John Raines, Freedom Rider

From May to December 1961, the Freedom Riders fanned out on buses and trains across the deep south in order to test the 1960 Supreme Court decision in Boynton v. Virginia which determined that segregated vehicles and facilities in interstate travel were illegal. Organized by CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), Freedom Riders consisted of groups of blacks and whites traveling together and refusing to recognize any barriers placed between blacks and whites. They would sit together on buses and trains, wait together in terminals, and eat together in restaurants. They met with resistance, often extremely violent, but were committed to responding nonviolently.

Temple religion professor John Raines, who will be retiring on June 30, 2011, was a Freedom Rider. From July 8-15, 1961 he traveled by bus with black and white companions from St. Louis, Missouri to Little Rock, Arkansas to Shreveport, Louisiana and finally to New Orleans, Louisiana.

Recently, in his office in Anderson Hall, he told me the story of his freedom ride.


Audio Download Link (for later)

—Fred Rowland

West African Muslims of Harlem

Zain Abdullah is a professor of Religion at Temple University who recently published Black Mecca: The African Muslims of Harlem(Oxford University Press, 2010). It is an ethnographic study of francophone Africans from Guinea, Senegal, and Cote d’Ivoire who have made a home in Harlem, radically transforming this section of New York City. On Monday, February 28, 2011 he stopped by my office to discuss his new book.

The Interview is in two parts.

Black Mecca Interview with Zain Abdullah, Part 1

Audio Download Link (for later)

Black Mecca Interview with Zain Abdullah, Part 2

Audio Download Link (for later)

—Fred Rowland


Refworks 2.0 beta available

When you log into Refworks, you now have the option to try out the Refworks 2.0 beta version. Just click on the link in the upper right corner for “Refworks 2.0.” When using Refworks 2.0, you will have access to all the citations in your Refworks database. From Refworks 2.0, you can switch back to the traditional interface by clicking “Refworks Classic” in the upper right corner. Make sure you save any new work before switching between the two interfaces.

Refworks 2.0 preview RW2.jpg —Fred Rowland

Exploring Race in Contemporary Judaism

On October 6, 2008, The Institute for the Study of Race and Social Thought at Temple University held its Second Annual Symposium on Race and Judaism in the Paley Library Lecture Hall. The program was entitled Exploring Race in Contemporary Judaism: A Symposium on Jewish Diversity [click here for PDF of flyer].

Before the symposium began, Professor Lewis Gordon, director of The Institute for the Study of Race and Social Thought, sat down with three of the presenters, Edith Bruder, Avishai Mekonen, and Shari Rothfarb Mekonen to discuss their work. Edith Bruder has written a book entitled The Black Jews of Africa: History, Religion, Identity and her symposium presentation was entitled “African Judaism: Ancient Myths and Modern Phenomena”. Avishai Mekonen and Shari Rothfarb Mekonen screened and discussed their work-in-progress documentary, 400 Miles to Freedom, a “film [which] explores racial and ethnic diversity in Judaism through the story of Avishai Mekonen, whose disappearance in Sudan as a boy launches a quest that leads him to other African, Asian and Latino Jews in Israel and in the U.S.” John L. Jackson, who also presented at the symposium (“The Bodied Politic: Ethnobiology, Anti-Religiosity and the Reckoning of Black Hebrewism”) was not present for this recording (but we hope to record an interview with him at a later date).

 (mp3, 22 MB)

iTunes U link (for downloads)

Subscribe to this podcast series


Nazi Olympics

nazi-oly.jpgYesterday I heard that the Olympic “torch relay” that’s so much in the news was initiated by the Nazis for the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Here’s a brief description from a private web site calling itself the Olympic Games Museum. Pretty disturbing, though perhaps not surprising, for the Olympic Committee and advertisers to follow on a tradition started by the Nazis. After all, it’s all about propaganda. Here are some books on the Nazi Olympics and some other books about the Olympics and politics. There’s also a film in the list that looks good (click on the URL to go to the film record in the library’s catalog). Also look here: Beware of Greeks Bearing Placards. ————————————————————————————————————– Subject Guides Classics // Islamic Studies // Jewish Studies // Philosophy // Religion ————————————————————————————————————–

Introducing Multisearch!

