The Magazine lists a selection of general-interest books, films, and albums by alumni. For additional alumni releases, browse the Magazine’s Goodreads bookshelf.
Red Nails, Black Skates: Gender, Cash, and Pleasure On and Off the Ice
Erica Rand, AM’81, PhD’89
Learning to figure skate in her 40s, Erica Rand—a professor of art and visual culture and of women and gender studies at Bates College—found that the sport, which offered her a lot of pleasure, could also be exclusionary. Self-identifying as a queer femme, Rand had mixed feelings about participating in a sport that made such strong statements about gender, down to the proper skate colors: black for men, white for women. The series of essays tell Rand’s stories of competing in the Gay Games and at the annual US Adult National Figure Skating Championship, mixed with critiques of the sport’s fixed gender, race, and class roles.
Wanted: Elevator Man
Joseph G. Peterson, AB’88
In Joseph G. Peterson’s novel, Eliot Barnes Jr. lives in the shadow of his father, who may have helped develop the atomic bomb. The 29-year-old Barnes, armed with a literature degree but no job, dreams of a high-paying office position but instead becomes an elevator man in a downtown Chicago skyscraper.
Serial Innovators: How Individuals Create and Deliver Breakthrough Innovations in Mature Firms
Bruce A. Vojak, MBA’90
Focusing on innovators in the middle levels of large firms, the authors look at people such as Carol Bernick who, as a marketing executive at the Alberto Culver Company, created Molly McButter fat-free butter flavoring and Mrs. Dash salt-free seasoning—now a significant portion of the company’s revenue stream. By examining the practices and behaviors of these individuals, the authors, including associate dean for administration in the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign College of Engineering Bruce A. Vojak, explain how they used their interpersonal, organizational, and political skills to bring their ideas to life.
Words on the Street: Language and the American Dream on Wall Street
Leo Haviland, AB’76
“Wall Street words want action,” writes Leo Haviland. A trader for three decades, Haviland explores the rhetoric of Wall Street evangelists, who draw metaphors from games, love, war, religion, politics, and science. “You’re just rolling the dice and gambling!” “The market is acting irrationally.” The language is used to persuade both Wall Street insiders and outsiders to continue to participate in the stock/interest rate/currency/commodity marketplace game.
Not Quite White: Arabs, Slavs, and the Contours of Whiteness
Jamil Khoury, AM’92
At any given time in American history, different ethnic groups—Greek, Irish, Jewish—have been assigned a conditional white status, which has shifted according to social, political, and economic conditions. This 24-minute documentary explores the American notion of whiteness, specifically in relation to Arab and Slavic immigrants. Inspired by Jamil Khoury’s short play WASP: White Arab Slovak Pole, the film incorporates scenes from the play, as performed by Khoury’s Silk Road Theatre Project (now Silk Road Rising), alongside interviews with Arab American and Polish American academics commenting on the notion of “probationary” whiteness.
World Scouting: Educating for Global Citizenship
Eduard Vallory, AM’04
The largest youth movement in the world, Scouting—which includes the Boy and Girl Scouts in the United States—has attracted 30 million people in more than 165 countries. This overview of the organization’s history uses new data to explore its evolution, operating system, and values, which include peace, tolerance, and solidarity, as well as how it shapes children into global citizens. Eduard Vallory, the director of the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, also draws on his experience in the Scouts, which he joined at age 8. He later became vice chair and international commissioner of the Catalan Federation of Scouting and Guiding.
We Are Here: Memories of the Lithuanian Holocaust
Ellen Cassedy, X’72
In 2004 journalist Ellen Cassedy decided to learn Yiddish in an intensive program in Lithuania, to get in touch with her heritage. When she told her plan to her 89-year-old uncle, who had been confined in a Lithuanian ghetto during the Holocaust and then transported to Dachau, he took out a piece of paper from his pocket with a story he’d kept secret from his family. The story led Cassedy to change course. When she got to Lithuania, she researched beyond her own heritage and learned how Jews and non-Jews in the country are engaging with and confronting their Nazi and Soviet past.