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Kianny N. Antigua, lecturer of Spanish.

In this week's edition, we speak with Kianny N. Antigua, lecturer in the Spanish and Portuguese department.  Kianny is a prolific writer, the author of multiple works of poetry and children's literature. The books on display this term include Greña/Crazy Hair; Mía y el regalo de Guauguau; and ¡Pero es que aquí no hay palmeras!    Recently, Greña/Crazy Hair won the prize for Most Inspirational Children's Picture Book in the International Latino Book Awards.

What are these books about?

Greña/Crazy Hair; Mía y el regalo de Guauguau; and ¡Pero es que aquí no hay palmeras! talk about acceptance, self-love, biculturalism, transtierro, family and friendship.

Where did you get your ideas for these books?

From seeing, listening, and also experiencing injustices, bullying, life. However, I always try to present these topics in a way that is understandable and enjoyable for both children and adults. I want my books to be conversation-openers.

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

I try to write about topics that I am passionate about, and fiction gives me a lot freedom to play! Nevertheless, I always read as much as I can —fiction, anecdotes, news, and texts— about the subject.

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

I truly hope it doesn’t change much. I love to interact with paper books, to sit in both quiet spaces and community spaces to read, to share, to converse. I understand the advantages of digital libraries, I benefit from it, but I need the touch, the real one!

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

There is an indivisible relationship between reading and writing; one feeds the other, and vice-versa. Also, and just as important: begin to write! The editing, the reasoning, can come later. Free your words!

And finally, what do you read for fun?

I, immensely, enjoy reading books with my daughter, children and chapter books, in English —The Little Girl with the Big Voice, by Wé McDonald; Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 1 & 2, by Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli; and The Boy Who Opened Our Eyes, by Elaine Sussman. But I also need my me-time: Mujeres en la Guerra civil de El Salvador (1980-1992) (2017), by Margarita Drago and Juana M. Ramos; Sutiles (short story), by José M. Fernández Pequeño; and No creo que yo esté aquí de más. Antología de poetas dominicanas 1932-1987, Rosa Silverio, compiler. And, in English, Poquito. Unpacking the Memory Jar; and Flowers on the Wall (unpublished), by Tanya Montás Paris.

Today, we sit down with the Teaching & Learning Program’s Teaching Assistant, Yilin Huo ’22, to learn more about his experiences working in Baker Library. This will be the first in our “Talk with a TA” blog series. Keep checking the Teaching & Learning blog for new interviews!

Hello everyone! My name is Yilin Huo and I am working in the Library as a Teaching Assistant with Laura Barrett and Katie Harding. I began in Fall 2018 and will be continuing my role in the Teaching and Learning Program until... Essentially, what this role is about is assisting Laura and Katie in creating lesson plans that they bring to the First Year Writing 5, 2/3, and Seminars that they teach. My focus is finding ways to dish out information effectively and simple enough for students to understand and stay focused on. I give Laura and Katie my impressions from a student perspective and bring up what is working and what would make me fall asleep. We usually focus on helping writing students learn how to use the Library’s resources and databases and how to explore a literary or societal topic in their writing.

So far, it has been such a fun experience. Sitting in on various writing classes is always thrilling because I get to participate in classes I cannot take, although sometimes it gets a little awkward since I am in the same grade as all the other students in the class. I was super happy, yet anxious, to lead a discussion in Prof. Adedoyin Ogunfeyimi’s class about research methods we used in high school. I was excited to share my experience with everyone in the class to encourage more responses and participation from all the students. Besides teaching in classrooms, I also help Laura and Katie with behind the scenes work, such as LavNotes (which are present in every bathroom in Baker-Berry and Rauner). Another aspect of my role is learning about Katie’s Open Education efforts on campus. She is dedicated to implementing curriculums based around free textbooks and resources. I strongly support that effort. Laura and Katie have made this job so enjoyable. Thank you, Laura and Katie.

Yilin Huo ’22, the Teaching & Learning Program’s Teaching Assistant, teaching Professor Piper's Writing 5 Class.

photo of William FItzhughHolding 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 William W. Fitzhugh, Director of the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center and Visiting Professor of Anthropology at Dartmouth.  His book about "the unicorn of the sea," Narwhal: Revealing an Arctic Legend  , coedited by Martin T. Nweeia, is the companion to an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in 2017.

