Return to Portfolio Home

Faculty Scholars

Posted: 12/22/2011

In their role as scholars as well as teachers, Skidmore’s faculty members share their research at academic conferences, in scholarly publications, and through the publication of books. Our new tradition is to pause at the end of the year to reflect on the 17 books written or edited by Skidmore scholars during 2011, and to celebrate the wealth of knowledge they represent.

For anyone considering a book as a gift this holiday season, the Skidmore Shop can assist with the purchase of these books. They include the following:

Sociology Professor John Brueggemann’s new book is titled Inequality in the United States: A Reader (Prentice Hall, 2011). Geared for undergraduate courses on inequality, the book introduces students to the subject of social stratification as it has developed in sociology. The primary goal of the text is to offer an understanding of the history and context of debates about inequality, and a secondary goal is to give some indication as to what issues are likely to arise in the future.

Professor of English Victor Cahn, Skidmore's Shakespeare expert, has two new books on the Bard: Political Animal: An Essay on the Character of Shakespeare's Henry V (2011, Wipf and Stock), and Bard Games: The Shakespeare Quiz Book (2011, Taylor Trade Publishers). Political Animal is a close examination of one of Shakespeare's most controversial characters: Prince Hal/Henry V.  Professor Joseph A. Dane of the University of Southern California calls it, "An elegant reading of these plays by one who has spent a career teaching them." Bard Games asks readers to recognize quotations from Shakespeare's plays, in the context of matching them with the speakers. It is "a delightful and sophisticated compendium for Shakespeare enthusiasts," says David A. Brush, Ph.D.

Noah Coburn, visiting assistant professor of anthropology, wrote Bazaar Politics – Power and Pottery in an Afghan Market Town (2011, Stanford University Press). The book offers the first long-term on-the-ground study since the arrival of allied forces in 2001. Coburn introduces readers to daily life in Afghanistan through portraits of local residents and stories of his own experiences. He reveals the ways in which the international community has misunderstood the forces driving local conflict and the insurgency, misunderstandings that have ultimately contributed to the political unrest rather than resolved it. Coburn worked as a specialist for the United States Institute of Peace in Kabul, Afghanistan, as well as a researcher for the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Between 2006 and 2008, he spent 18 months doing research in an Afghan village on the Shomali Plain.

Jordana Dym, associate professor of history and director of Latin American Studies, is co-editor of a new book titled Mapping Latin America: A Cartographic Reader, published in the fall by the University of Chicago Press. Dym worked with her co-editor, Karl Offen, associate professor of geography at the University of Oklahoma, to develop a book that puts maps revealing insights about many periods of Latin America's history into the hands of students and map lovers. In Mapping Latin America, leading scholars from history, geography, art history and other disciplines interpret more than 100 full-color maps made from within or representing the Americas since 1492. Contributors include Skidmore Assistant Professor of Anthropology Heather Hurst's "Palace Arts," an analysis of a mural-map from a Maya palace whose depiction of people, places and events offer insight into Maya cartographic traditions

Barry Goldensohn, professor emeritus of English, is the author of The Listener Aspires to the Condition of Music (2011, Fomite). Poet and Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Lloyd Schwartz writes, "Barry Goldensohn is a good listener. But this lovely collection—witty, sensual, moving—is more than a suite of poems about various aspects of music: it's a multi-faceted meditation on the nature of music itself and its meaning in our lives (and deaths)…."

Writer-in-residence Greg Hrbek published a new collection of stories, Destroy All Monsters (University of Nebraska Press, 2011), which won the 2010 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, sponsored by the University of Nebraska. The reviewer from Booklist writes, "Hrbek's first collection subtly and masterfully merges the everyday and the mythic, poetic, futuristic, and seemingly impossible." Michael Adelberg, writing in the New York Journal of Books, says, "Hrbek's writing is often lovely and sparse—almost poetic."

Charles M. Joseph, professor emeritus of music and former vice president for academic affairs at Skidmore, is the author of Stravinsky's Ballets, (Yale University Press, December 2011). This is the third book by on the famed composer by Joseph, who earlier wrote Stravinsky and Balanchine, the winner of an ASCAP Award in biography, and Stravinsky Inside Out. In this newest work, Joseph analyzes each of Stravinsky's ballet pieces, examining the composer's own drafts, notes, and sketches to discover how he conceived of and developed each work.

Professor of English Steven Millhauser's newest book, We Others: New and Selected Stories, was released in August by Knopf. Michael Dirda, who reviewed the book for The Washington Post, wrote, "In general, Millhauser's style blends a peculiar wistfulness with a fanatical attention to the particular: He has said that 'one never forgives a work of art that is general and vague.' …Millhauser calmly mixes fairy tale and literary experiment, surreal nightmare and ecstatic vision, gorgeous prose and sly humor. But he also adds a profound Americanness."

