National Library Legislation Day

I attended the American Library Association’s 2017 National Library Legislation Day (NLLD) in Washington DC on May 1 and 2 and found it quite a rewarding experience. The interest in NLLD this year was particularly high and registration filled up early. This is not surprising since so many of the values that librarians hold dear are under threat. I met some really interesting public librarians from around the state of Pennsylvania. Listening to them speak about their work supporting and educating their communities renewed my faith in the importance of libraries.

NLLD is a two day event. The first day is a briefing on the legislative agenda of ALA and the second is devoted to outreach to congressional representatives and senators. On the morning of the second day I met (along with Christi Buker, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Library Association) with a legislative assistant of my representative to the 1st District, Robert Brady. In the afternoon we Pennsylvanians split into two groups and visited legislative aids to either Senator Toomey or Casey.

We presented and discussed the pressing issues of the ALA, the most important of which this year is funding. The Trump administration’s proposed 2018 budget zeroes out all federal funding for libraries. The ALA is proposing a budget of $186.6 million for libraries. (To put this federal funding for libraries in perspective, this amount would be .029% of the proposed Department of Defense spending and .423% of Department of Homeland Security.)  Beyond funding, here are the priority issues that ALA is asking Congress to support:

  • Support Public Access to Government Data and Taxpayer-Funded Information and Research
  • Support Real Privacy and Surveillance Law Reform
  • Support Strong “Net Neutrality” Protections
  • Bring High Speed Broadband to Every Library and Support the E-rate Program Unchanged
  • Expedite Modernization of the Copyright Office and Ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty

Detailed Issue Briefs – 2017 National Library Legislation Day

—Fred Rowland

Highlighting, Measuring, and Managing Your Research

Are you a graduate student or faculty member? Do you want to understand the current scholarly landscape for measuring, highlighting, and sharing your research?

zotero   academia   webofscience

Tools like Scopus, Web of Science, and Journal Citation Reports provide indicators of research productivity. Portals like Academia.edu, ResearchGate, Humanities Commons, and Google Profiles allow researchers to share their work and network with other scholars. Zotero, EndNote, and Mendeley make organizing and sharing sources a snap. Publishing in open access venues and posting your research to scholarly repositories can enhance your research impact. Familiarity with these new tools and strategies helps researchers find colleagues, collaborators, and funders, as well as facilitates the tenure and promotion process.

The Temple University Libraries will be offering a series of four workshops in the Digital Scholarship Center on highlighting, measuring, and managing your research. Bring your laptop or borrow one in the DSC.

scopus   researchgate   mendeley

Workshop 1: Managing Your Research
Wednesday, March 29, 11-12, DSC

  • Attendees will gain an understanding of the features of these reference management and sharing tools and their areas of overlap with academic social networks. They will understand some key functional and disciplinary considerations when selecting the proper tool.
  • Register for Workshop 1

Workshop 2: Developing Your Scholarly Profile
Wednesday, April 5, 11-12, DSC

  • The professional and ethical uses of academic social networks such as ResearchGate and Academia as well as preferences of scholars in different disciplines will be explored.  We will talk about ORCiD and other researcher IDs and how they can be used to enhance your online profile.
  • Register for Workshop 2

Workshop 3: Amplifying Your Research Impact
Wednesday, April 12, 11-12, DSC

  • Attendees will learn how to effectively promote and share their research online. We will discuss best practices for using social media, explain how to deposit research outputs in disciplinary repositories, and explore tools and platforms that can help authors expand their readership.
  • Register for Workshop 3

Workshop 4: Measuring Research Impact
Wednesday, April 19, 11-12, DSC

  • Attendees will gain strategies for identifying and measuring their research impact using available online tools. Important buzzwords like citation metrics, impact factors, and the h-index will be explained and applied in a variety of disciplinary contexts.
  • Register for Workshop 4

Protecting Your Personal Privacy in a Digital World

Surveillance Cameras          Laptop Spying           Spy Silhouette

Announcing a new workshop…

Protecting Your Personal Privacy in a Digital World

Date: Thursday, March 2, 2017, 11-12
Location: Digital Scholarship Center (DSC)
Sign Up (or just show up)

Date: Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 11-12
Location: Digital Scholarship Center (DSC)
Sign Up  (or just show up)
(Cancelled due to scheduling conflict)

Date: Thursday, March 23, 2017, 11-12
Location: Digital Scholarship Center (DSC)

We live in an age of pervasive digital surveillance, whether those prying eyes are marketers, hackers, governments, or employers. Learning the principles of online digital privacy is essential for navigating daily online activities, such as communicating with friends, engaging in social activism, or accessing a banking or credit card account.