What is your book about?

Our book presents new discoveries about the elusive high arctic narwhal--its biology, ecology, Inuit and European relationships, new discoveries about its enigmatic tusk, and its prospects in a warming arctic.

Where did you get your ideas for this book?

Narwhal was inspired by research revealing the tusk is a sensory organ that helps the animal navigate the Arctic's icy seas.

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

Exploring Arctic cultures and the environment will be my passion for lifetimes to come.

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

A virtual network with Borg-like connectivity.

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

Follow your passion. Let instinct be your guide.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

Great naturalists like Charles Darwin, Edward Nelson, Alexander von Humboldt, Thomas Jefferson, and Louis Agassiz.

Keeping you up to date with Library teaching and outreach activities.

In this issue, we bring you four articles from across the Dartmouth libraries. First, learn about the Software Carpentry workshops and how students are creating usable software. Next, staff from paddock Music Library bring us a snapshot of the "Sing-In" events. Then, learn more about the "On Solid Ground" exhibit. Finally, a sneak peek into our new blog series, "Talk with a TA."

Software Carpentry @ Dartmouth By Lora Leligdon and James Adams

Data-driven research has become ubiquitous across most disciplines, and researchers spend more and more time building and using software.  However, little formal training has been provided to researchers on the fundamental skills needed to produce reliable and reproducible computationally intensive scholarship.  To bridge this gap, the Library and ITC partnered with New England Software Carpentry Library Consortium (NESCLiC) to bring Software Carpentry (SWC) workshops to Dartmouth.

Software Carpentry workshops teach researchers the fundamental skills that will help them be more productive while producing more reproducible, higher quality work. During a two-day workshop, concentrating on either Python or R, students learn how to write software that is readable, reusable, and reliable, along with using the Unix shell to automate their tasks and Git to track and share code. The workshops are taught with openly available lessons and use evidence-based best teaching practices, including live coding, collaborative note taking, and immediate feedback. They are designed to serve as introductions to these tools and concepts, and are approachable for researchers with any level of experience. Feedback from students has highlighted the “hands-on, collaborative environment” as a major strength, and referred to Software Carpentry as “fun” and “confidence-building.”

To date, four SWC workshops have been held on campus, training over 150 researchers!  SWC events are open to all members of the Dartmouth community, and participants from all schools (A&S, Tuck, Thayer, TDI, and Geisel) across campus have attended. As workshop registrations fill quickly, three more workshops are planned for this year. Registration dates are announced in advance, so keep an eye on the Vox Daily for news about upcoming Software Carpentry workshops!

For more information, please email

"On Solid Ground": The First of Four By Jay Satterfield and Joshua Dacey

It is Monday morning at 9 o'clock in Baker Main hall. The line for KAF is long and you need something to get your mind off that Economics quiz this afternoon. Glancing around the sunlit mezzanine, the glare off of the glass of an exhibit case catches your eye. As the glare fades, the text becomes clear, "On Solid Ground." Upon further investigation (because the KAF line still hasn't moved!) you discover a six panel series detailing "how the physical, social and intellectual spaces that make up Dartmouth have been shaped over time." According to the exhibit's co-curator, Jay Satterfield, the inspiration for the exhibit is rooted in Dartmouth's 250th Anniversary celebrations. At this time of celebration and reflection, the curator's decided that "an exploration of the solid, yet shifting, landscape of the institution seemed like a good way to think about continuity and change." Indeed, a foundation of texts, images, and artifacts, allow visitors to stand  on equal footing with figures such as Eleazar Wheelock, Fred Harris, and John Kemeny. Even with a cursory glance, you find an intellectual and cultural common ground where a dialogue of how the campus has evolved unfolds.

