“We all have to face this thing sometime,” my wife’s father, Lucas Dargan, told me around the time he turned ninety-nine.
Six months later, he found himself facing precisely that “thing.” A retired forester who planted over a million trees in his lifetime, he had split wood every morning until two years before.
Tonight, he lay in a hospital bed at the McCleod hospital in Florence, South Carolina, unable to properly swallow or get out of bed unassisted. Family members took turns staying overnight with him, and this night was my turn. At one point, I thought he was sleeping. I was working on my computer, when I heard lines from a poem coming from the other side of the room:
Jim Lance joined Cornell University Press this year as senior acquiring editor for anthropology and social science. A graduate of Haverford College, he earned a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in African history from Stanford University. Lance came to Cornell from Kumarian Press, where he served as editor and publisher, acquiring books in comparative politics, international development, and globalization. Prior to that, he served as the African Studies Editor for Greenwood-Heinemann.
Sage House: Your academic background was initially in international relations and African history. Can you tell us what led you to your new role as acquiring editor in anthropology at Cornell University Press?
Jim Lance: Academia is a very critical profession. In publishing, although it’s necessarily critical, by and large the goal is to be supportive [of the author], and to make something. I really like that. For me, personally, the academy felt too hermetic, with people talking to each other and not talking to a broader community. And among university presses Cornell is definitely geared not only for the academic community, but toward other purposes and missions.
SH: What’s the broader purpose or mission of Cornell University Press as you see it?
JL: I think there’s a definite sense of social justice at Cornell. ILR Press is obviously the most visible presence, but Roger Haydon’s books, many of them, have a component that asks, “What does this mean for society as a whole?” Michael [McGandy]’s and certainly Kitty [Liu]’s books as well. There’s a sense that these books are bigger than the book itself; they’re about what kind of society we want to live in. Continue reading ““Beyond the Academy”: An Interview with Senior Anthropology Editor Jim Lance”→
The Witness, directed and produced by James Solomon, William Genovese, and Melissa Jacobson, with Trish Govoni as director of photography, is an evocative tribute to Kitty Genovese, one of America’s most infamous and enduring crime victims. It is an intense, surprising and at times disturbing account of her brother Bill’s eleven-year search to learn the truth about the cold night in 1964 when 28-year-old Kitty was fatally assaulted near her home in Kew Gardens, Queens. It also is a poignant portrait of a man on a mission to make peace with a horrible family trauma that became an international symbol of apathy.
Bill is a thoughtful and soft-spoken man in his late 60s who conducts his search from his wheelchair, an indirect result of his response to a cultural call to action that his sister’s death immediately generated. After joining the Marines a few years later, he lost his legs in an explosion while leading his troops on a dangerous mission in Vietnam. “But I had people who helped me,” he says in the film. “I survived.” Continue reading “Witnessing “The Witness” – A Film Review by Marcia Gallo”→
An Assessment Panel assessing the response of the World Health Organization (WHO) to the Ebola crisis concluded, in no uncertain terms, that, “The Ebola crisis . . . exposed organizational failings in the functioning of the WHO,” and called for important organizational reforms. While insightful, the analysis looks at the current situation with little attention to the historical context leading to existing deficiencies. Without understanding the sources of the current problems, it might be hard to fix them.
The WHO’s organizational difficulties today are not inherent or necessary aspects of this or any other international organization. Indeed, during most of its existence, the WHO was one of the more respected UN agencies. Instead, the WHO was thwarted by policy changes implemented over the past twenty years, which have undermined its operational capabilities and neglected poor countries’ health care infrastructure. The consequences of those changes today—lack of international alertness and a dire situation of health clinics in many countries—is why Ebola has turned into an international emergency, which could and should have been prevented. Continue reading “Nitsan Chorev Reflects on the “Report of the Ebola Interim Assessment Panel””→
Motherhood, the Elephant in the Laboratory makes evident the institutional structures that block parents’ careers, but, more important, it reveals the myriad ways in which male partners of mothers don’t shoulder their fair share of the physical and psychological labor associated with child care. What’s going on with these men? Some of them probably think that because they are more established in their careers or make more money than their partners, they are justified in leaving domestic drudgery to the women who were once their intellectual companions.