FASS authors celebrate their latest releases

- March 12, 2014

Dean of Arts and Social Sciences Robert Summerby-Murrary (left) was among the many visitors at the FASS Book Launch. (Danny Abriel photos)
Dean of Arts and Social Sciences Robert Summerby-Murrary (left) was among the many visitors at the FASS Book Launch. (Danny Abriel photos)

Digital religion. Medieval Scotland. Environmental history. The benefits of a shorter working week.

There was plenty of diversity in the topics on display at the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences Annual Book Launch, which took place on February 25. The event showcases published works by faculty members over the past year.

Photo essay: FASS book fair 2014

Melissa Furrow, a professor in the Department of English, shared stories about the editing of her book, Ten Bordes, a collection of Middle English comic poems.  

“It was important to put this together because we tend to look back and say they thought such and such, like they were all the same,” she explained. “Reading these poems, seeing the comic element, tells you this wasn’t the case. People then also juggled cultural contexts just like us. It allows us to be aware about our own culture.”

Full of surprises

Denis Kozlov, chair of Russian Studies, proudly displayed his newly published book, The Readers of Novyi Mir: Coming to Terms with the Stalinist Past, a book about the prominent Russian literary journal.  

“The knowledge and experiences of the Stalin terror have a long history in my family. It was my parents and grandparents who first told me about the terror when I was a child,” he said, talking about his interest in the former Soviet Union.

The archive of the journal Novyi Mir ("new world"), which rose to fame in the 1950s and '60s, contains thousands of unpublished letters to the authors and editors from ordinary individuals. The letters describe life during the Stalin years, including experiences of terror and concentration camps.

“What surprised me, at least initially — soon enough this ceased being a surprise — was how unafraid many people in the Soviet Union were, how openly and boldly they expressed their often unorthodox political and historical views,” says Dr. Kozlov. While people outside of Russia may have painted all Russians with the same brush, not all Russians felt the same way about the politics of their country.

“In the book I analyze the origins and meanings of this civic stance, which was common. Also, my research points to the fact that, despite the many connections between high politics and culture, vibrant intellectual life did exist in the Soviet Union, and this life was not directly subservient to the leadership’s changing attitudes.”

Creativity on display

The event also showcased creative works and performances by the faculty. Steve Baur, a professor in the Department of Music, happily displayed the latest album by his band, The Sorrys: the charmingly profane Pity F***.

“My students like that a professor that teaches them classical music is also invested in rock music and cares about the same music they are interested about. It’s like this community I have here at Dalhousie with the students,” said Dr. Baur.

Martha Crago, vice-president research, also dropped by to see the display of work produced by the faculty. Speaking about the event, she said, “Throughout the year, we help professors find opportunities that will support their scholarship and research. This ends up being described in these books. This amazing event is the outcome of that.”

Visit the FASS website for a complete listing of all the works from the event.

Photo essay: FASS Book Fair 2014


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