Search This Blog

Sunday, December 29, 2013

James Weldon Johnson's Modern Soundscapes

 Associate Professor of African American literature, Dr. Noelle Morrissette, recently published James Weldon Johnson's Modern Soundscapes, which "provides an evocative and meticulously researched study of one of the best known and yet least understood authors of the New Negro Renaissance era" (University of Iowa Press).

"Johnson, familiar to many as an early civil rights leader active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and an intentionally controversial writer on the subject of the significance of race in America, was one of the most prolific, wide-ranging, and yet elusive authors of twentieth-century African American literature.  Drawing on archival materials such as early manuscript notes and drafts of Johnson’s unpublished and published work, Morrissette explores the author’s complex aesthetic of sound, based on black expressive culture and cosmopolitan interracial experiences" (University of Iowa Press).

"Johnson realized early in his writing career that he could draw attention to the struggles of African Americans by using unconventional literary methods such as the incorporation of sound into his texts. In this groundbreaking work, literary critic Noelle Morrissette examines how his literary representation of the extremes of sonic experience—functioning as either cultural violence or creative force—draws attention to the mutual contingencies and the interdependence of American and African American cultures. Moreover, Morrissette argues, Johnson represented these “American sounds” as a source of multiplicity and diversity, often developing a framework for the interracial transfer of sound. The lyricist and civil rights leader used sound as a formal aesthetic practice in and between his works, presenting it as an unbounded cultural practice that is as much an interracial as it is a racially distinct cultural history" (University of Iowa Press).

"The result is an innovative new interpretation of the works of one of the early twentieth century’s most important and controversial writers and civil rights leaders" (Project Muse).  “Noelle Morrissette brings to the forefront an undervalued aspect of Johnson’s amazing career—his attempt to bridge the separation between black political activism and black popular culture. Impressively informed but quite accessible and engaging, James Weldon Johnson’s Modern Soundscapes is an authoritative reconsideration of critical approaches to Johnson. I expect it to be quickly established as one of the essential books for anyone interested in Johnson, and an important methodological model for any scholar working in this period of American cultural history" (John Ernest, University of Delaware).

Miriam Thaggert, Associate Professor of English at The University of Iowa, declares it “an engaging, thought-provoking book... [and] an important work in African American literary studies, American studies, and the growing field of sound studies.”

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fallen Forests

"In 1844, Lydia Sigourney asserted, 'Man's warfare on the trees is terrible.' Like Sigourney, many American women of her day engaged with such issues as sustainability, resource wars, globalization, voluntary simplicity, Christian ecology, and environmental justice" (UGA Press).

In her recently published book, Fallen Forests, English Professor Karen Kilcup examines nineteenth century American women's environmental writing "to show how women writers have drawn on their literary emotional intelligence to raise readers' consciousness about social and environmental issues" (UGA Press).  Kilcup's extensive research on the subject encompasses a wide range of female voices, including those from marginalized communities, such as Native American, African American, Mexican American, working class, and non-Protestant.  Her analysis extends beyond traditional texts to incorporate Native American speeches, travel writing, slave narratives, and diaries and illustrates their influence on environmental debates of the time.

"Beautifully written, meticulously researched, and brilliantly argued, Fallen Forests is a major contribution to ecocriticism and to the study of nineteenth century American women writers more broadly.  [It is] a remarkably dexterous and insightful work of ecocritical scholarship" (Michael P. Branch).

Friday, November 8, 2013

Empowering Words: Outsiders and Authorship in Early America

Karen A. Weyler, Associate Professor of American Literature in the English Department, recently published, Empowering Words: Outsiders & Authorship in Early America.  In her book, Dr. Weyler "explores how outsiders used ephemeral formats such as broadsides, pamphlets, and newspapers to publish poetry, captivity narratives, formal addresses, and other genres with wide appeal in early America" (University of Georgia Press)

Marginalized and repressed populations from this time period understood the social power and influence of the written word and sought outlets for self expression as a means of communication and connection.  "To gain access to print, outsiders collaborated with amanuenses and editors, inserted their stories into popular genres and cheap media, tapped into existing social and religious networks, and sought sponsors and patrons" (University of Georgia Press).  "Empowering Words compels us to expand our definitions of agency, authorship, literacy, and literature to encompass the unlikely men and women who populated the world of print in early America" (Vincent Carretta, author of Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage).

