Letters et cetera
Readers respond to past issues of Arts & Sciences magazine.
Photo by Cade Martin.
Julian Bond (January 2006)
Thank you for the in-depth and well deserved piece on Julian Bond. As I am sure is often the case, my years away from the University have augmented my appreciation for all of the classes that I took at U.Va. Nonetheless, during my time there and now more so than ever, one class, in my mind, stands head and shoulders above the rest: Mr. Bond’s civil rights class.
Mr. Bond is one of the most fascinating, thought-provoking litterateurs that I have had the pleasure to learn from. His class helped me appreciate the freedom and liberties enjoyed by many today and also taught me that one can never take self-determination for granted. Though it saddens me that future ’Hoos will not have the chance to experience Mr. Bond’s class, I wish him all the best in his other endeavors.
Tim Helman (Economics ’02)
Religious studies (October 2005)
Based on the information provided, it appears to me that the entire gist of the Wilcox book “Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands” manages to miss the point completely. It is not any real or imagined perception that significantly more evangelical Protestant men dominate or abuse their wives than do other Christians, or even atheists. Rather it is that, by virtue of their Biblical literalism, evangelicals are required to buy into the patriarchal views of women as expressed both in the scriptures and by the men who laid down the doctrines of the Christian Church. As a result, male evangelicals accept a view of women and their proper place, in marriage in particular and society in general, that is reinforced in contemporary evangelical Protestant Christianity (to say nothing of more orthodox Christian religions such as Roman Catholicism: Gloria Steinem’s observation,“If men had babies, abortion would be a sacrament,” is amusing, but also deeply perceptive). The Southern Baptist Church proclamation granting a husband final authority over his wife and signed by attendees at a Salt Lake City conference (including, significantly, then hopeful Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States Gary Bauer) may not increase the number of men guilty of physical abuse of their wives, but neither does it encourage the treatment of them as persons possessing the right to independent thought and action.
Jeffrey J. W. Baker (Biology ’53)
School of Thought (October 2005)
Angeline Lillard, U.Va. associate professor of psychology and author of “Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius,” discussed the nontraditional teaching method on the “Parents’ Perspective” radio show in February. A digital recording is available online at parentsperspective.org.
Great catch (October 2005)
Together with U.Va. psychology professor Dennis R. Proffitt, Ph.D. candidate — and 2005 World Games Ultimate Frisbee medalist — Jessi Witt (MA, Psychology ’03, PhD ’08) found a correlation between softball players’ batting averages and their perceptions of the size of the ball. Proffitt and Witt describe their findings in a paper that appears in the December 2005 issue of Psychological Science, available online at blackwell-synergy.com.
Frank talk (July 2005)
“What’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America” author Thomas Frank (Echols, History ’87) discussed his best-selling book at an event hosted by the U.Va. Center for Politics. To hear a digital recording of Frank’s talk, visit the U.Va. podcast site at Virginia.edu/uvapodcast.
Arts & Sciences welcomes letters from readers, via e-mail at or by U.S. Mail at P.O. Box 400804, Charlottesville, Va. 22904. We reserve the right to edit letters for length, style and appropriateness.
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