Pitzer in the News
“Her New Take on Twain”
Los Angeles Times
November 17, 2005
The possibility at first seemed far-fetched: A Los Angeles collector, who had paid a dollar apiece for the stamps on 100 old envelopes in a downtown hobby shop, wondered if the letters inside might have been written by Mark Twain.
The man approached USC English professor Jay Martin, who in turn asked a graduate student, Laura Skandera, to look into it. Sure, she replied, but the letters were probably phony.
Written mainly to Twain’s three daughters around the turn of the 20th century, the letters were funny, sharply observant and occasionally cantankerous, like the author himself. And for a young scholar who then knew little of Twain, they were irresistible.
The serendipitous role Skandera played in investigating and identifying one of the largest caches of Twain correspondence ever found would have a dramatic effect on the young woman and on the study of a towering literary figure.
It launched Skandera, then 26, on a scholarly journey far different from the one she had envisioned. She switched her focus from Wordsworth and other English Romantic poets to Twain, a writer whose style and subjects were profoundly American. Nearly two decades later, Laura Skandera Trombley, as she is known these days, is a noted Twain scholar and the president of Pitzer College in Claremont.
“The Beat Goes On”
Chronicle of Higher Education
October 24, 2005
On October 29, Occidental College will meet its long-time rival, a joint team from Pomona and Pitzer Colleges, for their annual football game. Occidental won in 2004 and has the better record this year. Since 1895, the adversaries have written the scores of the games on a single pueblo-style drum. The winner keeps the drum until the next match up.
The rivalry may continue indefinitely, but the drum—which is about the size of a small water cooler—can only hold so much history. Scores now have to be scrawled on the bottom, and the writing gets smaller every year.
“Conflict in Iraq creates different view point”
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
October 26, 2005
America’s mission in Iraq was supposed to be quick and decisive.
Dr. Thomas Ilgen, professor of political studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, says the dialogue on Iraq is sounding more like the dialogue on Vietnam.
“I just picked up a copy of Foreign Affairs magazine and read a piece by Melvin Laird, who was secretary of defense during Vietnam, and he was drawing these comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam,” he said. “I think people are going to be doing more and more of this. The lack of a clear exit strategy in Iraq is contributing to a declining confidence in the administration to get us out of this. I see a growing disenchantment.”
“‘I Love You, Man!’ The nuts and bolts of male friendship”
For much of the 20th century, most people believed that men were too out of touch with their feelings to make friends. True intimacy was for women and sissies.
Work would seem an obvious locale of common interest for men to form bonds, but “friendship requires exposing vulnerability, and that’s dangerous in a competitive environment like work,” notes Peter Nardi, a sociologist at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., and editor of the book Men’s Friendships. While most guys are amicable at work, very few find their closest pals there, because they don’t develop the trust that friendship demands. Trust has an age-old recipe, says Nardi: one part disclosure, one part reciprocity, one part intention.
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