The library now offers patrons the option of receiving circulation notices via text message. If you choose to opt in, you will get overdue, hold pickup, and courtesy notices on your phone, in addition to via email. To opt in, login to My MIDCAT at go/renew, click the “Modify Personal Info” button, enter your mobile phone number, check the “Opt in” box, read the conditions, and click “Submit”. Opt out at any time by following the same procedure and unchecking the “Opt in” button. Contact email@example.com with any questions.
Special Collections’ summer exhibition, In the Footprints of the First German Printers: 1450-1500, retraces the expansion of printing in Europe. The exhibit follows the German pioneers who initiated and spread the historical evolution of the art of bookprinting and developed a tradition that transformed the world of learning.
All but one of the books featured were donated by Helen and Arthur Tashiera, Californian benefactors of Middlebury who summered in Vermont. In 1946, they generously gifted forty-three printed books from the infancy of print, primarily from Italy and Germany. (The other book on display was a gift of Middlebury alumna Ruth Hesselgrave, class of 1918.)
Each book contains the history of the early evolution of printing. By studying the materials of the covers, pages, inks, the page layout implemented, the hand-painted additions to the printed text, we learn about how the first printers’ processes developed and how readers’ interpretation of texts evolved. (And that’s without even reading them!)
In the Footprints of the First German Printers: 1450-1500 was curated by Marie Théberge (P ’10) and designed by Mikaela Taylor (’15) with additional support by Danielle Rougeau and Rebekah Irwin. It will be on display in Davis Family Library atrium (main level) and Harman Periodicals Reading Area (lower level) from June 14th through September 30th.
- Katrina Spencer (KS) is from Los Angeles, California. She is the Literatures & Cultures Librarian and has been at Middlebury for just over a year.
- Karin Hanta (KH) is from Vienna, Austria. She is the Director of Chellis House-Women’s Resource Center and a Visiting Lecturer in Linguistics/Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. She has worked for Middlebury for 15 years.
- Mikayla Hyman (MH) is from Port Washington, New York. She is the founder and president of the Middlebury Refugee Outreach Club (MiddROC), president of the Youthful Alliance of Merrymaking (YAM), Ecology and Evolution Teaching Assistant (TA), Cell Biology and Genetics TA, Academic Chair of Hillel, a Chellis House Monitor and a sophomore.
- Grace Vedock (GV) is from Shawnee, Kansas. She is the president of College Democrats, a member of the Academic Judicial Board, a Chellis House Monitor and a sophomore.
- Taite Shomo (TS) is from Denver, Colorado. She is the Communications Director of College Democrats, a Chellis House Monitor, an It Happens Here Organizer and a sophomore Feb.
- Itzel Diaz (ID) is from Queretaro, Mexico and Austin, Texas. She is a Chellis House Monitor, Riddim World Dance Troupe Member, newly appointed Alianza Event Coordinator (whoop whoop!) and a sophomore Feb.
- Treasure Brooks is a first-year student, co-president of the Black Student Union and a Chellis House Monitor.
- Alice Butler is from Helena, Montana. She is a Campus Tour Guide, member of the Log Rolling Club, Manager of Sunday Night Environmental Group, a WRMC Radio DJ, a Midd View Leader and a junior.
- Cara Eisenstein is from Baltimore, Maryland and is the president of Feminist Action at Middlebury, a Chellis House Monitor and a senior.
- Vishawn Greene is a first-year student and Chellis House Monitor.
- Cat La Roche is from Asbury Park, New Jersey. She is a WRMC deejay, Chellis House Monitor and a first-year student.
What is “fat ‘n’ hairy: ways i’m failing the patriarchy”?
KS: “fat ‘n’ hairy” started when I began to identify and acknowledge this constant feeling of friction I held internally. No matter how much success I achieved in various parts of my life, whether it be earning As in college, securing a stable job or maintaining a group of friends who demonstrated reciprocal love for me, I continually felt like a failure if my body hair wasn’t removed, if my stomach wasn’t flat and if my cleavage and rouged lips weren’t effectively calling to a man. When I stopped to think about where I’d developed these very damaging expectations of myself, I realized I was imposing values on myself that uplifted the patriarchy. These ideas are often channeled through the media but are also passed down generationally within families. I knew I wasn’t alone in wrestling with these nagging voices that were constantly telling me I wasn’t doing enough and I wanted an outlet to manifest a collective discontent. ‘fat ‘n’ hairy” does just that.
