Monday, April 27, 2009

Author Tea, This Thursday

Join members of the Gustavus community as we celebrate books written by our faculty in the past year. There will be short and extremely entertaining presentations by the authors - and refreshments! So stop by the Courtyard Cafe at 4:15 on Thursday, April 30th, to join the fun. These are the books and authors we're celebrating:

Gross Anatomies: Fictions of the Physical in American Literature by Laura Behling
Behling, an associate professor of English, presents a study of the mutilated and fragmented body that appears in United States literature in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These violations of the body suggest a deep concern about human identity, one structured on both fragmentation and augmentation of the body. The mutilated body, willfully damaged by weapons of war and machines of industry, politics and economics, is at the heart of the texts in this study, and serve not only as harbingers of a loss of identity to come, but also embody the unknown and unknowable self.

Stompin’ at the Grand Terrace: A Jazz Memoir in Verse by Philip Bryant
Bryant, a professor of English, presents a new collection of poems and prose pieces in a celebration of family, history, culture, and Chicago’s South Side. Through his poems, Bryan reveals how music forges friendships, communities, and dreams, and how jazz — America’s great original art form — holds the power of possibility to transcend the widest of racial, social, and cultural gaps. An accompanying CD features more than a dozen original compositions — inspired by Bryant’s poems — by renowned jazz pianist Carolyn Wilkins.

Greek Theatre in Context by Eric Dugdale
Dugdale, an associate professor of classics, offers a valuable guide to Greek threatre. The book presents a broad selection of key ancient sources, both visual and literary, about all aspects of performance — including actors, masks, stage props, and choral dancing — as well as scenes from the plays themselves that offer insights to their staging, plots, and reception.

Sophocles: Electra by Eric Dugdale
Dugdale brings classical Greek drama vividly to life in this series of new translations. Students are encouraged to engaged with the text through detailed commentaries, which include suggestions for discussion and analysis.

Confronting the Yugoslav Controveries edited by Tom Emmert
Emmert, a professor of history, helped direct an international consortium of historians, social scientists, and jurists to examine the salient controversies that still divide the peoples of the former Yugoslavia. The book presents a direct assault on the proprietary narratives and interpretations that nationalist politicians and media have impressed on mass culture in the successor states of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosova, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia.

The Political Influence of Churches by Chris Gilbert
Gilbert, a professor of political science, along with lead author Paul Djupe ‘93, investigate how membership in organized religious bodies shapes the political life of members. They develop a theoretical framework that captures the multifaceted elements of church life that affect individual political attitudes and actions. The book is based on a 1998-2000 study of ELCA and Episcopal congregations, conducted with the assistance of more than 20 Gustavus undergraduate students through a National Science Foundation grant.

Jim Gilbert’s Minnesota Nature Notes by Jim Gilbert
Gilbert, visiting instructor of environmental studies and longtime campus naturalist, through a series of brief essays and remarks focused on each passing week of the year, shares his experiences with observing the changing Minnesota seasons. The wide range of topics include animal tracking in the snow, apple-blossom time, and tapping maple trees.

Feminist Interpretations of Alexis de Tocqueville by Jill Locke
Locke, an associate professor of political science, emphasizes the relationship of Tocqueville’s life and work to modern feminist thought. The book reveals a tidal shift in the reception history of Tocqueville as a result of his serious engagement by feminist, gender, postcolonial, and critical race theorists.

Severed Ties and Silenced Voices by Roger McKnight
McKnight, a professor and acting chair of the Scandinavian studies department, presents a social history of immigrant times, encapsulated in the life histories of Lars Johnson, his wife Caroline, and their nearest neighbor and his family. The story bridges the Old World and New World experience through an account of cultural assimilation, broken relationships, family tragedy, and the search for personal fulfillment in difficult times.

Morality and Our Complicated Form of Life: Feminist Wittgensteinian Metaethics by Peg O’Connor
O’Connor, a professor of gender, women, and sexuality studies and philosophy, draws inspiration from the later Wittgenstein’s philosophy to develop a new approach to the grounding of ethics (i.e., metaethics) that looks to the interconnected nature of social practices, most especially those that Wittgenstein called “language games.” These language-games provide structure and stability to our moral lives at the same time as they permit the flexibility to accommodate change in moral understandings and attitudes.

(descriptions taken from a Gustavus news release.)

news release

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Writing Center is Back!

Maybe you're staring at a blank page on your computer screen and you think to yourself "I have no idea where to start with this assignment." Or you just wrote yourself into a place where you think "this isn't working." Or you finished a draft of an assignment and you just reread the instructions for what you were supposed to do and realize - oh, no. I should have read this first. Or you know, you just know, you and punctuation have a bad relationship and you need counseling if you're ever going to get along.

The Writing Center can help. And now you can meet one of the writing center professionals in the library. Katy Young can be found in room 211, the small room with the big computer screen near the even bigger computer lab on the main floor, on Mondays (2-5pm), Wednesdays (2-5pm), Thursdays (2-10pm), and Sundays (7-10pm). Make an appointment online or just drop by.

Katy's particular specialty is working with English language learners, about which she knows a lot - but also with anyone learning to write - which basically covers all of us, no matter how long we've been at it.

Don't let it get you down. Go to the writing center!

CC-licensed photos courtesy of Jonno Witts

Friday, April 17, 2009

Get A Room

The library is pleased to announce the second administration of the Research Practices Survey, part of a national study undertaken by two higher education organizations, NITLE and HEDS. The survey will help us understand the research skills students bring to college and the ways those skills change over the first year.

If you're a first year student, watch for an email coming to your inbox with a link to the survey. Once you take the survey, you'll be entered in a drawing to win one of several finals care packages or - our grand prize - your very own private study room in the library for fall 2009!

Help us provide even better service to first year students - and possibly win your very own study room. It only takes a few minutes!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Happy National Library Week

To celebrate, we're picking your brain. There's a very short survey for students available in the library - or you might catch someone tabling for the survey near the Marketplace. Or you can even take it online. Just click Here to take the survey. Whatever your preference - we want to know what you think about the library.

Meanwhile, to indulge in a bit of library-mania, Curious Expeditions has collected "a compendium of beautiful libraries." Or you could mull over their metaphysical aspects by reading Jorge Luis Borges's story "The Library of Babel."

Thursday, April 09, 2009


The song by Aretha Franklin comes to mind, but I really want to discuss the lack of respect I am seeing in our attitude of NOT returning dishes to the Market Place. On April 6, I arrived to work to find the Gustie Ware receptacle overflowing with not only Gustie Ware, but mugs, silverware, dishes, and every conceivable utensil from the Market Place. I assisted our heroic dish room staff, who picks up daily, in walking the dirty dishes back to the dish room.

I have seen many campus libraries during my career at Gustavus and am always so proud to return because we have the cleanest library of them all. Our custodial staff works very hard to keep our library clean and respectable but their caring hands are being over burdened these days by the amount of dishes being left here and there throughout our building. (Not to mention the wonderful dish room staff who wash all our dishes!)

Gustie Ware was introduced as a ground breaking idea for campus to cut back on the use of disposable paper boxes. The library isn’t discouraging you from enjoying your meal while you study, we are instead hoping that students will take the initiative, notice the valuable options of Gustie Ware, and begin returning dirty dishes themselves. Please respect your surroundings and the people who work to keep a clean building in which to use wonderful resources the library provides.