Conversations


The Sky's the Limit for Asa Akira

Whether porn reflects existing racial stereotypes or creates a monster of its own is a classic chicken-or-the-egg question. Porn and racism, most likely, engender a mutually reinforcing cycle. But Akira’s individual responsibility within this cycle is, at most, ambiguous.


A Godzilla Crash Course

What do Hello Kitty, Astro Boy, and Pokémon all have in common? Godzilla paved the way for them to cross the sea from Japan and make waves in the United States, says William M. Tsutsui ’85, a visiting professor of Japanese Studies and East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard. For Tsutsui, Godzilla has been a source of inspiration for almost his entire life.


Amanda L. Kool

Amanda L. Kool is a former fellow at Harvard Law School’s Transactional Law Clinics, a co-founder of the Alliance for Lawyers and Rural America, and a pre-pandemic city-fleer.


“Pfifty” Days of Pfoho

In preparation for Housing Day 2021, Mario E. "Super Mario" León, the Pfoho building manager, committed himself to “50 Days of Pfoho Super Mario,” a challenge in which he posts photos of House community members and himself decked out in his collection of Pfoho gear on his Instagram account.


The Journey to Develop Personalized Cancer Vaccines

A team of researchers developed personalized neoantigen vaccines for cancer patients. This January, they revealed astounding new results that may have far-reaching implications for the future of quick-acting and long-lasting cancer treatment.


Mario León

Mario León currently serves as the building manager of Pforzheimer House, an upperclassman house in the Radcliffe Quadrangle.


A Lawyer in a Legal Desert

Amanda L. Kool, a former HLS lecturer who practices in rural Kentucky, believes a law career in a rural place should not be automatically dismissed or considered a career in legal aid or small town general practice.


Liberalism, Labor Divisions, and Gender: A Conversation with Professor Gina Schouten

In 2019, Harvard Professor Regina L. Schouten published a book with Oxford University Press, titled “Liberalism, Neutrality, and the Gendered Division of Labor.” Her book argues that political interventions are necessary to dismantle the gendered division of labor.


The Justice of Writing: Kelly Yang’s Story of Survival

Now a New York Times-bestselling author, Yang’s numerous “about me” blurbs online simply say she gave up law to pursue writing, but they don’t tell the whole story. Yang herself experienced sexual assault when she was a first-year student at HLS. She lost faith in the legal system after the Law School, which she had viewed as a symbol of justice, declared her assaulter not guilty and investigated her instead. “Parachutes” is the culmination of the 17 years she spent rebuilding her identity and courage after the assault, she says.


Autism, Art, and Advocacy: A Conversation With Royal Portraitist Nina Skov Jensen

When Jensen began to draw, she was an amateur. Her first foray into the art world was a “completely unrecognizable” drawing of Beyoncé. From there, Jensen “just started drawing more and more.” As she worked to get better, she sought recognition from the subjects of her painting, often traveling from her home in Denmark to London to meet actors during their movie premieres.


The Man Behind Safe Walks, Street Riders and a Hit Alicia Keys Remix

Peter W. Kerre is a well-known DJ, activist, community organizer, cybersecurity expert, and student at the Harvard Extension School who this summer led over 10,000 bike-riders on a BLM protest through the streets of New York City.


Harvard Placebo Expert Ted Kaptchuk on Deception, Expectations, and Hope

According to Kaptchuk, countless studies utilize placebo controls, but those only provide information about the placebo response compared to the actual treatment. There are very few studies on the placebo effect, which compares the results of those treated with the placebo with those who received neither treatment nor a placebo.


Reflections of a ‘Radical Redneck’

Allanah R. J. Rolph ’23-’24, who grew up in rural South Dakota, is in the revision stages for a book focusing on the conflict between her progressive politics and the more conservative aspects of her upbringing.


Decoding Cannabis

Gruber noticed that patients with the disorder would report using cannabis to combat feelings of depression. “I thought, ‘That’s really interesting — I’ve never heard that before,’” she recalls. She secured a grant in 2008 to study the effects of cannabis on people with bipolar disorder.


A Crash Course in Decolonizing — From an RV

As Nunziato spent more time living in the RV, though, especially during the pandemic, she recognized the small joys of staying in one place: she could appreciate the rhythms of nature, from the jumping grasshoppers to the flitting birds to the sprouting weeds, and take necessary, valuable time to understand the land and speak to its people.


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