Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

It’s the end of the semester. We’re all tired and stressed out and just about done with learning. So let’s take a break from all that with a bit of comedy.

Consider this text to help you get through the next few days.

Women’s Comedic Art as Social Revolution: Five performers and the lessons of their subversive humor

Though comic women have existed since the days of Baubo, the mythic figure of sexual humor, they have been neglected by scholars and critics. This pioneering volume tells the stories of five women who have created revolutionary forms of comic performance and discourse that defy prejudice. The artists include 16th-century performer Isabella Andreini, 17th-century improviser Caterina Biancolelli, 20th-century Italian playwright Franca Rame, and contemporary performance artists Deb Margolin and Kimberly Dark. All create humor that subverts patriarchal attitudes, conventional gender roles, and stereotypical images. The book ends with a practical guide for performers and teachers of theater.

New Libraries Join I-Share

Four new libraries have just joined the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) I-Share program! The new libraries are the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield; the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, Chicago; the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago; and the McHenry County College Library, Crystal Lake. Says CARLI’s Senior Project Management Coordinator, “With the addition of these libraries’ collections, the I-Share union catalog now contains 14.7 million unique bibliographic records representing the holdings of 90 CARLI member institutions. The combination of this enormous consortial collection with I-Share’s resource sharing services gives I-Share library patrons ready access to a collection that ranks among the world’s greatest research libraries.”

Photo courtesy of Randy von Liski.

To create an I-Share account and start borrowing books and other items from this wealth of libraries, click here. The full list of member libraries is located here.

Free MIT Press ebooks

Want to help MIT Press better understand how people read books? Interested in getting your hands on some pre-publication MIT Press books? Want to be entered to win some of those books once they’re published? Then this opportunity might be for you:

We at The MIT Press actively welcome feedback about our content. To this end, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve recently partnered with Jellybooks of London to test our books pre-publication, offering readers a unique opportunity to share their thoughts with us and be heard.

Jellybooks was founded by two MIT alumni, and specializes in reader analytics. Jellybooks modifies ebooks so that a participant’s reading data can be recorded at the click of a button. This data is used to help publishers better understand how readers interact with their books, enabling them to publish better books in the future.

As a part of this initiative, we are making reading samples (50 to 150 pages in length) of not yet published MIT Press books available to participants as free downloadable ebooks. All participants will also be eligible to win one of several copies of the final published books that we will be raffling off.

Participants will aid The MIT Press in its mission to publish compelling, groundbreaking content, and will also receive exclusive early access to not yet published MIT Press titles.

Ready to receive your free MIT Press ebooks and let us know what you think? Click below to choose two books from a list of eight that we are testing.

You can choose from the selection of eight non-fiction books direct from Jellybooks here.

National Library Week: Ames Edition

University librarian Karen Schmidt explains the #AmesAdvantage in this recent article from The Pantagraph!

“Pointing to an area outside of her first floor office in Ames Library, IWU librarian Karen Schmidt said, “When I came here 11 years ago, shelves were filled, end to end, with unbound periodicals.” Now, she noted, only a small area is devoted to printed periodicals.

But despite how libraries have changed, Schmidt said, “At the end of the day, it’s still about critical thinking, finding good resources and helping students become part of the scholarly conversation.”

One thing that’s been lost to some degree with the increasing use of digital rather than printed materials is what’s sometimes called “serendipitous discovery” — material randomly stumbled across while searching through stacks of books or an old-fashioned card catalog.

For example, Schmidt said, when a student picked up a printed journal for a particular article, they might find related, helpful material in the same journal. In the digital age, they just get the article requested.”

What’s your favorite aspect of The Ames Library?

Photo by Crystal Boyce.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

Every year, hundreds of new words and phrases that come from internet slang are added to the dictionary.

Some of them are abbreviations, like FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and YOLO (You Only Live Once). Others are words that have been stretched into more parts of speech than originally intended — like when “trend” became a verb (“It’s trending worldwide”). Others still have emerged as we adapt our language to new technologies; think “crowdfunding,” “selfie,” “cyberbullying.”

You might notice how many of these “new” words are actually just appropriated, meaning they are pre-existing words that are combined or given entirely new meanings. For example, “social network” became a word in the Oxford English Dictionary back in 1973, referring to the physical activity of networking in a social atmosphere. In the 1990s, people began using the term to refer to virtual engagement, and that became an official definition in 1998.

For Theme Thursday this week we think about the evolution of language.