How the historical expansion of Dartmouth's campus remains relevant to a modern audience might seem like a big question. Yet, within the exhibitions panels, the answer is found. That is the power of an exhibit. We absorb and interpret the content as individuals, making our own meaning of the stories and objects presented to us by the curators. Each visitor has the opportunity to find that one object or historical figure to connect with. For Jay Satterfield, two objects of note resonate deeply, "the Clifford Orr letter to his mother and the photograph of Gail Borden's dorm room in Mass Hall." Each of these artifacts provide an avenue by which to access the daily life of Dartmouth students in the early 20th Century.  The stark differences confronting visitors in the displays invite an introspective moment of reflection. Compare the lives of Dartmouth students past to your own. How have they changed in the one hundred years since Clifford wrote to his mother on a sunny September day in 1918? Now consider the campus. In 250 years, how has the campus changed? What outside forces have created these changes? Students, faculty, and staff have shaped the physical and culture environments of Dartmouth through their efforts to exclude, include, expand, and effect change. Therein lies the answer to the question of relevance and the curator's message:

"Schools like Dartmouth can seem so entrenched in tradition that it is hard to imagine shifting their culture. but institutions change, and the change can come from many different directions. We are empowered more than we know."

Jay Satterfield

"On Solid Ground" was curated by Jay Satterfield and Peter Carini.  Dennis Grady designed and installed the exhibition. "On Solid Ground" will be on display in Baker Main hall from January 2 until March 21, 2019.
For more information about the the library's 250th projects visit:
You can also view the digital exhibit here.


Find Your Voice at the "Sing-Ins" By Memory Apata

The Friday Night Sing-Ins in the Paddock Music Library are an opportunity for the Dartmouth community to collaborate with Upper Valley community members through music and discussion. The Sing-Ins, now in their third year, occur every Friday during the month of January. Attendees sing five to six songs whose themes center on the American civil rights movement and other social issues. Some favorite tunes of the group are “We Shall Overcome” and “This Little Light of Mine.”

The event is about an hour and a half long. Attendees are not expected to know the songs before they arrive, nor are they expected to have a high level of musical ability. The leaders of the event (usually the librarian and a group of student musicians) demonstrate a song, inviting the participants to join in after the first demonstration. If participants catch on to the tune quickly, musicality is explored by adding dynamic contrasts and harmony. Once most of the group has learned their parts, there is a pause for a discussion of the song’s historical context. Inevitably, this leads to dialogue on the relevant social issue’s depiction in the music. It isn’t uncommon for disagreements to arise, in which case the librarian steps in to guide the conversation in a productive way. It is not necessary for the group to reach a consensus, but it is necessary that varying perspectives are acknowledged, examined, and sometimes challenged. After five or ten minutes of discussion, we sing through the piece one last time, integrating the information learned during discussion into our final interpretation. The music is, in many ways, an excuse to facilitate community conversation.

Over the past three years, the event has grown from fewer than ten attendees per session to more than thirty attendees per session. Many singers attend more than one event each year and have expressed a desire for more frequent events of a similar quality. Most singers come for the music, but stay for the conversation. In the future, the library hopes to give more leadership to regular attendees, rather than coordinating the events entirely on our own.

For more information, please email


Teaser “Talk with a TA” By Yilin Huo and Joshua Dacey

Have you ever wondered what it is like to work in one of Dartmouth’s seven libraries? Surprisingly, some of the best sources to describe the experience are students. The library employs Teaching Assistants throughout the year, providing valuable work experience and a tidy paycheck to offset the cost of coffee trips to King Arthur Café. Over the next several months, we will interview our library Teaching Assistants in a new blog series entitled “Talk with a TA.” Our first interview was with Yilin Huo ’22. Here is a sample of the upcoming post:

“I was excited to share my experience with everyone in the class to encourage more responses and participation from all the students.”

Baker Tower
Contributors: Lora Leligdon and James Adams (Software Carpentry @ Dartmouth), Jay Satterfield and Joshua Dacey ("On Solid Ground": The First of Four), Memory Apata (Find Your Voice at the "Sing-Ins"),
Yilin Huo (Teaser “Talk with a TA”)
Editors: Joshua Dacey


The Historic Accountability fellows (from left to right) Anneliese Thomas, Alexandrea Keith and Samantha Koreman.
The winter 2019 Historic Accountability fellows (from left to right) Anneliese Thomas, Alexandrea Keith and Samantha Koreman.

