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Western Libraries Reading Series: Dr. Sandra Alfers

Posted on: Thursday, May 4, 2017 - 9:35am

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Sandra Alfers to Discuss Writer Else Dormitzer and Poetry of the Holocaust

Sandra Alfers, professor of German and director of the Ray Wolpow Institute for the Study of the Holocaust, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity at Western Washington University, will discuss her research on the poetry of the Holocaust from 4-5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17 in Western Libraries Special Collections on the 6th floor of Wilson Library. 

The presentation is free and open to the public.

During her presentation, “Poetry after Auschwitz - Who was Else Dormitzer?" Alfers will introduce the work and life of Holocaust survivor Else Dormitzer and propose a reading of Dormitzer’s poetry collection from the Theresienstadt transit camp.

Else Dormitzer (1877-1958) was a journalist, writer, and activist, who fled her hometown of Nuremberg along with her husband, Dr. Sigmund Dormitzer, shortly after the November pogrom of 1938, also known as "Kristallnacht" (The Night of Broken Glass).

In 1943, the German occupying forces in the Netherlands, where the Dormitzers had lived after their escape from Nazi Germany, deported the couple to the Theresienstadt ghetto. While her husband did not survive the Holocaust, Else Dormitzer returned to the Netherlands and later moved to the United Kingdom. She became a British national in 1951.

With the help of the Association of Jewish Refugees, an organization based in the UK, and of Frank Harris, founder of the “Nürnberg-Fürth Survivors Group” in the U.S., Alfers was able to locate Dormitzer’s surviving relatives in Europe. They opened their extensive private family archive to her, including poetry and diaries from Theresienstadt. Alfers’ German-language book “weiter schreiben. Leben und Lyrik der Else Dormitzer” (Hentrich & Hentrich, 2015) made Dormitzer’s Holocaust writings available in Germany for the first time. The book also places Dormitzer’s contributions to cultural and social history into context as it traces her life in the 20th century.

Alfers teaches a broad range of German language, culture, and literature courses on all levels of the curriculum.

In her research, Alfers focuses on the literature of the Holocaust, particularly on German-language poetry written in Theresienstadt between 1941-1945. Her English- and German-language publications have appeared in international journals such as Monatshefte, Oxford German Studies, and Études Arméniennes Contemporaines, and her work on Theresienstadt has been translated into Czech for “Terezínské Studie A Dokumenty.” Alfers’ book on the German-Jewish activist and writer Else Dormitzer “weiter schreiben. Leben und Lyrik der Else Dormitzer” was published in late 2015 by Hentrich & Hentrich in Berlin, Germany.

This event is being offered as part of the Western Libraries Reading Series, dedicated to showcasing the scholarly and creative work of Western faculty and staff by featuring diverse speakers from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines who are engaged in research, writing, and teaching at Western.


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Speaking of Maps: Building A Digital Atlas of the PNW

Posted on: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 11:42am

Topic(s): Updates, Events

"Speaking of Maps" - Dr. Aquila Flower, May 3

Dr. Aquila Flower will present “Building a Digital Atlas of the Pacific Northwest” from 4:00-5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 3 in the Map Collection area of Western Libraries.  During her presentation, Flower will show a preview of the Atlas of the Pacific Northwest, and explore some of the fundamental geographical concepts used to make decisions regarding data processing approaches.

This event is free and open to the public.

Understanding processes and patterns that cross international borders is challenging due to a lack of data that covers both sides of the border. With support from the Border Policy Research Institute and the Huxley Spatial Institute, Dr. Flower is helping create the digital Atlas of the Pacific Northwest, an online geospatial data clearinghouse designed to hold seamless cross-border datasets.

“Many geospatial datasets are available only for one specific county. This can create the impression that the world vanishes on the other side of an international border, and is a serious impediment to research and policy decisions,” explained Flower. “Even if you can collect datasets for different countries, you'll often find that they have incompatible geographies, and that the variables they contain were recorded in different units and for different dates.”

Her first addition to the Atlas uses census records from Washington and British Columbia, which allow for seamless analysis of demographic change across the US-Canada border to create a harmonized database of human demography characteristics.  

“Knowing where people live, and how population is likely to change in the near future is critical for making policy decisions. However, census records from the US and Canada are difficult to compare because they are collected in different years, define some variables differently, and the official geospatial datasets do not line up perfectly at the border,” said Flower.

The single dataset will make it easier to compare census records from the US and Canada, and will have consistent spatial characteristics, temporal coverage, and variable definitions that can be useful to policy makers, researchers, and the general public in understanding past, current, and future population distributions in Washington and British Columbia.

Dr. Aquila Flower is an assistant professor of geography at Western where she teaches physical geography and Geographic Information Science courses. Her research focuses primarily on the complex, interactive effects of climate variability, human land use patterns, and natural disturbances on forest ecosystems.

This event is co-sponsored by Western Libraries, Border Policy Research Institute, Huxley Spatial Institute, and Huxley College of the Environment, and is part of the “Speaking of Maps” program, which are quarterly talks are designed to highlight the use and value of maps in research, in teaching and learning, and in daily life.

