Monday, November 05, 2018

Vaclav Havel and The Memo

 Image credit: Vaclav Havel Library

This month the University of Redlands theatre department presents The Memo by the Czech playwright, human rights activist, political philosopher and statesman Vaclav Havel.

Havel was born in Prague in 1936 to an affluent family who lost their wealth and status after Communists came to power in 1948. Denied the ability to attend high school, Havel got a job as a lab assistant, took classes at night school, and struck up friendships with other young writers and intellectuals. At the age of twenty, he attracted notoriety when he made a speech appealing for official recognition of banned poets at a government-sponsored writers' conference. Havel's interest in theater developed during his two years of army service; upon being discharged, he found work at Theater of the Balustrade, a small, avant-garde theater company. Here he had the opportunity to try a little of everything - shifting scenes, electrical work, manuscript reading, dramaturgy, and eventually playwriting. He also fell in love with another company member, Olga Splichova; their marriage would last 32 years until her death in 1995.

The Memo was the second of three significant early plays Havel wrote for Theatre of the Balustrade. Premiered in 1965, it displayed the influence of the Theatre of the Absurd - the company was regularly staging plays by Beckett, Ionesco and Kafka - as well as Havel's fascination with "the power of language as a perpetuator of systems, a tool to influence man's mind and therefore one of the strongest (though secret) weapons of any system that wants to mould him" ("Vaclav Havel").

Absurdist theater was a natural outlet for Havel's need to communicate the crushing effect of political repression. As he later wrote, "life saves itself by going offstage. Forced to be actors, people return to the audience as soon as they can, and take the chance to jeer at their forced selves. Their real culture must be hidden. It must go underground for protection" (qtd. in Chamberlain 76).

But within a few years, Havel's life would change dramatically, sending him on a path towards another type of salvation - active resistance. A brief period of political and cultural liberalization in Czechoslovakia, the "Prague Spring" of 1968, would end violently with Russian troops invading to crush protests and help hard-line Communists retake control of Czechoslovakia. Denied work in the theatre and put under surveillance, Havel would travel the country talking with workers, sign open letters, give underground radio broadcasts and smuggle his writing and speeches to the West. He would be jailed multiple times, once for four years. His writing would make him famous worldwide. He would write more plays, now more autobiographical and deeply introspective, probing the risks of moral compromise and self-deception facing people living in relationship to power. The plays would find audiences, abroad and - despite the risks to performers and audience members alike - in Czechoslovakia. Acknowledged for his skill at organizing coalitions and giving voice to human rights causes, Havel would be the unanimous choice for president when the country's last Communist leader resigned in December 1989 and Parliament needed to choose a successor. He would be "a new type of leader for Czechoslovakia. The long-persecuted but never silenced dissident was a modest, diffident intellectual who, lacking a professional politician's self-conscious self-confidence, readily admitted his fears for the future and amazement at his success. In his first months in office he accomplished much" (Byers 204).

During this transition away from autocratic rule, Havel's early plays, banned for so long, were  officially allowed to be performed again on Czech stages. Barbara Day observes the irony of plays like The Memo seeing their belated revival "as the work not of an aspiring stagehand, but of the country's President" (Day 457).

Works Cited

Byers, Paula K., ed. "Vaclav Havel." Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 1998, pp. 202-204.

Day, Barbara. "Havel, Vaclav." International Dictionary of Theatre, vol. 2: Playwrights. Detroit: Gale, 1994, pp. 455-457.

Havel, Vaclav, "In the Communist Mirror." 1990. Cited in Chamberlain, Lesley. "Play It Again, Vaclav: The Wisdom in Havel's Plays." The World & I, vol. 16, no. 8, 2001, pp. 76-81.

"Vaclav Havel." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Literature Resource Center, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/H1000043432/LitRC?u=redl79824&sid=LitRC&xid=ac925923. Accessed 26 October 2018. 

Sunday, October 07, 2018

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Some National Hispanic Heritage Month Resources @Armacost Library

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Santana, Carlos, et al. Dolores. Arlington, VA: PBS Distribution, 2018.
Front Desk: DVDs HD 6509.H84 D65 2018

La Nueva California by David Hayes-Bautista
Hayes-Bautista, David E.  La Nueva California: Latinos from Pioneers to Post-Millennials.  Oakland: University of California Press, 2017.
F 870 .S75 H385 2017

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Ramos, E. Carmen. Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art. Washington, DC: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2014.
N 6538.H58 S65 2014

Image may contain: 1 person, text
Matiella, Ana Consuelo.  Las Madrinas: Life among My Mothers.  El Rito, NM: Tres Chicas Books, 2016.
PS 3613.A83 Z46 2016

Rhythms of Race
Abreu, Christina D.  Rhythms of Race: Cuban Musicians and the Making of Latino New York City and Miami, 1940-1960.  Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2015.
ML 480 .A27 2015


September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month
The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society.

National Hispanic Heritage Month 2018

Monday, September 24, 2018

Open Access Week is Around the Corner

Open Access Week (Oct. 22-28, 2018) is around the corner, and in this post I'd like to focus especially on open educational resources. But first, a few acronyms!