The Sphinx Foundation is generously funding a student research fellow in the Dartmouth Library’s Historical Accountability Student Research Fellowship pilot program. This gift will enable an additional student the opportunity to research issues related to diversity and inclusion in Dartmouth’s past. According to Peter Frederick ’65, President of the Sphinx Foundation, educating students of Dartmouth and members of the College community in the history and traditions of the College has been a key objective for many years. “Supporting the Historical Accountability program provides a perfect opportunity for Sphinx and the Library to work together to meet mutual objectives. Our members are pleased to have the opportunity to help Dartmouth.”

The pilot program awards fellowships to students to pursue topics of their choice during an off-term. The students, who receive stipends, work with materials in the college archives to produce research that will become part of the Library collection. “This is an opportunity to mine the resources that we have and use undiscovered primary sources to tell the untold stories of Dartmouth’s past,” says Dean of Libraries Susanne Mehrer.

The pilot program was initiated by the Library and funded by the Office of the Provost through the campus-wide Inclusive Excellence initiative. The original project funded three students to explore Dartmouth’s history. With the Sphinx Foundation’s generous support, a fourth fellow will now have the opportunity to be part of the program.

In the summer of 2018, the pilot’s inaugural fellow, Caroline Cook ’21, explored the career of Dartmouth’s first tenured professor, Hannah Croasdale. During the current Winter 2019 term, three more fellows are working in the archives:

Alexandrea Keith ‘20 is exploring the intersections of race and class by studying and juxtaposing the experiences of Jewish students and Black students who attended Dartmouth during the early 20th century. She will focus on the extent to which men of color, their Jewish counterparts and, particularly, lower income Black and Jewish students were integrated into campus life.

Samantha Koreman ‘20 is focusing on the historical representation and visibility of the differently abled throughout Dartmouth’s institutional history. This entails researching the experiences of the differently abled on campus and utilizing building floor plans to determine how accessible Dartmouth’s campus is to people with limited mobility.

Anneliese Thomas ‘19 is consulting the papers of Professor Errol Hill to explore the Black student experience at Dartmouth in the 1960s and 70s. She seeks to underscore the importance of representation through the stories of Errol Hill and the students whose lives he impacted so greatly.

Institutional History Research Specialist Myranda Fuentes, who is overseeing the Historical Accountability project, says “The fact that this program is so student-focused is what encouraged me to get involved. In my eyes, the Historical Accountability Program is a great opportunity for Dartmouth students to develop their research skills, while also enabling Dartmouth to engage with its past in a critical way.”

The fellows’ research findings will be made freely available through our website.

About the Sphinx Foundation

The Sphinx Foundation, a New Hampshire charitable non-profit organization, serves and supports the College, the community, and the general public through its educational and philanthropic efforts.  The Sphinx Foundation promotes education, research, and scholarship at the College, fosters the ideals of academic excellence, community service, and high moral purpose, and serves as a reservoir of Dartmouth’s history and traditions.


  • Saba Maheen's winning entry for Dartmouth’s 250th anniversary bookplate competition.

Congratulations to Saba Maheen ’20 who designed the winning entry for Dartmouth’s 250th anniversary bookplate competition for the celebratory publication, Dartmouth Undying.  Saba received a $250 cash prize from the sponsoring Sphinx Foundation.

The goal of the contest was to invite as many experienced students, as well as beginning student printers/designers as possible, to celebrate the 250th and to introduce more young people to the world of printing and design.

Saba designed the commemorative bookplate using hand-set type, ornaments, and engravings available in the Book Arts Workshop’s letterpress studio.  Sarah Smith, Books Arts Workshop  Program Manager, printed by hand the 500 bookplates on a 1880s Golding Pearl platen press to accompany the slipcased edition of Dartmouth Undying.

The selected design evoked Dartmouth’s rich heritage by combining both traditional and contemporary approaches.  Saba worked with the newly designed Lone Pine image as an engraving, wood type and she even type set on a curve—a very ambitious feat! The judges, local experts in either design, Dartmouth history, or printing were: Peter Carini, Dartmouth College Archivist; Richard Sheaf ’66, Vice President of the Ephemera Society of America; and Eric Brooks, Assistant Director for Design and Production at UPNE.

The Dartmouth Library thanks the judges for their careful consideration of the entries and their time; Jim Collins '84, Dartmouth Undying editor, for approaching us with the idea and working through all the intricacies of the project; and finally to the Sphinx Foundation for their generous financial support.

