Whitman College's faculty members are experts in their fields. Teacher-scholars known for their publications, our professors bring the research they do into the classroom, expanding students' academic horizons. Here are a few of the books our faculty members have written, with the most recently published presented first.
Illegitimate Freedom: Informality in Modernist Literature, 1900–1940
Gaurav Majumdar, Professor of English
Illegitimate Freedom: Informality in Modernist Literature, 1900 - 1940 is the first study of informality in modernist literature. Differentiating informality from intimacy in its introduction, the book discusses the informal in relation with sensory experience, aesthetic presentation, ethical deliberation or action, and social attitudes within modernist works.
It examines these works for particular nuances of the word "informality" in each of its chapters in the following thematic sequence: informality that offers humour, interpretive freedom, and promiscuity as counters to self-absorption in works by Virginia Woolf; rebuttals to male priorities in liberalism through "feminine informality" in several short stories by Katherine Mansfield; contempt for colloquialism and intimacy, tinged with class-anxieties and crises of attitude, in T. S. Eliot’s poetry; resistance to disgust in James Joyce’s novels; and the fusion of irreverence, protest, and praise in W. H. Auden’s writings before 1940. The book’s conclusion considers the risks of informality through a discussion of what it calls "inverted dignity."
The theoretical aspects of the book offer insights into Lockean liberalism, the ethical dimensions of what Hélène Cixous termed "feminine writing," relations of sublimity and domesticity, Sigmund Freud’s arguments on humour and melancholia, and recent affect theory’s—as well as Immanuel Kant’s and Friedrich Nietzsche’s—views on disgust, linking these with modernism. This wide range of engagement makes this study relevant for those interested in literary studies, critical theory, and philosophy.
Foresters, Borders, and Bark Beetles
Foresters, biologists, environmentalists and locals project the ancient Białowieża Forest as a series of competing icons in struggles over memory, land, and economy, which are also struggles about whether to log or preserve the woodland; whether and how to celebrate the mixed ethnic Polish/Belarusian peasant past; and whether to align this eastern outpost with ultraright Polish political parties, neighboring Belarus, or the European Union. Eunice Blavascunas provides an intimate ethnographic account, gathered in more than 20 years of research, to untangle complex forest conflicts between protection and use. She looks at which pasts are celebrated, which fester, and which are altered in the tumultuous decades following the collapse of communism.
"Foresters, Borders, and Bark Beetles" is a timely and fascinating work of cultural analysis and storytelling that textures its ethnographic reading of people with the agency of the forest itself and its bark beetle outbreaks, which threaten to alter the very composition of the forest in the age of the Anthropocene.
The Chile Pepper in China
Intellectual Agency and Virtual Epistemology: A Montessori Perspective
Patrick Frierson, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Paul Garrett Fellow
Drawing on the work of Maria Montessori and contemporary virtue epistemologists such as Linda Zagzebski and Jason Baehr, Intellectual Agency and Virtue Epistemology presents a new interpretation of the nature of intellectual agency and its associated virtues.
Focusing on Montessori's interpretation of specific virtues including sensory attentiveness, intellectual love and intellectual humility, it discusses why these are virtues, why one can be held responsible for them, and how they relate to each other. Moreover, it considers pedagogical implications of considering these capacities to be virtues. Intellectual Agency and Virtue Epistemology not only reveals the value of seeing Montessori as a virtue epistemologist, it encourages educationalists to take seriously the cultivation of intellectual virtues as an important part of the education of children.
Law Without Future: Anti-Constitutional Politics and the American Right
Penn Press, 2019
"Law Without Future is a superb book making a brilliant and original argument: that American jurisprudence has entered a time when, increasingly, decisions are made without reference to past (that is, precedent) or future (that is, the application of the law). Jack Jackson is an excellent legal scholar, political theorist, and writer, and he proves himself a devastating critic of Bush v. Gore and other legal cases and laws." — James Martel, San Francisco State University
As the 2000 decision by the Supreme Court to effectively deliver the presidency to George W. Bush recedes in time, its real meaning comes into focus. If the initial critique of the Court was that it had altered the rules of democracy after the fact, the perspective of distance permits us to see that the rules were, in some sense, not altered at all. Here was a "landmark" decision that, according to its own logic, was applicable only once and that therefore neither relied on past precedent nor lay the foundation for future interpretations.
