Queens College

A Poem Is Its Own Architect

January 10, 2011 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

“I like to think that the poem, itself, dictates what sort of shape it wants to have in the world,” says Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon. “The only thing that carries weight is whether the poem is any good — at some level grabs you, changes how you view the world.” At an event sponsored by the Irish Studies Department at Queens College, Muldoon, a native of Northern Ireland, read selections from his works and discussed his influences, including fellow Irish poets. Muldoon currently chairs Princeton University’s Center for the Creative and Performing Arts.
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Want a Sports Job? Show Some Hustle

December 17, 2010 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

Sports-industry jobs have never been easy to land — positions are limited and the competition fierce. But Matthew Higgins, executive vice president of Business Operations for the New York Jets, says there is still a way in. “There is no natural path to be part of a sports team or league,” says Higgins, “but the two I’ve seen work are internships and [ticket] sales.” Higgins, Queens College class of ’98, participated in the third annual Sports Alumni Roundtable, sponsored by the college’s Office of the President. He was joined by fellow alumni Frank Supovitz, ’79, senior vice president of events for the National Football League, and Howie Rose, ’77, sportscaster for the New York Mets and Islanders, to discuss their careers and the tough culture of the business. “The world doesn’t start at 9 o’clock in the morning and it doesn’t end at 5 p.m.,” says Supovitz, “You’ve got to get in somewhere, get involved, get seen, get known.”
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Racial Disparity and Trickery in Marijuana Arrests

July 29, 2010 | Newsmakers, Queens College

Not only are blacks and Latinos disproportionately charged with marijuana possession in New York City, the tactics used by the police are questionable, says Harry Levine, a professor of sociology at Queens College and the Graduate Center. In his report, “Marijuana Arrest Crusade: Racial Bias and Police Policy in New York City,” Levine found that between 1997 and 2009 nearly nine out of ten people charged with possessing marijuana came from the two groups, the majority being African Americans, even though national surveys show whites to be the heaviest users. Levine points out that possession of seven-eighths of an ounce, or less, of the drug in New York is a violation, not a crime. “But if that marijuana is open to the public view–meaning someone had been told by the police to take it out of their pocket–then it becomes a crime. The cops are allowed to trick people.”
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Saving Bukharian Jewish History

May 10, 2010 | Newsmakers, Queens College

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 a quarter-million Bukharian Jews left Uzbekistan, Central Asia, their home for almost 2,000 years. Some 50,000 settled in Forest Hills-Rego Park, Queens, the largest concentration in the U.S., according to Queens College Adjunct Professor Imanuel Rybakov, who is teaching “History and Culture of the Bukharian Jews,” the first such course at an American university. “Our schools were closed in 1940 and for 60 years we didn’t have the opportunity to study our own language or to write our own history,” Prof. Rybakov said in an interview. “Only in Israel and the U.S. we were able to educate our children and grandchildren about what it means to be a Bukharian Jew.” That includes the Bukhori language, a combination of Farsi and Hebrew, and some customs that resemble those of Central Asian Muslims.
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Stand and Be Counted

April 28, 2010 | Newsmakers, Queens College

Queens College sociologist and Distinguished Professor Pyong Gap Min, who served on the 2010 U.S. Census Advisory Committee on the Asian population, says every Asian-American must be counted to insure that this growing minority gains political clout. “The Asian-American population makes up about 4 percent of the total U.S. population and are overly represented in academia, professional jobs, managerial jobs because of their high education level, but in terms of political power they are behind the rest,” said Prof. Min, a leading scholar on Korean and Asian-American immigration. “If we have enough people representing the Asian population, politicians will pay more attention to our voices.”
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America’s Chinatown

April 13, 2010 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

Bonnie Tsui fondly remembers her childhood trips from Long Island to Manhattan’s Chinatown for visits to her extended family and for special celebrations. “It was where we went to be Chinese,” says Tsui, author of “American Chinatown: A People’s History of Five Neighborhoods,” which explores Chinatowns in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Honolulu and the newest in Las Vegas. “We went there to shop on weekends, and for weddings and banquets.” A freelance writer based in San Francisco, Tsui, a contributor to The New York Times, Travel + Leisure and the Boston Globe, appeared at a book talk sponsored by CUNY’s Asian American/Asian Research Institute to discuss why these communities still seem so exotic and mysterious to outsiders. “Being around Chinatown, but not from it, I felt that I could understand and see both sides of that fascination.”
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The “Guido” Phenomenon

February 17, 2010 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

The 20-something stars of the MTV reality series “Jersey Shore” proudly refer to themselves as “guidos” and “guidettes” — terms that leave others in the Italian-American community crying foul. “When I was growing up, it was part of social identification for young people,” said New York State Sen. Diane Savino. “Today MTV has chosen to take something and turn it into a pejorative.” Savino, whose district encompasses parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island, took part in a colloquium entitled, “Guido: An American Youth Style,” sponsored by the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute at Queens College, which explored the “guido culture” glamorized by the show’s party lifestyle. Panelists included Queensborough Community College sociologist Donald Tricarico and New Jersey caterer Johnny DeCarlo, who has auditioned for “Jersey Shore.”
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Death and Life in New York Harbor

December 7, 2009 | CUNY Lecture Series, Queens College

The restoration of the ecology of the Hudson River estuary is perhaps the greatest accomplishment of The Clean Water Act of 1972, which required America’s cities to build hundreds of water treatment plants, according to Queens College biology professor John Waldman. “I consider it one of the most important pieces of legislation ever enacted in the country,” he said. In “Life in New York Harbor: Death and Resurrection,” a special presentation for the Science Cafe series, Prof. Waldman explores the river’s long history — from its pristine beginnings through years of industrial waste contamination, to its current rejuvenation.
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Greenland Rocks, for Geologists

November 6, 2009 | Newsmakers, Queens College

It’s not for everyone, but the rugged mountains of eastern Greenland turned out to be the ideal summer spot for a team of geologists. “Unlike the Himalayas, which is crawling with geologists, Greenland is relatively less explored so there’s a lot to be discovered,” said Hannes Bruckner, professor at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Queens College. “Also, the glaciers cleared away the cover on the rocks and it’s too cold for vegetation, so it has splendid exposure.” Under a National Science Foundation grant, Prof. Brueckner, his undergraduate college assistant Richard Bubbico, and colleagues from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and University of California at Santa Barbara, spent two weeks exploring the formation — roughly 400 million years ago — of Liverpool Land, part of the North Atlantic Caledonides.

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Obama's Election: Symbolic or Substantive?

October 8, 2009 | Newsmakers, Queens College

Queens College sociologist Stephen Steinberg believes that it’s important to look beyond the historic election of the nation’s first African-American president and hope that his eloquent rhetoric will be turned into concrete results. “The bigger question is whether Obama’s election is merely a symbolic event or whether it will translate into policies that will advance the unfinished civil rights agenda,” said Prof. Steinberg, who was recently appointed Distinguished Professor of Urban Studies by Queens College, where he has taught since 1977. The author of several groundbreaking books, including “The Ethnic Myth: Race, Ethnicity and Class in America,” and his latest work, “Race Relations: A Critique,” Prof. Steinberg’s studies on urban cultures and the role race plays in society have earned him the respect of colleagues worldwide.
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