Paulo Chagas Performance Reflects Experience of Torture

Paulo Chagas

Paulo Chagas

 Paulo Chagas, professor and chair of the Department of Music, conducted a performance of his digital oratorio “The Refrigerator” on Oct. 25 at the prestigious Umuarama Auditorium in Campinas, Brazil.

Composed earlier this year, the oratorio reflects on his personal experience of torture as a 17-year-old during the military dictatorship in Brazil. The piece is composed for two voices – mezzo-soprano and baritone; an instrumental ensemble – violin, viola, cello, piano, percussion; electronic sounds; and digital image projection in real time.

Chagas said the aesthetics of “The Refrigerator” associates the torture with the darkness of ignorance and proposes a musical path of illumination and transcendence. The 40-minute piece includes video with dozens of photos of prisons, images of torture, and scenes of people in daily life.

Nick Toscano on the Glassy-winged Sharp Shooter

Nick Toscano

Nick Toscano

On Oct. 25, Nick Toscano, an entomologist and UCR alumnus, discussed the university’s involvement in managing the glassy-winged sharp shooter, an exotic pest that spreads the devastating Pierce’s Disease to grape plants in Temecula, and how that helped save the wine industry there.  A former director of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, Toscano has taken a lead role in efforts to control the glassy-winged sharpshooter.

 His presentation at the Callaway Vineyard & Winery was organized by the UCR Alumni Association.  Seventeen people attended the presentation.

Toscano is credited with developing California’s first commodity-specific integrated pest management program, introducing programs to control all major pests of fresh market tomatoes and iceberg lettuce. He also has developed pest management programs for strawberries, cotton, and alfalfa.

Graduate Students Discuss Consciousness

Graduate students Isabelle Barsegh, cell biology and neuroscience, and Patrick Ryan, philosophy, will address the question, “What is Consciousness,” in a Dueling Disciplines event on Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 3:30 p.m. in INTS 1128. Dueling Disciplines is a series of events presented by the Center for Ideas and Society that brings scholars together to discuss topics from the perspectives of their disciplines.

Barsegh is a third-year Ph.D. candidate whose research focuses on uptake of synaptically released glutamate by astrocytes, which is essential for maintaining a healthy level of excitatory activity in the brain and for shaping neuronal synaptic currents.

Ryan is a sixth-year Ph.D. candidate in philosophy. His research considers what psychopathology can teach us about the structure of thought and action.  His dissertation develops the idea that thought has the kind of structure proper to organisms rather than the kind of structure that characterizes machines.

Scanlon and Raschke Participate in International Olympic Symposium

Thomas Scanlon and Wendy Raschke, both faculty in the UCR Classics Program, attended the Third International Scholars’ Symposium on “Sports, Society, and Culture in Ancient Olympia,” this past summer, from July 9-12 in Olympia, Greece.

The symposium was organized by the International Olympic Academy (IOA), in cooperation with Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies, and hosted scholars from around the world, including professors from Greek and American universities and selected advanced students from Greek universities.  The IOA is the educational branch of the International Olympic Committee, which oversees the Olympic Games, and the Academy is located on a beautiful campus right next to the archaeological site of the ancient Olympic Games in Greece.

The theme of the symposium, “Revisiting the Past, Understanding the Present,” established comparisons between Antiquity and the modern Olympic tradition and used the work of various scholars to show the significance of the past in dealing with contemporary challenges.

At the symposium, Scanlon and Raschke gave lectures and held workshops for the assembled scholars, and visited the ancient Olympic site. In addition, Scanlon has published a two-volume edition of articles, titled “Sport in the Greek and Roman World,” which appeared in October with Oxford University Press.

PAMLA Holds Annual Conference at Riverside

For only the third time in its century-long history, the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA) held its annual conference in Riverside, co-sponsored by the UC Riverside Departments of English and Comparative Literature. The event, held Oct. 31-Nov. 2 at the Riverside Convention Center, was attended by more than 900 scholars.

The conference theme was “Familiar Spirits.” In addition to many regular standing sessions not focused on the theme, there were papers and sessions on magic, conjuring, spirits, hauntings, Spiritualism, and manifestations as well as presentations that treat the familiar, familial, and the commonplace in relation to the paranormal, strange, and uncanny, said Distinguished Professor John Ganim, the incoming vice president of PAMLA and co-chair of the site committee

“PAMLA used to be called the Philological Association of the Pacific Coast,” said Ganim, “but modernized its name some years ago to clarify its goals and mission. But I miss the echo of the word ‘philology.’” Still, said Ganim, the new name makes it easier to understand its affiliation with the Modern Language Association of America, the largest organization of literature scholars in the world.

The association traces its history to the late 19th century, when the new campuses of the University of California and Stanford University were transforming knowledge in all fields, and especially in the studies of language and literature, he added.

In addition to Axelrod, the late Professor Emerita Ruth Roberts was a past president. The incoming president, Cheryl Edelson, received her Ph.D. from UCR, as did the current executive director, Craig Svonkin. The other Riverside site committee co-chair is also a UCR alumna, Lora Geriguis, chair of the English department at La Sierra University.

Researchers Evaluate Effectiveness of Water Policies

As California enters its fourth year of severe drought, Southern California water agencies have turned to new pricing structures, expanded rebate programs and implemented other means to encourage their customers to reduce consumption.

Some of those policies have greatly reduced per capita consumption, while others have produced mixed results, according to a report published in the UC Riverside School of Public Policy journal Policy Matters. The journal is published quarterly by the School of Public Policy, and provides timely research and guidance on issues that are of concern to policymakers at the local, state, and national levels.

Water policy experts Kurt Schwabe, Ken Baerenklau and Ariel Dinar reviewed some of their recent research that was presented at a UCR workshop on urban water management in June 2014. Schwabe and Baerenklau are associate professors and Dinar is professor of environmental economics and policy. The workshop highlighted efforts by Southern California water agencies to promote water conservation, relevant research findings by UC faculty, and challenges that remain to further reduce water demand.

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