This logic, according to scholar Jack Jackson, not only marks a stark break from the traditional terrain of U.S. constitutional law but exemplifies an era of triumphant radicalism and illiberalism on the American Right. In Law Without Future, Jackson demonstrates how this philosophy has manifested itself across political life in the twenty-first century and locates its origins in overlooked currents of post-WWII political thought. These developments have undermined the very idea of constitutional government, and the resulting crisis, Jackson argues, has led to the decline of traditional conservatism on the Right and to the embrace on the Left of a studiously legal, apolitical understanding of constitutionalism (with ironically reactionary implications).
Jack Jackson teaches political theory and constitutional law at Whitman College.
Four children live on an island that serves as the repository for all the world's garbage. Trash arrives, the children sort it, and then they feed it to a herd of insatiable pigs: a perfect system. But when a barrel washes ashore with a boy inside, the children must decide whether he is more of the world's detritus, meant to be fed to the pigs, or whether he is one of them. Written in exquisitely wrought prose, Pigs asks questions about community, environmental responsibility, and the possibility of innocence.
Johanna Stoberock is the author of the novel City of Ghosts. Her honors include the James W. Hall Prize for Fiction, an Artist Trust GAP award, and a Jack Straw Fellowship. In 2016 she was named runner-up for the Italo Calvino Prize for Fiction. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Best of the Net anthology, and Catamaran, among others. She lives in Walla Walla, Washington, where she teaches at Whitman College. www.johannastoberock.com
The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez
Taking us into detention centers, immigration courts, and the inner lives of Aida and other daring characters, The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez reveals the human consequences of militarizing what was once a more forgiving border. With emotional force and narrative suspense, Aaron Bobrow-Strain brings us into the heart of a violently unequal America. He also shows us that the heroes of our current immigration wars are less likely to be perfect paragons of virtue than complex, flawed human beings who deserve justice and empathy all the same.
"Here, at long last, is a nonfiction account of our country's immigration drama written with the intelligence, passion, and sweep of a great novel...It is a harrowing and intimate account of an epic, cross-border journey, a tale filled with family, violence, love, injustice, perseverance, and, ultimately, redemption." - Héctor Tobar author of the National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist and New York Times Notable Book Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine.
"Bobrow-Strain ... tells the dramatic true tale of a woman he calls Aida Hernandez with extraordinary clarity and power . . . In this caring and unforgettable borderland saga, Bobrow-Strain reveals the profound personal toll of the immigration crisis." Booklist Starred Review
"A professor combines his academic research with his decades long U.S.-Mexico border activism to brightly illuminate immigration realities by focusing on the struggles of one young woman . . . [A] powerful saga . . . This potent, important work, which "occupies a space between journalism and ethnography, with a dash of oral history and biography," adds much to the continuing immigration debate." Kirkus Starred Review
Snakes of Central and Western Africa
Jean-Philippe Chippaux and Kate Jackson
Nobody knows exactly how many snake species live in the biodiversity hotspots of Western and Central Africa. While field guides abound that make mammals, birds, and even insects identifiable for residents, travelers, and scientists, half a continent's herpetological richness has remained shrouded in mystery. In a region where nearly 30,000 people die from snake bites every year, even dire medical necessity has been an insufficient inducement for researchers to take on the daunting task of assembling an authoritative list of extant species, let alone a full descriptive record to aid in identification, the essential first step to administering an effective antivenin. The reptiles of Central Africa, particularly, are the most poorly studied in the world, despite their crucial role in the survival of threatened ecosystems.
