Being black in Western art

first_imgHow have people of African descent been depicted in Western art and why? A comprehensive research project and photo archive at Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research seek to answer those sweeping questions.“The Image of the Black in Western Art” is based in the efforts of the French couple John and Dominique De Menil, human rights champions, art enthusiasts, and philanthropists who, reacting to U.S. segregation in the 1960s, began the process of documenting the depiction of individuals of African ancestry in the West, creating a five-volume series of illustrated works.In 1994 their project was handed over to the Du Bois Institute, which now houses the archive of 26,000 photographs of artworks in all media, and offers expanded access to outside researchers. The institute and the Harvard University Press are collaborating on updates of the five original books, and on five additional ones.Calling the reissue of the originals and the new volumes a “historic event,” Vera Grant, the institute’s executive director, said the works include updated color photographs of the previous mostly black-and-white images, as well as new scholarly research and commentary.“Everything that’s in the books has been ramped up to another level,” said Grant, adding that they will allow people to “feast their eyes on images that have really not hit the mainstream before.”“The scholarly text from the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s that interpreted those images has now been readdressed to focus on current scholarship on images of blackness, which has changed substantially over the last 20 years.”Other volumes will be published in the spring and the fall of 2011. In addition, the Du Bois Institute and Harvard University Press will publish two new volumes on the 20th century in 2014/2015.On Monday (Nov. 15), several scholars involved in republishing the first four volumes took part in the M. Victor Leventritt Symposium on “The Image of the Black in Western Art” at Harvard’s Barker Center.Jeremy Tanner of University College London explored the concept of race and representation in ancient art, noting that certain Roman art depicting black people also may have conveyed conformity “to the semantic norms of the dominant social and racial group.”He noted that Roman sculptures of black people of high status, those identified by Frank Snowden, a major scholar of blacks in antiquity, were done in white marble. “These elite blacks certainly did not identify themselves as black in their choice of marble, perhaps because such an image would have seemed just too close for comfort to the black marble images of servants and slaves.“The different character and saliency of racial prejudice and racial stratification in the societies of antiquity compared with Western modernity should not be mistaken for their absence,” he added. “Rather, racial prejudice and racial stratification were simply differently configured, both socially and culturally. The visual arts of antiquity, appropriately read, offer some of the most revealing evidence for delineating the configurations of ancient racism, which they participated in constructing as active material agents.”The institute and Harvard Art Museums are also hosting “Africans in Black and White: Black Figures in 16th- and 17th-Century Prints” in the Neil L. and Angelica Zander Rudenstine Gallery. The exhibition includes works by Albrecht Dürer, Hendrick Goltzius, Rembrandt, and Peter Paul Rubens.“This is one of the truly great archival projects in the history of African, African-American studies, and the history of art,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher Jr. University Professor and director of the institute. “I am honored that at Harvard it is being reborn and completed at the Du Bois Institute and published by the Harvard University Press, and fulfills the great dream that Neil Rudenstine had when he brought it here in the first place.”Gates and David Bindman, the 2010 Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow at the institute and emeritus professor of the history of art at University College London, edited the new collection and contributed a preface for the series.last_img read more

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New weapon against breast cancer

