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photo of paul musselwhiteHolding Court is an interview series that features the authors of the new books on display in the King Arthur Flour café in Baker-Berry Library.

In this week's edition, we speak with Paul Musselwhite, a historian of early America with a particular focus on the political economy of early plantation societies in North America and the Caribbean.  Paul is the co-editor of  Empire of the Senses: Sensory Practices of Colonialism in Early America (Brill, 2017), which explores the role that the senses played in the production of empire.

What is your book about?

In order for Europeans to colonize the Americas and tap its resources they had to first be able to sense it - to figure out what it smelt like, tasted like, etc. That process made it comprehensible as a set of commodities, people, and places that could be acquired and integrated into their world.

Where did you get your ideas for this book?

I'd been working on the history of English cities in America and I'd been thinking about the way colonists tried to recreate urban sensory experiences (music, food, physical interactions) there. In the process of doing that work I made contact with Prof. Daniella Hacke from Berlin and we came up with the idea of bringing together a lot of scholars who were working on similar topics as part of a new volume.

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

I'm not a neat researcher. I'm a very synthetic thinker so I need lots of books and files open at once, often strewn across my desk, so I can keep jumping back and forth. That's my excuse anyway!

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

I don't think we'll ever move away from the value of some printed material, but the key is going to be finding way to make different kinds of media work together. I'd love to see workspaces that can combine digital media with printed sources and manuscripts.

What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

You can never rewrite your introduction too many times - keep going back to it.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

I love to read good travel writing.

Matariki Humanities Colloquium
Matariki Humanities Colloquium

Between 29 August and 1 September, Uppsala University in Sweden hosted the 6th Matariki Humanities Network Colloquium on the theme The Past & the Future. The Colloquium was the last one in the series of colloquia, which started in Dartmouth in 2013. Drawing on this, and as reflected in the chosen theme, the four days were spent reviewing the experiences of the past, and holding constructive discussions on the continued activities of the Network.

Participating from Dartmouth were Susanne Mehrer, Dean of Libraries; Graziella Parati, Paul D. Paganucci Chair of Italian Literature and Language and Director, Leslie Center for the Humanities; Jennifer Taxman, Associate Librarian for Research and Learning; and Barbara Will, Associate Dean for the Arts & Humanities.

It was clear that the network has evolved over the years; effectively adapting to the needs of the partner universities, and gearing towards projects that over time proved most productive. The Library and Faculty Streams have gradually merged their activities, with the Faculty Stream increasingly emulating the working-modes of the Library Stream; occupying itself with institutional and infrastructural issues of common interest to the partner universities in the ambitions to develop international excellence in research and education.

There were several concrete outcomes from the Colloquium. Alongside the joint sessions, there were separate sessions. Faculty Stream (again in an innovative manner and inspired by Library Stream) met to discuss a common and shared problem in daily academic activities. Based on data from the partner universities, the issue of student admissions within the Humanities was mapped and discussed; in order to model strategies to strengthen the field and ensure student numbers for the future. Meanwhile, Library Stream continued its highly successful and long-term project ‘Open Matariki’, aiming to promote and accelerate the adoption of open science policies within the Network; thereby lowering the economic barriers to the creation and dissemination of academic publications and expand the types of research outputs that contribute to the formal scholarly communication system.

For future activities, delegates agreed to seize on the lessons from the past, and to frame the continued activities accordingly. Recognizing the evident advantages of a closer interaction between Library- and Faculty Stream, and putting into practice the working-forms which will allow for a more continuously active Network, focusing on the overall theme of the role and relevance of the Humanities today, the partner universities aim to further increase the efficiency and impact of collaboration. This will be achieved by jointly enabling academic excellence by improving infrastructure, exchanging best practices and initiating collaborations in research and education though exchanging and discerning best practices. Research- and library resources and facilities will also be shared, for economic- as well as administrative- and strategic gains; and the network will also take on the role of an active and tangible supporter of the Humanities- within academia as well as in public discourse.

The first step has been taken and the delegates decided to meet at UWA, Perth, in 2019. Within the overall network-focus on the role and relevance of the Humanities, the theme of this meeting will be Digital Humanities, its impact and use within teaching and research, and its potential as a means to further strengthen the Humanities - within academia and beyond.

photo of faith beasleyHolding Court is an interview series that features the authors of the new books on display in the King Arthur Flour café in Baker-Berry Library.

In this week's edition, we speak with Faith E. Beasley, Professor of French and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.  Author of Versailles Meets the Taj Mahal (University of Toronto Press, 2018) Beasley is an expert in seventeenth-century French literature by women.  Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012, Beasley used the prize to complete research and writing on this book, an exploration into the conversations about India during the early modern period in France.