Jay Rogoff, lecturer in English, published a book of dance-inspired poetry, The Art of Gravity (2011, Louisiana State University Press). The poems unfold in a rich variety of forms, both traditional and experimental. Some focus on how Edgar Degas's paintings expose the artifice and artistic self-consciousness of ballet while, paradoxically, illuminating how it creates rapture. Others investigate dance's translation of physical gesture into allegorical mystery, especially in Balanchine's matchless works. Rogoff pays tribute to superb dancers who grant audiences seductive glimpses of the sublime, but also to all of us who find in dance a hopeful and redemptive image of ourselves.

Sónia Silva, assistant professor of anthropology, is the author of Along an African Border: Angolan Refugees and Their Divination Baskets (2011, University of Pennsylvania Press). Silva examines how Angolan refugees living in Zambia use divination baskets to cope with daily life in a new land. The divination baskets of south Central Africa are woven for a specific purpose. Known as lipele, the baskets contain 60 or so small articles, each with its own name and symbolic meaning. For the Luvale and related peoples, the lipele is more than a container of souvenirs; it is a tool, a source of crucial information from the ancestral past and advice for the future.

Professor of English Linda Simon wrote a new biography of Coco Chanel (Reaktion Books, September 2011), the brilliant, iconic fashion designer. Her research for the book, part of the publisher's "Critical Lives" Series, yielded surprises, wrote Simon for Huffington Post. Chanel "didn't sew and couldn't draw…. She lied to cover a past of which she was ashamed; she lied to cover her own insecurities," noted Simon.

Denise L. Smith, professor of exercise science, is co-author (with Bo Fernhall of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) of Advanced Cardiovascular Exercise Physiology (2011, Human Kinetics). Part of the Human Kinetics' Advanced Exercise Physiology Series, the book is for students and professionals working within exercise science and related health professions. Smith and Fernhall systematically detail the effect of acute and chronic exercise training on each component of the cardiovascular system: the heart, the vasculature, and the blood.

Smith and co-author Sharon A. Plowman updated their Exercise Physiology for Health, Fitness, and Performance (2010, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins) in late 2010. The third edition of this textbook incorporates two new integrative approaches to exercise physiology. Each of the three major units (the cardiovascular-respiratory system, the metabolic system, and the neuromuscular-skeletal system) follows a consistent sequence of presentation, namely: basic anatomy and physiology (including neuro-hormonal regulation), the measurement and meaning of exercise physiology variables, exercise responses, training principles and adaptations; and special applications, problems, or considerations.

Mary Zeiss Stange, professor of women's studies and religion, is one of two general editors of the multi-media Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World, released last spring by SAGE Publications. The encyclopedia includes 1,000 entries, which amount to a million words of text, written by more than 400 contributors on five continents. (These contributors include Skidmore's own professors Bob Boyers, Una Bray, Kate Graney, and Viviana Rangil; Professor Emerita Visantha Narasimhan, and former Visiting Professor Olga Solvieva.). As a multi-media work, it is the first of its kind and comes in two formats: a four-volume print edition, and an online edition that includes the entire content of the print edition along with extensive archival audio and video material to accompany the written word. Online supplements incorporating entirely new and updated material amounting to 500 more entries will be published in the spring of 2012 and 2013, making this both the most current and the most comprehensive reference work available today about the status and accomplishments of women globally since 2000.

Professor Emerita of Anthropology Jill D. Sweet is co-author with Nancy Hunter Warren of Pueblo Dancing, published during the fall by Schiffer. The book provides a look at Pueblo dance through striking black and white photographs of dancers in traditional dress from the Pueblo villages of San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, San Juan, Jemez, and Tesuque. Warren, a well-known Southwest photographer, had permission when she took the photographs 30-40 years ago. Dances portrayed include the Buffalo, Comanche, Corn, Deer, and Matachine.

The Great Lie, a new book edited by Flagg Taylor, was released in September by Intercollegiate Studies Institute and designated "Book of the Month" by the publisher. Taylor, an assistant professor of government, calls the book "a collection of essays by some of the greatest minds of the past century on the themes of ideology and totalitarianism." He was inspired by a course he first taught (and continues to teach) at Skidmore called "Dissident Political Thought" which focused on three great anti-Communist dissidents: Czeslaw Milosz, Vaclav Havel, and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Said Taylor, "Initially I wanted a volume that brought together the best dissident writing in one volume, but then I thought an even better book would offer the best writing (not limited to just dissidents) on the phenomenon that dominated the 20th century: totalitarianism.