The latest from acclaimed author Michael Sims traces the history of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous creation, Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is the English-speaking world’s most popular fictional detective, and the life of his creator is equally intriguing. In Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes, Michael Sims traces Conan Doyle’s journey to becoming the father of modern mystery. The Washington Post calls this book “Enlightening.”
How did spending an academic year in another country as a Fulbright Scholar impact the way we think, write, and experience the world? Four former scholars discuss the impact of their time abroad on their writing. Matt Davis traveled to Syria and Jordan and is the author of When Things Get Dark: A Mongolian Winter’s Tale. He is the director of Mason’s Alan Cheuse International Writers Center. Tania James spent her Fulbright in India, after which she wrote the novel The Tusk That Did the Damage. Kimberly Burge spent her year in South Africa and wrote The Born Frees: Writing with the Girls of Gugulethu. Maile Chapman wrote the novel Your Presence is Requested at Suvanto after her Fulbright to Finland.
Can one person really know another? In Other People: Takes and Mistakes, essayist David Shields presents what the publisher calls “an intellectually thrilling and emotionally wrenching investigation of otherness: the need for one person to understand another person completely, the impossibility of any such absolute knowing, and the erotics of this separation.” In essays covering Kurt Cobain, the agony of first love, alter egos and more, Shields explores the possibilities, and impossibilities, for human connection. Sponsored by Mason’s Creative Writing Program.
Laura Micciche, distinguished professor of English at the University of Cincinnati and editor of Composition Studies, discusses the power of partnerships in the writing community and the genre of written acknowledgments. Micciche argues in her latest publication, Acknowledging Writing Partners, that written acknowledgments are “a lens for viewing writing as a practice of indebted partnerships…[and] that reveal writing’s connectedness.” Sponsored by Writing Across the Curriculum.
For centuries, there have mysteries and misunderstandings between the East and West. Gish Jen explores this relationship in The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East West Culture Gap, specifically looking at how differences of the self and society complicate and enrich debates between cultures. The Washington Post describes Jen as “uniquely suited to explore this topic.”
GMU STC sponsors its third Fall for the Book event, a panel on Research in Rhetoric: Digital, Visual & Archival Methods. This panel features three scholars with diverse research and publication experience in the fields of rhetoric, composition, and communication. In Digital Rhetoric: Theory, Method, Practice (2015), Dr. Douglas Eyman reviews a range of methods and practices from fields within the humanities, social sciences, and information sciences to determine how traditional rhetoric applies to digital rhetoric in theory and in practice. In Still Life with Rhetoric (2015), Dr. Laurie Gries uses the digital research method of iconographic tracking to study the circulation and transformation of the iconic Obama Hope image, to explore the movement of visual rhetorics in networked environments. In American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History (2014), Dr. Jenell Johnson details the rhetorical history of lobotomy and its varied representations in the contexts of medicine, politics, and popular culture, to examine the socio-cultural influences of biomedicine. These three scholars discuss how they selected, used, and tailored different research methods from their fields, as well as methods borrowed from other fields, to develop their research projects and book publications. A Q&A with the audience follows the formal presentations. Sponsored by the Mason Society for Technical Communication.
Sociology and child welfare expert Jennifer Reich gives a glimpse into her decade-long research on vaccine refusal in America. In Calling the Shots: Why Parents Reject Vaccinations, Reich dissects a wide range of perspectives on this controversial topic – from the parents who refuse vaccinations, to the pediatricians whose research shows this decision can be devastating. Reich allows readers the opportunity to understand this disagreement and consider the possible solutions.
Cemil Aydin, Professor of History at University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, sheds light on the intellectual origins of longheld misconceptions that the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims constitute a single religio-political entity. In The Idea of the Muslim World: A Global Intellectual History. Edmund Burke III writes, “Aydin provides a global lens for viewing the ways in which modernity has shaped both Muslims’ understandings of their global role, and the ways in which we understand the place of Muslims in the world.” Sponsored by Ali Vurak Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies.
Only a few decades ago, the white working class made up the majority population in the United States and the United Kingdom. More recently, however, members of the working class have become what Justin Gest refers to as “new minorities.” Gest shares his latest publication, The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality, making a case for what led to white working class radicalization and rising support for unexpected political candidates, including Donald Trump. Gest focuses on two specific working-class cities – Youngstown, Ohio and Dagenham, England – to understand the political landscape in these once-thriving cities.
Reporter Jared Yates Sexton and essayist Tim Denevi discuss covering the squabbles, scandals, and victories of the 2016 presidential election. Denevi wrote about the election for outlets like LitHub and New York Magazine. Jared Yates Sexton reported on Trump’s campaign from the beginning. His book The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters on Your Shore: A Story of American Rage chronicles the nation’s most unexpected and divisive election to date, from an insider’s perspective.
Melanie McCabe seeks to discover more about her father in His Other Life: Searching for my Father, His First Wife, and Tennessee Williams. Following her father’s death, McCabe was surprised to learn about his former wife Hazel, her romance with playwright Tennessee Williams, and Williams’ choice to create characters based on McCabe’s father and Hazel; so she set out to find answers. Elizabeth Winder follows Marilyn Monroe in Marilyn in Manhattan: Her Year of Joy, 1954, the one year the iconic actress lived in Manhattan, which forever changed her career. Andrew Gifford documents the fall of his family’s D.C. ice cream empire in We All Scream: The Fall of the Gifford’s Ice Cream Empire. Gifford is the last living Gifford heir to the fortune…if there had been a fortune. Instead, there is a tale of theft, betrayal, and suicide in the fall of Gifford’s.
Come hear the work of these nonfiction forces: Sheila Kohler, Rajpreet Heir, and Shawn Wen. Kohler’s memoir Once We Were Sisters grapples with heartbreaking loss and the enduring bonds of sisterhood in her homeland of South Africa. Heir’s essays on race in America have been published in The Atlantic, the New York Times and The Washington Post. Karan Mahajan called her work “dirty, hilarious, and utterly original.” And In a Twenty Minute Silence Followed by Applause, Wen depicts the career of French mime Marcel Marceau, uncovering the unknown about the master of this lost artform.