Library of Congress [Public Domain]
Happy New Year, and happy reading!  What better way to ring in the year than with a slate of new books by Dartmouth authors?  Displayed in the King Arthur Flour Café of Baker-Berry Library, the books this Winter 2019 term range from poetry and creative nonfiction, to children's books in Spanish, to a history of pedometers and other quantification devices.  Each week we publish interviews with the authors, a chance for you to learn more about their research and writing process, and what their ideal library looks like.  And on Wednesday, February 6, at 4 PM, we will host a book talk with Jacqueline Wernimont, whose book, Numbered Lives: Life and Death in Quantum Media (MIT Press, 2018).  Free and open to the public.  We hope you will join us for what promises to be a fascinating event.  In the meantime, be sure to check out all of the books on display:

Kianny N. Antigua (Spanish and Portuguese)

Greña/Crazy Hair, Mía y el regalo de Guaguau/Mía and the Gift from Guaguau, ¡Pero es que aquí no hay palmeras!

Zenghong Chen (Library)

An illustrated catalog of Chinese ancient books in Dartmouth College Library […]

William W. Fitzhugh (Anthropology and Arctic Studies)

Narwhal: Revealing an Arctic Legend

Mary Flanagan (Film and Media Studies)

Ghost Sentence

Laurence Hooper (French and Italian)

Realisms and Idealisms in Italian Culture  

Julie Hruby (Classics)

From Cooking Vessels to Cultural Practices in the Late Bronze Age Aegean

Richard Ned Lebow (Government)

Max Weber and international relations; Avoiding War, Making Peace; The Rise and Fall of Political Orders

Peter Orner (English and Creative Writing)

Lavil: Life, Love and Death in Port-au-Prince

Am I Alone Here?

Robert St. Clair (French and Italian)

Poetry, Politics, and the Body in Rimbaud: Lyrical Material

Jacqueline Wernimont (Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)

Numbered lives : life and death in quantum media

Melinda O'Neal 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.

In this week's edition, we speak with Melinda O'Neal, Professor Emerita of Music and Artistic Director and Conductor Emerita of the Handel Choir of Baltimore.  With O'Neal's book, Experiencing Berlioz: A Listener's Companion (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) readers are introduced not only to the sonic landscape of Berlioz' work, but to the ways that history, biography and literature can deepen and enrich one's appreciation of his music.

What is your book about?

Experiencing Berlioz is about finding touchstones for understanding the music of Berlioz—discovering what works to listen to, what to listen for, and how listening can bring deeper enjoyment.

Where did you get your ideas for this book?

When I first rehearsed a choral work by Berlioz in graduate school, its beauty and originality took my breath away. Then while preparing Berlioz works for performances with the Dartmouth Chamber Singers, Handel Society, Seattle Symphony Chorale, and other ensembles, I looked more broadly at his repertoire. I discovered that the majority of his works are for singers and instruments, not for instruments alone as is commonly supposed. Why this misconception? The central questions then became, what is it about his music—songs, choruses, extended choral-orchestral works, operas, and symphonies—that makes performing and listening to them so gratifying, so compelling? How can I connect others to this treasure-trove? I am grateful for all the Dartmouth performers and students in my courses who contributed to this effort.

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

To write this book I needed access to all of Berlioz’s scores, the poetry, novels and plays he set or based his music on, his books and reviews, and the perspectives of every other Berlioz scholar. Live concerts, attended or conducted, were essential so I could hear the music as it interacted with the acoustics of the hall, see the sources of individual sounds, and experience different interpretations. High quality recordings, texts, and excellent translations were invaluable, of course.

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

Walking into a music library brimming with bustle and interaction is always a pleasure. I hope those who enter in the future will also find…

  • easy access to as many world-wide styles and genres of music as possible, newest to old and in a variety of formats.
  • multiple recordings of the same repertoire (including rare recordings off the beaten path), so listeners can perceive how different interpretations and performance practices vastly affect the impact of a composition.
  • a silent, calm space. Much of the musical experience takes place from inside out. For example, a performer imagining the sound with only the score in hand, or a composer or improvisor simply imagining, or a listener remembering/imagining. These all require deep concentration.
  • an experimental digital laboratory designed to hear selections as they might sound and feel in spaces altered to different sizes and shapes or played by different instruments and other media.

