BMC social worker debates welfare with Bush
The evening news on March 12 showed President George W. Bush, "leader of the free world," playing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" with nursery schoolers and their moms from welfare-dependent families in Philadelphia. The event was a stop at the People's Emergency Center, where Gloria Guard, MSS '78, MLSP '80 has been executive director since 1983. What was intended as a simple "photo-op" for the President, quickly evolved into a one-on-one discussion about welfare reform legislation, the realities of welfare-to-work programs, and the changing faces of the families on welfare today.

As Bush was preparing to leave to deliver a major address on volunteerism, he invited Guard to accompany him saying, "Would you like to ride down in my car?" Gloria was quick to accept and was soon winding her way through Powelton Village in conversation with Bush and two national leaders of the volunteerism movement.

Recognizing that such opportunities must be seized, the Bryn Mawr social work graduate turned the conversation to the welfare reform debate and her concerns about inflexible systems that actually hinder those who are trying to make the transition from welfare to work. She talked about the families her organization serves being penalized by government programs when they didn't work a full 30 hours even if it was because of national holidays or companies cutting hours between Christmas and New Year's. Working with struggling families every day, she says that attitudes of welfare recipients have changed over the last decade. "Welfare mothers really do want to work, and it's important that the system encourages and supports that. I wanted him to know that."

Guard was impressed at how knowledgeable the President was about TANF. "He was well versed in the details of the Administration's recent legislative proposal and his experience as a governor gave him a strong understanding of the how the system works." Guard did not hesitate to tell Bush her ideas on welfare reform reauthorization even though her views are much different from those espoused by the Administration. She says he welcomed the debate telling her "I live in a bubble, and I need to get out and talk to 'real people.' "

"Bryn Mawr solidified my belief in being a voice for those who have none," says Guard. "The Graduate School of Social Work had an energizing atmosphere that gave me the discipline and research skills I needed to effectively pursue my interest in activism."True to her spirit, the conversation didn't end when the motorcade arrived in Center City-as the President thanked her he also suggested a policy aide she could contact with more information. Guard followed with a detailed, constructive policy brief by the end of the week and she is scheduled to meet with White House Domestic Policy staff in April.

Dean Ruth Mayden, M.S.S. '70, commented that "Gloria Guard, like so many social work alums, is an exceptional community leader committed to social justice. We were not surprised that she seized the moment to make a difference in the lives of poor mothers and their children."

Mycenean barbecues
A symposium on new evidence that supports Homer's description of animal sacrifice and feasting at the Palace of Nestor was organized by Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, James Wright, Ph.D. '78, for the January meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America.

"In the third book of the Odyssey, Homer tells us that when Tele-machos, Odysseus' son, arrived at Pylos in search of his father, he encountered the aged King Nestor and his sons making a sacrifice of black bulls on the shore of Pylos and burning their thigh bones to the gods," said Wright.

Animal bones were among the items excavated at Pylos in the 1950s by archaeologist Carl W. Blegen, who died before all the materials had been studied. Rediscovered in 1996 by University of Cincinnati doctoral student in classics, Sharon Stocker, during an inventory of storerooms, the bones indicate that burnt sacrifice was practiced by the Mycenaeans, the people whose civilization is often considered a predecessor of the ancient Greeks.

Stocker and Jack L. Davis, also of the University of Cincinnati, presented new evidence at the symposium of massive feasting at the Palace of Nestor at Pylos. Study of six groups of cattle bones consisting primarily of leg joints display cutting marks that suggest the filleting of meat from at least 10 cattle, which would have fed between 6,400 and 8,000 people. Vast stores of drinking vessels in the palace storerooms, along with records on clay tablets in the earliest recorded form of the Greek language, suggest that large-scale palace-sponsored feasting took place shortly before the palace was violently destroyed about 1200 B.C.E.

In his paper, Wright outlined the history of the Mycenean feast, as it is understood from sources including frescoes, scenes on decorated pottery, and new readings of Linear B texts, and discussed its evolution as a social phenomenon. "Feasting in Mycen-aean palaces includes hunting and sacrifice, the transportation of equipment, the preparation of food, and the celebration of the feast," he said. Mary Dabney '76, a research associate at Bryn Mawr, presented a paper on a feasting deposit at the Mycen-aean settlement of Tsoungiza at Ancient Nemea, Greece in collaboration with Paul Halstead of Sheffield University, UK, and Patrick Thomas of the University of Evansville. At Tsoungiza, a large deposit of pottery and figurines also contained cattle bones, mainly of skulls and feet, which Halstead interprets as remains from butchery. Numerous terracotta figurines, including a type normally found at sanctuaries, especially those within the citadel of the palace centers, could be evidence of state sponsorship of feasting in outlying territories, said Dabney.