Temple University Libraries offer nearly 400 different research databases, everything from the highly used and well known ones such as Academic Source Premier and LexisNexis to some niche products such as Mediamark Reporter or Women Writers Online. For many students and faculty a comprehensive research process often requires more than one database, and for some of our users just choosing the right database can be challenging. It can be time consuming to run a literature search in each selected database, and each search system may use a different search interface. MultiSearch, a new way to search library databases, changes everything. MultiSearch is a collection of approximately 250 library databases, plus sources such as Google and Google Scholar. It allows library databases to be searched in any number of combinations, either those pre-determined by librarian subject specialists or those the searchers select themselves. The beauty of MultiSearch is that there is only one interface to use. You can now obtain results from multiple databases, all at once, with a single simple interface, and the search automatically deletes duplicate records. Starting a MultiSearch is easy. Either choose one or more search subject categories or design your own combination of databases:


Record results are displayed by default in a most recent to oldest order, and records from the different databases are interfiled. The results are also categorized in a number of ways: by subject content, by author, by database, and by journal. You can easily rearrange the results to meet your specific needs:

Thumbnail image for multisearch2.jpg

Please give MultiSearch a try. We think you’ll like it. But whatever your reaction is, we want to know. This is just our first version of MultiSearch – and we will use your feedback to guide our future customizations. Please share your reactions and suggestions by adding a comment to this post or use our library suggestion page. For more information see our “Introducing MultiSearch” page. And if you’ve got a better name for this thing than MultiSearch, we’d like to hear from you. (written by Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian)

More Info on the Endowed Islamic Chair Controversy

Temple’s Faculty Herald, the publication of the Faculty Senate, recently had four editorials on the missed opportunity for an endowed chair in Islamic Studies at Temple University, offered by the International Institute for Islamic Thought. Links provided below. From the President of TAUP (Arthur Hochner) From the Editor (Lewis Gordon) An Open Letter to President Hart (Gregory Urwin) Holding on to Our Principles (Maurice Wright) ————————————————————————————————————– Subject Guides Classics // Islamic Studies // Jewish Studies // Philosophy // Religion ————————————————————————————————————–

Religion Professor Laura Levitt Interviewed

On February 4, 2008 Associate Professor of Religion Laura Levitt stopped by Paley Library to talk about her new book American Jewish Loss After the Holocaust, published by New York University Press. Below is a link to the MP3 file of the interview. Her book deals with the normal everyday losses that American Jews experience and tries to situate these in the larger context of American Jewish community life and the “grand narrative” of the Holocaust which tends to overshadow so much. During the course of American Jewish Loss After the Holocaust Levitt analyzes and meditates on selected poems, photographs, and films, as well as tells personal family stories. The interview gives a nice sense of Levitt’s new work and her interests. It runs about twenty-one minutes. Have a listen. Laura Levitt on American Jewish Loss After the Holocaust (MP3)(February 4, 2008)

Use Google Scholar to Find Full-Text @ TU

Google Scholar has become a useful search tool because it allows you to search across the content of many different databases, including JSTOR, Project MUSE, Blackwell Synergy, Cambridge Journals Online, SpringerLink, HighWire Press, Journals@Ovid Full Text, Sage Journals Online, ScienceDirect, and many more. That is not to say that the entire content of these databases is available through Google Scholar (which has never released a complete list of its sources or the extent of its coverage) but at least some of it is there. Google Scholar also includes books from Google Book Search in its search results. Up till now, one of the problems with Google Scholar for Temple students, faculty, and staff has been the difficulty in retrieving the full-text of articles. You might find a juicy article in Google Scholar but after clicking on the link get a message that the article is blocked, even for many databases that you know Temple subscribes to. Well, this process has just gotten a whole lot easier. Now Temple has registered its TUlink service with Google Scholar, which means that you can link directly from Google Scholar into the library’s subscription databases. Look for Find Full-Text @ TU right after the article title and click on it. You will see the TUlink interface pop up with links for full-text if we have it online or in print, or a link to Temple’s Interlibrary Loan Form if we don’t. From within any of Temple’s campuses, links to Find Full-Text @ TUwill appear automatically. From off-campus you need to do one of two things:

  1. Just click HERE and it will automatically set your Google Scholar preferences for Find Full-Text @ TU, or
  • Go into the preferences of Google Scholar and select Temple University from LIbrary LInks.

You will find that Google Scholar is a nice addition to your research toolkit. Including it when researching a subject often brings some unusual and unexpected results. Set up your Find Full-Text @ TU preference and give it a whirl. Find Full-Text @ TU will NOT appear for books. For books, click on the link to Library Search at the bottom of the citation. This will take you to the record of the book in, where you can input a local zip code (Temple’s is 19122) to find a local library with the book. You can set your Google Scholar preferences to use Refworks as your citation manager. In Google Scholar Preferences, just select Refworks as the Bibliography Manager. –Fred Rowland