first_imgHarvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) and collaborators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have identified a molecular marker in normal breast tissue that can predict a woman’s risk for developing breast cancer, the leading cause of death in women with cancer worldwide.The work, led by HSCI principal faculty member Kornelia Polyak and Rulla Tamimi of BWH, was published in an early online release and in the April 1 issue of Cancer Research.The study builds on Polyak’s earlier research finding that women already identified as having a high risk of developing cancer — namely those with a mutation called BRCA1 or BRCA2 — or women who did not give birth before their 30s had a higher number of mammary gland progenitor cells.In the latest study, Polyak, Tamimi, and their colleagues examined biopsies, some taken as many as four decades ago, from 302 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Nurses’ Health Study II who had been diagnosed with benign breast disease. The researchers compared tissue from the 69 women who later developed cancer to the tissue from the 233 women who did not. They found that women were five times as likely to develop cancer if they had a higher percentage of Ki67, a molecular marker that identifies proliferating cells, in the cells that line the mammary ducts and milk-producing lobules. These cells, called the mammary epithelium, undergo drastic changes throughout a woman’s life, and the majority of breast cancers originate in these tissues.Doctors already test breast tumors for Ki67 levels, which can inform decisions about treatment, but this is the first time scientists have been able to link Ki67 to precancerous tissue and use it as a predictive tool.“Instead of only telling women that they don’t have cancer, we could test the biopsies and tell women if they were at high risk or low risk for developing breast cancer in the future,” said Polyak, a breast cancer researcher at Dana-Farber and co-senior author of the paper.“Currently, we are not able to do a very good job at distinguishing women at high and low risk of breast cancer,” added co-senior author Tamimi, an associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. “By identifying women at high risk of breast cancer, we can better develop individualized screening and also target risk reducing strategies.”To date, mammograms are the best tool for the early detection, but there are risks associated with screening. False positive and negative results and over-diagnosis could cause psychological distress, delay treatment, or lead to overtreatment, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI).Mammography machines also use low doses of radiation. While a single mammogram is unlikely to cause harm, repeated screening can potentially cause cancer, though the NCI writes that the benefits “nearly always outweigh the risks.”“If we can minimize unnecessary radiation for women at low risk, that would be good,” said Tamimi.Screening for Ki67 levels would “be easy to apply in the current setting,” said Polyak, though the researchers first want to reproduce the results in an independent cohort of women.last_img read more

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VIRUS TODAY: US vaccine appointments canceled amid shortages

first_imgAn increasing number of COVID-19 vaccination sites around the United States are canceling appointments because of vaccine shortages, due to a rollout so rife with confusion that even the new director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention admitted over the weekend that she doesn’t know exactly how many shots are in the pipeline. States are waiting to find out their latest weekly allocation of vaccines. For days now, governors and top health officials have been complaining about inadequate supplies and the need for earlier and more reliable estimates of how much is on the way so that they can plan accordingly.last_img

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The Lion Begins Performances Off-Broadway

first_img The Lion is a true story of love, loss, family loyalty and the redemptive power of music. The show has been previously performed in various incarnations at Lincoln Center, the St. James Theatre in London and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Songs from the tuner are featured on Scheuer’s album, The Bridge. Take a look at the music video for Scheuer’s song “The Lion” below! The Lion Benjamin Scheuer’s autobiographical musical The Lion begins performances on June 10 at City Center. Scheuer stars in the piece directed by Sean Daniels. The limited engagement will open officially on June 26 and run through July 13. Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on July 13, 2014 View Commentslast_img read more

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Fletcher King profits up 40%

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

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Queenslanders finding grass is greener on the artificial side

first_imgLouie Cush, 3, with his sister Vivie Cush, 5, at an open home at7 Hopetoun Way, New Farm, that’s among many inner-city properties that have opted for artificial grass. Picture: AAP/ Ric Frearson.QUEENSLAND is seeing a rise in households giving up the old lawnmower in favour of fake grass that looks as good as the real thing without having to lift a finger.Time poor households, lifestyle choices and practicality have led to a surge in growth of synthetic grass use across Aussie backyards — with developers also cottoning on to the trend with fake grass lawns in common space on apartment building roofs now very popular.For homeowner Kylie-Ann Frawley — whose award-winning property in New Farm’s prestigious Hopetoun Way attracted buyers because of its location, luxury and low maintenance — it was all about an easier life.“The reason we went down this path was it’s easy to maintain and looks healthy all the time,” she said.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus21 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market21 hours agoSynthetic grass improvements now made them relatively indistinguishable from the real thing, according to real estate agent Christine Rudolph.“Fake grass these days is just so realistic. It’s permanently green, ideal for shady areas, safe, all-weather, and you can have any variety of trees around it and the shade won’t affect the lawn with patchy areas. It’s so popular.”She said people were swapping acreage for a low maintenance lifestyle.“The last thing they want to do is spend all weekend out maintaining manicured lawns.”Synthetic turf displays were expected to be among the popular attractions for visitors to the three-day Brisbane Home Show which begins this Friday — running from 9am to 5pm daily at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Online and concession tickets cost $16, at the show it’s $20 while kids under 14 are free.— The Courier-Mailis a partner of the Brisbane Home Show.last_img read more

