News and Events

Book Beat: February 2001

Recent publications from CLAS faculty.

Bookbeat: April 1999

How the News Makes Us Dumb: The Death of Wisdom in an Information Society  How the News Makes Us Dumb: The Death of Wisdom in an Information Society

C. John Sommerville, Department of History
(InterVarsity Press, 1999)
Available through Amazon

This eye-opening book is for everyone dissatisfied with the state of the news media, but especially for those who think the news actually does inform them about the real world. Sommerville argues that news began to make us dumber when we insisted on having it daily, that lost in the tidal wave of information is the ability to discern truly significant news.

- Publisher


Despite the creativity that goes into news reporting, the media put out a product that is dead on arrival. Try this simple test. Got to your public library or attic or someplace that keeps old newspapers, and find one from several years back...Does it strike you as a masterpiece? Would a tape of local news, say twenty years old, compare with some popular song from that time? Or will it seem quaint, naive, embarrassing? The embarrassment comes from being reminded that you were once agog about something that turned out to be so trivial.

An Invisible Minority: Brazilians in New York City

An Invisible Minority: Brazilians in New York City

Maxine L. Margolis, Department of Anthropology
(Allyn and Bacon, 1999)
Available through Amazon

Throughout this book I will describe features of Brazilian society that help decipher the culture clashes and stresses and strains that particularly mark the Brazilian encounter with immigrant status. Here I have drawn on my own familiarity with Brazilian culture and my extensive experience doing field work in Brazil and among Brazilian immigrants in Paraguay.

- Publisher


The police officers on duty at the celebration of Brazil's World Cup victory are not the only New Yorkers unaware of this new immigrant stream. Theirs is a 'secret, silent migration,' as one Brazilian put it, since almost no one outside their own community knows about it. Brazilians are truly an invisible minority because of Americans' confusion about who they are and what language they speak. Moreover, Little Brazil Street notwithstanding, Brazilian invisibility also results from the lack of a tangible community in the city, a locale tinged with its own distinct ethnicity like Chinatown or Little Italy.

A Guide to Bonaventura's NightwatchesA Guide to Bonaventura's Nightwatches

Linde Katritzky, Department of German & Slavic Languages and Literatures)
(Peter Lang, 1999)
Available through Amazon

Literary criticism and a reference guide to Bonaventura's extratextual sources are combined in this interpretation as a menippea—the satiric subgenre dealing with the discrepancy between ideals and realities in the encyclopedic pursuit of ultimate truth. By appropriating the achievements of literature, art, science, and philosophy, the work points to an author of unusual scholarship and vision.

- Publisher


In the spirit of the menippea, Burton treats folly and all mental aberrations as diseases of the mind, and melancholy as their first, and still treatable stage. He discovers evidence everywhere to prove their epidemic spread among all ages and creeds, beginning with the classics and the Bible. By piling precedent upon precedent, he demonstrates that humankind never learns from the tragedies occasioned by irrational and self-destructive passions, and the sheer volume of his evidence turns suffering and pathos into the absurd.

The Limits of Empire: The United States and Southeast Asia Since World War IIThe Limits of Empire: The United States and Southeast Asia Since World War II

Robert J. McMahon , Department of History
(Columbia University Press, 1999)
Available through Amazon

McMahon's analysis goes further than any previous study of U.S. policy in Southeast Asia by following it through to the present, investigating how the shattering experience of Vietnam led to a radical alteration in U.S. assessments of the region's importance. By conceptualizing U.S. strategies as empire-building rather than just containment, this book offers an insightful new way to understand America's failures in post-World War II Southeast Asia.

- Publisher


Closely interrelated strategic and economic considerations proved paramount in the American embrace of Empire in Southeast Asia. Between 1949 and 1950, the Truman administration fundamentally redefined the significance of Southeast Asia to broader American foreign policy goals, elevating the region to a position of hitherto unheard-of primacy.... Top American strategists identified Southeast Asia as an especially vulnerable area, and hence an area where a major commitment of US resources and prestige was warranted.

Language Disorders Across the Lifespan: An IntroductionLanguage Disorders Across the Lifespan: An Introduction

Betsy Partin Vinson, Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders
(Singular Publishing Group, 1999)
Available through Amazon

This powerful introductory textbook provides students with a solid, basic understanding of language disorders in children and adults. A wide variety of pediatric and adult communication differences, delay, and disorders are presented from a causal perspective, as well as various assessment and treatment techniques.

- Publisher


Early semantic rules appear to be universal. Regardless of the native language, children learn that basic rules exist governing meaning and relationships between meaning units, and other rules exist that dictate the relationship of language form to objects and events, and with word and word combinations.... Clinically, children who have semantic deficits are slow in acquiring their first words and in subsequent vocabulary development. These children have difficulty in acquiring temporal and spatial relationships.

Systematics of Western North American ButterfliesSystematics of Western North American Butterflies

edited by Thomas C. Emmel, Department of Zoology
(Mariposa Press, 1999)

Systematics of Western North American Butterflies brings together some 73 papers authored by 22 lepidopterist specialists who have spent hundreds of man-years studying the butterflies of western North America. These chapters in many cases represent the accumulated results of 20-30 years or more of unpublished study of specific single genera and species complexes.

- Publisher


The family Lycaenidae reaches remarkable diversity in the state of California, with some 76 species now recorded and a tremendous amount of subspeciation in virtually all groups. The rugged topography, vast geographic distances, and almost endless ecological diversity of the state provide a fertile background for the occurrence of geographic divergence in these small butterflies that rarely disperse extensively from their home colony areas.

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