Putting history on trial

first_imgWhat can historians learn by being expert witnesses in court? They can learn to cooperate, to state the facts, and to leave their opinions and academic squabbles in the library.“There’s no room for academic blather,” said Caroline Elkins, a Harvard history professor who studies colonial rule in East Africa. In court, she said in a recent lecture, the judge is the “teacher” and the academics — famous for squabbling — have to give up their “sandbox.”In 2008, Elkins was named the first of three “expert witnesses,” historians who were called upon to provide evidence to the High Court of Justice in London. (She and the others are advisers to the British law firm Leigh Day.) At issue is a coming trial that gives aging Kenyan Mau Mau insurgents and sympathizers the opportunity to prove claims of rape, torture, murder, and other crimes that they allege happened in the waning days of British colonial rule in the East African country.The Mau Mau led a 1952-1960 rebellion that British officials at the time called “the Emergency.” In that era, 32 white civilians were killed. At least 11,000 — and perhaps as many as 50,000 — black Kenyans died, half of them children. About 80,000 were imprisoned, and up to 1.5 million were displaced and shuttled into what Elkins called a “pipeline” of prisons and forced settlements.Elkins is author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain’s Gulag in Kenya” (2005). This month, she will send the third installment of her testimony to the court, a 75-page document. The two British historians who recently joined her as expert witnesses, are David Anderson, whose book about Kenya, “Histories of the Hanged,” also appeared in 2005, and young defense studies scholar Huw C. Bennett.Elkins studies the civil side of the conflict: the Mau Mau era’s camps and prisons. Anderson studies capital cases from a time when due process was suspended and 800 insurgents were sent to the gallows. Bennett studies the role of the British Army in putting down the rebellion, including controversial interrogation and intelligence-gathering methods.“We each have our own specialties,” said Elkins during a Jan. 25 lecture, the first in a weekly spring colloquium series sponsored by the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute. But all of them are “revisionists” who challenge traditional interpretations of the war, including the usual assumption that British colonial abuses in Kenya were the exception and not the rule.Collectively, said Elkins during her Thompson Room lecture, their scholarship provides what she called in a recent article an “alchemy of evidence,” a portrait of “systematic violence over time” by colonial authorities against the Mau Mau.On a screen behind her, she showed a chart of how the punitive British pipeline worked, circa 1954. “I had to reconstruct the logic of the pipeline itself,” she said, a task that took her five years in British and Kenyan archives. “This case rests on historical evidence,” said Elkins. Without it, Mau Mau plaintiffs never would have won the right to trial.Contact with the courtroom offers a cautionary tale, she said. The intellectual tumult of historical debate in journals and in the press reveals fault lines, and scholars consider a little battering the price of doing business. (Elkins called such paper battles “a nerd-off.”) But the particulars of such scholarly debates will be used in court. If a book review criticized one of the historians on methodology, for instance, that contention becomes grist for a defense lawyer and is open to legal scrutiny. That’s what makes this case novel, said Elkins. “History is on trial.”Her own use of African oral histories in “Imperial Reckoning” led some reviewers to call the book speculative and lightweight, she said, as if it were “some kind of fictive account of Mau Mau memory.” But if you look at the book carefully, Elkins said, there are 600 footnotes and fewer than 300 citations from oral histories.At the same time, having to send documents to court gave historians lessons in compression. For her first expert testimony, Elkins said, she boiled down her book into a 100-page document. It contained just the facts, without shading, asides, or opinions. After all, objective reasoning is at the core of the legal system, said Elkins. But there can be a culture clash between the law and humanistic scholarship. In the law, she said, “there is none of the kind of indeterminacy that we like.”From 2006 to 2009, critics waged a war of opinion over revised histories of the Mau Mau era. But in the end, the collective evidence of the case “is overwhelming,” said Elkins, and points to systematized British abuse of Kenyan civilians. “Like most things in the British Empire, this was very well thought out.”Last year, more evidence came to light, when 300 boxes of British documents from the Mau Mau era (1,500 files) turned up in a secret repository in a village in Southeast England. It was a rare find. (Elkins estimated that from 1958 to 1963, up to 3.5 tons of documents were destroyed by the British in Kenya.)The new papers are being digitized and assessed by what Elkins called her “Team Mau Mau” at Harvard, as well as by a team at the University of Oxford. The files reveal fresh evidence of torture and cover-up, and detail more than 450 cases of abuse.Her role in the civil court case has shown that history can be a “complementary knowledge set” useful in litigation. At the same time, her involvement with the law provided a rare sort of satisfaction. “There’s nothing more satisfying,” said Elkins, “than doing this kind of work and having it matter.”[vimeo 32749559 w=560 h=315]last_img read more

