Professor of Africana Studies Chinua Achebe dies at 82


World-renowned Nigerian author and David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies Chinua Achebe passed away on Friday. He was 82.

Achebe’s 1958 novel Things Fall Apart is regarded as one of the most important forces in the development of African literature, and it is through this work that Achebe “gave birth to a modern Africa.”  The book has sold over 12 million copies in English and has been translated into more than 50 languages. Additionally, Achebe has written several essays, short stories, and poems that draw on his experience growing up in Nigeria, deal with the tension between colonialism and African values, and address questions about the role of African culture in postcolonial Africa.

Achebe was a beloved member of the Brown community: he joined the Brown faculty in 2009 as the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University, and oversaw the annual Achebe Colloquium on Africa, which has continuously attracted scholars and government officials from all over the world. According to its webpage, the colloquium, which has been convened by Achebe himself, brings key thinkers and figures together to discuss “the importance of strengthening democracy and peace on the African continent.” You can see a comprehensive list of Achebe’s works here; each work is a testament to his unwavering commitment to contributing to the dialogue on postcolonial Africa, African culture, and other relevant topics.

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Getting our priorities straight: Greek life and sexism

News flash: Greek life is a man’s world.  At least that’s the case according to Samantha Wishman, a Penn grad.  In her recent article for The Daily Beast, “Frat Culture’s Woman Problem,” Wishman argues that a double standard exists between fraternities and sororities on college campuses: while fraternities are often given almost free rein to party and are only subject to disciplinary action when they commit serious criminal offenses, sororities are strictly scrutinized by their national organizations for even holding parties with alcohol. Continue Reading

EduHookups: Casual sex at the click of a mouse

We have pretty interesting news.  No, we aren’t opening a campus in Shanghai. Casual sex website eduHookups is expanding to Brown! Started at UChicago a few weeks ago, the “no strings attached” hookup site has already expanded to Northwestern, Columbia College Chicago, DePaul, SAIC, Yale, Washington University in St. Louis and Loyola University Chicago and will be opening up to Brown students on April 4th (you will need a email address to register… sounds a little bit like another instant web-phenom that started up seven years ago).

The purpose of the site is simple: to give college students an easy (no pun intended) place to seek out sexual encounters. For both the cripplingly shy and the passionately deviant, eduHookups should represent a welcome addition to the college student’s casual sex utility belt (apparently the old-fashioned kind of social lubricant just doesn’t do it anymore). The site has been a relative success so far, with 800 registered members and features in the Huffington Post and a local Chicago television station. Oh yeah, and there was this little quip on Leno a few weeks ago:

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Got into Brown? Thank your preschool!

According to a Manhattan mother, the time to start preparing for your shot at the Ivy League is well before freshman year of high school. Apparently we should seriously consider preschool education in the quest for admission to a top-ranked college.

The mother, Nicole Imprescia, is suing York Avenue Preschool for destroying her daughter’s shot at admission to a private school in the city, along with an Ivy League education. She claims that the school was putting her daughter in classes with younger students, putting her at a disadvantage compared to the other four-year-olds of the world. If Imprescia wins, York will have to refund her for the $19,000 she paid in tuition. Yes, you read it right: $19,000.

The lesson?  Make sure you thank your parents for putting you in the right preschool when you were four.  Who knows?   If they had made a different decision, you might not have even made it into Brown!  Or maybe that’s just what one overly-concerned helicopter parent wants us to believe…

Higher Ed Roundup: Winning, Sinning, and WTFing

It has been an exciting few weeks for colleges across the country, to say the least. Temperatures are rising, spring break is upon us, and  March Madness is basically here. Here are just a few stories to remind you of some recent strange–dare I say ridiculous–events in higher education:

If you are unaware of what’s been happening with Charlie Sheen recently, then just leave now. Charlie Sheen’s influence has inspired people all over our country to try to understand what really matters in life. His many words have been so inspirational that even some GW students want him as their commencement speaker. This GW Facebook page (with over 1,500 “likes”) implores Mr. Sheen to attend GW’s graduation. Other sites have followed, and even our very own Diddy tweeted at him. No one knows what the future hold for Sheen, though we must trust that it will be nothing less than epic.

Not in Providence, but in Provo, Utah, Brandon Davies, one of Brigham Young University’s finest basketball players, was suspended for having premarital sex (#sinning). According to BYU’s honor code, students are required to “live a chaste and virtuous life,” a rule which Davies apparently violated simply for attending sexction. The question remains: how did they find out about Davies’ sexual endeavors? Continue Reading

Harvard and Princeton to restore early action programs

Image courtesy of The Huffington Post

After going four admissions cycles without an early admission option for prospective students, Harvard and Princeton announced yesterday that they will be restoring their early action plans.  Both reinstated programs will allow prospective students to apply in the fall through a non-binding application process.

The admissions offices at Harvard and Princeton announced in September 2006 that they would be eliminating their early admission programs due to the fact that they catered mostly to students from high-income families and purportedly led to increased stress on high school seniors.  In the last several years, however, the early application pool at other universities appears to be skewing less towards privileged students, according to Harvard President Drew Faust.