Let’s talk about diversity: take our 5-minute poll

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Can we have a comfortable dialog about diversity, inclusion vs. intolerance, and the small ethical decisions we make daily? The UT Libraries’ Diversity Committee asks you to take a five-minute poll to help select topics for a lunchtime discussion series to be launched next fall.

Take our brief poll now.

Help us determine the topics of greatest interest to the UT community. Our online poll has only three questions and will take no more than five minutes of your time. No identifying information will be collected, and the results will be used solely for purposes of planning the discussion series.

The lunchtime discussion series, sponsored by the UT Libraries’ Diversity Committee in conjunction with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, will be held in the Hodges Library. Discussions will be open to all.

If you have questions about the discussion series or about the poll, please contact Megan Venable at mvenable@nullutk.edu.

African-American Read-In Feb. 27

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Join the African-American Read-In on Friday, February 27, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Hodges Library auditorium. Students, faculty, staff, administrators . . . all are invited to read an excerpt from a favorite book by an African-American author.

Readers can bring a book to the reading or select a text from African-American authored books that will be on display outside the auditorium. Contemporary, award-winning children’s books by African-American authors are already on display for browsing in the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature (3rd floor, Hodges Library).

Readers are encouraged to find texts to read prior to the event. Search the Libraries’ catalog (e.g., American literature – African American authors), browse the display in the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, or examine the bibliography of recommended books at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) website: www.ncte.org/aari.

If you want to participate as a reader, email Dr. Susan Groenke, director of the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, at sgroenke@nullutk.edu) to reserve a 10-minute time slot between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m.

Sponsored nationally by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the Read-In makes literacy and the literary works of African-American authors a central part of Black History Month. UT’s Read-In is sponsored by the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, in conjunction with the Commission for Blacks; Black Educators of Tomorrow; the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences; the College of Communications and Information Sciences; the Department of English; and the Office of Multicultural Student Life.

“Sharecropper’s Son” John O. Hodges to Read at UT Library

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Hodges_Delta_smallJohn O. Hodges will read at UT’s Writers in the Library Monday, February 10th at 7 pm in the John C. Hodge’s Library Auditorium. The reading is free and open to the public.

John O. Hodges is a former UT faculty member in the Department of Religious Studies, and he served as chair of African and African-American Studies from 1997 to 2002. In his time at UT, Hodges has been recognized as an outstanding teacher by the UT National Alumni Association and has won several other awards, including the Lorayne Lester Award for distinguished service to the university. Hodge’s new book, Delta Fragments: The Recollections of a Sharecropper’s Son, details his experiences as a youth growing up in the Mississippi Delta during the 1950s and 1960s and places these moments in the context of larger themes, such as the civil rights movement and religion in the African-American community. Hodges has also published articles in such journals as The CLA Journal, The Langston Hughes Review, Soundings, and The Southern Quarterly.

Hodges was born in the Mississippi Delta town of Greenwood, where he attended segregated schools and graduated as valedictorian from Broad Street High School in 1963. He won a full-tuition scholarship to attend Morehouse College, where he was an honor student and was selected as a Merrill Scholar to travel and study in Europe. As a student in Nantes, France, Hodges acted in plays and gained fluency in French. He received a Master’s degree in English from Atlanta University and a Master’s and PhD in religion and literature from the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Before accepting his position at UT, Hodges taught in the English Department at Barat College, where he also served as Chair of African American Studies. Hodges has traveled throughout Europe and West Africa and has lectured on African American religion in China. He now lives in Knoxville with his wife Carolyn, who is Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School at UT.
Writers in the Library is sponsored by the University of Tennessee Libraries and the UT Creative Writing Program in association with the John C. Hodges Better English Fund. For further information contact Marilyn Kallet, Director, UT Creative Writing Program (mkallet@nullutk.edu), or Christopher Hebert, Writer-in-Residence, UT Libraries (chebert3@nullutk.edu).

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T Cooper at Writers in the Library, March 11

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t_bio3-smallT Cooper will read at UT’s Writers in the Library, Monday, March 11th at 7 p.m. in the John C. Hodges Library auditorium. The reading is free and open to the public.

T Cooper is the author of three novels, including The Beaufort Diaries and Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes. His most recent book is Real Man Adventures, a chronicle of the writer’s transsexual journey presented through a collage of letters, essays, interviews, artwork, and conversations exploring what it means to be a man. T Cooper maintains a sense of humor as he takes us through his transition into identifying as male — even publishing the letter he wrote to his parents to inform them that he “wasn’t their daughter anymore.” It’s a brash, wildly inventive, and comic exploration of the paradoxes and pleasures of masculinity.

