Tag Archive for books

Von Vacano ’93 Compares Four Thinkers’ Thoughts on Race

Diego Von Vacano '93

In his new work The Color of Citizenship (Oxford University Press), Diego Von Vacano ’93 suggests that the tradition of Latin American and Hispanic political thought which has long considered the place of mixed-race peoples throughout the Americas, is uniquely well-positioned to provide useful ways of thinking about the connections between race and citizenship. He argues that debates in the United States about multiracial identity, the possibility of a post-racial world in the aftermath of Barack Obama, and demographic changes owed to the age of mass migration will inevitably have to confront the intellectual tradition related to racial admixture that comes to us from Latin America.

Book by Diego Von Vacano '93

Von Vacano compares the way that race is conceived across the writings of four thinkers, and across four different eras: the Spanish friar Bartolome de Las Casas writing in the context of empire; Simon Bolivar writing during the early republican period; Venezuelan sociologist Laureano Vallenilla Lanz on the role of race in nationalism; and Mexican philosopher Jose Vasconcelos writing on the aesthetic approach to racial identity during the cosmopolitan, post-national period.

Von Vacano’s study advances an alternative concept of race as inherently mixed, unstable, fluid, and politically potent. He links approaches to race in Latin American thought to canonical Western political discourse and posits “race” as a central component of modernity and of political theory.

Von Vacano is assistant professor of political science at Texas A&M University.

Hlinko ’89 Shares His Knowledge of Effective Viral Marketing

John Hlinko '89

In Share, Retweet, Repeat (Prentiss Hall Press), John Hlinko ‘89 shows readers how to take their ideas, causes, and products, and craft marketing campaigns around them that create buzz—in a quick and cost effective way. In the world of constant communication using new technologies, the average consumers of information have become micro publishers of information as well.

Hlinko has been involved in the realm of viral marketing for most of the last 20 years, working with a range of Fortune 500 companies and helping lead MoveOn.org and DraftObama.org. In his book, he shares his expertise on how to create spreadable messages to optimize return on investment with any budget, large or small.

Hlinko suggests focusing on three key components that he calls the Viral Trifecta:

1) Crafting content that is “spread worthy”
2) Identifying and engaging the people most likely to spread it
3) Taking advantage of the technologies that will help you spread the content

Book by John Hlinko '89

In the introduction to his book, Hlinko writes:

“We’re in a time when consumers are more cynical than ever about the information they receive—especially from companies. According to a survey by Yankelovich, a research firm with a particular expertise in consumer attitudes, 76 percent of consumers don’t believe companies tell the truth in advertisements. Their friends, on the other hand, they do still trust … If you want your message to penetrate beyond the 24 percent who are still blissfully receptive in advertising, a peer-to-peer spreading component is critical.”

For more information about Hlinko’s book, go to http://shareretweetrepeat.wordpress.com/.

Cook ’64 Reveals How Leaders Can Use Ideas from Economics, Neuroscience

Gary Cook '64

What do Osama Bin Laden’s death, April’s deadly tornados in the southern US, the “Arab Spring,” and recent comments from the US Coast Guard and others about the Deepwater Disaster all have in common?

They all are examples of what leaders can learn from Consilience Leadership (Inflection Point Press), a new book by Gary Cook ’64, which demonstrates how lessons learned from Highly Reliable Organization theory, behavioral economics, neuroscience, and other disciplines are helping us understand how to better deal with terrorism and Katrina-like disasters, and better anticipate and avoid political and other disasters.

Read more about the bookBook by Gary Cook '64

Cook, a managing director of Cook & Company, focuses on strategic planning and execution, executive coaching and development of CEOs and senior leadership teams, and in creating organizational effectiveness around strategic objectives. The basis of his approach is the use of a trademarked concept called Leading at the Inflection Point™, which focuses on the key career-influencing events and behaviors in the lives of organizations, teams and individuals, and how to better manage them.

