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Funds for Tang teaching

More use of exhibitions in teaching, more faculty-curated shows, and more guest scholars will be supported with a $1.2 million grant from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund to assist Skid- more’s Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery. According to Dayton Director John Weber, “This exciting grant sup- ports our collaborations with faculty to create exhibitions and object-oriented learning that engages Skidmore students in the museum as part of their education here. This grant allows us to support fac- ulty and student work at the museum in a truly breathtaking range of ways and degrees.”

In nearly fulfilling a three-to-one matching grant from the Andrew W. Mel-

lon Foundation, the Tisch funding helps establish a $4.8 million endowment that will support a new associate curator and assistant registrar for faculty and student collaborations, help underwrite faculty academic and curatorial work with the Tang, fund a faculty seminar on museum-based


teaching, and help maintain the Tang’s new Web site and its preservation of dy- namic, interactive versions of exhibitions past, present, and future. The Tisch and Mellon grants build on

Periclean Scholars demonstrate their gifts

What skills might new graduates want to pack for their journey into postcam- pus life? Well, many are bringing along a signature Skidmore “gift” described by senior-class president Michael Cass- Antony at Commencement—to wit, “the ability to study almost anything we want, to major in two completely differ- ent subjects, take classes in any disci- pline … and create something entirely our own.” That interdisciplinary freedom was richly demon-


strated by the four senior Periclean Scholar Award winnners the day before Commencement. Krista Martin’s senior thesis, catchily titled “Hookers and Holidays,” offered a textbook example of agile cross-discipli- narity. Drawing on management and business, women’s studies, and a little legal theory, Martin explored the poten- tial upsides of pooling organizational re- sources by two of Nevada’s industries, Las Vegas tourism and legalized prostitution. Thorny questions of morality, feminism, and women’s labor abound, but as Martin pointed out, the two seemingly disparate industries offer complementary “fantasy experience” services and could profitably share stakes in Las Vegas’s “Sin City” brand. Two PowerPoint slides—showing

the notorious Moonlite Bunny Ranch brothel before and after its renovation into a premier “sexualized touristic desti- nation”—were particularly persuasive. A different kind of real estate attracted Emma Newcombe: those elegant manor houses in Jane Austen novels. When Newcombe examined classics ranging from Pride and Prejudice to Mansfield Park, she found that the characters’ seemingly mundane chatter about expensive manor-improve- ment projects actu-

ally allowed Austen to covertly address some prickly social and political issues of her time. While Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy and his handsome estate Pember- ley do come off well, Austen’s descrip- tions of other characters’ lavish architec- tural and landscape renovations reveal not the supposed nobility of the higher classes but their deeper character flaws. Mansfield Park in particular, noted New- combe, offers “a subtle but scathing cri- tique of the landed gentry.” The resource-management question intriguing Nicolás Raga was a highly cur- rent one: “Does democracy increase the stringency of a nation’s environmental policy?” Answer: Yes, in richer demo- cratic countries. But in nations at lower levels of economic development, income

is a more crucial factor. In his cross- sectional study of 140 countries, Raga worked with “one of the backbones of environmental economics,” the Environ- mental Kuznets Curve, which plots the relationship between per-capita income and the handling of natural resources. According to the EKC hypothesis, as in- come in poor countries increases, pollu- tion increases along with it—but only until a threshold level of income is reached. After that, democracy plays a role, supporting a demand for environ- mental quality that puts pressure on na- tional institutions and tends to “green” the regulatory framework of the country, Raga explained.

Unlike Periclean peers whose work often stretched the bounds of several dis- ciplines, Anne Wisan worked from a sin- gle passionate focus—her rich alto voice in performance. Accompanied on the piano by her faculty sponsor Anne Turner, Wisan sang “Er, der herrlichste von allen” from Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben, Johannes Brahms’s “Vergebliches Ständchen,” and “Solitary Hotel” from Samuel Barber’s song cycle Despite and Still. Finally—as if to bring the proceedings full circle from the “hookers and holidays” business study—Wisan also delivered a smoky, sultry version of Cole Porter’s ”Love for Sale.” —BM


Skid more’s distinc- tive work in “ob- ject exhibition and knowledge.” In the Tang’s 10 years, dozens of faculty members have cre- ated or adapted courses to integrate Tang programs into their teaching be- cause, as one ex- plains, “the ob-

jects we encounter there make cultural preoccupations visible and palpable, challenging us to look more closely, think more deeply, and ask questions about both the past and the present.”


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