Cooper is also the editor of an anthology of original stories entitled A Fictional History of the United States (with Huge Chunks Missing). T’s work has appeared in a variety of publications and anthologies, including the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Believer, One Story, Electric Literature, and others.

T has adapted and produced a short film based on his graphic novel The Beaufort Diaries. The animated short, directed by the book’s illustrator Alex Petrowsky and starring actor David Duchovny, was an official selection at several film festivals, including Tribeca Film Festival, South By Southwest, the New Orleans Film Fest, the Worldwide Short Film Festival, and the Anchorage International Film Festival.

T Cooper was born and raised in Los Angeles, attended Middlebury College in Vermont, and taught high school in New Orleans before settling in New York City in 1996. He earned an MFA from Columbia University. T enjoys vintage airplanes, M*A*S*H, the great outdoors, world peace, and anything to do with pit bull advocacy. He lives with his family in New York and in the South.

lgbtlogo-smallThe author will also hold a Q&A session for all interested students, 2-3 p.m., Monday, March 11, in 1210 McClung Tower.

T Cooper’s reading is co-sponsored by UT’s Lambda Student Union.

Read a review of Real Man Adventures at Chapter 16: a community of Tennessee writers, readers and passersby (brought to you by Humanities Tennessee).

Writers in the Library is sponsored by the University of Tennessee Libraries and the UT Creative Writing Program in association with the John C. Hodges Better English Fund. For further information contact Marilyn Kallet, Director, UT Creative Writing Program (mkallet@nullutk.edu), or Christopher Hebert, Writer-in-Residence, UT Libraries (chebert3@nullutk.edu).

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Book Club to Discuss Author’s Transsexual Journey

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RealManA writer’s transsexual journey will be the topic of the next Common Ground Book Club. T Cooper’s Real Man Adventures will be the subject of discussion on Tuesday, February 19, at 4:30 p.m. in the Culture Corner, first floor of Hodges Library.

Real Man Adventures is a collage of letters, essays, interviews, artwork, and conversations exploring what it means to be a man. T Cooper maintains a sense of humor as he takes us through his transition into identifying as male — even publishing the letter he wrote to his parents to inform them that he “wasn’t their daughter anymore.” It’s a brash, wildly inventive, and comic exploration of the paradoxes and pleasures of masculinity.

The UT Libraries’ Common Ground Book Club reads and discusses books that treat international and intercultural themes. Read the book now and join the February 19 discussion led by dean of libraries Steve Smith.

Copies of Real Man Adventures are available at the UT Bookstore. Read selected chapters on Amazon.com.

T Cooper will read from his works at Writers in the Library later this semester. Join us for his reading on March 11. More at library.utk.edu/writers.

Puente to Speak on Diversity Recruitment in Libraries

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mark-puenteMark A. Puente, Director of Diversity and Leadership Programs at the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), will visit the University of Tennessee Libraries to discuss ARL’s diversity recruitment programs. The university community and library professionals are invited to his talk on Tuesday, February 5, at 2:30 pm in the John C. Hodges Library auditorium (1015 Volunteer Blvd., Knoxville, TN).

Puente directs ARL’s Leadership and Career Development Program (LCDP) and Research Library Leadership Fellows program (RLLF). The LCDP is an 18-month program to prepare mid-career librarians from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups to take on increasingly demanding leadership roles in ARL libraries. Applications to LCDP have doubled in the four years that Puente has led the program.

Puente has presented at regional and national conferences on topics such as networking, minority recruitment strategies, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and residency programs in academic libraries.

Puente has been actively involved with diversity and leadership issues since the beginning of his library career. He was a 2003 ALA Spectrum Scholar and has been actively involved in the coordination of and programming for the Spectrum Scholar Leadership Institute since his scholarship year. He is also a graduate of the Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians and the Knowledge River Program at the School of Information Resources and Library Science at the University of Arizona. The Arizona program seeks to recruit Latinos/Hispanics and Native Americans into the field of librarianship.

He also participated in the UT Libraries’ own diversity recruitment and career development program. He was a member of the 2005-2007 class of Diversity Librarian Residents. Members of the UT community may remember Puente from the Music Library. In addition to his master’s in information and library science, Puente holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in voice performance.

For further information, contact Megan Smith at msmith93@nullutk.edu or 865-974-6903.

“Through A Soldier’s Eye” Photographs at Hodges Library

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“Through a Soldier’s Eye,” a video slide show of photographs made by veterans, will be exhibited on the second floor of Hodges Library throughout the week of November 12-16.

Last year, art professor Baldwin Lee began collecting photographs made by active duty military and veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. He established a website, www.soldierseye.com, to which soldiers could upload their photos. As Lee notes on the website, “What may, in the eyes of a soldier, seem to be nothing more than snapshots of unimportant events and places can often be astonishing images when seen by an audience with no knowledge of what it is like to be a soldier. Taken by insiders, these pictures provide a clearer and more accurate description of life in combat as opposed to the clichéd photographs made by outsiders for the media.”