What is your book about?

I identify and explore the traces that the encounter with India left on the cultural artifacts and mindset of early modern Europe. I focus on France's "Grand Siècle" and the female-dominated salon culture that was unique to France and resurrect the traces of conversations about India in the literary works, correspondences, philosophical texts, novels, fables, and memoirs produced by members of a particular salon.

Where did you get your ideas for this book?

I have always been interested in the shadows of history, in finding and telling the stories that have been lost or sometimes intentionally cast aside and rejected from the dominant narrative of the past. My first two books, Revising Memory and Salons, History, and the Creation of 17th-century France, focused on the women writers of France's canonical 17th century and their influence on culture, and then explored why their story and the institution associated with them, the salon, was either erased from history or revised so it no longer posed a threat to the traditional view of the image of Louis XIV's France. This book also places into question our idea of what the west thought of India and the influence India exerted on the western imaginary. For the past 20 years I have lived between France, the US, and India, and been immersed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I started to notice references to India in some of France's most well-known works of literature and philosophy and was struck by how these references reflected a very different relationship between West and East than the one portrayed by orientalism. This interdisciplinary and cultural analysis of the encounter between two great civilizations at peak moments of their history challenges our preconceptions of the relationship between west and east, as it complicates our understanding of the past by including voices, especially those of women, who have been silenced.

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

Research for me is above all reading: reading versions of history, literary works, letters, philosophy...works from many different disciplines. In the early modern period, the boundaries between disciplines were much more fluid and sometimes didn't even exist. I also love to visit museums to see what people who were writing the texts I'm reading were looking at as they constructed images of the world around them. My goal is to learn how people thought, and how they came up with new ideas, not just what those ideas were. We read literary works differently when we have a deep understanding of their historical context. I find texts and images online, but I derive much more pleasure from time spent in libraries in Paris, in the archives, looking at the marginalia in early editions of works. I can't work without touching physical books, nor read a book without having a pencil in hand for notes! I always have to have a writing utensil and paper around me to jot down ideas, even on my bedside table!

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

My ardent hope is that it will still contain actual books. Reading a text online is simply not the same experience.

What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

Write about questions and issues that engage your mind but also your heart, your very being. Don't just go with the latest fad or write to please others. Your work must come from deep within you to keep your interest as well as attract readers. And don't be afraid to revise!

And finally, what do you read for fun?

I have always loved to read biographies. My next project will be a biography in fact! I'm fascinated by how a writer constructs someone's life, and by different biographies of the same subject. My other great passion is historical novels. I love to enter the past, become engrossed in another world. I appreciate texts that get me into people's mindsets and that offer different ways of viewing and interpreting the world.

Photo of Carlos MinchilloHolding Court is an interview series that features the authors of the new books on display in the King Arthur Flour café in Baker-Berry Library.

In this week's edition, we hear from prize-winning author Carlos Minchillo, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures.  Carlos' new book, Erico Veríssimo, escritor do mundo [Erico Veríssimo, writer of the world] (EDUSP, 2015) involved exhaustive detail-oriented research, in multiple archives across the Americas.  The hard work paid off: Carlos's book earned the 2018 Premio Literario for Brazilian literature from the Casa de las Américas the venerable cultural center in Latin America and the Caribbean.

What is your book about?

My book focuses on the career of Brazilian writer Erico Verissimo and examines how inter-American cultural diplomacy impacted Brazilian intellectual life in mid-20th century.

Where did you get your ideas for this book?

Basically, my inspiration came from my readings of Pierre Bourdieu's theory of the "literary field," which illuminates the political dimension and the social dynamics of literary life. Bourdieu helps us understand that literary prestige does not rely exclusively on the textual merits of the writings of a given author, but rather depends on various extra-literary factors, such as personal and institutional contacts, academic membership, and political context. This framework was very useful for understanding Verissimo's trajectory as a writer and an intellectual.

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

For this book, I worked extensively with the archives. I delved through Verissimo's and other writers' personal papers, newspaper digital collections, US government records and archives of institutions like the Smithsonian and the Congress for Cultural Freedom. Retrieving and systematizing a massive documentation was not always simple. Besides having access to good catalogs and competent librarians, it was essential to develop strategies to organize and tag thousands of files.

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

I hope libraries will still offer in the future comfortable and quiet spaces for reading and working and, above all, continue to hire well-trained, engaged, and inspiring librarians.

