Open Doors and Advancing Knowledge: Policies and Advantages

June 26, 2015

Submitted by Nicolaus Stengl

For the past year, I have been fascinated by the idea of Open Access and what it could mean to professors, students, lifelong learners, and educational institutions. The question that many readers may ask is “What is open access (also known as OA)?” Open Access, defined by the Budapest OA initiative, means “free arability on the public domain, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles…without financial, legal, or technological barriers other than the inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself” (Budapest OA). My belief is that Centre College could and should have its own open-access by way of a repository and a policy that expects faulty members and encourages students to deposit their research and scholarly articles in a digital repository.

Centre College’s motto is “Doctrina Lux Mentis,” meaning “Learning is the Light of the Mind.” My interpretation of this is that by learning one enlightens oneself, but this could also mean that teaching others enlightens others and oneself. Learning brings a certain tranquility and satisfaction that is achieved through an arduous and academic setting. The latter does not need to be the case due to the digital world we live in. Today, there are many sites such as, Coursea, Edx, and MIT OCW, which allow for lifelong learners to continue to learn from their home as individuals or as a group by way of forums on these sites. The issue I see for lifelong learners or current students is the limited digital literature available, namely scholarly articles, but this can be amended by OA.

As a student worker at Centre College’s library, I have noticed that many students have not been able to get an article that they wanted or even needed instantaneously because they could not get it online through a database and/or Centre College’s library did not carry the journal in which the article was published. If Centre could start a repository then it would be possible to gain awareness for other small liberal arts colleges that spend the same amount of monetary funds on databases and scholarly journals. Ivy league schools, UC schools, and MIT have already begun to make it mandatory for faculty to deposit their papers and they have found it to be popular with DASH (Harvard’s OA digital repository) having over five million downloads since its creation in 2009. Centre College has always been a leading representative of small liberal arts colleges and could follow in Harvard’s footsteps by creating a digital repository and a policy that granted Centre non-exclusive rights to future research articles by its faculty.

Centre College would have three options when it comes to policies of OA. Peter Suber gives his recommendations with the policy stated above, where the policy grants the academic institution non-exclusive rights to faculties’ work. There is a policy that seeks no right whatsoever, but only requires that faculty deposit their work in the digital repository upon publishing their paper; or a policy that does not require a deposit but merely encourages it. I believe that the first two are more likely to work for the fact that encouraging might not be enough for a professor who feels constrained with other obligations. The policy that does not grant non-exclusive rights would most likely be the most favored among those new to OA and make the transition easier after a few years. Once all faculty have signed the policy, by default all faculty will deposit papers; if and only if they have a waiver signed, the college will not publish the paper through the repository but rather will keep it in the ‘dark.’

Let us now look at the benefits of Open Access for Centre College as an educational institution. Open Access would contribute to Centre’s mission to advance knowledge and liberal arts inside and outside the college as professors from all divisions would be sharing their papers, thus allowing students and other faculty to have an opportunity to see work from their professors and colleagues in all three divisions. By making this cross over all divisions, Centre would be democratizing all divisions and departments regardless of the size or its budget. For example, the X department may be able to get more access to journal articles than P department, but with open access all departments would have equal footing because all articles will be open to the students and faculty. The pervious argument is looking ahead, but this argument could be seen in the early stages of Centre College’s Open Access policy as it draws in additional papers and gathers more attention from students, staff, and other like-minded colleges. The attention from such an initiative would increase Centre’s competitiveness as a leading liberal arts college, not only in the south, but nationally. By creating a more competitive academic institution, Centre would enrich the quality of education and gather more competitive students who feel that an opportunity to do research is an important component of their college decision. Open Access would allow Centre to be more capable of publishing student research and thus student researchers will gather more attention for their work as undergraduates, allowing Graduate and Professional Schools to more readily discover Centre College students’ work, thus increasing students’ chances to be admitted to top tier schools that expect undergraduate research.

Part two of this blog post will discuss the steps that Centre will need to take to make a digital repository and issues that may come about.


A Rearguard Action against Entropy: An Overview of Archival Preservation for Physical Media

June 23, 2015

Archives 1

While storing digital media is becoming an increasingly important task for archivists, preserving traditional physical media is still one of the most important roles of the position.

