Category Archives: Post for MiddNotes

A banner with black lettering and white background labeled "what is whiteness?" and six headshots of the authors

what is whiteness?: a critical examination

The Davis Family Library has highlighted a variety of groups and discourses through displays over the last 10 months including racial/ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities and themes of access and universal design. Take the opportunity now to critically examine whiteness as an identity and system of privilege. Visit the Davis Family Library lobby December 1st through the 17th to see works that highlight this topic. Also, listen to Dr. Laurie Essig and Dr. Daniel Silva interrogate whiteness as a social and historical construct via StoryCorps with transcript found at On Whiteness with Laurie Essig, Daniel Silva, Katrina Spencer. Use the whiteness glossary to enhance your vocabulary surrounding this topic. All underlined terms and more appear in the glossary.

Listen to the “On Whiteness” interview here.

Continue reading

A Subsaharan backdrop with an adult white Barbie posed with and surrounded by black African children

whiteness: a glossary

20+ Relevant Terms for Discussing Whiteness

As a supplementary addendum to the “what is whiteness?” blog post, display and StoryCorps interview, some Middlebury staff and faculty have put together an informal glossary of terms that helps the community to discuss whiteness. For more on these terms, use reference materials and other published works found on this crowd-sourced list and beyond.

Contributors’ Names; Hometowns; Roles on Campus; Times At Midd:

  • Katrina Spencer; Los Angeles, California; Literatures and Cultures Librarian; 10 months.
  • Daniel Silva; Newark, New Jersey; Professor of Portuguese; 4 years
  • Laurie Essig; from a lot of places, mostly NYC; Professor of Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies; 11 years
  • Amy Frazier; Memphis, Tennessee; Film & Media Librarian; 2 years.
  • Tara Affolter; Peoria, Illinois; Professor of Education Studies; 9 years

Terms:

bleaching/whitening; columbising; colorism; cultural (mis)appropriation; dominant culture/hegemony; double consciousness; Eugenics; invisibility/hypervisibility; miscegenation; passing; WASP; white anxiety; white fragility; white gaze; white guilt; white privilege; white savior complex; white supremacy; white tears; white trash; wypipo

two images of the same man with dark brown skin on the left and considerably paler skin on the right

A screenshot from Twitter user @LittleButTalawa‘s feed depicting before and after pictures of former baseball star Sammy Sosa, an athlete from the Dominican Republic. He has deep brown skin on the left and considerably paler skin on the right.

bleaching/whitening: Both of these terms describe processes in which people attempt to alter/reduce the pigmentation in their skin, typically to increase their social capital or perceived social capital. An additional element of this practice can include people avoiding exposure to the sun for fear of its potential skin darkening effect. In many cultures, bleaching and whitening reflect a prioritization and preference for a beauty paradigm that values pale/light skin. To see more on this industry and samples of products used for this practice, visit Dencia’s Whitenicious page. (Katrina) Continue reading

24/7 exam hours at the Davis Family Library

The Davis Family Library will be open 24 hours a day starting Sunday morning, December 3rd. Regular hours resume for Friday and Saturday, December 8th and 9th, then 24/7 resumes until 11 pm on Friday, December 15th. After 11 pm, you will need your ID to access the building. After 1 am, there will be no circulation services provided – the library will only function as a quiet study space.

Armstrong Library will have regular hours.

A full calendar of the hours can be found at go/hours

Finding Sources at Middlebury Libraries

The library has millions of resources, but how do you start to find the exact title you’re looking for? The answer isn’t one size fits all. Check out the top ways to find sources below:

Finding sources at the library infographic

Research Guides

Librarian approved! These guides highlight relevant resources and databases on specific subjects and are a great place to start your research. go/guides/

Summon

Library search engine, results will show everything  the library has access to. Use the filters on the left side to narrow your results down to a manageable amount. go/summon/

MIDCAT

The traditional online library catalog, MIDCAT is a great tool when you know a specific feature of what you’re looking for like the author’s name, title, or subject of the work. go/midcat/

Interlibrary Loan

Fear not! If Middlebury doesn’t have the resource you want, you can still have it (though it might take a little longer than pulling a book off the shelves) Submit an ILL request for anything we’ll get a copy for you! go/ill/

Still Not Sure?

Meet a librarian at the Research Desk or schedule a consultation, no question is too small. go/AskUs/

Throwback Thursday: Kat Cyr

Some of the employees working within the libraries once had other roles and separate affiliations with Middlebury. Follow their (r)evolutions on the first Thursday of every month this semester.

Name: Kat Cyr

Former Role(s) on Campus: Midd Class of 2011, Japanese Major, Linguistics Minor

(also a Japanese Summer Language School Alumnus)

Current Role on Campus: Interlibrary Loan Associate

When was this photo taken?

When I was studying abroad in Kyoto in 2010. This was before we had established a Midd-specific school in Japan so I was there via the Associated Kyoto Program (AKP).

What were you doing in this photo?

