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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.

Morris Levin photoThomas Ward photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Morris "Mo" Levin and Thomas Ward, headache specialists in the Department of Neurology at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and faculty at the Geisel School of Medicine.  Levin and Ward are the authors of Understanding Your Migraines: A Guide for Patients and Their Families (Oxford University Press, 2017), an accessible and practical source of information for those who suffer from migraines.

What is your book about?

Morris Levin (ML): This is a book about the nature, causes, and treatments of migraine for people who have the condition, as well as their families and friends.  Thomas Ward (TW): We intended to provide a case-based user-friendly resource of answers to questions that headache sufferers and their families often ask.

Where did you get your ideas for this book?

TW: It was based on our combined work together at Dartmouth seeing patients in the Headache Clinic. The same questions and issues came up, again and again. We felt this showed how important some of these topics were to so many people.

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

ML: For me, the research mission consists of continuing observation of patients, analyzing what we see, and designing careful studies about the nature and treatment of illness.  TW: Collaboration with colleagues and mentees, teaching, and being able to see so many patients over the years with so many diverse headache problems. Being at a large medical center helped provide these conditions.

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

TW: Probably a small chip implanted in our brains that creates a heads up display, activated simply by thought, and linked to everyone else's chips and the internet. It might go beyond that to a genetic change accomplishing the same thing. I, however, will still like my books.  ML: Obviously, fewer books and journals on shelves, and lots of virtual search and learning platforms, attuned to different learning styles.

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

ML: Decide which subjects stimulate you to the point where you will spend all day/night learning about them. Then do that. The research and writing will inevitably follow.  TW: Read, read, read as broadly and as much as possible. Talk to established topic authorities but also listen to new people in your fields of interest for new ways of approaching issues. Incorporate the good things you encounter and discard the rest.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

TW: I enjoy old medical texts, especially those that are greater than 100 years old.  ML: Novels that seem plausible and news that seems credible.

Lewis Glinert 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 hear from Lewis Glinert, Professor of Hebrew Studies in the Middle Eastern Studies program.  Glinert is the author of The Story of Hebrew (Princeton University Press, 2017), which, true to its title, tells the sprawling and complex story of the origins, preservation, revival, and present-day usage of the Hebrew language.  Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, finalist for the 2017 National Jewish Book Award, and named by CHOICE Magazine as one of the "Outstanding Academic Titles for 2017," Glinert's book has won wide critical acclaim.

What is your book about?

I explore the extraordinary hold that Hebrew has had on Jews and Christians, who invested it with symbolic power beyond that of any other language in history.

Where did you get your ideas for this book?

Watching the Emmy Award-winning series "The Story of English", I thought "That's nothing compared with the story of Hebrew..."

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

A deck without wifi, some raisins and almonds, and (so 20th century) pen and paper.

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

They'll all be like Sanborn Library, places to curl up with a book.

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

Think how many rejections JK Rowling got...

And finally, what do you read for fun?

The Big Book of Jewish Humor by William Novak and Moshe Waldoks.

 

photo of James WrightHolding 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 James Wright, President Emeritus and Eleazar Wheelock Professor of History at Dartmouth College.  Wright's book, Enduring Vietnam: An American Generation and Its War (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2017), recounts the experiences of the young Americans who fought in Vietnam and of families who grieved those who did not return. An important addition to the literature on the Vietnam War, Wright interviewed well over one hundred people for the book and traveled to Vietnam, producing a military history that focuses on the human experience of combat at a pivotal moment in the war, 1969.

What is your book about?

This book is about the human face of the Vietnam War, the on-the-ground experience of those who served there. It focuses on the Baby Boomers. They grew up in the Fifties and many served in Vietnam in the Sixties.

Where do you get your ideas?

I lived through the era, serving in the Marines before the war, spending the war years on college campuses, including arriving at Dartmouth in the dramatic year 1969-70. It has been a haunting part of my life ever since. And after I wrote Those Who Have Borne the Battle (2012), an overview of all of America's wars and those who served, I knew that I had to try to tell the story of those who served in Vietnam.

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

With the remarkable digital revolution, the nature and the tools of research have changed markedly since I published my first book in 1966. But the basic principles are the same: research widely and thoroughly, seek to know and to understand your subject fully before you start imposing your presumptions on what happened and what it means. The facts and then informed judgment--and a good narrative structure, good story-telling skills, are the basis for professional history.

I have found the online access to research sources indispensable. And I could not work without Baker Library. It has sustained me through several books, from the Circulation and Inter-Library Loan professionals, to Government Documents and Periodicals and Rauner Library.  Thanks.

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

It will be a repository of knowledge and of information, digital and tangible print, and it will be the home of library professionals who can engage with and advise and assist those who seek to access this knowledge and this information.