On Friday, Nicolaus, Beth, and I visited the University of Kentucky. In addition to touring both Young Library and its Special Collections in the King Library, we met with Kazuko Hioki, UK’s conservation librarian, to talk about preservation options for a wonderful collection of Kentucky College for Women scrapbooks that are currently in poor condition and will get worse without some extensive preservation work. We got some hands-on practice preserving physical media.

Since previously I didn’t know much about preservation work, I decided to share in this blog post what I learned from Friday’s visit along and also some research on my own.

Physical media refers to physical materials that are used to transmit information. It can be touched and felt and has physical properties such as weight and color: books, manuscripts, maps, and cassette tapes, for example. The core goal of archival preservation is to prolong the life of useful research information stored on physical media, giving future generations the chance to make use of the material.

There are two essential types of work that can be done on physical media. When doing preventive preservation, the archivist focuses on treating and preserving works in order to reduce the possibility of future damage or decay, while prescriptive preservation is aimed at treating or even duplicating already-damaged materials in order to restore useful access to the information for researchers.

For archival materials, prevention is far better than cure. It is always better to protect useful information from deterioration rather than attempt to repair the damage later.

There are many ways to protect records and prevent future damage. All of these methods, however, focus on environmental controls, careful storage and good handling practices to prolong the life of archival materials.

Records and archives deteriorate for many reasons. It is important to learn the nature and the cause of damage before proceeding with the next process.

By nature, acidity of the archival materials itself can cause deterioration. This is one of the key long-term causes of decay. Many books and records, especially those not originally intended for long-term storage, are printed on paper containing acids. Over time, this paper will become yellow and increasingly brittle, eventually falling apart completely. While it’s not always possible to completely preserve acidic paper, there are a variety of archival products that can be sprayed or applied in order to make the paper more basic and neutralize the acids.

In addition to the inherent acidity of paper products, archival materials can decay due to factors such as:

  • uncontrolled temperature
  • relative humidity
  • exposure to sunlight and pollution
  • cleaning solvents and water damage
  • damage from microorganism agents such as molds and insects
  • abuse and mishandling

The exact concerns facing archivists attempting to balance the protection of materials while still allowing and encouraging easy access for those researchers that would find the material helpful differ heavily depending on the type of physical media in question.

Paper Records

This category of records includes things such as newspapers, cartographic records, and business or personal files. Also, things such as works of art on paper, canvas and other organic materials are somewhat similar. Paper records also include letters, reports and anything that is handwritten or typed on paper.  A majority of Centre’s archival materials include things in this category.

Paper records are best kept in complete darkness, avoiding direct sunlight or too much exposure to ultraviolet lights. Keep paper as flat as possible to avoid speeding up any decay. Folds or creases, after decades, create dangerous weak spots that are vulnerable to tearing. Paper records must be kept acid-free or treated to minimize acidity, as discussed earlier. They should also be kept in acid-free boxes.

Large paper documents and maps should be kept in a shallow drawer or cabinets. Archivists must ensure that there are no folds and that no part of the document is left exposed to light or hanging.

 

Archives 2

 

Books

Books are made of paper, but also such things as vellum, leather, cloth and adhesives. These materials require a highly relative humidity compared to paper records

One concern unique to books is maintaining the integrity of bindings. Book shelving must be carefully designed to avoid pulling the pages from the spine. Additionally, fragile books should never be forced to lay flat when opened. Instead, supports such as book cradles should cushion and prop the book’s sides up.

Photographs

Photographic material has its own environmental and physical requirements. Photographic materials are also best stored in total darkness. Exposure to sunlight should be at its lowest intensity possible. Avoid touching and handling photographic materials with bare hands. Instead, use gloves to prevent oils from fingers from leaving residue that might speed up decay. Avoid using cleaning agents that may contaminate the photographic materials.

Photographic materials also include cellulose nitrate film, photograph albums and motion picture film. Also sound recording magnetic and electronic media are considered photographic materials.

Other Media

Finally, there are a variety of materials that an archive may hold that do not really conform to any common category of archival materials. In the Centre College archives, for example, we have such things as a leather 1940s letter jacket, three metal spindles for a music box, a bullhorn, and an ancient tennis racket. All of these items have some sort of archival value, so for such wildcard items more individualized approaches may be necessary. This is, as you can imagine, highly dependent on the nature of the item.

While it is often impossible to stop the march of time and the gradual decay of materials, with careful work and an understanding of the preservation concerns different types of media raise archivists can ensure that valuable records and materials will be available for many generations of researchers.


