Artists & Scholars

Spring 2020

Art

Robert Sparks ’90 is the author of multiple episodes of the podcast 365 Days of Astronomy. This podcast was launched in 2009 as part of the International Year of Astronomy and posts daily content from its community of podcasters. Sparks’ recent episodes feature information on the National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, where he is a science education specialist.

Samuel Sellers ’00, aka Rabbi Darkside, released his first self-produced album, A Skeleton at a Typewriter, in December 2019. Written and produced by Rabbi Darkside. Cover photo by Tafadzawa M. Chiriga. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Willie Green.

Music major and baritone Thomas Meglioranza ’92 has made a new recording of Franz Schubert's song cycle, Die schöne Müllerin. He’s joined by his longtime collaborator, pianist Reiko Uchida, who on this recording plays a Viennese fortepiano built in 1829 by Anton Zierer.

Ella Williams ’18, aka Squirrel Flower, released her debut album, I Was Born Swimming, in January. It includes country and rock songs and covers moments of her life from birth through her time at Grinnell. It’s available in multiple formats from Polyvinyl Record Co.

Books

With Athena Itonia: Geography and Meaning of an Ancient Greek War Goddess (Brill, 2019) Gerald V. Lalonde, Benedict Professor Emeritus of Classics, offers the first comprehensive history of the martial cult of Athena Itonia, from its origins in Greek prehistory to its demise in the Roman imperial age. This will be an indispensable volume for all interested in the social, political, and military uses of this ancient Greek religious cult and the geography, chronology, and circumstances of its propagation among Greek poleis and federations.

When critics and scholars write about films from the blaxploitation movement — such as Cotton Comes to Harlem, Shaft, Superfly, and Cleopatra Jones — they emphasize their importance as films made for black audiences. Consequently, Lisa Alexander ’97 points out, a film like the highly popular, Oscar-nominated Blazing Saddles — co-starring and co-written by Richard Pryor — is generally left out of the discussion because it doesn’t fit the profile of what a black film of the period should be. This is the kind of categorical thinking that Alexander seeks to broaden in Expanding the Black Film Canon: Race and Genre Across Six Decades (University Press of Kansas, 2019).

Rebecca Warne Peters ’00 argues in Implementing Inequality: The Invisible Labor of International Development (Rutgers University Press, 2020) that if international development is to meet its larger purpose, it must first address its internal inequalities of work and professional class. Through an ethnographic study in postwar Angola, she introduces the innovative concept of the “development implementariat”: those in-country workers, largely but not exclusively local staff members, charged with carrying out development’s policy prescriptions. The implementariat is central to the development endeavor but remains overlooked and under-supported.

One hundred years before Freud’s striking psychoanalytic case histories, the narrative psychological case history emerged in the second half of the 18th century in Germany as an epistemic genre that cut across the disciplines of medicine, philosophy, law, psychology, anthropology, and literature. The presentation and analysis of several significant psychological case histories, their theory and practice, as well as the controversies surrounding their utility, validity, and function for an envisioned “science of the soul,” constitutes the core of Making the Case: Narrative Psychological Case Histories and the Invention of Individuality in Germany, 1750–1800 (de Gruyter, 2019)
by Rob Leventhal ’75.

In Memoirs of How It All Began (Cascade Books, 2019) Mark Whitters ’77 reimagines the life of Jesus, using a pedagogy that is increasingly used for postmillennials called “reacting.” Luke steps out of the text to communicate directly with his companion Theophilus — and with the reader — as if everyone is meeting Jesus for the first time.

Merle Fischlowitz ’53 shares his memories of technology and the changes he has witnessed throughout his life. He says, “One thing that moved me to write the book was when my 4-year-old granddaughter showed me she knew how to use her mother’s passcode to open her iPhone. I have dedicated the book to my eight grandchildren and great-grandchildren who were born in this century.”