Authors and Artists

Spring 2019


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.

This short documentary film by Lauren Knapp ’06 follows Carlo Musso, a physician who has overseen Georgia’s lethal injection team since 2003. The Sandman ( explores Musso’s own moral equivocation and justification for providing “end-of-life care” within the correctional environment, while personally opposing capital punishment. It’s available for academic and institutional purchase.

Bobbie McKibbin, professor emerita of art, was invited to participate in an inaugural event for Yellowstone Forever. The first Yellowstone Plein Air Invitational took place Sept. 26–30, 2018, and celebrated the current and historical presence of art in Yellowstone. Fourteen of the nation’s best artists painted en plein air (outside on-site) for four days in various locations throughout Yellowstone National Park. Park visitors had the opportunity to attend daily painting demonstrations and a paint-out that gathered all artists to paint in one location Sept. 29. Peter Hassrick, a writer and independent American art scholar who focuses on the West, selected one of McKibbin’s works produced during this event for recognition.


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.

Sergei Eisenstein’s unfinished masterpiece, Ivan the Terrible, was no ordinary movie. Commissioned by Joseph Stalin in 1941 to justify state terror in the 16th and 20th centuries, the film’s politics, style, and epic scope aroused controversy even before it was released. In This Thing of Darkness: Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible in Stalin’s Russia (Cornell University Press, 2019), Joan Neuberger ’75 offers a sweeping account of the conception, making, and reception of Ivan the Terrible that weaves together Eisenstein's expansive thinking and experimental practice with a groundbreaking new view of artistic production under Stalin. Neuberger is a professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin.

In Ungentle Goodnights (Naval Institute Press, 2018), Christopher McKee uses the records of the U.S. Naval Asylum (later the U.S. Naval Home), a residence for disabled and elderly sailors and Marines established by the U.S. government, to recover the lives of the 541 men who were admitted there as lifetime residents between 1831 and 1866. McKee, Samuel R. and Marie-Louise Rosenthal Professor Emeritus, seeks to discover the life experiences of real Marines and naval sailors, not a few of whom were misbehaving, crafty, and engaging individuals who feature prominently in the book.

Winter 2018


Ric MacDowell ’68 has a photography exhibition from November 2018 through January 2019 at Taylor Books Gallery in Charleston, West Virginia. 1968 to 1976: A Vanished Time reflects on the inner strength and character of people who were MacDowell’s neighbors and friends during that time. Immediately after graduating from Grinnell in 1968, MacDowell went to rural West Virginia as a volunteer for Service to America. Except for a brief time, he has lived in rural West Virginia ever since. His exhibition focuses on three rural communities where MacDowell lived and worked during a time when people were changing from outhouses to indoor toilets and getting telephones. The influence of Walmarts, interstates, and TV was poised to redefine the values and culture of the area. “Sherm’s Barn,” one of the photographs in the exhibition, is in the College’s permanent collection.


In many American cities, the urban cores still suffer. Poverty and unemployment remain endemic, despite policy initiatives aimed at systemic solutions. In her first book, Collaborative Capitalism in American Cities: Reforming Urban Market Regulations (Cambridge University Press, 2018), Rashmi Dyal-Chand ’91 has focused on how businesses in some urban cores are succeeding despite the challenges. Dyal-Chand is a professor of law in the School of Law at Northeastern University.