Harold Kasimow, professor emeritus of religious studies at Grinnell, edited Abraham Joshua Heschel Today: Voices from Warsaw and Jerusalem. Heschel remains one of the most creative Jewish thinkers of the 20th century. This book of essays, published by Wipf and Stock in August, demonstrates that Heschel became a spiritual guide not only in America but in many other parts of the world.
Artists & Scholars
In Historic Church Serves Big City: St. Andrew's Episcopal Church Provides Sanctuary in the City, Phyllis Ball Kester ’61 explores what a small congregation can do with the blend of developmental leadership and societal needs in its own backyard. Published by Wipf and Stock in October, the book also reveals the interweaving of the church’s internal spiritual nurturing with the external vocation of the church at work in the world.
Resisting Segregation: Cleveland Heights Activists Shape Their Community 1964–1976 is an account by Susan Kaeser ’69 of the transformation of her community from an exclusive, insular suburb to a racially inclusive, diverse community and national model of stable integration. Published in September by Cleveland Landmarks Press, the book demonstrates how citizen activism works, how people can fight systemic racism, and how our communities can improve with a commitment to equity.
Franciscan University Press published The Colosseum Critical Introduction to Dana Gioia by Matthew Brennan ’77 in October. Brennan provides a thorough introduction to the life and influential career of Dana Gioia, covering his six books of poetry as well as his advocacy for poetry and the arts both in his criticism and in his work as chair of the National Endowment for the Arts.
The University of Toronto Press published a book by Javier Samper Vendrell, assistant professor of German studies at Grinnell, about the history of the gay rights movement of early 20th-century Germany. The Seduction of Youth: Print Culture and Homosexual Rights in the Weimar Republic is the first study to focus on the League for Human Rights, Germany’s first mass homosexual organization, and its leader.
In The Streets of Europe: The Sights, Sounds, and Smells that Shaped Its Great Cities, Brian Ladd ’77 recounts a rich social and cultural history of the European city street, tracing its transformation from a lively scene of trade and crowds into a thoroughfare for high-speed transportation. Published by the University of Chicago Press in September, the book reveals the changing nature of city life, why streets matter, and how they can contribute to public life.
Ice Cube Press published the latest book of poetry from Ralph Savarese, professor of English at Grinnell: When This Is Over: Pandemic Poems. The poems in this collection function almost like diary entries. Things are pulled from the news: Tony Fauci, the Orange Man, murder hornets, mask mandates, George Floyd, and more. But it’s not all despair. Like the man on the cover wearing a suit and gas mask and holding a daisy, the poems aim for a touch of whimsy. And they look to the future while, yes, wearing a mask.
The Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin is featuring the work of Martha Cooper ’63 in an exhibition entitled Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. This exhibit is the first comprehensive retrospective of Cooper’s photographic work to date. In the late 1970s, she began documenting graffiti and hip-hop. In 1977 she became the first female photographer to work for the New York Post. Using photographs and personal objects, the exhibition spans six decades and traces Cooper’s life, paying tribute to her as an important documentarist of the worldwide urban art movement. Due to the pandemic and temporary closure of the museum, many images and videos from the exhibition have been made available.
African Art Reframed: Reflections and Dialogues on Museum Culture, co-authored by J.R. Osborn ’97, was published in June 2020 by the University of Illinois Press. The book contains sociocultural analysis of museum practices, dialogues with curators and artists on three continents, and suggestions for the future of museums
Afterlives of Affect: Science, Religion, and an Edgewalker’s Spirit, by Matthew C. Watson ’03, was published in August by Duke University Press. The experimental ethnography considers the life and work of Linda Schele (1942–1998), artist and Maya hieroglyph expert, as a point of departure for what Watson calls an “excitable anthropology.” The book traces how Schele’s sense of joyous discovery and affective engagement with research led her to traverse and disrupt borders between religion, science, art, life, death, and history.