Notebook: February 21, 1996
For the fifth consecutive year, the trustees reduced the rate of increase for undergraduate tuition and fees in approving a 4.6 percent hike in the cost of an undergraduate education, from $27,076 in 1995-96 to $28,325 in 1996-97. That is the lowest rate of increase in almost 30 years.
Blinder, who taught at Princeton for more than 20 years before heading to Washington, said his decision to leave the capital was an "extremely difficult" one, but he finally realized that "I was unable to cut the umbilical cord to Princeton." Also, his permissible leave from the university was up.
Blinder left Princeton in 1993 to serve on the White House's Council of Economic Advisers. A year later, he became President Clinton's first appointee to the Fed's board of governors.
Looking back on his Fed service, Blinder takes pride in helping develop "the most successful monetary policy in the history of the Federal Reserve" and keeping unemployment to 5 !/2 percent for a year and a half, while holding inflation to 3 percent or less.
In a statement released by the White House, President Clinton called Blinder's return to Princeton "a considerable loss for the nation. Alan is a powerful force for sound and sensible monetary policy. His tenure at the board was marked by integrity, intelligence, and candor."
Blinder says he hasn't ruled out returning to Washington in the future: "I'm not old enough to be put out to pasture."
Martin is a cultural anthropologist whose recent books, The Woman in the Body: A Cultural Analysis of Reproduction (Beacon Press, 1987) and Flexible Bodies: Tracking Immunity in American Culture from the Days of Polio to the Age of AIDS (Beacon Press, 1994), address questions such as: What are the underlying cultural assumptions about women's bodies and the reproductive process? How do these assumptions affect women's perceptions of themselves? What does the idea of immunity mean to people? How are notions of immunity applied in the business community?
A professor of anthropology, Martin came to Princeton in the fall of 1994, after teaching at Johns Hopkins for 20 years. In her work, she constantly examines the way we live, exploring and questioning the assumptions that are so much a part of our society that often we are not aware of them.
Martin, who earned a BA in 1966 from the University of Michigan and a PhD from Cornell, became interested in the way we talk and think about reproduction when she was pregnant with her older daughter (she has two). Although she had specialized in China for 20 years and had written three books on the subject, Martin was casting about for fieldwork in the United States. Her pregnancy provided the answer.
During those nine months and regular visits to the doctor, she realized that labor was discussed as if the woman was not involved, "as if it was happening to someone else. It was the labor, the contractions, not I labor, my uterus contracts," she says. "My experiences led to discomfort, if not anger. I wanted to write a book that would wake people up. Women's wants and desires were basically being ignored to accommodate the medical profession's ideas."
Those concerns next led to exploring how biologists thought about reproduction. Martin found that the metaphors used in conjunction with fertilization impeded biologists' understanding of the actual process. Contrary to the accepted notion of "warrior sperm and damsel-in-distress eggs" (as Discover magazine has put it), the eggs of many species are not passive but release molecules to attract and anchor the sperm. There's evidence that human sperm are passive agents in reproduction and may actually avoid the eggs. Yet even scientists who studied this phenomena were still influenced by the accepted metaphors and described the sperm as actively "penetrating" the egg.
Her next book, Flexible Bodies, was "a different room off the same hallway," says Martin. The immune system seemed relevant, given the AIDS epidemic. As she explored ideas about the immune system, she found links between the business community's ideas about the necessity of being flexible and adaptable, and the way that people think about their health and their immune systems.
"The whole thing just kind of grew from one thing to the next, like crabgrass," she says. "I followed my nose where it led me." The ability to follow her nose is crucial to her approach, because the topics she delves into are not concrete and clearly defined-you can't use a thermometer or scale to measure a cultural trend. All you can do, Martin says, is try to be aware of what's going on around you. But while these subjects don't "jump out and announce themselves," they are pervasive.
In her daily life, she is constantly on the lookout for these clues. "I keep my eyes open. I try to push at the edges of things," she explains. Yet, this is not without its cost, because essentially there's no time off. "I enjoy it because it's interesting, but it's like being in the field all the time. It has its taxing aspects. When I'm between projects, sometimes I want to take a break and be left alone, and I hope I won't notice anything," she says.
There's not much chance of that.
-Andrea Gollin '88
Andrea Gollin is an editor at SmartKid magazine, in Miami.
The Sachs scholarship has been awarded since 1970. Daniel Sachs starred in football and lacrosse at Princeton before going on to Worcester College as a Rhodes scholar and, after that, to Harvard Law School. He died of cancer at 28. The scholarship is given annually to the senior who best exemplifies Sachs's character, intelligence, and commitment, and whose scholarship is most likely to benefit the public.
Stark's extracurricular involvements often feature the public interest. She spent the past two summers as an aide to Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer and city council member Sheila Cockrel, developing and helping implement a proposal for a federally funded economic-empowerment zone within the city. She also serves on the national board of directors of the U.S. Committee for UNICEF.
Twice a month, Stark writes reviews of books for young readers for the Detroit News. She is also a photographer who occasionally freelances for the News while maintaining regular ties to The Daily Princetonian. A three-year veteran of the ice hockey team, Stark serves on the discipline committee.