Scrutiny


Inheriting the Ivy League: The Market for Educated Egg and Sperm Donors

The high price tags of egg and sperm donations generate myths and taboos on campus, yet behind each is a human interaction wrought with the emotional complexity of any family-building story. Parents and donors must grapple with their place in a society that prizes — and prices — certain traits above others. And while some see trait-selection as a means of respecting individuality, for others it is a site of modern-day eugenics.


The End of the Harvard Century

For decades, Harvard’s relationship with China has been asymmetrical — China needed the University’s talent and resources more than the University needed China’s. But in light of the country’s economic and political ascent, the balance of that relationship has begun to shift. As the U.S. adopts racialized rhetoric toward Chinese scholars and China extends its long arm of censorship to university campuses overseas, perhaps even Harvard’s prestigious walls cannot adequately defend “Veritas.”


The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe's Crisis Within a Crisis

As he prepared his citizens to face the COVID-19 pandemic, Cedric D. Cromwell, the chairman and president of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, learned that the Department of the Interior had decided to move his tribe’s land “out of trust” — threatening the Mashpee’s right to exist. His battle is what one Harvard professor calls “the untold story of the pandemic,” the latest challenge in a 300 year struggle for sovereignty.


On Borrowed Time: Inside the Decision HUDS Workers Say They Must Make Between Safety and Salary

Harvard's decision to depopulate campus sent HUDS workers scrambling. Though employees who worked at dining halls that have since closed are currently on paid leave, those who are still required to work face a difficult choice. At-risk individuals may request to stay home — but it often comes at a cost.


A Gentlemen's Agreement

Across Harvard Square, lower-income residents and small businesses have for years existed in a constant competition for space — with large chains, with the University, and with the real estate investment firms frequently criticized for purchasing large swathes of land throughout the neighborhood. But taken collectively, Harvard’s property-owning final clubs exert a sizable influence on the Harvard Square real estate market. They too are players in the competition for space — and sometimes its rules aren’t necessarily fair.


Amid a Rapidly Changing Present, Can Chinatown Preserve Its Past?

Chinatown’s physical structures are deeply intertwined with its cultural significance: As gentrification razes row houses and storefronts, it also threatens the character of the community and its tight-knit, working-class core. Amid the conflict over what — and who — makes Chinatown valuable, activists work to preserve its history and guide its future, allowing the community’s influence to grow beyond its borders.


Inside the Conservative Media Outlet Feeding Harvard Students to Fox News

Campus Reform — a conservative media outlet that seeks to uncover "liberal bias" on college campuses — also often serves as a middleman that places college students on television networks like Fox News for short media segments. The articles and media segments that Campus Reform produces and facilitates then spread widely on social media — but only in certain circles. This system leads to a warped media narrative about college campuses in which the majority of students live in one reality, and a select few are deployed by a sprawling media empire to help create a divergent, parallel reality. When those two realities collide, rarely is it pretty.


Alexander Illustration

For Eben Alexander, heaven, at first, didn't look so different from earth.


Uncatalogued

Amid an ongoing lawsuit contesting the Peabody Museum’s possession of a series of daguerreotypes that depict two enslaved people, scholars and activists have focused their attention on the museum’s collection and acquisition practices. But the daguerreotypes central to the lawsuit were only discovered in the Peabody’s collection in 1976 — a discovery that raises questions about what other objects may languish uncatalogued and anonymous in the boxes, racks, and milk crates the museum secrets away.


Volume XXXI, Issue II

Dear Reader, It is mid-February, which means love is in the air. No matter your Valentine's Day plans, make sure to take some time to read FM's 2020 "Contemporary Romance" feature. RLL explores her love of the beloved food chain Waffle House. AKEC writes about the challenge of showing and accepting gestures of physical affection. And I grapple with my younger sister growing up. We also have a great mix of hard-hitting reporting and humorous takes to keep you entertained before your (romantic) evening. SSL spends an afternoon honing her thrusts and parries at a sword fighting workshop for women. MVE witnesses some incredible staff art at the Smith Campus Center. I profile Suraj Yengde, an inspiring Dalit intellectual and activist. And APK answers a question that has long stumped FM writers: What are sports? In our cover story for this week, MHM and GWO write about the history and the future of the artifacts of the Harvard Peabody Museum, parsing the museum's responsibility to repatriate and exhibit objects whose presence in their collection is inextricable from colonialism. We end with KKC's lovely endpaper, which turns the scrumptious process of gnawing on chicken feet into a thoughtful investigation of the difficulties of pinpointing "Chinese-America." Curious? Dare I say, titillated? Begin a life-long affair with FM, and read on! MNW


Peabody staff

Director Reynolds and the Peabody Staff in 1930 during the peak collection era of the Peabody. © Museum Collection. Courtesy of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, PM2004.1.324.38


A.D. Facade

The A.D. Club stands at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.


The Alimentary Rules of Building a Cookbook Collection

Though many initially disputed the cookbook collection’s academic merits, it now seems emblematic of the way the academy has changed in recent decades; it is a testament to many fields’ fights for legitimacy.


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