"Providing a feast is a powerful way to expand political and geographic power-one not lost on modern-day politicians and lobbyists," said Dabney.

The remains unearthed from one feast show that it celebrated the inauguration of a magistrate, while others probably repaid laborers for bringing in the harvest, Wright said.

Saudi religion and politics
Saudi Arabia must give members of its younger generation social space to develop their own opinions about the balance between modernity and tradition, argues social anthropologist Mai Yamani '79.

Yamani explained the tensions that strain the mutual dependence of Saudi politics and religion in a March 20 lecture co-sponsored by the Center for International Studies and the Center for Ethnicities, Communities and Social Policy: "Can a State Built on Religious Dogma Survive the Challenges of Modernity? Saudi Arabia after September 11."

A research fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London and the first Saudi woman to receive a Ph.D. from the University of Oxford (1990), Yamani is the author of Changed Identities: The Challenge of the New Generation in Saudi Arabia (2000), which she based on two years of interviews with Saudi youth from the ages of 15 to 30 about their attitudes, motivations and aspirations. (Possibly 50 percent of Saudis are under the age of 20 and 82 percent under the age of 40.)

Yamani also edited Feminism and Islam: Legal and Literary Perspectives and has lectured extensively around the world on social, economic, cultural and human-rights issues in the Arab states.

Wahhabism, or Salafi Islam, a puritanical movement, is the Saudi legal and political doctrine as a result of a pact made in the 18th century between Muhammad bin Abdi al-Wahhab with Muhammad Saud. Al-Wahhab's followers would support the al-Saud rulers in their wars of expansion in the Arabian Peninsula in exchange for the promotion of al-Wahhab's interpretation of Islam.

Wahhabi ideas about God, religion, and the relationship between men and women differ from those of the Sunni and Shi'a Muslims and Islam in general.

"The current regime can be understood as a coalition government; one side is represented by the political power, the al-Saud, and the other by the religious establishment, the al-Shaykh," Yamani said. "External pressure from the United States, the al-Sauds' lone long-term ally and supporter, for financial transparency, for changes in the educational system, and to minimize the power of the Wahhabis, has increased the friction at the heart of this intricate bargain and increasingly unstable alliance."

Doctrines of intolerance and hate are part of the compulsory Saudi religious education, which comprises of subjects such as sayings of the Prophet, recitation, and jurisprudence, and makes up to 50 percent of the total national curriculum. "The textbooks are pink for the girls and blue for the boys," Yamani said. "Themes revolve around how to avoid idolatry, its various degrees, around sin, around the view of hell, and the rejection of the ways of the infidels as well as jihad. ... The duties inculcated in the young Saudis are summarized in the sentence, 'Loyalty to the system and hostility to the nonbelievers.'

"Meanwhile, the economy has not enough indigenous expertise to take it forward to the 21st century," she said. "Oil revenues are still unstable while unemployment is rising dramatically. Both have contributed to the acceleration of the budget deficit. It is noteworthy that the graduates of the Sharia, Islamic colleges, are the ones that are most affected."

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers of September 11 were Saudi nationals, predominantly from the Asir and Hejaz regions, the latter settled by pilgrims from different Islamic and cultural traditions before political unification in 1932. Tribal affinities remain strong, and many feel estranged geographically and politically from the oil-rich eastern province, Yamani said.

"Osama bin Laden fills a gap, a political need, a rallying point for a leaderless people," she said, explaining that he appeals to their concept of jihad. "Since they are already living in humiliation and know they will die, they might as well die with dignity of the Muslims and for a cause to fight those who oppress them."

However troubling Wahhabi doctrine, the main problem is that a political system promotes its interpretation, Yamani said.

"Political and religious suppression forces discussion and dissent behind closed doors.It misleads the outside world. Domestically it fuels resentment that can only find a way through covert means.