With Snakes of Central and Western Africa, Jean-Philippe Chippaux and Kate Jackson have created a game changer. The result of years of field research and systematic study in the world's leading museums, this book compiles for the first time a comprehensive guide to the region's snakes. Covering a vast swath of the continent, ranging from Mauritania in the northwest to Rwanda in the east and Angola in the south, Chippaux and Jackson provide detailed accounts for the more than 200 species of snakes that inhabit the region.
The first part of the book is devoted to the taxonomic characters used for identifying snakes. The authors deal with the evolution and biogeography of African snakes as well as epidemiological and clinical aspects of snakebite. The remaining chapters are organized phylogenetically, following the latest consensus on evolutionary patterns of major snake lineages in sub-Saharan Africa. Species identification is facilitated by simple and accessible dichotomous keys and detailed descriptions of morphological characteristics, complemented by numerous drawings, photos, and distribution maps. Invaluable information on taxonomy and natural history is also included. The book concludes with a comprehensive index and a list of nearly 600 references. Snakes of Central and Western Africa illuminates a previously little-known part of the natural world, provides vital information that could save many lives, and will make an excellent addition to any herpetology library.
THE BLUES: Natural History of the Blue Mountains of NE Oregon & SE Washington
Bob Carson, Grace Farnsworth Phillips Professor of Geology and Environmental Studies, Emeritus
Keokee Books, 2018
The latest edition of The Blues, The Blues: Natural History of the Blue Mountains of NE Oregon and SE Washington, was written by Bob Carson and delves into the unique aspects of the region's geology, biology, and natural heritage.
Commissioned by the Blue Mountain Land Trust as part of The Blues series, it is a "celebration of the landscape and a reminder of our need to preserve and protect it for future generations." The Blue Mountain Land Trust is a group of visionary local leaders who took action to preserve fish and wildlife habitat, forests, grasslands and agricultural land in the Blue Mountain region and a portion of the book's proceeds benefits their efforts.
The Blue Mountains, stretching south of Walla Walla into central Oregon, are one of the Pacific Northwest's iconic mountain ranges. Formed by successive periods of volcanic activity, home to diverse forest and grassland ecosystems, and rich in wildlife, the Blues have long held a special fascination for all who live in and recreate within the range.
In geological parlance, the Blue Mountains are a long anticlinal ridge composed mostly of basalt flows, stretching from Clarno, Oregon to Clarkston, Washington. Here, Carson has combined scholarly and elegant writings with the outstanding photography from more than a dozen contributors. The book includes a foreword by Don Snow, an afterword by Scott Elliott, and poems by Katrina Roberts and Janice King. Duane Scroggins, Bill Rodgers, and many others have contributed hundreds of magnificent photographs that draw readers into this incredible region.
Carson's other publications include, East of Yellowstone, Where The Great River Bends, Many Waters and Hiking Guide to Washington Geology.
Carson's teaching career began at North Carolina State University and then at the University of Oregon. He joined the faculty at Whitman College in 1975. He considers himself an environmental geologist and a Quaternary geologist. His advanced courses (geomorphology, glacial geology, climate change, and water resources) deal with late Cenozoic geologic history, surficial processes, landform evolution, and environmental problems.
Love Letters: Saving Romance in the Digital Age
Raymond and Elsie DeBurgh, Chair of Social Sciences
Michelle Janning, Professor of Sociology
Through stories, a rich review of past research, and her own survey findings, Janning uncovers how people from different age groups and genders approach their love letter "curatorial practices" in an era when digitization of communication is nearly ubiquitous.
Janning shows how our connection to the material world and our attraction to nostalgia matter in actions as seemingly small and private as saving, storing, stumbling upon or even burning a love letter.
Janning joined the Whitman College faculty in 2000. She researches, speaks and writes about relationships, parenthood, pop culture, interior design, inequalities and Scandinavian life. She earned her bachelor's degree from St. Olaf College and her master's and doctorate from the University of Notre Dame. Her last book was "The Stuff of Family Life: How Our Homes Reflect Our Lives" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017).
