Alumna Publishes Personal Look at Gender Politics in Figure Skating

Erica Rand, AM'81, PhD'89, published a book of essays--part cultural critique, part memoir--last year titled Red Nails, Black Skates: Gender, Cash, and Pleasures On and Off the Ice. The idea for the book began when Rand, a professor in women's and gender studies and art and visual culture at Bates College, started figure skating and noticed the numerous ways in which the sport intersected with her academic interests: strict gender rules, class distinctions, and heavy emphasis on popular culture. For example, both male and female skaters, must follow strict guidelines for apparel, such as white skates and short skirts for women, black skates and spandex--clingy, but still masculine--for men. The book contains Rand's observations about the skating world from the point of view of a "self-identified queer femme in a heavily sequined sport."

Read more about Rand's research and the work of other UChicago alumni here.

Package Addressed to Indiana Jones to be Displayed at The Oriental Institute

In December, the College admissions office received a mysterious package addressed to Henry Walton Jones, Jr.--better known as Indiana Jones (AB'22), one of the University's more famous, albeit fictional, alumni. The package, which included a handwritten journal as well as notes and photographs from Raiders of the Lost Ark, attracted quite a bit of media attention until the mystery was solved. Paul Charfauros, who makes replica journals, sold the prop to a collector on Ebay, and while in transit the outer envelope was separated from the package addressed to Indy. Believing the package to be real, the post office added the correct zip code and sent it to the University. Upon learning of the mix-up, Charfauros donated the prop.

The package and its contents will be on display at the Oriental Institute. Chief curator Jack Green joked that the collectible belonged in a museum because, after all, "Maybe it contains information our scholars need." The exhibit, dubbed "Raiders of the Lost Journal," will run until March 31, when the package will be retired to the archives.

Augusta Read Thomas Awarded Order of Lincoln

Augusta Read Thomas, University Professor in Music and renowned composer, was recently awarded the Order of Lincoln by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois for her many contributions to the world of music. The Order of Lincoln was established in 1964 to recognize Illinois natives or current residents for their professional achievements or public service, and in 1989 was declared the state's highest honor. Past recipients of the award include Maria Tallchief, Benny Goodman, Mahalia Jackson, Sherrill Milnes, and Ardis Krainik.

For more information on the Order of Lincoln, including past recipients, click here.

MFA Alumnus Turns Circuitous Career Path into Engaging Fiction

John Kuhns, MFA'75, didn't begin his career with the endgame of becoming a novelist. However, as he was taking sculpture classes at the university, he couldn't picture himself as a professional artist, either. Kuhns, an investment banker specializing in hydroelectric energy and CEO of three companies, has taken his unlikely career path and used it as fodder for his first novel, China Fortunes: A Tale of Business in the New World, which details the highs and lows of the semiautobiographical character Jack Davis. As Kuhns explains, his varied career is less unique than it may seem: "I read recently that the average person has seven jobs in three different industries during their career. The idea that you would get out of school with a practical education and have a job for life is gone with the wind." Much like his recent turn towards writing though, Kuhns says you have to follow your heart when it comes to work: "Pursue a career in something that you're good at, and never make a career decision based on the money...if you do something you're good at, the money will come." Kuhns' second novel, South of the Clouds, is forthcoming.

To read more about Kuhns' varied professional pursuits, click here.

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