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New Book Highlights

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

These works can be found on our New Book shelf in Bailey/Howe, an ever-rotating sampling of things we’re adding to our collection. You can also review all our newest books online, and subscribe via RSS to receive alerts about acquisitions, by discipline.

The new cool : a visionary teacher, his FIRST robotics team, and the ultimate battle of smarts by Neal Bascomb

When Dean Kamen, a millionaire inventor, realized that most kids couldn’t name a living scientist, he created the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition to encourage high-school students to consider scientific careers. Bascomb follows team 1717, the D’Penguineers, from Goleta, California, during the 2009 season. The team of high-school seniors, all rookie robot builders, is led by Amir Abo-Shaeer, a physics teacher and the founder of a fledgling engineering academy.

Pages from a black radical’s notebook : a James Boggs reader edited by Stephen M. Ward ; with an afterword by Grace Lee Boggs.

Born in the rural American south, James Boggs lived nearly his entire adult life in Detroit and worked as a factory worker for twenty-eight years while immersing himself in the political struggles of the industrial urban north. During and after the years he spent in the auto industry, Boggs wrote two books, co-authored two others, and penned dozens of essays, pamphlets, reviews, manifestos, and newspaper columns to become known as a pioneering revolutionary theorist and community organizer. –Publisher’s information

Ruta Tannenbaum by Miljenko Jergović ; translated from the Croatian by Stephen M. Dickey

Set in the Croatian city of Zagreb, then a part of Yugoslavia, in the period between the world wars Ruta Tannenbaum’s central character is an ingenue inspired by the real-life figure Lea Deutsch, the now-forgotten Shirley Temple of Yugoslavia who was murdered in the Holocaust. Using their shared Jewish heritage as a starting point, Jergovic´ constructs a fictional family history populated by historical figures with the precocious Ruta at the center. –Publisher’s information

Unlikely friends : bridging ties and diverse friendships by James A. Vela-McConnell

There are those individuals who have established deep, lasting relationships with others from very different backgrounds of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Research indicates that such friendships are a relatively rare phenomenon. While many study the reasons for this pattern, the research presented here focuses on the successes of the few: ‘How have you broken down the social distance between you and bridged the social distance that separates you?’

Want More Cornel West?

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

If you’re excited about Cornel West’s visit to UVM in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (soon to be rescheduled!) and want to learn more, check out the nearly forty titles by or about West in the library collection.

Here are some sample books and videos:

The African-American century : how Black Americans have shaped our country by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Cornel West

Cornel West : a critical reader edited by George Yancy

Keeping faith : philosophy and race in America by Cornel West

Jews & Blacks : a dialogue on race, religion, and culture in America by Michael Lerner & Cornel West

Prophetic fragments by Cornel West

Cornel West : the politics of redemption by Rosemary Cowan

Examined life [DVD] : philosophy is in the street written and directed by Astra Taylor ; producer, Bill Imperial, producer (NFB), Lea Marin

What We’re Reading & Watching

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

We asked Ana Banu, a student who works in Bailey/Howe Library, to share some of her favorite books and movies from our collection and she delivered an eclectic mix of film, fashion, fiction, and art. Get them while they’re hot!

Here are her recommendations:

Yves Saint Laurent by Jéromine Savignon and Bernard Blistène

YSL is a brilliant fashion designer, although I could just call him a brilliant artist, without any further ado. He is also an inspiring individual not only for people who are intrigued by fashion. This book talks about his life in almost an intimate manner and presents it from different points of view, including his and the peoples who he worked with. You get to learn about his ways and also see how a character can become lovable through his actions, creations and way of living, right in front of your eyes. YSL dedicated his life to making women, and later on men, feel comfortable, powerful and stylish.

Zen in the art of archery by Eugen Herrigel

This book is one the shortest books, yet helpful and insightful, I’ve ever read. It is about Zen and it is about Archery. It is also about how the two go together in creating an awareness of the moment that is beyond words. Things, in general and in particular, begin appearing a lot simpler and natural after taking in what Eugene Herrigel says. And the way he says is accessible enough to keep you going.

Camera lucida : reflections on photography by Roland Barthes

This is one other short(er) book, but so intense and powerful that every paragraph could be developed into pages. In Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes talks about his own system of viewing and interpreting photography, beauty, history. It is both playful and academic and it explains things that are not easily explained, like why we get emotionally involved when looking at a photograph.

L’ećume des jours (translation: Froth of the Daydream) by Boris Vian

L’ećume des jours is a novel for the French speakers, only because it is in French, not because the story wouldn’t survive a broader audience. I, personally, read it in a different language and loved it. The images described in the book are so powerful and visual that they transcend language. Reading it in French might add some nuances to the strange and creative ways of telling Colin and Chloe’s story.

Malcolm X – Directed by Spike Lee

Based on The autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X is a movie directed by Spike Lee. It truly embodies both historical accuracies and the director’s admiration for the person that Malcolm X was. The story is brought to life by Denzel Washington, Spike Lee’s fetish actor, and probably the best choice for playing this character.

Bubba Ho-tep

I postponed watching this movie, because it seemed to have that silly and distasteful air some movies have. But it is not distasteful, nor silly. It is the story of an old “Elvis”, who may or may not be the Real Elvis, and a black old man (Ossie Davis) who thinks he is JFK, in fighting an Egyptian mummy trying to steal some souls. And as “Elvis” says: Ask not what your rest home can do for you. Ask what you can do for your rest home.

Tommy DeFrantz Discusses Kake Walk

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Kake Walks and Dance Competitions: Race and Performance in American Popular Culture

Monday, October 4, 2010
7:00 PM – Royall Tyler Theatre

Dr. Thomas DeFrantz

Former Alvin Ailey dancer and MIT Professor of Music, Theater Arts, Comparative Media Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies Dr. Thomas DeFrantz will situate UVM’s Kake Walk in the broader context of American performance history. His most recent book is titled //Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance and Dancing//. His most recent creative works include /Queer Theory! An Academic Travesty/ commissioned by the Theater Offensive of Boston and the Flynn Center for the Arts & “CANE,” an immersive environment dance theater experience that explores black sharecropping after the Civil War. He created historical choreography, including a Juba Dance, for the second iteration of the New York History Workshop’s award-winning exhibition /Slavery in New York/ on display at the New York Historical Foundation since 2007.

Part of the launch announcing Kake Walk at UVM, the newest digital collection from the Center for Digital Initiatives.

UVM’s Kake Walk, a synchronized dance competition during the annual Winter Carnival, featured fraternity brothers in blackface and kinky wigs high-stepping to the tune “Cotton Babes.” The event, abolished in 1969, occupies a controversial position in the university’s institutional memory; it is, for some, a hallowed tradition and for others, overt racism.

To read more about student contributions to the digital collection, see this recent story in UVM Today.

Bamboozled, Kake Walk, & Blackface

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

BAMBOOZLED the movie

KAKE WALK the tradition

BLACKFACE the issue

Join us as we examine blackface and UVM’s once popular minstrel tradition Kake Walk through a film screening of Spike Lee’s Bamboozled. A pre-screening presentation will include a brief history of Kake Walk, an exploration of racist visual vocabulary, and a look at the resurgence of these themes. A discussion will follow the film.

7:00 PM – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2010 – Lafayette 108

Organized by the Center for Digital Initiatives, the Fleming Museum, and the Center for Cultural Pluralism. The CDI’s forthcoming collection Kake Walk at UVM will featured digitized archival material, and will launch on September 16th.