Tenured Faculty Selections
Asking Questions in Biology : a guide to hypothesis-testing, analysis and presentation in practical work and research. Chris Barnard, Francis Gilbert, Peter McGregor
Harlow : Pearson Education, 2007
"This book with a deceptively simple title ‘spoke to me.’ This book explains how to choose questions, how to test them, how to analyze the results, then how to present them. In essence, it briefly and succinctly explains how to do science. The book has applications beyond biology and even beyond science. This book, coupled with my innate curiosity, has shown me how to explore the world around me. It makes me want to do science."
... Robert Hamilton IV (Biological Sciences)
The lecturer's tale. James Hynes
New York : Picador USA, 2001
"Things could hardly be worse. Nelson Humboldt’s career is in free fall. His post-doc is being terminated. His research is yawn-inducing. His department -- English, as it turns out, not history -- is a war zone where high-flying faddists battle the remaining apostles of a status quo last in vogue ca 1970: in this fight-to-the-finish, the heavies of both sides regard neutrals or would-be peacemakers, like Nelson, as morally degenerate. But, due to a freak accident, there is hope ... This tale is dark fantasy in the manner of E.T.A. Hoffmann, brought forward into the 21st century and set in the groves of academe. Like Hoffmann’s characters, our anti-hero Nelson -- because the maelstrom of events pushes forward so fast -- barely comprehends his situation and is reduced to perceiving the world through a hallucinatory haze. When this world comes into focus, it emerges as the unforgiving world of postmodernist critique. The humanities are on a rampage, bloodthirsty and militant. There is no stopping them: Derrida gets to deconstruct Elmer Fudd. Nothing is sacred, not even Elvis. The rules of this game are defined by the tender mercies of Nelson’s academic co-stars, and so we meet in their full glory pedants, posers, plodders, prima donnas, elbowing one another out of the way for the chance to showcase their enormous egos. You may not be sure whether to laugh or cry, but squirm you will.
I squirmed -- while trying to repress tears of laughter. If you are as short on time as I was during the tenure-track process, if you have room for only one novel, let this be it. As a chronicle of the night terrors of the fledgling academic, it is faithful to its subject. As a parody on the self-inflicted wounds of the humanities, it is clever. As vademecum and a source of solace, it works: in comparing your case to that of poor Nelson, you realize that, yes, indeed, things could be worse. Much worse."
... Ralph Menning (History)
Speak. Laurie Halse Anderson
New York : Farrar Straus Giroux, 1999
"As a naïve pre-service teacher, I had visions of myself teaching classic literature to my future middle school students: Twain, Shakespeare and the like. A wise professor opened my eyes to the world of young adult literature; the first book she had us read was Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Anderson’s dark story, told through the anguished voice of a teenager, woke me up to the possibilities of reaching students with books that spoke their language. I knew that if I had this visceral of a response to this book, intended for young adolescents, that my future students would, too.
Years later, I am getting the chance to open up pre-service teachers’ eyes to the wonders of young adult literature. I watch as they exclaim over the writing, the issues, and the stories and help them realize there is literature beyond the traditional canon that can make them and their future students become readers."
... Lori Wilfong (Education)
Collected Works. Flannery O'Connor
New York : Published by The Library of America, 1988.
"I remember reading the stories of Flannery O'Connor, and about the life of Flannery O'Connor when I was an enthusiastic and impressionable young graduate student. For me, she created a powerful first impression because she is the quirky "peacock lady," brilliant in her gothic southern storytelling, and shocking in her exploration of the gradations of the dark side of all of our human natures. More important to me, however, as an avid reader of O'Connor, is the way her stories and characters stay with me long after reading. From Joy/Hulga, to the Misfit, to Tom Shiftlet, to many, many others, her characters remain in my mind as vibrant, all-too-humanly flawed explorations of the challenges of human existence. These characters are often caricatures, yes. Their stories are frequently grotesque and sometimes offensive, yes. But they communicate piercing truths about human experience and prejudice, the close relationship between good and evil, and the universal search to attach purpose to one's life. Once read, O'Connor's stories reverberate and multiply connections in the mind in deep and meaningful ways; indeed, their echoes are more strong for me than those of the texts of any other writer I have encountered."
... Mary Rooks (English)
Their eyes were watching God. Zora Neale Hurston.
