VOLUME 33, NUMBER 25 THURSDAY, April 18, 2002

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French honor Bruce Jackson
Professor is designated a chevalier in Order of Arts and Letters

Contributing Editor

The government of France has designated Bruce Jackson, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Samuel Capen Professor of Humanities in the Department of English, a chevalier in France's National Order of Arts and Letters.

The Order of Arts and Letters, established in 1957, is given out twice annually to a few hundred eminent artists, writers and others who have contributed significantly to furthering of the arts in France and throughout the world.

Jackson was named as a recipient in early March. A representative of the French Minister of Culture and Communication will attend UB's October academic convocation to present Jackson with a certificate and the insignia of the order, a medal suspended from a colored ribbon of white stripes against a green background, which he is now entitled to wear.

France has a long history of officially recognizing exceptional accomplishments in many domains. In addition to the Order of Arts, these décorations, as they are called, include the National Order of the Legion of Honor and the Order of Academic Palms.

Jackson received the honor for his career as ethnographer, folklorist, documentary filmmaker and photographer. "Death Row," the book he wrote with Diane Christian, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of English, on men waiting to be executed in Texas, was published in one of France's most prestigious literary series, "Terre Humaine" and their documentary film on the same subject was broadcast on French television and played an instrumental part in then-Prime Minister Jacques Mitterand's successful campaign to abolish capital punishment in France.

Jackson's earlier book, "In the Life: Versions of the Criminal Experience," also was translated into French and published in "Terre Humaine" with a preface by Michel Foucault. Both books appeared in several editions.

Lately, a number of Jackson's ethnographic and documentary articles have been published in French periodicals and books, and he is giving one of the keynote addresses on documentary photography at a four-day conference in Versailles in July. He also was named to the Council of Directors of the recently formed International Arctic Institute in Paris.

Recent American appointees to the order include actors Meryl Streep and Robert Redford; innovative jazz musician and MacArthur fellow Ornette Coleman; operatic diva Marilyn Horne; Beverly Sills, director of the New York City Opera and chair of Lincoln Center; author Paul Auster; producer Harvey Weinstein; Philippe de Montebello, director of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art; Jim Jarmusch, one of America's most distinctive filmmakers; Bollingen Prize-winning poet Kenneth Koch, and celebrated architect Richard Meier.