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

Aspiring music scholars should perform, listen, attend live concerts, read thoroughly and widely, be well-grounded in music history and theory. Take those graduate courses in bibliography, learn foreign languages, explore music’s intersection with other disciplines, travel. When writing, seek feedback often and be prepared to write many drafts. Most importantly, write about what you know and love.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

I read the daily news, The New Yorker magazine, and mysteries by Donna Leon, Deborah Crombie, and others. As I enter into retirement, I look forward to reading more American history and biographies.

Photo of Alexander CheeHolding 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 Alexander Chee, author of the collection of essays How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018).  Chee has received critical acclaim for this and his recently published The Queen of the Night (2016).  About How To [...], J.W. McCormack, for the New York Times, writes "Chee has written a moving and personal tribute to impermanence, a wise and transgressive meditation on a life lived both because of and in spite of America."  On Wednesday, October 24, at 4 PM, Chee will give a talk, "Your Life in Fiction," in which he will present his book and join in conversation with fellow writer, Peter Orner.  Please join us.

What is your book about?

The essays in this book span 25 years and are about everything from rose gardens, to money and social class, to protesting government inaction during the start of the AIDS epidemic, to writing novels.

Where did you get your ideas for this book?

I think of the ideas here as ideas that wouldn't leave me alone.

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

Fiction writers, contrary to popular belief, do research. I begin typically by asking myself what I don't know that I should know to write, and then I go to the library and begin usually by speaking to a librarian with expertise in that field. I follow the bibliographies and footnotes of the works I read and use that as a map to further reading. Translated novels, for example, typically contain the context clues you won't get by reading the novel in the writer's own language, and this is important if you're setting a novel, say, in 19th Century France and you weren't alive then, or in France.

I like to visit the places I'm writing about. I take pictures because I won't notice everything on the visit right away, and sometimes even video on my phone. If I can't get away to visit for financial reasons or time constraints, social media helps--an Instagram or Flickr tag is super helpful. And visits to special collections are always fun when researching anything in the past. I still remember the box brought to me containing a subject's passports from over his entire lifetime, including the French ones he had while an agent of the OSS during World War II.

Even when writing about yourself in a personal essay, research yourself. Treat yourself like a subject when you write about yourself. In writing these essays about my own experiences, I went back to my own diaries, letters, emails, notebooks--I re-read the books I was reading sometimes, referred to photos, asked questions of those I remembered being there. Most of what I found needed checking was what I was most confident about. This is because you have to outwit both your ego and the ego's child--the too-confident memory. As for what I could not do without, well, I already have mourned the loss of the card catalogue, for the way it allowed me to find the essential things I hadn't meant to search for. I hope there will always be stacks. I love wandering stacks and finding things I never imagined possible. This is a kind of research, and if I have a personal motto, it is probably "Wandering finds it."

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

A university I once taught at early in my career froze its acquisitions because of budget cuts, and the librarians I knew there described how fatal that could be to a library. I came to fear a library made out of an accountant's imagination then. I hope that's not the library of the future.

I think thriving libraries are the sign of a healthy community--they are part of a community's immune system. My hope is that the library of the future works to retain commitments to the communities it serves while also keeping its own integrity as a series of spaces, and a series of contexts. I think libraries are at their best when they introduce communities to each other, in particular, and facilitate not just knowledge but new interactions that lead to new knowledge and new connections. I don't know what that looks like but I hope to find out.

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

It is very important to do the work that feels most connected to your sense of yourself--and to begin by choosing the field or fields that have the ability to make your ideas articulate to yourself and others. Your career won't be something you can sustain if it doesn't connect to your imagination directly. This may seem like obvious advice but I see so many young people determined to prepare for a future that feels unimaginable to them, that they feel they should pursue, to fulfill someone else's idea of their right future. Work for a future that has room for you to live in it.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

For a few years I read Iris Murdoch novels for fun--it was something of a hobby, with no critical mission except my own pleasure--and I hope to get back to it soon (there's about 16 left on my list). I also love Japanese Manga, and comics like Saga, and I still read my oldest love, the X-Men.

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.