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In Focus: 12/11/2009

A weekly newsletter published by the Communications Office

Top News

FILMMAKER MIRA NAIR TO GIVE 2010 WRITER’S VOICE LECTURE

Mira Nair, an Indian-born filmmaker who has brought several major literary works to film, will be the 2010 visiting author in the Writer’s Voice Series sponsored by the A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library Center. The lecture has been set for Tuesday, Nov. 9.

Nair came to the United States to attend Harvard University. There, she met screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala and gradually moved towards making documentary films.

Nair’s first feature film, “Salaam Bombay!” came out in 1988 and received more than 25 international awards, including an Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Film and two awards at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival. She also directed the 2001 film “Monsoon Wedding,” which became one of the highest grossing foreign films of all time.

Other films that Nair has directed include “Mississippi Masala” with Denzel Washington (1991); “Vanity Fair” with Reese Witherspoon (2004), which was based on the book by William Makepeace Thackeray; “The Namesake” with Kal Penn (2005), which was adapted from Jhumpa Lahiri’s bestselling novel; and the 2009 film “Amelia” starring Hilary Swank and Richard Gere.

In 2002, Nair directed “Hysterical Blindness” for HBO, which gave the channel its highest original film ratings ever, winning a Golden Globe Award and three Emmy Awards.

Her next film will be an adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s bestselling novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which will be filmed in New York, Pakistan and Chile in 2010.

“Mira Nair is a wonderful interpreter of major works for film,” said Lynne Brody, dean of Library Services.

Nair has used the profits from her films to set up several nonprofit organizations, including one that provides housing for homeless children in India and another that is training aspiring filmmakers in East Africa.

Brody said Nair is an ideal candidate for the Writer’s Voice lecture because faculty will be able to incorporate her work into a variety of classes.

For more information about Nair, or to read audience reactions to the 2009 Writer’s Voice visit of author Tobias Wolff, visit the Writers Voice Web site.

Events

HISTORIC HOMES ON TOUR IN GEORGETOWN THIS WEEKEND

The Georgetown Heritage Society is sponsoring its annual Holiday Home Tour this weekend (Dec. 12 and 13) from noon to 5 p.m. This year’s tour will showcase five homes in Old Town, several of which have connections to Southwestern.

Among the houses on the tour will be the house at 1243 Main St. which was built by the Belford Lumber Company in 1901 for Ryland Fletcher Young, who was one of the original five long-time professors at Southwestern. The house was originally located on land that is now part of the Southwestern campus and was known as the Young Dairy Farm. It was moved to Main Street in 1978 and has been meticulously restored.

Tickets for the tour are $10 in advance and $15 the day of the tour. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Georgetown Visitor Center, the Hill Country Bookstore, the Georgetown Antique Mall and the Sun City Community Association Office. Tickets also may be purchased the days of the tour at each featured home, as well as at and Grace Heritage Center, which is the Hospitality Center for the tour.

For more information, visit http://www.georgetownheritagesociety.com  

Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun ran a feature story about cafeteria employee Ella Sedwick.

The Williamson County Sun ran a story about the 2010 Shilling Lecture speaker.

Notables

Alexandra Anderson, associate director of Career Services, has been selected to receive the Southern Star Award from the Southern Association of Colleges and Employers (SoACE). Anderson will receive the award Dec. 15 at organization’s annual conference in Nashville, Tenn.

Anderson was selected to receive the award for her outstanding support of the organization for the past two years. SoACE is a 15-state, 800-member organization of human resources, college relations and career service professionals with the mission of promoting partnerships between career services professionals and employers that facilitate member career development and employment of  college students and alumni.

Computer science professors Suzanne Buchele and Barbara Boucher Owens visited local middle schools this week to encourage students to pursue careers in computer science.

Buchele and Owens taught classes at Tippit and Benold Middle Schools on Alice, a computer programming language that was developed to attract middle school students to computing. The classes were held as part of National Computer Science Education Week.

Junior philosophy major Remington Robertson and junior English major Andrew Dornon co-presented a paper at the Deleuze and Activism Conference Nov. 12-13. The conference was held at Cardiff University in Cardiff, Wales, and focused on applying Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s philosophy to forms of political activism. Their paper titled “Segmentation & Sexual Politics” critiqued the United States institution of marriage and the modern sexual liberation movements’ quest for identity. They have been asked to submit their paper to be published as a chapter in Deleuze Studies: Deleuze & Political Activism, forthcoming in December 2010 by Edinburgh University Press.