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Walker Percy, and the Age of Suicide
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Walker Percy, and the Age of Suicide
John F. Desmond, Mary A. Denny Professor of English, emeritus
"Fyodor Dostoevsky, Walker Percy, and the Age of Suicide" is a study of the phenomenon of suicide in modern and post-modern society as represented in the major fictional works of Fyodor Dostoevsky and Walker Percy. In Desmond's study, suicide is understood in both a literal and spiritual sense as referring to both the actual suicides in their works and to the broader social malaise of spiritual suicide, or despair. In the 19th century Dostoevsky called suicide, "the terrible question of our age." For his part, Percy understood 20th century Western culture as "suicidal" both in its social, political and military behavior and in the deeper sense that its citizenry had suffered an ontological "loss of self" or "deformation" of being. Likewise, Thomas Merton called the 20th century an "age of suicide."
Desmond examines the cultural ethos of suicide as it is developed in eleven major works of fiction - Dostoevsky's "Notes from Underground," "Crime and Punishment," "The Idiot, Demons and The Brothers Karamazov"; and Percy's "The Moviegoer," "The Last Gentleman," "Love in Ruins," "Lancelot," "The Second Coming" and "The Thanatos Syndrome." His study is analogical and progressive in that it demonstrates how Percy "furthered" Dostoevsky's prophetic insights and intuitions about suicide as they evolved in modern Western culture. It reveals how the spiritual, moral, and ideological conditions that Dostoevsky analyzed in the latter 19th century came to prophetic - and dire - fulfillment in the 20th century, as Percy observed. The study develops its argument through a close analysis of themes, characters, actions and images that reveal both correspondence between and development from Dostoevsky to Percy. In the Epilogue, Desmond offers a Christian counter-vision to the suicidal ethos of the age.
Desmond is the Mary A. Denny professor of English, emeritus at Whitman College. He is the author of "Gravity and Grace: Seamus Heaney and the Force of Light"; "Flannery O'Connor's Vision of History"; "At the Crossroads: Ethical and Religious Themes in the Writings of Walker Percy" and "Walker Percy's Search for Community."
The Politics of Middle English Parables
Mary Raschko, Assistant Professor of English
Manchester University Press, 2018
Parables occupy a prominent place in Middle English literature, appearing in dream visions and story collections as well as in the lives of Christ and devotional treatises. While most scholarship approaches the translated stories as stable vehicles of Christian teaching, this book highlights the many variations and points of conflict across Middle English renditions of the same story.
Raschko earned her bachelor's degree in English from Georgetown University in 2001 and completed her doctorate in medieval English literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009. At Whitman, she teaches literature from the Middle Ages through Shakespeare.
Kisha Lewellyn Schlegel, Assistant Professor of English
Mad Creek Books, 2018
"Who are we to each other when we're afraid?" asks Schlegel in her debut collection of essays. She looks at fear and faith - the ways the two are more similar than we realize - and the many shapes our faith takes, from nationalism to friendship, from art to religious dogma.
Her book is a lyric examination of the icons that summon and soothe our fears. From Donald Trump to the Virgin Mary, Darth Vader to the Dalai Lama, Schlegel explores what it means to be human, a woman, an artist and, in particular, a parent - what it means to love a child beyond measure, someone so vulnerable, familiar and strange.
Schlegel is an assistant professor of English at Whitman College. She has published essays in Tin House, Conjunctions, The Iowa Review and other literary journals. The recipient of a Washington State Artist Grand and the Richard H. Margolis Award, Schlegel holds master's degrees in environmental studies from the University of Montana and fine arts from Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program.