"Using an innovative and persuasive approach, as well as much new material, Empowering Words reveals that slaves, women, and other marginalized groups shrewdly manipulated mainstream culture and not only wrote but published themselves into being during the early national period. The book will be an invaluable resource for scholars interested in class, gender, identity, race, and print culture."—Kathryn Zabelle Derounian-Stodola, author of The War in Words: Reading the Dakota Conflict through the Captivity Literature 

Click here to see Jackson Library's catalog record of the book.  The library has both a print edition as well as an ebook available!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Critical Essays on Colombian Cinema and Culture

Spanish Professor Laura Chesak provided the translation for Juana Suarez's Critical Essays on Colombian Cinema and Culture: Cinembargo Colombia, which was published in August 2012. Suarez is a Latin American cinema, visual culture, and literature scholar, whose recent research focuses on the interdisciplinary study of Colombian film through historical, anthropological, and sociological perspectives.

Through her examination of Colombian films, particularly those produced as a result of the 2003 Law of Cinema, Suarez addresses the issues of pervasive violence, race and gender relations, class, and power in the nation and their portrayal in Colombian cinema.  She places her analysis in its proper political and social context, and argues for the use of this artistic medium as a means of national reflection.  Colombian cinema has historically played a minimal role in the international film market, with only a limited number receiving international awards or accolades, and Suarez considers its future possibilities in this arena.

She "undertakes to examine with critical insight the most important texts of Colombian film making. Her work is geared toward those films that have become part of a Latin American and international canon, those texts that have attracted significant critical attention and that are most likely to be used in courses on Latin American film or in courses in which Latin American film is part of a larger thematic or modular focus. Focusing on key texts, Suarez examines them in interpretive depth, with full attention to theoretical issues they raise in filmmaking and in cultural studies. Her coverage is a judicious balance between historical considerations and actual textual analyses, between a discussion of questions relevant to the film industry in Colombia and the cultural contexts of specific texts." David William Foster, Regents' Professor of Spanish and Women and Gender Studies, Arizona State University

"Dense but fascination reading, this [is] a book for specialists in film studies, Latin American studies, and cultural studies.  Suarez writes with solid theoretical grounding regarding both feature films and documentaries by Colombian cineasts.  Summing Up: Highly recommended."  CHOICE

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The German Student Movement and the Literary Imagination: Transnational Memories of Protest and Dissent

Professor Susanne Rinner, Languages, Literature, and Culture, recently published The German Student Movement and the Literary Imagination: Transnational Memories of Protest and Dissent.  The book has been praised as "a thoughtful study of the current discourse surrounding the important role of literature in shaping cultural memory…The case of the literary representation of the German ‘1968’ is particularly interesting as it reveals a continuing preoccupation with the traumatic effects of Germany’s past” (Ingo Cornils, University of Leeds).

Looking specifically at novels by Ulrike Kolb, Irmtraud Morgner, Emine Sevgi Ă–zdamar, Bernhard Schlink, Peter Schneider, and Uwe Timm, Professor Rinner's book, as the publisher describes, "traces the cultural memory of the 1960s student movement in German fiction, revealing layers of remembering and forgetting that go beyond conventional boundaries of time and space. These novels engage this contestation by constructing a palimpsest of memories that reshape readers’ understanding of the 1960s with respect to the end of the Cold War, the legacy of the Third Reich, and the Holocaust."
The German Student Movement and the Literary Imagination is the ninth volume in Berghahn's Protest, Culture & Society series.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Next Time You See Me

English professor Holly Goddard Jones published her first novel, The Next Time You See Me, in February, 2013. 

Booklist's Leah Strauss praised the novel, noting "Jones’ debut novel, following her short story collection Girl Trouble (2009), follows the intersecting effects of one woman’s disappearance on residents of a small Kentucky town. Middle-school teacher Susanna becomes concerned when she finds her older sister, Ronnie, is missing. The two share a complicated relationship—Ronnie is a hard-partying factory worker while Susanna is a mild-mannered wife and mother. When Susanna launches a widespread search, it unexpectedly connects the lives of other townsfolk. Such as Emily, a tragic 13-year-old outcast whose daydreams may well reveal a dangerous secret, and downtrodden Wyatt, a fiftysomething blue-collar worker who begins to confront a lifelong emotional void after meeting and falling in love with a local nurse. Meanwhile, there’s Tony, the failed athlete who has returned to his hometown as the detective assigned to Ronnie’s case. As the search for Ronnie intensifies, Susanna begins to question the stagnancy in her own life, while other characters confront their perceptions of self-worth. Jones’ well-crafted tale captures small-town nuances while exploring the individual psychologies of her characters and their struggles." --Leah Strauss

The New York Times called the work "Impressive . . . An eerie air hangs over the novel, but Ms. Jones has a talent for making even scenes apart from the central mystery feel suspenseful. She also has a precise eye and empathy to burn, bringing each of her many characters to well-rounded life.”

This book, like many other recent novels, can be located in the Current Literature section on the first floor of Jackson Library. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Is your book in the University Libraries? Is your article in NC Docks?

Faculty--welcome back to campus!  This blog was on hiatus over the summer, but now we would like to help you get the word out about your publications.  The University Libraries actively collect faculty books, films, scores, and more.  If you have recently published, edited, or translated a scholarly monograph, work of fiction, book of poetry, or collection of essays, please let us know--send an email to Kimberly Lutz at  Each Spring we hold an event to celebrate the book publications of our faculty, and we feature many on this blog throughout the year. 

We also want to make sure we are collecting, preserving, indexing, and distributing your scholarly articles.  Please contact Beth Bernhardt, Assistant Dean for Collection Management and Scholarly Communications, at, to learn how you can contribute your work to our institutional repository, NC Docks.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


On Thursday, May 2, we gathered in the Hodges Reading Room of Jackson Library to celebrate the many faculty authors whose books the University Libraries acquired over the past year. If you published a book recently, please let us know!  We will be happy to include it in next year's celebration.

Books Written, Edited, or Translated by UNCG Faculty Acquired by the University Libraries in 2012/13

African American Studies

Tara Green, Presenting Oprah Winfrey, Her Films, and African American Literature


 Elizabeth Perrill,  Zulu Potter

Classical Studies    

Susan Shelmerdine, Introduction to Latin
Jeffrey Soles, Mochlos IIC, Period IV: The Mycenaean Settlement and Cemetery, The Human    

Communication Sciences and Disorders    

Alan G. Kamhi, Language and Reading Disabilities, 3rd Edition

Communication Studies   

 Spoma Jovanovic, Democracy, Dialogue, and Community Action: Truth and Reconciliation in Greensboro 
Loreen Olson, The Dark Side of Family Communications

Counseling & Educational Development    

Todd Lewis, Substance Abuse and Addiction Treatment, Practical Application of Counseling Theory 
Christine Murray, Responding to Family Violence: A Comprehensive Research-Based Guide for Therapists


Albert N. Link, Public Investments in Energy Technology
Albert N. Link, Technology Transfer in a Global Economy

Educational Leadership & Cultural Foundations    

Carol Mullen, From Student to Professor: Translating a Graduate Degree into a Career in Academia
Carol Mullen, Educational Leadership at 2050: Conjectures, Challenges and Promises


Ben Clarke, Understanding Richard Hoggart
 Michelle Dowd, Early Modern Women on the Fall, An Anthology 
Christopher Hodgkins, The Digital Temple: A Documentary Edition of George Herbert's English Verse   
 Holly Goddard Jones, The Next Time You See Me
Craig Nova, The Constant Heart
Mark Rifkin, The Erotics of Sovereignty: Queer Native Writing in the Era of Self-Determination 
  Kelly Ritter, Exploring Composition Studies: Sites, Issues and Perspectives 

 Health and Human Sciences  

  Paige Hall Smith, Beyond Health, Beyond Choice: Breastfeeding Constraints and Realities


 James Anderson, The Tongking Gulf Through History
Cheryl Logan , Hormones, Heredity, and Race: Spectacular Failure in Interwar Vienna
Linda M. Rupert, Creolization and Contraband: Curacao in the Early Modern Atlantic World
Stephen Ruzicka, Trouble in the West: Egypt and the Persian Empire 525-332 BCE
Loren Schweninger, Families in Crisis in the Old South: Divorce, Slavery, & the Law

Human Development & Family Studies    

Karen M. LaParo, Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) Manual: Toddler
Mark Fine, Handbook of Family Theories

Human Resource Services 

 Edna Chun, Creating a Tipping Point: Strategic Human Resources in Higher Education

Information Systems and Supply Chain Management    

Hamid Nemati,  Privacy Solutions and Security Frameworks in Information Protection

Languages, Literatures, and Cultures    

Laura Chesak, Critical Essays on Colombian Cinema and Culture: Cinembargo Colombia
Arndt Niebisch , Media Parasites in the Early Avant-Garde: On the Abuse of Technology and Communication
Susanne Rinner, The German Student Movement and the Literary Imagination: Transnational Memories of Protest and Dissent
Mark Smith-Soto, Berkeley Prelude

Library & Information Studies  

Sandra Andrews, The Power of Data: An Introduction to Using Local, State, and National Data to Support School Library Programs

Media Studies    

Geoffrey Baym, News Parody and Political Satire Across the Globe


Guy Capuzzo, Elliott Carter's 'What Next?': Communication, Cooperation, and SeparationHeal

Political Science    

Fabrice Lehoucq, The Politics of Modern Central America: Civil War, Democratization, and Underdevelopment
Jerry Pubantz, Is There a Global Right to Democracy?

Public Health Education  

  William Myles Evans, Virgin Snow: A Book of Poetry
Mike Perko, Sheldon's Adventure
Mike Perko, Sheldon's Adventure: Cornered!

Religious Studies    

Ellen Haskell, Suckling at My Mother's Breasts: The Image of a Nursing God in Jewish Mysticism


 Saundra Westervelt, Life after Death Row: Exonerees' Search for Community and Identity

Specialized Education Services  

  Joseph Hill, The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL: Its History and Structure
Joseph Hill, Language Attitudes in the American Deaf Community 

Teacher Education & Higher Education  

  Barbara Levin, Evidence-Based Strategies for Leading 21st Century Schools
Barbara Levin, Leading Technology-Rich Schools: Award-Winning Models for Success
  Dale H. Schunk, Motivation in Education: Theory, Research, and Applications
 Dale Schunk, Learning Theories: An Educational Perspective  
Edna Tan, Empowering Science and Mathematics Education in Urban Schools

Women's and Gender Studies  

  Danielle Bouchard, A Community of Disagreement: Feminism in the University

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Empowering Science and Mathematics Education in Urban Schools

Professor Edna Tan (Teacher Education and Higher Education) recently received the Division B Outstanding Book Award for 2012 from the American Educational Research Association for her book, Empowering Science and Mathematics Education in Urban Schools. 

The University of Chicago Press provides the following abstract:

"Math and science hold powerful places in contemporary society, setting the foundations for entry into some of the most robust and highest-paying industries. However, effective math and science education is not equally available to all students, with some of the poorest students—those who would benefit most—going egregiously underserved. This ongoing problem with education highlights one of the core causes of the widening class gap. While this educational inequality can be attributed to a number of economic and political causes, this book demonstrates that it is augmented by a consistent failure to integrate student history, culture, and social needs into the core curriculum. The chapters argue that teachers and schools should create hybrid third spaces—neither classroom nor home—in which underserved students can merge their personal worlds with those of math and science. A host of examples buttress this argument: schools where these spaces have been instituted now provide students with not only an immediate motivation to engage the subjects most critical to their future livelihoods but also the broader math and science literacy necessary for robust societal engagement. The book pushes beyond the idea of teaching for social justice and into larger questions of how and why students participate in math and science."

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Politics of Modern Central America

Dr. Fabrice Lehoucq (Political Science) is the author of The Politics of Modern Central America:  Civil War, Democratization, and Underdevelopment (Cambridge University Press, 2012). The book provides an analysis of both the origins and outcomes of civil war in Central America, including social, economic, and political upheavals and even failures. It seeks to use examples from the events in this region to enable a broader understanding of political change and civil war. One reviewer called it “a well-executed book of impressive theoretical scope and richness.” Another declared, “If I were to recommend one book on modern Central America to my students, it would be this one.' Clearly it is a valuable addition to scholarship on this often volatile area.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Democracy, Dialogue, and Community Action: Truth and Reconciliation in Greensboro

November 3, 1979. The Greensboro Massacre. The Klan-Nazi shootings.  Whatever you want to call that day, it is a day of infamy in this city’s history. Dr. Spoma Jovanovic (Communication Studies) is the author of Democracy, Dialogue, and Community Action: Truth and Reconciliation in Greensboro, published in November 2012 by the University of Arkansas Press. The book follows the trail that led from the horror of 1979 to the formation of the Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2004 to the commission’s final report in 2006—and beyond.

Dr. Jovanovic worked with community members to document the work of the TRC as it tried to discover and explain what happened on that day and what resulted. Why were no police present? Why were the gunmen never convicted? The Greensboro TRC was the first in the United States to undertake this sort of examination and this book testifies to its importance. As one reviewer said, “A practical look at the messy, conflicting, and difficult work, the book explores how such work can foster greater participation in local, even national, democracy.”

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Berkeley Prelude: A Lyrical Memoir, 1970-1975

Berkeley Prelude: A Lyrical Memoir, 1970-1975 is the latest book of poetry by Dr. Mark Smith-Soto (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures). In it, there are two narrators and the poet himself plays both parts. One is Mark Smith-Soto as he was in California in the 1970s; the other resides in the present. Each poem has two parts; in the first, he speaks of himself in the third person and in the second, in the first person.  As one critic observed, “By making his earlier self be a he instead of an I, Smith-Soto is simultaneously creating psychological accuracy and opening up questions about the contiguity of the self.” Another  wrote, “In the end, Berkeley Prelude cautions that when you look back, the face you don’t recognize might be your own.”