Slang and Sociability: In-Group Language among College Students by Connie Eble

Juba to jive: A dictionary of African-American slang, edited and with an introduction by Clarence Major

Slang from Shakespeare: Together with literary expressions, compiled by Anderson M. Baten

Dictionary of Afro-American slang by Clarence Major

Green’s dictionary of slang, by Jonathon Green

The Oxford dictionary of modern slang, by John Ayto and John Simpson

The seeds of speech: Language origin and evolution, by Jean Aitchison

Eve spoke: Human language and human evolution, by Philip Lieberman

The domestication of language: Cultural evolution and the uniqueness of the human animal, by Daniel Cloud

Tools, language, and cognition in human evolution, edited by Kathleen R. Gibson and Tim Ingold

Distance education and languages: Evolution and change, edited by B”orje Holmberg, Monica Shelley and Cynthia White

The ape that spoke: Language and the evolution of the human mind, by John McCrone

Interested in more? Watch this series, available through Kanopy. Speaking in Tongues: The History of Language is a 5 part series. Currently there are more than 6,000 languages spoken around the world. This five-part series traces the history and evolution of language and attendant theories and controversies while evaluating the scope of linguistic diversity, the dissemination of language, the expansion of language into written form, and the life cycle of language. Prominent figures in the field of linguistics–Noam Chomsky, John McWhorter, and Peter Ladefoged, to name only three–are featured.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

Watt’s steam engine, developed in 1781, set the stage for the first industrial revolution. But it wasn’t until a century later that the widespread adoption of electricity and the internal combustion engine brought about the second industrial revolution.

The information age didn’t really get going until the 1970’s and that’s led to what to what many are now calling the new industrial revolution, which incorporates computer aided design and advanced fabrication techniques like 3D printing. However, the next revolution, in energy, is already underway.

This Theme Thursday, Ames presents resources to help familiarize you with the energy revolution.

China’s new energy revolution: How the world super power is fostering economic development and sustainable growth through thin film solar technology, by Li Hejun; foreword by Ai Feng

The clean tech revolution: The next big growth and investment opportunity, Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder

Crossing the energy divide: Moving from fossil fuel dependence to a clean-energy future, Robert U. Ayres, Edward H. Ayres

Sustainability: A reader for writers, by Carl G. Herndl, University of South Florida

Zoom: The global race to fuel the car of the future, by Iain Carson and Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran

Energy for the 21st century: A comprehensive guide to conventional and alternative sources, by Roy L. Nersesian


Need a quicker summary? Check out this video, available through Kanopy.

This film journeys across America to shine a light on the communities and individuals who are at the forefront of the clean energy revolution, taking practical steps to transition from fossil fuels to renewable power.

Solar, wind and water could power the planet by the year 2050, according to experts in the film, substantially reducing carbon emissions. What’s needed is the social and political willpower to make the change on a large scale.

Two model towns are highlighted for their exemplary steps towards clean energy: Greensburg, Kansas, and Lancaster, California.

After a devastating tornado in 2007, the town of Greensburg decided to rebuild and “go green” with 100% renewables, harnessing the very energy that destroyed them by building wind turbines. A local politician admits that many residents were skeptical at first, but soon realized “It’s common sense.”

The city of Lancaster set a goal to become the nation’s first “net zero” community, and now runs on solar power with panels installed on practically every rooftop available and even new structures. The mayor notes the economics of renewables are a “no-brainer” as they’ve offset many energy costs.

The film also highlights the broader citizen movements for clean energy, showcasing especially how the youth of today are helping to lead the change.

The Future of Energy illustrates that renewable power on a large scale is not just a dream, but rather a viable option already being implemented by many communities, cities and businesses. The examples and solutions highlighted are designed to inspire others to consider adopting clean, renewable power as a smart choice with substantial economic, public health and environmental benefits.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Those 37 words make up the revolutionary legislation that ensured equal access to both men and women in federally funded educational programs and activities. Although it is the application of Title IX to athletics that has gained the greatest public visibility, the law applies to every single aspect of education, including course offerings, counseling and counseling materials, financial assistance, student health and insurance benefits and/or other services, housing, marital and parental status of students, physical education and athletics, education programs and activities, and employment.

Title IX benefits everyone — girls and boys, women and men. The law requires educational institutions to maintain policies, practices and programs that do not discriminate against anyone on the basis of gender. Elimination of discrimination against women and girls has received more attention because females historically have faced greater gender restrictions and barriers in education. However, Title IX also has benefited men and boys. A continued effort to achieve educational equity has benefited all students by moving toward creation of school environments where all students may learn and achieve the highest standards.

Want to learn more about Title IX and the the effect it’s had on modern athletics and women’s opportunities in higher education? Check out some of these resources from Ames.

Women’s rights in the USA: Policy debates and gender roles, Dorothy E. McBride, Janine A. Parry

Game, set, match: Billie Jean King and the revolution in women’s sports, by Susan Ware

Invisible seasons: Title IX and the fight for equity in college sports, by Kelly Belanger

Equal play: Title IX and social change, edited by Nancy Hogshead-Makar and Andrew Zimbalist

Getting in the game: Title IX and the women’s sports revolution, Deborah L. Brake

Title IX: A brief history with documents, by Susan Ware

A place on the team: The triumph and tragedy of Title IX, by Welch Suggs

Title IX, by Linda Jean Carpenter, R. Vivian Acosta

Best Gateway Essay Contest Winners

Congratulations to this year’s winners of the annual Best Gateway Essay Contest, Aaron Manuel, Kalen Gray, and Haley Steward!