This workshop will provide the tools and tips you need to make more informed decisions concerning your online activity. Here are some questions we will answer:

  • How can I manage all my passwords?
  • What options are available for browsing anonymously online?
  • Should I use the cloud to sync my devices?
  • How can I chat online privately?
  • What are some trusted sources for learning more about digital privacy and security?

Since each individual’s “threat model” is different, this workshop aims to provide practical information to help you think more clearly about your digital privacy needs. Our intended audience is the community of regular Internet users who wish to start thinking a little more systematically about their online activity.

The Virgin Mary in 19th Century American Culture

img_5107-199x300

 

In contemporary American culture the Virgin Mary is associated with Catholic devotion and worship. Because of this, it should come as a surprise to many readers that the mother of Jesus was a general cultural icon in the latter half of nineteenth century Christian America. Temple professor Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez details this history in her new book, The Valiant Woman: The Virgin Mary in Nineteenth Century American Culture (Temple / Amazon). Images and references to Mary proliferated in popular magazines and on the walls of modest and fashionable homes, appealing to both Protestant and Catholic audiences. The Civil War, industrial revolution, and westward expansion transformed the United States. The rise of major urban centers like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and St. Louis drew in rural migrants and immigrants, unsettling religious, gender, and social norms. In these early years of mass society when the old agrarian ways were slipping away, the focus on the Virgin Mary offered a safe and familiar way of talking about and negotiating new female roles in this changing social landscape. Professor Alvarez traces the career of Mary from the declaration of the Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius IX in 1854 through its fiftieth anniversary in 1904.

I spoke with Elizabeth Hayes Alvarez about her new book on November 7, 2016.

 

Vikings Visit Minnesota in 1362

davidkrueger

 

Well, not really, but that’s a story that had significant purchase in early 20th century Minnesota. In 1898 a Swedish immigrant discovered a buried stone with runic letters and the date 1362. The archaic Scandinavian script described a fishing party that returned to its camp to find “10 men red with blood and dead.”

8 Swedes and 22 Norwegians on an exploration journey from Vinland westward. We had our camp by two rocky islets one day’s journey north of this stone. We were out fishing one day. When we came home we found 10 men with blood and dead. AVM, save us from evil. We have 10 men by the sea to look after our ships, 14 days’ journey from this island. Year: 1362. [Translation by Erik Wahlgren, The Kensington Stone: A Mystery Solved]

The news of the apparent visitation of fourteenth century Scandinavians to the great state of Minnesota was enthusiastically received by their latter day heirs. With so many immigrants entering the United States, it was reassuring to learn that these norsemen had staked a claim to the United States more than 100 years before Columbus. Better yet, they had baptized the soil with their own blood, consecrating it as holy ground.

As the authenticity of the “Kensington Rune Stone” came under question, supporters dismissed much of the evidence produced by pointy-headed academics in their ivory towers. Though the scientific consensus has clearly declared the stone a fake, books are still written “proving” its authenticity. In Myths of the Rune Stone: Viking Martyrs and the Birthplace of America, historian and religion scholar David Krueger investigates the century-long story arc of this cultural artifact. He explores the passion for the Rune Stone among Scandinavian and, later, Catholics, who were intent on establishing their rightful place in the American community.

Beyond the history of the Rune Stone itself, Krueger’s work provides valuable insights on the history of immigrant communities and the ways they seek to blend their ancestral histories into a new and imagined cultural landscape. Readers will find the themes of Myths of the Rune Stone illuminating in this time of increased tension and inflammatory rhetoric surrounding immigration.