Movements to Free Scholarship and Textbooks 

image of an open access icon that is an unlocked orange lockOpen Access (OA) is a movement working to make scholarship both free to read and easy to share (free from most usage restrictions), which is important given the obscene profits made by big publishers. Ever find an article or book chapter you wanted to read only to be told you'd need to pay $$ to get it? That's called a paywall and it thwarts students, researchers, and even folks just trying to help sick loved ones.
Open Educational Resources (OER) is an important piece in the OA movement that focuses on making educational resources (e.g., textbooks, videos, handouts) both free to read and easy to share. Its value stems from the incredible rise in college textbook costs, the way use restrictions can hinder faculty from adopting the best material for learning, and studies that show the positive impact OER can have on student learning. From a marketing perspective, it's unclear why we as educators would support a legacy system that holds buyers captive at the expense of learning.
  
image of a captive cycle showing how publishers solicit professors to select a text which student then pay publishers to usean image of a more balanced market where buyers (students) push in one direction and sellers (publishers) push in the opposite direction



A Word of Caution

As OER has gained momentum and influenced legislation, textbook publishers have responded by providing their own OER and related materials. While these affordable (and sometimes questionably marketed as inclusive) educational resource packages can reduce the costs of education, these platform-based strategies risk reproducing the same kind of lock-in for students and more recently for institutions.

What You Can Do

Faculty

screenshot of the OER Guide for faculty

Faculty, if you're interested in learning more, check out our OER guide where you'll find the latest news, why support is strong and increasing, and how you can review, adopt, and create OER.

Events
You might also find the following of interest.


Students

There are multiple ways students can get involved in OER. Here are just a few ideas.


Students can also provide valuable contributions to open textbooks... It might seem that only upper-level students would be able to do so well, but that need not necessarily be the case. As Plymouth State University professor Robin DeRosa puts it, “Students are the perfect people to help create textbooks, since they are the most keenly tuned in to what other students will need in order to engage with the material in meaningful ways.” -- from Students' Vital Role in OER

Advocates need partners, and we do make a difference.

College students are spending less by accessing free course materials, often assigned by faculty. They’re borrowing, sharing, and downloading the materials needed for their classes. Notable in the 2017-18 academic year is that nearly 20% of students surveyed reported downloading free course materials from a variety of sources. -- from the National Association of College Stores' Student Watch Attitudes & Behaviors toward Course Materials 2017-18 Report

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Banned Books Week 2018




September 23 - 29 is Banned Books Week, a time in which we can celebrate our freedom to read! Events planned include a lunch time Read-Out and an exhibit in the Armacost Library.

The American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom keeps track of challenges to books in the United States and has published the top ten banned and challenged books for 2017. Banned Book Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in challenges to books in schools, bookstores, and libraries.

While a "challenge" is an attempt to remove or restrict access to material, a "ban" is the actual removal of material. Although the reasons for challenging materials are wide and varied, recent requests to remove books generally refer to violence, offensive language, sexually explicit content, religious viewpoint, or the representation of gender roles and gender identity.

This year's Banned Books Week urges us to consider how banning books silences stories. Join us for Banned Books week at the following events:

Banned Books Read Out
When: Wednesday, September 26, 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Where: Outside the Irvine Commons
Members of the community will read from their favorite banned or challenged book. Stop and listen for a spell, or join in the freedom to read. Banned and challenged books will be available for perusal.

Banned Books Exhibit
When: All week
Where: Library entrance, 2nd floor
The Armacost Library will highlight banned and challenged literature.

Banned Books Week events are sponsored by Armacost Library, Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, and Sigma Tau Delta.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Welcome, bulldogs!


Welcome back bulldogs! And welcome, our first-year students!

We're excited to have you on campus. As you wander the nooks and crannies of our Library, you might get lost. Here's a map.

While you're here, you might find yourself in need of some research help. Feel free to contact your subject librarian, via email, phone, or instant chat, for library or research-related questions. You can also make a research appointment with your librarian, or drop by during office hours just to say hello!

You might also be interested in our library hours, which are posted for the entire semester online here: library.redlands.edu/hours. Notice that the hours in red are the hours in which the Library building is open, and the hours in blue are when a librarian is around to help you.

If you're a newbie, remember that your student ID card is also your Library card. You can check out up to 25 physical items with it, including books, DVDs, LPs, and music scores. If you've forgotten all the things you've checked out, you can view a list of your items in your Armacost Library account. You can also renew all your stuff in your account.

And, if you're signed up for a class in a subject you've never explored before, don't forget to visit our Research Guides. We have research guides for every subject studied here at Redlands. They feature hand-picked databases in specific subject areas, contact info for subject libraries, search strategies, and call number ranges for areas of the Library that you'll be interested to browse. 

Enjoy, bulldogs!

Lua Gregory
First Year Experience Librarian


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Annual Book Sale!

The Armacost Library annual book sale will be held on Thursday, June 14, from 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. You will find us at the Armacost Library's North Patio, Garden Level.

For complete details, please refer to the flyer below:

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Thank you student workers!

Photo credit: Trisha Aurelio
Armacost Library could not support your teaching and learning without help from our many student workers. Student employees fill many roles in the library: they are the friendly faces welcoming you as you enter, helping you look up an item and checking out your books at the front desk; they reshelve items and free up space for new titles in the stacks; they help to process course reserves, assist with purchasing and getting books shelf-ready, and prepare items to be withdrawn from the collection.

Today we celebrated our hard-working students with a potluck in the staff breakroom (a.k.a. "the bindery"). Students stopped by for a quick bite to eat on their way to study for finals and complete last minute assignments. We appreciate their work and wish them the best with the end of the semester!