-Fredric Jameson, who is stepping down as chair of Duke's Literature Program, was honored with a four-day conference in April on Utopia, one of the recurring themes in his work. Over the past thirty years, he has helped change the field of literary theory. He was one of the first scholars to bring French theory to the United States, introducing thinkers such as Jacques Derrida and Gilles Deleuze in a sympathetic but rigorous way. His 1971 book, Marxism and Form, helped revitalize Marxist study in literary theory, and his emphasis on the connection between the historical and political has played a role in the turn toward political concerns in literary criticism. He came to Duke in 1985 and pioneered a new kind of literature program, one that parallels more traditional comparative literature programs but is focused on critical theory.
-John V. Brown has been named visiting director of the Jazz Studies program and the Jazz Ensemble for the 2003-04 academic year by the music department. Brown holds degrees from UNC-Greensboro and UNC-Chapel Hill and serves on the faculties of Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, and North Carolina Central University. A bassist and well-respected member of North Carolina's music community, he has performed with Elvin Jones, Mark Whitfield, Nnenna Freelon, and Delfeayo Marsalis. Brown also plays regularly with the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, the Carolina Ballet, and the Opera Company of North Carolina.
-Benjamin D. Reese Jr. was appointed vice president for institutional equity, overseeing efforts to promote diversity and foster equal opportunity within the university and health system. He succeeds Sally M. Dickson, who announced in April that she would return to Stanford University to assume a newly created position as associate vice provost for faculty development and associate dean of humanities and sciences. Reese will serve until December 2004 or until permanently appointed to the position. Reese came to Duke in 1996 as an assistant vice president in the Office of Institutional Equity, where he oversees efforts to enhance cross-cultural relations throughout the institution. He also developed a diversity planning guide for managers and coordinated the development of an online module on equity and employment for physicians. He is the co-leader of the Diversity Leadership Group in Duke Hospital, an initiative he helped develop to increase staff diversity and improve the equity of work processes and systems.
-Six Duke scholars and researchers have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an international learned society composed of the world's leading scientists, scholars, artists, business people, and public leaders. They are Henry Petroski, Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor of civil and environmental engineering; theological ethics professor Stanley M. Hauerwas; religion professor Ed P. Sanders; Joel L. Fleishman, professor of law and public policy studies; philosopher and senior research scholar Fred Dretske; and physician Ralph Snyderman, chancellor for health affairs, executive dean of the medical school, and president and chief executive officer of the Duke University Health System. The 2003 class of 187 Fellows and twenty-nine Foreign Honorary Members includes four college presidents, three Nobel Prize winners, and four Pulitzer Prize winners.
-Michael Mezzatesta, director of the Duke University Museum of Art, will be leaving this summer at the conclusion of his third five-year term. In a statement, President Nannerl O. Keohane said, "When the Nasher Museum is completed in 2004, a new era in the life of the university will begin. The provost and I have decided that we should now bring in a director who will be well prepared for planning major exhibitions, building strong new collections, and ensuring that the Nasher Museum takes its rightful place among the major university art museums in this country." She called Mezzatesta "an indefatigable champion of building a new museum worthy of Duke," and pointed particularly to his establishing an innovative student curatorial program. DUMA curator Sarah Schroth will be interim director.
In Brief: May-June 2003
June 1, 2003