Coloradan Magazine Archives

University of Colorado Boulder

Ralph Ellison in Progress: From “Invisible Man” to “Three Days Before the Shooting…”

Ralph Ellison has been called the preeminent African-American author of the 20th century, though he published only one novel, Invisible Man, in 1952. Associate professor of English Adam Bradley’s Ralph Ellison in Progress is the first book to survey the expansive geography of the second novel that Ellison had been composing for more than 40 years, but never published before he died. Bradley pieced together the thousands of pages Ellison left behind and released his unfinished second novel, Three Days Before the Shooting in January, 2010. Additionally, Ralph Ellison in Progress re-imagines the more familiar, but often misunderstood, territory of Invisible Man and works from the premise that understanding Ellison’s process of composition imparts important truths not only about the author himself but about race, writing and American identity.

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Modeling by Nonlinear Differential Equations: Dissipative and Conservative Processes

In Modeling by Nonlinear Differential Equations, professor emeritus of physics Paul E. Phillipson provides mathematical analyses of nonlinear differential equations, which have proved pivotal to understanding many phenomena in physics, chemistry and biology. Topics of focus are nonlinear oscillations, deterministic chaos, solitons, reaction-diffusion-driven chemical pattern formation, neuron dynamics, autocatalysis and molecular evolution. Included is a discussion of processes from the vantage of reversibility, reflected by conservative classical mechanics, and irreversibility introduced by the dissipative role of diffusion. Each chapter presents the subject matter from the point of one or a few key equations, whose properties and consequences are amplified by approximate analytic solutions that are developed to support graphical display of exact computer solutions.

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Borders and Conflict in South Asia: The Radcliffe Boundary Commission and the Partition of Punjab

Assistant professor of history and international affairs Lucy Chester’s Borders and Conflict in South Asia is the first full-length study of the 1947 drawing of the Indo-Pakistani boundary in Punjab. The book uses the Radcliffe commission as a window onto the decolonization and independence of India and Pakistan, and examines the competing interests, both internal and international, that influenced the actions of the various major players. It highlights British efforts to maintain a grip on India even as the decolonization process spun out of control and also demonstrates that it was not the location of the line but flaws in the larger partition process that caused the mass violence and chaos of 1947.

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The Interpretation of Material Shapes in Puritanism: A Study of Rhetoric, Prejudice, and Violence

Through her detailed analysis of the rhetoric of Puritan plain style, associate professor of English Ann Kibbey overturns many of our long-held assumptions about the social and artistic values of Protestantism. In The Interpretation of Material Shapes in Puritanism, Kibbey centers her argument on the influential preacher John Cotton and discloses a general theory of figuration in the Protestant tradition that has been overlooked by literary critics, historians and sociologists alike. The author explores the immense variety of ways in which early Protestants in Europe and America granted significance to material shapes.

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Mixtecs, Zapotecs, and Chatinos: Ancient Peoples of Southern Mexico

In his book Mixtecs, Zapotecs, and Chatinos: Ancient Peoples of Southern Mexico, associate professor of anthropology Arthur Joyce examines the history of the rich and complex societies that arose and flourished in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. Between 500 B.C. and A.D. 800, many powerful urban polities developed in the geographic regions surrounding the Valley of Oaxaca, including in the highland valleys of the Mixteca and lower Río Verde Valley along the Pacific Coast. The book draws upon the most recent archaeological, ethnographic, epigraphic, linguistic, and iconographic evidence, to reveal the lengthy, complex strands of historical and cultural interactions woven among the diverse pre–Hispanic societies of Oaxaca.

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Book of This Place: The Land, Art & Spirituality

With the title of her book, art and art history professor Deborah Haynes emphasizes that she lives, works, and creates art in a particular site in the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The subtitle indicates that place is the arena for investigating engagement with the land and nature, art and creativity, and spiritual life. Throughout Book of This Place, Haynes explores the significance of place in our fragmented world using her artistic practice as an example. In the face of contemporary global crises, she believes that we have a moral imperative to address how we live and work in the physical environment.

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Astrophysics of Planet Formation

In this book for beginning graduate students, associate professor of astrophysical and planetary sciences Philip J. Armigage provides a basic understanding of the astrophysical processes that shape the formation of planetary systems. It begins by describing the structure and evolution of protoplanetary disks, moves on to the formation of planetesimals, terrestrial and gas giant planets, and concludes by surveying new theoretical ideas for the early evolution of planetary systems. Covering all phases of planet formation this introduction can be understood by readers with backgrounds in planetary science, observational and theoretical astronomy.

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Gravity’s Fatal Attraction: Black Holes in the Universe

Using rich images from both computer simulations and observatories on the ground and in space, professor of astrophysical and planetary science professor Mitchell C. Begelman and Martin Rees show how black holes were discovered and discusses our current understanding of their role in cosmic evolution. The newest edition explores new discoveries made in the past decade, including definitive proof of a black hole at the center of the Milky Way, evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, and the new appreciation of the connection between black holes and galaxy formation.

