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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.

Books by Dartmouth Authors for the Summer display in KAFWhat are you reading this summer?  Need a suggestion? How about a portrait of Vietnam War soldiers, an exploration of fly-fishing and physics, or an account of labor conditions of low-wage workers worldwide?  A study of a 50-year research project in a New Hampshire forest, a history of the Hebrew language, or a guide to help conquer your migraines, once and for all?  The Summer 2018 display of New Books by Dartmouth Authors is now up in the King Arthur Flour Café, showcasing a fascinating array of research and scholarship from members of the Dartmouth community.

Want more?  Check out “Holding Court,” a series of short interviews with the authors, appearing Mondays throughout the term.  And I hope you can come to this summer’s book talk, on July 18 at 4:30 PM in the East Reading Room of Baker-Berry, with Marcelo Gleiser, professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth.  Author of The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected: A Natural Philosopher's Quest for Trout and the Meaning of Everything, Gleiser’s lyrical prose explores the physics – and bigger philosophical questions – pertaining to fly-fishing, a hobby he picked up after watching a class on the Dartmouth Green.

Next time you’re in line at the KAF (which, by the way, reopens on June 21), take a look at this summer’s selection.  The Dartmouth Library has a copy of each one of these books for check-out, or, look for them in a library or bookstore near you:

 

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.

Images of Food Across Borders book cover and co-editor Matt GarciaHolding 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 Matt Garcia, Professor of Latin American, Latino/a & Caribbean Studies and History.  He is a co-editor, along with E. Melanie Dupuis and Don Mitchell, of Food Across Borders (Rutgers, 2017).  Their introduction sets the stage for a diverse group of essays, exploring how "the way we produce food, the way we eat, and what we eat have frequently hinged on the flow of people, foods, memories, and worldviews across borders."  On Thursday, April 26 at 4:30 PM in the East Reading Room of Baker-Berry Library, the Dartmouth Library will host a book talk featuring Food Across Borders, with co-editors Garcia and Dupuis and contributor Teresa Mares presenting the volume.   The event is free and open to the public, and promises to be a fascinating look into the intersections of military and/or labor history, trade policy, immigration, and digestion.  And yes, food will be served.

What is your book about?

We seek to overcome generalizations about the ills of a globalized food system and the uncritical valorization of local producers to understand the history and possible futures for food production in a modern world.

Where do you get your ideas?

All three editors have been working at the crossroads of food and labor or food and digestion. We began to see that all of our approaches involved border crossings: either immigrants or food stuff moving over borders and bodies of water, or food breaching the barriers that separate the outside of our bodies from within. We thought others might be working on these same issues. This volume proves that our hunch was right.

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

For this book, research required an appreciation of taste as a form of evidence. The unique flavors that constitute a cuisine also provide hidden clues to our pasts and recent transformations in our trade regimes.

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

It is fitting that the King Arthur Café resides in Baker-Berry Library, and our book is on display there! We believe that libraries will incorporate a more complete sensory experience. I recall using the music and video libraries at UC Berkeley as an undergraduate. I think we ought to imagine how tastes and smells can be catalogued and displayed. It may not be appropriate for every campus library, but one or some should consider catering to senses other than sight and touch.

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

Never hesitate to transgress boundaries. We radically transgress disciplinary boundaries in this book, which includes considering evidence (taste) that traditional approaches to scholarship might dismiss.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

I am currently reading books about how to farm. We own a 12.8 acre farmstead in Thetford, Vermont, and I intend to return cows to the land this spring. My favorite book in this genre is The Independent Farmstead by Beth Dougherty.

 

Professor Katie HornsteinHolding 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 Katie Hornstein, a specialist of nineteenth-century French art and visual culture.  Her book, Picturing War in France, 1792–1856 (Yale University Press, 2018), examines representations of contemporary conflict in the first half of the 19th century and how these pictures provided citizens with an imaginative stake in wars being waged in their name.  Katie also recently co-edited Horace Vernet and the Thresholds of Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture (University Press of New England, 2017) about the artist Horace Vernet, who, although popular during his lifetime, was reviled by the poet Charles Baudelaire and thus consigned to relative obscurity.  In this interview, Katie speaks about her single-authored monograph, Picturing War.

What is your book about?

