Research puts student “in the moment” in Egypt

September 27, 2012

Hannah Lawrence in Egypt

Hannah Lawrence ’13, a political science and justice studies dual major, traveled to Cairo, Egypt, this summer to examine how women have fared politically and economically since the 2011 revolution. A Hamel Center grant funded the 10-week trip. Associate Professor of Political Science Jeannie Sowers served as mentor.

“It was really moving and inspiring from the moment I got off the plane,” she says. “I was fortunate to be there when people were openly talking about politics and the revolution. Everybody wanted to tell you their side of the story, their take on the revolution and how it’s shaping everything else. It was really special to hear those firsthand accounts.”

Through interviews with 12 Egyptian women, Hannah learned quite a bit about the current state of women’s rights in Egypt.

Hannah discovered that Suzanne Mubarak, Hosni Mubarak’s wife, had backed laws benefitting women, including Parliamentary quotas and divorce rights. However, “those laws have become branded as Suzanne’s laws,” observes Lawrence. “They have western feminist connotations that have harmed the women’s rights movement. They’re seen as part of the old regime.”

Last year, the country’s military rulers jettisoned the quota for women in Parliament. Without a quota system, and with the names of female candidates often placed low on party lists, only eight women were elected to the 508-member legislative body. This year, Parliament members unsuccessfully tried to rescind the right to a divorce for women and to lower the minimum age of marriage for girls to fourteen.

“A lot of women were feeling like they can’t even work toward gaining further economic and political rights because they’re having to fight for the rights they’ve already achieved,” Lawrence says.

Another challenge she found is an overall lack of coordination among the various groups advocating for women’s rights in the new Constitution. “That’s what a lot of women I talked to said was hurting them. They do not have a united front to express their demands.”

Read the full story by Sonia Scherr ‘13MFA in UNH Today.

The drug wars: views from the south and the north

September 24, 2012

man confiscating drugs
A series of four lectures, commencing this week, will focus on the drug wars in the U.S. and south of the border.

“The topic of drug policy generates substantial debate, and this debate can be quite heated,” said Mary Fran Malone, associate professor of political science.

This interplay of ideas is central to the Saul O Sidore Memorial Lecture Series, of which these lectures are a part. The annual series, sponsored by the UNH Center for the Humanities, examines the critical and sometimes controversial issues facing our society.

Professor Jon Hurwitz of the University of Pittsburgh begins the series this Thursday, September 27, with an examination of the consequences of the U.S. “War against Drugs.”  4 p.m., MUB Theatre II.

Free and open to the public.

Learn more.

Where can undergraduate research take you? An update on Chris Foss

September 20, 2012
Chris Foss in front of the Duomo of Milan

Chris Foss in front of the Duomo of Milan

Chris Foss ’13 won a UNH Hamel Center research grant to spend the summer in Italy taking bassoon lessons and shadowing Italian Bassoonist Giorgio Versiglia as he taught, rehearsed and performed. Foss first met Versiglia in a master class at UNH.

In a highlight of his trip, Foss and his mentor played together in a performance of the opera Murder at the Cathedral in Milan’s Duomo, which took five centuries to build and is the fourth-largest cathedral in the world.

“It was an incredible shock,” says Foss, “and an amazing experience to walk into such a huge piece of culture and history, and to experience the sound in that place, and to know that echoing along with the music are all the stories of the people in that space. There was a certain weight to the air and stone.”

Read the full story by Sonia Scherr ‘13MFA in UNH Today.

September 17, 2012

"Versatile" is a word befitting the considered contemporary life. --Svetlana Peshkova, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Psychology professor’s article named “Best Article” of year by peers

September 13, 2012

cover of History of Psychology journal

Professor Ben Harris’s article on Arnold Gesell, published in the refereed journal, History of Psychology, has just been selected “Best Article” in the 2011 volume by the journal’s publisher, The Society for the History of Psychology, a division of the American Psychological Association. The winning article is entitled “Arnold Gesell’s progressive vision: Child hygiene, socialism, and eugenics.” The president of the Society, Andrew Winston, points out in his award letter that this award is the most important one given by the Society. “It is a direct reflection of the value placed on your [Harris’s] scholarship,” Winston adds.

Read more about the research that led to this article.

Sundaes on Monday at Ham Smith

September 10, 2012

Students and faculty of the English Department having a sundae-making social

Make-your-own sundaes hour is just wrapping up in front of Hamilton Smith Hall. The English Department hosted this free treat today from 12-1 p.m. so students could “get the scoop” on the Department, meet their professors, and make new friends. Yum.

Psychology professor researches popular Laws of Life Contest

September 6, 2012

UNH Professor of Psychology Victoria Banyard is a co-investigator on a comprehensive mixed-methods evaluation of the popular essay contest, The Laws of Life.

The Laws of Life Contest, sponsored by the Templeton Foundation, has been running for 25 years. It has spawned numerous similar contests worldwide. The contest invites high school students to contemplate the guiding laws or rules that are important to their lives, such as “the golden rule” or values such as love, gratitude, generosity, etc. The winner receives a $5,000 scholarship. More than 100,000 students enter the contest annually.

The University of the South has been awarded a $1.1 million, 3-year grant to conduct the first scientific evaluation of the essay contest. Banyard and her colleagues plan to assess the effects of writing the essay and how expressive writing on the Laws of Life might help people as they experience challenges in life.

Read more about the project at

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