Oral History Project Tips

June 22, 2015

Submitted by Nicolaus Stengl

Preface: After reading about oral history and doing a few transcriptions I began making notes and tips on how to create a more successful interview. Some of the ideas below could be used in future projects that Centre College will/could do for the Digital Humanities Project and other classes. These tips are focused on an oral history project with war veterans because, according to the National WWII Museum, WWII veterans die at a rate of 429 a day. With that statistic, I believe that we need to collect as many oral interviews as we can from these veterans so we can preserve our college’s, state’s, nation’s, and world’s history.

Oral History Project Tips

Before you begin the interview you should have an understanding of and/or familiarization with the historical context of the period you are going to discuss (Vietnam Era for the Vietnam War, World War II, Korea, et cetera). This includes social conflicts and the war itself. If the interviewer has an understanding of the period and is familiar with chronological details, themes, and key figures, then the interview will be greatly improved. Reading and discussions beforehand could supplement missing knowledge on the topic. Learn about interview techniques from linguistics (see George Lakoff and Deborah Tannen for supplementation). Ask the interviewee to bring props such as photographs, newspaper clippings, et cetera, which can be used to prompt their memory. Make sure to bring or already have signed the permission forms and deed of gift which is essential to preserving the content.

Try to eliminate any background noise that may interfere with the interview so those who listen to the recorded interview will be able to hear the questions and answers as they are spoken. Try to find a quiet room where clocks, car horns, et cetera will not be an issue as the interview takes place (forty-five to 120 minutes).

Make sure you run a test so that you know the required equipment for the interview is working! You do not want to interview someone and end up having to re-tape it because of a simple mistake that could have been prevented by taping a minute of conversation and playing it back. Make sure that all equipment you use is in working condition and that you have enough storage to record all your work.

If you have heard bad interviews, think about why they were bad. Most likely it was due to the “yes or no” questions that only get a response of “yes,” “no,” and “I don’t know.” If this does happen, it is recommend by journalists that you ask a follow up question such as, “Could you elaborate?” “Can you give me an example?” or “How did that happen?” It is also recommended that you start with a topic that will help your interviewee begin to talk and have a conversation rather than a back and forth question and answer, which can be mundane and not carry any significance. A great starting point would begin with “Where and when were you born?”, “Where did you grow up?” and from there you could ask them a specific question such as “What year did you graduate from X?” or “What branch of the military did you join and in what year?”

Remember to show that you’re interested and listen with a careful ear (be an active listener). Eye contact can be a strong indication of your interest in what they have to say and will encourage them to discuss significant events in their life such as war, death, education, and other trials and tribulations, which make the interview priceless.

Examples Questions

Biographical

Q: What is your name? Where did you grow up? Where have you lived? Where did you go to school? Did you have any brothers and sisters? Where did your father and mother grow up?

War Veteran Questions

Q: What were you doing before the war? Were you married or single at the time that you joined the military? Did you enlist by your own volition or were you drafted? What year and month did you enter the military? Can you discuss your experience in basic training? What was your military specialty (infantry, pilot, airborne, et cetera)? Can you describe your company and/or the people that you trained with? Were you sent overseas, if so, where? Were you involved in any invasions and if so, what year (Okinawa, Italy, Western Germany, Normandy, et cetera)? How was the food? Who did you admire during the time you served (commanding officer, people you served with)? Were you ever injured, if so, could you describe it? How did the war affect your life, how so? What year did you return to the U.S.? What are some of the memorable experiences during your time in the military?

 

oralhistory

 

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/mse/oral/what.html

http://www.loc.gov/folklife/familyfolklife/oralhistory.html

http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/ROHO/resources/rohotips.html

https://libraries.mit.edu/archives/oral-history/tips.html

http://www.hps.cam.ac.uk/research/oh.html


“The Goat Episode”: How a Halloween Prank Led to a Total Shutdown of Centre College

June 10, 2015

Submitted by Peter Shirley

The first project that both Nicolaus and I are working on this summer is preserving over a thousand newspaper clippings from the archives. These clippings relate to the college, current students, and alumni and were carefully cut from local and national newspapers and magazines by generations of college librarians. Some of the clippings date from as long ago as the 1860s, so many of them are in very poor condition and falling apart.

To preserve them, Nicolaus and I are scanning each one along with any information (such as the date and the paper) that we can find in the archives to go along with it. Once all of the clippings are safely preserved, we plan to catalog and organize the collection and then create a finding aid to allow researchers to locate clippings by topic, person, or a variety of keywords.

