Bates in Brief Academics: Fanny Dickens, retiring professors, new professorships

Resurrecting Fanny

James Parakilas settles at the piano. He begins to play. The notes, composed about 180 years ago, not been played — or heard — by anyone since.

Hearing the music, too, is English professor Lillian Nayder. She rediscovered the music in the archives of Britain’s Royal Academy of Music while researching the life of the composer, Fanny Dickens, elder sister of Charles.

As English professor Lillian Nayder continues researching the Dickens family, she’s finding that Fanny’s got talent. Image courtesy of the Rare Book Department, Free Library of Philadelphia.

Parakilas, the Moody Family Professor of Performing Arts, transcribed the music for piano and brought it back to life.

Parakilas plays on: an anthem for four voices in F major, a single chant in D minor and a canon in F major. None takes longer than one minute to perform. “Fanny’s timing and use of intervals in these pieces is quite sophisticated, and she handles multiple voices in different ranges quite well,” Parakilas tells Nayder.

Today, the pieces are as forgotten as their composer.

Nayder is the author of The Other Dickens: A Life of Catherine Hogarth, a look at Charles’ poor treatment of his estranged wife (Fall 2011 Bates Magazine). She is now turning to other women in Dickens’ life, as she drafts a historical novel that examines the complex relations among his sisters and sisters-in-law.

As Nayder listens to Parakilas play, she envisions a young woman with considerable musical talent, with her own strong power of expression. She is getting to know her a little better.

A Great IDea

Photograph by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College.

Five former John Kelsey students flash their Bates pedigree — in the form of their Bates student IDs — at a May 19, 2012, event honoring John Kelsey’s retirement as psychology professor and chair of the neuroscience program. The 2010 grads honoring Kelsey are, from left, Rebecca Lange, Lauren Shapiro, Tom Berry, Alexia Zhang and John Bladon.

Academics Facts

“Stimulus from association with a superior mind” is the founding mission of Bates honors program.

Seniors didn’t “hand in” their honors theses this year — they uploaded digital versions.

New English course: “Literary Imagination and Neuroscience,” by Sanford Freedman.

Great teachers “kindle fire in another soul because [their] own souls were first aflame,” said President Gray.

Aspiring railroad systems engineer Joanna Moody ’I4 won a Goldwater Scholarship.

Honoring John Cole

Photograph by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College.

John Cole, the Reynolds Professor of History, and daughter Elizabeth acknowledge warm applause at the surprise April 27 reception honoring the conclusion of his teaching career after 45 years on the Bates faculty.

Six Professorships Appointed

And a few words about the Bates names behind the endowed chairs recently assumed by senior Bates professors.

Marcus Bruce ’77

Marcus Bruce ’77: Benjamin E. Mays Professor of Religious Studies

Mays ’20 is considered the “schoolmaster of the civil rights movement.” Established by trustee emeritus James Orr P’94.

Jane Costlow

Jane Costlow: Clark A. Griffith Professor of Environmental Studies

Griffith ’53 is a Massachusetts cranberry farmer with the Ocean Spray cooperative.

Rebecca Herzig

Rebecca Herzig: Christian A. Johnson Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies

Johnson was a Swedish immigrant turned NYC industrialist who created a philanthropic foundation.

Glen Lawson

Glen Lawson: Charles A. Dana Professor of Chemistry

Dana professorships honor Bates’ preeminent teacher scholars.

Lynne Lewis

Lynne Lewis: Elmer W. Campbell Professor of Economics

Campbell ’27 rose from clerk to VP at a local bank. His first gift was $100 in 1954.

Erica Rand

Erica Rand: Whitehouse Professor of Art and Visual Culture and Women and Gender Studies

David Whitehouse ’36 was an executive with Container Corp. in Caracas, Venezuela.

What’s Your Major?

An accounting of all academic majors for the Class of 2011:

134 Humanities Majors

Art and Visual Culture 28
Chinese 4
East Asian Studies 4
English 32
French 11
German 2
Japanese 3
Music 7
Philosophy 10
Religious Studies 4
Rhetoric 8
Russian 2
Spanish 10
Theater 9

210 Social Sciences Majors

Anthropology 13
Economics 50
History 34
Politics 44
Psychology 47
Sociology 22

70 Natural Sciences Majors

Biology 24
Chemistry 12
Geology 7
Mathematics 19
Physics 8

83 Interdisciplinary Majors

African American Studies 1
American Cultural Studies 7
Biological Chemistry 21
Classical and Medieval Studies 4
Environmental Studies 27
Interdisciplinary Self-Designed 6
Women and Gender Studies 10
Neuroscience 7

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