and complexity of early medieval art by examining the relationship of word and image and discusses the function of (and audience for) medieval art. He also outlines the role of artists and patrons in medieval society and explains art’s institutional and social status.

Denise Hare, associate professor of economics, spent four months last semester in Vietnam on a Fulbright research fellowship. She was based in Hanoi and traveled to do her fieldworkto the northern mountainous region, the Red River delta, the north central coast, and the Mekong River delta. There she studied the process of implementing Vietnam’s 1993 Land Law, which entitles farmers to long-term use rights of their agricultural and forestry land and specifies that the rights are transferable. Hare was also interested in any subsequent use rights markets (for sale, lease, or mortgage) that had evolved. She found that while many farmers have their certificates of use rights, very few use them to engage in formal exchanges. Hare was also able to compare Vietnam’s system of land management to that of China; she says that in Vietnam she was able to observe a more privatized system in practice. In preparation for the trip to Vietnam, Hare conducted quantitative data analysis last summer with economics senior James Chavez, whose work was funded by a Levine Fund grant.

David Schiff, R.P. Wollenberg Professor of Music, has been added to the latest edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. After a biographical sketch, the entry records that “Perhaps his most successful work has been the opera Gimpel the Fool, with a Yiddish libretto by Isaac Bashevis Singer. . . . Gimpel is eclectic and written with a shrewd grasp of language and theatre; it also draws upon the kaleidoscopic variety of the Jewish musical heritage.” He is described as a “provocative music critic and cultural commentator.” Schiff also appearsin the book as author of the entries on Elliott Carter and Leonard Bernstein.

Steven Wasserstrom, Moe and Izetta Tonkon Professor of Judaic Studies and the Humanities, recently spoke at two important conferences in Israel. Wasserstrom, was on leave working at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, was a key speaker at a symposium at the University of Haifa, discussing “Fascism and the Study of Religion: The Eliade Controversy in Historical Perspective.” Wasserstrom, who is editing some of Eliade’s controversial papers released by the University of Chicago, also spoke this spring at a symposium devoted to “Politics, Ethics, and Method in the Study of Religion,” sponsored by the Israeli Association for the Study of Religion and Haifa University. Wasserstrom worked on three major projects during the year: finishing a collection of essays, now under consideration by the U. of Chicago Press; editing a posthumous monograph by Marilyn R. Waldman for Cambridge U. Press; and his major scholarly project, researching Jewish-Muslim intellectual relations in the12th and 13th centuries.
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