A&S in the News: Feb. 18-24, 2017

For decades they hid Jefferson’s mistress. Now Monticello is making room for Sally Hemings

Philly.com – Feb. 20

When Jefferson’s critics wrote salacious stories in the early 1800s alleging that the widowed politician had a long-term liaison with one of these slaves, it was said that he kept her “in a room of her own” at Monticello. To pinpoint that room, historians relied on a description provided long ago by a Jefferson grandson, who placed it in the home’s south wing. Archaeologists are now peeling back layers in the 14 foot, 8 inch-by-13 foot, 2 inch room to reveal its original brick floor and plaster walls … And other historic plantations are recasting their exhibits to reflect a crueler truth “beyond the sort of old moonlight-and-magnolia plantation tour,” said Joshua Rothman, chair of the history department at the University of Alabama. “Talking about the history of the enslaved community is one thing, but recreating that space and trying to give it material substance takes it really to another level.”

Hints from the fossil record on how to re-oyster the Chesapeake

Phys.org – Feb. 20

Rowan Lockwood is extracting pearls of data from long-dead oysters. Lockwood, a professor in William & Mary’s Department of Geology, has strung those data pearls together to craft a set of suggestions for the re-oystering of today’s Chesapeake Bay … Lockwood took some oysters to the lab of collaborator Fred Andrus, a geoarcheologist at the University of Alabama. Andrus had instrumentation that allowed her to drill into the white and gray growth bands, taking samples. “I can put those samples in a mass spectrometer, and that lets me measure the isotopes of oxygen. Those isotopes of oxygen allow me to reconstruct temperature through time,” she explained. “So I can tell you how cold the winters were and how warm the summers were 400,000 years ago.”

Can the courts protect democracy? Yes, but they need these three supports.

Washington Post – Feb. 16

President Trump’s executive order suspending travel for those who hail from seven primarily Muslim countries quickly landed in the federal courts. Many decried this action as unconstitutional, and several federal judges (both Democratic and Republican appointees) ordered an immediate halt to its implementation.  (Douglas M. Gibler is a professor of political science in the Institute for Social Science at the University of Alabama. He is the author of several books, including “The Territorial Peace: Borders, State Development, and International Conflict.”)

Also making headlines:

UA play embraces the unconventional – Feb. 18 – Raines Carr

Study Says Crime and Immigration Are Not Linked – Feb. 20 – Lesley Reid

A WARM BREEZE FROM ALABAMA – Feb. 19 – Faythe Freese

Performance will showcase students’ versatility – Feb. 20

Stewart: Register to vote –  Feb. 20 – Bill Stewart

No, Milo Yiannopoulos is not a white nationalist, but he has spent a lot of time promoting them – Feb. 20 – George Hawley

Neuroscientist speaks about the brain in ALLELE Lecture – Feb. 23 – Michael Anderson

Free stargazing event is Friday night at Moundville park – Feb. 23