Authors’ aerie

first_imgFaculty and students have settled into the new home of creative writing atop Lamont Library. The bright, windowed fourth-floored space featuring a workshop conference room and faculty offices is a move up from the basement of the Barker Center, where most of the program, which is part of the English Department, was previously housed. Michael Pollan, the Lewis K. Chan Arts Lecturer and professor of the practice of non-fiction; Claire Messud, the Joseph Y. Bae and Janice Lee Senior Lecturer on Fiction; Musa Syeed; and Darcy Frey, Paul and Catherine Buttenwieser Director of Creative Writing,  are among those who lead small workshops in genres such as fiction, playwriting, nonfiction, screenwriting, and poetry.“Creative writing has long been at the heart of the Harvard art-making community,” said Frey. “With the Lamont space, we’re now at the heart of the actual campus. A writer — student or otherwise — would be hard put to find more inspiring views than the ones we have from our fourth-floor aerie: sunlight, clouds, the tops of steeples. We feel like we’re looking out on a sky painted by Constable.”last_img read more

Ex-Trump spokeswoman Sanders running for Arkansas governor

first_imgLITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Former White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders has launched her bid to be the next governor of Arkansas.,Sanders said Monday she’s seeking the Republican nomination for the top office in her home state.,Sanders had been widely expected to run after leaving the White House in 2019 to return to Arkansas.,She was one of now-former President Donald Trump’s closest aides, and she launches her bid after the U.S. House impeached Trump for inciting the deadly siege this month at the U.S. Capitol.,Sanders joins a GOP race that already includes Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.last_img read more

Justin Long, Roger Rees & Judy Kuhn Join WTF Season

first_img Rees, Kuhn, McGillin, Opel, David Garrison and Matthew Deming will join Broadway legend Rivera in The Visit. With a book by Terrence McNally, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, Tony winner John Doyle will direct the production, which will run July 30 through August 17. The Williamstown Theatre Festival has announced additional casting for their Main Stage productions. Justin Long, Roger Rees, Judy Kuhn, Howard McGillin and Nancy Opel are just some of the names that will join the previously announced Chita Rivera and Renée Fleming for WTF’s 60th anniversary season. As previously reported Chris Pine and Lauren Ambrose will appear on the Nikos Stage in Fool For Love. Other productions at the Nikos include A Great Wilderness and The Old Man and the Moon. Opel will also feature alongside Nate Corddry, Christopher Fitzgerald, Holley Fain, Kate MacCluggage and David Turner in Ring Lardner and George S. Kaufman’s June Moon. Directed by Jessica Stone, the play will run from July 2 through July 13. Roger Rees View Comments Star Files The 2014 WTF season is also set to include Just Call Me Nikos, a one-night only tribute to former Williamstown artistic director Nikos Psacharopoulos featuring Dylan Baker, Kate Burton, Olympia Dukakis and more, Living with Lewis, an evening of stand-up with Grammy-winning comedian Lewis Black on July 21 and a free production of Robin Hood by Larry Blamire and directed by Stella Powell-Jones from July 16 through July 19 and July 22 through July 25. WTF will also host a series of late-night cabarets from July 10 through July 12, July 24 through July 26 and August 7 through August 9. Long will appear opposite opera star Fleming in the world premiere of Living on Love, a comedy by Tony winner Joe DiPietro and Garson Kanin. Directed by Kathleen Marshall, the cast will also include Blake Hammond and Scott Robertson and play from July 16 through July 26. Christopher Fitzgerald Chita Riveralast_img read more