The book was published by Unicorn Press in Greensboro in two separate editions. Unicorn describes the editions as follows:  “The author signed 26 hardbound copies, lettered A through Z. An additional 50 hardbound copies and 225 bound in paper were produced by Unicorn Press.” It seems fitting that even the physical properties of the poems should represent yet another duality.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Leading Technology-Rich Schools

In December, 2012, Guilford County Schools received a $30 million grant for technology in the classroom.  In this context, Professor Barbara Levin's (Teacher Education and Higher Education) new book, Leading Technology-Rich Schools, is especially timely.  Through eight case studies, the book, as the publisher describes, "shows how award-winning secondary schools and districts are successfully using technology and making systemic changes to increase student engagement, improve achievement, and re-invigorate the teaching and learning process. Through in-depth case studies, we see how experienced school and district leaders use technology in curricular, administrative, and analytical ways to meet the needs of 21st-century learners, educators, and communities. These cases reveal important details addressed by the leadership of these schools and districts that go beyond what they did with technology to include changes in school culture, curriculum and teaching, uses of assessment data, financial considerations, infrastructure, and involvement with the community."

One reviewer notes that "These rich illustrations of technology leadership in secondary schools show how a number of complex variables must come together to produce the key outcome of positioning educational technology as a support to teaching and learning. Examples of leadership practices that coordinate team members for interdependent work and invite teachers' involvement should prove to be a valuable resource to practitioners and also provide insight to policymakers for how they can create supportive conditions for such work.”

Friday, March 8, 2013

Presenting Oprah Winfrey, Her Films, and African American Literature

Dr. Tara Green , Director of UNCG's African American Studies Program, is the editor of the recently published Presenting Oprah Winfrey, Her Films, and African American Literature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). Oprah Winfrey is perhaps most closely linked with her television shows and OWN, her television network, but she has appeared in such films as The Color Purple and Beloved and she was one of the producers of Precious. As its title suggests, the book explores Winfrey’s interest in and connection to both film and literature. One reviewer noted that it “speaks to the
complexities of Oprah Winfrey’s role in shaping racial and cultural literacy—on and off the page.” “Oprah” is certainly a household name; these essays reveal the far-reaching breadth of her influence.

The University Libraries own both a print and e-version of the book.

For more information about Green and Presenting Oprah Winfrey, Her Films, and African American Literature, see UNCG's news story.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Early Modern Women on the Fall: An Anthology

Dr. Michelle Dowd (English) co-edited the recent book, Early Modern Women on the Fall: An Anthology (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies). It is a collection of works by women in early modern England that consider the biblical Fall as it relates to other concepts that were central to their society, such as women’s education and status.

In the introduction, Professor Dowd and her co-editor Thomas Festa ask "Why focus exclusively on women writers' responses to the Fall? One important reason has to do with problems of access.  Male positions on the Fall from this period have for many generations been widely published in numerous collections and editions.  Ultimately our goal is emphatically not to re-segregate women's writing from men's writing or to replace one with the other but, on the contrary, to encourage that these texts be read in conjunction with male-authored texts from the period, such as Paradise Lost."

Friday, February 15, 2013

Exploring Composition Studies: Sites, Issues, and Perspectives

Dr. Kelly Ritter (English) is co-author of the recent book, Exploring Composition Studies:  Sites, Issues, and Perspectives (Utah State University Press). Its purpose is to serve as an introduction to the teaching of writing to graduate students and new instructors. The book is a compilation of essays by English and composition scholars who explore, according to one review, “the field as an interdisciplinary discipline.”  Some of the topics include different levels and types of writing, the value of writing centers, and the value of writing-across-the-curriculum programs. Each author discusses his/her topic in relationship to other areas of composition studies and to issues and controversies that are common to them all.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Constant Heart by Craig Nova

Kudos to English Professor Craig Nova!  His novel, The Constant Heart made The New Yorker's list of best books of 2012Library Journal praised the book as "a meditative, philosophical, and beautifully realized novel about the nature of embattled American manhood."  Author Oscar Hijuelos writes, "Superb in prose and its evocations of character and nature, The Constant Heart is a wonderful novel by a writer whose range continues to dazzle me.  As a writer, I marveled at the pure scope of Nova's gifts as a storyteller.  As a reader, I simply enjoyed my ride through the emotional heart of this affecting novel."

Professor Nova has written an introduction to his novel in storySouth, where you can also listen to him read a section.