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Department News & Events

Professor Andrew Stauffer discusses Book Traces on CBC Radio
Saturday, September 27, 2014

Professor Andrew Stauffer spoke to CBC Radio about Book Traces, his crowd-sourced web project to find drawings, marginalia, photos and anything else in copies of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century books. The interview airs this week in Canada and is available for streaming online here. Read more about Book Traces below:

Book Traces is a crowd-sourced web project aimed at identifying unique copies of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century books on library shelves. Its focus is on customizations made by original owners in personal copies, primarily in the form of marginalia and inserts. Sponsored by NINES at the University of Virginia and led by Andrew Stauffer, Book Traces is meant to engage the question of the future of the print record in the wake of wide-scale digitization. The issue is particularly urgent for the materials from the long nineteenth century. In most cases, pre-1800 books have been moved to special collections, and post-1923 materials remain in copyright and thus on the shelves for circulation. But college and university libraries are now increasingly reconfiguring access to public-domain texts via repositories such as Google Books. As a result, we are now anticipating the withdrawal of large portions of nineteenth-century print collections in favor of digital surrogates. However, our legacy print collections in many cases came to university libraries from alumni donors and bear marks of use by their original nineteenth-century owners.  These books thus constitute a massive, distributed archive of the history of reading, hidden in plain sight in the circulating collections. Marginalia, inscriptions, photos, original manuscripts, letters, drawings, and many other unique pieces of historical data can be found in individual copies, many of them associated with the history of the institution that collected the books in the first place. These unique attributes cannot be located by any electronic catalog. Each book has to be open and examined. Book Traces aims to be a point of reference in developing a national triage system for preserving the future of the nineteenth-century book.

Once-a-decade Furious Flower conference dedicated to Rita Dove
Friday, September 26, 2014

The Furious Flower Poetry Center’s once-a-decade conference is dedicated this decade to Professor Rita Dove. This gathering of poets and scholars, held at James Madison University, features readings by many of the best established and emerging African American poets writing today—and all of these readings are free and open to the public. The conference began September 24 and continues through Saturday, September 28, with readings, open mics, lectures, and concerts.

More information about the conference and the full schedule of events can be found here: http://www.jmu.edu/events/furiousflower/2014/09/24-furious-flower-poetry....

On October 1, Professor Dove will be recording an NPR show about the conference at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

Professor Gregory Orr reflects on fatal gun accident
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Professor Gregory Orr reflects in The New York Times on the recent incident in which a nine-year-old girl shot and killed her instructor at an Arizona gun range. Professor Orr, author of 12 books of poetry and a memoir titled The Blessing, accidentally killed his younger brother in a hunting accident when he was 12 years old. Professor Orr meditates poignantly on the position of children who suddenly find themselves living out the consequences of a fatal accident and trying to comprehend their part in it.

Read the Times piece here.

Professor Orr also talked to Jeffrey Brown on the PBS NewsHour about the incident; you can watch the video and read a transcript of the interview here.

Shakespeare and Politics website launched, featuring Professor Paul Cantor
Sunday, September 7, 2014

Professor Paul Cantor explains what Shakespeare can teach us about politics on a new website in the Great Thinkers series. The centerpiece of this website is a set of 25 lectures given by Cantor on Shakespeare and politics, covering eight of Shakespeare's plays. Check out the website, facebook page, and twitter feed!

Emeritus Professor E. D. Hirsch in Politico
Sunday, September 7, 2014

UVa Emeritus Professor of English E. D. Hirsh, writes Politico, can be credited with the foundation of the Common Core teaching standards, currently adopted in 43 out of 50 American states. Developed in 2009 by the National Governors Association to better prepare students for the demands of college and the workplace, the Common Core spells out learning goals for grades K-12. According to David Coleman, who is often called the “architect” of the Common Core, Hirsch’s research showing the fundamental connection between knowledge and literacy “is absolutely foundational.”

Read the Politico article here.