Imagining a Great Republic
Political Novels and the Idea of America
Thomas E. Cronin, president emeritus of Whitman College
Rowman & Littlefield, 2017
In the first comprehensive reading of dozens of American literary and social culture classics, Tom Cronin, one of America's most astute students of the American political tradition, tells the story of the American political experiment through the eyes of 40 major novelists, from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Hunter S. Thompson. They have been moral and civic consciousness-raisers as we have navigated the zigs and zags, the successes and setbacks and the slow awkward evolution of the American political experiment.
Constitutional democracy, equal justice for all, the American Dream and American Exceptionalism are all part of our country's narrative. But, as Imagining a Great Republic explains, there has never been just a single American narrative. We have competing stories, just as we have competing American Dreams and competing ways of imagining a more perfect political union. Recognizing and understanding these competing values is a key part of being American. Cronin's book explains how this is possible and why we should all be proud to be American.
The Story upon a Hill
The Puritan Myth in Contemporary American Fiction
Christopher Leise, Associate Professor of English
This provocative and thought-provoking volume sheds new light on modern American novelists who question not only the assumption that Puritans founded New England—and, by extension, American identity—but also whether Puritanism ever existed in the United States at all. The Story upon a Hill: The Puritan Myth in Contemporary American Fiction analyzes the work of several of the most important contemporary writers in the United States, including William Gaddis, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon and Marilynne Robinson as reinterpreting commonplace narratives of the country's origins with a keen eye on the effects of inclusion and exclusion that Puritan myths promote. The text raises the provocative question: if the Puritans never existed as we understand them, what might American history look like in that context?
Social Security and the Politics of Deservingness
Susanne Beechey, Associate Professor of Politics
Palgrave Macmillan, 2016
This book seeks to understand the politics of deservingness for future Social Security reforms through an interpretive policy analysis of the 2005 Social Security privatization debates. What does it mean for politics and policymaking that Social Security recipients are widely viewed as deserving of the benefits they receive? In the 2005 privatization debates, Congress framed Social Security in exclusively positive terms, often in opposition to welfare, and imagined their own beloved family members as recipients. Advocates for private accounts sought to navigate the politics of deservingness by dividing the "we" of social insurance to a "me" of private investment and a "them" of individual rate of return in order to justify the introduction of private accounts into Social Security. Fiscal stress on the program will likely bring Social Security to the policy agenda soon. Understanding the politics of deservingness will be central to navigating those debates.
Living Life in Neither Extreme
Michelle Janning, Professor of Sociology
Montezuma Publishing, 2017
We are bombarded by extremes. Life is presented to us in our social media feeds, by our politicians, and sometimes by our opinionated friends and relatives as if every issue were simple and only open to two opposing sides. In our real experiences, though, we often find ourselves between things: between opinions, between places where we spend our time, between identities, between moods, between life stages, between networks of people, and even between preferences for clothing styles, food, and furniture. Between: Living Life in Neither Extreme takes issues that emerge from the news, popular culture, and the author's past and present experiences and plops them into a set of essays that reflect the reality of our complex and messy lives. From family life to politics, from body issues to the workplace, each essay contains bits of sociological wisdom from the author, who has spent the last two decades helping students learn about the blurred boundaries of our everyday social lives.
La nueva sociología de las artes
Una perspectiva hispanohablante y global
Álvaro Santana-Acuña, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Editorial GEDISA, 2017
Santana-Acuña has published, with Arturo Rodríguez Morató of the University of Barcelona, a co-edited volume on the new sociology of the arts. La nueva sociología de las artes includes thirteen contributions from scholars in seven countries, which take fresh and compelling approaches to multiple areas in the arts (literature, multimedia art, culinary creativity, music, theatre, architecture, dance, etc.). This book is a significant contribution to the internationalization and transnationalization of the sociology of arts. The volume has been published by Gedisa, a leading academic press in the Spanish language.