I spoke with David Krueger on November 9, 2016, the morning after the election of Donald Trump to the presidency.

(For suggestions for how to use the book in a class setting, visit the book website at https://mythsoftherunestone.com/2015/12/15/using-myths-of-the-rune-stone-in-the-classroom/.)

—Fred Rowland

Who is Fethullah Gülen?

Jon Pahl Professor Jon Pahl

 

On the evening July 15, 2016 elements of the Turkish military executed a failed coup against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Tanks and armored vehicles rolled into the capital Ankara and Turkey’s largest city Istanbul, bridges were blocked, and helicopters and F-16s flew overhead. Battles between the coup plotters and government loyalists left over 250 dead. President Erdogan, on vacation in the coastal city of Marmaris, flew into Istanbul and urged followers to take to the streets to resist the coup.

Within a day of the coup attempt, President Erdogan and his government were back in control of Turkey and he began a widespread purge of the military, media, courts, and educational institutions. Before the details were even known, it became clear that Erdogan saw this as an opportunity to eliminate his enemies and consolidate power. On August 2, the Financial Times reported that “almost 70,000 people have been arrested, suspended or fired.” (Turkey’s purge reaches beyond the coup plotters) The New York Times Online made comparisons to “Joseph McCarthy‘s anti-Communist witch hunt in 1950s America, the Stalinist purges of the 1930s and the Cultural Revolution in China in the 1960s and ’70s.” (Turks see purge as witch hunt of ‘medieval’ darkness’, 9/16/16) Though there was little support among Turkish citizens for the coup, the scope of the purge threatens basic democratic governance in Turkey.

Responsibility for the coup quickly settled on the Gülen Movement, whose members were arrested, jailed, and in some cases possibly tortured. The followers of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish Sufi cleric living in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, constitute a decentralized movement that is international in scope, with schools in over 100 countries. The Gülen Movement in Turkey, its country of origin, was – until recently – represented in the highest reaches of the military, judiciary, media, and economy. Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party have targeted Gulenists for several years now and these purges continue his effort to eliminate their influence across Turkish society. Gülen has been accused of masterminding the coup and an arrest warrant was issued against him in an Istanbul court in August. The Turkish government is seeking Gülen’s extradition from the United States to stand trial in Turkey.

As accusations against Gülen began piling up in the Turkish and international media in the aftermath of the coup, I thought of Professor Jon Pahl of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. I knew he was working on a biography of Fethullah Gülen and I was interested in hearing what he had to say about Gülen, the Gülen Movement, and recent events in Turkey. Professor Pahl posted a blog at the University of California Press titled Don’t Make A Mystic into a Martyr: Fethullah Gülen as Peacebuilder on July 24, 2016.

I spoke to Joh Pahl on October 6, 2016.

 

Metropolitan Jews

LilaBerman

 

In Metropolitan Jews: Politics, Race, and Religion in Postwar Detroit (University of Chicago Press, 2015), History Professor Lila Berman analyzes the Jewish sense of place in Detroit during the twentieth century, first in neighborhoods such as Hastings Street, Dexter-Davison, and Bagley and then in the wider metropolitan area. In the first half century, Jews settled near the Detroit River and then gradually moved north and west. While there was little Jewish presence in the booming auto industry, Jews opened small business establishments, became involved in real estate, and pursued educational opportunities as the community developed vibrant religious and civic institutions.

At mid-century, Detroit began experiencing many of the convulsions that would shake other eastern and midwestern cities. The auto industry, which had built Detroit, began shifting its operations outside the city. White flight accompanied de-industrialization as federally subsidized mortgage loans financed new suburban housing developments from which African Americans were excluded. Detroit began losing popuation while the percentage of African Americans increased and the tax base shrank. For those Jews who remained, there were intense struggles over race, politics, employment, and housing.