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

Read widely and read critically and enjoy navigating an intellectual path that no one has ever followed before. And remember Daniel Patrick Moynihan's warning: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion; they are not entitled to their own facts. Your intellectual path will take you down some trails that you had never anticipated. Enjoy the discovery.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

It is hard to stay away from history--I am just setting out to read Ron Chernow's biography of Ulysses Grant. I am reading a book by my former student, Jake Tapper, The Hellfire Club, and my wife Susan and I thoroughly enjoy the mysteries of Louise Penny.

 

Photo of Marcelo GleiserHolding 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 Marcelo Gleiser, a theoretical physicist, professor of Physics and Astronomy, and the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy.  Gleiser's book The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected: A Natural Philosopher's Quest for Trout and the Meaning of Everything (Fore Edge, 2016) integrates memoir writing, scientific exposition, and an investigation into some of life's big questions.  In addition to his voluminous scientific production, Gleiser is the author of several books of popular science, co-founder of NPR's 13.7 cosmos & culture blog, and frequent guest on radio and television shows that explore subjects related to science.  On Wednesday, July 18, Gleiser is giving a public reading in Baker-Berry, a rare opportunity for the Dartmouth and surrounding communities to hear Gleiser read from his more popular work.  We hope you can join us.

What is your book about?

Simple Beauty is about our search for meaning in a strange and unpredictable world. I tell my own story as a scientist and a learning fly fisherman to illustrate our quest to engage with nature and our inner selves. The book is a manifesto for life.

Where do you get your idea [for this book]?

After one of my fly fishing trips, I realized it was an apprenticeship that had much to say about how we fit within nature and about going beyond limits and obstacles to learning. It's a grand metaphor for life that I wanted to share with people.

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

Research is the act of engaging with the unknown. Despite its rational, technical aspects, there is something magical about it, as we search for answers to new questions about the world and how we fit in. The process of searching is the lifeblood of re-search which, I always like to say, means we search and we search again. Sometimes frustrating, but, in the end, deeply satisfying.

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

It will be a living, world-wide-connected, repository of accumulated knowledge, an ever-sprawling gateway, as it has always been, to human creativity and its many fruits. It will encompass all kinds of information in all kinds of platforms, from books to virtual-reality experiences of the world and culture.

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

To always write your ideas down and to not be afraid to put your soul into your work. It's the only way to make it truly meaningful.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

Ha! Good question. I love historical fiction and try to read it any chance I have. I also love books about running and the outdoors, given that I am a devoted trail runner myself.

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 talk with Annelise Orleck, a historian of labor movements, and author of "We Are All Fast-Food Workers Now": The Global Uprising Against Poverty Wages (Beacon Press, 2018).  In this book, Orleck interviews worker-activists in many US cities and countries around the world, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mexico, South Africa, and the Philippines.  Seven Days has highlighted the book as among the best new books by Vermont authors, and Ms. Magazine included it in its list of 10 Feminist Books to Read This Spring.

What is your book about?

This book traces the globalization of our world economy and the 21st century global uprising against poverty wages led by low-wage workers, a great many of them women of color. Using photos and 140 interviews, this book tells the story, whenever possible, through workers' eyes and workers' voices.

Where do you get your ideas?

On the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 2011, Bangladeshi garment worker Kalpona Akter said, "In Bangladesh it's not 2011, it's 1911." I have found that to be true all over the world, in terms of workplace safety conditions, what wages will be, and the rights of workers to unionize. This book traces a movement by workers to regain rights they first fought for and won more than one hundred years ago.

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

This project involved global travel and interviewing, archival research, and digital online research. I could not live without face-to-face and Skype interviews.

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

I think it will include paper as it does now, material objects, and global online links to digitized resources.

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

Enjoy your research and writing. Study what moves you. If you are moved and are having fun as you write, readers will have fun and be moved by your writing.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

I read many different kinds of novels, the New Yorker, Salon and the Guardian.

Photo of Reiko OhnumaHolding 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.

Reiko Ohnuma, professor of religion, is a specialist in the Buddhist traditions of South Asia, and teaches on Hinduism and Indian Buddhism.  Her book, Unfortunate Destiny: Animals in the Indian Buddhist Imagination (Oxford University Press, 2017), looks at the roles played by nonhuman animals within the imaginative thought-world of Indian Buddhism, as reflected in pre-modern South Asian Buddhist literature. What may be the key to her successful writing practice?  Yoga before she sits down to write.

What is your book about?

My book is about Indian Buddhist depictions of animals—which really turn out to be statements about what it means to be human.

Where do you get your ideas?