What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

Be patient and persistent: good research takes time. And it can be exhausting: try to have fun and take a break now and then.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

I'm currently reading Não falei [I Didn't Talk], by Beatriz Bracher. It's a story about the dark period back in the 1960s when Brazil was ruled by a military dictatorship. The book deals with the long-lasting pain caused by those who survived state violence.

 

This summer, as a part of their final project, the students in Darrin McMahon's "History of Equality" class created an exhibit at Rauner Library titled "Coeds and Cohogs: The Struggle over Female Integration at Dartmouth College." Using documents curated from the archives at Rauner Library, the exhibit considers the evolution of the College’s social character in the decades since the adoption of coeducation in 1972. Each of the three cases in the exhibit represents a distinct but interrelated facet of this unfolding process. They treat, respectively, three complex and shifting perspectives: male students, women students, and the Dartmouth administration. When placed in dialogue with one another, the cases seek to explain how women's issues on campus today have been shaped by distinct instances of convergence and discord at Dartmouth for more than forty-six years.

The exhibit was curated by Matthew Ix '20, Dante Mack '20, Chris Meister '20, David Nesbitt '20, Madeline Press '20, Ian Reed '21, Rushil Shukla '20, and Dayle Wang '20, all students in Darrin McMahon’s “The History of Equality” HIST 08 class, during the Summer of 2018. It will be on display in the Class of 1965 Galleries from September 17th through November 5th, 2018.

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A portrait of Laura Edmondson, associate professor of theater, and program administrator for African and African American studies and women's and gender studies.Holding Court is an interview series that features the authors of the new books on display in the King Arthur Flour café in Baker-Berry Library.

In this week's edition, we speak with Laura Edmondson, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Theater.  The research and writing of Laura's book, Performing Trauma in Central Africa: Shadows of Empire (Indiana University Press, 2018), developed over the span of more than a decade, proving that quality scholarship takes time and persistence to produce.

What is your book about?

My book explores theater and other forms of cultural production that respond to conflict and post-conflict in Rwanda, northern Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Basically, it’s a journey through the performance of war in Central Africa.

Where did you get your ideas for this book?

From fieldwork. In 2004, I traveled to northern Uganda to research how theater artists were responding to the conflict between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Ugandan government. Based on my previous work in neighboring Tanzania, I anticipated that theater in northern Uganda would serve as a vital forum of community (re)building and cultural resilience; instead, I found that it had been thoroughly appropriated as a humanitarian tool of “marketing trauma.” This launched an exploration into what I call, after Didier Fassin and Richard Rechtman, an “empire of trauma.”

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

To understand the complexities of an empire of trauma, I draw upon both fieldwork and textual analysis. And the element that I need is time, time, and more time. The research and writing of my book took over a decade. I was pregnant with my second child when I started doing research in Uganda in 2004—she had just celebrated her 13th birthday when my book came out last April (!).

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

I’m hopeful that the library of the future will always include material books. Wandering the stacks of Baker-Berry leads to unexpected paths of inquiry, far more so than the soullessness of a Google search.

What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

Find your prime writing time (first thing in the morning, late at night, whenever). Then, protect it as much as possible and utilize it as much as possible, even if you can only manage half an hour.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

I love novels. Right now, I'm reading Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey.  In the Summer 2018, I directed the theater Foreign Study Program in London, and I took the students on an excursion to Bath. It was a fun excuse to get reacquainted with Austen.

 

Wheelan photoHolding Court is an interview series that features the authors of the new books on display in the King Arthur Flour café in Baker-Berry Library.

To kick off the fall term, we hear from economist Charles "Charlie" Wheelan, Class of 1988, Senior Lecturer and Policy Fellow at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy.  Wheelan, former correspondent for The Economistis the author of the "Naked" series: Naked Economics (W.W. Norton, 2002), Naked Statistics (W.W. Norton, 2013), and the latest, Naked Money (W.W. Norton, 2016).  What advice does the prolific writer offer those who get stuck?  To power through the early drafts.

What is your book about?

It describes what "money" is and why it matters. In the process, I try to explain the broader global financial system.

Where did you get your ideas for this book?

Money is such a strange phenomenon. (That $100 bill in your wallet is just a piece of paper.) Yet finance has a huge impact on all of our lives, as we learned during the 2007/2008 financial crisis. I wanted to explore and demystify all this.

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

Most of my work is applied. I take other people's ideas and make them more accessible. I'm also the founder of Unite America, which is an effort to re-empower the political middle by electing independents.

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

I'm hoping that libraries will always be physical spaces, as well as repositories of information. They should be a place where we share important community resources, whether that is computer terminals or just good air-conditioning when it's really hot outside.

