Koblik meets the press

Reed president Steven Koblik was invited to meet several national media representatives in November in a session sponsored by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, of which he is a member of the board. Koblik and the presidents of Swarthmore College, the University of New Haven, Goucher College, and Rhodes College met in Washington, D.C., with journalists from USA Today, ABC News World News Tonight, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and the Washington Post. The presidents and the press had a productive conversation touching on many aspects of higher education.

News of the Reed faculty

Ottomar Rudolf, emeritus professor of German and humanities, was a guest on National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation show on November 9, the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Along with two German writers, Rudolf, a native of Germany, discussed the nation after the fall of the wall, especially the slow integration of the eastern part of Germany.

David Schiff, R. P. Wollenberg Professor of Music, was one of 52 composers in a group portrait of the "cream of New York composers" in the October 31 New York Times. Schiff, eight-time winner of the ASCAP award for music composition, also writes frequently on music for the Times. Schiff was in the company of composers such as Elliott Carter, Stephen Sondheim, Steve Reich, Ned Rorem, and Meredith Monk.

Religion after Religion: Gershom Scholem, Mircea Eliade, and Henry Corbin at Eranos, a book by Steven Wasserstrom, Moe & Izetta Tonkon Associate Professor of Judaic Studies and Humanities, has just been published (in softcover and hardcover) by Princeton University Press. A panel was devoted to the book at the 1999 American Academy of Religion annual meeting. Five scholars-from Jewish studies, Islamic studies, comparative literature, and comparative religion-responded to the book, followed by a response by Wasserstrom.

Wasserstrom's book explores how Scholem, Eliade, and Corbin_the twentieth century's legendary scholars in the respective fields of Judaism, history of religions, and Islam-revolutionized the way people thought about religion. In the first book ever to compare the paths taken by these thinkers, Wasserstrom explains how they overturned traditional approaches to studying religion by de-emphasizing law, ritual, and social history and by extolling the role of myth and mysticism. He analyzes their conception of religion from a broadly integrated, comparative perspective, sets their distinctive thinking into historical and intellectual context, and interprets the striking success of their approaches.

"Wasserstrom has produced a study that will have major implications for the way that historians of religion think about their own discipline," said Elliot R. Wolfson, of New York University.

New Faculty Positions Gain Support

Reed College has received a grant of $700,000 from the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, of New York, to support the funding of two new tenure-track faculty positions. This is part of Reed's presidential initiative to reduce the student/faculty ratio to 10:1. The grant will provide funding for the first five years of the new positions, after which Reed will provide funding. The two positions will be in either the anthropology of China, the sociology of race and ethnicity, poetry writing, or African American religion.

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