Humanities faculty publications in book format.
Opal Jean, age twelve, is flying to Michigan to visit her dad, who is serving a life sentence in prison for murder. Opal hasn’t seen her father in seven years, and while she longs for the “cold blue world” of her childhood, she is also struggling to break free of her father’s dark legacy.
The trip is a disaster. Luggage is lost, her mother has to “take a seat” in the airport and rattle the benzodiazepines in her purse, her teen brother attempts to order $30 worth of Coronas from room service, and Opal’s little brother is simultaneously thrilled and heartbroken to see his dad in prison.
Also, there is a tornado. And the entire story is framed as Opal’s fan letter to her beloved Macklemore.
Set in the frozen wasteland of Midwestern academia, The Lost Journals of Sylvia Plath introduces Wilson A. Lavender, father of three, instructor of women’s studies, and self-proclaimed genius who is beginning to think he knows nothing about women. He spends much of his time in his office not working on his dissertation, a creative piece titled “The Lost Journals of Sylvia Plath.” A sober alcoholic, he also spends much of his time not drinking, until he hooks up with his office mate, Alice Cherry, an undercover stripper who introduces him to “the buffer”—the chemical solution to his woes.
Wilson’s wife, Katie, is an anxious hippie, genuine earth mother, and recent PhD with no plans other than to read People magazine, eat chocolate, and seduce her young neighbor—a community college student who has built a bar in his garage. Intelligent and funny, Katie is haunted by a violent childhood. Her husband’s “tortured genius” both exhausts and amuses her.
The Lavenders’ stagnant world is roiled when Katie’s pregnant sister, January, moves in. Obsessed with her lost love, ’80s rocker Stevie Flame, January is on a quest to reconnect with her glittery, big-haired past. A free spirit to the point of using other people’s toothbrushes without asking, she drives Wilson crazy.
Exploring the landscape of family life, troubled relationships, dreams of the future, and nightmares of the past, Knutsen has conjured a literary gem filled with humor and sorrow, Aqua Net and Scooby-Doo, diapers and benzodiazepines—all the detritus and horror and beauty of modern life.
An “introspective and lyrical” (Booklist) memoir about a woman and her wolfdog hybrid—a powerful combination of storytelling and science that is as informative as it is moving.
When Ceiridwen Terrill adopts a wolfdog—part husky, part gray wolf—named Inyo to be her protector and fellow traveler, she is drawn to Inyo’s spark of wildness and compelled by the great responsibility, even danger, that accompanies the allure of the wild. She feels transformed by the extraordinary love she shares with Inyo, who teaches Terrill how to carve out a place for herself in the world.
Over almost four years, Terrill and Inyo’s adventures veer between hilarious and heartbreaking. There are peaceful weekends spent hiking in snowy foothills, mirthful romps through dirty laundry, joyful adoptions of dog companions, and clashes brought on by the stress of caring for Inyo, insatiable without the stimulation of a life lived outdoors. Forced to move and weigh the complaints of fearful neighbors against the desires of her space-craving wolfdog, Terrill must confront the reality of what she has done by trying to tame a part-wild animal.
A gifted writer able to capture the grace and power of the natural world, the complexity of scientific ideas, and the pulse of the human experience, Terrill has written a bittersweet memoir of the beauty and tragedy that come from living with a measure of wildness.
Louisiana crawfish, cheatgrass, Russian thistle, Hottentot figs, rats, and sweet fennel. These and dozens of other seemingly benign flora and fauna have become some of the worst culprits in the destruction of ecosystems and native wildlife in the American Southwest and Baja California.
Although widely publicized threats—such as pollution, land development, changes in the atmospheric condition, fire, and drought—are frequently credited with posing the greatest danger to indigenous animals and plants, invasive species are quickly becoming a far more insidious peril to the survival of native wildlife. A result of both accident and human intervention, the frequency with which exotic species are being introduced into nonnative environments is increasing at an alarming rate.
In Unnatural Landscapes, Ceiridwen Terrill combines lucid science writing with first-person tales of adventure to provide a compelling introduction to invasion ecology and restoration management. Traveling aboard her trusty kyak, The Grebe, Terrill brings readers on a firsthand tour of various "islands" in the Southwest and Mexico—both actual islands and self-contained habitat communities. From the islands of Anaho, Santa Cruz, and Anacapa to Isla Tiburón in the Sea of Cortez, Mexicali irrigation canals, and Pyramid Lake, Terrill takes an in-depth look at the damage that invasive species cause.
Drawing on field observations, research, and interviews with scientists, resource managers, and local residents, this book provides readers with the background and knowledge they need to understand and to begin combating what is quickly becoming the most important environmental crisis facing the fragile ecosystems of the Southwest.
Radio Goes to War is the first comprehensive and in-depth look at the role of domestic radio in the United States during World War II. As this study convincingly demonstrates, radio broadcasting played a crucial role both in government propaganda and within the context of the broader cultural and political transformations of wartime America. Gerd Horten's absorbing narrative argues that no medium merged entertainment, propaganda, and advertising more effectively than radio. As a result, America's wartime radio propaganda emphasized an increasingly corporate and privatized vision of America's future, with important repercussions for the war years and postwar era. Examining radio news programs, government propaganda shows, advertising, soap operas, and comedy programs, Horten situates radio wartime propaganda in the key shift from a Depression-era resentment of big business to the consumer and corporate culture of the postwar period.
Introduction: Radio and the privatization of war
Radio news, propaganda, and politics: from the New Deal to World War II
Uneasy persuasion: government radio propaganda, 1941-1943
Closing ranks: propaganda, politics, and domestic foreign-language radio
The rewards of wartime radio advertising
"Radio propaganda must be painless": the comedians go to war
"Twenty million women can't be wrong": wartime soap operas
Epilogue: the privatization of America.