Labors of love for scholar at heart

first_imgReclining in a black leather chair with his feet on an ottoman, Leo Damrosch has the relaxed air of a man six years into retirement.But don’t be fooled. There’s no time for golf or crossword puzzles for Damrosch, who is still doing serious scholarship, and enjoying every minute of it.“Retirement’s going really well,” he said, speaking in his faculty study room at Widener Library. “I was just dying to have enough time to do research and writing. Now I get to do the things I’ve always liked doing without the administrative duties that took up my time.”Since adding emeritus to his title as Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature, Damrosch has won a National Book Critics Circle award and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2013 for “Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World.” More recently, “Eternity’s Sunrise: The Imaginative World of William Blake,” his study of the English poet and engraver, made this year’s shortlist for the National Book Critics Circle award in criticism.Along with research and writing, the 75-year-old is still working with students. For the Harvard Summer School he’ll teach “The Rise of the Novel” and “The Enlightenment Invention of the Modern Self,” which he also teaches at Harvard Extension School. He draws particular satisfaction from connecting with high school students who manage to keep pace in college-level courses.“The Summer School produces these jewels,” he said. “They work extra hard and are very grateful.”In his Widener study, Damrosch works alongside his collection of miniature airplanes and photographs of a long-ago trip to his native Philippines. Interred in Los Baños prison camp in Luzon during World War II, Damrosch and his family were liberated in 1945. Five years later, they moved to the United States, making their home in small-town Maine.“I don’t have enough of a personal story,” he said, asked when he would write his own biography. “I don’t have a hook. I last went to the Philippines with my father when I was in my 30s, and that was a wonderful experience. But my own memories from childhood aren’t enough for a book.”He joined the English faculty at Harvard in 1989, but Damrosch, who held the department chair from 1993-98 and served as acting chair in 2007, felt as if he “never had enough time.” Now that he has no official department duties, Damrosch gets to do what he’s “always liked doing,” which included his research on “Eternity’s Sunrise.”“Blake is an original genius,” he said. “This book is intended to introduce him to general readers, and couldn’t have been written 30 years ago. Back then, art critics and literary scholars didn’t interact much. But more recently, gifted scholar-printmakers have done wonderful work, helping us to understand how his images were created and printed.”Damrosch knew his book had to include first-rate illustrations, a belief shared by his editor at Yale University Press, who ensured that “Eternity’s Sunrise” included 40 color reproductions. A Washington Post review praised the book for its “intricate analysis of the relation between Blake’s verse and his vivid paintings and etchings.”Next up for Damrosch, besides teaching fall and spring courses at the Extension School, will be more work on a book to be titled “Jamie and Sam: Boswell, Johnson, and the Club.” Damrosch describes it as “a group portrait during an extraordinary historical moment,” featuring writers and thinkers such as Edmund Burke, Edward Gibbon, Oliver Goldsmith, and Adam Smith.“Many people are reluctant to retire,” he said. “Their sense of self is invested in their academic position — not in a selfish way. I’ve been fortunate in being able to go on doing what I most enjoyed in academic life — teaching and writing — with more time to devote to them than I used to have.”last_img read more

