Today, we're going back to 18th century Florence, Italy to tell the story of one museum, La Specola, and its infamous exhibit of gruesome wax anatomical models. At the time of its founding in 1771, the new Archduke Peter Leopold found himself confronting the deep-rooted legacy of his famous predecessors—the Medici. La Specola quickly became the crux of a larger movement within Tuscany, and the museum and its wax inhabitants helped set the course for a new Enlightenment era. Rebecca Messbarger, a professor of Italian and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, is our guide, and she explains how one figure, the Venus, became central to this new regime of the human body.
High-school students sometimes have a bad reputation when it comes to language and literacy. Teenagers may be well versed in YouTube and social media, but these outlets are more known for shortened words and poor grammar than articulate speech and writing. However, Korina Jocson, assistant professor of education, sees a much different picture. As a researcher and teacher, Jocson has observed and analyzed the ways that students use the beauty and power of poetry to make sense of their experiences, to comment on culture and politics, and to create multimedia art and storytelling. The question now becomes, how can educators bring the energy of a slam poetry competition back into the classroom?
What can parents and teachers do to help young children become successful readers and writers? In what ways does a 2-year-old begin to understand the differences between written words and pictures? Rebecca Treiman, the Burke and Elizabeth High Baker Professor of Child Developmental Psychology, shares recent research that explores how children around the globe take their first steps toward reading and writing. Treiman heads the Reading and Language Lab at Washington University in St. Louis.
Imagine that you're walking down the street and hear someone speaking with a British accent. What assumptions might you make about that person based on his or her voice? Would you come to the same conclusion if that person had a heavy southern drawl or sounded like he or she spoke Spanish as a first language? John Baugh, the Margaret Bush Wilson Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, continues his discussion of linguistic profiling and describes how he hopes his research will lead to policies that increase Americans' acceptance of linguistic diversity.
To kick off our newest topic, On Language, John Baugh, the Margaret Bush Wilson Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, shares two stories of personal linguistic epiphanies. Baugh researches linguistic profiling, or the ways in which people react to and treat one another based on speech. His initial interest in this line of work began when he himself encountered linguistic profiling earlier in his career. Baugh shares that experience, as well as a childhood incident in which he first realized that accents can carry as much meaning as words. Baugh will also be featured next week on Hold That Thought, when we'll hear more about specific research projects and the types of policies that he believes would help Americans accept linguistic diversity.
Black History Month is a time to reflect upon and commemorate the people and events that make up African-American history. Below are several episodes that highlight black history and culture in the United States.