Quick Announcement: This week, January 22nd- 26th, the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Social Affairs Committee is hosting a cultural expo called “Taste of the World,” featuring foods from all over the globe. This week-long event includes explorations of world cuisine, calligraphy, dance workshops, a film screening of Fruitvale Station, an open-mic night interspersed with performances by dance troupes Evolution, Riddim, K-Pop and many more! There will also be a panel addressing several types of art featuring Christal Brown (Dance), Damascus Kafumbe (Music) and Marissel Hernández-Romero (Spanish & Portuguese)! For more information, see the event’s Facebook page at go/middlebury.edu/taste and stop by the Davis Family Library to see this thematic display! Event Contact: Adiza Mohammed, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can you hear that? Our graphic novels are calling out to you this month! New signs in the Davis Family Library lead you right to this collection of more than 450 illustrated works of fiction and non-fiction.
Come and visit the Graphic Novels Collection, just after the movies on the main level of the Davis Family Library. You’ll see Alison Bechdel’s memoir Fun Home, Neil Gaman’s fantasy Sandman, Eleanor Davis’ quirky collection of short stories How to be Happy, and more. We’re sure you’ll wander out with a few.
Want a preview? Browse the collection in MIDCAT:
Genre: Graphic Novels
Hey, there’s a new display up of Very Short Introductions to usher in the New Year. Come check it out, January 3rd- 26th!
Katrina (Literatures & Cultures Librarian), what are these books?
Every title featured on the table belongs to the Very Short Introductions series. They attempt to treat big themes in relatively few pages. The topics covered are broad in range from anything as abstract as “love,” as concrete as “water,” as complex and involved as “American politics,” as controversial and problematic as “racism” and as esoteric as “Kant.”
How many do we own?
Between the print and digital volumes, our MIDCAT catalog shows records for over 500 items in the Very Short Introductions series.
Why are they on display?
Aside from having beautiful, eye-catching colors and covers, J-Term is dedicated to studying one particular theme intensely and for a brief period of time. These items are rather “meta” because they have the same objective. Do you see what we did there? ;)
How do I get access to more?
Visit go/midcat/ (or, from off campus, go.middlebury.edu/midcat) and type in “very short introductions” as a keyword search. The results will list what we own in our collection in both print and e-format.
Is there a place that I can see the whole listing in the series?
How long will they be out in the lobby?
We’ve chosen a small collection of thirty items to represent the series and they will be in the lobby either from January 3rd- January 26th or until you, your buddies and colleagues pick them up and check them out. ;) You can always pick them up off the shelves to check them out and remember that Armstrong has various very short introductions in its holdings, too! For example, climate change, fungi, hormones, infectious disease, moons, nuclear physics and viruses, just to mention a few!
How many can I check out?
We haven’t got a limit.
Is the writing accessible?
I say yes. However, reading them is not like reading a novel. The works are more academic in nature and reflect the words of experts and years of research. While made and written for the layperson, don’t expect character development– perhaps except in the cases of Jesus, Muhammad, Goethe and other historical figures– and plot. (Speaking of which, they could likely use some historical figures who are women in this series like the Queen of Sheba, Juana Inés de la Cruz, Marie Curie and Malala Yousafzai. Just sayin’.) They are written to be informative and, as with many other items in our collection that serves academic needs, you may find yourself drawn to certain chapters or sections and less inclined to read from the first word to the very last.
Can I use these works for my research?
Yes, of course! Though tiny, these works are credible sources that can supplement broader research and be cited like any other. Here is a sample citation:
Parker, John, and Richard Rathbone. African History: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.
Which is your favorite?
Me? I’m partial to the ones that feature religious themes, like the Koran and the Bible. Religion shapes so much of our lives and mores and having the opportunity to understand the contexts in which sacred texts were born is really enlightening. Since developing November’s display featuring Native American history and related content, I’ve also been eyeing the one on North American Indians. And there’s the one on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, something I’ve been trying to get a greater grasp on for nearly all my life.
Who’s behind this effort?
