A&S in the News: October 27 – November 2, 2019

Phobias and the Brain

What is fear? Psychology professor talks phobias and the brain: Crimson White – Oct. 28

Fear haunts all of us. We can fear needles, what lurks in dark forests, fire, looking at our bank accounts, our neighbors, wondering about our unknown futures. But what exactly is fear? How does it influence our decisions, and how can it be overcome? Jennifer Cox, associate professor of psychology at The University of Alabama, has some answers.

Heritage Tourism

The Ghosts of Jefferson: Observer – Oct. 28

This kind of cognitive dissonance is common in places that wrap their identity in heritage tourism, says Hilary Green, a professor of history at The University of Alabama and co-author of an upcoming book about Confederate monuments. The things that might make a town look bad—a history of white supremacist violence, for example—are quietly elided in favor of more agreeable topics. “Even members of the African American community don’t talk about it, or talk about it in hushed tones,” Green said.

Supernatural Studies

Arts and Sciences students pursue supernatural studies: Crimson White – Oct. 28

On Oct. 31, kids and adults alike will dress as devils, ghosts and witches to celebrate a night of fun and frights. But Halloween is more than just a holiday in the College of Arts and Sciences, where students are dedicating their studies to the history and anthropology of myth and magic…For some University of Alabama students, however, the history and symbolism of Halloween extends beyond parties and pumpkin patches, into the classroom. Randy Arnold, a master’s student studying cognitive anthropology, has devoted both his undergraduate and graduate careers to examining mythic and religious narratives in culture.

Creepy Crawlies

Creepy crawlies: Entomologist debunks myths about insects: Crimson White – Oct. 28

John Abott, chief curator and director of museum research and collections, is an entomologist, which means he studies what some fear most: creepy crawlies. Though his specialty is in aquatic insects, more specifically dragonflies and damselflies, he answered everything we wanted to know about insects and why we fear them.

Hemp Growers

In industry partnership, UA researchers test hemp grown in Alabama: WVTM-NBC 13 – Oct. 28

The University of Alabama is teaming up with a hemp growers in the state to examine its chemical makeup. The product will come from a grower in Dallas County one of 200 licensed in the state to grow industrial hemp. Alabama’s biological researcher will study the impact of the climate and the soil and hopes of helping everyone understand the economic potential of the plans.
Business Alabama

All Saints Day

Christ Episcopal to present ‘Requiem’ as part of All Saints Day program: Tuscaloosa News – Oct. 29

Susan Williams, an associate professor of voice at The University of Alabama, will be the soprano soloist. “We are fortunate to have such talented musicians in our community as Dr. Susan Williams who has performed in opera and oratorio throughout the U.S. as well as internationally,” said Doff Procter, the church’s music director.The performance will include the church’s adult choir, which consists of parishioners and UA faculty and students, and a six-piece chamber orchestra.


What fact and what’s fiction in Harriet: Slate – Oct. 31

The fact that Harriet is the first feature-length film to tell the story of one of the most famous women in American history may sound improbable, but it’s no less improbable than many of the facts of her life. The new biopic is mostly true to what we know of the real Harriet Tubman, though writer-director Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou) and co-writer Gregory Allen Howard (Remember the Titans, Ali) take some considerable liberties with both the timeline of events and the creation of several characters. We consulted biographies, articles, primary sources, and a few contemporary historians so we could break down what’s historical record and what’s artistic license. There’s no evidence that the Brodesses hired a slave catcher, but according to a few historians whom I reached out to, it’s not entirely impossible that such a mercenary would have been black. Joshua Rothman, the chair of The University of Alabama history department, told me in an email that “there were surely black slave catchers.”


Psychologists confront impossible finding, triggering a revolution in the field: CBC Radio – Nov. 1

In 2011, an American psychologist named Daryl Bem proved the impossible. He showed that precognition — the ability to sense the future — is real. His study was explosive, and shook the very foundations of psychology…Alexa Tullet is an assistant professor of social psychology at The University of Alabama and co-founder of the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science.