Gettysburg faculty engage with their students inside and outside of the classroom. When they are not extending office hours, hosting lectures, and mentoring their students, faculty are often exploring new concepts in their academic areas of expertise.
These concepts expand across a wide-range of disciplines. The diversity of subjects represented show how Gettysburg faculty never cease to ask questions, and are constantly searching for new answers.
Below, read more about the published books written by faculty in 2017.
- La Iglesia católica y la política del poder en América Latina: El caso dominicano en perspectiva comparada, second edition in Spanish (The Catholic Church and Power Politics in Latin America: The Dominican Case in Comparative Perspectives, originally published in English) by Prof. Emelio Betances
- Eisenhower’s Gettysburg Farm by Prof. Michael J. Birkner and Carol Hegeman ’73, with Kevin Lavery ’16
- Understanding Ignorance: The Surprising Impact of What We Don’t Know by Prof. Daniel R. DeNicola
- Chinese Ghosts Revisited: A Study of Paranormal beliefs and Experiences, 2nd ed. by Prof. Charles F. Emmons
- Isn’t that Clever: A Philosophical Account of Humor and Comedy by Prof. Steve Gimbel
- Whites Recall the Civil Rights Movements in Birmingham: We Didn’t Know it was History Until After it Happened by Prof. Emeritus Sandra K. Gill
- Text in the Natural World: Topics in the Evolutionary Theory of Literature by Prof. Laurence A. Gregorio
- Researching Children and Youth: Methodological Issues, Strategies, and Innovations by Prof. Brent Harger
- An Artist as Soldier: Seeking Refuge in Love and Art by Prof. Emeritus Barbara Schmitter Heisler
- Remembering the Great War: Writing and Publishing the Experiences of WWI by Prof. Ian Isherwood ’00
- Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum by Prof. Nadine Meyer
- Ecocriticism and Indigenous Studies: Conversations from Earth to Cosmos by Prof. Salma Monani
- Yearning to Labor: Youth, Unemployment, and Social Destiny in Urban France by Prof. John P. Murphy
- Weaving the Legacy: Remembering Paula Gunn Allen by Prof. Stephanie Sellers
- Ancient China and its Eurasian Neighbors by Prof. Yan Sun
- Gending Rare: Children’s Songs and Games from Bali by Prof. Brent Talbot
- Entornos Digitales: Conceptualización y Praxis by Prof. Beatriz Trigo
- No Man an Island: The Cinema of Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2nd Edition by Prof. James Udden
- Passing Illusions: Jewish Visibility in Weimar Germany by Prof. Kerry Wallach
La Iglesia católica y la política del poder en América Latina: El aaso dominicano en perspectiva comparada, Second edition in Spanish (Originally published asThe Catholic Church and Power Politics in Latin America: The Dominican Case in Comparative Perspectives)
-Prof. Emelio Betances, Sociology and Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies
Since the 1960s, the Church acquired new visibility due to its social and political activism. In various countries politicians and revolutionary leaders requested the Church to mediate in both political and social conflicts. The Church accepted to mediate and helped to avoid violent political confrontations. At the same time, it reinserted itself into the new political scenario created by transition to democracy in Latin America.
“I analyze the particular circumstances that allowed the Church to accommodate the political and social establishment: the Church offered nonpartisan political mediation, rebuilt its ties with the lower echelons of society, and responded to the challenges of the evangelical moment,” said Betances. “My historical examination of church-state relations in the Dominican Republic leads to important regional comparisons that broaden our understanding of the Catholic Church in the whole of Latin America.”
-Prof. Michael J. Birkner, History
Dwight Eisenhower's Gettysburg connection is well-known among local residents and members of the college community here, but it is not a major feature of most accounts of his storied life. Birkner and Carol Hegeman ’73, with the help of Kevin Lavery ’16, explore the photo archives of Eisenhower’s experiences in Gettysburg.
“Carol and I sought to highlight Gettysburg as a meaningful element in the Eisenhower story, starting with his first visit here on a West Point Staff ride in 1915. Ike's leadership at Camp Colt (1918), the famous convoy to San Francisco (1919), receiving an honorary degree from Gettysburg College (1946), the ways Gettysburg borough and the college factored into Eisenhower's presidency and his retirement years complement, in our telling, what scholars already know, and like, about Ike.”
-Prof. Daniel R. DeNicola, Philosophy
Inspired by teaching a seminar on secrets and lies, DeNicola turned to how they construct ignorance for others. This book emerges from his previous book on the liberal arts: Learning to Flourish.