He is president of Vineyard Enterprises, LLC, a director of the Social Science Foundation at the Graduate School of International Studies (University of Denver), a director of the Education Credit Management Corporation, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Rinzler ’05 Writes About Buddhist Teachings for New Generation

Lodro Rinzler '05

In his book The Buddha Walks Into a Bar …: A Guide to Life for a New Generation (Shambhala), Lodro Rinzler ’05 shows how Buddhist teachings can have a positive impact on every little nook and cranny of your life—whether you’re interested in being a Buddhist or not. These teachings can help inspire individuals to make a difference in themselves and in the world. The book explores the four dignities of Shambhala (the tiger, lion, garuda, and dragon) and the three yanas, or vehicles, of traditional Tibetan Buddhism.

Rinzler writes in his book’s introduction that the volume is “about taking these traditional teachings that have been tried and tested over thousands of years and saying, ‘I am going to try to live my day with a little more compassion,’ or, ‘I’m going to slow down a bit and enjoy my life.’ You don’t have to change you. You are great. This book is just about how to live your life to the fullest.”

In a recent profile of Rinzler at The Daily Beast, Allison Yarrow writes:
“The tactic that’s earned him an audience outside the practicing Shambhala Buddhist community is that he applies meditation techniques to modern temptations often perfected on college campuses—drinking in bars and one-night-stands. While the benefits of meditation have crept into the scientific mainstream in recent years, Rinzler believes ancient teachings continue to be misunderstood by outsiders who see them as “hippie stuff.” Hence the slick wardrobe of bow ties and fitted jeans. He’s rebranding the practice for a new millennium, starting with himself.”

Justin Whitaker’s review of the book at American Buddhist Perspective says: “Rinzler does a good job of weaving ancient wisdom with the kinds of situations many young people will find themselves in today: from relationship break-ups to experimenting with alcohol. His use of pop culture: cartoons, comic books, rap music and the Rocky movie, help ground Buddhist practice in the real life experiences of his intended audience.”

In a recent essay “Becoming Who You Want to Be (When You Grow Up)” at the Huffington Post, Rinzler writes:

Book by Lodro Rinzler '05

“… I call upon members of my generation to look not just for a profession which might make you happy but also contemplate who you want to be as you get older. What are the core values you care about, as opposed to a profession you think might be suitable?

“If my generation, Generation O, took on this simple question we would not squander years trying to find the ‘perfect job’ or the ‘perfect position’ within a company. We would discern what is important to us and live all aspects of our life in line with that core intention. We wouldn’t all be astronauts or athletes but we would be who we want to be, and by doing that we would ultimately create that Change with a capital C.”

Rinzler is a meditation practitioner and teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage. Over the last decade he has taught numerous workshops at meditation centers and college campuses across the United States.

Rubissow Okamoto ’81 Co-Writes Guide to San Francisco Bay

Ariel Rubissow Okamoto '81

Ariel Rubissow Okamoto ’81 is co-author (with Kathleen M. Wong) of the fascinating Natural History of San Francisco Bay (University of California Press), which also explores its human history and how each affects the other. While the bay is home to healthy eelgrass beds, young Dungeness crabs and sharks, and millions of waterbirds, it also is marked by oil tankers, laced with pollutants, and crowded with 46 cities.

Guide by Ariel Rubissow Okamoto '81

The guide explores a number of subjects relating to this unique body of water—including fish, birds and other wildlife, geography and geology, the history of human changes, ocean and climate cycles, endangered and invasive species, and the path from industrialization to environmental restoration.

More than 60 scientists, activists, and resource managers share their views and describe their work—tracing mercury through the aquatic ecosystem, finding ways to convert salt ponds back to tidal wetlands, anticipating the repercussions of climate change, and more. The book is full of evocative photographs and packed with stories, quotations, and facts. It also relates how San Francisco Bay sparked an environmental movement that reaches across the country.

Photography Book of Civil Rights Movement Has Text by Dickson ’61

Book by Jim Wallace and Paul Dickson '61

Courage in the Moment: The Civil Rights Struggle, 1961–1964 (Dover Publications) is a remarkable book of photographs by Jim Wallace, accompanied by a written narrative by Paul Dickson ’61. While many mainstream Southern newspapers ignored the burgeoning civil rights movement in the early 1960s, student journalists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill bravely ventured out every day to document protest marches and other demonstrations in their town. Jim Wallace was one of these students, and he took memorable photographs primarily during the watershed year of 1963.