One of the most interesting clippings I’ve found so far is from the Louisville Courier-Journal and relates to a 1947 student strike. Striking in support of nine students suspended for entering the women’s dormitory to release a goat, the students boycotted the school until their concerns were addressed. With the “near-unanimous” refusal of the male student body to attend classes, the suspended students were soon temporarily reinstated.

Below is a scan of the original article, a student-made handbill to drum up support for the strike, and the full text of the article. The handbill urges support for the ten students suspended. I’m unsure if mentioning ten students instead of nine was a mistake or if one more student was initially suspended. A dapper collection of trench coats, leather jackets, and one truly awe-inspiring hat is on display in the article’s accompanying photograph.

 

Goat Walkout (3)

 

Goat Walkout Handbill (3)

 

Full text of the article:

Walkout Over Goat Prank At Centre College Is Settled

Student Council to Hear Charges Against 9 Men

By Joe Reister

Danville, Ky., Nov, 4th—A walkout at Centre College of all men students ended late this morning after President Walter A. Groves temporarily reinstated nine students accused of putting a goat in the women’s dormitory on Halloween.

All classes at the school were dismissed early today when virtually every one of the 480 men students at Centre refused to enter classrooms in protest against the nine suspensions, which were ordered last night for one week.

Prof. Earl C. Davis, dean of men, who ordered the suspensions, said he and Dr. Groves talked with the strikers and after an impromptu meeting of the Student Council, the walkout ended.

“It was agreed that the Student Council should conduct a hearing on the charges against the nine students, whose names we will not make public, and then make their recommendations known to the faculty committee, after which suitable disciplinary measures, if any, will be imposed,” Davis said.

Describing the placing of disciplinary measures in the hands of the Student Council as a “step forward,” Davis explained that heretofore a faculty committee had the sole power to punish students charged with infractions of campus rules.

Donald MacDonald, Richmond Hill, Long Island, president of the Student Council, said his group would report its findings to the faculty committee. The hearing will be held later this week, he said.

Placing a goat in the women’s dormitory is an old traditional Halloween prank at Centre. And the officials there have had as many laughs in the past over the stunt as have the students. It has always been the custom, however, for the male students to take off for parts unknown after getting the goat inside.

This year, however, some of the boys (some estimates run as high as 25) accompanied the goat inside the dormitory at 2 a.m., according to Davis.

The prank almost went off without a hitch—almost, that is. Davis was waiting outside the dormitory that night and Miss Mary Sweeney, dean of women, was waiting inside—just in case the boys stepped out of bounds.

Firecrackers Set Off

A group of 20 students distracted Davis’ attention from the real culprits by shooting firecrackers in front of the dormitory while the lads with the goat scaled the fire escape to the third floor.

Everything went along smoothly until some of the students got that idea to accompany the goat inside the dormitory. [End]

 

This article piqued my curiosity, and I did some research to see if I could find anything else. Aside from the same Courier-Journal article, other news reports seemed pretty scarce. However, I did find an extensive mention of the “goat strike” in the 1947-1948 Centre College yearbook and the celebration of the total acquittal of the students by the administration on the recommendation of the Student Council. This walkout seems to have been pretty unique in Centre history, as I could only find reference to one other student strike which occurred in in 1933 (there was a Day of Concern on May 8, 1970, but this was with full administrative support.)

Highlights of the yearbook article include the surprisingly sophisticated and technical interpretation of the college rules by the student-run Men’s Council (including objection to what they considered something of a trial in absentia of the students by the administration) and the wonderfully tart sentence “the Council in no way wishes their decision to be construed as a sanction…of further such affairs as the goat episode.”

Yearbook 1947-1948final


Oral History Transcription

June 8, 2015

Submitted by Nicolaus Stengl

For my first week as an intern at Centre College’s library, I received a tour of the archives. Though I worked at the library my whole first year, I had yet to go into the archives until this week. After I was shown where everything was by the archivist, Beth Morgan, I searched the area and found things I never knew about Centre College, such as the fact that there was a Dental School here from 1900-1908. I was also shown the oral histories. When I found out that the Danville City Schools integration oral history had yet to be transcribed, I decided to make that a project for this summer.

There are eight cassette tapes in all. All of them are interviews done by EKU in 1980 (35 years ago) on individuals associated with Danville City Schools. Each cassette is an interview of one individual telling their experience of the integration and their own trials and tribulations.