Every– EVERY– display is a group effort. Many invisible hands make these displays possible. While I’m a great source of ideas ;), Kat Cyr, Rachel Manning and their student workers help to pull items from the shelves, Marlena Evans consistently has excellent feedback (and leadership) on design and Kim Gurney and Dan Frostman exercise a lot of patience with me and my constant requests for reserving props and status changes. Come by and see the culmination of our work!
Happy New Year! ITS is pleased to announce a new printing method called Mobility Print which is now available through our Papercut printing service. Mobility Print enables you to install print queues on your personally-owned computer through a one-time process, then print directly from your applications using File/Print thereafter. Unlike with Web Print, you’ll be able to print in a variety of ways — specific pages, single- or double-sided, color or black and white — all without the need to upload your files.
Visit http://go/mobileprint/ for instructions on how to set up printers on macOS and Windows computers, then say “goodbye” to Web Print and its limitations.
- Mobility Print is intended for single user computers. On Windows computers, whoever added the printer will be charged, regardless of who is currently logged in.
- Mobility Print is not intended for use on college-owned computers as these can already connect easily to networked printers. Refer to http://go/print?win/ or http://go/print?mac/ for details.
- ITS does not currently support Mobility Print from iOS, Android, Chrome OS, or Linux.
We are pleased to let you know that the Adobe Creative Cloud 2018 suite is now available for installation on eligible computers.
Current Adobe users will need to remove older application versions from their college computers first, then install the new 2018 versions to maintain compatibility with our labs and other colleagues. To simplify this upgrade process, self service options are available for both Mac and Windows college-owned machines.
Here are the upgrade steps for college-owned computers:
- Review details about how to use the self service website.
- Login at http://go.middlebury.edu/kss, then click the blue Want Software? button.
- Click the link for Install CCUninstaller to remove all older Adobe Creative Cloud applications.
- Confirm that Device to install software on shows your computer’s Midd sticker #, then click the Install button.
- This will bring you to a download history page. Please wait at least 10 minutes, then check the Programs list from your the start menu to see if the Adobe apps are gone.
- Reboot your computer.
- Login again at http://go.middlebury.edu/kss, click Want Software?, then click the link for Install Adobe Photoshop (or Indesign or Illustrator). Allow at least 15 minutes for the install to begin.
Important: Macs require El Capitan OS (10.11) or greater to install Adobe’s CC 2018 suite!
- Review details about how to find and use the Self Service utility.
- Save a copy of the Plug-ins folder from your computer’s Application folder (e.g., /Applications/Adobe Photoshop CC 2017/Plug-ins/) in advance, as the upgrade process may remove existing ones.
- Launch the Self Service utility.
- Click Featured in the right-hand pane.
- Click the Uninstall button to run Adobe CC Uninstall – through 2017.0 to remove all older Adobe Creative Cloud applications.
- Your computer should reboot automatically after the older Adobe software has been removed.
- Launch Self Service once again, then return to Featured.
- Click Install to run the Adobe 2018 application installers you need. Important Note: Adobe Acrobat DC will need to be re-installed if you had it before; it is available through Self Service as well.
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: Zach Schuetz
Former Role(s) on Campus: Class of 2011, Japanese Major, Linguistics Minor; Japanese Language School 2009
Current Role on Campus: Senior Technology Specialist; Advisor, Xenia Social House
When was this photo taken? Fall 2008, at the Quidditch World Cup (then hosted in Middlebury.)
What were you doing in this photo?
Just observing, though in other years I competed or performed with the Mountain Ayres for the halftime show.
How have things changed in your life since then? I’ve gained a lot of perspective on what I want out of life and what I’m willing to do to get there. For example, I love teaching, so at the time I was planning to be a college professor. But I’m not that excited about doing original research, so instead I found a position where I still get to teach and answer questions, but in a less formal setting, and without the stress of grad school and adjunct hell.
What hasn’t? I still speak Japanese sometimes, and I still enjoy watching anime, playing tabletop games, and attending events at Xenia. I also wear my wizard hat to work on special occasions.
