By Macreena Doyle and Neal Burdick
Mwenda Ntarangwi, Gender Identity and Performance: Understanding Swahili
Cultural Realities Through Song, Africa World Press, 2003.
The intersection between gender and identity as manifested through
popular performance of Swahili songs is the subject of a new book of
critical analysis by Mwenda Ntarangwi, visiting assistant professor
of anthropology and acting director of the Kenya program at St. Lawrence
University. According to the publishers, Gender Identity and Performance:
Understanding Swahili Cultural Realities Through Song “explores
how gender and identity are practiced, constructed, mobilized and contested
through popular musical expression. This analysis raises questions
of critical importance to the study of gender and identity: How does
musical performance aid in the construction of gendered behavior and
perceptions? How is gender given meaning through musical performance?”
book includes discussions of how music is used to probe socio-cultural
assumptions about gender and identity in a Muslim context, among the Swahili
people of Mombasa. Ntarangwi argues that while gender may be an important
means of forming social identities, it is also a tool through which
one can make
an analysis of various socio-cultural realities and practices of a people.
In so doing, one is able to go beyond the obvious role that gender may play
in organizing social roles and cultural meanings, and enter into a realm
where gender becomes a means to reshaping conceptual categories and
theories of everyday experiences.
Elizabeth L. Kahn, Marie Laurencin: Une Femme Inadaptée in Feminist
Histories, Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2003.
A new book by St. Lawrence University Professor of Fine Arts Elizabeth
L. Kahn examines the life of Marie Laurencin, an influential French
20th-century artist defined by some as “an unfit feminist.” Kahn's
exploration of the life and art of Laurencin began as she conducted
research for the 1986 Frank P. Piskor Lecture on campus, on the topic “Your
Home Isn't Safe Anymore: The Cubist House and the French Decorative
Arts of 1912.” Laurencin
was among the artists who created the cubist house. The publishers
state that, “Until now the substance of her art and the feminist
issues that were entangled in her life have been narrowly examined
or reduced by an author's chosen theoretical format; and the terms
of her lesbian identity have been overlooked. Kahn re-situates Laurencin
in the on-going feminist debates that enrich the disciplines of art
history, women's studies and literary criticism.”
James Garbarino ’68 and Ellen deLara, And Words Can Hurt Forever:
How to Protect Adolescents from Bullying, Harassment, and Emotional
Violence, The Free Press (Simon & Schuster), 2002.
Ever since the infamous Columbine killings of 1998, there has been
a spate of literature about youth violence. As one of the leading figures
in this field, Jim Garbarino has contributed to this literature. His
latest offering has a different twist: he and his co-author, basing
their findings on extensive research and clinical experience, postulate
that despite the best intentions of educators and parents, many schools
foster hostile and threatening environments. They reveal a startling
degree of emotional cruelty and counter the nursery rhyme that “words
will never hurt me.” They also reveal that our children themselves
have the solutions to school violence, if only the rest of us will
listen. Each chapter concludes with a list of practical ideas for parents,
educators and community members.
Maurice Kenny, Carving Hawk: New and Selected Poems, White Pine Press,
Maurice Kenny, the recipient of both a North Country Citation and
an honorary degree from St. Lawrence, as well as an occasional visiting
faculty member in the University’s Native American studies program,
is considered by many the leading Native American writer at work today.
Carving Hawk is a collection of five decades of his poetry, some of
it never before published. The chronologically-arranged work takes
us with Kenny from his home in the North Country, on an odyssey through
many places and many positions, and ultimately back to the North Country,
where he lives now in Saranac Lake and teaches at SUNY at Potsdam.
There is a powerful sense of place in much of Kenny’s work, and
Laurentians familiar with St. Lawrence’s home territory will
recognize it in such selections as “Land,” “Black
River, Summer 1981” and “Going to the Mountains.”
Mare Cromwell ’81, If I Gave You God’s Phone Number:
Searching for Spirituality in America, Pamoon Press, 2002.