I picked a random one from the box and I had to find a cassette player which was a difficulty in and of itself. The only cassette player on campus was a boom box. Once I had the cassette player, I set it up and Jami Powell showed me how to use a it. I set out a notebook, pen, and headphones, sat down and started the tape. It buzzed for a minute as the tape rolled and then it began.

The beginning sounded like a court tape: “This is the Helen Fischer Frye Interview. A retired librarian. September 25, 1980.”  The interviewer begins by asking Ms. Frye about herself and family. As I listened and jotted down her words, I felt like I transcended time and went to the place of the interview. You become Helen Fischer Frye as she tells the story of her nine brothers and sisters and her parents, who had a fifth and sixth grade education.

Ms. Frye is an African American woman who grew up in the Boyle County area and who was the first African American woman to be enrolled at Centre College. Ms. Frye never finished at Centre College but rather moved on to Kentucky State College and then to Indiana University for her M.S. in Secondary Education and then to the University of Kentucky to get her Masters of Library Science. She did continued on to Ohio State University to do graduate work there as well. She was also a sixth grade school teacher in Casey County in1942 and moved to Boyle County, the following year. She remained at Boyle County until she retired in May of 1980. At this time, the schools were segregated and so she taught at the African American school, which was Bate School at that time. During her time there, she was outspoken in the Civil Rights Movement and helped with the lunch counter sit-in that happened here in Danville, Kentucky. She said that “ I was teaching at Bates School then and I was called in and chastised for doing that, but [she] told them that it was part of my citizenship rights and my obligation as a Christian and I was not going to stop and then there was quite a bit of flak about my participation in the Civil Rights.”

Ms. Frye discusses her twin brother who became an undertaker and how there was not an embalming school for African Americans so he had to go to the Kentucky School in Louisville.Though Day Law was in effect, the teachers illegally had the African Americans sit with the white students and the teachers would say:

“now you come right in this classroom with everybody else, but if ever anybody comes in here and we are knowledgeable that it might be a person who would check to see if they \were adherent to the law all you do is say is you came in this room and that you were going right back to your room.”

I found this particularly fascinating for the time, because the teachers didn’t care for the segregation law and so put their job on the line to teach the students, whether they were black or white.


Introducing Our Special Collections and Archives Summer Interns!

June 4, 2015

Hi everyone!  Beth here.  I’m the keeper of the library’s Special Collections and Archives.  I am very excited to have two fabulous interns working with me this summer on some really awesome projects!  Peter Shirley and Nicolaus Stengl will be working on a variety of things, but their focus will be on digitizing more photos from our Thomas and Cook collections, fleshing out sections of the special collections finding aid, photocopying and creating an index to newspaper clippings that are on the brink of deterioration, and developing a plan for the digitization of the Kentucky College for Women collection which includes yearbooks, scrapbooks, photos, and manuscripts.  Additionally, each intern has selected a personal project to work on.  Throughout the summer Nicolaus and Peter will be blogging about their projects and the work they are doing, so stay tuned!

MEET PETER

Peter_Photo

Peter Shirley is a Senior and a Financial Economics major from Indianapolis, Indiana.  He is excited for this internship because he’s highly interested in archival strategy, web app development, and informatics and data visualization techniques.  During the school year, Peter works part-time as a library reference assistant in addition to his status as a full-time student.  In his spare time, he hikes, codes, and is a freelance writer.

MEET NICOLAUS

Nicolaus Stengl is a sophomore and is planning on majoring in Philosophy and Computer Science. He is from Lebanon, Ohio, north of Cincinnati. He is excited for this internship because he is interested in how archives can be used in the digital humanities. He is also interested in information literacy and open access (OA) for academic institutions. During the school year, Nicolaus works as a student librarian and library reference assistant. In his free time, he reads, writes, and enjoys the outdoors.


Library Jargon revisited

November 7, 2014

Have you ever wondered what the librarians were saying or talking about?  Well, wonder no more!  Below are some of the common library terms and definitions that you will see and/or hear in the library.

Abstract – A short summary of an article in a scholarly journal.  The abstract usually appears at the beginning of an article.

Archives – A non-circulating collection preserved for historical purposes.  This collection is located in the Rare Book Room and accessed by appointment only.  Contact Bob Glass or Stan Campbell to set up an appointment to view the material.

Book stacks – The main part of the library’s circulating book collection.

Bound Journal – Several issues of journals are combined between two hardcovers so they resemble a book.

