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Volume 53, Number 23   February 27, 2006         

    Announcements    Events    News    Newsmakers


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 about it."

Parade politics
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.

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Last modified February 27, 2006, by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications