Artists & Scholars

Fall 2018

Books

Ivan Seidenberg, founding CEO of Verizon, told his story about the transformation of Verizon and the telecommunications industry to Scott McMurray ’79, resulting in Verizon Untethered:  An Insider’s Story of Innovation and Disruption (Post Hill Press, 2018).

In Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering (University of Chicago Press, 2018), Scott Samuelson ’95 tackles the hardest question of all. While always taking the question of suffering seriously, Samuelson is just as likely to draw lessons from Bugs Bunny as from Confucius, from his time teaching philosophy to prisoners as from Hannah Arendt’s attempts to come to terms with the Holocaust. He guides readers through the arguments people have offered to answer this fundamental question, explores the many ways that we have tried to minimize or eliminate suffering, and examines people’s attempts to find ways to live with pointless suffering. Ultimately, Samuelson shows, to be fully human means to acknowledge a mysterious paradox: We must simultaneously accept suffering and oppose it. And understanding that is itself a step toward acceptance.

Summer 2018

Art

Judy Hoffman ’76, an artist in Brooklyn, N.Y., was one of four artists awarded a 2017 fellowship to develop new sculptural works at this internationally recognized center for ceramics. Criterion for acceptance is artistic excellence. Fellows receive a stipend, access to Greenwich House Pottery’s equipment and work areas, and inclusion in the exhibition Ceramics Now in the Jane Hartsook Gallery in Manhattan. Hoffman builds visceral sculptures from clay, handmade paper, and urban debris that explore themes of decay, waste, and regeneration. Learn more about her work at judyhoffman.info.
 

Professional Publications

Duane W. Krohnke ’61 has done exhaustive research about Edward B. Burling 1890 and another prominent Grinnellian, Joseph Welch 1914, and has made the results available on his blog: dwkcommentaries.com. A prominent Washington, D.C. attorney, Burling was the principal benefactor of the 1950s construction of the College’s Burling Library, which was named in honor of his mother Lucy Burnham Burling. During his career, Burling had extensive and close contacts with U.S. and foreign officials, including Secretary of State Dean Acheson and U.S. Circuit Judge Learned Hand.  As counsel for the U.S. Army, Welch is known for asking Sen. Joseph McCarthy: “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

Books

Spencer Piston ’01, assistant professor of political science at Boston University, published a book that he says “could never have been written had I not attended Grinnell. In particular, I have Katya Gibel Mevorach to thank, along with Eliza Willis and Janet Seiz.” Class Attitudes in America: Sympathy for the Poor, Resentment of the Rich, and Political Implications (Cambridge University Press, 2018) explains a long-standing puzzle in American politics: why so many Americans support downwardly redistributive social welfare programs, when such support seems to fly in the face of standard conceptions of the American public as anti-government, individualistic, and racially prejudiced. The book captures an important and neglected component of citizen attitudes toward a host of major public policies and candidate evaluations. 

Robert B. Mitchell ’80, an editor with the Washington Post News Service, has a new book out: Congress and the King of Frauds: Corruption and the Credit Mobilier Scandal at the Dawn of the Gilded Age (Edinborough Press, 2017). The Credit Mobilier scandal rocked Washington in 1873, ruined reputations, and contributed to a massive Republican defeat in the 1874 congressional elections. It validated anxieties about corruption and concentrated economic power as the United States staggered toward industrialization.

Herwarth Walden’s Der Sturm — the journal, gallery, performance venue, press, theatre, bookstore, and art school in Berlin (1910–1932) — has never before been the subject of a book-length study in English. In Four Metaphors of Modernism: From Der Sturm to the Société Anonyme (University of Minnesota Press, 2018), Jenny Anger, Grinnell professor of art history, positions Der Sturm at the center of the avant-garde and as an integral part of Euro-American modern art, theory, and practice.

A chance conversation with an office cleaning woman thrust Madeline Uraneck ’70 into the life of a family of immigrants. An evocative blend of immersion journalism and memoir, How to Make a Life: A Tibetan Refugee Family and the Midwestern Woman They Adopted (Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2018) shares the immigration story of a Tibetan refugee family who crossed real and cultural bridges to make a life in Madison, Wis., with the assistance of the Midwestern woman they befriended. 

Maggie Connolly ’07 had a solo exhibition called Yanhua, which means Drawing in Flame, at Heguang Gallery in March in Nanjing, China. Some of the works were envelope vases, fired to 1,115 degrees without glaze, but with materials that fume and are absorbed by the clay surface, creating the patterns.

Scholarship

Gemma Sala, associate professor of political science, received a $6,000 Franklin Grant from the American Philosophical Society for her project, “The Right (Time) to Secede: Why Do Regional Nationalist Parties Demand a Referendum of Independence When They Do?” Her research explores how regional nationalist parties, such as the Scottish Nationalist Party and the Catalan Democratic Party, use referendums on independence to solidify their political positions. The grant will enable her to conduct archival research in Edinburgh and Montreal, as well as interview politicians and activists involved in Scottish and Quebecois referendums of independence.