My last book was on mothers and motherhood as a trope in Indian Buddhism, and since mothers are often compared to animals, I was naturally led to the topic of animals.

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

For my last two books, I have relied heavily on mind-mapping software, which I find to be really helpful in organizing my ideas. I use FreeMind, which is an open-access program.

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

I don't know, but I hope that it contains lots of physical books and continues to allow for free and aimless wandering through the stacks.

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

Do 20 minutes of yoga before you try to write anything!

And finally, what do you read for fun?

I wish my answer was more impressive than celebrity gossip rags—but, there you go.

Holmes photo in Hubbard BrookHolding 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.

Summer is here, with plenty of opportunities in the Upper Valley and northern New England for outdoor activities.  As such, we are kicking off the summer edition of Holding Court with the work of a researcher who has spent much of his working life out of doors.  In this week's edition, we talk with Richard T. Holmes, co-author (with Gene E. Likens) of Hubbard Brook: A Story of a Forest Ecosystem.  Holmes, Research Professor of Biology and Ronald and Deborah Harris Professor of Environmental Biology Emeritus, and Likens, a former colleague at Dartmouth (now at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY) have been involved in a 50-year long study of the Hubbard Brook Forest in New Hampshire.

What is your book about?

The book describes and synthesizes the results of 50 years of ecological research conducted in the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. This multidisciplinary project, initiated at Dartmouth but expanded to include investigators from throughout the US and abroad, is one of the longest running and most comprehensive investigations of forest ecosystems anywhere. The findings have led to a greater understanding of the process that inform environmental issues, including the impacts of acid rain and other atmospheric pollutants, water quality, sustained forest growth, land use and forestry practices, effects of climate change, and wildlife conservation.

Where do you get your ideas?

From decades of working in the forest at Hubbard Brook, listening to colleagues and students present and discuss their research findings, and reading many of the more than 1700 scientific papers published from research at this site.

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

Trying to understand the processes and mechanisms that underlie the functioning of a forest ecosystem. My focus has been primarily on factors and mechanisms that determine the abundance and population dynamics of birds inhabiting the forest. Being a field biologist, my research gets me out-of-doors to study and appreciate natural systems. Having access to such outdoor laboratories is essential!

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

I hope it will still contain lots of books, and they will be accessible to everyone.

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

Follow your interests and see where they take you.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

I like biographies and accounts of travel and exploration, as well as historical fiction. I just finished reading The Wizard and the Prophet by Charles Mann, a fascinating account of two scientists who were very influential in the development of environmentalism as we know it today.

Mark Bray History Professor
Mark Bray

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 talk with Mark Bray, who teaches History.  Bray's book, Antifa: the anti-fascist handbook (Melville House, 2017) gained national attention immediately following its publication in August 2017.  After the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, VA, which resulted in the death of counter-protestor Heather Heyer, Antifa's publisher, Melville House, rushed to print Antifa in order to provide historical context for the anti-fascist movement.  Most academic titles see an initial printing of a few hundred copies; Melville House set a first printing of 10,000, with an additional print-run of 20,000 copies, as reported by the Guardian.  Bray is an authority on the movement, one who participates in it (Bray was an organizer of Occupy Wall Street) and also performs deft political analysis of its place in current politics and over the last century.

What is your book about?

A century of anti-fascist resistance in Europe and North America; or, how to make friends at an Ivy League institution.

Where do you get your ideas?

From Bakunin's ghost.

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

Meeting people on marches. Reading old documents in archives. Interviewing revolutionaries. Having drinks at squatted social centers.

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

A free, global database of information.

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

Stay hydrated.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

The Sports section.

photo of douglas irwinHolding 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 talk with Douglas Irwin, the John French Professor of Economics.  Irwin, an expert on trade history, recently published Clashing over Commerce: A History of U.S. Trade Policy (University of Chicago Press, 2017).  The book has already received an enthusiastic reception from the media and academic peers, particularly in this era of intensifying debate around steel tariffs and other trade policies.  In spite of a busy schedule of media appearances, research, and teaching, Irwin made time to speak with the Library about his book.  And what he likes reading!

What is your book about?

The history of US trade policy from the very beginning (1763 or so) up to now.

Where do you get your ideas?

Often by thinking about the work of others.

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

Could not work at all without the resources of the Baker-Berry Library!

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

No idea, but I hope it always remains a place for discovering things and meeting people.

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

Persistence: the key to writing is rewriting, and if you do a little every day it adds up over time.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

Aside from obscure and boring economics books, usually history, or instead of that...more history!  I just checked out The Year without Summer about a volcano eruption in 1816 that darkened and cooled the globe for a year and cause big crop problems in America, leading to food shortages and hard times. A great case of the environment affecting the economy.