Report, October 2005
At every monthly faculty meeting during the school year, the Dean
of Faculty presents brief overviews of recent publications and
other achievements by the Mount Holyoke faculty. Here are excerpts
from the October 2005 report of Donal O'Shea, Dean of Faculty
Paus, professor of economics and director of the Center for Global
has published a wonderful book with Macmillan Palgrave entitled Foreign Investment,
Development, and Globalization: Can Costa Rica Become Ireland? Fascinating for
me, at least, is the account of the interplay among economic and governmental
policies that have so transformed Ireland’s economy and standard of living
over the last two decades. The book contains tons of interesting data as well
as gentle definitions of words that one hears a lot, but seldom sees defined
(e.g., “development,” “foreign direct investment,” “value
chain”). In investigating the question asked by the title, the book takes
a comparative approach, stressing not only the results of different strategies,
but how the same strategy can play out differently as global dynamics shift.
professor of religion Michael Penn’s book Kissing
Ritual and Community in the Late Ancient Church has just appeared with the University
of Pennsylvania Press and was already featured in the October 8 edition of the
Boston Globe. Michael recounts the phenomenon of kissing in the Church from the
second to fifth centuries (apparently there was lots!) and explores the roots
of kissing practices in Roman and Greek times. The book uses an impressive range
of inter- and cross-disciplinary techniques to explore the ritual, community-binding,
and cultural significance of the ritual kiss and the cultural, social, and religious
roles it played. The chapter headings are great (some examples: “Kissing
Basics,” “Difference and Distinction: The Exclusive Kiss,” and,
my favorite, “Boundary Violations: Purity, Promiscuity, and Betrayal”).
books of Constantine Pleshakov, visiting assistant professor
and Eurasian studies, keep getting better. There was the Russian-language
that included a gruesome torture scene in Chicopee and language that surpassed
the limits of my battered Schoenhof’s samizdat Russian-English dictionary
of colloquialisms; a gripping account of the Romanovs; and an enthralling, sardonic
account of the Tsar’s first and last armada. Stalin’s Folly:
Tragic First Ten Days of WWII on the Eastern Front appeared this summer and is
the best yet. Read it and weep. Compulsively quotable and full of short memorable
sentences, the book is a devastating portrayal of the Soviet response to the
German invasion of 1942. It tells the story of Stalin, the fear he inspired among
his own generals, and the staggering incompetence that he elicited as a result.
Underscoring the horror is the account of the suffering visited on the Russian
University Press has just published associate professor of English
Stephens’s new book Black Empire: The Masculine Global Imaginary
Intellectuals in the United States, 1914-1962. It defies easy characterization
and shows just how complicated and rich the discipline of English has become.
Ostensibly, Michelle studies the writings of three Caribbean intellectuals, Marcus
Garvey, Claude McKay, and C. L. R. James, two from Jamaica and one from Trinidad.
However, the book is a sympathetic and critical portrayal of the construction
of black identity in an age of world war, of revolutionary internationalism,
and of mass black migration. It studies how the discourses of the New Negro out
of the Harlem Renaissance and the inter-, intra-, and transnational sensibilities
of Caribbean intellectuals blended into an imagined transnational black empire.
Her canvas is enormous. She studies the authors and their public personae, the
interaction of the characters in their fiction, and how notions of nation, identity,
race, gender, and agency play out in relation to this “black empire.” She
draws on a huge range of scholarship and critical techniques from gender studies,
from American studies, and from classical literary analysis. In studying race
and empire, her book resonates strikingly with current times: “Close to
the turn of a new millennium,” she writes, “what were once colonial
ventures are now war games where citizens and foreigners are held hostage by
imperial fictions. . . . What kind of space is Guantanamo Bay, Cuba?”
Read the latest by Donald
Weber, Lucia, Ruth and Elizabeth MacGregor
Professor of English and chair of English and cochair of American
studies, Haunted in the New World: Jewish American Culture
from Cahan to The Goldbergs, from Indiana University Press, 2005. Part
personal memoir, part account of Jewish immigrant life, part account
of the entertainment industry from the viewpoint of the entertained,
the book is at once a scholarly analysis of low- and highbrow fiction,
of film, of television, and of stand-up comedy, and a highly sympathetic,
highly critical, and highly personal re-creation of the immigrant
and new world experience captured by those artifacts. It deals
with memory, with nostalgia, with the relation between creator/artist,
his or her work, and the time and place to which he or she belongs
(or does not). It teaches us broadly about identity by focusing
on one small series of interlocking identities: Jewish, American,
New Yorker, Yiddish. It is beautifully, almost lovingly, written.
Open it anywhere. Each paragraph is a miniature essay. Each sentence,
it seems, stands alone and contains several striking thoughts.
Many are minor masterpieces. The book is a tour de force.
of English Corinne Demas’s book Saying
Goodbye to Lulu received the 2004 Henry Bergh Children’s Book Award
of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The award is presented annually to recognize books based on their
exemplary handling of subject matter pertaining to animals and
the environment. The winning authors will be honored at a ceremony
at the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in
Chicago this June.
Jacobus, coordinator of health education services, will coordinate
Holyoke’s portion of the $399,521 grant from the U.S.
Department of Justice Program to Reduce Violent Crimes against
Women on Campus awarded to the University of Massachusetts and
four partners (Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges).
of Faculty's Reports Index