"Venues for political discourse are limited to the mosques and to the Internet. But mostly people gather at the end of the day to watch Al-Jazeera television and other satellite channels. This is the only outlet for debate. Wise counsel that suggests that Saudi society be given the space to develop its own opinions and understanding. At the moment, the space is unavailable because of the nature of the bargain that keeps a regime in place. Social freedom demanded under modernity has been sacrificed for political bargains struck in 18th century. The anachronistic nature of the situation has long been apparent to many in Saudi Arabia. Is it becoming obvious to those in the United States?"

Azade Seyhan, Fairbank Professor in the Humanities and Professor of German, pointed out that, historically, the introduction of westernized education in Islamic countries trying to forge national identities has resulted in fundamentalist backlash, particularly among young people in Turkey and Iran.

But Yamani said she does not advocate Westernization of the curriculum. "Reform and change must come from within the system," she said. "Saudis do have to solve the problem themselves. They have to become more open-the only way, as Isee it, to join the global world and become closer to other societies is to have an educational system that advocates knowledge of and respect for others and tolerance."

Yamani, who majored in anthropology at Bryn Mawr, recalled: "My four years here were full of excitement, inspiration and hard work. Upon my return yesterday after 23 years, I found a place still vibrant with love, solidarity and discipline."

Joaquín González-Muela
Joaquín González-Muela, Professor Emeritus of Spanish, died on March 19. Born in Madrid, Spain in 1915, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Madrid in 1946 and lectured in Switzerland and England before coming to Bryn Mawr as a lecturer from 1958-59. He then held professorships at the University of Oregon and Western Reserve University before returning to Bryn Mawr as a professor in 1964. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1963 and received grants from the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Philosophical Society while at Bryn Mawr. In 1982, the year of his retirement, he was awarded the Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Professor González-Muela was a scholar of modern Spanish poetry and a poet himself. Highly regarded in his field, he is remembered as an excellent teacher. He was the author of or contributed to more than a dozen books, including many on 20th-century Spanish poets, a Spanish language manual, and a book on the Spanish civil war. He was also the author of numerous articles and book reviews.

He is survived by his son John, daughter Elena G. Shaffer, and a grandson. A memorial service was to be held at Wyndham on April 21.

Club of Great Britain Jubilee
The Bryn Mawr Club/Alumnae Association of Great Britain celebrated its 50th birthday on January 30, 2002 at the London home of President Marcelle Wegier Quinton '52 in Albany, Piccadilly. The origins of the Club date back to that exact day half a century ago. Recruited by President of the College Katharine E. McBride '25, Ph.D. '32, and aided by Margaret Feuer Plass '17, Louise Morley Cochrane '40 and Joan Hitchcock Rich '48 placed a notice in the "agony column" of The Times of London. At that time there was no official list of alumnae living in the United Kingdom.

The January 14, l952 notice read: BRYN MAWRTERS in LONDON.-Informal reunion at 107, Beaufort Street, Chelsea (Flaxman 2897) 4 o'clock tea on January 30. Cochrane '40 and Hitchcock '48. At this tea-party, held at Louise's house near the Kings Road, eight graduates met and the Club began. As Louise later described for the Bulletin, "the afternoon's entertainment was provided unexpectedly by the arrival of a converted jeep from The Daily Graphic. The editor had seen our advertisement and sent a reporter and cameraman to get the story." Clearly they had been hoping to get a scoop on an obscure religious sect. Instead they had some tea, took a fine photograph and left.


Thanks to Louise, our founding President, to all subsequent officers and to loyal members, in particular the late Helen Bell de Freitas '32, the Club has flourished, retaining its early vitality as well as a distinctive stylish informality. On our 50th anniversary meeting over wine rather than tea, we were delighted to receive a personal message of congratulations from President of the College Nancy J. Vickers. This made an already special evening all the more special.

Unfortunately, Louise Cochrane was not able to travel from Edinburgh to be with us, but she too sent her own greetings. Fortuitously, Amy Cambell, the College's Director of Athletics and Physical Education, was visiting London at the time and, encouraged by our Secretary Wendy Ewer Tiffin '55 was able to join us, providing a real link with the College. Those present at the party spanned the many years from Mary Sands Leete's class of '38 to Jane Park's class of '96. The 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s were all well represented. Long many it continue.

-Faith Lewis Johnson '65, Vice President of the Club.

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