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Dutch regulator expects number of pension funds to fall to 265

first_imgThe Dutch financial regulator (DNB) has said the number of pension funds is set to drop to 265, having fallen from more than 800 in 2005 to the current total of 325. Speaking at an IIR seminar last week, Johanna Bovenhoff, DNB supervisor for small pension funds, said 60 pension funds were in the process of liquidation, having completed the collective value transfer of pension rights to a new provider.Bovenhoff said the consolidation of Dutch schemes was set to continue, albeit at a slower pace.She said the regulator was now assessing “no more than” three value-transfer applications, attributing the low number to pension funds waiting to see how the new general pension fund (APF) developed. Bovenhoff also observed that the pension funds opting to liquidate were larger than they had been, adding that the 37 schemes that wound up last year had transferred combined assets of €7bn.In 2015, half of the schemes relocated to an insurer.Value transfers to sector-wide pension funds, company schemes and the PPI defined contribution vehicles occurred in 36%, 5% and 9% of the cases, respectively, according to Bovenhoff, who added that most assets (46%) were shifted to industry-wide schemes.Bovenhoff took pains to emphasise that pension funds must inform the regulator early on about any liquidation plans and refrain from adjusting investment policies or signing new contracts.“We don’t want to be presented with a fait accompli,” she said.She said DNB expected companies to start initiating value transfers from insurers to the new low-cost APF once the vehicle was operational.At the moment, the regulator is assessing six applications, for the most part submitted by insurers.“However,” Bovenhoff added, “because the insurer’s guarantee would be replaced for a plan that includes the option of rights cuts, all individual participants must approve such a turnover of pension rights.”Another potential problem for pension funds switching to an APF is when the company cannot afford to plug the funding gap if ringfenced assets within the APF have a higher coverage ratio.Bovenhoff said the scenario could occur if the value paid by an insurer failed to cover the costs of joining an APF.According to the supervisor, the contract between the company and the insurer would determine the value of a transfer.last_img read more

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Swiss funding levels fell in Q1 2018 after 1.3% average loss

first_imgThe bank also noted a drop in global and domestic equity allocations in the portfolios of the Pensionskassen covered by its research.Alternatives were the only asset class that received a greater allocation from investors.  Prevanto, the actuarial consultancy, cited indices including UBS – which reported a 1.3% average decline for the first quarter – Pictet BVG (-1.6%) and Swisscanto (-1.7%).It also recorded a drop in the average funding level of Swiss Pensionskassen, from 113.8% at year-end 2017 to 111% after the first three months of 2018 for private pension funds. The average for public pension funds dropped from 99% to 96.5%.Canton Pensionskassen report 2017 gains Middle Bridge over the Rhine in Basel, SwitzerlandThe CHF10.8bn (€9bn) Aargauische Pensionskasse (APK) reported an 8% return for 2017 in its annual report, while the CHF12.8bn Pensionskasse Basel-Stadt (PKBS) returned 7.3%.The public pension funds’ returns were in line with market average performance for the last year. Depending on the market sample used by various analysts the average return among Swiss pension funds was between 7% and 8% for last year, as previously reported.For APK, the return was mainly supported by global equities (including Switzerland) and domestic real estate.However, the pension fund noted a negative impact from insurance-linked securities (ILS) after major natural disasters hit the market last year.This alternative asset class is being debated by many Swiss pension funds, with some trying to diversify away from ‘catastrophe’ bonds while others making their first foray into ILS. PKBS noted in its annual report that it would make first investments in ILS this year.Both APK and PKBS were well above the average public sector funding level at the end of the year, at 104.4% and 102.5% respectively.Funding was aided by investment performance and an adjustment of the technical parameters, in line with a general trend among Swiss Pensionskassen.  Read more about the Swiss pension system in the June issue of the IPE magazine. Swiss pension schemes’ funding levels fell in the first quarter as returns declined across almost all asset classes, according to market indicators.Credit Suisse and Prevanto published figures for the Swiss pension fund sector for the first quarter of 2018, showing a downturn across almost all asset classes and taking funding levels down a notch.According to Credit Suisse, only real estate and mortgages performed positively through the first three months of the year.Overall, the investment bank calculated an average 1.3% loss across Swiss pension funds, compared to the strong start made in 2017 when funds gained 2.8%. Swiss pension funds returned 8% on average for the whole of 2017.last_img read more

