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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

All I Have in This World

http://uncg.worldcat.org/oclc/859168670
"Part empathetic portrait of troubled souls and part Springsteenian ode to the promise and heartbreak of the highway... told with... emotional complexity and subtlety.”
(The New York Times)


“Two strangers meet on a windswept car lot in West Texas. Marcus is fleeing the disastrous fallout of chasing a lifelong dream; Maria is returning to the hometown she fled years ago, to make amends. They begin to argue over the car that they both desperately want—a low-slung sky-blue twenty-year-old Buick Electra.

The car, too, has seen its share of mistakes and failures. Every dent and seam has witnessed pivotal moments in the lives of others, from the boy who assembled it at the Cleveland factory to all the owners who were to follow: a God-fearing man who sells it when he sees a sexy girl sprawled across it; a doctor who can’t dissociate it from his son’s fate; and a rancher’s wife who’d much rather live without it for all the history it carries.


Marcus and Maria, after knowing each other for less than an hour, decide to buy the old car together. And as this surprising novel follows the rocky paths of the Electra and its owners—both past and present—these two lost souls form an unexpected alliance.
All I Have in This World is a tender novel about our desire to reconcile past mistakes, and the ways we must learn to forgive others, and perhaps even ourselves, if we are ever to move on.” (Algonquin)

“But what makes "All I Have in this World" memorable is this: While any number of disasters can (and do) take place along the way, and while some are heartbreaking, the watershed moments happen not with sadness or blood or pain, but with cascades of laughter. It's through moments of unabashed humor, when Marcus and Maria let go and laugh, that his characters finally, and completely, connect.


Which feels a lot like real life." (
The Denver Post)

“Pre-literate children, it’s told, favor above all else the following narrative: a person (princess, stuffed toy, Matchbox car), wandering the dark woods alone, meets The True Friend (dinosaur, dwarf, dog), and is, whew, rescued. The End. Michael Parker’s All I Have in this World performs a deeply satisfying, non-fantastical yet still magical, hard-won, grown-up version of that child’s confounding and abiding tale. This is a very funny, very moving novel about being lost and then found, about that rarest gift shared sensibility, and about being saved, and surprised, by the arrival of The True Friend. I love this book.”
(Antonya Nelson)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Playing with Religion in Digital Games


From the emergence of the first generation 8-bit console games to the sweeping stories and design of some of today’s massively multiplayer online role-playing games (mmorpg), the presence of religion in digital gaming has been present in some fashion. The Legend of Zelda, God of War, Okami, World of Warcraft, to name a few, are all video games that incorporate some form of religion in their narratives. And with the proliferation of games in the last few decades, played by innumerable amounts of people daily, its effect may be more evident than we know.  

In Playing with Religion in Digital Games, UNCG Religious Studies professor Gregory Price Grieve and Texas A&M University Professor of Communication Heidi Campbell have compiled a unique collection of essays that examine the ways in which religious motifs are present in modern digital games and the ways in which they could be used to understand various cultures and cultural identities.  As Grieve says himself, "There is a notion that games and religion have nothing to do with each other. This book provides evidence that they do actually have a lot of similarities, and these similarities offer insights into aspect of how religion is performed."(gpgrieve.org)

The collection has received accolade from trade news magazine Publishers Weekly, expressing,  “the essayists analyze digital games' depictions of religious imagery and theology and consider the implications of how different cultural groups receive and project these ideas. Many of the essayists examine the relationship between the historical and symbolic importance of sacred games/spaces and play as a meaning-making activity.”  (Publisher’s Weekly)

"The pieces here take fresh approaches to the topics and add valuable insight. The collection distinguishes itself most in its section on gaming as implicit religion—where authors discuss the ways in which some games imbue nonreligious activity with religious meaning. In these games, players experience "emotions and processes" that match religious emotions and processes, an area of gaming studies ripe for exploration."  (Stenis, 2014)

"This volume brings together the fields of religion studies and game studies in valuable ways. It helps us see the many and complex roles that religion and spirituality can take on within contemporary videogames, and it also explores how the practice of gameplay itself can be a religion-like experience. The many excellent writers included here demonstrate the value of cross-disciplinary approaches to understanding games, and also how digital games have become a key element of contemporary life—in both its sacred and its profane expressions." (Mia Consalvo, Concordia University, author of Cheating:  Gaining Advantage in Videogames