Call Number – The call number refers to the group of letters and numbers given to each item in the library according to its subject matter. Call number labels are usually located on the spine or cover of the material and indicate where the item is shelved.  Each shelf in the library includes a call number range on the end of the shelving unit to assist with finding materials located within that specific section.

Closed reserve – Material(s) a professor assigns his/her students to read. These materials may be checked out at the circulation desk for up to three hours.

Database – A library database is an electronic (online) catalog or index.  Library databases contain information about published items and are searchable.  When you search a database, you are not searching the “web”, but a distinct set of resources.  Library Databases allow you to find:

  • Articles in Journals/Magazines/Newspapers
  • Reference Information (i.e. entries from Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, etc.)
  • Books & other documents

Some library databases also provide abstracts of the items they index.  An abstract is a brief summary of the article.

And some library databases provide the full text (the entire article) for items they index.

E-book – A book listed in the library catalog that can be downloaded and read on electronic devices.

INTERLIBRARY LOAN (sometimes abbreviated to ILL) – A service provided to Centre College students, faculty and staff by which materials not held by the Grace Doherty Library are borrowed from other libraries.

ILLIAD – The software used to manage interlibrary loan requests.

Index – A print (or online) listing of article citations, usually accessible by title, author and subject.

Library of Congress classification system (LOC) – The Library of Congress Classification System is the system the Centre College Library uses to organize its books and other materials. All cataloged materials are assigned title, author and Library of Congress subject headings so they can be retrieved in a search of Centre’s Library Catalog and organized on the library’s shelves in a consistent manner.

Magazine – A collection of articles generally written by staff or freelance writers and aimed at the general public. Articles tend to be brief with no references listed and no credentials of the author given.

Mango -A program, similar to Rosetta Stone, found on the library’s webpage that can be used to help students learn a foreign language.

Monograph -A detailed, written study (book, non-fiction) of a single specialized subject or an aspect of it.

Moodle – The Centre College Course Management System where professors post assignments, class readings, syllabi, etc.

Multidisciplinary Database– A database that covers a wide variety of subject areas.

Open reserve – Material(s) a professor suggests students read.  These readings are not usually mandatory.  The materials can be checked out for up to three days.

Peer reviewed journal/article – A journal/article that has been reviewed by scholars and experts for accuracy and significance before it is accepted for publication.

Periodicals – A periodical is a publication which is issued at regular intervals, such as a magazine, journal or newspaper.

Reference – Books in the reference section tend to be frequently used, fact-based resources such as almanacs, dictionaries and encyclopedias.  Reference books are non-circulating.

Scholarly Journal – A collection of articles, generally written by experts in the field.  Scholarly journals are respected for the research and information they provide about the topic they cover. They are written by and for people who have experience in a discipline or field. The research is often refereed (peer-reviewed), meaning that it is reviewed by other researchers who are knowledgeable about the topic of the article. Scholarly journals cite their sources using footnotes or bibliographies.


Book Recommendations by Abbie Yamamoto

May 5, 2014
yamamoto

Dr. Miyabi ‘Abbie’ Yamamoto

Visiting Assistant Professor of Japanese

Dr. Miyabi ‘Abbie’ Modry Yamamoto was born in Tokyo and raised in Tsukuba, Japan. Growing up with parents who loved reading, critiquing, and translating Japanese and English literature all the time, she was immersed in literature and translation from an early age. She completed half of Japanese high school and then transferred to a United World College in Victoria, Canada, where she completed a bilingual IB (English and Japanese). After that, she lived in New York City, attending Barnard College, and in the San Francisco Bay Area, Seoul, Tokyo, and New York City again, while in graduate school at University of California, Berkeley. At Centre, she teaches Japanese language, culture, and literature.

Favorite book in college:

The Confessions of Lady Nijō. (trans. Karen Brazell) Stanford UP: 1973.

 

Favorite discipline-related book:

Early Modern Japanese Literature: An Anthology 1600-1900. (ed. Haruo Shirane) Columbia UP: 2002.

 

Book recommendation for students:

Any book that captivates you and read lots.

 

One book you would have on a deserted island:

 Kasō girei (“Virtual Ritual”) by Shinoda Setsuko.