The idea for the project originated when one of Lee’s students, Trent Frazor, asked for help making prints from digital photographs he had made while serving in Iraq. “The photographs he made in Iraq were totally unanticipated, not because they showed the horrific side of combat, but rather they showed a grace and dignity of everyday life as a Marine in Iraq,” Lee says. “When the genre of war photographs is cited, there is the automatic assumption that the photographs will describe dread and terror of battle. Instead, Trent’s photographs described an aspect of life in the military that is largely unknown and unseen by the public. His photographs showed how his world was enlarged and changed by the experiences to which he had been subjected. If photographs such as these can be seen by a broad audience, not only will the understanding of the life of a soldier be increased but also our appreciation for what they have done.”

Lee is sharing the soldiers’ photographs through exhibitions, web publication, and possibly a book. The project was sponsored by the University of Tennessee School of Art, the Howard Baker Center for Public Policy, and the Center for the Study of War and Society.

Lee’s commitment to the project stems partly from his appreciation of his father’s war experiences. “Due to private reasons, among which is modesty, many soldiers do not ascribe a great deal of value to the pictures they have made. My father, a veteran of World War II, served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. He was an army engineer who took part in the Normandy landing on D-Day and also in the Battle of Okinawa. As is the case with many who have served, he underplayed his participation in the military. He thought that it was what he was supposed to do.”

Baldwin Lee is a photographer who received his bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his master’s degree from Yale University. His photographs are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of the City of New York, Haverford College, University of Michigan Art Museum and University of Kentucky Art Museum. He has taught in UT’s School of Art since 1982.

The community is invited to drop by the Hodges Library to experience Iraq and Afghanistan through the eyes of our veterans.

UT Libraries Welcomes Diversity Librarian Residents

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SI-3The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Libraries welcomes two librarians to post-graduate internships this month. Sojourna Cunningham and Ingrid Ruffin will be the UT Libraries’ fifth team of Diversity Librarian Residents, a program initiated in 2002. During a two-year internship, residents have the opportunity to work in several areas of the library and take part in a variety of initiatives and projects.

Sojourna Cunningham has a BA in History and English Literature from the University of Pittsburgh and a Masters in Library Science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. While at UNC, she received the prestigious Carolina Academic Library Associate Award. She has worked in several library settings: academic library, public library, and for-profit technical institute. At UT, she plans to combine her interests in information literacy and emerging technologies to study the benefits of the learning commons.

Ingrid Ruffin has a BA and MA in English, as well as the Master of Library and Information Studies, from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. While in the MLIS program she was an Academic and Cultural Enrichment Scholar. Her prior position at a small liberal arts college allowed her to sample many aspects of librarianship. She has a particular interest in providing library services to underserved groups, especially veterans (a group that commands her personal affection).

The Diversity Librarian Residency program attracts recent library school graduates to a challenging career in academic librarianship. Residents gain rich and varied work experiences at UT, while advancing the Libraries’ and University’s diversity goals.

Both interns bring prior international and intercultural experience to their new positions. As an undergraduate, Cunningham spent a Semester at Sea, doing community service in ten countries across Asia, Africa, and South America. Ruffin served nine years in the United States Air Force.

Life of the Mind

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Freshmen arriving on the UT campus confront their first intellectual challenge on the day before classes begin. Each year, the Life of the Mind freshman reading program selects a book to be read and discussed by all incoming freshmen.

The common reading selection for the Class of 2016 is Eric Liu’s The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker, a thematic memoir that challenges readers to consider identity as something both accidental (coming from family and other peoples’ expectations) and intentional (created and/or adopted by one’s own choosing). On August 21, the day before classes begin, students will attend a lecture by Eric Liu then gather for small group discussions of the book’s themes. The Life of the Mind experience will continue throughout the year through exhibits, lectures, movies, and class assignments that incorporate the book’s topic and themes.

To further explore those themes of race, language, and global politics, students can visit the Culture Corner on the first floor of Hodges Library. Each semester, the Culture Corner showcases books on a different diversity topic. The Culture Corner is a project of the UT Libraries’ Diversity Committee.

Let’s Talk About It: What’s offensive to an Indian?

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Is “Indian” a racist term? Is “Native American” less offensive? What appellations are actually preferred by the indigenous peoples of the United States? Is the use of Native American mascots in team sports demeaning?

Join us Thursday, October 1, at 1:30 in the Mary Greer Room (258 Hodges Library) for a panel discussion of these topics and of other issues facing Native Americans today. The goal is to gain a better understanding of Native American culture.