What’s your favorite thing about your job? The satisfaction of solving a difficult puzzle, helping students and faculty do all the awesome things they do (both in an IT context and at Xenia), and getting to live and work in the wonderful community at Midd.
What is on the horizon? Getting more involved with the community and seeking social and romantic opportunities here and in Burlington. Paying off student loans and saving up for a down payment on a house so I can start to think about settling down.
For more posts like these, like our Facebook page.
The Davis Family Library has highlighted a variety of groups through displays over the last 10 months including racial minorities, the LGBTQ+ community and the disabled. 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 Drs. Laurie Essig and 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.
Names; Hometowns; Roles on Campus; Times At Midd:
AM: Addie Mahdavi; Newfane, Vermont; American Studies Major— Part of Middlebury Anarchist Coalition; Women’s Ultimate Frisbee. I’m entering my fourth year at Middlebury.
AF: Amy Frazier; Memphis, Tennessee; Film & Media Librarian; 2 years.
KS: Katrina Spencer; Los Angeles, California; Literatures and Cultures Librarian; 10 months.
LE: Laurie Essig; from a lot of places, mostly NYC; Professor of Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies; 11 years
DS: Daniel Silva; Newark, New Jersey; Professor of Portuguese; 4 years
TA: Tara Affolter; Peoria, Illinois; Professor of Education Studies; 9 years
Do you identify as white?
AM: I do identify as white. My relationship with whiteness can feel complicated by my also being Iranian (and vice versa), but I am read and I move through the world as a white person, so that’s how I identify racially.
AF: It’s just an acknowledgement of reality: I’m so, so white. My family is all WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) on one side, and Scots-Irish hillbillies on the other. Being from the South adds a flavor, if you will, to my whiteness, but not always a welcome one.
KS: No, I don’t, but, as I was once told, my skin didn’t get to be this color on its own. That is, there is some history of miscegenation in my genes. When I had my DNA evaluated, it was revealed that 19% of my ancestry is European. So, no and still no. But maybe a little?
LE: I am white. Whiteness is written onto my body, but it is an unstable whiteness as a Jew. Jews became white in the US after World War II, but that whiteness has always been a not fully completed project as we can see from the present rise in anti-Semitic groups and politics. Also, in Russia- where my family is from and where I have lived a lot- Jewish is a different racial category than (white) Russian.
What is whiteness?
AM: Whiteness is a racial category that changes over time to include and exclude different ethnic groups based on relationships of power. There is no discernible culture or shared set of features that all white people have in common, aside from the shared experience of holding race-based power and privilege.
AF: “White” is what we (white people) inadvertently made ourselves when we decided that color was an acceptable basis upon which to oppress and subjugate other human beings. If they were black and brown, then we were white, even if we didn’t intend to define ourselves in the process of dehumanizing others. And I think whiteness is the baggage — the habits, the assumptions, the presumptions and privileges — that we acquired when we separated ourselves from other people. In more popular terms, I think whiteness encompasses whatever is easy, comfortable, accessible, and unchallenging for white people.
KS: “White” is frequently an “unmarked” identifier, mistakenly understood to be the default category for “authentic American” and synonymous with “standard,” “neutral,” “morally right,” “upstanding,” “correct,” true,” “sincere,” “altruistic,” “wholesome,” “pure,” etc. In our society, too often, “white,” as a noun, is equivalent to “person,” which renders non-whites something else.
Whiteness, on the other hand, is quite closely correlated to the multiple ways in which the dominant culture protects, promotes the interests of, perpetuates and preserves the privileged status and wealth of the [frequently] lightly complected descendants of Europeans and those who “pass.” (Those who “pass” may trace their ethnic and racial origins to groups outside of Europe but may share enough physical features that resemble whites that, to some degree, they are integrated into this group, are not perceived as imminent threats, and benefit from this acceptance.)
In essence, whiteness encompasses how our societies receive and respond to people identified as “white.” It is important to note that the category has been mutable for centuries and that its impact and power are transnational. Through art, media, economic relationships, and the legacies of colonialism, this system of privilege has been spread across the globe. It is not uniquely [North] American.
