Cultural shifts in Oakland
Political science Professor Robert Smith commented on Oakland's race-identity
politics in a Jan. 30 Sacramento Bee article on mayoral candidates
in the East Bay city. "Electoral politics follows demography," Smith said. "Where blacks used to be the dominant 'minority' group in
Oakland and in California, they can see that gradually shifting away,
and like most groups losing political power, there is some consternation
Professor Marlon Hom, chair of the Asian American Studies Department,
discussed in a Jan. 30 San Francisco Chronicle story the controversy
over the Falun Gong being denied permission by the San Francisco Chinese
Chamber of Commerce to march in the Chinese New Year Parade. "This
is a political wedge into an internationally famous Chinese American
community event to celebrate the Lunar New Year for the sake of publicity
and attention," Hom said.
Making New Orleans a walking city
An opinion piece by Jason Henderson, an assistant professor of geography
and human environmental studies, in the Feb. 5 edition of The (New Orleans)
Times-Picayune argues that land-use policies in low-lying Amsterdam can
provide a "holistic" model helpful for rebuilding New Orleans.
Henderson, a New Orleans native, recommends New Orleans should regenerate
local wetlands and develop housing on solid ground that provides for
a range of income and house sizes. "Of course, New Orleanians will
need to reorient their approach toward transportation," Henderson wrote. "The reoriented city would be a compact, walkable, transit-oriented
city with bicycling, car sharing and taxis as essential components."
Depictions of Muhammad
In an ABC 7 story on Feb. 6, Mohammad Salama, assistant professor of
Arabic, discussed the furor in the Muslim world over depictions of
the Islamic Prophet Muhammad in cartoons published in a Danish newspaper.
Salama explained why previous depictions of Prophet Muhammad have not
caused such uproar. "Right now we are at an age of speed, at an
age of globalization," Salama said, "where media circulate
everywhere, where people are aware of these visual representations."
Tackling taboo television topics
Miriam Smith, associate professor of broadcast and electronic communication
arts, said in a Feb. 7 USA Today article that while the use of taboo
topics on the television program "CSI" might turn viewers
away, those topics also help the show fulfill its quota of 20-plus
episodes a season. The show has covered topics like full-grown men
who favor diapers, people aroused by the obese, and a group of people
who have a sexual fetish for fur. Competition from cable, with its
looser content restrictions, pressures broadcasters to present edgier
content, Smith said.
more SFSU people and programs in the news, see the SFSU
in the News page on SF State