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Struggle for Democracy

In this critical thinking approach to American government, political science professor Edward Greenberg aims for students to evaluate the quality of democracy in America today within a unique framework that offers a holistic view of our system. The Struggle for Democracy is organized around two themes: “Using the Democracy Standard” and “Using the Framework.” The first theme, woven throughout the narrative of the entire book, asks students to evaluate the health and vitality of American democracy today against a “democratic ideal” that is carefully defined in the first chapter. The text’s second theme, “Using the Framework,” asks students to look at the structures underlying our political system–such as the economy, society, cultural values, technology–and examine how these structures affect, and are affected by, our political system.

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The Musical Comedy Films of Grigorii Aleksandrov: Laughing Matters

Drawing on studio documents, press materials, and interviews with surviving film crew members, Rimgaila Salys, professor of Germanic and Slavic language and literature, presents the untold production history of Grigorii Aleksandrov’s musical comedy films in The Musical Comedy Films of Grigorii Aleksandrov. The book challenges conventional political interpretations, looking instead at how the films inscribed Stalin’s myths into the national consciousness, reproducing the dominant ideology, while hiding it beneath layers of humor. As the first major study to situate these films in the cultural context of the era, this book will be essential to courses on Russian cinema and Soviet culture.

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Performing Violence: Literary and Theatrical Experiments of New Russian Drama

In Performing Violence, Birgit Beumers and Mark Lipovetsky, associate professor of Russian studies and comparative literature, examine the representation of violence in the so-called “New Russian Dramas” by young Russian playwrights that emerged at the end of the twentieth century. Reflecting the disappointment in Yeltsin’s democratic reforms and Putin’s neoconservative politics, the plays focus on political and social representations of violence, its performances, and its justifications. The book, which is the first English-language study of Russian drama and theatre in the twenty-first century, seeks a vantage point for the analysis of brutality in post-Soviet culture.

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How Oliver Olson Changed the World

In this engaging and thought provoking chapter book, associate professor of philosophy Claudia Mills follows the character of Oliver Olson as he tries to convince his parents to let him attend the third grade class’ space learning sleepover. Over course of the book, Oliver seeks help, gains independence and learns about the solar system. Mills meanwhile succeeds in creating believable characters who express the emotional nuances as well as the practical difficulties of Oliver’s predicament.

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The Letters of Jerome: Asceticism, Biblical Exegesis, and the Construction of Christian Authority in Late Antiquity

In Letters of Jerome, assistant professor of classics Andrew Cain explores the controversial figure, who lived from 327-420 BC. In the centuries following his death, Jerome was venerated as a saint and as one of the four Doctors of the Latin Church. In his own lifetime, however, he was a severely marginalized figure whose intellectual and spiritual authority did not go unchallenged, at times not even by those in his inner circle.

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Forms of Fanonism: Frantz Fanon’s Critical Theory and the Dialectics of Decolonization

Forms of Fanonism: Frantz Fanon’s Critical Theory and the Dialectics of Decolonization by ethnic studies associate professor Reiland Rabaka is the first study to consciously examine Fanon’s contributions to Africana Studies and critical theory or, rather, the Africana tradition of critical theory. In highlighting his unique “solutions” to the “problems” of racism, sexism, colonialism, capitalism and humanism, five distinct forms of Fanonism materialize. Throughout the book, Rabaka critically dialogues with Fanon, incessantly asking his corpus critical questions and seeking from it crucial answers.

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The Trashing of Margaret Mead: Anatomy of an Anthropological Controversy

In The Trashing of Margaret Mead, anthropology professor Paul Shankman traces the many aspects of the controversy between Mead and anthropologist Derek Freeman. Mead’s 1928 novel Coming of Age in Samoa, a fascinating study of the lives of adolescent girls transformed her into an academic celebrity. More than 50 years later in 1983, Freeman published a scathing critique of Mead’s Samoan research, badly damaging her reputation. Shankman explores the controversy, both private and public, as well as the relationships, rivalries and larger than life personalities that drove it.

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Tsunami Recovery in Sri Lanka: Ethnic and Regional Dimensions

Anthropology professor Dennis McGilvray studies the Indian Ocean Tsunami and its devastating effects within the larger social and political context of the region in Tsunami Recovery in Sri Lanka. After the tsunami, reconstruction was soon hampered by political patronage, by the competing efforts of hundreds of foreign humanitarian organizations, and by the ongoing civil war. McGilvray describes and compares the regional and ethnic differences in Sri Lanka to give a more complete picture of how disaster relief unfolded in a culturally pluralistic political landscape.

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Settling the Borderland: Other Voices in Literary Journalism

In Settling the Borderland, journalism professor Jan Whitt looks at the intimate connection between literature and journalism and the historical underrepresentation of work by women in both fields. She studies both the work of journalists who became some of the greatest poets, novelists and short story writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and contemporary journalists who best exemplify the effective use of literary techniques in news coverage. Overall, Peck analyses the increasingly blurred distinction between truth and fiction, fact and creative narrative in contemporary media.

