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Archive for November, 2010

New Perspectives on Vermont’s Native Americans

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

November is National American Indian Heritage Month, and Vermont’s Governor Douglas recently proclaimed November as Native American Heritage Month in Vermont. Learn more about the history and culture of indigenous peoples in the Northeast–including some new and challenging perspectives–from these books and videos produced by an Abenaki historian and anthropology professor, an Abenaki filmmaker, and a collaborative group of professional scientists, tribal representatives and amateur researchers.

baseline 1609

Baseline 1609: Unexpected Elegance of the Indigenous Northeast

“A comprehensive review of the unexpectedly elegant culture of the people who greeted Champlain and other explorers along the St. Lawrence River. The early seventeenth century Wabanakis and their neighbors were socially and technologically sophisticated communities bound together, both politically and economically, by a great alliance with their neighbors. Heretofore unpublished graphics and artifacts complement the text.” --Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.

Reclaiming the ancestors

Reclaiming the Ancestors: Decolonizing a Taken Prehistory of the Far Northeast

“Reclaiming the Ancestors sets the record straight about the early history of the Wabanaki – the Abenaki, Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Malecite, and Mi’kmaq. Wiseman proposes a sovereigntist approach to understanding the current archaeological understanding of Abenaki prehistory. He begins with an overview of the conflicting views of First Nations and archaeologists regarding Indigenous history and how he developed his research design model. Over the next 10 chapters the book explores and discusses the periods of Wabanaki prehistory. The final chapter takes the history to the beginning of the early contact period. The author makes he point that documentation of Wabanaki territory is of vital importance in today’s political climate of Vermont. The Wabanaki face major obstacles as politicians utilize archaeological evidence against the Wabanaki’s push for self-governance and recognition. The book contains limited black and white photographs of artifacts because the author made a conscious choice to respect items that were from grave sites. A fascinating history that dispels many previously-held academic viewpoints of the Wabanaki First Nations.” — Publisher’s web site.

Voice of the dawn

The Voice of the Dawn: An Autohistory of the Abenaki Nation

“Wiseman’s book offers the reader a well-told story of natural and human history but it is his discussion of the connection of all this history to commonplace aspects of modern life that is particularly compelling. Wiseman confronts the reader with the connections among history, land, and the conditions of modern Abenaki communities, and challenges the reader to think about these connections . . . Wiseman’s The Voice of the Dawn is essential reading for a student of regional history or archaelogy and is likely to challenge its readers’ way of thinking.”–Historical New Hampshire

Waban-aki [videorecording]: People from Where the Sun Rises

“Continuing to take the pulse of First Peoples in Canada, Obomsawin takes us home-to her Abenaki community of Odanak, Quebec. She skilfully weaves the richly textured history of her formerly prosperous basket and canoe making community with an exploration of contemporary Aboriginal identity and official ‘status’.” — IMDb

before the lake

Before the Lake Was Champlain [videorecording]: An Untold Story of Ice Age America

“Stories about ‘Lost Races’ are usually labeled and then dismissed as “Fantastic Archeology” but a surprising new discovery along a high beach terrace of the ancient Champlain Sea has introduced an unknown chapter in the history of Ice Age America. It suggests that an early and sophisticated Native culture once existed in the Northeast that researchers are just beginning to recognize. The lives that these ancient peoples lived were far different from the anthropological models that scientists developed for the Paleo-Indian and the implications of the new discoveries reach through the entire history of Eastern Native civilization to our own time. This program chronicles the long and careful process that has unfolded one of the great archeological mysteries of North America.” — Hidden Landscapes

Get to Know the Class of 2014

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Associate Library Professor Daisy Benson is the author of the recent Report on the 2010 First-Year Library Survey, which looks at the computing habits and research skills of first-time first-year students in the class of 2014.

Some key findings from Benson’s study:

  • 97% of students surveyed indicated they would be bringing a laptop to campus. 86% have a cell phone or smartphone & 55% have a smartphone or iPod Touch.
  • 39% of incoming students used library books for research 3 or fewer times. 40% wrote a paper 5 or more pages long 3 or fewer times.
  • Students are confident in their ability to evaluate research materials. Actual performance varied – incoming students had the hardest time with reading a citation (which has implications for their ability to locate research materials) & distinguishing between a scholarly journal and a popular magazine.

Environmental dance artist to visit UVM

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Marsh Professor-at-Large Jennifer Monson will be visiting UVM the week of November 15th. Monson is a dance and environmental artist whose work looks at issues such as bird migration patterns and water systems, often working at outdoor sites, rather than traditional theater performance spaces. Her Marsh Professorship is supported by an interdisciplinary team of faculty members in dance, environmental studies, geography, and libraries.

