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Boston University Arts & Sciences
CAS News August 15, 2013
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Students on a fieldtrip to the Maruhubi Ruins.
Maya Temples and Tombs Give New Insights into Maya History
A beautifully decorated polychrome-painted stucco frieze was recently unearthed by CAS Research Assistant Professor of Archaeology Francisco Estrada-Belli’s team at the site of Holmul, a Classic Maya city in the northeastern Petén region of Guatemala. The discovery was made as the team excavated a tunnel left open by looters. The remarkably well-preserved carving depicts human figures in a mythological setting, suggesting these may be deified rulers. The team, which included BU recent alumna Anya Shetler (CAS’12), made the discovery in the foundations of a Maya pyramid on the site. Read more
New Research Simulates Future New England Climate
Associate Professor of Biology Pamela Templer has embarked on an ambitious study to help answer a looming question: How will New England’s forest species react to continued global warming?

Last summer, Templer began a five-year study that aims to simulate the effects of a five-degree centigrade spike in New England’s annual average temperatures. To do this, she and her colleagues installed heating coils underground in a section of New Hampshire’s Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. They also shoveled snow away from selected plots to simulate the counterintuitive effect of a reduced snow pack—soil that freezes more readily, damaging tree roots and insect populations. Templer’s work was recently featured on the Car Talk blog and in Scientific American.
The Sun’s Ripple Effect
A new study co-authored by CAS astronomers indicates that the sun, like a boat moving through water, likely forms a crescent-shaped shockwave—or bow shock—as it moves through interstellar gas. These findings challenge recent predictions that no bow shock would be found. Read more
New Research Advances Search for Chemical/Genetic Approach to Fighting Tumors
A new study co-authored by Professor of Chemistry John Porco, along with collaborators at the Whitehead Institute, has clarified how a naturally occurring anticancer molecule helps to fight tumor growth. The researchers found that rocaglamide A, an inhibitor of translation initiation, is a strong inhibitor of Heat Shock Factor 1 (HSF1) activation. HSF1 inhibitors have received significant attention for their potential role in the rapid development of anticancer drugs with completely new modes of action. Read more
Who Owns the Arctic?
Bill Keylor analyzes nations’ scrounging for resources
As warmer temperatures melt the Arctic, they open new shipping lanes that make it easier to reach a place once sought only by daredevils like Admiral Richard E. Byrd. There is already an Arctic Council, comprising the eight countries with land bordering the Circle—the United States, Russia, Canada, Iceland, Finland, and the three Scandinavian countries. Last month, the council granted observer status to six countries distant from the region: China, Japan, India, Italy, South Korea, and Singapore.

The goal is to persuade the newcomers to buy into the council’s principles for governing the Arctic as climate change thaws a sure-to-be-beaten trail to its resources. William Keylor, professor of international relations and history, says there are legitimate worries about what will unfold way, way north of our border. Keylor discussed the issue with BU Today. Read more
Features
In the Lab: Navigating with Grid Cells
Michael Hasselmo explains how rats, bats find their way
In this CAS-produced video feature, Professor of Psychology and Associate Director of BU’s Center for Memory & Brain Michael Hasselmo discusses the function of “grid cells” and how they relate to spatial memory in the brains of rats. He then compares his lab’s findings with Israeli researchers doing similar studies with bats. The videos are part of the student-produced Explorations video series, which aims to delve deeper into compelling faculty research at CAS. Watch Parts 1 and 2 of the Hasselmo feature here.
GRS Alum Organizes Exhibition of Brook Farm Archaeological Treasures
Over its long and storied history, Brook Farm, in nearby West Roxbury, has been put to many uses: first as a Native American hunting ground, later as a dairy farm and a Civil War camp, and more recently as a Lutheran-run orphanage. But the 179-acre parcel is best known as the site of one of the country’s most famous Utopian communities. Founded on the principles of transcendentalism, the community lasted just six years—1841 to 1847—before it collapsed.

Now, thanks to the work of archaeologist Sarah Keklak, many of the uncovered secrets of Brook Farm’s past can be seen in the exhibition Beyond Utopia: 5,000 Years at Brook Farm. Keklak (CAS’09, GRS’13), who recently earned a master’s in archaeological heritage management at BU, got involved in the project almost by accident. Read more
A Love Affair with Chocolate
CAS rising senior Amrita (Amy) Singh, an international relations and economics major, has had a love affair with chocolate since she was little. In May, while studying abroad in London, she was invited to present a TEDx talk in Prague. Her topic? Chocolate, and how her childhood fascination led her to create her own chocolate bars, meet world-famous chocolatiers, and speak out against the use of child labor in cocoa production.