Check Out Upcoming Annie Movie’s Emoji-Filled ‘Hard Knock Life’ Lyric Video

first_imgIt’s the *hammer* *fist* *door* *mushroom*. Or, if you don’t speak emoji, the hard knock life. The new star-studded remake of Annie hits movie theaters on December 19, and we now have that iconic orphans’ lament stuck in our heads. Take a listen to the first complete track from the film: Quvenzhané Wallis and company knocking out “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” complete with an updated beat. And, if you know your emoji, you can sing along! It’s quite possible that by the time Wallis is old enough to drive, emoji will be our official language. So study up while listening to showtunes! View Commentslast_img read more

Governor, VBSR and Local First Vermont: Support local retailers, businesses

first_imgThanking the student body at Montpelier Middle School for doing their part to support local businesses this holiday season, Governor Peter Shumlin, small business owners and others today urged Vermonters to support local retailers and employers this holiday season. ‘It’s always important to shop locally and do business with locally-owned companies, but especially critical this year in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene,’ the governor said. ‘Supporting our neighbors, keeping our dollars in our communities and strengthening the state’s economy have never mattered more.’ Andrea Cohen, executive director of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, agreed. ‘It is especially important in light of the recent flooding and devastation from Irene to support each other–businesses helping other businesses and residents, residents helping each other and businesses,’ she said. ‘It is so fantastic to see the young people of Vermont setting an example for all of us by supporting their neighbor businesses now, during the holiday season, and throughout the year.  By buying local you are investing in your community and you are to be commended.’ VBSR has been promoting “Buy Local First” the past two years through the creation of the Local First Vermont Resource Guide and Coupon Book.  The 2011 Book has over 250 coupons for businesses in Chittenden, Addison, and Washington County, and this year is working with Red Barn Fundraising to provide books to school groups for fundraising activity.  Gov. Shumlin and local businesses thanked students at the Montpelier Middle School for selling the buy-local coupon books and supporting community businesses. “The response to the Buy Local First Coupon Book has been tremendous– that is no surprise in a place like Vermont where we all understand that buying local is really about supporting our neighbors and our community,’ Cohen said. ‘We have come a long way in 90 days. In Wilmington and Dover alone, 58 businesses have reopened,’ Gov. Shumlin said. ‘Over the holiday season you can help move Vermont’s recovery forward by continuing to volunteer your time, by encouraging your family to visit Vermont and by re-investing in our local businesses by shopping locally, which will help the State’s recovery and rebuilding efforts.’ The Governor and Cohen said in addition to supporting the local economy and our neighbors’ businesses, local employers give better service and hire locally. Doing business locally is also more environmentally friendly by discouraging sprawl and traffic congestion. And shifting just 10 percent of food purchases to local food would add more than $100 million to Vermont’s economy, while banking locally helps ensure loans to local people and businesses.  Governor’s office. 12.1.2011last_img read more

GE moving ahead with larger, two-piece wind turbine blades

first_imgGE moving ahead with larger, two-piece wind turbine blades FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Windpower Monthly:GE Renewable Energy has launched a new 5.3MW onshore turbine model with a 158-metre rotor.GE’s new 5.3MW turbine will offer the same 158-metre rotor as its 4.8MW model. The new model joins the previously unveiled 4.8MW model, with the same rotor, on GE’s Cypress platform.Its latest iteration will offer a 50% increase in annual energy production over GE’s 3MW platform, the company claimed. The new model will be designed for IEC S class wind speeds and, as with the 2MW and 3MW platforms, use a doubly-fed induction generator. Similar to the 4.8MW, GE’s new turbine will use a two-piece blade design, produced by its Danish subsidiary LM Wind Power.The new model cements GE as the market leader in both onshore and offshore markets in terms of turbine capacity, following the announcement of a 12MW offshore machine in February.GE’s onshore wind CEO, Pete McCabe, said: “The prototype Cypress 4.8-158 is currently under production at our Salzbergen facility in Germany and we are looking forward to deploying and commissioning it by the end of the year.More: GE launches 5.3MW onshore turbinelast_img read more