“I have wanted to talk to God for as long as I can remember,” says
Mare Cromwell, a self-described spiritual seeker as well as a professional
gardener and environmental speaker and workshop leader. Whether she
does or not, in this imaginative and thought-provoking book she talks
with others about what they would talk to God if they could get a direct
line. The responses in 21 interviews beginning with, “If I gave
you God’s phone number, what would you do with it?” come
from a Cherokee shaman, a Death Row inmate, an Afghani Sufi mystic,
a Roman Catholic, a Jew and many others, ranging in age from 8 to 82.
Issues raised cover the spectrum, from Heaven and Hell to reincarnation, angels
to demonic possession, jihads to pedophilia and denial in the Catholic Church.
All this could be threatening to the convinced (at one book-signing, Cromwell
was attacked by a fundamentalist and told she would burn in Hell), but those
who are open to numerous points of view and challenging ideas will find this
volume much food for reflection.
Arthur J. Clark, Early Recollections: Theory and Practice in Counseling
and Psychotherapy, Brunner-Routledge, 2002.
Professor of Education and Coordinator of the Counseling and Development
Program Arthur J. Clark’s newest book “reviews the extensive
literature on early recollections and organizes various interpretive
systems of evaluating early memories,” according to the publishers.
They add that psychotherapy practitioners “will find specific
and detailed guidelines for administering and interpreting early recollections
to help integrate these memories into counseling and psychotherapy.”
Clark is also the author of the 1998 book Defense
Mechanisms in the Counseling Process. He was named Counselor of the
Year by the Northern Zone Counselors
Association in 1999.
Peter Scott ’67, Something in the Water, Down East Books,
Peter Scott, a teacher, writer and former stern man aboard a Maine
lobster boat, has composed a novel set during World War II, when German
U-boats prowled the waters of the coastal U.S., wreaking havoc on American
shipping. When Maine fisherman Amos Coombs finds an enemy vessel in
his fishing waters, the war becomes personal and changes his life and
those of his fellow coastal islanders. Scott’s tale of suspense,
adventure and Down East humor has been called “one of those rare
novels that combines the spellbinding qualities of a rollicking story
with literary merit” by National Book Award winner and St. Lawrence
Writers Series guest Tim O’Brien.
Bill Dantini ’75, Dead Wrong: The Second Assassination
of Abraham Lincoln, self-published, 2002.
Dead Wrong is an historical novel that also takes a novel look at the
assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Its premise is that a double
-- not the actual Lincoln -- was shot at Ford's Theatre that fateful
night in 1865.
XLibris Publishing says that “Dantini [has] brewed
the plot of Dead Wrong since his college days. While he doesn't consider
a history revisionist, he likes to put 'what-if' spins on historical
events. From Charleston, S.C., through upstate New York to the Canadian
border, the plot propels the reader to a dramatic climax” in
1870 in the St. Lawrence River Valley. Canton and other locales familiar
to Laurentians figure in the resolution.
Deirdre Moloney ’84,
American Catholic Lay Groups and Transatlantic Social Reform in the
Progressive Era, University of North Carolina
According to the dust jacket, this is “the first work to highlight
the wide-ranging contributions of the Catholic laity to Progressive
Era (1880-1925) reform, (showing) how lay groups competed with Protestant
[social] reformers and at times even challenged members of the Catholic
hierarchy.” Moloney, associate professor of history at Saint
Francis University in Loretto, Pa., reveals how Catholic ethnic and
gender ideologies and emerging middle-class values shaped the goals
and behavior of lay activists, who drew more extensively than their
Protestant counterparts on European traditions as they worked to establish
settlement houses, promote temperance and aid immigrants and the poor.
She also describes how, as this tendency changed, women began to carve
out a more significant role in these efforts.
The Healing Muse, a popular collection of medical poems by Bonnie
St. Andrews ’67, a senior professor at the SUNY Upstate Medical
University Center for Bioethics and Humanities, has been annotated
and included in the prestigious NYU Medical School’s medical
humanities database. St. Andrews “uses disciplined and sparkling
language to explore the interface between modern medicine with its
impersonal machinery and the irreducible mystery of life,” says
the annotator on the NYU Web site.