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Qais Akbar Omar (GRS’16), a graduate student in the Creative Writing Program, has published a much-praised memoir, A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story. He recalls how the violence and tumult of civil war jolted his family, who, despite losing relatives, their home, and possessions, continued to nurture his wish to attend a university.

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Faculty Accolates: August 2011

Professor of History Thomas Glick recently published a book titled What About Darwin? The book traces the impact of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution on the cultures of England, the United States, and other nations. It also examines the reactions of Darwin’s contemporaries to his theory and to him as a person. Evolution New published a review of the book.


The American Sociological Association (ASA) is benefitting from an infusion of leadership from Boston University. Associate Professor of Sociology Julian Go has been elected to chair the Comparative and Historical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association for 2011–12. Assistant Professor Laurel Smith-Doerr has been elected as a Member-at-Large on the national council of the ASA, and Assistant Professor Cati Connell will serve on the Sex and Gender Section’s Sally Hacker Award Committee. These new ASA officers join Associate Professor Nazli Kibria, who is currently serving on the ASA Nominations Committee and as a council member in the Migrations Section, as well as Associate Professor Alya Guseva, who is serving on the council of the Economic Sociology section.


Professor of Biology Richard Primack received a Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Conservation Biology for his extraordinary contribution to conservation education worldwide through his textbooks in English and 27 locally adapted textbooks in other languages. The Distinguished Service Award recognizes outstanding individuals, groups, or institutions whose work has furthered the mission of the Society for Conservation Biology to advance the science and practice of conserving Earth’s biological diversity. Primack will also be appointed an Honorary Fellow of the Society for Tropical Biology and Conservation at their meeting next June in Brazil.


Assistant Professor of Philosophy Susanne Sreedhar received a fellowship from the National Humanities Center for the 2011–2012 year. She will be one of 32 leading scholars to come to the center from the faculties of 21 colleges and universities in 10 states and also from universities in South Africa and the United Kingdom. The National Humanities Center will award nearly $1,500,000 in individual fellowship grants to enable scholars to take leave from their normal academic duties and pursue research at the center.


Professor of Romance Studies Carol Neidle and Professor of Computer Science and Chair Stan Sclaroff have been notified of significant National Science Foundation funding this summer for three innovative, collaborative research projects.

Neidle is the PI for the following two grants in partnership with researchers at Rutgers University and the City University of New York: “III: Medium: Collaborative Research: Linguistically Based ASL Sign Recognition As A Structured Multivariate Learning Problem” ($8,000 REU supplement to an existing $461,000 grant), and “HCC: Medium: Collaborative Research: Generating Accurate, Understandable Sign Language Animations Based on Analysis of Human Signing” ($385,957).

Neidle and Sclaroff are co-PIs on a third collaborative project, “Collaborative Research: CI-ADDO-EN: Development of Publicly Available, Easily Searchable, Linguistically Analyzed, Video Corpora for Sign Language and Gesture Research,” with researchers from Rutgers, Gallaudet University and the University of Texas, Arlington, which has been funded at $368,205.