Boston University Arts & Sciences
CAS News
March 29, 2017
Dean's Corner | Play Ball!
On Tuesday, April 4th, the day after the Red Sox open their season, author Bill James will give the Silas Peirce lecture at 6pm in the BU Law Auditorium.  His topic: "The Arts & Sciences of Baseball."  All are welcome to attend.

Bill studied economics at the University of Kansas, and after graduation he took a job as a night watchman at a pork and beans factory.  In the quiet, late hours of the night in the canning factory, Bill pioneered sabermetrics, the statistical study of baseball. 
Read more

Honoring the Life of Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott (Hon.’93) 

Nobel Prize–winning poet and playwright Derek Walcott (Hon.’93), who taught at BU from 1981 until he retired in 2007, died March 17 at his home on his native Saint Lucia, at age 87.  No cause of death was given, but he had been in poor health.  Walcott won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992 for work the Nobel committee called “a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment.”  He also founded the Boston Playwrights' Theatre.  Read more

The CAS Writing Program won a Certificate of Excellence award at the Conference on College Composition and Communication in Portland, Oregon recently.  Accepting the award are Associate Dean Joe Bizup and Writing Program Lecturers Kim Shuckra Gomez and Anna Panszczyk.

CAS By-Laws Revision Headed for Vote at April 19 Faculty Meeting

The By-Laws of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences were last revised in 1995, and they no longer reflect current procedures and practices.  On January 20, Dean Cudd reconstituted the Dean’s Advisory Committee for the specific purpose of reviewing proposed revisions to the CAS by-laws and making a recommendation to the faculty for a vote.  The committee met four times between January 20 and March 17 to review and revise the proposed amendments.  On March 17, the committee voted to submit proposed revised bylaws to the faculty with the recommendation that it approve them as a whole.  The proposed revision has been posted online at  (If you have any difficulty accessing the website, please contact Laura Wipf,

The vote on the by-laws will be held at the April 19 faculty meeting; approval will require a two-thirds vote.  A quorum of voting faculty (81) will be required for the vote to be held.  Faculty members eligible to vote on the by-law amendments are, according to the current by-laws: professors, associate professors, and assistant professors holding appointments in the College.  (This includes faculty members with unmodified professorial titles and professors of the practice.)  The meeting will be at 3:30 pm in CAS 522.

BU Giving Day Is April 5

On Wednesday, April 5, the BU community will once again come together for Giving Day.  This year Dean Cudd and several CAS alumni have pitched in to raise the stakes for the CAS Department Challenge: all gifts to any department, center or college fund in CAS or GRS will result in a $25 match gift to the CAS or GRS Fund.  And the four Department/Center funds with the greatest number of donors (including ALL donors: faculty, staff, alumni, students, parents & friends) will receive the following prizes: first place $10,000; second place $5,000; third place $3,000; fourth place $1,000.  To learn more, go to  If you haven’t yet, chairs and directors are urged to contact Steve Kean ( to discuss how to promote their department or center on Giving Day.

Call for Nominations for Alumni Awards for Writing Excellence

To acknowledge and celebrate our students’ accomplishments in writing, the College of Arts & Sciences created the Alumni Awards for Writing Excellence.  Each year, the College recognizes four outstanding student papers: two in the Humanities, one in the Social Sciences, and one in the Natural Sciences.  Awards of $500 each will be presented during the Class Day awards ceremony on Friday, May 19th.  A committee of Writing Program faculty will select the four winners.  We are appealing directly to faculty for nominations, which need not be limited to one per department.  Faculty members are encouraged to nominate their best writers among graduating CAS seniors by April 20.  Read more


Meetings & Deadlines

March 29

Council of Chairs & Directors Meeting (CAS 522, 3:30-5:00 PM)

April 19

CAS Faculty Meeting (CAS 522, 3:30-5:00 PM)

April 20

Deadline for Alumni Awards for Writing Excellence

May 3

CAS Faculty Meeting (CAS 522, 3:30-5:00 PM)

May 10

Council of Chairs & Directors Meeting (CAS 522, 3:30-5:00 PM)

Administrative Calendar

Lectures & Events

March 30

Two Languages One Community: Film Screening and Panel Discussion

March 30 - April 2

Boston Playwrights' Theatre Presents Franklin by Stephanie Noble

April 3

China's Global Future and the Future of the Globe: How the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative is Quietly Changing China and Surrounding Countries

April 3

David Ferry Reading from his forthcoming translation of Vergil's "Aeneid"

April 4

4th Annual Silas Peirce Lecture: The Arts and Sciences of Baseball

April 4

How Will Capitalism End: Reflections on a Failing System - A Lecture by Wolfgang Streeck

April 5

Reconfiguring European States in Crisis: A Lunch Talk by Patrick Le Gales

April 5

Christina Lomb: From Afghanistan to a More Dangerous World

April 5

The Cannibal's Confessions

April 6

Scaling the Two Faces of the Ghetto: Ninth Annual Albert Morris Lecture in Sociology

April 7

Archaeology Seminar Series: "Alcohol in the Archaeological Record: Microfossil Advancements to Ancient Fermentation Studies"

April 10

Mexico's Cold War: Cuba, the United States and the Legacy of the Mexican Revolution

Events Calendar

Department/Program News


Professor Daniel Segre’s research was published in the prestigious journal Cell and was highlighted on the cover and as a featured article.  The group used systems biology approaches to study the emergence of primordial metabolic networks, showing that early biochemistry could have arisen prior to the introduction of phosphate.

