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A Book Talk with Dr. Aysha Pollnitz

Grinnell College Libraries presents a book talk with Dr. Aysha Pollnitz on Friday, April 8, at 4:15 p.m. in Burling Lounge. Dr. Pollnitz, Assistant Professor of History, will discuss her book, Princely Education in Early Modern Britain, published by Cambridge University Press in May 2015. 

Princely Education in Early Modern Britain investigates one of the earliest attempts to use liberal Pollnitz book covereducation to effect political reform in Europe.  More specifically, it considers the fortunes of a humanist campaign, led by Erasmus of Rotterdam (c.1466-1536), to deter European princes from vainglorious warfare by teaching them knowledge of scripture and classical literature.  Erasmus’s prescriptions and curriculum had a particularly strong impact on the British isle, where humanist pedagogy transformed the upbringing of Tudor and Stuart princes between 1485 and 1649. The schooling of fifteenth-century princes had emphasized the sword but the education of Henry VIII and his successors prioritized the pen.  This shift in princely pedagogy played a critical and hitherto unappreciated role in reshaping the political and religious culture of early modern Britain.  Erasmus may have been intending to deter rulers from conquering additional territories but, in practice, his curriculum gave princes the skills and (inadvertently) the impetus to assert their supremacy over their subjects’ souls. Ultimately, a mode of education which was meant to prevent over-mighty monarchy in Europe actually taught kings and queens to extend their authority over church and state. 

Aysha Pollnitz arrived at Grinnell College in August 2013 following research fellowships at Trinity College, Cambridge and the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC. She has taught at the University of Cambridge, Georgetown University, and Rice University, where she served as a resident faculty associate at Baker College. Dr. Pollnitz teaches courses on medieval and early modern European history, British history, the history of political and religious thought, on the history of sex, gender, and family, on cultural encounters, on the transmission of knowledge, and on historical method and argument. She has advised undergraduate and graduate student research on topics in British, European, and intellectual history.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. If you plan to attend this event and need accommodation, please contact Burling Library as soon as possible to make your request.

Performing Locally, Thinking Globally

For many, theatrical performances are a way to explore the unfamiliar, to experience things that are different from the place and people they call home. For Leda Hoffmann ’09, however, theatre has been a tool for making a strange new place feel like home.

The daughter of a foreign service officer, Hoffmann’s life before Grinnell was spread across multiple continents. While some might see moving around between Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal, Canada, and the United States as an obstacle to getting involved in a community, Hoffman dove headfirst into local theatre to make friends in each new city.  

So why did this internationally-inclined student choose to come to the middle of Iowa? The answer is simple: To get the benefits of international ideas without the distractions of a big city.

“I had never lived anywhere that wasn’t a big city, but going to Grinnell was easy for me,” she says. “Grinnell felt cosmopolitan enough that I knew if I went, there would be people from big cities, smaller towns, and all over the world.”

A theatre and dance major, Hoffmann directed numerous student-run plays during her time at Grinnell, working closely with theatre faculty. “Grinnell professors push you to do better,” she says. “To have professors and other students push you and go, ‘That’s not good enough, push harder. Ask more questions.’ That’s the whole point of going to Grinnell for me.”

This willingness to engage and challenge each other is part of what attracted Hoffman to Grinnell in the first place. “The people I talked to at Grinnell felt really honest and connected to what was going on there,” Hoffmann says. “It felt like a really strong community and one that felt true to whatever it wanted to be.”

After graduating, Hoffmann began her theatre career as an assistant lighting designer for Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. and later as an education apprentice at Hartford Stage in Connecticut. More recently, she has worked her way from education coordinator to literary coordinator and director at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater.

“When I started as an intern at the Repertory Theater, I did a lot of teaching literacy through theatre. After two years, I had enough connections in town to become a director,” says Hoffmann. “As director of community engagement, I create and execute the programs that ignite positive change in our community. It’s a job that combines my love of theater with the social justice mindset Grinnell instilled in me.”

CANCELLED: Writers@Grinnell: Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay's visit to Grinnell on April 7, 2016 has been cancelled. 

Bestselling author and feminist scholar Roxane Gay will read from her work and discuss writing on Thursday, April 7, as part of the Writers@Grinnell series and Scholars’ Convocation at Grinnell College.

Roxane Gay ImageThe Scholars’ Convocation lecture will start at 11 a.m. in the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center, Room 101.  

In addition, Gay will lead a free, puplic roundtable discussion at 4:15 p.m. April 7, in Rosenfield Center, Room 101.

An accomplished scholar, Gay is an associate professor of English at Purdue University in Indiana. Her research interests include the intersections between race, gender, and popular culture; contemporary fiction; and the political novel.

Gay uses her personal experience with race, gender identity, and sexuality to inform her analyses and deconstruction of feminist and racial issues in her work. In addition to her more serious scholarly and creative work, she is a well-known figure on social media, with tens of thousands of Twitter followers, many of whom are drawn to her often irreverent and humorous “instant” commentaries on major news events, politics, pop culture, and reality television.