My book deals with the emergence of a public in France after the French Revolution that was eager to consume pictures of war: these pictures were (relatively) easy to understand and often fun to look at, though they were also violent. I want to know what this tells us about the political and artistic culture of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. 

Where do you get your ideas?

From my cat. And from primary sources, especially works of art.

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

For research, I could not live without Gallica (the digital portal of the Bibliothèque nationale de France), museums, curators, and my colleagues.

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

I hope that it will still contain a lot of books. The digital world is wonderful, but I think it's important to know how to browse the shelves and be surprised by what you find.

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

Put down your phone and make space for non-distracted thinking.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

I just read Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel Khong and some salacious French revolutionary historical fiction by Hilary Mantel (A Place of Greater Safety); at the moment, I'm contending with a pile of old New Yorker magazines that have gone neglected in recent months.

cover of bookHolding 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 four of the student authors of Bartolomeo Platina: Lives of the Popes, Paul II (Faenum Publishing, 2017).  During the Spring 2016 term, Professor Thomas Hendrickson created an experiential learning opportunity by assigning Latin 28 students the task of producing an edition of a Renaissance Latin text. The manuscript was completed during the ten-week term, and was published last fall.  The edition has 11 co-authors, including current students and alumni/ae, proving that Dartmouth undergraduates are no strangers to high quality research and scholarship.  The Classics department is sponsoring a launch party for the book on Friday, April 13 from 4:30-6 PM in Bartlett 201.  Students, alumni, faculty and friends are welcome to attend.

What is your book about?

Graham Rigby (GR): The text concerns Pope Paul II's imprisonment and torture of humanists during the early part of the renaissance in Rome.  Daniel Gridley (DG): The winners write the history books, so Bartolomeo Platina took the liberty of writing the book on his arch nemesis, Pope Paul II.  Gaby Sommer (GS): We put together the first student edition of Platina’s Paul II, including grammatical, lexical, philological and historical commentary.

Where do you get your ideas?

GS: I've always been interested in finding ways to get young people excited about Latin -- to make it fun. Professor Hendrickson pitched this project as an opportunity to do just that. Learning Latin in high school, particularly with the AP curriculum, it was easy to get bogged down in grammar and "Gaul is divided into three parts" and forget the significance of the literature you’re reading. Sometimes you need a breath of fresh air. Lives of the Popes is a ready-made soap opera. It’s the Renaissance Game of Thrones. Our job was just to make it accessible.

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

Kent Ueno (KU): I have the image of papers strewn everywhere. After all, research is a collaborative process and one needs to constantly be in conversation with the community. I wouldn't be able to live without different colored pens.  DG: Collaboration--the ability to bounce ideas and drafts off of colleagues.  GR: Research is being curled up with a book. Cozy chairs are a necessity.  GS: KAF!

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

GS: I hope we never outgrow traditional libraries, but I expect more Kindle-types, more digitization – maybe a library cloud?  KU: I think it's rather sadly becoming more digital. I like physical books though, and hope it can stay that way. I imagine it will be largely digital with sections off in the corner for the oldies who like books.  GR: Hopefully much the same as the library of today.

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

KU: Find something you're actually interested in. You'll put out your best work when you really care.  DG: Write! The more you write, the more you write. Like anything, it takes practice to find your own voice.  GS: I’m still in college, so I'm speaking from limited experience, but I think a combination of good mentorship, patience, and choosing work you genuinely enjoy at the end of the day goes a long way.  GR: Don't worry about deadlines.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

DG: I'm currently reading Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, and next on my docket is Italo Calvino's The Nonexistent Knight.  KU: I'll read anything from the Lord of the Rings to the Hannibal Lecter series. I'd like to get more into books by authors like Brian Greene who explain complex physics ideas so clearly to general audiences. It's an extremely difficult skill I want to master.  GS: I read a lot of fiction – I really love John Irving, and he’s written so much that you can read him for a while. I’m also a big fan of essays when I’m short on time – Charles D’Ambrosio, Amy Schumer, Joan Didion and David Foster Wallace are my go-tos.  GR: These days I read a lot of ancient history - I'm currently (slowly) reading a book about the collapse of Eastern Mediterranean societies at the end of the late bronze age. If I had more time, I'd be reading Duff McKagan's It's So Easy: and Other Lies, a harrowing tale of his time as a member of Guns N' Roses and his long battle with drug and alcohol addiction.