Five leadership lessons from Willy Wonka

first_img 361SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Bo McDonald Bo McDonald is president of Your Marketing Co. A marketing firm that started serving credit unions nearly a decade ago, offering a wide range of services including web design, branding, … Web: yourmarketing.co Details Gene Wilder was a master of creativity and comedy. Everybody remembers their favorite lines of his. While he played key roles in films such as Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and Silver Streak, Wilder’s best-known work is his portrayal of Willy Wonka.Working in the creative field on behalf of progressive credit unions around the country, the lessons from Willy Wonka help shape our thinking and decision-making process every day.It’s okay to make mistakes. Mistakes and failure aren’t embraced in many corporate cultures. Having a No-Mistake-Mindset is one sure way to cause the slow, spiraling death of your team, your brand and your credit union. Lack of failure means lack of risk. One of Wonka’s famous lines shows that he embraced mistakes and rolled with them: “So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it. Thank you.” Often within our organizations, we see a mistake and instantly start blaming others instead of looking for a solution. Ask the questions that will help you learn from the failure in order to build strength among the team and the organization as a whole. If we make a mistake at YMC, it’s celebrated as an opportunity to learn and grow (after the solution is in place, of course). Embrace silliness. If you were to walk into the YMC office during normal business hours, you could hear a rat tinkle on a cotton ball from 3 miles away. Our team works hard. But when it comes to embracing the creative process, we play hard too. We embrace the famous words of Wonka: “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.” After 5, especially on Fridays when we conduct our “think and drink” meetings, no topic is off limits. It’s often the silliest and the most out there idea that somehow leads to a more realistic idea, which then becomes a full-on project for a credit union that yields historic results. Love and kindness is everything. Disrespect is one thing we don’t tolerate at YMC. Whether it’s internal among team members or external from our clients, we expect courtesy. We’re all human and deserve to be treated with respect. One of the most touching moments of the 1971 cult classic was when Charlie put the stolen Gobstopper on Wonka’s desk. “So shines a good deed in a weary world.” A weary world indeed. Whether interacting with team members, credit union members, vendors, or people in general, be kind. The moment I realized the people who work at YMC are people with hopes, dreams, and fears just like me (and not machines) was the moment things turned around in our culture. It’s a safe place. Mistakes are allowed. Silliness is embraced. Ideas are welcome. There’s love and kindness in every team member at YMC. We carry the same values to every client who we are allowed to serve.In 2002, Wilder was asked about his thoughts on success during an interview with Larry King, and he responded, “Well, you know, success is a terrible thing and a wonderful thing. If you can enjoy it, it’s wonderful. If it starts eating away at you and they’re waiting for more from me, or what can I do to top this, then you’re in trouble. Just do what you love. That’s all I want to do.”If you’re in a leadership position, whether as CEO, CFO or CMO, Wonka left a few great lessons that not only can put a smile on our face, but inspire to make our credit unions a better place for our teams and our members. I’m thankful every day that I get to do what I love. It’s all I want to do. What about you?center_img Creation or destruction is up to you. Veruca Salt had a pretty bad attitude, right up until she was labeled a bad egg and disappeared down the trash chute. When Wonka introduced his Golden Ticket winners to a new candy, Veruca showed just how little imagination she had. “Snozzberries? Who ever heard of a snozzberry?” Wonka’s response is one that should be written in every corner office and every boardroom: “WE are the music makers, and WE are the dreamers of dreams.” We’re often quick to snap at new ideas with every reason why something won’t work, or isn’t a good idea. How many great ideas have been destroyed before ever seeing the light of day? Are you a creator or destroyer on your team? Expect the unexpected. Oh, how true this is for credit unions! We keep risk to a minimum to be in better control of the outcomes. However, playing it too safe has led to many unnecessary mergers—turning once flourishing credit unions into irrelevant relics. Sometimes we need to get on the boat, go through the colorful and scary ride and recite Wonka’s words: “There’s no earthly way of knowing/Which direction they are going… There’s no knowing where they’re rowing…” We have a saying around YMC, given to us by Chris LoCurto: “When you freak, you freeze.” When the going gets tough, many people stop and make no decision at all. Oftentimes that can be more detrimental than making the wrong decision.last_img read more