New York : Published by Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006.
"The book that has probably had the greatest influence on me is Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston. I read it for the first time as an undergraduate; and on a personal level, I connected with Hurston's protagonist, Janie Crawford, a young African American woman pursuing life and love on her own terms and struggling to establish her place within the community as an autonomous, competent and fully-developed individual. Professionally, the opportunity to read, study and share my knowledge about literature of this caliber reinforced my childhood goal to be an English teacher."
... Brenda R. Smith (English)
Physics for entertainment. Ya. Perelman.
New York : Published by Hyperion Books, 2008.
"I read this book long ago in Russian. It inspired me so much that my first choice of profession was Physics. I have a BS degree in Physics from Yerevan State University. After graduation in Physics I changed my profession to Mathematics because I figured out that I like mathematical explanation of physics more than physics by itself."
... Gro Hovhannisyan (Math)
Our Bodies, Ourselves : a new edition for a new era. The Boston Women's Health Book Collective.
New York : Simon & Schuster, 2005.
I would like to live in a world where everyone has access to this book. My sister gave me it to me in my first year of college, and from there on, it has continuously proved to be an endless source of healing and productive knowledge. A woman knowing her body is a radical act, and this book continues to be revolutionary."
... Carey McDougall (Art)
Loose Sugar, Brenda Hillman.
Hanover, NH : Published by University Press of New England [for] Wesleyan University Press, c1997.
"I came to study English as a poet, because of poetry, and so I chose a collection of poems to remind me of how I began this journey. I chose Brenda Hillman's Loose Sugar because Brenda is one of my favorite living U.S. poets, and she is also a generous and supportive voice from within the world of poetry. This collection marks her most daring break from traditional lyricism. She embraced an experimental poetics that has launched her into exciting and unknown territory as a writer. Her new journey parallels the one that I embark upon now."
... Andrea Adolph (English)
Fundamentals of Musical Composition, Arnold Schoenberg.
London : Faber and Faber, 1970.
"I picked this book because, while Schoenberg represents avant-garde creative expression, he was a traditional teacher who believed in engaging students through the study of the masters."
... Sebastian Birch (Music)
The Language of the Muses : the Dialogue Between Roman and Greek Sculpture, Miranda Marvin.
Los Angeles : J. Paul Getty Museum, c2008.
"The Language of the Muses: The Dialogue Between Roman and Greek Sculpture, by Miranda Marvin, published this year, goes right to a question that vexes historians of ancient Roman art. To what extent does Roman art "copy" the art of Athens in the fifth century BCE? Marvin's book takes the tack that Roman art 'dialogues' with classical art-copying 'yes' but more importantly using Greek art as a springboard to new imagery that speaks to Roman interests, tastes, and subjects.
Marvin's book includes chapters on the dialogue between ancient art and the great collectors of the Renaissance through the 19c and the ways in which modern collectors and, yes, the 18c art historians assumed the superiority of classical service over the derivative Romans. This misconception continues to the present day, although among historians of Roman art and museum curators, focus is on the innovations of Roman art and the ironic and playful ways in which the Romans used and abused their Greek models, creating a rich dialogue which engages Marvin and readers of her book."
... Molly Lindner (Art)
The Bhagavad Gita, translated with a general introduction by Eknath Easwaran, with a chapter by Diana Morrison.
Petaluma, CA : Nilgiri Press, c1985.
"This book, The Bhagavad Gita, one of the most important Hindu writings, has been significant in my life in many ways. Its messages affected my personal life, my musical compositions, my teaching, and my relationships. The Gita came into my life when I had to teach it in the fall of 1997. At first, it was just a book. That following summer, I read it while walking and I "heard" it for the first time. Indeed, the title means "Song of the Great Lord" and, like a song, it cannot be explained. One can cite its passages, but they only have meaning as part of the whole. Its perspectives led me to begin the yogic healing of my body and spirit, and to discover many other wonderful Indian traditions and stories. It also provided a bridge between my life interest in religion and my research in the field of rhetoric, embodied in my latest publication concerning Nyaya, an Indian method of argumentation. Most of all, however, it helped me to perceive myself and my students as expressions of the very essence of life. There can be no greater gift than this."
... Keith Lloyd (English)