His pictures contain powerful scenes from a new American revolution, ranging from peaceful sit-ins and protest marches to dramatic confrontations with the authorities, to disturbing images from a Ku Klux Klan rally. Wallace was astute enough to photograph the pivotal 1963 March on Washington, and images from that memorable event are also included here.

In this moving account, Wallace recalls those dramatic days in detail and offers insightful reflections on his photographs and his memories of the people and events he captured. Many of these pictures have never been seen before. The text by Dickson and the images combine to create a vibrant document of the American civil rights movement.

Jim Wallace is a former director/curator of imaging and photographic services at the Smithsonian Institution, where he worked for three decades. His photographs have appeared in publications serviced by United Press International as well as in the Charlotte Observer and Newsweek. Paul Dickson has written more than 60 books, many of them concentrating on writing about the American language, baseball, and 20th-century American history.

Zane ’84 Co-Writes Book About Physics Law Governing Design, Evolution

J. Peder Zane '84

Peder Zane ’84 has co-written a new book Design in Nature (Doubleday) with Professor Adrian Bejan of Duke University, which describes Bejan’s groundbreaking discovery, the constructal law, a principle of physics that governs all design and evolution in nature.

The constructal law holds that all shape and structure emerges to facilitate flow. Rain drops, for example, coalesce and move together, generating rivulets, streams, and the mighty river basins of the world because this design allows them to move more easily. The question to ask is: Why does design arise at all? Why can’t the water just seep through the ground? The answer is that it flows better with design. This is the same reason we find a similar tree-like structure in the lightning bolts that flash across the sky and in the tree-like structure of our circulatory and nervous systems.

Before the constructal law, scientists knew that these similar tree-like structures arose in nature, but they did not know why. The constructal law identifies the fundamental tendency of nature to generate design to facilitate flow. It tells us the why of what we see before our eyes. The constructal law is a unifying principle because it governs inorganic phenomenon (river basins, lightning bolts) as well as the organic (biological creatures) and the man-made world of technology and ideas (we are governed by the law because we, too, are part of nature).

Design in Nature by Adiran Bejan and J. Peder Zane '84

In addition, the constructal law predicts that these designs should evolve with a particular direction in time—they configure and reconfigure themselves to enhance flow. That is, they get better. Thus, evolution is not a biological phenomenon (just applying to animals) but a law of physics (it applies to everything). Thus, the constructal law provides a new understanding for what it means to be alive. Anything that flows evolves, morphing to persist in time. When the flow stops, it is dead. This is as true for old river beds as it is for human beings.

Bejan’s discovery also provides, for the first time, a physics basis for the idea of purpose and progress in nature. The purpose is to flow more and more easily. The progress is measurable, the evolution of designs that move more mass per unit of useful energy consumed.

Zane says, “I met Adrian in 2007 after receiving a press release from Duke saying that one of its professors had discovered a law of the universe. I thought, ‘that doesn’t happen every day’ and visited him. My profile ran in the News & Observer of Raleigh. About six months later, I asked Adrian—who has published 25 scholarly books and 458 peer-reviewed papers—if he was interested in writing a book for a general audience. He was, and for the next two years we met every week to write this book.”

Zane is an assistant professor of journalism and mass communications at St. Augustine’s College.

Rappoport ’00 Studies Gift Transactions of Victorian Women

Giving Women, a book by Jill Rappoport

In Giving Women: Alliance and Exchange in Victorian Culture (Oxford University Press), Jill Rappoport ’00 explores the literary expression and cultural consequences of English women’s giving from the 1820s to the First World War. During a period when most women lacked property rights and professional opportunities, gift transactions allowed them to enter into economic negotiations of power as volatile and potentially profitable as those within the market systems that so frequently excluded or exploited them.

Rappoport shows how female authors and fictional protagonists alike mobilized networks outside of marriage and the market by considering the dynamic action and reaction of gift exchange in fiction and poetry by Charlotte Bronte, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Christina Rossetti as well as in literary annuals, Salvation Army periodicals, and political pamphlets. Through giving, women transformed the primary allegiances of their everyday lives, forged public coalitions, and advanced campaigns for abolition, slum reform, eugenics, and suffrage.

