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BARD COLLEGE NAMES IAN BURUMA AND MARK DANNER LUCE PROFESSORS OF HUMAN RIGHTS Luce Foundation Grant Brings Two of the World's Leading Writers on Human Rights to Bard College Faculty

Mark Primoff

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.-Bard College has announced the appointment of writers Ian Buruma and Mark Danner to a new faculty chair, the Henry R. Luce Professor of Human Rights, Democracy, and New Media. Drawing on their extensive experience in covering international affairs and human rights issues, and their award-winning writing on politics and conflicts around the world, including China, Latin America, and the former Yugoslavia, Buruma and Danner will join the faculty of Bard's innovative new Human Rights Project.

"Through the generosity of the Luce Foundation, we have been able to recruit two of the most important voices in today's debate on international relations and the ethical and political consequences of the way we deal with conflict in contemporary life," said Bard College President Leon Botstein. "We are proud to have these distinguished writers and experts as members of our faculty."

The chair, which was created by a major grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, will foster the exploration of the implications of new media for democracy and human rights. "The revolution in information and communications technology, from live television to mobile phones to the Internet, has profoundly affected the way global events take place and are viewed, and has changed the ways people experience and think about them," said Thomas Keenan, director of Bard's Human Rights Project. "But while we take these changes for granted now, there hasn't been much research about their impact on struggles for human rights." The Luce chair at Bard was created to investigate this topic, with new courses and research on critical issues in contemporary international affairs, a program of student internships in human rights and new media, and special projects that seek to take advantage of new media to investigate their potential to promote and understand human rights and democracy today.

Ian Buruma, who will begin teaching at Bard in the spring semester of 2003, is a specialist on Asia, about which he has written in The Missionary and the Libertine, God's Dust, and Behind the Mask. In The Wages of Guilt, he considers the ways Germany and Japan have coped with the legacies of the Second World War. His most recent book, Bad Elements: Chinese Rebels from Los Angeles to Beijing (Random House, 2001), examines dissidents in the Chinese-speaking world and offers a compelling interpretation of the role the Internet plays in sustaining an idea of China. "China," he writes, "as an imagined political community in which all Chinese can take part, albeit without common institutions, now exists in cyberspace-indeed, it exists only in cyberspace." Buruma is also a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, the New Yorker, the Guardian, and other publications in the United States and Europe.

Buruma has been a fellow at St. Antony's College, Oxford, the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., and the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. He has served as foreign editor of the Spectator and cultural editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review. He studied Chinese literature and history at Leyden University, the Netherlands, and was a graduate student in Japanese cinema at Nihon University, College of Arts, Tokyo. He is chairman of the humanities center of the Central European University in Budapest.

Mark Danner, who will teach at Bard in the fall semester of 2003, is a staff writer for the New Yorker and professor at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of The Massacre at El Mozote: A Parable of the Cold War (Vintage 1994), and has two books forthcoming from Metropolitan Books: Beyond the Mountains: The Legacy of Duvalier, a study of Haiti, and The Saddest Story: America, the Balkans and the Post-Cold War World, based on an award-winning series of articles on the war in the former Yugoslavia that originally appeared in the New York Review of Books. His account of the massacre at Srebrenica, in Bosnia, is striking for, among other reasons, his insistence on the presence there of television cameras: "Scarcely two years ago," he wrote in 1997, "during the sweltering days of July 1995, any citizen of our civilized land could have pressed a button on a remote control and idly gazed, for an instant or an hour, into the jaws of a contemporary Hell. Taking shape upon the little screen, in that concurrent universe dubbed 'real time,' was a motley, seemingly endless caravan, bus after battered bus rolling to a stop and disgorging scores of exhausted, disheveled people . . . every last one a woman or a child. The men of Srebrenica had somehow disappeared. Videotaped images, though, persist . . . ." His writing has also appeared in Aperture, Harper's magazine, and in the New York Times Magazine, New York Times Book Review, and on the New York Times Op-Ed page.

Danner was named a MacArthur Fellow in June 1999. He has appeared on the Charlie Rose Show, the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour on PBS, and numerous network news programs. He co-wrote and helped produce two hour-long television documentaries for ABC News's Peter Jennings Reporting series, on Haiti and the war in the former Yugoslavia. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Pacific Council on International Policy, World Affairs Council of San Francisco, and Century Association. He is a fellow of the Institute of the Humanities at New York University. He graduated from Harvard College with a degree in modern literatures and aesthetics.

The Luce chair will be an integral part of the Human Rights Project, which was created at Bard College in the fall of 1999. The project has developed a series of new interdisciplinary courses, supported student-based human rights initiatives, and offered a program of lectures, films, and seminars featuring human rights activists and scholars, emerging media analysts, representatives of nongovernmental organizations, artists, and writers from across the world. Last February, in collaboration with the New York-based International Center for Transitional Justice, the Human Rights Project launched a complete, on-demand web video archive of the historic war crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic.

For more information on the Luce professorship or the Human Rights Project at Bard College, call 845-758-7387, e-mail, or log onto

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This event was last updated on 08-02-2002