On the Shelf: Powerful Pages

Alumni authors are tackling some of today’s current issues.

Empowered by Sarah Banet-Weiser. ’89, MA ’90, PhD ’95

Empowered critiques the conflict between popular, publicized feminism in the age of social media, and the disturbing rise of misogyny by focusing on their relationship in advertising, online, multimedia platforms and in commercial and nonprofit campaigns. She argues that the popular brand of feminism possess a high amount of commercial appeal, but it does not actually help progress feminism. Instead, it may encourage misogynistic ideals it campaigns against due to its focus on “empowering” those who are already in relatively privileged positions.

Learn more about Empowered here.


Resisting War: How Communities Protect Themselves by Oliver Kaplan ’01

During times of civil conflict and war, the traditional depiction of local, civilian populations as victims or “collateral” is challenged by author Oliver Kaplan. By using fieldwork and statistical analysis, he explains how unarmed communities in areas of civil conflict protect themselves and pressure armed groups to limit their violence. Kaplan investigates the cases of Columbia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria, to do so and to further depict how communities maintain their autonomy.

Learn more about Resisting War: How Communities Protect Themselves here.


Art For An Undivided Earth by Jessica L. Horton ’06

Horton discussing the Native American narrative in art, how the American Indian Movement (AIM) was redefined by a generation of artists looking to define themselves and their culture. While she chronicles this, Horton also provides various theories about global modernism, racial differences, new modernism and how these elements affect the indigenous artists, or are being reinvented by them. Through her discourse with contemporary indigenous artists at the forefront of Native American art, Horton creates a spatially, temporally and materially unified world.

Learn more about Art For An Undivided Earth here.

The Race of Sound: Listening, Timbre & Vocality in African American Music by Nina Sun Eidsheim, PhD ’08

The Race of Sound depicts how the interpretation of voice may seem natural but is actually socially produced. It explores how listeners define race, gender, vocal technique and timbre of a speaker or singer through their voice; and how these assumptions and judgements are made by racial subjectivities. Eidsheim’s ability to systematically lay out these subconscious prejudices and explain how they can be unlearned within the context of listening to voices helps advocate equality. It also teaches important cultural and historical elements of musicology.

Learn more about The Race of Sound: Listening, Timbre & Vocality in African American Music here.

How to Set Yourself on Fire by Julia Dixon Evans ’00

How to Set Yourself on Fire by Julia Dixon Evans deals with revolutions of the heart. After Sheila’s grandmother dies, she inherits a box of secret love letters to her grandmother that definitely are not from her grandfather, and she decides to search for the man who wrote them; with the help of her neighbor, Vinnie and his daughter, Torrey, who both carry the weight of their own tragic circumstances. How to Set Yourself on Fire tells the fictitious, yet heartwarming story of a woman whose struggled with a stunted life but found meaning through her family’s past and the friendships she makes on the way.

Learn more about How to Set Yourself on Fire here.