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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

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

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.

New Book Highlights

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Ain’t nothing like the real thing : how the Apollo Theater shaped American entertainment edited by Richard Carlin and Kinshasha Holman Conwill

“The Apollo Theater has provided a stage for performers and a setting for the creativity of black American music that has hugely influenced American music in general. Recognizing the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Apollo Theater, this book offers essays by entertainment historians, critics, and journalists chronicling the legacy of the storied theater.” -Booklist

How to grow a school garden : a complete guide for parents and teachers by Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Rachel Kathleen Pringle

“In this groundbreaking resource, two school garden pioneers offer parents, teachers, and school administrators everything they need to know to build school gardens and to develop the programs that support them.” –Publisher’s information

Sayyid Qutb and the origins of radical Islamism by John Calvert

“Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) was an influential Egyptian ideologue who established the theoretical basis for radical Islamism in the postcolonial Sunni Muslim world. Lacking a pure understanding of the leader’s life and work, the popular media has conflated Qutb’s moral purpose with the aims of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. He is often portrayed as a terrorist, Islamo-Fascist, and advocate of murder. An expert on social protest and political resistance, John Calvert rescues Qutb from misrepresentation and follows the evolution of his thought within the context of his time.” –Publisher’s information

Three sisters by Bi Feiyu ; translated from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-chun Lin

“In a small village in China, the Wang family has produced seven sisters in its quest to have a boy; three of the sisters emerge as the lead characters in this remarkable novel. From the small-town treachery of the village to the slogans of the Cultural Revolution to the harried pace of city life, Bi Feiyu follows the women as they strive to change the course of their destinies and battle against an “infinite ocean of people” in a China that does not truly belong to them. Yumi will use her dignity, Yuxiu her powers of seduction, and Yuyang her ambition—all in an effort to take control of their world, their bodies, and their lives.” –Publisher’s information

New Book Highlights

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Jesus, jobs, and justice : African American women and religion by Bettye Collier-Thomas

“The most extensive and best-known histories of African-American religion in America give short shrift to the role of African-American women in religion. In her exhaustive and monumental study, Collier-Thomas (Daughters of Thunder) allows the strong voices of women as diverse as Ida B. Wells Barnett, Sarah Jane Woodson Early (the first black woman to serve on a faculty of an American university), and Mary McLeod Bethune to articulate the causes of liberation and justice in a culture where their race and sex continually called into question their self-understanding.” –Publisher’s Weekly

Making waste : leftovers and the eighteenth-century imagination by Sophie Gee

“Making Waste is a pleasure to read–vividly, gracefully, wittily written. It will be a valuable contribution to eighteenth-century literary and cultural studies.”–Cynthia Wall, University of Virginia

Of comics and men : a cultural history of American comic books by Jean-Paul Gabilliet ; translated by Bart Beaty and Nick Nguyen

“Originally published in France and long sought in English translation, Jean-Paul Gabilliet’s Of Comics and Men: A Cultural History of American Comic Books documents the rise and development of the American comic book industry from the 1930s to the present.” –Publisher’s information

Ripe : the search for the perfect tomato by Arthur Allen

“A robust tale of how tomatoes get to the table and why some don’t taste very good when they get there… An eye-opener for foodies, consumers and social-justice activists alike.” –Kirkus Reviews