“Philosophers, it seems, had focused narrowly on the structure and justification of knowledge—and largely ignored ignorance. My book is the first comprehensive, philosophical work on the concept, and I hope it reveals to an audience beyond philosophers the rich and complex structure of ignorance and its impact on our lives,” said DeNicola.
-Prof. Charles F. Emmons, Sociology
This classic presentation of cases is based on 3,600 interviews, questionnaires and observations in Hong Kong in 1980/81, updated by recent materials over 30 years later. In spite of clear influences from ancestor worship and Confucian/Taoist/Buddhist culture, parapsychological theories of apparitions from the West also apply to the Chinese cases.
"Adding to the 1982 edition of this book, I collected a few more cases, updated the literature review, and showed that ghosts are still important in modern Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China,” said Emmons. “For example, there is a 'haunted-house discount' or lower price on dwellings in which someone has died a violent death. Also, Chinese tourists are reluctant to visit sites hit by the tsunami, fearing that hungry ghosts who died there might drown living persons as substitutes in order to be released from their attachment to the place of their death.”
-Prof. Steve Gimbel, Philosophy
Inspired by his love for comedy and hobby for performing stand-up comedy, Gimbel explores humor ethics and aesthetics in this book. What makes for a good joke? What jokes are okay to tell, by whom, and when? are among the questions he attempts to answer.
“During that time [of performing stand-up comedy], I realized that what the working comedians were saying about the nature of humor was quite different from what the academic philosophers of humor were saying. It led me to think differently about how to think about humor,” said Gimbel. “The result is a new philosophical account of humor.”
-Prof. Emeritus Sandra K. Gill, Sociology
Gill travels back in time as she recollects her personal experiences and the experiences of her classmates during the 1963 bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
“I attended an all-white high school in the midst of Civil Rights Movement activities in Birmingham, Alabama. I wanted to delve into this crucial part of history that has shaped how Americans think about race,” said Gill. “I interviewed my classmates to explore how they recalled our difficult past. My work demonstrates that what we remember about the past is shaped by who we want to be in the present.”
Through the book, Gill analyzes how memories can shift over time, and questions why people reconstruct difficult memories.
-Prof. Laurence A. Gregorio, French
In his book, Gregorio proposes a theory of literature that looks at fictional text through a Darwinian lens.
“I undertook it because I thought that literary study could use a look at literature as an evolutionary adaptation, an adaptation like any other one that makes our species what it is and enhances its survival,” said Gregorio. “My hope it that it has the double impact of expanding the view of aesthetics and bridging somewhat the lamentable chasm between the sciences and the humanities.”
-Prof. Brent Harger, Sociology
Over the last 40 years, sociologists have come to recognize young people as capable and creative social actors whose voices deserve to be heard through academic research. During the same time period, however, it has become harder for researchers to gain access to young people’s perspectives due to efforts by parents and institutions to protect them from potential harm.
“The book explores the methodological issues, strategies, and innovations associated with conducting research with children and youth,” said Harger. “The chapters in this volume explore innovative approaches to conducting research that recognizes young people as producers of knowledge and experts in their own lives while addressing the concerns that adults and institutions have for this work.”
-Prof. Emeritus Barbara Schmitter Heisler, Sociology
“My father was an artist and art teacher who was drafted into the Wehrmacht in 1940,” said Heisler. Amidst the Second World War, Heisler’s parents communicated via artistically decorated letters. When she found over 100 of these letters from her father to her mother, she knew that she wanted to publish them in a book. Bernhard Epple and Gudrun’s love story is forever preserved in this book.
“The most striking thing about his letters are the beautiful drawings with which he decorated each letter. The letters also give testimony to one man's struggles to remain true to himself as an artist, to find beautiful things in ugly times and thus they provide insights into the human experience of war.”
-Prof. Ian Isherwood, Class of 2000, History
Some of the finest pieces of literature of the century are sourced from the First World War. Isherwood examines these stories and their themes, arguing that the soldiers’ post-war lives had great meaning, contrary to the popular belief that they were a victimized, disillusioned generation.
“I wanted to tell the story of war experiences that have been eclipsed by infantrymen on the western front – those who fought in the middle east and Gallipoli, those held as prisoners of war, those who cared for the wounded and dying, and those who fought in the skies – in short, to give a broader perspective of how the Great War generation remembered their war in print,” said Isherwood.
-Prof. Nadine Meyer, English
Drawing on images which rise dream-like from a personal landscape, the poems in Chrysanthemum, Chrysanthemum attempt to communicate the movement of the mind within itself.
“So much of the way we perceive the world is dependent, not on what has happened to us, the storylines of our lives, but on how we piece fragments of experience together,” said Meyer. “Many of the poems in this collection enact grief. But they enact, too, my experience writing a poem: beginning in meditation, the mind turned inward, images rising fractured and unbidden. These images solidify into bits of memory, which in turn are hinged to other memories, so that the poems move tangentially, as the mind moves.”
