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New Books

Friday, November 18th, 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.

FOOD CHAIN OF COMMAND

In The Vegetarian Imperative, Anand M. Saxena, a scientist and lifelong vegetarian, explains why we need to make better choices: for better health, to eliminate world hunger, and, ultimately, to save the planet. Our insatiable appetite for animal-based foods contributes directly to high rates of chronic diseases-resulting in both illness and death. It also leads to a devastating overuse of natural resources that dangerously depletes the food available for human consumption. Supported by up-to-date and accurate scientific data, The Vegetarian Imperative will make you rethink what you eat-and help you save the planet.

The Vegetarian Imperative by Anand M. Saxena

KITSCH WHILE KITSCH CAN

 

In 1961, a solo exhibition by Argentine-Italian artist Lucio Fontana met with a scathing critical response from New York art critics. Fontana (1899–1968), well known in Europe for his series of slashed monochrome paintings, offered New York ten canvases slashed and punctured, thickly painted in luridly brilliant hues and embellished with chunks of colored glass. One critic described the work as “halfway between constructivism and costume jewelry,” unwittingly putting his finger on the contradiction at the heart of these paintings and much of Fontana’s work: the cut canvases suggest avant-garde iconoclasm, but the glittery ornamentation evokes outmoded forms of kitsch. Anthony White examines a selection of the artist’s work from the 1930s to the 1960s, arguing that Fontana attacked the idealism of twentieth-century art by marrying modernist aesthetics to industrialized mass culture, and attacked modernism’s purity in a way that anticipated both pop art and postmodernism.

Lucio Fontana: Between Utopia and Kitsch by Anthony White

MOVING MOUNTAINS

Kunsang thought she would never leave Tibet. One of Tibet’s youngest nuns, she grew up in a remote mountain village where, as a teenager, she entered the local nunnery. Though simple, Kunsang’s life gave her all she needed: a oneness with nature, a sense of the spiritual in all things. She married a monk, had two children and lived in peace and prayer. The Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950 changed everything for Kunsang. When Chinese soldiers began destroying her monastery, she and her family were forced to flee in a hair-raising trek across the Himalayas in winter—-and ultimately all the way to Switzerland.

Across Many Mountains: A Tibetan Family’s Epic Journey from Opression to Freedom by Yangzom Brauen

COUNT ON THEM

Featured here–in their own words–are major research mathematicians whose cutting-edge discoveries have advanced the frontiers of the field, such as Lars Ahlfors, Mary Cartwright, Dusa McDuff, and Atle Selberg. Others are leading mathematicians who have also been highly influential as teachers and mentors, like Tom Apostol and Jean Taylor. Fern Hunt describes what it was like to be among the first black women to earn a PhD in mathematics. Harold Bacon made trips to Alcatraz to help a prisoner learn calculus. Thomas Banchoff, who first became interested in the fourth dimension while reading a Captain Marvel comic, relates his fascinating friendship with Salvador Dalí.

Fascinating Mathematical People: Interviews and Memoirs Edited by Donald J. Albers and Gerald L. Alexanderson

The Way Things Go

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Sean Jack is a senior at UVM studying English and Film. He works in the Media Resources Department of the Bailey Howe Library. We asked him to tell us about one of his favorite films from the library’s collection. Here’s what he had to say:

“Growing up, The Way Things Go was my favorite movie. I realize that this is an odd statement –what child would pick the filming of an art installation as their favorite movie? – but as a child this film captivated me like no other. I’ve always been fascinated by Rube Goldberg machines, purposefully over-complicated devices that perform a simple task through a series of chain reactions. Contraptions like this have been featured in many films, for example, the meal-making machines found in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Back to the Future, but what makes The Way Things Go special is the sheer ingenuity and enormity of the endeavor filmed in the name of art.