Stenis, P. (2014). Playing with Religion in Digital Games. Library Journal, 139(4), 96.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bull City Summer: A Season at the Ballpark

http://uncg.worldcat.org/oclc/859579346



Bull City Summer: A Season at the Ballpark brings together a team of artists and documentarians around a season of minor league baseball to find stories and images on the field and behind the scenes that collectively present a microcosm of contemporary American culture engaged around a favorite pastime. The Durham Bulls are one of the most popular and successful minor league baseball teams in the country, with more players being sent to the Majors than any other minor league team. To diversify the documentation of the 2013 season, guest artists Alex Harris, Frank Hunter, Kate Joyce, Elizabeth Matheson, Leah Sobsey, Alec Soth, Hank Willis Thomas and Hiroshi Watanabe were invited to photograph the team in Durham. "The opportunity to photograph spring baseball in North Carolina was a no-brainer," Soth says. "The pacing of baseball arouses a kind of leisurely attentiveness that is analogous to photographic seeing. You look and look and then every once in a while, snap, you get a hit." (Publisher’s Website - Daylight)

Baseball is unique in the sports world. Unlike other team sports, which often constitute a battle over territory relying on brute force, baseball is typically quiet and understated. It can even be lonely. The project “Bull City Summer,”… explores these qualities of the game… “I think there's more poetry in baseball than any other sport,” said Sam Stephenson, the project’s director. “Baseball is more subtle,” he said. (Jordan G. Teicher, Slate)

[Essayists] introduce us to a familiar cast of characters: the elderly couple who've missed just 50 games in 30-plus years; the aging veteran playing out the string in Triple-A, four years removed from a World Series appearance with the Yankees; the Duke philosophy professor who, before succumbing to colon cancer in 2013, would "adopt" a player every year, bringing him cookies and the occasional CD filled with classical music; the Cuban first baseman whose league MVP award will get him no closer to the big leagues; the general manager who helped revitalize the club in 1980 and who claims at the start of one essay, "I'm a gifted salesman. I hate it, but I am."

Meanwhile, the photos highlight the play between the sort of regional authenticity that clubs sell to local fans and the generic ballpark experience found in dozens of baseball towns—Corpus Christi, Rancho Cucamonga, New Britain, wherever—around the country.
(Ian Gordon, Mother Jones)

Stephenson intentionally chose photographers with no sports or journalism background to work on the project, and he didn't give them any specific assignments when he sent them to the ballpark to take photos…The results represent a variety of photographic technologies and artistic approaches. Alec Soth used an 8-by-10 film camera. Hiroshi Watanabe shot in black and white with a medium-format camera. Leah Sobsey, meanwhile, created tintypes using 19th-century technology. “Baseball is extraordinary for the dedication to craft required and the repetition of routines. I think that's related to art. Great art is achieved through the same dedication to craft and trial and error and just plain work,” Stephenson said.
(Jordan G. Teicher, Slate)

Stephenson described [Kate] Joyce’s work ethic as “relentless,” and she attended about 60 games during the project. She captured some idiosyncratically poetic images that only a non-baseball fan would have even noticed, such as a mosaic of bubblegum wrappers that bullpen pitchers had turned into makeshift lawn darts.

As for Hunter, he approached Durham Bulls Athletic Park as if it were a natural landscape, creating stunning photos of the surrounding skies.

“It took Frank Hunter a long time to find himself in the stadium,” Stephenson said. “He’s really a landscape photographer, so he treated the stadium like a lake, valley or river. Frank is almost like a painter, seeing landscapes nobody else sees and revealing them with his camera. It took him most of the season to figure out. But that’s how art works. It takes a tremendous amount of effort and repetition to reach that higher level, just like baseball.” (David Menconi, News & Observer Online)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Violent Masculinities: Male Aggression in Early Modern Texts and Culture




Since the dawn of humans, there has been a link between masculinity and violence, and this macho ideal is perpetuated today through culturally accepted gender norms and roles.  Thomas Page McBee wrote in The Atlantic Magazine about a new and growing trend of eschewing traditional definitions of what it means to be a man and embracing a contemporary "healthy masculinity," advocating compassion, respect, and cooperation.  Despite McBee's assertions, we are clearly living in a culture which glorifies aggression, violence, and domination while minimizing the importance of traditionally feminine characteristics.  This is not a recent turn of events, and Jennifer Feather, Assistant Professor of English at UNCG, and Catherine E. Thomas, Associate Professor of English at The College of Charleston, recently explored the issue as it relates to the Renaissance Man.

Feather and Thomas co-edited Violent Masculinities: Male Aggression in Early Modern Texts and Culture, a collection of original essays that, as the publisher writes, explores the changing social expectations of men in early modern England "as the armed knight went into decline and humanism appeared".  The essays "analyze a wide-range of violent acts in early modern literature and culture – everything from civic violence to chivalric combat; from verbal attacks to masochistic suffering; from political assassination to personal retaliation; and from brawls to battles.  In so doing, they interrogate the seemingly inevitable connection between masculinity and aggression, placing it in a specific historical context and showing how differences of status, ethnicity, and sexual identity inform masculine ideals"(Macmillan).

