History lessons

Exploring the nuances of fear

One aim of the enlightenment was to end the era of fear, according to Gyan Prakash, director of the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies. Scholars hoped to use science, rationality, and knowledge to eliminate the anxieties of the Dark Ages. But, Prakash said, “It turned out to be different.”
Fear endured, taking new forms throughout history, and this year, the Davis Center is taking a closer look at the nuances of fear in several periods, from the Incan empire during the Spanish conquest to fascist Italy in the first half of the 20th century. “I thought that it would be interesting to look at other contexts of fear, so that we don’t always see fear in the context of the present,” Prakash said.

Weekly workshops draw 40 to 50 participants to discuss papers about sources of fear in history. The author’s paper is distributed in advance, and a designated commentator opens the discussion with questions about the research.
Prakash said that Davis Center devotees were very enthusiastic about the idea of studying fear. (Other popular seminar themes have included “utopias and dystopias” and “cities: space, society, and history.”) In addition to papers from historians, the center received submissions from psychoanalysts, political scientists, diplomats, and retired military officers.
Prakash, the Dayton-Stockton Professor of History, said that the discussions have been building from week to week, despite the seemingly disparate topics. The series resumes its weekly schedule Feb. 7 when Alain Boureau of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales will discuss “Fear as a Passion of the Soul in Scholastic Thought.” A full-day fear workshop is scheduled on April 12. For more information, visit the Davis Center Web site.

Tigers on the ’Tube

If you search for “Princeton” on YouTube, you’re likely to find a range of material not related to the University, from clips of Avenue Q to rock concerts featuring New Jersey teenagers. But the video-sharing site also includes material from Princeton’s student artists, athletes, scientists, engineers, and amateur filmmakers. Here are just a few recent additions spotted by PAW:

Roaring 20 meets Third Eye
A capella singers from the Roaring 20 perform Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life” at Richardson Auditorium, with soloist Julian Hertz ’07 front and center.

Let’s hear it for the bio
Molecular biology students learn lab techniques, with inspiration from the movie Footloose.

Goal! Goal! Goal!
CSTV posted highlights from its broadcast of the women’s soccer team’s Oct. 2 win over Rutgers, which gave coach Julie Shackford the program record for wins. Ivy League Player of the Year Diana Matheson ’08 sparkles with two near-perfect assists. Also on YouTube: a maddening moment for Princeton soccer, from a Sept. 17 men’s game against Seton Hall. One of the Pirates scores from near midfield in a clip dubbed the “most incredible soccer goal ever.”

Fine tuning
A team of undergraduate engineers takes a spin through town to make final adjustments to its self-driving truck, which was entered in the DARPA Urban Challenge, a Pentagon-sponsored contest. Reporter Kevin Coughlin of the Newark Star-Ledger captured the action.

Back to school
In their undergraduate days, Nick Confalone ’03, Brandon Tung ’03, and Andrew Wang ’03 experimented with walking, running, and even talking backwards and then reversing the film and soundtrack to create an amusing video.

Programming note: Princeton-Dartmouth at Baker Rink

The Princeton men’s hockey team’s home game against Dartmouth will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU Jan. 4 at 4 p.m. The game will be Princeton’s first ECAC Hockey game since Dec. 1, when it beat Union 4-3 at Baker Rink. The Tigers also face Harvard Jan. 5 at 7 p.m.