“Constructed in an abandoned warehouse, the device, an assemblage of household items like balloons, tires, tea kettles, and ladders, spans an incredible 100 feet of cause and effect style reactions, as one item pushes, spins, or catapults another into action. Peter Fischi and David Weiss, the creators of both the film and the contraption, are known as “the merry pranksters of contemporary art” (New York Times), an apt moniker considering the jovial, childlike wonderment which I feel the film espouses.

The Way Things Go is very much about motion, and viewing the film is akin to watching a well executed dance. Each stage of the contraption has its own specific motion, however the one thing each element has in common is that every movement is delicately deliberate. Whether it’s the topsy-turvy roll of a barrel as it saunters its way up a ramp or the haunting swing of a pendulum caught aflame, each is equal parts wonderful and beautiful.”

 

Children’s Art & Writing Collection

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Prospect Archive of Children’s Work

The Prospect Archive of Children’s Work collection  offers a longitudinal look at the art and writing of nine children, as well as teacher records and information on the unique Prospect School and Center.

About Prospect

The Prospect School (1965-1991), deeply influenced by the philosophy of John Dewey, and in particular his commitment to the agency for the learner and his conviction that the desire for learning is inherent in every person, enrolled children from all walks of life, from age 4 through 14, with tuition waived or adjusted according to need.

The Prospect Center (1979-2010), under the leadership of co-founder Patricia Carini, developed a disciplined, collaborative method for understanding children as thinkers and learners called the descriptive review of the child. The descriptive review is a mode of inquiry that draws on the rich, detailed knowledge teachers and parents have of children and on their ability to describe those children in full and balanced ways, so that they become visible as complex persons with particular strengths, interests, and capacities.

New Book Highlights

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

God in the details : American religion in popular culture edited by Eric Michael Mazur and Kate McCarthy, 2nd ed.

“Exploring the blurred boundary between religion and pop culture, God in the Details offers a provocative look at the breadth and persistence of religious themes in the American consciousness. This new edition reflects the explosion of online activity since the first edition, including chapters on the spiritual implications of social networking sites, and the hazy line between real and virtual religious life in the online community Second Life. Also new to this edition are chapters on the migration of black male expression from churches to athletic stadiums, new configurations of the sacred and the commercial, and post 9/11 spirituality and religious redemption through an analysis of vampire drama, True Blood. Popular chapters on media, sports, and other pop culture experiences have been revised and updated, making this an invaluable resource for students and scholars alike.” –Publisher’s information

The hungry world : America’s Cold War battle against poverty in Asia by Nick Cullather

“A pioneering and transformative work that tracks the politics of hunger from the invention of the calorie to Asia’s Cold War ideological battlegrounds, The Hungry World explores, with a sharp, lively sense of irony, American scientists’ and policy-makers’ relentless and often futile efforts to transmute the conflictual politics of rural deprivation into a technocratic politics of agricultural production.” –Paul A. Kramer, author of The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States and the Philippines

Daniel by Henning Mankell ; translated from the Swedish by Steven T. Murray

“Set in the 1870s, this earnest and heartbreaking story opens with the unsolved murder of a mentally retarded Swedish girl, but this isn’t a mystery in the mode of Mankell’s international bestselling Kurt Wallander novels (Firewall, etc.). Hans Bengler, a Swedish entomologist, travels across southern Africa in search of undiscovered insects. In the desert, he finds an orphaned native boy, whom he adopts on impulse and calls Daniel. Bengler brings Daniel back to Sweden to exhibit him for money. A link eventually emerges between the girl’s murder and Daniel’s story, which dramatically illuminates the evils of colonialism (Bengler notes that he “had to make the important decisions for these black people”) and the cultural chasm between Europeans and Africans. Mankell fully understands Daniel’s radically different cultural perspective and indelibly captures the boy’s longing to return to his homeland and the tragic consequences of his forced exile.” –Publisher’s Weekly

Sheila Hicks : 50 years by Joan Simon and Susan C. Faxon ; with an essay by Whitney Chadwick

“Sheila Hicks (born 1934) is a pioneering artist noted for objects and public commissions whose structures are built of color and fiber. This volume accompanies the first major retrospective of Hicks’s work; it documents the remarkable versatility and dramatically divergent scale of her textiles as well as her distinctive use, and surprising range, of materials. Hicks deliberately and provocatively engages what are often considered mutually exclusive domains, rethinking and pushing the limits of generally accepted contexts, conditions, and frameworks. These include distinct objects and temporal, performative actions; studio works and commissions for public buildings; and textiles made in artisanal workshops as well as for industrial production in places as different as Chile, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Sweden, and the United States.” –Publisher’s information

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.

