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The College of Arts and Sciences' communications office works closely with Cornell's Media Relations Office. As the College's representatives to media, we connect faculty experts and thought leaders to local, regional, national and international media organizations.
Linda Glaser, Publicist
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Tricia Barry, Communications Director
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Current press statements from Arts & Sciences faculty:
Trump's border wall
Trump wall with Mexico provides illusion of a solution - April 25, 2017
Adam T. Smith, professor of anthropology at Cornell University says that the archaeological record is clear: President Trump’s proposed wall on the Mexico-U.S. border offers only the illusion of security – just as similar walls have throughout history.
“Large-scale barrier walls established in antiquity were created in order to guard boundaries, regulate commerce, and deflect invasions. But rarely were they effective in realizing strategic goals.
“Despite their many failures, large walls continue to lure politicians across the globe into spending vast public resources not because they work, but because they are potent symbols. They appear to be resolute and impassable, grand forms of architectural intimidation.
“In truth, walls are notoriously porous and easily circumventable. Trump’s wall, the past shows, will not address the frustrations and aspirations that drive migration across the U.S. - Mexico border. But it will offer the illusion of a solution.”
French election: First round out of the way, second round will be a yawner - April 24, 2017
Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, two non-traditional candidates who campaigned on opposite electoral platforms, advanced to the second and final round of the French presidential race. Cornell experts offer their views on the election so far, and what we should expect come May 7.
Christopher Way, professor of government and director of the Cornell Institute for European Studies, says that the most surprising thing about this election is how unsurprising the result was.
“Given the twists and turns of the campaign, a last-minute terrorist attack, and the historic inaccuracy of French polls, it is a remarkable that the four top candidates ended up within a point of their polling averages. Now with the first round out of the way, the second round will be a yawner – it is hard to see any path to victory for Le Pen."
Mabel Berezin, professor of sociology and author of several books about nationalism in Europe, says the first-round results bring the tension between globalism and nationalism to the forefront.
“Macron is the quintessential cosmopolitan globalist. He is the candidate that the rest of Europe wants and is supported by the educated mobile young who pursue opportunities in a global arena.
Marine Le Pen, on the other hand, wants to tighten borders against terrorists and illegal immigrants, is fervently anti-European Union and preaches a form of ‘economic protectionism.’ She is the candidate of the rust belts of France as well as the rural areas. If Marine Le Pen were elected President of France, the EU would be seriously weakened as well as NATO.”
Government shutdown looming?
Trump-era shutdown surreal repeat of Carter-era standoff - April 24, 2017
David Bateman, an expert on Congress and the legislative process and assistant professor of government at Cornell University, explains how the possibility of a Trump-era government shutdown harkens back to the days of Jimmy Carter’s presidency – the last time a significant funding gap appeared under one party’s control.
“That we're even talking about a possible government shutdown despite unified party control is a bit surreal.
“It would be an astounding own-goal, casting further doubts on the feasibility of the GOP's legislative agenda and inspiring yet more comparisons between the Trump-era Republican party and the Jimmy Carter-era Democrats, the last time there was a significant funding gap under unified government.
“And yet here we are, about a week before the funding runs out, with no bill reported from committee, and with a highly polarizing president seemingly insistent that his priorities, non-starters with Democrats, be accommodated.”
Cassini's "Grand Finale"
It’s too early to mourn Cassini, the quintessential discovery machine - April 19, 2017
On April 26, Cassini will start a series of dives through the 1,500-mile-wide gap between Saturn and its rings as part of the mission’s grand finale.
Jonathan Lunine, is the director of the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science and has worked on a variety of aspects of the Cassini mission, including the radar and other instruments, since the 1980’s. Lunine says the ‘discovery machine’ has set a high standard for future space missions.
“I think it is too early to eulogize Cassini on the occasion of its death, as incineration is five months away. Between now and September, there will be a ton of new science on what’s inside Saturn, how much the rings weigh, and amazing detail on rings, ring-moons and atmosphere—all made possible by these tight, ‘proximal’ orbits. I have high confidence Cassini will make it through the first of the grand finale orbits just fine.
“Cassini is the quintessential ‘discovery machine’, unearthing surprises everywhere it has looked in the Saturn system. Cassini has done things and gone places it was not designed for, and come out a champion every time. I will be sad to see its mission end this fall, but extraordinarily grateful to have been a part of this amazing odyssey from its very beginnings in the 1980’s. Cassini sets a high bar for missions yet to come.”
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French presidential election
April surprise: Is Le Pen really Hillary? - April 18, 2017
Mabel Berezin is professor of sociology at Cornell University and author of “Illiberal Politics in Neoliberal Times: Culture, Security and Populism in the New Europe” and “Europe Without Borders.” Berezin says comparisons between French populist candidate Marine Le Pen and Donald Trump – already fraught – may end this weekend, when Le Pen faces the first round of France’s presidential election.
"The race for the French presidential election remains volatile and unpredictable. Up until 10 days ago, analysts – myself included – considered far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and left-centrist Emmanuel Macron sure bets for making it to the second run-off round.
“But more recently, far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon began surging in the polls, perhaps because he can provide a left populist alternative to the free-falling Socialist party candidate.
“During the course of this race, pundits have referenced the 2002 presidential election where Le Pen’s father made it to the second round. Analysts evoke parallels of substance – but recent developments suggest they are looking in the wrong place. The 2002 second round was an accident of numbers. Le Pen père literally slipped into the second round in 2002. In a year of surprises and instabilities, Le Pen fillecould as easily slip out.
“This four-way race could end up working against Marine Le Pen. Instead of Donald Trump – a bad comparison from the beginning – the April surprise could be that Marine is really Hillary.”