KH: A brainchild of Katrina Spencer, who always finds imaginative and provocative ways to engage library visitors in the atrium. With the help of the library staff, Chellis House workers took this idea to the next level, browsing through their favorite patriarchy-defying books and essays and reaching out to fellow students to engage with the topic as well. Our brainstorming and cardmaking gathering with crafts last Wednesday (April 11th) at Chellis House was a great success, connecting patriarchy failures and (hopefully) giving an impetus for the beginning of new friendships between fellow activists.
MH: “fat ‘n’ hairy: ways i’m failing the patriarchy” is a project that allows people to embrace features of their bodies, attitudes, and perception of the world that have traditionally been looked down upon due to misogynistic and patriarchal social structures. Karin gave an excellent summary of the event and its development. Through the multimedia display, people can find comfort and support in the shared experiences of fellow “failures”. Located in the Davis Family Library, the display is a physical representation of the often problematic and patriarchal reification of knowledge and knowledge producing structures. Here, people who are failing the patriarchy can assert their agency, affecting the ways knowledge is produced and what it means to be worthy.
What about this project resonated with you?
GV: I enjoy the variety of material we have on display and I hope that there is something that resonates with everyone. As a lesbian, I wanted to make sure that there is queer visibility in our materials, because resisting the patriarchy is not a task made solely for straight women. As is seen in the notecards (the participatory aspect of the project), there are so many ways in which someone can resist the patriarchy, be it by engaging with our material, participating in movements, or even just taking the time to be thoughtful and intentional with your words and actions. I love the honesty of people’s responses.
KS: Women are subject to an inordinate amount of scrutiny based on sex and gender expression alone. Are they too loud? Are they loud enough? Can they cook? Are they nurturing? Can they support themselves? Are they gold diggers? Do they need to color their roots? Should they be wearing that? I noticed that a lot of the critique the world exposes women to and a lot of the critiques we make of ourselves are based on a body of standards that our external to us. We don’t make the rules– nor are we consulted on them– but we are expected to abide by them.
TS: This project really resonated with me because there are so many ways that we fail the patriarchy every single day without even realizing it, and this gave me and other people in the community the opportunity to reflect on patriarchy and empowerment. In some ways, existing at all in a world that constantly seeks to oppress us is a way that women, People of Color, LGBT+ people, and other marginalized groups are failing the patriarchy and systems of oppression generally.
ID: This project is incredibly stimulating to a variety of different senses, which is something that I really love about it. There’s something visual, something musical, and something uniquely beautiful about the power that is derived from every aspect that makes up this project. Furthermore, I really enjoyed how much this project started and has continued to grow. It started out as a feeling that is shared by many womyn, and now, it is a beacon that serves as a reminder of unity and empowerment. I hope this project catches someone’s eye and allows them to pause and reflect on how they’re contributing to, failing, or attempting to fail the patriarchy.
KH: This project brought up a lot of memories: of my 10-year-old self, when my mother chopped off all my hair because it was too “unruly;” of my middle school self when my hair grew back all in curls because of puberty and my Latin teacher again chided me for having “unruly” hair; of an ex-boyfriend who, after we broke up, said he would miss my hair (as if my hair was my only distinctive feature); the time I organized a lecture and discussion about hair at Middlebury in 2010 with the late and great Carol Rifelj. It’s all entangled!
Had you done any work like this before?
KS: Two answers: yes and no. Crowd-sourced, collaborative displays? Yes, alla time. Group projects with a strong, public, feminist current driving them? No, but Sophia Wallace’s Cliteracy, the natural hair movement within the Black community and the wave of women allowing their underarm hair to grow and dyeing it, too, surely had a significant impact on me. Women are authoring new relationships with their bodies and, as “we” say in contemporary slang, “I’m here for it.”
GV: No – fat ‘n’ hairy is remarkably unique. I feel like I am constantly telling people “Oh, you have to read this article” or someone sends me book recommendations that I never get around to reading, so I really enjoy that we’ve created an entire cache of recommendations. There are so many incredible books, movies, podcasts, etc. out there, and I love how we can share these recommendations amongst each other.
ID: No, I have not. Which sucks! This is such an amazing and fun project to collaborate on and add to. I definitely hope to continue to do more projects like this.
MH: This past J-Term I worked with Mika Morton ‘19 to organise and curate a Feminist Science Art Show. We reached out to students to facilitate the creation of art inspired by both intersectional feminist ides and the natural sciences. fat ‘n’ hairy reminds me of a painting created by Rachel Nelson ‘18. In resplendent, fantastical, non-realistic colors, Nelson used oil paint to depict a woman’s point of view while looking down at her own body. The hairy nipples and distended stomach were as empowering as they were beautiful. Nelson “works to remind people of beauty and of the sacredness of ourselves and the world”, and she certainly accomplished that goal with this piece. Also, it was hilarious to see multiple men stare at the painting and think it was mountains, and consequently get to tell them of a different interpretation. There is a picture of me with the painting at left. I am honored to be a part of another wonderful project!
What messages is this interactive display trying to forward?
KS: Women exist for purposes beyond tailoring our bodies for men’s consumption. Moreover, the body is a vessel and a vehicle. The person people want to access exists inside of it.
TS: Women and other marginalized groups have so many expectations and restrictions placed on their bodies, actions, and thoughts. I’m hoping that, by engaging with this display, viewers can both feel empowered in their bodies and selves and reminded of the harmful effects patriarchy has on ALL of us.
ID: Womyn are incredibly powerful, but we’re constantly being told to move a certain way, to sit in a certain way, to live in a certain way, and to exist in a certain way. I hope that by engaging in this display, womyn understand the way the patriarchy has affected them. This awareness is what will hopefully continue to drive this revolution of womyn empowerment and solidarity.
KH: We need to fail the patriarchy even more and find new imaginative ways to do so!
Who is the primary audience? Secondary?
KS: For me, I want other women to feel empowered and to feel even greater agency over their bodies. I want men to be reminded of women’s agency over our own bodies.
GV: The primary audience is supposed to be women. But really, the collection of resources we have can and should resonate with everybody. Anyone can fail the patriarchy. The patriarchy imposes expectations on women, but women are by no means the only people who should be actively resisting patriarchal norms. Masculinity was something we’ve talked about at length. The patriarchy also imposes gender norms and binaries – it’s important to remember that though women are the intended audience, genderqueer and gender non-binary people are actively oppressed by the patriarchy.
ID: Everyone should be a part of this audience who engages with this material. It should not be exclusive because we are all affected by the patriarchy.
KH: I hope that this exhibition activates the brain cells of everybody who cares to examine the display.
How did you interact with library collections to develop this project?
MH: A big chunk of the recommended books, artists, and musicians were all gathered during a Chellis House meeting. One night, Karin Hanta and all of the Chellis House Monitors sat in a circle and uploaded the titles/names of a variety of books, music, and artists to a Google Excel sheet. It was a wonderful to share such awesome resources and empower one another!
KS: A list of relevant materials/thematic content was crowdsourced.
KH: Thank you to Katrina, Rachel Manning and Kat Cyr!
ID: Katrina is such an amazing humyn being! Karin– thank you so much for collaborating with Katrina and for involving all of the Chellis House monitors.
How does the discussion of gender continue after the display is taken down?
ID: The conversation of gender should always continue! I’m hoping to see the biopic on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg [RBG]. Additionally, I continue to engage in this conversation with men (in particular with my amazing boyfriend Ronnie Tapiwa Shereni), and we both discuss how the patriarchy has influenced the both of us and how to combat it!
GV: When isn’t a good time to discuss gender? I hope that the display inspires people to learn more about gender issues and engage in positive dialogue and action. Gender inequality and patriarchal standards inform so much of our lives and society, so I hope that people become cognizant of ways that they can subvert these norms.
KH: Chellis House lives and breathes feminism. I am going to check into whether we can have a private screening of [the] RBG [biopic].
- senior Rachel Nelson (RN)
- sophomore Coralie Tyler (CT)
- sophomore Reg Eva Bod (EB)
In terms of multiracial identity, how do you identify?
RN: I’ve started identifying as “Not Black, Not White” or maybe just “Not”. Most of my life I identified as black and white.
CT: I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. Raised between the U.S., South Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia. Ethnically, I’m Irish, Scottish and German through my dad, and I’m Afro-French, Portuguese, and Japanese through my mom. I always identified as being mixed race/multiracial.
EB: Mixed. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Raised in Wisconsin and Massachusetts.
Did you have any exposure to any books/shows/movies featuring and/or reflecting multiracial individuals and their families growing up? How did you feel about them?
RN: Hm. I feel like I had access to ‘African’/’African American’ things and white people things. I don’t think I was exposed to anything involving a mixed couple/mixed people… unless it was like a novel I read on slavery and about how lighter slaves worked in the house and could occasionally read, escape easier… but yeah. Not like that was a role model for me. And I read a ton growing up.
I don’t think not having a role model affected me negatively much growing up. My dad’s biracial, and I’m the kid who literally looks half him and half my white mother.
My parents did a really good job at letting us know we were different, they were talking awhile ago about our drawings of our family and we always chose the yellow crayon for white people and tried mixing the yellow with the brown for us kids. I’m the youngest of three kids. Sometime in later middle school the fact that I was completely white passing made itself clear to me. When the ‘only white’ kids could get tanner than me, or kept their tans longer— I was really jealous actually. When I was in like, elementary school, I regularly would pick a freckle/birthmark out on my skin and wish I was that color, imagine myself like that, so I could be like my aunts.
I wish I had more exposure to multiracial identities growing up. I think it would’ve helped me understand what being white-passing means and given me more strength in dealing with that and who I am.
CT: I don’t actively recall recognizing prominent characters like me (whether it’s similar to my background or not) in TV shows and films although I would now be able to pinpoint several examples from my childhood. I am definitely more aware of mixed race families and individuals whenever I partake in media these days.
My parents always pointed out actors, athletes, musicians and other famous figures that are mixed race. Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Kimora Lee Simmons are ones that I recall being in awe of as they were like me. As a family, we still like to causally point out mixed people in the media to each other. My brother does it a lot with athletes and musicians while I tend to do it more with movies, TV shows and fashion since that’s my niche.
My parents also made it a point to expose us to multiracial kids and their families (regardless of the mixture), introduce us to their multiracial adult friends and surround us with people with who saw us as mixed race.
That definitely played a huge part in being confident and proud of our heritages and uniqueness for my brother and me.
EB: When I was little, I had a cloth doll named Babette. My hair was blonde like her yarn hair, but my nose was round and I wanted it to be like hers. I waited until I was 11 to see a black Disney princess. My lips were full like Tiana’s (from The Princess and the Frog), but my color didn’t match her beautiful skin. It wasn’t until I found Jidenna, a rapper/singer/songwriter, that I learned about mixed excellence. He found power in fashion, and I found power in his voice. For those unfamiliar with him: Jidenna grew up in Wisconsin and Massachusetts (like me) and spends his time curating his signature style, marrying European and West African aesthetics. Our parents taught us “how to make a silver spoon out of plastic” in an environment that uses binaries against us. In his words, “well done’s better than well said” (a lyric from Jidenna’s “Long Live the Chief“).
What do you wish people understood more about multiracial identities?
EB: I wish people understood non-binary racial identity. I am not a chameleon, becoming “white” or “black” depending on my surroundings. I am European, Island Carib, Asian, and African. Just because my father is not African American, doesn’t mean he’s ignorant to the black experience in America. He is black and he has been discriminated against, too. Blackness is not always binary.
Some white people will see me as white, and some POCs (people of color) will see me as black. I am neither, I am both.
RN: I’m invisible. In all settings.
I heard a girl at the Loving Day* celebration (a court case that has twice enabled me to exist legally) standing right behind me complaining about all the white people there, and I was there with my white-passing friend and his white girlfriend and I just turned around and was like, “Hi, we’re not white, we’re just white-passing,” and my friend waved. I didn’t want to deal with it beyond that, so I turned around. And I understand this skin tone gives me so much privilege, but like everyone, I didn’t ask for it, and I didn’t want it.
I don’t usually remember specific instances of white people being racist. Probably because I avoid those people and haven’t worked in really conservative and rural areas. Or maybe because I swallow it down.
I feel like whenever we talk about race, I have to ‘come-out’ about it. That gives me a lot of anxiety because I don’t feel like I have a claim to say that I am either of these two races. It’s probably why I’m identifying as ‘Not’ now.
CT: That being multiracial is being intersectional 24/7. Being mixed race means that you have multiple backgrounds, cultures, belief systems and histories within you. You find yourself looking at things in multiple ways that helps you find a perspective that people may not necessarily discover. I am unable to look at things from one “side” without having to reconcile it with the others. By the time you combine that with your gender, sexuality, upbringing, nationality, etc., you realize that the way you see things is entirely different and that not everyone would get that. I think it’s the most beautiful part of being mixed.
Are there any sources (books, magazines, movies, shows, music) you would recommend to learn more about multiracial heritage and multiracial families/ the historical and cultural contributions of multiracial individuals?
CT: Loving, which is a film based off of the Loving v. Virginia case back in 1967. Although the case isn’t very well known, it was responsible for the legalization of interracial marriage and paved the way for same-sex marriage rights later on.
Once in a while, I read and re-read this article Meghan Markle wrote for Elle Magazine back when she was still an actress titled, “I’m More Than An Other.” She talks about her sense of identity and how her upbringing as a mixed race child impacted her sense of self, career and so on. As she has been recently catapulted into the world’s public sphere as the newest member of the British Royal Family, it’s amazing to see such a person unapologetically self-identify as multiracial, which plays a huge role in representation and awareness for mixed race individuals around the world in this era.
EB: If you’d like a statement for allies asking to be taught about race, read: “When You Walk Into the Valley” by John Metta, a writer on Medium.
*Loving Day (June 12) is the date that commemorates the Loving v. Virginia case that lifted the ban on interracial marriages throughout the United States back in 1967. Today, it is celebrated by multiracial families and individuals around the world.
To see an exhaustive list of the materials included in the Davis Family Library’s atrium display, visit this spreadsheet.
Starting on Monday night, April 9th, the exterior doors of the library will be locked starting at 9 pm. A valid Middlebury student, staff, or faculty ID card will be required to enter the library after that time. This is being done to help ensure that Middlebury students have a secure and quiet place to work and study in the late hours of the evening.
In preparation for our upcoming merge of the Middlebury and MIIS library catalogs, our vendor, Innovative Interfaces, Inc., will be adding a 2nd serials and acquisition unit to our Millennium installation. This addition requires a short period of downtime, which will occur on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 4AM-8AM. During this period, MIDCAT will be unavailable, including lookup and checkout functions.
Thank you for your patience, and we apologize for any inconvenience.
Director, Discovery and Access Services
Davis Family Library
Name: Katrina Spencer
Hometown: Los Angeles
Role at Middlebury: Literatures & Cultures Librarian
Time at Middlebury: 1 year, 10 days
Katrina, are you prepping a display… again?
Yes, I have a problem.
What’s it about?
My problem or the display?
I have an obsessive streak that is manifesting itself in this way. The display is a small celebration of Valentine’s Day. It’s called “Blind Date With A Book.” My former supervisor, Jessica Newman, at Steenbock Library at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, hipped me to it.
Doesn’t that kind of crowd the atrium?
Yes, we have a lot of great collections we want to highlight. Currently we have at least three temporary displays there: the Black History Month Display, the New England Review’s display, and Blind Date With A Book. (On the Upper Level, a display called “Hair Me Out” is being prepped, too. See if you can find it.)
What’s special about Blind Date With A Book?
Well, with this one, it’s only there for a limited time: February 11th- 19th. Many of the items are wrapped up so you can’t see what the title is and by unwrapping it, you make a small commitment of getting to know the work without knowing much about its content, hence the concept of a blind date. ;)
Take a selfie with the book you unwrap so we can show the match made in heaven on Facebook. Tag “Middlebury College Libraries.”
Also, don’t miss out on Special Collections’ (SC) awesome event, “DIY Valentine Event,” Tuesday February 13th. SC always has cool stuff.
As an aside, I noticed we didn’t have many love stories featuring people of color so that will launch some new acquisitions: Love and Basketball, Love Jones and Poetic Justice. The form at go.middlebury.edu/requests will allow you to make requests, too. For now, minimally, we have Chico & Rita. ;)
Who helped you to shape this?
You want me to name my accomplices?
Leanne Galletly did the wrapping. Marlena Evans supplied numerous items, the book cart and the heart-shaped decorations. Kat Cyr also added titles that would be thematically appropriate for the project. I. . . I am an endless source of ideas.
Is that why they hired you?
Maybe. That and the degree (MSLIS). And the willingness.
Can you give us a hint as to what lies beneath the wrapping?
- There may or may not be a classic work by a world famous South American writer there.
- There may or may not be a work dedicated to telling Muslim women’s stories of love.
- There may or may not be the story of two men falling in love and having to hide their intimacy from the world.
So who’s your Valentine?