The collection is "a strong contribution to emerging scholarship on early modern masculinities... show[ing] how the achievement of normative manhood depended on the performance of violence. In the turbulent social world of early modern Europe, these essays suggest male aggression signified differently according to distinctions of age, status, and sexuality. These compelling historicist readings of male aggression and suffering illuminate forms of violence ranging from duels to brawls to military campaigns" (Mario DiGangi, Professor of English, Lehman College and Graduate Center, CUNY, USA).

"Violent Masculinities challenges the easy association between masculinity and violence, opening up crucial new channels in early modern masculinity studies. The articles here go beyond a simple equation of fictional and historical practice to demonstrate the importance of the place of violence in the early modern mind. With a range of critical approaches, from rhetorical analysis to historical contextualization to the framing of philosophical assumptions, these essays emphasize the textuality of a broad array of critical and historical writings, and give us new insights into what constituted Renaissance manhood" (Jennifer A. Low, Associate Professor of English, Florida Atlantic University, USA).

Monday, May 5, 2014

Congratulations UNCG Authors!


On Tuesday, April 30th, we gathered in the Hodges Reading Room in Jackson Library to celebrate the many faculty authors who have published books during the past academic year.  If you published a book recently, please let us know.  We would be happy to include you in next year's celebration!

Books Written, Edited, or Translated by UNCG Faculty in 2013-2014

African American Studies

Naurice Frank Woods, Jr., A History of African Americans in the Segregated United States Military: From America's War of Independence to the Korean War
Naurice Frank Woods, Jr., Rooted in the Soul: An Introduction to African American Studies and the African American Experience
Naurice Frank Woods, Jr., African American Pioneers in Art, Film & Music 

Anthropology

Susan L. Andreatta, Cultural Anthropology: An Applied Perspective

Art

Elizabeth Perrill, Ukucwebezela: To Shine - South Africa
Christopher Thomas and Barbara Campbell, Exquisite History; A Visionary Workbook

Community and Therapeutic Recreation

Stuart J. Schleien, OnStage and InFocus: The Story

Counseling and Educational Development

Todd F. Lewis, Substance Abuse and Addiction Treatment: Practical Application of Counseling Theory

Economics

Albert N. Link, Handbook on the Theory and Practice of Program Evaluation
Albert N. Link, Bending the Arc of Innovation
Albert N. Link, Recent Developments in the Economics of Science and Innovation
Albert N. Link, Public Support of Innovation in Entrepreneurial Firms
Kenneth Snowden, Jr., Well Worth Saving: How the New Deal Safeguarded Home Ownership

Education Leadership and Cultural Foundations

K.K. Hewitt, Postcards from the Schoolhouse:  Practitioner scholars examine contemporary issues in instructional leadership 

English

Jennifer Feather, Violent Masculinities: Male Aggression in Early Modern Texts and Culture
Terry L. Kennedy, New River Breakdown
Karen L. Kilcup, Fallen Forests
Karen L. Kilcup, Over the River and Through the Wood: An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century American Children's Poetry
 Noelle Morrissette, James Weldon Johnson's Modern Soundscapes
Craig Nova, All the Dead Yale Men
Karen A. Weyler, Empowering Words: Outsider & Authorship in Early America

Geography

Corey Johnson and Susan M. Walcott, Eurasian Corridors of Interconnection: From the South China to the Caspian Sea
Susan M. Walcott, A Profile of the Furniture Manufacturing Industry: Global Restructuring

History

Chuck Bolton, William F. Winter and the New Mississippi: A Biography
Emily J. Levine, Dreamland of Humanists: Warburg, Cassirer, Panofsky, and the Hamburg School

Human Resources

Edna Chun, The New Talent Acquisition Frontier: Integrating HR and Diversity Strategy in the Private and Public Sectors and Higher Education

Kinesiology

Shirl J. Hoffman, Introduction to Kinesiology

Languages, Literatures, Cultures

David A. Fein, The Danse Macabre: Printed by Guyot Marchant, 1485
Mark Smith-Soto, Splices

Library and Information Studies/University Libraries

Nora Bird and Michael Crumpton, Handbook for Community College Librarians

Mathematics and Statistics

Jan Rychtar, Game-Theoretical Models in Biology

Music

David Teachout, The Journey from Music Student to Teacher: A Professional Approach