The Stuff of Family Life
How Our Homes Reflect Our Lives
Michelle Janning, Professor of Sociology
Rowman & Littlefield, 2017
Does putting your smartphone on the dinner table impact your relationships? How does where you place your TV in your home affect your family? The Stuff of Family Life takes readers inside the changing world of families through a unique examination of their stuff. From digital family photo albums to the growing popularity of "man caves," Janning looks at not only what large demographic studies say about family dynamics but also what our lives and the stuff in them say about how we relate to each other. The book takes readers through various phases of family life, including dating, marriage, parenting, divorce and aging, while paying attention to how our choices about our spaces and objects impact our lives.
Janning has joked, "I'm not a social scientist who uses large national datasets to illustrate family life; I'm the social scientist who asks people to examine what's in their underwear drawers to tell stories about their family life." From underwear drawers to calendars, The Stuff of Family Life offers an illuminating and entertaining look at the complexities of American families today.
Environmental Success Stories
Solving Major Ecological Problems & Confronting Climate Change
Frank Dunnivant, Professor of Chemistry
Unlike many titles on environmental issues that portend a dark future, Environmental Success Stories delves into the most daunting ecological and environmental challenges humankind has faced and shows how scientists, citizens, and a responsive public sector have dealt with them successfully. In addition to presenting the basic chemical and environmental science underlying problems like providing clean drinking water, removing DDT and lead from agriculture and our homes, and curtailing industrial pollution, this book also discusses the political actors, agency regulators, and community leaders who have collaborated to enact effective legislation. Sharing the stories of the people, organizations, and governments who have addressed these problems successfully, Frank M. Dunnivant explains how we might confront the world's largest and most complex environmental crisis: climate change.
Continental Philosophy and the Palestinian Question
Beyond the Jew and the Greek
Zahi Zalloua, Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures, French
From Sartre to Levinas, continental philosophers have looked to the example of the Jew as the paradigmatic object of and model for ethical inquiry. Levinas, for example, powerfully dedicates his 1974 book Otherwise than Being to the victims of the Holocaust, and turns attention to the state of philosophy after Auschwitz. Such an ethics radically challenges prior notions of autonomy and comprehension—two key ideas for traditional ethical theory and, more generally, the Greek tradition. It seeks to respect the opacity of the other and avoid the dangers of hermeneutic violence. But how does such an ethics of the other translate into real, everyday life? What is at stake in thinking the other as Jew? Is the alterity of the Jew simply a counter to Greek universalism? Is a rhetoric of exceptionalism, with its unavoidable ontological residue, at odds with shifting political realities? Within this paradigm, what then becomes of the Arab or Muslim, the other of the Jew, the other of the other, so to speak?
This line of ethical thought—in its desire to bear witness to past suffering and come to terms with subjectivity after Auschwitz—arguably brackets from analysis present operations of power. Would, then, a more sensitive historical approach expose the Palestinian as the other of the Israeli? Here, Zahi Zalloua offers a challenging intervention into how we configure the contemporary.
Hunger and Irony in the French Caribbean
Literature, Theory, and Public Life
Nicole Simek, Associate Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures (French) and Interdisciplinary Studies
Through a series of case studies spanning the bounds of literature, photography, essay and manifesto, this book examines the ways in which literary texts do theoretical, ethical and political work. Nicole Simek approaches the relationship between literature, theory and public life through a specific site, the French Antillean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, and focuses on two mutually elucidating terms: hunger and irony. Reading these concepts together helps elucidate irony's creative potential and limits. If hunger gives irony purchase by anchoring it in particular historical and material conditions, irony also gives a literature and politics of hunger a means for moving beyond a given situation, for pushing through the inertias of history and culture.
Race, Religion, and Identity for America's Newest Jews
In 2010, approximately 15 percent of all new marriages in the United States were between spouses of different racial, ethnic or religious backgrounds, raising increasingly relevant questions regarding the multicultural identities of new spouses and their offspring. But while new census categories and a growing body of statistics provide data, they tell us little about the inner workings of day-to-day life for such couples and their children.