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.

New Book Highlights

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Diary of a very bad year : confessions of an anonymous hedge fund manager with n+1 ; introduction by Keith Gessen

“This book is a series of interviews with an anonymous hedge-fund manager (HFM) by the co-editor of a literary magazine (who admits to being ill-informed on finance); he sets out to understand what is happening on Wall Street. The HFM offers a brilliant financial professional’s view of the economic situation in real time, from September 2007, when problems in financial markets began to surface, until late summer 2009, when the financial meltdown generally subsided and the financial community went back, in HFM’s view, to business as usual.” –Booklist

Antidiets of the avant-garde : from Futurist cooking to Eat art by Cecilia Novero

“Discussing an aspect of the European avant-garde that has often been neglected-its relationship to the embodied experience of food, its sensation, and its consumption. Cecilia Novero exposes the surprisingly key roles that food plays in the theoretical foundations and material aesthetics of a broad stratum of works ranging from the Italian Futurist Cookbook to the magazine Dada, Walter Benjamin’s writings on eating and cooking, Daniel Spoerri’s Eat Art, and the French New Realists.” –Publisher’s description

Here’s looking at Euclid : a surprising excursion through the astonishing world of math / by Alex Bellos

“What Bellos calls “the wow factor” of mathematics leaps out at the reader from every page of this remarkable foray into the realm of numbers. Beginning with a visit with an Amazon-basin tribe who never count above five, Bellos launches a fascinating journey of discovery, probing numerical riddles ancient and modern. Readers ponder the ingenuity of the early Sumerians, who pioneered the keeping of records by inexplicably tallying their inventories in sixties, and contemplate the resourcefulness of a third-century Chinese sage who manipulated many-sized figures to calculate an accurate approximation for pi. Readers even pause to marvel at how a ninth-century factory mechanic beat the casinos of Monte Carlo by breaking the code of chance. The stories prove so engaging, the personalities so colorful, that readers may forget they are mastering some powerful mathematical concepts.” –Booklist

Street art San Francisco : Mission muralismo edited by Annice Jacoby ; foreword by Carlos Santana

“With 600 stunning photographs, this comprehensive book showcases more than three decades of street art in San Francisco’s legendary Mission District. Beginning in the early 1970s, a provocative street-art movement combining elements of Mexican mural painting, surrealism, pop art, urban punk, eco-warrior, cartoon, and graffiti has flourished in this dynamic, multicultural community. Rigo, Las Mujeres Muralistas, Gronk, Barry McGee (Twist), R. Crumb, Spain Rodriguez, the Billboard Liberation Front, Swoon, Sam Flores, Neckface, Shepard Fairey, Juana Alicia, Os Gemeos, Reminesce, and Andrew Schoultz are among the many artists who have made the streets of the Mission their public gallery.” –Product description

UVM’s Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts Online

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

The Center for Digital Initiatives has comprehensively digitized all of the libraries’ medieval and renaissance manuscripts.

This collection was created with the help of Travis Puller, curator of the library’s 2009 exhibit Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts: Witnesses from Our Written Past.

Based on Puller’s previous work, we scanned and described 21 loose manuscripts and 10 bound items created across Europe and the Middle East and dating from the 12th to 17th centuries CE.

Our collection includes lavish books of hours, three works of Cicero bound into a single volume sometime in the early 1400s, several Koran leaves, and a distinctive Italian herbal featuring whimsical, anthropromorphic illustrations of plants.