1876 & 1976 Centennial Celebrations: The Interview

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On March 28, 2012, Paley Library welcomed Professor Susanna Gold, Assistant Professor of 19th and 20th century Art History at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, and Malgorzata Rymsza-Pawlowska, graduate student at Brown University, to discuss the 1876 Centennial and the 1976 Bicentennial celebrations. The program was moderated by Paley Library Director of Communications Nicole Restaino.

Susanna Gold is currently at work on a book on the 1876 Centennial Exhibition for Penn State University Press. Since our interview, Malgorzata Rymsza-Pawlowska completed her dissertation — “Bicentennial Memory: Postmodernity, Media, and Historical Subjectivity in the United States, 1966-1980” — and was awarded her PhD from Brown University. (Congratulations, Malgorzata!)

After the completion of the program, Susanna Gold, Malgorzata Rymsza-Pawlowska, and Nicole Restaino sat down with me to discuss Philadelphia’s Centennial and Bicentennial celebrations.

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—Fred Rowland

Nocturnal Rome

Hans Mueller is the William D. Williams Professor of Classics at Union College in Schenectady, New York. Professor Mueller is the author of Roman Religion in Valerius Maximus.

On March 23, 2012, he came to Temple University to discuss his preliminary research on nocturnal Rome. What happened at night in the Roman world? What beliefs did people hold of the night? Before he spoke in the Classics Department, he was kind enough to stop by my office for an interview.

—Fred Rowland

Talk Radio Host Rob Redding

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Rob Redding is the talk show host of the Redding News Review, a syndicated radio program heard Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on the Genesis Communications Network (GCN). On Sundays his program airs between 7 and 10 p.m. on GCN, SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 128, and other affiliate radio stations. He also maintains the Redding News Review news web site. He has appeared on Fox News, NPR, and CSpan.

On February 1, he visited Temple University to discuss the presidential elections and his new book Where’s the Change?: Why Neither Obama, nor the GOP Can Solve America’s Problems. Before he spoke in Anderson Hall, he stopped by Paley Library for an interview.

—Fred Rowland


Out of Left Field: The Interview

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Professor Rebecca Alpert has had a longstanding interest in baseball since she began following the Brooklyn Dodgers in her youth. As a professor of religion, she has written on topics of modern Judaism and Jewish studies, and on the role of gender and sexuality in religion. When she learned of prominent Jewish booking agents in the Negro Leagues of the 1930s and 1940s, she was able to combine her interests in Jewish studies and baseball. The result is her new book Out of Left Field: Jews and Black Baseball, published in 2011 by Oxford University Press. On February 15, I had the privilege of interviewing Professor Alpert on her new book.

—Fred Rowland


Jeffrey Kahn on Chimpanzees in Research

On Tuesday, February 28, Professor Jeffrey Kahn of Johns Hopkins University gave a talk in Gladfelter Hall entitled “Chimpanzees in Research: Ethics, Necessity & Why It Matters”. The context for his talk was a recently released report by an ad hoc committee which he chaired, entitled Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research: Assessing the Necessity, available for free on the National Academies Press web site. The committee was formed by the Institute of Medicine at the request of the National Institutes of Health and a congressional inquiry, with the charge of determining the necessity of using chimpanzees in NIH-funded research and making recommendations for future use. The report’s recommendations were immediately accepted by the NIH (see press release).

Before his talk, he graciously agreed to stop by Paley Library for an interview.


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—Fred Rowland

Architects of Piety: The Interview

In 2011 Temple University religion professor Vasiliki Limberis published Architects of Piety: The Cappadocian Fathers and the Cult of the Martyrs (Oxford University Press). In this new work, she provides a novel interpretation of the lives and works of Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus. Though they are mainly known as the principle architects of the Christian Trinitarian doctrine, Professor Limbers shows that the “cult of the martyrs” was central to the theology, worship, practice, and organization of Christianity in fourth century Cappadocia. The Architects of Piety opens up an exciting new line of research into the world of early Christianity. On January 18, Professor Limberis stopped by my office to discuss her new book.

Passing: What is it?

Robin Washington.           Lewis Gordon

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On November 14, 2011, The Center for Afro-Jewish Studies held its 6th Annual Symposium on “Passing”: Religion, Politics & Peoplehood, a topic inspired by the 50th anniversary of the publication of John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me and Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth.

“Both Griffin and Fanon, though primarily concerned with racism and colonialism, were in dialogue with Jewish history and experience. “Passing”: Religion, Politics & Peoplehood will explore both the impact of their works at their time of publication and the after-effects of the texts’ publication in Jewish and African-American communities in America and Israel.” —from Pre-symposium press release

Press Release      Symposium Program

Before the symposium began, I spoke with two of the day’s participants, Robin Washington, editor of the Duluth News Tribune, and Lewis Gordon, Temple professor of religion and philosophy and director of the Center for Afro-Judaic Studies.

—Fred Rowland

Frederick Ahl on Wordplay in the Aeneid

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On September 30, Professor Frederick Ahl of the Cornell University Classics Department spoke at Temple University about “Wordplay in the Aeneid”. The Zeta Beta Chapter of Eta Sigma Phi invited him to campus for its second annual lecture. Zeta Beta is a group on campus that promotes the teaching, study, and appreciation of Latin, Greek, and the ancient world.

On Saturday morning, Oct. 1, I interviewed Professor Ahl. We discussed wordplay in the Aeneid, the unease with which modern scholars encounter and interpret wordplay, and his love of the plays of Gilbert & Sullivan, on whom he is currently writing a book. Anyone who is interested in wordplay, or in the cultural and intellectual life of the ancient world, will find this interview very interesting.

Sustaining Scholarly Publishing

In September, I sat down with the director of the Temple University Press Alex Holzman to speak about an AAUP report entitled “Sustaining Scholarly Publishing”, which he helped to organize during his tenure as president of the American Association of University Presses (AAUP). The 2011 report tries to make sense of recent changes in scholarly publishing. Though increasingly fractured by the proliferation of business models, the current publishing environment also provides excellent opportunities for future scholarship.

[The report is available from two different sources.]

The interview with Alex Holzman provides an excellent overview of the Temple University Press as well as the contemporary business, economic and academic environment in which university presses operate. Although we use the report as a touchstone for our conversation, there a lot of details included in the report that we do not cover. I strongly recommend taking the time to read the comprehensive and clearly written report.

Listen to the audio of Part I

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Listen to the audio of Part II

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—Fred Rowland

2010-2011 Library Prize Interviews

The three winners of the 2010-2011 Temple University Library Prize for Undergraduate Research were interviewed along with their faculty sponsors at the time of the awards ceremony. The interviews are now available, below.

On the Library Prize Web site, you can find links to their research essays and research papers.

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Melissa Garretson, “The Dancing Intelligence of the Age: Women of the Institute of Colored Youth, 1852-1903,” for History 4296 with professor Bettye Collier-Thomas

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Karl McCool, “A Pornographic Avant-Garde: Boys in the Sand, LA Plays Itself, and the Construction of a Gay Masculinity,” for LGBT Studies 3400 with professor Whitney Strub

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Cara Rankin, “Cracking Consensus: The Dominican Intervention, Public Opinion and Advocacy Organizations in the 1960s,” for History 4997 with professor Petra Goedde