UVM Marsh Professor-at-Large
JENNIFER MONSON: “Moving Places–A Lecture Demonstration of Environmental Dance”
Monday, November 15
7:00 PM
Billings Library-Marsh Lounge

Professor Jennifer Monson will show videos from the past decade of her environmental dance work. Using examples from the projects BIRD BRAIN, iMAP /Ridgewood Reservoir, Mahomet Aquifer Project, and SIP(sustained immersive process)/watershed she will discuss the interconnections between movement, choreography and environmental thought and science. She will invite the audience to engage in some of the basic perceptual practices she has developed as well as perform a brief solo.

UVM Marsh Professor-at-Large
JENNIFER MONSON: Movement Workshop
Wednesday, November 17
3:00-5:30 PM
Mann Gymnasium

“For the past several years I’ve been treading the cusp between inside and outside, acted upon and untouched, wild and civilized. In this workshop we will use methods I have developed from observing systems and patterns in the ecosystems I live to investigate improvisation. Starting from basic sensory and perceptual practices we will work towards creating transitions between energy states, between internal and external spaces and between our own and each other’s movements. Witnessing each other will help us understand how meanings get affixed to and reflected off the body. Intrinsic compositional logics will evolve in response to our understandings of the systems around and in us.”

Ridgewood Reservoir from Jennifer Monson on Vimeo.

Jennifer Monson (Artistic director, choreographer and performer, iLAND-interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance) uses choreographic practice as a means to discover connections between environmental, philosophical and aesthetic approaches to knowledge and understandings of our surroundings. As Artistic Director of iLAND she creates large- scale dance projects informed and inspired by phenomena of the natural and the built environment. Her project BIRD BRAIN (2000-2011) includes the theatrical work Flight of Mind (2005) and four migratory tours: Gray Whales (Spring 2001); Ospreys (Fall 2002); Ducks and Geese (Spring 2004); and Northern Wheatears (Fall 2011). Each tour followed the migrations of animals offering performances, workshops and panel discussions on navigation, migration and conservation. In 2007 she created iMAP/Ridgewood Reservoir, a yearlong research and performance practice in an abandoned reservoir in NYC. She is currently working on the Mahomet Aquifer Project in Illinois and SIP (sustained immersive process)/watershed in NYC. In addition Monson supports and mentors collaborative opportunities for movement based artists, scientists, environmentalists and others interested in our physical relationships to space and systems as a means to engage the public in a kinetic understanding of NYC’s urban environment through the iLAB residency program. Monson is currently on the faculty at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign in the Dance Department. She was hired through an initiative of the Environmental Council to foster sustainability across the campus and nationally.

The Mahomet Aquifer Project from Jennifer Monson on Vimeo.

New Book Highlights

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Fury : a memoir by Koren Zailckas.

In the years following the publication of her landmark memoir, Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood, Koren Zailckas stays sober and relegates binge drinking to her past. But a psychological legacy of repression lingers-her sobriety is a loose surface layer atop a hard- packed, unacknowledged rage that wreaks havoc on Koren emotionally and professionally. When a failed relationship leads Koren back to her childhood home, she sinks into emotional crisis-writer’s block, depression, anxiety. Only when she begins to apply her research on a book about anger to the turmoil of her own life does she learn what denial has cost her. –Publisher’s description

Read an interview with Koren Zailckas in Smith Magazine.

Stickwork by Patrick Dougherty

Using minimal tools and a simple technique of bending, interweaving, and fastening together sticks, artist Patrick Dougherty creates works of art inseparable with nature and the landscape. With a dazzling variety of forms seamlessly intertwined with their context, his sculptures evoke fantastical images of nests, cocoons, cones, castles, and beehives. Over the last twenty-five years, Dougherty has built more than two hundred works throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia that range from stand-alone structures to a kind of modern primitive architecture every piece mesmerizing in its ability to fly through trees, overtake buildings, and virtually defy gravity. –Publisher’s description

See installations by Patricky Dougherty.

Delusions of gender : how our minds, society, and neurosexism create difference by Cordelia Fine

Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience and psychology, Cordelia Fine debunks the myth of hardwired differences between men’s and women’s brains, unraveling the evidence behind such claims as men’s brains aren’t wired for empathy and women’s brains aren’t made to fix cars. She then goes one step further, offering a very different explanation of the dissimilarities between men’s and women’s behavior. Instead of a “male brain” and a “female brain,” Fine gives us a glimpse of plastic, mutable minds that are continuously influenced by cultural assumptions about gender. –Publisher’s description

Friendship : a history edited by Barbara Caine

This volume aims to combine an analysis of the major classical philosophical texts of friendship and their continuing importance over many centuries with a broader discussion of the changing ways in which friendship was understood and experienced in Europe from the Hellenic period to the present. It is the result of a collaborative research project that has involved philosophers and historians with special research interests in Classical Greek philosophy and in the history of medieval and renaissance, 18th century 19th and 20th century Europe. –Publisher’s description

Learn more about Barbara Caine’s research.