For more information about the Map Collection or about this event, contact Dennis Matthews, WWU Map Collection manager, at (360) 650-3272 or Dennis.Matthews@wwu.edu.


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Out & Out from the Family to the Community

Posted on: Monday, April 24, 2017 - 9:06am

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Kristin Mahoney to Discuss Author, Artist, & Activist Laurence Housman 

Western Washington University Associate Professor of English Kristin Mahoney will present “Out and Out from the Family to the Community: the Housmans and the Politics of Queer Sibling Devotion" on Tuesday, May 9 at 4:00 p.m. in Western Libraries Special Collections, (Wilson Library 6th floor).

The event is free and open to the public.
 
In “The Unexpected Years” (1937), Laurence Housman recalls his brother Alfred asking, “Was there ever such an interesting family as we were?” While Alfred, author of the tremendously popular “A Shropshire Lad” (1896), was perhaps the most well-known of the Housman siblings, his brother Laurence and sister Clemence also made names for themselves by being outspoken in their advocacy of sexually dissident and feminist causes. Laurence’s illustrations, which appeared in the Decadent periodical the “Yellow Book,” revel in androgyny, and his fairy tales frequently celebrate queer forms of desire and articulate a queer politics. Clemence’s well-received story “The Were-Wolf” (1890) focuses on a dangerous and seductive female werewolf, and she collaborated with Laurence in the production of banners for the suffrage movement.

In this talk, Mahoney will explore the manner in which Laurence and Clemence’s collaborative relationship became the foundation for broader forms of feminist and anticolonial political thinking. She will also address the ways in which Laurence’s advocacy for sex reform informed his posthumous framing of his brother’s sexuality. For the Housman family, queer kinship practices engendered political activism, and political activism fostered queer kinship practices.

Kristin Mahoney is an Associate Professor of English at Western Washington University, where her research and teaching interests include aestheticism, Decadence, and queer studies. She has published articles in Victorian Studies, Criticism, Victorian Review, Victorian Periodicals Review, English Literature in Transition, Nineteenth-Century Prose, and Literature Compass. Her book “Literature and the Politics of Post-Victorian Decadence” was published by Cambridge University Press in 2015. She is currently working on a project entitled “Queer Kinship after Wilde: Transnational Aestheticism and the Family.”

This talk is offered as part of the Heritage Resources Distinguished Speakers program, which are quarterly events ​featuring presenters who are authorities in their respective fields, and who have used Heritage Resources collections significantly in their research.


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WIS Event: Roots of Rhetoric

Posted on: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 - 4:08pm

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Roots of Rhetoric and Writing in the Liberal Arts 

Writing Instruction Support (WIS) is sponsoring an off-campus reading and discussion event for faculty and instructors on Friday May 5, from 4:15-5:15pm. (Please note: this event replaces the one originally scheduled for Friday, April 21st).
 
"Roots of Rhetoric and Writing in the Liberal Arts" will take place at Aslan Brewery here in Bellingham (1313 N. Forest St.). This is a child-friendly location so if you have kids, bring them along!  Join us for an informal discussion of some of the oldest writing on rhetoric and education, Gorgias's "The Encomium of Helen" and "On What is Not or On Nature," and together we’ll consider questions like:
 
o   What purpose should the study of rhetoric and writing serve in a liberal arts curriculum?
o   Is writing a practical skill? A philosophical discipline for the pursuit of wisdom? 
 

RSVPs are appreciated but not required. Please send comments and questions to Julie Dugger, Director of Writing Instruction Support.  Unable to come, but interested in the topic? Click on this link for more info.


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Connecting Communities

Posted on: Monday, April 17, 2017 - 3:04pm

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Connecting Communities Through Service April 28

The Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA) invites students, faculty, staff, and community members to come together for a day of service on Friday, April 28, 2017. Sign up to volunteer during a time of your choosing for one of four different organizations, located both on and off campus.  (Note to WWU staff: this is a great opportunity to use all or part of your “Community Service Day” benefit!)

In 2014, the TLA proposed the creation of a trust-building event in response to that year’s BIG question: How do we ignite individual passion, purpose, and potential to co-create a culture of trust?  The result was an annual spring day of service as part of National Volunteer Week. Besides providing some important service hours to the chosen organization, this event also offers Western employees, students, and community members an opportunity to develop and sustain ongoing relationships by connecting people to local organizations through service to the community.

Volunteer projects include:

  • Lend a Helping Hand: Harriet Spanel Park in the York Neighborhood (off-campus)
  • Comfort Kids Project: The Bellingham Sock Monkey Project (on-campus)
  • Volunteer Chore Program (off-campus)
  • Kitchen Items Drive for House 2 Home (off-campus)

 

Sign up online to reserve your spot! For more information, go to: http://library.wwu.edu/tla_events or email TLA@wwu.edu.

Here’s hoping you’ll join us in service and show how we are all Active Minds Changing Lives!


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