Nursing

Kay J. Cowen, Child Health Nursing
Kay J. Cowen, Maternal & Child Health Nursing
Laurie Kennedy-Malone, Advanced Practice Nursing in the Care of Older Adults

Peace and Conflict Studies

Tom Matyok, Peace on Earth

Religious Studies

Eugene F. Rogers, Jr., Aquinas and the Supreme Court

School of Education

Karen Wixson,Teaching with the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts: PreK-2
Karen Wixson, Teaching with the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts: Grades 3-5

Teacher Education and Higher Education

Wayne Journell, Online Learning: Strategies for K-12 Teachers
Ye He, The Appreciative Advising Revolution Training Workbook: Translating Theory to Practice
Deborah Taub, Preventing College Student Suicide

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

New River Breakdown






Terry Kennedy, Associate Director of the MFA writing program at UNCG, editor of the online journal storySouth, and associate editor of The Greensboro Review, recently published a collection of prose poetry titled New River Breakdown.  The collection, published by Greensboro's own Unicorn Press, includes 44 of Kennedy's poems, and also features five original cover designs by area artists.  Each hand-stitched cover presents a visual interpretation of Kennedy's poems and provides an additional creative element to the book. 

"Beautiful and moving, Terry L. Kennedy's debut poetry collection describes an elusive and haunting narrative of loss, love, and recovery. His prose poems bring us so close to the narrator that we share in our bones his predicament of wanting to go forward while fearing what may be ahead. 'It's neither the end nor the beginning of all we hope for,' he discovers. Lyricism and considered thought are here, and lines that strike sparks from these passionate poems" (Kelly Cherry, VA Poet Laureate Emerita).

“The bright, swiftly kinetic surfaces of Terry Kennedy’s poems whisper as they pass a wistful but passionate love story. He has an Impressionist’s purpose and deftness of touch. I think of Renoir, of the etudes of Debussy. Yet his strophes stand firmly on their ground and are as strong as the seasons they portray. His every image bears the nuances of a remembrance. New River Breakdown is a rare treasure" (Fred Chappell, winner of the Bollingen Prize for Poetry).

"Prepare to be haunted by the poems... their shifting imagery, tones, and shadings. Prepare to be mystified by how these poems flow so effortlessly beyond the description of 'prose poem' into a genre that defies any label whatsoever, poems that eddy into dreamtime" (Kathryn Stripling Byer, NC Poet Laureate Emerita).

"Not only is [the collection] a stellar volume of prose poems, but it’s also a canny primer on that genre—a many-headed, oft-misunderstood hybrid. [Kennedy's] querulous, introspective speaker resists his own breakdown by breaking down his universe into parcels of incremental wonder in which “fear and love [are] one and the same.” The result is poem after poem of fabulous imagery and infinite possibility" (Joseph Bathanti, NC Poet Laureate).




 
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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Time and Project Management Strategies for Librarians




Librarians today must be creative managers of their time and resources, in order to maintain some semblance of sanity in this world of increasing demands coupled with significant budget cuts.  The logical (and who, if not librarians, are logical?) response to this environment might seem to be something like, we can only do so much with so little; however, as librarians strive, on a fundamental level, to serve their patrons, this seems to be an impossibility.  Instead, professionals in the field endeavor, through sundry means, to increase their level of productivity in an effort to effectively fulfill their ever increasing obligations.

In response to this, Carol Smallwood, Jason Kuhl, and Lisa Fraser have assembled over 30 essays in their book Time and Project Management Strategies for Librarians, which address various aspects of time management and organizational skills.  The essays offer insights from practicing librarians who are currently navigating the wilds of the profession on such topics as management strategies, staffing issues, uses of technology in time management, tips on how to stay organized, work/life balance, and professional development.  UNCG's own Jenny Dale and Lynda Kellam of University Libraries co-authored an essay for the compilation titled, Productive to the core : core competencies and the productive librarian.

"This anthology is certain to become an essential resource for librarians everywhere as they attempt to maximize efficiency and productivity with limited resources". (Jeffrey A. Franks, Associate Professor and Head of Reference at Bierce Library, University of Akron, Ohio)

It "is a great addition to any librarian’s professional bookshelf". (Heather Payne, Corporate Liaison to the Libraries, City College, Fort Lauderdale, Florida)

"The editors' formula... is one drop theory to four or five drops of practical advice. What it creates is an elixir for librarians who struggle to accomplish their goals while negotiating changing technology, shrinking, budgets, and depleted staffs". (Carol Luers Eyman, Outreach and Community Services Coordinator, Nashua Public Library, Nashua, New Hampshire)