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In Focus: 9/10/2010

A weekly newsletter published by the Communications Office

Top News

SOUTHWESTERN PROFESSOR UNCOVERS MISSING INFORMATION ABOUT THE 1921 FLOOD IN WILLIAMSON COUNTY

On Sept. 10, 1921, Williamson County awoke to the greatest natural disaster in its history. The remains of a powerful hurricane brought a deluge to central Texas and some cities received more than 38 inches of rain in 24 hours. The San Gabriel River overflowed its banks, flooding much of Georgetown and Taylor. At least 92 people in the county lost their lives.

While the flood has been well documented in books that have been written on the county, an important aspect of it has never been documented – until now. That aspect is how race and class affected who died in the flood.

“Like most natural disasters, the county’s poor suffered disproportionately,” said Erik Loomis, a former visiting professor of history at Southwestern. Loomis spent the summer of 2009 researching the flood. A sign based on his research was placed in San Gabriel Park this month.

Read more here.

PROFESSOR’S NEW BOOK EXLPORES THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND HOW WE TREAT ANIMALS  

What does Christianity have to say about how we currently treat animals?   Laura Hobgood-Oster, a religion professor at Southwestern University, addresses this question in her latest book, The Friends We Keep: Unleashing Christianity’s Compassion for Animals.   The book focuses on what Hobgood-Oster believes to be the most important contemporary issues involving animals: animals as food, animals in sport, animals as companions, and endangered species. It also places animal-human relationships in the history of Christianity by using biblical texts that help frame the topic and stories about saints who helped animals through the centuries.  

Hobgood-Oster says she hopes her book will help people rethink their relationship with animals and lead to a better understanding of Christianity, both past and present.

Read more here.

Events

RHAPSOIDOS TRIO TO PERFORM SEPT. 11

The Rhapsōidos Trio will give a guest recital on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater. The concert will feature works by Saint-Saens, Mozart and Schubert.

The trio was founded in the fall of 2009, and debuted at Austin Lyric Opera in January 2010. Trio members include Melinda Brou, soprano; Naomi Seidman, flute; and Chuck Dillard, piano. Brou graduated from Southwestern in 1999 and is now an assistant professor of voice and opera at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Seidman also is on the faculty at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and Dillard teaches at UT-Austin and St. Edward’s University.

The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Sarofim School of Fine Arts at 512-863-1504.

PIANO PROFESSOR TO GIVE RECITAL SEPT. 14

Pianist Kiyoshi Tamagawa will give a faculty recital on Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. in the Alma Thomas Theater.

The recital will feature the Sonata in C major Hob. 48 by Joseph Haydn, the Sonata in F-sharp minor Op. 11 by Robert Schumann, a piano sonata by Aaron Copland and a 2006 piece by Southwestern faculty composer Jason Hoogerhyde titled “Lament.”

The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, call The Sarofim School of Fine Arts at 512-863-1504.

FOUNTAINWOOD OBSERVATORY TO HOST PUBLIC VIEWING NIGHT SEPT. 17

The Fountainwood Observatory will host its first public viewing night of the fall season on Friday, Sept. 17, from 8-10:30 p.m.

The evening will begin with a waxing gibbous moon in the southeastern sky. Venus will slip below the horizon just at the beginning of the viewing, while Jupiter and its Galilean moons rise in the east. As an extra bonus, the planet Uranus will be slightly less than 1 degree to the northwest of Jupiter. Colorful brighter stars and multiple star systems can be readily viewed in the moonlit fall sky.

Fountainwood Viewing Nights are always free and open to the public. The observatory is located on the northeast side of campus adjacent to the Rockwell Baseball Field (see #6 on campus map at http://www.southwestern.edu/map). Faculty members from the Physics Department at Southwestern as well as observers from the Williamson County Astronomy Club will be on hand to guide viewing.

For weather-related updates about viewing nights, call the Fountainwood Observatory hotline at 512-863-1242.

Future viewing nights are scheduled for Friday, Oct. 15, and Friday, Nov. 12.

‘MUD’ TO BE PERFORMED IN THE BLACK BOX THEATER SEPT. 23-26

“Mud,” a play written in 17 short scenes by Maria Irene Fornes, will be performed in Southwestern’s Black Box Theater Sept. 23-26. Performances will start at 7 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. There also will be 3 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday.

Set in the 1930’s Mud explores the joyless existence of Mae, a small-town woman, and two men who love, need and ultimately destroy her. The play includes adult subject matter and is for mature audiences only.  

Tickets for the play are $5 and may be purchased by calling the box office at 512-863-1378 Monday through Friday between 1-5 p.m. or by going online to www.southwestern.edu/boxoffice

The Black Box Theater, also known as Heather Hall, is located above the Jones Theater in the Fine Arts Building. The play is directed by Becca Plunkett.

Media Coverage

Tim O’Neill, professor of political science, was quoted in a story the Austin American-Statesman did on the 2010 Texas governor’s race. Read the story here.

The Williamson County Sun ran a story on Religion Professor Laura Hobgood-Oster’s new book. The Sun also ran a story about employees who received the Mundy Award.

Notables

Melissa Byrnes, assistant professor of history, had an article titled “Teaching the French Revolution from the Inside Out: Views from Egypt and the Caribbean” published in the spring 2010 issue of the World History Bulletin. The article is based on a course she taught at Southwestern in spring 2009. Read the article here.

Alisa Gaunder, associate professor of political science, presented a paper titled “The Problems with and Potential for Institutional Transfer from the U.S. to Japan:  The Case of EMILY’s List and WIN WIN” at the Japan America Women’s Symposium in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 1. This meeting was held in conjunction with the American Political Science Association.

Artwork by Professor Mary Hale Visser has been selected for the International Conference on Information Visualisation to be held in London and the International Conference on Computer Graphics, Imaging and Visualisation to be held in Sydney, Australia. Visser’s gallery of artwork can be found here.