Artists & Scholars

Spring 2019

Books

This simple, lyrical picture book by Natalie Publow Ziarnik ’88 and illustrated by Madeline Valentine is as warm, reassuring, and filled with joy as a vacation at the beach. Readers will join a little girl and her siblings as they wind down from a perfect day — hanging up towels, eating dinner, and getting ready for bed — each activity sparking a memory of their day — playing catch with the dog, chasing waves, and looking at sailboats along the shore. And when the lights of the family beach house go off, young listeners will be lulled to sleep themselves. For ages 3–8. Published by Schwartz & Wade in 2018.

The challenge of teaching international studies is to help students think coherently about the multiple causes and effects of global problems. In International Studies: Global Forces, Interactions, and Tensions (Sage Publishing, 2018), award-winning scholars Scott Straus and Barry Driscoll, assistant professor of political science, give students a clear framework that pinpoints how key factors — forces, interactions, and tensions — contribute to world events, with both global and local consequences.

Many of Chicago’s greatest or most unusual restaurants are gone, but they’re definitely not forgotten. From steakhouses to delis, these dining destinations attracted movie stars, fed the hungry, launched nationwide trends, and created a smorgasbord of culinary choices. Stretching across almost two centuries of memorable service and adventurous menus, this book revisits the institutions entrusted with the city’s special occasions. In Lost Restaurants of Chicago (History Press, 2018), Greg Borzo ’76 dishes out course after course of fondly remembered fare, from Maxim’s to Charlie Trotter’s and Trader Vic’s to the Blackhawk.

Memory and Nation Building: From Ancient Times to the Islamic State (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) addresses the complex topic of collective memory, first described by sociologist Maurice Halbwachs in the first half of the 20th century. Author Michael Galaty ’91 argues that the first states appropriated traditional collective memory systems in order to form. With this in mind, he compares three Mediterranean societies — Egypt, Greece, and Albania, each of which experienced very different trajectories of state formation. Galaty is professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan and directs its Museum of Anthropological Archaeology.

Using key perspectives from linguistic anthropology, Narratives of Conflict, Belonging, and the State: Discourse and Social Life in Post-War Ireland (Routledge, 2018) illuminates how social actors take up the ideals of law, equality, and democratic representation in locally meaningful ways to make their own national history in ways that may perpetuate violence and inequality. Focusing specifically on post-war conditions in Ireland, Brigittine M. French contextualizes commonplace practices by which citizens are made to learn the gap between official membership in and political belonging to a democratic state. French is a professor of anthropology and chair of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program.

Hai-Dang Phan ’03, associate professor of English, has published his debut book of poetry, Reenactments (Sarabande Books, 2019). The book shares the story of his family’s exodus from Vietnam through a blend of research-based anecdotes, narrative-driven lyrics, and translations of Vietnamese poems. Phan invites readers to follow him as he navigates bordered territories: Vietnam and the United States, family and self, war and peace, “then” and “now.”

In Shakespeare and the Afterlife (Oxford University Press, 2018) John Garrison, associate professor of English, explores what happens after death within Shakespeare’s work. Garrison covers some of the most memorable moments in Shakespeare’s plays: ghosts, witches, demons, and characters who seem to return from the dead. He uses an accessible style that is ideal for students and teachers. Garrison has written the first book-length study of this topic, synthesizing existing research on death, the supernatural, religion, and memory, and tackling the enduring question: What happens after death?

Ellen Petersilie Gilman ’60
has published The Home, a memoir about the two decades she worked as the art specialist in a long-term health care facility in the Bronx in New York City. The Home (Shakespeare & Co., 2018) is a collection of stories about the residents, their families, and the staff in this institution. The book is sad. The book is funny. The stories are true and spotlight some of the issues we have in providing reasonable and compassionate care for our elders as well as adequate support for caretakers.

Art

The Grinnell Historical Museum mounted an exhibition of 25 botanical photographs taken by Cornelia Clarke 1909 and held at Stewart Gallery in downtown Grinnell Jan. 11 to Feb. 7. Clarke, a longtime volunteer curator of the College herbarium and Grinnell native, was well-known principally as a nature photographer who regularly published photos in Nature magazine, Science Newsletter, and many other science books. 

When she died in 1936, she willed 3,300 plate-glass negatives to Henry Conard, professor of botany at Grinnell College. When Conard left for the University of Iowa in 1944, he took the negatives with him, but when he retired to Florida in the 1950s, he abandoned the bulky negatives, which were soon forgotten. 

When the University of Iowa closed its botany department and its herbarium in the early 2000s, about 1,100 of these negatives came to light — wrapped in acidic liners, and stacked in boxes, one atop another — and were rescued and accessioned by the State Historical Society of Iowa. Until 2017, however, these negatives were thought to have been Conard’s. A few years ago volunteers from the Grinnell Historical Museum inventoried the collection and discovered that in fact these were Clarke’s photographs. Hence the title of this year’s exhibition, Forgotten Photographs.

The museum scanned 100 of Clarke’s negatives thanks to a College micro-grant. Clarke’s photos of animals, which constituted about two-thirds of her bequest to Conard, have not been recovered, and their fate is unknown.

Lee Emma Running, professor of art, installed artwork in Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office in December. Part of the ongoing Iowa Women’s Art Exhibition curated by the Iowa Arts Council, Running’s project depicts the western prairie fringed orchid rendered in layers of colored vinyl that glow like stained glass. It spreads across a tall arched window at the state capitol.