After being told by adults that she could never succeed without factory machinery, at age nine Amy set her mind to try anyway. Ignoring the complexities of the chocolate-making process and motivated by a child’s curiosity, she repurposed kitchen machinery to be just as effective as industrial machinery in chocolate factories. At age 15, she decided to make a documentary about child labor in cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast, where roughly 40 percent of the world’s chocolate supply originates. Watch Amy’s TED Talk or visit her website.
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Faculty Meetings & Deadlines
26
AUG
All-BU New Faculty Orientation
27
AUG
Chairs and Directors Orientation
Faculty Meetings
Faculty News

Associate Professor of Modern Languages & Comparative Literature Sarah Frederick and Associate Professor of the History of Art & Architecture Alice Tseng received funding from the Hariri Institute for a project creating a template for mapping references in literature, film, art, fashion, and cinema to specific urban spaces and architecture. They plan to begin with a pilot webpage on the city of Kyoto, Japan. Their goal is to create an easily navigable and interactive online guide and database that is useful for undergraduate teaching and for the broader research community. The researchers will kick off the project this fall semester with mapping Nobel Prize laureate Kawabata Yasunari’s 1962 novel Old Capital, a fictional work that takes the reader on a tour of the major cultural sites and festivals of Kyoto through the four seasons of one single calendar year in the life of a family engaged in kimono design.

Associate Professor of International Relations Kevin Gallagher authored a policy paper for the Paulson Institute on why China’s development banks should adhere to stronger social and environmental standards. Gallagher went to China last month to present the findings to the Chinese government, to Chinese academics, and to the Beijing Foreign Correspondents Club. The Paulson Institute, founded by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, is a think tank with ties to the highest levels of government in China.

Associate Professor of English Maurice Lee has received funding from the Hariri Institute for his research into “Lost Worlds and Found Words: A Prehistory of the Digital Humanities.” Proponents and skeptics of the digital humanities tend to agree that data-driven literary criticism is unprecedented. As the authority of numbers has grown across a range of domains, literary thinkers face a question: What can data tell us—and not tell us—about the meaning of books? “Lost Worlds and Found Words” addresses this question by subjecting hundreds of nineteenth-century adventure novels to statistical analysis. Such novels typically entail a flight from modernity to deserted islands, frontiers, and lost worlds, even as they describe their fantastic experiences in quantitative terms. By tracking and correlating two word clusters, Lee seeks to describe the changing relationship between quantification and mass print culture.

Africa Studies Center Director and CAS Associate Professor of Political Science Timothy Longman led a six-week study abroad program in Zanzibar, May 27 to July 5. Eight students from BU, the University of Indiana, and Skidmore College studied Swahili and learned about the history of race, religion, and politics in East Africa. The students stayed with Zanzibari families and took field trips throughout the island to beaches, spice farms, palace ruins, development projects, slave sites, and nature preserves.


Students on a fieldtrip to the Maruhubi Ruins.

Professor of Political Science Cathie Jo Martin has been awarded the J. David Greenstone annual prize by the Politics and History section of the American Political Science Association (APSA) for her book with Duane Swank, The Political Construction of Business Interests. The prize recognizes the best book in history and politics in the past two calendar years. Read more

Professor of History Diana Wylie will spend next academic year as a Senior Fulbright Research Scholar in Morocco. Since 2010, she has visited the neighboring country of Algeria four times, primarily to research the work of a historic preservation movement in the city of Oran. Now she is taking this research interest to three cities in Morocco: Casablanca, Tangier, and Meknes. She will investigate historic preservation in these cities, looking at what sites are being preserved and what meaning they have for local people. She aims to illuminate the question of what should be preserved and why.

this month's accolades
Student News

Two BA/MPH dual degree students, Kelsie Driscoll and Cecilia Vu (both CAS’13, now at SPH) co-authored an article in Substance Use & Misuse titled “Drug Use and Suicidality Among Asian American Women Who Are Children of Immigrants.” This study investigates the association between drug use and lifetime suicidal behaviors among Asian American women residing throughout Massachusetts. The authors’ logistic regression models identified that a history of hard drug use alone or in combination with soft drug use has a significant association with both suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among Asian American women. These findings highlight the importance of addressing hard drug use when designing suicide prevention programs for Asian American women. Read more.

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