LE: Whiteness is a historical project, one that began in earnest in the U.S. after the Civil War. When racial hierarchies were unmoored from slavery, they were reestablished, as W.E.B. Dubois tells us, through “the Color Line.” Jim Crow policies in the South, but also federal immigration policies, incarceration of “enemies” like Japanese Americans, and the denial of employment and educational opportunities were all linked to this Color Line. Who achieved “whiteness” and who did not in the past 150 years or so is not set in stone, but an ongoing battle.
How does whiteness manifest itself at Midd?
AM: In a lot of ways, but maybe most clearly in the assumptions made about what people need and don’t need in order to thrive here. Socially, academically, economically, and culturally, Middlebury is definitely designed to be a place where whiteness and white people can flourish, which doesn’t necessarily mean we will, but we are certainly better situated to do so than people of color.
AF: I find it genuinely difficult to address this question articulately, because the degree to which whiteness is manifest here is… kind of overwhelming. I mean, how does water manifest itself in the ocean? Look down; you’re soaking in it. One of the more pernicious habits we still frequently perform is to regard a “typical” member of our community as white. What does a Vermonter look like? What does a Middlebury student look like? The first face that pops into my head is still a white one. Demographically, that’s probably not so far from the reality, but the assumption behind it can lead us to dismiss, discount or even just overlook the perspectives of people of color as those of “other people.” They’re not other people; they’re us.
LE: Sara Ahmed tells us that in historically white educational institutions like Midd, the very space itself is oriented around whiteness. To enter this space as a non–white body is to be immediately hypervisible and, in many ways, suspect of not belonging. That certainly happens at Middlebury. It has the look and the feel of a gated community- golf course, tennis club, the “rural,” even the use of an “e” at the end of the Grille to mark it as “olde English”– make this a space where bodies that have primarily existed in white spaces are “comfortable” and also unmarked/invisible.
KS: I was reading a piece covering Dr. Angela Rose Black that features a question she regularly poses: “Who gets to be well?” and it’s a relevant one for our campus and “community.” Who gets to to see himself/herself/themselves regularly reflected in our curriculum, faculty and staff? Who gets multiple and diverse opportunities to pick from a sea of mentors they trust? Who gets to be inspired by high-ranking Middlebury personnel who look like them? Who gets access to high quality mental healthcare provided by people who intimately know of their cultural experiences? Who consistently has their presence on this campus accepted, lauded and taken as a given? Who can attend a lecture by a controversial figure whose writings imply a racial hierarchy, enter it with a neutral mindset, and walk away utterly unscathed by its implications? Who is welcome to make serious mistakes and be excused for them? If we honestly answer these questions then we can see the ways in which whiteness manifests itself here in Middlebury.
In what ways can whiteness be problematic?
AM: When whiteness is equated with normalcy, as it often is (e.g. in the language of referring to people of color as “minorities”), it positions all other races as deviant, and leads to marginalization and invisibility or hypervisibility. Because white colonizers, scientists, politicians, theorists, etc. have violently maintained power for so long, whiteness is centered as the dominant cultural narrative in the United States and as a result institutions like Middlebury, which should be accessible to everyone, are designed only to meet the needs of white people.
AF: If “whiteness” is a product of our dehumanizing of other people, it has also served to partially separate and disconnect white people from most of the rest of humanity. This weakens us as individuals and as a society; it has led us to do things and construct systems that make us, in turn, less human.
KS: A large debate over the last few years addresses cultural appropriation. When white people or other groups tap into a tradition that is distinctly not theirs and profit from it while frequently and simultaneously demonizing the originators of said tradition and/or divorcing the originators from their cultural product, we encounter serious problems. We see this in music, fashion, art, culinary practice and more. As the many think pieces suggest about the Internet suggest, white people twerking in cornrows while wearing “grills” is seen as edgy, “adult” and alluring; black people twerking in cornrows while wearing grills is seen as low-class, shameful and hypersexual.
