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Jazz legend Dave Brubeck (cen - ter, at piano) performs with Triple Play

—his son Chris Brubeck, Skidmore fac- ulty member Joel Brown, and Peter “Madcat” Ruth—at Saratoga ArtsFest. Brown’s father, clarinetist Frank Brown, also joined the group, for a double father-son reunion. The chemistry between the acclaimed trio and the venerable, virtuosic fathers delighted the huge Zankel Center audience. Bru - beck the elder is a Grammy, Ken nedy Center, and BBC award ee; Brown the elder was one of Reggie’s Red Hot Feet Warmers and still teaches music. The concert was a highlight of the 100-plus art, dance, theater, and other events held all over town and on campus in mid-June. —BK, SR

Don’t talk politics?

Emily Post would gasp. Skidmore has been publicly discussing politics—and religion. It’s taken on gender, race, class, and nationality too. All were fair game in a series of campuswide conversations called “Intersections.” The series cap- stone was a lecture by social critic Cornel West, the outspoken Princeton professor who wrote Race Matters and other books. Promising to “unnerve” and “un- house” the 700-plus listeners who packed Zankel’s Ladd Concert Hall and overflowed into other auditoriums, West mused, preached, argued, and fielded questions. He said “candor and cour - age,” even “a willingness to be wounded in the conversation,” are required in worthwhile discussions about race, class, and other identity issues. He proposed that race is really about the crucial, sometimes frightening question of “what it means to be human—that is, a two-legged, linguistically conscious creature” who is social and political and aware of mortality. He said America has become less racist but not postracial. For any democracy, he said, the key question is “What is the fundamental relationship between the common good and the vul- nerable?” Yet social movements in the US have been taking on the most vulner- able instead of the most powerful. Citing


“Socratic energy” as the most honest, humane way to interrogate and solve difficult social problems, West lamented that today “our public spaces are filled with finger pointing.” For him, success is fine but it’s not greatness; having smarts doesn’t mean having a good character. “What did Lucy Scribner say? ‘Mind and hand.’ And to that I would add ‘soul.’ I’m sure she was a soulful sister in her own way and in her own day.” Earlier in the spring, Skid- more’s Commit- tee on Intercul- tural and Global Understanding and other Inter- sections spon-

sors hosted a panel on national identity. Professor Jordana Dym, a historian of nation-building in Latin America, de- scribed the difficulties of uniting indige- nous groups and immigrants into one

political state. Spanish professor Maria Fernanda Lander spoke about the idea of shared heritage and touched on the his- tory of US-Mexico border conflicts. Yas- min Hormozi ’11 spoke of her Indian heritage and the prejudices she has faced. And business professor Pushi Prasad raised issues of global trade and transnational cor - porations.


Professor Win- ston Grady-Willis, director of inter - cultural studies, describes the Inter- sections series as a response to “the need for a princi- pled, substantive discussion of diver- sity and inclusion that interrogates racism, sexism, het- erosexism, and class

contradictions.” Not exactly easy or be- nign topics, but the sponsors weren’t fostering small talk; for them, as for Cor- nel West, these are topics for “dialogue, critical thinking, and engagement.” —SR



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