Rappoport’s study recovers the importance of gift exchange to Victorian literature and culture. It provides access to new sources through extensive archival research, including groundbreaking work on the early Salvation Army. The author shares original interpretations of frequently taught canonical works such as Jane Eyre, Cranford, Aurora Leigh, and “Goblin Market.” The volume also includes and discusses more than 25 rare images.

Rappoport is an assistant professor of English at the University of Kentucky.

Halliday ’83 Receives Inner Temple Book Prize

Paul Halliday '83

Paul Halliday ’83, a professor of history n the University of Virginia’s College of Arts and Sciences, recently received the Inner Temple Book Prize for his publication, Habeas Corpus: From England to Empire, published by Harvard University Press. He received the prize in December 2011 in London from Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, in a ceremony at the Inner Temple, one of four unincorporated associations that have existed since the 14th century to recruit and train barristers.

Presented every three years, the prize of £10,000 is awarded by the royally chartered Inner Temple and is intended to encourage scholarly study of the law in England and Wales. This is the first time it has gone to a non-resident of the British Isles.

Book by Paul Halliday '83

Halliday has taught at University of Virginia since 2000 and is an historian of law of the British government. In Habeas Corpus: From England to Empire, he provides a sweeping revisionist account of the world’s most revered legal device and changes the traditional way people understand the writ and democracy. Habeas corpus has been known as the Great Writ of Liberty but history shows us that it is actually a writ of power.

Halliday examined thousands of cases across more than five hundred years to write this history of the writ from the 15th to the 18th centuries. Beginning in the 1600s, English judges used ideas about royal power to empower themselves to protect the king’s subjects. The key was not the prisoner’s right to liberty but the possible wrongs committed by a jailer or anyone who ordered a prisoner detained. This focus on wrongs gave the writ the force necessary to protect ideas about rights as they developed outside of law. This judicial power carried the writ across the world, from Quebec to Bengal.

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Wilensky-Lanford ’99 Writes About Chasing for the Garden of Eden

Brook Wilensky-Lanford '99 - Photo by Gianmarco Leoncavallo

In her illuminating new book, Paradise Lust: Searching for the Garden of Eden (Grove Press), Brook Wilensky-Lanford ’99 traces the stories of various men who have sought over time to find the “real” Garden of Eden all over the globe, often in the most unlikely places, despite scientific advances and the advance of Darwin’s theory of evolution. This obsessive quest consumed Mesopotamian archaeologists, German Baptist ministers, British irrigation engineers, and the first president of Boston University, among many others. These relentless Eden seekers all started with the same brief Bible verses, but ended up at different spots on the planet, including Florida, the North Pole, Ohio, China, and Iraq.

 

On the web site Religion Dispatches, the author answers questions about her book and her approach to writing about each of the seeker’s quest to discover Eden on earth.

Wilensky-Lanford says: “I want you to be able to follow each seeker’s logic for as long as possible, before that veneer of philosophy breaks down into straight-up belief. … For me, each theory became a miniature creative work, convincing in the sort of literary way where you’re rooting for the narrator of a great novel. I do have a soft spot for the ‘why not?’ school of Eden rhetoric, in which a location is deemed possible because it’s no more unlikely than the alternative. One of my favorite seekers, Tse Tsan Tai, tried to prove Eden was in Mongolia by virtue of the fact that Iraq was just too ugly.”

In her review of Wilensky-Lanford’s book in The New York Times, Andrea Wulf writes: “The stories she has collected in Paradise Lust are certainly weird, and at times strangely wonderful. … Wilensky-Lanford tackles her subject with an appealing mix of serious research and tongue-in-cheek humor. Neither too academic nor too whimsical, the storytelling … is often irresistible.”

In another review, Michael Kroner in the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes: “Paradise Lust is an entertaining history of a story we all know, whether we believe it or not. It is also a thoroughly researched and engaging examination of faith’s role in our lives. This is Wilensky-Lanford’s first book, and it bodes well for her of-this-world future.”

Wilensky-Lanford majored in religion at Wesleyan and received an MFA in nonfiction from Columbia University. For more about the author, visit www.brookwilenskylanford.com.

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