LE: Hegemonic whiteness is problematic because of a long history of being used to create social hierarchies- not just against people of color, but against sexual “degenerates” and “white trash” (poor whites). Whiteness is also problematic because, like gender, it can operate as “commonsense” and “real,” when in fact it is historically specific and culturally determined. But perhaps this is also the contradiction that can be exploited within whiteness- the space where hegemonic whiteness can begin to fall apart.
What motivated you to be a part of this display?
AM: One of the reasons it’s easy to center whiteness as the norm is because we seldom engage with it as a phenomenon worthy of critical examination. When we question the development, maintenance, and impacts of whiteness, we come closer to de-centering it from seeming “natural” in the American social landscape and create space to value and support different racial and ethnic identities and experiences.
AF: “When all you’ve ever known is privilege, equality feels like oppression.” We see this in aggressive, destructive action all around us, and the fundamental lack of self-awareness and perspective in large swaths of white society is fuel on the fire. And as a white person, I think I have two absolute obligations: to be proactive in working to combat my own gaps in awareness and perspective; and to be open, responsive, and frank in conversation with others. So things like this are an opportunity, even in a small way, to challenge white supremacy from the white side.
KS: If you come to the Davis Family Library regularly, where I am the only black employee, you’ll know that with the help of many students, staff, and faculty, I’ve been helping to develop displays about various cultural identities since Spring 2017. When I started, I had no intention of critically examining whiteness. But after Jonathan Miller Lane’s Rifelj lecture and call to action in September, I felt motivated to do so. Essentially, if we talk about blackness, brownness, yellowness and redness, we must establish opportunities to talk about whiteness as well. They all exist in a system together. It doesn’t make sense to talk about four of them and not the fifth. We must position our lens of scrutiny and inquiry on the dominant culture, too.
LE: All of the courses I lead are situated in critical race theory and one of them, White People, focuses specifically on the history, economy and culture of whiteness in the US. I truly believe that we don’t spend enough time trying to think critically about dominant categories, whether it’s hegemonic whiteness, normative heteroseuxality, or heteronormative masculinity.
What resources on whiteness might you recommend to Midd folk?
AM: There’s a document called White Supremacy Culture from Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups, by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun which is really useful for thinking about how white supremacy manifests covertly in group cultures. White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh is a good place to start for white people who aren’t sure how privilege affects their everyday lives.
AF: The podcast Scene on Radio did an excellent 14-part series on “Seeing Whiteness.” I think this can be an accessible place to begin for those who’d like to start their own work unpacking whiteness, drawing on the perspectives of both white people and people of color, and featuring some of the best scholars working in the field. It’s long, but absolutely worth the time spent.
KS: There are more to choose from than you might expect and ultimately it will depend on the readers’ objectives. But, if you want something “light” and “fun,” I’d start with Christian Landers’ Stuff White People Like. I like it because, intentionally or not, it hones in on the conspicuous consumption as an attempt to prove one’s belonging to a social class. If you’re looking to develop a bibliography, you can visit this research guide, What Is White Privilege? , that I started shaping while in grad school. And if you’re looking for people of color to lead the discussion, I Am Not Your Negro, a documentary film that centers the late author James Baldwin, a vocal critic of whiteness, conjures some serious food for thought. It’s available through go.middlebury.edu/kanopy, free to people within the Middlebury “community.” And, of course, come see the display.
LE: There’s so much! Here’s a copy of my syllabus, which includes:
- Grace Hale’s Making Whiteness;
- Michael Kimmel’s Angry White Men,
- Nancy Isenberg’s White Trash: The 400 Year Untold History,
- everything James Baldwin ever wrote but especially his 1964 Florida Forum interview,
- W.E.B. Dubois’ Psychological Reconstruction, especially on the psychological wage of whiteness, then how that’s used in
- David Roediger’s The Wages of Whiteness,
- Michelle Alexander’s, The New Jim Crow,
- Also the movie Get Out,
- Eminem’s “Slim Shady” video,
- so many novels like James Hannaham’s Delicious Foods,
- Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad.