Spring 2018

Mixed Media

Our Books and Creative Milestones

BOOKS

Field

Photo: Alonso Nichols

Growing Up with the Country: Family, Race, and Nation after the Civil War Yale University Press
KENDRA TAIRA FIELD, professor of history and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Tufts, examines history through the story of her own black, white, and native Creek ancestors during and after the westward migration in the decades post-emancipation. In particular, she tracks her great-great-grandfather Thomas Jefferson Brown, who founded the Brownsville settlement in what today is Oklahoma; Monroe Coleman, another great-great-grandfather; and Coleman’s first cousin, Alexander Davis, who joined Chief Alfred Sam’s ill-fated “back to Africa” movement after Jim Crow descended on the American Southwest. This captivating, fact-packed book often reads like fiction and touches on little-known episodes in the nation’s history such as Native American slaveholdings to explore the intersection of race and power and, as Field writes, “highlight the centrality of migration and geopolitics in African-American history.”

 

Ruth mimics Figan

Photo: Reproduced by permission of Geza Teleki

The Ghosts of Gombe: A True Story of Love and Death in an African Wilderness University of California Press
In 1989, DALE PETERSON, a lecturer in Tufts’ English department, consulted Jane Goodall for a book he was writing about chimpanzees. Through that experience he learned the story of Ruth Davis, a twenty-five-year-old American volunteer at Goodall’s research camp in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park who walked into the forest one summer day in 1969 to follow a chimp and never returned. Six days later her body was found at the base of waterfall miles away. The Ghosts of Gombe, due out next month, is a literary forensic tale that unravels the mystery of what happened to Davis. It also unpacks the lifelong effect the tragedy had on those closest to her and reveals, for the first time, everyday life in Goodall’s camp. From the creepy vision of Davis that came to her former boyfriend nearly four decades after her demise and set Peterson on his quest to find the truth to the final scenes, where some measure of harmony is restored, this unusual true whodunit is spellbinding.

 

Diversifying Diplomacy: My Journey from Roxbury to Dakar Potomac Books
Even today, the majority of government employees are white men. Imagine how rare it was in 1971 to be a black woman employed by the US State Department. But that’s when HARRIET LEE ELAM-THOMAS, F80, started climbing the ranks of the US Foreign Service. In Diversifying Diplomacy, she and coauthor Jim Robison detail her path from a triple-decker in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood to Washington, D.C., Paris, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, and beyond.

 

Migrating Fictions: Gender, Race, and Citizenship in US Internal Displacements Ohio State University Press
In this scholarly examination of forced migrations within North America—the African-American diaspora following the Civil War, the movement necessitated by the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, the constant shifting of Mexican-American migrant labor, and the exodus of Gulf Coast residents after Hurricane Katrina—ABIGAIL G.H. MANZELLA, AG10, looks at the social and literary implications of internal displacement.

 

How the French Saved America: Soldiers, Sailors, Diplomats, Louis XVI, and the Success of a Revolution St. Martin’s Press
The story of America’s early relationship with France is somewhat overshadowed by that spot of bother the fledgling nation had with England, and the “distaste for all things Gallic” that TOM SHACHTMAN, A63, notes on the first page of How the French Saved America has carried through to modern times. But as the author points out in this meticulously researched work, France was crucial to the fortunes of the colonies. Without the assistance of our amis across the sea, we might still be singing “God Save the Queen” instead of “My Country ’Tis of Thee.”

 

The Body in the Casket William Morrow
Corpses always seem to turn up around caterer and small-town amateur sleuth Faith Fairchild. The latest in a series of two dozen breezy mysteries by KATHERINE HALL PAGE, AG74, The Body in the Casket finds Fairchild at the palatial estate of Broadway producer Max Dane, who has received what appears to be a death threat in advance of his upcoming seventieth birthday bash, which—surprise!—Faith is catering. When this book keeps you up all night reading, the included recipes from Faith will provide midnight-snack inspiration.

 

From High School to College: Steps to Success for Students with Disabilities Council for Exceptional Children
The transition to more independent living can be a daunting time for differently abled students and their families, but ELIZABETH C. HAMBLET, J90, AG91, lays it all out in this guidebook augmented with plenty of charts, tables, and sidebars. Originally published in 2001, the second edition includes updated research and new interviews with students, parents, and experts in the field.

 

American Panda

American Panda Simon Pulse
Something of a roman à clef by GLORIA CHAO, D12, the young adult novel American Panda explores universal themes like self-expression, finding and being true to yourself amid family pressures, and the definition of success through the story of Mei Lu, an MIT freshman whose parents are determined that she become a doctor and marry within her Taiwanese culture. At once funny and touching, Panda doesn’t sugarcoat Mei’s story but gives readers hope that all will be well when a shocking event helps Mei and her mother lower their defenses and start really communicating for the first time.

 

Railroad Courage

Railroad of Courage Ronsdale Press
When Rebecca, a twelve-year-old South Carolina slave, learns her father is to be sold, she convinces her family to escape on the Underground Railroad. DAN RUBENSTEIN, A68, and his wife and coauthor, Nancy Dyson, weave history through exciting adventures—traveling on a steamboat and getting to know Harriet Tubman and other abolitionists and suffragettes—so seamlessly that young readers won’t even realize they’re learning.

 

All the Lies We Live Publerati
This novel is the final installment in the tragicomic Normal Family Trilogy by CALEB MASON, A78 (writing under the pseudonym Don Trowden). It starts with Henry Pendergast, whom we met as a boy in the 1960s at the beginning of the series, celebrating his eightieth birthday on a remote Maine island with a hurricane bearing down and family issues still at the fore. Will he ever find contentment?

 

The Seven Sorrows

The Seven Sorrows Divertir Publishing
“The man who had less than one hour to live raised himself up on an elbow, craned his neck, and peered out of his filthy window.” So begins The Seven Sorrows, a debut thriller from GREGG KUEHN, A69, in which thirty-three-year-old marine biologist KC Jameson finds himself embroiled in international intrigue after his boss, an exotic-weapons collector, orders him to uncover a trove of nuclear weapons in the West Indies with little more than a single, cryptic clue to go on. The fast-paced tale heats up as Jameson and his wary assistant, Nikki Colt, race against Russian mercenaries, the US military, and, of course, time.

 

Intimacy with the Wind Finishing Line Press
During summers, CARLA SCHWARTZ, E80, and her partner live off the grid and on the fly in a 128-square-foot houseboat on Lake Winnipesaukee. That unusual lifestyle informs many of the sixty-six poems in this collection. Schwartz’s free verse turns mundane acts—such as growing asparagus shoots and heating frozen rolls in the toaster oven—into nuanced meditations on nature, the environment, life, love, and death.

 

Poetry Made Visible: Boston Sites for Poetry Lovers, Art Lovers & Lovers CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Don’t expect mushy sonnets or passionate free verse here; Poetry Made Visible is a guide to Boston’s poetic spots penned by KEN BRESLER, A79. The stops around one of America’s most literary cities include the expected (the Phillis Wheatley statue, the Kahlil Gibran Memorial) and the surprising (subway stations from Ruggles to Davis Square). It’ll open your eyes to oft-overlooked details of grace and beauty in some of the grittiest corners of the city.

 

Hiddensee

Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker William Morrow
The latest from Wicked author GREGORY MAGUIRE, AG90, follows the escapades of toymaker Drosselmeier from his childhood in Bavaria’s Black Forest to his carving of the enchanted Nutcracker of Christmas-ballet fame. Maguire blends spare prose with a touch of Old World magic to speed readers through the dark fantasy that gave birth to Petipa and Tchaikovsky’s classic.

 

FILM

Supergirl
The eighty-minute documentary Supergirl by JESSIE AURITT, A06, landed on PBS this past winter after a yearlong film-festival run. It follows tween power lifter Naomi Kutin—who weighs less than a hundred pounds but can deadlift 265—as she navigates the challenges of being the strongest girl in the world, struggling with health issues and her changing body. It’s riveting to watch this shy Orthodox Jewish girl from New Jersey as she psyches herself up to compete—and, ultimately, to grow up.

 

Acts and Intermissions: Emma Goldman in America
This experimental documentary by media professor emeritus ABIGAIL CHILD is about early twentieth-century political agitator and feminist Emma Goldman. Through music, reenactment, voiceover, and Emma’s own words layered over kaleidoscopic archival and contemporary footage, Child examines what she terms the “recurring American melodrama” between the ruling classes and the powerless.

 

MUSIC

Too Much Island
ROB “REZ” RESNICK, A11, and CAL SHAPIRO, A11, have been making music together since 2007, when they met at a Tufts party. Upon hearing Shapiro’s freestyle rapping skills, Resnick remarked, “We’re going to get famous, bro.” Fast forward a decade and videos of the group’s poppy electro–hip hop have garnered nearly 250 million views online. Their latest EP, Too Much, is a five-song rumination on love and loss that underscores the pair’s musical chops—boy-band good looks aside, Shapiro is a serious wordsmith and Resnick a master of catchy hooks. What’s that they say about good things? Oh yeah: You can never have too much.

 

ART EXHIBITS

Butch Heros

Butch Heroes
For her Butch Heroes series, Tufts painting lecturer RIA BRODELL, SMFA06, uses the format of Catholic prayer cards to depict, in gouache, LGBTQ figures who transgressed traditional gender lines and often suffered for it. The historical Heroes—including Catalina de Erauso, who was born a girl in 1592 but eventually embarked on a life at sea as a man, and a polyamorous trio driven to attempt “love suicide” by their inability to live as they wished in early twentieth-century Japan—are finally getting their due. They were included in several 2017 exhibits across the country, among them a springtime solo show at Gallery Kayafas in Boston’s South End, and a book of the works will be released by MIT Press this fall.