What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

The first draft is always awful. Just power through.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

I've always made time to read for fun, ever since I was a Dartmouth undergrad. I once read War and Peace while hitchhiking in New Zealand. I currently alternate between fiction and nonfiction.

 

photo of guy holding bookThe Fall 2018 term brings a fresh batch of New Books by Dartmouth Authors to the King Arthur Flour Café in Baker-Berry Library.  There are lots of ways to engage with the books on display and learn more about the research, scholarship, and creativity of our local authors.  Check out weekly interviews with the authors in Library Muse.  Attend the book talk on October 24th with Alexander Chee, in which he will present How To Write an Autobiographical Novel (2018).  Browse the titles on display while you wait in line for a coffee.  And if you want to take one home, the Dartmouth Library has a copy of each for borrowing:

Performing Trauma in Central Africa (Laura Edmondson, Theater)

Eastern Europe Unmapped (Irene Kacandes and Yuliya Komska, German)

Empire of the Senses (Paul Musselwhite, History)

Erico Verissimo, escritor do mundo : circulação literária, cosmopolitismo e relações interamericanas  (Carlos Minchillo, Spanish & Portuguese)

10 semanas, 05 gringos, 92 coxinhas : vivências, pensamentos e emoções de cinco universitários norte-americanos em viagem pelo Brasil  (Bella Jacoby ’20, Diana Quezada ’20, Elizabeth Nguyen ’20, Jarley Lopez ’19 and Paolo Juárez ’20)

Versailles meets the Taj Mahal : François Bernier, Marguerite de La Sablière, and enlightening conversations in seventeenth-century France  (Faith E. Beasley, French & Italian)

Experiencing Berlioz  (Melinda O’Neal, Music)

America, the beautiful : la presencia de Estados Unidos en la cultura española contemporánea (José M. del Pino, Spanish & Portuguese)

El impacto de la metropólis : la experiencia americana en Lorca, Dalí y Buñuel

(José M. del Pino, Spanish & Portuguese)

Naked Money (Charles Wheelan, Rockefeller Center)

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (Alexander Chee, English & Creative Writing)

 

Dartmouth librarian Katie Harding has been selected as a fellow in the SPARC Open Education Leadership Program, an intensive professional development program to empower library professionals with the knowledge, skills, and connections to lead successful open education initiatives that benefit students. The two-semester program blends online, peer-to-peer, and project-based learning to build a comprehensive understanding of the open education space coupled with practical know-how to take action on campus and beyond. Katie will work with a mentor to implement a capstone project that will help advance open education at Dartmouth and contribute back to the broader open education community.

Dartmouth College is a member of SPARC, which is a global coalition dedicated to making Open the default in research and education. For more information about the SPARC Open Education Leadership Program, visit sparcopen.org/our-work/open-education-leadership-program.

misagh parsa photoHolding Court is an interview series that features the authors of the new books on display in the King Arthur Flour café in Baker-Berry Library.

Today we feature Misagh Parsa, Professor of Sociology, and author of Democracy in Iran: Why It Failed and How It Might Succeed (Harvard University Press, 2016).  Hailed by the Wall Street Journal as "easily the most important work in English on the Islamic Republic since the revolution," the Times Literary Supplement as "brilliantly argued," and Choice as "erudite and intellectually challenging," Parsa's book analyzes Iran's prospects for democratic reform, given historical events and ongoing challenges.

What is your book about?

The book is about the failure of democracy in Iran over more than forty years. It traces the struggles that led to the 1979 revolution and to the Green Movement that shook the foundation of the Islamic regime but failed to transform Iran's political system.

Where did you get your ideas for this book?

I have studied the economic, social, and political conditions that produced democratization struggles in highly authoritarian countries, such as South Korea, Indonesia, Egypt, Nicaragua, and the Philippines over the last half a century. Based on developments in those countries, I developed a theory of democratization through alternative routes of reform or revolution.

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

Key to my research are the internet, published newspaper articles, and interviews.

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

While books and articles provided a great deal of historical and theoretical material for my book, the internet helped a great deal on the contemporary developments in the social, economic, and political spheres. Without the internet, I would not have had access to the data and I would have had to wait for a long time to collect the necessary information to analyze and finish my book.

What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

Raise fundamental, challenging questions, keep searching for data that address those questions, and don't be afraid to draw unorthodox conclusions.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

I continue to be drawn by the dilemmas faced by people who have been unjustly treated and their struggles to liberate themselves and restructure their world.  Here again, I read a lot on the internet. I follow some blogs to see people’s problems, their conflicts; the ways in which people understand their situation, and what they are doing to change their world.