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Final Salute: The Story of Unfinished Lives

On assignment as a reporter with the Rocky Mountain News, Jim Sheeler spent two years shadowing Maj. Steve Beck, a marine in charge of casualty notification, as he delivered the news of battlefield death to families. Now a scholar in residence in the journalism school, Sheeler crafted the stories he collected from the experience into an eloquent tribute to the soldiers who have died in Iraq and their devastated families. The book was an evolution out of a Pulitzer Prize-winning feature story that he wrote for the Rocky Mountain News in 2005.

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The Age of Oprah: Cultural Icon for the Neoliberal Era

From talk show host to one of the most important figures in popular, Oprah Winfrey has certainly made her mark on the social, economic and political arenas of American life. In The Age of Oprah associate journalism professor Janice Peck explores Winfrey’s growing cultural impact and illustrates the striking parallels between her road to fame and fortune and the political-economic rise of neoliberalism in this country.

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Media, Spiritualities and Social Change

Journalism professor Stewart M. Hoover and Monica Emerich, a post-doctoral fellow at CU’s Center for Media, Religion and Culture, explore the relationship between different forms of spirituality, media and their effect on social reform in Media, Spiritualities and Social Change. Increasingly, religion and spirituality have become attached to everything from consumer goods to the New Age to eco-activism. Hoover and Emerich discuss media’s role in this phenomenon, bringing together scholarly perspectives from around the world and across disciplines to explore how these new ‘spiritualities’ express themselves through and with media.

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Someone’s Daughter: In Search of Justice for Jane Doe

In Someone’s Daughter: In Search of Justice for Jane Doe by Silvia Pettem (A&S’69), self-described “historical detective” Silvia discusses her long efforts to identify the victim of a brutal 1954 Boulder murder. She chronicles the story of Jane Doe, how nobody claimed her body and how this young woman became unforgotten through Pettem’s work. After years on the case, Pettem offers her conclusive views on who the victim of the murder might have been. Throughout the book, she makes some bold guesses and states some interesting ideas, and readers will enjoy sifting through the evidence and coming to their own conclusions.

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We Fight To Win: Inequality and the Politics of Youth Activism

This book, We Fight To Win: Inequality and the Politics of Youth Activism, by Hava Rachel Gordon (Anth’96), addresses an interesting aspect of modern society: in an adult-dominated world, teenagers are often shut out of participation in politics. We Fight to Win offers a compelling account of young people’s attempts to get involved in community politics, and documents efforts to form youth movements and inspire social change in schools and neighborhoods. Also discussed are the strategies teenagers use to make their voices heard in contemporary politics.

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The Wisdom Tree and the Red Swing

he Wisdom Tree and the Red Swing by Carol MacAllister is an insightful book that helps pre-teens and their loved ones work their way through life’s biggest challenges. This touching book urges young people to consider their problems carefully, and helps young adults reach complicated truths about issues such as racial diversity, the death of a parent, bullying and divorce. This book helps children learn to think for themselves, and is an excellent tool to help young adults transition to independence.

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Women Healing Women – A Model of Hope for Oppressed Women Everywhere

Women Healing Women – A Model of Hope for Oppressed Women Everywhere, by Will Keepin (ApMath’78) and Cynthia Brix, is an inspiring compilation of stories about women healing other women who have been demoralized by social conditions of patriarchal injustice. The book tells the story of Maher, a center for battered women and children in India. Since being founded in 1997 by Sister Lucy Kurien, the project has provided refuge for more than 1,400 women. It is likely that many of these women would not have survived if it weren’t for the shelter. The uplifting book has gotten high praise from world spiritual leaders, and many believe that Sister Lucy is the next Mother Teresa.

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The Spiritual Traveler—Spain: A Guide to Sacred Sites and Pilgrim Routes

The Spiritual Traveler—Spain: A Guide to Sacred Sites and Pilgrim Routes by Beebe Bahrami (MCDBio’86)

After living in Spain for 24 years, Beebe Bahrami (MCDBio’86) was able to compile this non-denominational guide to the spiritual places and people of Spain. The book details the rich culture and human diversity of Spain from the Upper Paleolithic era to the present day, discussing folklore, mythology and tradition. The Spiritual Traveler is packed with fascinating information, beautiful descriptions and insightful interpretations and would be an excellent companion for any traveler to Spain.

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Claiming Kin

Claiming Kin by Laura Marello (Engl’80) tells the story of two intertwined families and their battles and conflicts over kinship. It follows Andrea, a conflicted girl who is trying to discover the true identity of her father. The complex story unfolds over four decades and will leave the reader contemplating the meaning of family.

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Saving the Earth since 1970

Forty years ago, before alternative energy was lucrative and being green was the cool thing to do, CU students founded the Environmental Center on Earth Day in 1970. The center was the first of its kind in the nation and has made CU-Boulder a green leader among U.S. colleges and universities.

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