I’d gone up to Kurama Hot Springs with a bunch of friends for a day of cultural enrichment (i.e. soaking in huge volcanic baths) and inter-college outreach (i.e. goofing about with fellow study abroad students from other schools). We had gathered a small group of Magic enthusiasts and were playing in between soaking sessions; we were using Japanese cards of course, so studying was still happening. We were just also in our fancy robes, sipping tea, occasionally amusing the other hot spring patrons. I seem to remember several little old ladies approaching us in the bath to chat. It was a delightful day.

How have things changed in your life since then?

I’m a couple years older, a couple degrees further in debt, now thoroughly obsessed with fiber arts, and very much turning into a crazy cat lady librarian. Also my Japanese is much, much better than it was then.

What hasn’t?

I still love hot springs, though my access to them is now non-existent. I also drink entirely too much tea, study Japanese whenever possible, and play geeky games on a regular basis.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

I love seeing all the interesting books that people request through ILL. We see some really cool things requested for research purposes, from microfilm of obscure government documents to foreign language comics to massive road maps. As schools borrow things from our library we also get to see some of the coolest books from the stacks that I would never have thought we’d have. And then there are just the awesome book recs we get from people ILLing fiction of various kinds. ILL is a spectacular place to work if you love books.

What is on the horizon?

I’m currently working my way out of debt and trying to establish a home that is a little less temporary than my string of dorm rooms and office-provided apartments. Other than that, I haven’t thought that far into the future. Right I’m just taking things one day at a time.

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Image of the banner used in the November 2017 display including headshots from the class at left and a Native American woman in traditional headdress at right

Celebrating Native American/Indigenous and Alaska Native Heritage Month

In honor of Native American/Indigenous and Alaska Native Heritage Month, Dr. Irina Feldman’s Spanish 324 Class, Images of America, has collaborated with the Davis Family Library to develop a display including works that commemorate the many peoples belonging to these groups throughout the Americas. Visit the Davis Family Library to see the display and read more about how it all was shaped below. We thank Marlena Evans, Caleb Turner, Alaina HanksOshin Bista and all the unseen laborers and sponsors who make these projects successful.

The display in the Davis Family Library lobby will be staffed by students from the class on the evenings of November 6th and 7th to answer your questions on this theme. Plan to join us at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, November 27th in the Robert A. Jones (RAJ) ’59 Conference Room when Chief of the Nulhegan Coosouk Abenaki Don Stevens will join the Middlebury College community for a talk on life in Vermont as a person of indigenous heritage. Also, stay tuned for Dr. Brandon Baird’s talk, “Unequivocally Authentic: Mayan Language and Identity in Modern Guatemala,” in the Carol Rifelj Lecture Series hosted by the Center for Teaching, Learning & Research on November 29th. The site go.middlebury.edu/calendar has more details. Continue reading

Trending Questions: How should I start?

Trending Questions“I have to write a research paper. How should I start?”

We’re hearing this question a lot these days, and we aren’t surprised. The librarians at the Research Desk have helped many students begin working on research papers — and the process is a little different every time. Depending on the assignment (how long is the paper? what are the requirements and goals? when is it due?), the topic, and the prep work you’ve done already, we might suggest beginning in Summon, or MIDCAT, or… on a sheet of notebook paper where you’ll jot down a few keywords to get the thoughts flowing.

If this trending question has been on your mind lately too, go ahead and ask a librarian! Find us at the Research Desk in the Davis Family Library, behind the Circulation Desk at the Armstrong Library, or online at go/askus/.

Throwback Thursday: Katrina Spencer

Literatures & Cultures Librarian Katrina Spencer visits Downtown Guadalajara Mexico with the Spanish School in 2010.

Name: Katrina Spencer

Former Role(s) on Campus: Master of Spanish Grad Student, Class of 2010; Portuguese School, 2014

Current Role on Campus: Literatures & Cultures Librarian

When was this photo taken?

Summer 2010

What were you doing in this photo?

I was studying in Guadalajara Mexico, completing my last requirements for my degree. There was a scheduled field trip for touring the downtown portion of the city. Here we’re all in an historic governmental building. It looks like one of my classmates caught me reviewing photos in my camera.

How have things changed in your life since then?

A number of things have changed in the last seven years. I’ve gained some weight. ;) Traveled to West Africa. Studied Arabic. (Mastering Spanish certainly gave me the confidence to approach other languages, though just last week I had a “por vs. para” slip up.) Started working in the professional world. And. . . have finally approached persuading myself to explore meatless meals.

What hasn’t?

I still wear leggings around three times a week. My tennis shoes (Tigers ‘n’ Reeboks) and purse (long strap and slightly exotic design) preferences are rather equal to those in the photo. I still strive for an abstract ethos and ideology of “equity.”

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

I get paid well to listen to and help students I love.

What is on the horizon?

I still have an appetite to build on the minimal foundation I have in Arabic. There are so many things I want to read: David Sedaris, Toni Morrison, Nicole A. Cooke… I’d also like to meet my niece.

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