Sometimes I get flak from my readership…because they're used to the heroic mode, where not only does someone solve their own problem, they save the world. Nobody does.

Nalo Hopkinson, associate professor of creative writing, on her new novel, “Sister Mine”


Latinos have been the victims of media stereotypes for decades and decades.

Carlos Cortés, professor emeritus of history, on his role as a cultural consultant for the children’s TV show “Dora the Explorer,” and making sure that stereotypes are not inadvertently inserted in the show


Even if noncitizens would not personally lose any voting power under districting plans that exclude them, they would stand to lose access to public benefits and some measure of policy influence. … So, even a limited change in the current rules — leaving congressional representation alone but allowing states and local governments to exclude noncitizens from the drawing of political districts — would cause significant political upheaval, to elected representatives with significant noncitizen constituencies and to the immigrants living in those districts.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, associate professor of political science, on the principle of 'one person, one vote,' established to make sure districts are drawn to equal population size, and possible repercussions if it allows the exclusion of noncitizens


You sign up for it, might as well. When it actually happens, it's surreal.

Alex Fishburn, undergraduate, whose bone marrow donation saved the life of a man from Iowa


We wanted to move away from this bipolar view (of Serra) and show the complexity of the period. Spanish and Indian culture blended in the missions and that, I think, is a very important story that's often drowned out. The missions were really about missionaries and California Indians. … This (exhibition) is like a super mission (people) can visit to really understand what it was like in the 18th century.

Steven Hackel, associate professor of history, on his role as co-curator of “Junípero Serra and the Legacies of the California Missions,” an exhibition which will run Aug. 17 to Jan. 6, 2014 at the Huntington Library


As a writer I have fought with Achebe. Railed against the anthropological bent of some of his work. Struggled with his complicated positioning of gender. Chaffed against his statements that were often presented as unassailable truths. … And yet in the end, I have to admit that I did not only admire him, at some level, as a literary son, I loved him. Everything that I have described is the complicated struggle between father and son. And in the same way as it is with fathers and sons, I realize only after his death just how much I loved him.

Chris Abani, professor of creative writing, on the recent passing of writer Chinua Achebe


Where we are now is kind of exciting because I think everybody agrees that people are sincere about their reports. They have these experiences and the question is of meaning or indication. I’m open to the possibility that we won’t be able to fully explain it. But my default assumption is naturalistic and scientific, and I would like to see more and more understanding—a better understanding of the underlying brain processes in these experiences.

John Fischer, distinguished professor of philosophy, on the $5 million grant he received to study immortality


I had his words, all these years, on the old answering machine, until I began to write this essay, exactly ten years after he died. The little beige plastic square sits on a wedge of wooden shelf in my kitchen. … Then a windstorm slammed all the doors and windows in my house, and my dog lost her mind, and she ran into the kitchen and knocked the machine off the shelf, and the message I had saved for ten years was erased. The machine still works. But my brother's voice is gone.

Susan Straight, professor of creative writing, speaking about her deceased brother


Top of Page