Hunt for retirement home ends in double whammy

first_imgLyn Butler and her mother Una Zammit found their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow at Opal by Living Gems in Logan Village. Picture — Jamie HansonFINDING the right retirement home isn’t always easy, but this lucky woman found a home for her mother and a job for herself in one go.Lyn Butler said she felt like she’d found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow when she and her mother Una Zammit decided to take a look at Opal by Living Gems in Logan Village.Added to that pot was a job as Opal’s sales manager, that Ms Butler didn’t see coming.“My mum didn’t particularly want to move but the family home was becoming a money pit, older properties require a great deal of maintenance and it can be costly,” she said.“My mum wanted a nice new home, good facilities, companionship and privacy. The property had to be a reasonable investment as she is determined to leave a legacy.”After looking at several properties the pair ended up at Opal by Living Gems. Opal by Living Gems at Logan Village.“We were both delighted with the resort, the homes and the facilities,” Ms Butler said.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this homeless than 1 hour agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor6 hours ago“Although we were house hunting for mum, I felt as if I had found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.“I was so impressed with Opal by Living Gems that I offered to help the sales staff, in a strange turn of events I have now become the sales manager. “I now work within a short stroll of my mum’s house, I can keep an eye on her and make sure she’s not living too much of the high life.”Ms Butler said she was thrilled to be able to tell her siblings, who all live interstate, that their mum had found a lovely new two-bedroom home with more facilities than most holiday resorts.“Mum loved the open plan layout, the light, airy rooms and the spacious bedrooms. I know she was impressed with the ensuite bathroom and she fell in love with the kitchen,” Ms Butler said.She said Opal by Living Gems had a lovely semirural aspect but was within walking distance of the shops, with transport at the gate and a resort bus to take residents on excursions. Opal by Living Gems at Logan Village.“Medical services and a very good hospital are nearby, picturesque Tamborine Mountain is about 10 minutes drive from the resort and it’s less than an hour to Brisbane and the Gold Coast,” Ms Butler said. She said they were impressed by the interior finish of the home and that it was a complete product.“Mum is delighted with her home and has already made new friends. It’s great that pets are welcome and the facilities are fantastic,” Ms Butler said. The facilities include a heated swimming pool, gym, walking tracks, library, a luxurious cinema and an art and crafts room.last_img read more

Early childhood services fall short

first_imgNZ Herald 6 August 2015A report into education for under-3s has found almost half of early childhood services are not doing enough to help babies and toddlers learn.The review of 235 early childhood services providers shows while they are good at establishing warm and nurturing relationships, 46 per cent lack a responsive curriculum that supports our youngest children to be “communicators and explorers”.Experts have labelled the findings “concerning”, with academics saying there are major implications for children’s development if they are not in a quality, stimulating, responsive setting during crucial brain development time.“The best early childhood care, it’s not just babysitting,” said Auckland University research fellow Jean Rockel. “It’s about more than keeping you safe. It’s a critical period of learning, and about developing empathy. It’s time to get things right in these first years. You don’t easily get a second chance with the brain.”The report was undertaken by the Education Review Office in 2014. It was prompted by several earlier studies which also highlighted concerns about education for under-3s.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11492610last_img read more