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20-year sponsor Jaz Products renews awards for all IMCA divisions

first_imgSANTA PAULA, Calif. (Feb. 2) – Jaz Products has renewed a contingency award program rewarding drivers in all IMCA divisions during a milestone sponsorship season.The Santa Paula, Calif., high performance parts manufacturer and retailer celebrates its 20th season as a mar­keting partner with the sanctioning body. A total of $14,100 in product certificates will be given to drivers based on national or regional point standings. Champions earn $500 certificates, with $300 for second, $200 for third, $100 for fourth and $75 for fifth place finishers in national point races for IMCA Late Models, IMCA Eagle Motorsports RaceSaver Sprint Cars, IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars, IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stocks, Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods, Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center Southern SportMods and Mach-1 Sport Compacts. Jaz also returns to the national decal program for IMCA Xtreme Motor Sports Modifieds, with the same $500-$300-$200-$100-$75 payout structure in place for each of the five regions for that division.Modified drivers must display two Jaz decals in designated locations on their race car to be eligible for point fund shares. Jaz Products cer­tificates will be presented during the national banquet in November or mailed from the IMCA home office beginning the following week. Information about Jaz-manufactured seats, fuel cells and pit accessories, as well as safety equipment, seat belts, fuel accesso­ries and race car plumbing available for retail sale, is available by calling 805 525-8800, at the www.jazproducts.com website and on Facebook. “Jaz manufactures a wide range of safety-related products and is one of those organizations that is never at the center of any controversy,” IMCA Marketing Director Kevin Yoder said. “Their products are first class and the support they provide their dealer network and our members is outstanding. We’re proud to have partnered with Jaz for the last 20 years.”last_img read more

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Serena dismantles Svitolina to reach US Open final

first_imgRelatedPosts Live stream Premier League, La Liga, Serie A on Showmax Pro this weekend Thiem claims his first Grand Slam title after thrilling fightback in US Open Serena pulls out of Italian Open A rampaging Serena Williams moved to the brink of a record equaling 24th career Grand Slam title on Thursday storming past Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-1 to book her spot in the US Open final. Since returning to action after the birth of her first child Williams has come agonisingly close to matching Margaret Court’s mark three times and will have a chance on Saturday to do so in front of an adoring home crowd for a second successive year. In 2018 Williams was left in tears following a chaotic and controversial loss to Naomi Osaka on Arthur Ashe Stadium. She has also lost two Wimbledon finals since her return. Now all that stands between the 37-year-old and her Holy Grail is Canadian Bianca Andreescu or Swiss Belinda Bencic, who will meet in the other semi-final later on Thursday. The semi-final offered a classic matchup of styles with Williams and her prodigious power up against Svitolina, one of the best counter punches in the women’s game. Williams did not have her “A” game in warm conditions but the former-world number one knew exactly what was needed particularly on the big points. The fifth seeded Ukrainian had no shortage of chances but could not convert any of six break opportunities. A ruthless Williams, however, bombarded Svitolina with punishing forehands and six aces to register her 101st US Open win, which tied her with Chris Evert for the most at Flushing Meadows. Reuters/NAN.Tags: Elina SvitolinaSerena WilliamsUS Openlast_img read more

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