“Games Without Frontiers” is a multi-faceted initiative sponsored by the Program Committee of the Librarians Association of UC Davis. It includes a comprehensive Library Exhibit, curated by Roberto Delgadillo, and other supporting materials, including Roberto’s comprehensive bibliography of the growing and increasingly significant “military-entertainment complex,” where gaming technology meets increasingly digitized means of waging war. On Thursday April 16th the Program Committee also hosted a symposium of invited speakers addressing various aspects of this topic. (For a response to and review reporting on and assessing the events of the symposium, see the recent review by Stephanie Maroney of the Davis Humanities Institute.) Interested parties should be sure to read the excellent and provocative introductory essay written especially for the occasion by Chris Hables Gray, one of the Symposium’s speakers.
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Some of the more interesting classes that draw upon the rich collections of Shields Library over the years are those that study material culture. Professors in American Studies, Community Development, Sociology, Anthropology, the History of Science, and University Writing frequently send their students to library resources to trace the changing interaction between objects and society. Student’s examining technologies of everyday life, such as eyeglasses, cell phone’s, or hair dryers draw upon the library’s primary and secondary literatures to reconstruct the social worlds through which these objects pass. The term papers the students write testify to the complex relations that surround things, and in the process of writing, students often find that it is in the social gathering that the object comes to life.
Peter Miller, in his recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “How Objects Speak” traces the rise of interest in study of material culture and examines its contemporary appeal.
From Miller’s article “How Objects Speak” Chronicle of Higher Education. 8/11/2014
Item: milk can
Size: Diameter 32 cm, height of the main part 51 cm, and the upper part 15 cm.
Location: Warsaw, Poland.
Peter Miller has also gathered recent writing on material culture studies in his new edited book:
Cultural histories of the material world Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2013. See: Shields Library HM621 .C848 2013. It’s a good place to start, if one is interested in engaging the archaeology of the present.
This recent 77 minute documentary by the pioneering ethnographer’s great grandson explores Malinowski’s checkered legacy, both in terms of his relationships with the peoples he studied and in terms of his relationships to members of his own family. Check The UC Davis Harvest library catalog record for further information. Click here for a trailer.
Postcolonial Digital Humanities is an initiative seeking to bring critiques of colonialism, imperialism, and globalization to bear on the digital humanities. Questioning the neutrality of digital codes and systems, this project asks how historic and contemporary colonial relations of race, class, gender, sexuality and disability influence the digital world, the digital archive and libraries of the future.
Led by post-colonial scholars Roopika Risam and Adeline Koh, the Postcolonial Digital Humanities initiative positions itself as “an emergent field of study invested in decolonizing the digital, foregrounding anti-colonial thought, and disrupting salutatory narratives of globalization and technological progress.”
To learn more about this interesting and important work read the group’s FOUNDING PRINCIPLES
Adam Siegel, a librarian in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Government Information Department of Shields Library, has just published the first installment of his translation of Forschungsbericht (Research Report), an ethnographic nonfiction novel by the German writer Hubert Fichte (1935-1986). The initial selection and its sucessors will appear in serial form in the pages of InTranslation. Read the initital installment at:
The UCD libraries have recently acquired some materials of special interest to Southeast Asianists, scholars focusing on the Western Pacific islands, and anthropologists of medicine. A physician with a specialty in virology, Gajdusek was best-known for contributions to the study of kuru, a disease endemic to New Guinea, and the first known infectious prion disease afflicting humans. Gajdusek and Baruch Blumberg shared the 1976 Nobel Prize in medicine for their joint contributions to the epidemiology of the disease. The materials are typed notes of travels in New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, New Britain, and East New Guinea, written between 1957 and 1962, and 1969-1970; along with notes describing expeditions to the Soviet Union, Madagascar, La Reunion, Mauritius, Indonesia, Australia, and Guam (1969-1970).
Douglas Armato, director of University of the University of Minnesota Press discussed the role of the University Press in Scholarly Communication in his presentation at the 2012 Charleston Conference on Issues in Book and Serial Acquisition.
This blog entry on the University of Minnesota Press website summarizes his interesting take.