Artists & Scholars

Spring 2020


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.


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.”

In Seeing Like a Citizen: Decolonization, Development, and the Making of Kenya, 1945–1980 (Ohio University Press, 2019), Kara Moskowitz ’06 approaches Kenya’s late colonial and early post-colonial eras as a single period of political, economic, and social transition. In focusing on rural Kenyans — the vast majority of the populace and the main targets of development interventions — as they actively sought access to aid, she offers new insights into the texture of political life in decolonizing Kenya and the early post-colonial world.

In his new book (St. Johann Press, 2019), Jeff Frantz ’66 emphasizes “reading the Bible in light of its historical context and mostly as metaphorical narrative, freeing God from the bonds of supernatural theism and viewing Jesus not as divine but as fully human.”

Mistaking an ad to join the Loneliest Band in France for one to sell his blood, the novella’s narrator finds himself instead under the sway of the band, drinking heavily and being recruited to play a battle-of-the-bands-esque concert (that night) at the local Café Bovary. Not only is there prize money attached to the concert, the bandmates also see this as an opportunity to debut a new song — one, they claim, that can hurt — even kill — its listeners. The Loneliest Band in France (Texas Review Press, 2020) won the 2019 Clay Reynolds Novella Prize and is the first book by Dylan Fisher ’14.