"Bad Feminist," her bestselling essay collection, is a personal manifesto that takes readers through the journey of Gay's evolution as a woman of color and describes how feminism affects Gay's own life — for better or worse. The essays cover a wide a range of topics, from competitive Scrabble to novels written by women to advice on acknowledging privilege.

Gay's writings on gender and racial inequality have won numerous awards in recent years and have appeared in Tin House, Oxford American, The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Time, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, Salon, and many other media outlets.

Gay's debut novel, Untamed State, explores the privilege that made Haitian-American Mireille Duval Jameson a target for kidnapping and the strength she must draw on to survive the kidnapping and reclaim her life. Deadline.com recently reported that the novel will be adapted for film by Beyond the Lights director Gina Prince-Bythewood. Gay is co-writing the script with Prince-Bythewood. Gugu Mbatha-Raw has been selected to portray Jameson.

Gay's latest book, Hunger, is scheduled to be released in June. Hunger focuses on Gay's experience with weight, body image, and building a positive relationship with food.

Pioneer Weekend 2.0: A Three Day Innovation Competition

Friday, April 8, 2016 - 6:00pm to Sunday, April 10, 2016 - 3:00pm

Pioneer Weekend 2.0 is the second iteration of a three day innovation competition, sponsored by the Wilson Program.
 
Student innovators from different backgrounds work together in teams of 3­-6 people and complete a prototype of an idea that they come up with at the event.
 
Pioneer Weekend encourages hands-on experiences, innovation and leadership skills, and aspiring student entrepreneurs can find out if their startup ideas might be viable.
 
See more...

Temporary Location for College Bookstore

Grinnell College recently purchased the former Gosselink's Hallmark Store at 933 Main St. to serve as the temporary location for the College Bookstore.

Although this location is walkable from campus, the College is exploring options to make it easier for students to visit this off-campus site, as well as campus delivery services for items ordered through the bookstore.

The bookstore — now housed in an addition to the east side of Carnegie Hall at 1210 Park St. — needs to move before the addition is torn down early in the construction of the new Humanities and Social Studies Complex. The complex will consist of new space constructed as an addition to the existing Alumni Recitation Hall and Carnegie Hall buildings, which will be renovated as part of the project.

This summer the bookstore will move into the former Gosselink's Hallmark Store. Although the building is in very good condition, the College plans to make several upgrades, such as constructing accessible restrooms and installing new exterior signage.

"We believe we have secured the best possible temporary location for the bookstore to move to this summer," said John Kalkbrenner, assistant vice president for auxiliary services and economic development.

Also during the summer, the College will combine its downtown Pioneer Bookshop at 823 Fourth Ave. with the bookstore in its new temporary site.

"Consolidating the operations of the College Bookstore and the Pioneer Bookshop," Kalkbrenner added, "will reduce costs because we will be operating one store rather than two at a downtown location that will be as convenient for local residents as the current Pioneer Bookshop."

Eventually, a permanent bookstore will be located in the neighborhood between downtown and campus referred to as the Zone of Confluence.

Before that can happen, however, Grinnell College will need to create an overall plan for the zone, including a new bookstore. At this time, the College is in the early stages of developing plans for the zone.

"As we move forward with developing a comprehensive plan for the Zone of Confluence," Kalkbrenner said, "one of our primary goals will be to identify a prime site for the permanent bookstore."

Check out JournalFinder

Need to know whether Grinnell College Libraries has access to your favorite journal, magazine, newspaper, or other periodical? Try out JournalFinder!

Under Find It! on the Libraries’ homepage, change the pull-down menu to Journals. Then type the first few words of the periodical title:

Under Find it select Journals and type in title of journal underneath.  Click Search

Hit enter, and you’ll see your journal’s availability. Our example, Colonial Latin American Review, is available through several subscriptions, including online and print formats. Click on the link of your choice for access to the journal:

Results of JournalFinder search "colonial latin america" show number of records retrieved (1) and links to where you can find issues.

Grinnell College Libraries subscribes to more than 57,000 periodicals. Explore JournalFinder to find out more!

Grinnellians Earn Esteemed Watson Fellowships

Lane Atmore ’16 of St. Paul, Minn., and Chase Booth ’16 of Wichita, Kan., have been awarded the prestigious Watson Fellowship for one year of independent study and travel abroad.

They are two of 40 students selected nationwide to receive the $30,000 fellowship for postgraduate study from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation.

The students’ projects will take them around the world during their Watson year.

Lane Atmore

Lane AtmoreAtmore, an anthropology and Chinese major, will travel to Guam, Micronesia, Thailand, Greenland, Russia, and Greece to examine “Boat Culture as Island Identity” in coastal communities.