-Prof. Salma Monani, Environmental Studies
Monani attempts to break stereotypes of Indigenous people in her book. While people often think of Indigenous peoples as close to nature, this thought is accompanied by the thought that they are more primitive than Eurowestern people.
“I wanted to dispel this myth of the "primitive Native" living in simple harmony with nature. Thus, the book highlights the media work of contemporary Indigenous artists and activists, and draws attention to the intellectual sophistication of Indigenous thought and theory that often frames environmental understandings and struggles,” said Monani.
-Prof. John P. Murphy, French
Interested in how shifts in the employment landscape, linked to the global spread of neoliberal ideologies and practices, are experienced, understood, and managed at a local level, Murphy spent over a year conducting field research in central France.
“My book focuses on the experiences and strategies of young people coming of age in a disadvantaged outer city (banlieue) as they struggle to find work,” said Murphy. “I analyze how different categories of social classification, including social class, race, and ethnicity, are given meaning and used by various social actors as they attempt to explain employment outcomes. In the end, I hope this book will help us better understand youth underemployment in France, and elsewhere, thereby aiding in the development of locally appropriate solutions to this problem.”
-Prof. Stephanie Sellers, English and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Sellers, having been advised by Paula Gunn Allen, wanted to pay tribute to her impact on literary scholars.
“The late Paula Gunn Allen (Laguna Pueblo) is one of the founders of the Native American Studies discipline, and she chaired one of the first NAS academic departments in the country at UCLA in the 1990s,” said Sellers. “Allen has left a great legacy, specifically on her far-reaching influence on NAS, Gender Studies, and literary scholars in the U.S. and abroad. Her legacy remains to sustain NAS scholars who continue to do the work of decolonization in the academy.”
-Prof. Yan Sun, Art and Art History
This volume examines the role of objects in the region north of early dynastic state centers, at the intersection of Ancient China and Eurasia, a large area that stretches from Xinjiang to the China Sea, from c.3000 BCE to the mid-eighth century BCE.
“It intends to give a fresh view to the study of objects and their agency, especially in mortuary settings,” said Sun. “The book uses a new perspective to describe human groupings rather than archaeological cultures.”
-Prof. Brent Talbot, Coordinator of Music Education at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music
Having lived on the island of Bali, Indonesia, Talbot collected songs and games of children for a research project. This collection is representative of the culture and daily lives of those on the island.
“I wanted to offer an accessible and tangible way for students and teachers outside of Bali to engage with the unique and dynamic culture of the island. The interactive multimedia takes the pressure off of the teacher and allows them to explore these concepts directly with their students," said Talbot.
Videos of Balinese children singing each song and playing each game, as well as pronunciation guides are available on an accompanying website.
-Prof. Beatriz Trigo, Spanish
This edited collection of essays, one of the first on this topic written in Spanish, responds to the new transmedia reality of the humanities in the 21st century.
“The essays in this volume reflect the inherent interdisciplinarity of humanism within the digital environment, as well as the changes in research praxis,” said Trigo. “This project was born from my passion for the digital humanities and the need to put on paper how they have impacted film, media, literature, and pedagogical research of academics who study the cultural production of Spain and Latin America.”
-Prof. James Udden, Cinema & Media Studies
I proposed this updated edition to my publisher after the subject at hand, Hou Hsiao-hsien, won the Best Director prize at Cannes in 2015 and I had seen him in Belgium immediately afterwards,” said Udden.
This edition remains largely an in-depth contextual study, not merely a critical study of a body or work, so this includes both what has and hasn’t changed regarding Taiwan and Taiwan’s most famous film director, not to mention Taiwan, continued Udden. “Interestingly, the first edition was translated into simplified Chinese in mainland China; this second version will be translated into traditional characters in Taiwan itself.”
-Prof. Kerry Wallach, German Studies
Wallach has always been fascinated by the period in German history just before the Nazis came to power, when minorities such as Jews theoretically enjoyed equal rights and privileges. By delving into German-Jewish history, Wallach asks questions about the past that she hopes will provide answers to current issues regarding the topic.
“Passing Illusions responds to the widely held idea that Jews mainly sought to blend in or assimilate into German culture during this period. My research shows that many Jews in fact did not want to pass or be indistinguishable from other Germans, at least not all of the time,” said Wallach. “By bringing German-Jewish visibility into dialogue with African American racial passing and queer passing, I hope to foster a deeper understanding of what German-Jewish history and culture can teach us about minority visibility today.”