Each year, Gateway instructors are invited to nominate up to three student essays from their Gateway sections. The papers submitted by students for the contest were evaluated first by teams of Writing Center tutors. The Writing Committee then reviewed these and selected a winner and two runners-up. The winner will receive $150, and the runners-up will receive $75 each. Associate Dean of Curricular and Faculty Development Kevin Sullivan provides the funds for these awards.

The 2016-17 Winners are:
Winner: Aaron Manuel, for his essay, “Goldman’s Paradox: Imperfect Perfection,” nominated by Prof. Mark Criley from his Gateway section, “Punishment.”

Runner-up: Kalen Gray, for his essay, “The New Face of Civil Revolution,” nominated by Prof. Nawaraj Chaulagain from his Gateway section, “Peace and War.”

Runner-up: Haley Steward, for her essay, “Mary Tyler Moore and her role in the feminist movement,” nominated by Prof. Jim Plath from his Gateway section, “Sitcoms and Society.”


The winning essays are now available and free to download through the Digital Commons @ IWU. We encourage you to take some time out to read them!

Making a Peep

Yesterday, The Ames Library had the pleasure of hosting and judging the annual Peeps diorama contest, which is sponsored by the Greek and Roman Studies program at Illinois Wesleyan.

The winning entry, by seniors Ania Bui and Joi Stack, showed the labyrinth through which Theseus traveled to slay the Minotaur, a menacing looking Peep chick, complete with horns.

“The horns are brilliant,” said Karen Schmidt, professor and librarian, who judged the competition along with Meg Miner, university archivist and special collections librarian.

Miner liked the attention to detail in many of the entries, such as mazes and a group of Greek gods with various accessories.

One diorama depicted Achilles dragging the body of Hector behind a chariot pulled by two Peep chicks that had been transformed into horses.

“What this is really is outreach,” said Sultan. “We want to get students at our campus to know the Greek and Roman studies program is here and also see Classical mythology is influential even today. They all have lessons. They teach morals that are timeless.”

(Via The Pantagraph.)

Want some fame, glory, and a $100 cash prize of your own? Unfortunately you’ll have to wait until next year. In the meantime, you may consider taking a course or two in Greek and Roman Studies!


Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

The modern English word gender comes from the Middle English gender (also gendere, gendir gendyr, gendre), a loanword from Anglo-Norman and Middle French gendre. In the last two decades, the use of gender in academia has increased greatly, outnumbering uses of sex in the social sciences, as distinctions between biological categories and social constructions grow. The study of gender is not specifically a women’s issue, but the rhetoric grew out of the feminist movement.

Check out some of these resources, available through Ames, to catch up on the conversation.

Michael Kimmel: On Gender – We’ve heard again and again that men and women are engaged in a “battle of the sexes,” that we’re so differently wired and so foreign to each other that we might as well come from different planets. In this powerful new lecture, renowned speaker and bestselling author Michael Kimmel (The Gendered Society, Manhood in America) turns this conventional wisdom on its head. With clarity and humor, Kimmel moves beyond the popular inter-planetary notion that “men are from Mars and women are from Venus” to advance a decidedly more earth-bound and inter-connected view of the things men and women have in common. This is an accessible and entertaining introduction to gender politics and gender theory — as intellectually informative as it is inspiring, and suited for use across a range of disciplines and courses.

The Role of Gender – This lesson focuses on how all of us learn about gender from an early age, and explores some of the ways in which gender-based roles, expectations and assumptions are changing.

FtF: Female to Femme imagines a world in which the journey toward femme was understood to be as radical as journeys to claim and inhabit other queer bodies.Envisioning more than it documents, this documentary celebrates dyke femme identities, combining farce and seduction with analysis and personal history. For years, femmes have forged community and created space for themselves out of edgy performance and authentic parody. FtF recognizes these strategies and builds them into an unforgettable sexy, funny and moving film. Bursts of queer burlesque amplify the idea of a femme drag. A satire of a femme transition support group uses humor to disarm viewers (as it did its participants), finally stripping away layers of performance to arrive at a raw recognition of femme tactics of self-conceptualization. Interviews feature a host of fabulous femmes, including actress/ writer Guinivere Turner, novelist/activist Jewelle Gomez, poet Meliza Banales, rock stars Leslie Mah (Tribe8) and Bitch (Bitch & Animal), professors, activists, artists and dancers. The filmmakers ask these brilliant thinkers and performers to use the language of gender transition to talk about femme identity, opening up new possibilities for understanding femininity while reinforcing connections among gender warriors around the world. A wildly original extravaganza, FtF: Female to Femme presents a saucy, indelible portrait of a people and their politics central to the gender revolution.

Want a historical perspective? Consider this text, available to check out through Ames.