 

Favorite authors:

Yukio Mishima, Monzaemon Chikamatsu, Setsuko Shinoda (yet to be translated into English), Minako Saitō (critic), Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, Yi Yangji, Yū Miri, Akinari Ueda, Rumiko Takahashi (manga artist)

 

Last read:

Twentieth-Century Boy (manga)

 

Next read:

Death Note (manga)

 


Book Recommendations by Daniel Arbino

February 11, 2014

 

Daniel Arbino,

Assistant Professor of

Spanish

 

arbino

Daniel Arbino is an assistant professor of Spanish. He specializes in Caribbean literatures and Afro-Latin American cultures. He has previously published in Callaloo, Journal of Caribbean Literatures, Mester, Sargasso and most recently, Label Me Latina/o. Before coming to Centre, Daniel lived in Cincinnati, Albuquerque, Minneapolis, and Queretaro, Mexico. 

Favorite book in college:

The Beach by Alex Garland. They made it into a not-so-great movie, but as usually the case, the book is so much better. It is sort of like Lord of the Flies, but about travelers attempting to escape the constant demands of a capitalist society by forming a small, secluded beach community.

 


Favorite discipline-related book:

Vejigantes by Francisco Arriví. This is a Puerto Rican play about three generations of women living in the same household. The three of them struggle to deal with racial identity in Puerto Rico as a result of societal pressures to whiten. I find this work to be extremely powerful in promoting an Afro-Puerto Rican sense of identity.

 

 

 Book recommendation for students:

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. This book balances humor with the struggles of immigrating to the United States as a result of a dark period in Dominican history under Dictator Rafael Trujillo. Students will appreciate Diaz’s use of language as well as his ability to mix hip-hop references, sci-fi references, and Dominican history into the same sentence.

 

 

One book you would have on a deserted island:

That would be La invención de Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares. The novel, ironically, is set on a deserted island, but that’s not why I chose it. It’s a short novel, but one I would love to read multiple times. It’s about a fugitive who escapes to an island and then upper-class tourists begin to arrive on the island. The further you get into the novel, the more you realize what a beautiful love story it is set amidst technological innovation and different realities.

 

 

 Favorite authors:

Jamaica Kincaid, Carmelo Rodriguez Torres, Junot Diaz, Edwidge Danticat, Juan Rulfo, Cola Debrot

 

 

Last read:

Bloedlijn Overzee (Overseas Bloodline) by Loekie Morales. This is a Dutch Caribbean writer from Curaçao. In the story, the protagonist, who currently lives in the Netherlands, goes in search of her family’s history and ends up in Venezuela. It’s ultimately about favoring a horizontal relationship between Curaçao and Venezuela over a colonial relationship between Curaçao and the Netherlands.

 

 

Next read:

They Came Before Columbus by Ivan van Sertima. This is an older, but still extremely relevant study on the African presence in the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans.


Faculty Book Recommendations by Brett Werner

January 7, 2014

 

Brett Werner

Assistant Professor

of Environmental Studies

werner

Brett is a professor in the Environmental Studies program, teaching courses related to policy, campus sustainability, and the interdisciplinary courses in the new major. His research addresses rivers, wetlands, climate change, and food systems. In his spare time he enjoys hiking, paddling, reading, photography, and gardening, along with any intramural or pickup sports he can find to stay busy. Brett is not a fifth generation Kentuckian, nor does he know the first thing about horse racing. He loves rivers, trees, and most charismatic megafauna.

Favorite book in college:

Fiction:

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn.

The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse by Hermann Hesse, translated by Jack Zipes.

 

Nonfiction:

Models of God by Sallie McFague.

Myths, Models, and Paradigms by Ian Barbour.

 

 

 

 Favorite discipline-related book:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by Just Kidding Rowling.

Encounters with the Archdruid by John McPhee.

 

Book recommendation for students:

Ecology of a Cracker Childhood by Janisse Ray.

Metaphors We Live By by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson.

The Monkeywrench Gang by Edward Abbey.

The Aims of Education by Alred North Whitehead.

Endgame by Derrick Jensen.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

 

 

 

One book you would have on a deserted island:

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.

Favorite authors:

Stephen Dunn, Janisse Ray, Silas House, Edward Abbey, John McPhee, Richard White, Robert Jordan, Barbara Kingsolver, Chuck Klosterman, Michael Pollan, Jonathan Safran Foer, Kathleen Dean Moore, George RR Martin, Sandra Steingraber, Scott Russell Sanders, Derrick Jensen.

 

Last read:

 The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food by Janisse Ray.

 

 

Next read:

Global Weirdness by Climate Central.