Assistant Professor Jennifer Talbot received the Dr. Patricia McLellan Award for 2017.  This award is given to a non-tenured junior faculty member, who has also demonstrated a commitment to encouraging women to study science, in support of her research.  Talbot will use the funds to support her female students in presenting their research on understanding how soil microorganisms cycle energy and elements through the biosphere, at national and international conferences this summer.

Three Biology students received 2017 NSF Graduate Research Fellowships—PhD student Leah Williams in Tom Gilmore’s lab, undergraduate senior Joanna Lee in John Finnerty’s lab, and incoming PhD student Brandon Güell in Karen Warkentin’s lab.  PhD student Jamie Harrison in Pam Templer’s lab received an Honorable Mention.

Earth & Environment

Assistant Professor Christine Regalla and colleagues from the University of Victoria and Western Washington University published “Quaternary rupture of a crustal fault beneath Victoria, British Columbia, Canada," featured on the cover of GSA Today.  The publication explores new evidence that multiple large earthquakes ruptured on the Leech River fault in the past 15,000 years, including at least two to three large earthquakes, of magnitude 6 to 7, in the geologically recent past.  As the fault underlies Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, and lies within kilometers of several hydroelectric and water supply reservoirs, these results suggest that the Leech River fault should be considered in seismic hazard models for this region.
Assistant Professor Christoph Nolte co-authored “Decentralized Land Use Zoning Reduces Large-scale Deforestation in a Major Agricultural Frontier" in Ecological Economics.  The article details how in Argentina, native forests are converted for soy and cattle production at record speed.  To protect its forests, Argentina's government obliged its provinces to implement protective zoning for remaining forests ten years ago.  Ten years later, we find that the provincial zoning plans had effectively reduced deforestation.  This supports the perspective that sub-national governments can be important partners in reducing global forest loss.


The University of Pennsylvania Press has just published Media Nation: The Political History of News in Modern America.  The collection of essays, co-edited by Professor Bruce J. Schulman and Princeton’s Julian Zelizer, examines key moments and questions within the evolution of the media from the early days of print news through the era of television and the Internet.  The anthology features essays by History PhDs Kathryn Brownell (now Assistant Professor at Purdue) and Matthew Pressman (now Assistant Professor at Seton Hall).

Assistant Professor Benjamin Siegel received the ACLS Fellowship for work on his new project, The Nation in Pain: American Bodies and Indian Pharmaceuticals in an Age of Distress.  Siegel examines the interlinked rise of the American opioid epidemic and the Indian pharmaceutical industry, showing how American pain and Indian agriculture and industry have been sutured together over the last century.  The fellowship will support Siegel's research work while on leave in 2017-2018.

History of Art & Architecture

Professor Deborah Kahn has been invited to give the annual Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Great Britain lecture at The Courtauld Institute of Art in London this April.  The lecture is entitled "North and South of the Loire: The Culture of Copying and the Rebirth of Sculpture."

Professor Cynthia Becker received a Radcliffe Exploratory Seminar Grant to hold a workshop entitled "Routes of Indigo: Interwoven Histories of the Global South."  Organized in collaboration with Professor Seema Alavi from the Delhi University, the seminar will bring together scholars from the disciplines of history, art history, and anthropology, as well as artists and botanists, to write a global history of indigo.  The workshop will be held at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute in May of 2018.


Professor Claudio Chamon was appointed as a 2017 Simons Fellow in Theoretical Physics for his work on topological phases of matter in 3D.  This is a great recognition of the pioneering work that Claudio has been doing, and continues a tradition of success our faculty members have had with the Simons Foundation.   In addition to Claudio, among the twelve other 2017 Fellows in Theoretical Physics are Robijn Bruinsma, Gabe Kotliar and Lisa Randall.

From BU Today

BU Admissions More Selective Than Ever
Only 25 percent of applicants accepted from record number applying

Charles River Campus Promotions: 16 Made Full Professors
Faculty from five schools, including 10 from CAS, represented

Cuban Culture Shapes a Spring Break Trip
Students find Havana, with free medical care, pervading scarity, and cultural landmarks, transformational

Good News and Bad News about Forest Fragmentation
CAS researchers find more carbon, more heat stress in New England forest edges
Muslim Students in the Age of Trump
Trying to de-demonize their religion after years of harassment

Rankings Put BU among Best Nationally and Globally
U.S. News, QS release latest assessments
Robert Pinsky Up For National Book Critics Circle Award
CAS Professor's At the Foundling Hospital: Poems explores issues of loss, identity

From Research

Arctic Squirrels: Invasive or Native Species?
A CAS archaeologist studies ancient bones for clues

Climate Change and an "Overlooked" Nutrient: Silica
Warmer winters could have consequences in temperate forests and beyond

Physicists Uncover Swimming Secrets of H. pylori Bacteria
How the ulcer- and cancer-causing pathogen survives the stomach

Keep Us In The Loop

Let us know about news or upcoming events.  Event information, faculty book publications, and news items can also be submitted online.  Or you can send news items to  Events geared toward students should be submitted to

For all matters regarding your alumni, please contact Associate Director, Alumni Programs & CAS Alumni Relations Sarah Speltz at 617-358-6275.

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