She plans to attend festivals, live with local families, and work with boat builders and cultural leaders to study the relationship between boat culture and island identity. She hopes to be able to find some universal aspects of island culture, as well as see how climate change and globalization have impacted traditional island communities.

“I’m most excited about deepening my appreciation and knowledge of something that I love and also understanding how much it means to the people I will be living with,” Atmore said. “I’m going into this with no expectations and an open mind, excited to learn what the world has to teach me.”

“Lane put a great deal of thought, passion and effort into crafting her wonderfully original Watson proposal,” said Jon Andelson ’70, professor of anthropology. “I know from having supervised her summer MAP (Mentored Advanced Project) research last summer that she will bring an open mind, a discerning eye, and a boundless curiosity to her Watson project.”

An accomplished pianist, Atmore won a piano competition despite breaking her right elbow and learning a one-handed piece only three days before the contest.

Following her Watson year, Atmore plans to pursue a doctorate in anthropology and continue to do field research.

Chase Booth

Chase BoothBooth, a classics major, will journey to Australia, South Africa, Greece, and Ireland to study the different forms of support offered in response to a community’s shared emotional crisis.

His project, “Emotional Support in Communities Under Duress,” will investigate whether the support offered by government-funded agencies and nongovernmental organizations is responsive to the needs of various communities. These communities include the displaced aboriginal populations in Australia, black youth and students in South Africa, sexual assault victims-survivors in Ireland, and victims of the economic crisis in Greece.

“While traveling around the world is obviously a huge part of the Watson and something I am looking forward to, having the opportunity to pursue something I love and care about in depth will surely be the most rewarding part of my year abroad,” Booth said. “I can’t thank enough everyone who has helped me get to this point in my life.”

“I am thrilled for Chase” said Monessa Cummins, associate professor of classics and Booth’s faculty adviser. “He embraced academic and personal challenges at Grinnell and is now well poised to take on the rigors and opportunities of a Watson year abroad.”

Booth served as co-leader of Grinnell Monologues, a student group in which participants write and present essays on emotional well-being and self-perception.

After his Watson year, Booth hopes to work for a program similar to the Schuler Scholar Program, which provides support to underprivileged Chicago-area high school students going to selective universities. Then he intends to apply to law school and pursue opportunities in civil and human rights law.

The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program

The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship Program offers college graduates of unusual promise a year of independent exploration and travel outside the United States to foster effective participation in the world community.

Grinnell has been a partner with the Watson program since it was established in 1968. With the announcement of this year’s Watson Fellows, 75 Grinnell students have received this prestigious award.

Learn more about what a fellowship can mean through the journey of Wadzanai Motsi ’12, an earlier Watson winner.

Grinnell College Students Take on the Project Pengyou Leadership Summit

Xenophobia is not a new issue in our society and the Project Pengyou Leadership Summit is helping to end it. This year, the Wilson Program helped Grinnellians attend.

The nationally known leadership summit creates spaces and promotes movements to help end and fight the institutional xenophobia that has plagued our nation throughout history. It promotes collaboration, inclusion, and mutual understanding between Americans and Chinese citizens.

Why Go?

In the fall, three students approached the Wilson Program for funding to attend the summit, held at UC Berkeley in Berkeley, California.  

Sophie Wright ’17, a coach at this year’s summit, majors in English and Chinese, so she is able to find a direct correlation between her studies, the program, and Grinnell’s liberal ideologies.

Alethea Cook ’16, a Chinese and economics major and global development studies concentrator, says “I struggled to define myself and write my identity as a Taiwanese-American in Grinnell.” She grew up in a predominantly white small town and talks about how her racial and ethnic background influenced her interactions with peers. She uses her personal experiences as inspiration and hope.

Adam Dalton ’16, an economics and Chinese major, also found connection between his studies and his passions.

Lessons from the Summit

Wright says she “helped the fellows to conceptualize and to apply the material that they had learned as well as to empower them to […] be able to start their own Project Pengyou.”

She also talked about learning how to balance personal life from professional life, which is something many people continue to struggle with. This issue sparked Cooks’ interest in the program; her personal life has affected her professional life.

Cook says she learned that “there is much more to the movement than what [she] had previously thought.” She likes the idea of creating personal relationships with people in order to change the perceptions non-Asian people tend to have of Asian people. She says she was inspired to work on a “person-to-person basis.”

Dalton says he “had little training regarding effective, innovative, and sustainable leadership” before the summit. The Project Pengyou Leadership Summit, he says, facilitated his personal growth and will have lasting benefits for his ability to lead.

Cook, Dalton, and Wright had different experiences that resulted in rather similar outcomes. They all praised the program for teaching them the meaning of leadership and say they gained tools necessary to be effective leaders and innovators.

The Wilson Program encourages students to become leaders in academic and non-academic fields and to become innovators that create awareness and instill paths to a better, more accepting society.  In this case, that means making institutional changes that directly combat xenophobia and racism.

Project Pengyou 

Project Pengyou - Grinnell, Facebook Page