Many Jews joined other white ethnics leaving Detroit. As the Jewish community became more established outside the city limits, what were the considerations with regards to synagogues, religious and civic organizations, and homes and businesses left behind? And how did the Jewish community respond to the struggles over politics, employment, and housing? Lila Berman tells the story of the Jewish community and its sense of place as it grew from small city neighborhoods to the wider Detroit metropolitan area.

I spoke to Lila Berman on March 28, 2016.

—Fred Rowland

Death in the Shape of a Young Girl

triciamelzer1-300x199

 

Professor Patricia Melzer is the author of a new book titled Death in the Shape of a Young Girl: Women’s Poltical Violence in the Red Army Faction (New York University Press, 2015). By focusing her study on the Red Army Faction (RAF), a West German terrorist group which had many female members, including leaders, Melzer complicates our contemporary understanding of feminism and violence. The RAF committed acts of assassination, bombings, bank robberies, and kidnappings from 1970 to the early 1990s in order to challenge what it saw as the West German state’s support of capitalism, imperialism, and patriarchy.

While contemporary feminism is closely linked to positions of nonviolence, this was less the case at the founding of the Red Army Faction, where patriarchy shared responsibility with economic and political structures for women’s oppression. As feminism narrowed its focus to patriarchal violence – especially the personal physical abuse of men against women – the nurturing role of women and the importance of nonviolent political resistance became more essential to feminism’s understanding of itself.

Melzer also analyzes the ways German media portrayed the lives and acts of these terrorists through a gendered lens that was very often inaccurate and misleading. This placed the contemporaneous German feminist movement in the delicate position of trying to respond to the misrepresentation of female RAF members while distancing itself from their terrorist acts.

Juxtaposing feminism and violence in the Red Army Faction offers valuable insights on the nature of the modern women’s movement. I spoke to Patricia Melzer on April 4, 2016.

—Fred Rowland

 

2015-2016 Livingstone Award Interviews

I was able to catch up with four of the six 2015-2016 Livingstone Prize Winners before they dispersed for the summer. Below are the interviews I recorded with these intelligent and talented undergraduate men and women.

  • Livingstone Undergraduate Research Award in Creative Works and Media Production
    Mother Internet : Blessed Virgin : A Coming of Age Story by Elizabeth Baber

 

  • Livingstone Undergraduate Research Award in Policy, Practice, and Public Life
    Cultural Property Repatriation: History, Legality, and Ethical Precedent for Museums in the United States by Rhiannon Bell

 

  • Livingstone Undergraduate Research Award in Sustainability and the Environment (sponsored by Gale, part of Cengage Learning)
    The Mobilization of the Environmental Justice Movement in Louisiana: EJ Disputes and Grassroots Organizing in the Mississippi Industrial Corridor by Joseph Gallagher

 

  • Livingstone Undergraduate Research Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences
    “Glory of Yet Another Kind”: The Evolution & Politics of First-Wave Queer Activism, 1867-1924 by GVGK Tang

 

Saving Faith At the Dawn of the 20th Century

mislin1

Living in the early 21st century, it might seem a little hard to believe that a century ago liberal Protestantism was the dominant voice of religion in the United States. Of course in a land so vast there were a lot of voices and opinions concerning religion. But in the urban power centers liberal Protestantism had the ears of politicians and business elites.

At this same time there were centrifugal forces weakening liberal Protestantism’s institutional grasp. As people poured into growing industrial cities from the countryside and overseas, they were greeted by secular clubs, cultural events, and entertainments that loosened the grip of the church. With so many inhabitants of different races, ethnicities, religions, beliefs, and practices, doubts about specific doctrines and creeds grew. The growing authority of science offered alternative explanations for a whole range of natural and metaphysical phenomena.

In Saving Faith: Making Religious Pluralism an American Value at the Dawn of the Secular Age (Cornell University Press, 2015), historian David Mislin explores how liberal Protestantism responded to the pressures of skepticism, doubt, and pluralism. In reaching out to Catholics and Jews of like mind, liberal Protestant leaders were haltingly moving toward what would in the post-World War II world become Judeo-Christian America.

I spoke with David Mislin on January 20, 2016 about his new book.

Download (mp3)

—Fred Rowland