JewAsian is a qualitative examination of the intersection of race, religion and ethnicity in the increasing number of households that are Jewish American and Asian American. Helen Kiyong Kim and Noah Samuel Leavitt's book explores the larger social dimensions of intermarriages to explain how these particular unions reflect not only the identity of married individuals but also the communities to which they belong. Using in-depth interviews with couples and the children of Jewish American and Asian American marriages, Kim and Leavitt's research sheds much-needed light on the everyday lives of these partnerships and how their children negotiate their own identities in the 21st century.
Liminal Bodies, Reproductive Health, and Feminist Rhetoric
Searching the Negative Spaces in Histories of Rhetoric
Lydia McDermott, Assistant Professor of Composition in General Studies and Director of the Writing Center
Lexington Books, 2016
This book posits rhetoric and gynecology as sister discourses. While rhetoric has been historically concerned with the regulation of the productive male body, gynecology has been concerned with the discipline of the female reproductive body. Lydia M. McDermott examines these sister discourses by tracing key narrative moments in the development of thought about sexed bodies and about rhetorical discourse, from classical myth and natural philosophy to the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century decline of midwifery and the rise of scientific writing on the reproductive body.
Flame Retardants, Chemical Controversies, and Environmental Health
Alissa Cordner, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Initially marketed as a life-saving advancement, flame retardants are now mired in controversy. Some argue that data show the chemicals are unsafe while others continue to support their use. The tactics of each side have far-reaching consequences for how we interpret new scientific discoveries.
An experienced environmental sociologist, Alissa Cordner conducts more than a hundred interviews with activists, scientists, regulators and industry professionals to isolate the social, scientific, economic and political forces influencing environmental health policy today. Introducing "strategic science translation," she describes how stakeholders use scientific evidence to support nonscientific goals and construct "conceptual risk formulas" to shape risk assessment and the interpretation of empirical evidence. A revelatory text for public-health advocates, Toxic Safety demonstrates that while all parties interested in health issues use science to support their claims, they do not compete on a level playing field and even good intentions can have deleterious effects.
Interpretation and Its Ethical Demands
Zahi Zalloua, Professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures, French
Drawing on literary theory and canonical French literature, Reading Unruly examines unruliness as both an aesthetic category and a mode of reading conceived as ethical response. Zahi Zalloua argues that when faced with an unruly work of art, readers confront an ethical double bind, hesitating then between the two conflicting injunctions of either thematizing (making sense) of the literary work, or attending to its aesthetic alterity or unreadability.
Creatively hesitating between incommensurable demands (to interpret but not to translate back into familiar terms), ethical readers are invited to cultivate an appreciation for the unruly, to curb the desire for hermeneutic mastery without simultaneously renouncing meaning or the interpretive endeavor as such. Examining French texts from Montaigne's 16th century Essays to Diderot's fictional dialogue Rameau's Nephew and Baudelaire's prose poems The Spleen of Paris, to the more recent works of Jean-Paul Sartre's Nausea, Alain Robbe-Grillet's Jealousy, and Marguerite Duras's The Ravishing of Lol Stein, Reading Unruly demonstrates that in such an approach to literature and theory, reading itself becomes a desire for more, an ethical and aesthetic desire to prolong rather than to arrest the act of interpretation.
Because You Asked
A Book of Answers on the Art and Craft of the Writing Life
Katrina Roberts, Mina Schwabacher Professor of English/Creative Writing and Humanities
Because You Asked draws from over 15 years of curating the Visiting Writers Reading Series at Whitman College. The anthology brings together insights and revelations from writers shared often during Q & A sessions with young writers and readers.
- Review: Questioning Creativity, by Sean Singer
White Flight and the Animal Ghetto
Lisa Uddin, Assistant Professor of Art History and Visual Culture Studies
Why do we feel bad at the zoo? In a fascinating counterhistory of American zoos in the 1960s and 1970s, Lisa Uddin revisits the familiar narrative of zoo reform, and shows how the drive to protect endangered species and to ensure larger, safer zoos was shaped by struggles over urban decay, suburban growth and the dilemmas of postwar American whiteness.