Saint Mary’s launches Master of Autism Studies program

first_imgIn 2018, Saint Mary’s will introduce new graduate program, a Master of Autism Studies. Although students cannot begin their coursework until 2019, the program will begin accepting applications and hosting workshops this calendar year. “Everyone knows about the critical need for understanding and responding to autism in the world today,” Michael Waddell, program director, said in an email. “The Master of Autism Studies program responds to this need by examining autism from scientific, therapeutic and humanistic perspectives.”The first proposal for the program was submitted in the spring of 2011, Waddell said. This program speaks to the values of Saint Mary’s and specifically a Holy Cross education, said Susan Latham, a Master of Autism Studies faculty member and program director of the Master of Science in speech language pathology program.“I think it’s important that this is happening at Saint Mary’s because we are Holy Cross. And Holy Cross means that we are educating our students in a way that reflects the way that Fr. Moreau envisioned our work happening,” Latham said. “So for example, one characteristic of Holy Cross educators is respect for the individual in that we don’t concern ourselves with only the mind but also the heart, and that really speaks to our values and how we approach families with whom we work.” Waddell said that throughout their time in the program, students will study autism in relation to both intervention approaches as well as other subjects.“The Master of Autism Studies program will provide the interdisciplinary, autism-specific expertise students need to become leaders in autism-related fields,” he said. “Unlike other programs, the Master of Autism Studies will introduce students to the full range of evidence-based autism interventions, including — but not limited to — behavioralist approaches. And it will do all of these things in conversation with the Catholic tradition.”Waddell said the program looks beyond just the science and examines the intersection of autism with the humanities.“Autism therapies are important because, when done well, they can improve the quality of life of people who live with autism,” he said. “And, of course, in order to provide the best autism therapies, you have to understand the science of autism. But autism is about more than a diagnosis and treatment.  It affects every dimension of life. That’s why it’s important to think about autism from humanistic perspectives too.”In these humanities courses, students will study autistic art and literature, as well as take into account how philosophical, theological, political and legal lenses can aid in the understanding of autism, Waddell said. “The humanities courses in the autism studies program help us to think about autism as more than a diagnosis and treatment — to understand that autism shapes the lives and identities of human beings and is giving rise to a distinctive culture,” he said. “This is the only program I know of that takes such a broad approach to thinking about autism as part of the human experience.”This specific approach is unique to Saint Mary’s. Most other programs across the nation look solely at the scientific aspects, and the holistic approach taken in this program is “visionary,” Latham said.“There aren’t other programs like this,” she added. “This is sort of groundbreaking, in having this degree being offered. It’s nice to know that right here, on this campus, we are creating something and are really passionate about something that I feel is visionary, that is not what everybody is doing.”The program brings together faculty and faculty fellows who are experts in various aspects of autism studies, Waddell said. “Every person teaching in the program has a significant interest in autism and brings a special kind of expertise to the table,” he said. “In my personal opinion, the quality of the faculty and fellows is one of the greatest strengths of the program. I want to take every course my colleagues will be teaching.”On March 2, the program will host its first workshop. Waddell said workshops will be focused on intervention techniques, sometimes offering an opportunity for certification.“The autism intervention workshops bring world-renowned experts to campus to provide training in state-of-the-art autism interventions,” he said. “… We strive to represent the full range of evidence-based interventions rather than just limiting ourselves to one particular approach, as happens in many programs.”Waddell said that many of the workshops offer students and community members the opportunity to achieve valuable certification in intervention methods at little to no cost. The upcoming one will be cosponsored by the Master of Autism Studies program, the Communicative Sciences and Disorders department and LOGAN Community Resources. It is free and open to all, as long as participants register online prior to the workshop. “This is the sort of thing that students can list on resumes and professionals can use to maintain licensure,” Waddell said. “The training would cost a lot of money for students and community members if they pursued it on their own, but it’s being offered for free in our workshops through the financial support of sponsors.”Latham looks forward to sharing her passion for autism studies to both the community through workshops and through teaching, she said. “It’s really encouraging to me to know that there are people that think that there is value in this as a graduate study and that they have that same level of compassion and concern for individuals on the autism spectrum,” she said. Tags: Autism, Holy Cross, Master of Autism Studieslast_img read more

Pardew instilling belief at Palace

first_img Press Association The Eagles were defeated 2-1 on Saturday by London rivals Arsenal but outplayed Arsene Wenger’s side for large periods of the game and came within inches of snatching a late draw when Glenn Murray’s stoppage-time header came back off the post. Pardew hailed the performance as the best he has seen since taking charge at Selhurst Park at the turn of the year and – with victories over Liverpool and Tottenham behind them – the former Newcastle boss insists his side can take on all comers if they have the self-confidence to do so. “The message in our dressing room was that we have to come out and play a more competitive game even against the top teams and be brave,” he said. “I was proud that they took it to Arsenal and we can lean on that. That’s one thing that we can take from the game, lean on the fact that we took the game to Arsenal, and in that framework we had individual players that can hurt teams. So we have got more here than we think we have, in my opinion. And I keep trying to stress that to the team. “We have that individual ability within the group, I genuinely believe. It was a hard call to get beat here today by this team. It’s just in the way you set up the team and the strategy and philosophy that you’re putting in front of them. “To go and take the game to Arsenal. We did that from the moment the game kicked off and the possession today doesn’t surprise me.” With the likes of Jason Puncheon, Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie, Palace have the pace and trickery to test the best defences in the league and Pardew felt he saw the first glimpses of the players feeling they can take it to the likes of Arsenal. “I think we should have a little more confidence in what we have in the dressing room, and I think that showed,” he added. “They believed it today for the first time since I’ve been here. We’ve won games because we’ve been resilient and we do have attacking flair on the break. “But we can also mix it and take it to the opposition and I was very proud of the team today that they believed they could do it, and they almost did achieve it. “We’ve still got lots to do. I’m pleased that they believe they can take a game to the likes of Arsenal because we’ve got some big clubs to come here still in Manchester United and Man City, and we can mix it with them and we’ve got to believe that. Of course the next three games are in and around that mid-table and we’ve got to exploit that situation.” center_img Alan Pardew is instilling a belief among his Crystal Palace squad that they are capable of beating any of the Premier League elite. last_img read more