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2012 Grawemeyer Award Recipients: State of the News

Friday on State of the News, we heard highlights from WFPL interviews with recipients of the 2012 Grawemeyer Awards. Rick Howlett spoke with Dr. Barbara Savage who was honored for ideas set forth in her book “Your Spirits Walk Beside Us: The Politics of Black Religion.” The book explores the relationship between African-American churches and political activism.

Erica Peterson interviewed Severine Autesserre, an assistant professor at Barnard College and Columbia University, and the author of “The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding.” She was awarded the Grawemeyer for Ideas Improving World Order.

The 2012 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition went to to Esa-Pekka Salonen’s “Violin Concerto.” Salonen described the piece to the 30-minute piece, which debuted in 2009, to Gabe Bullard.

And two neuroscientists from the National Institute of Mental Health were winners of the 2012 Grawemeyer Award for Psychology. Leslie Ungerleider and Mortimer Mishkin explained to Devin Katayama how their studies help explain how the brain interprets what it sees.

On Friday, we listened to excerpts of these interviews and spoke with our reporters about what they learned. To hear full audio with each recipient, follow the links at the bottom of the post.

Audio MP3
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Local News

Grawemeyer Religion Award Goes To University of Pennsylvania Professor

The University of Louisville and the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary are giving the 2012 Grawemeyer Award in Religion to a University of Pennsylvania history professor.

Dr. Barbara Savage is being honored for ideas set forth in her book Your Spirits Walk Beside Us: The Politics of Black Religion.

The book explores the relationship between African-American churches and political activism.

Savage says the two have not always been intertwined.

“What one sees if you look back in history, is that there’s always been a great deal of debate and controversy and argument, both within the church and outside of black churches, about what the public responsibility and the political role of churches ought to be,” she said.

Savage says the Grawemeyer Award is a recognition of the African-American history she’s been working to preserve. Grawemeyer Awards are presented annually in the fields of music, education, psychology, religion and ideas improving world order.

Listen to the interview with Dr. Barbara Savage:

Audio MP3

(Photo courtesy of University of Pennsylvania)

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Local News

“Three Cups of Tea” Publisher to Review Book’s Contents

The publisher of Greg Mortenson’s “Three Cups of Tea” has announced plans to investigate the book and its contents.  The University of Louisville has said it will withhold any judgment regarding the author’s Grawemeyer Award until allegations are clarified.

In an interview with Outside Magazine over the weekend, the author admitted to ‘discrepancies’ in the best-selling book.

Mortenson claims his co-author, who he says wrote ‘most of the book’, took literary license in compressing some of the events.  However, he maintains that there are no factual errors in his stories.

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State of Affairs

What is Willpower?

STATE OF AFFAIRS 3/14/11: Dr. Walter Mischel’s groundbreaking study of and conclusions about willpower have been applied to everything from early education to weight loss to saving for retirement. His efforts won him the 2011 Grawemeyer Award for Psychology. This Monday Dr. Mischel joins us to talk about his work, his discoveries, and what he learned from toddlers and marshmallows.

Audio MP3
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State of Affairs

Ending Modern Slavery

STATE OF AFFAIRS 03/07/11: Dr. Kevin Bales’ blueprint to end modern slavery earned him this year’s Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. It’s estimated that 27 million people are enslaved; human trafficking and slavery are intertwined with many facets of the global economy. In Dr. Bales’ book Ending Slavery: How We Free Today’s Slaves, he outlines a plan under which he believes slavery can be stopped within 30 years at a cost of less than $20 billion. Join us Monday when we talk with Dr. Bales about his work.

Audio MP3
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Arts and Humanities Local News

Dutch Composer’s Opera Wins Grawemeyer

The University of Louisville has announced the 2011 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition goes to a work by Dutch composer Louis Andriessen.

He’s being honored for his multimedia opera “La Commedia.”

The five-part piece is based on Dante’s “The Divine Comedy”

The 71 year old Andriessen says he’s long been an admirer Dante and his epic poem.

“I consider the book of Dante in the first place an encylopedia of knowledge, and it’s a very important political manifesto also for him,” Andriessen said in a phone interview from Amsterdam.

The Grawemeyer Award includes a $100,000 cash prize. Winners of the prize in psychology, religion and ideas for improving world order will be announced later this week.