Have you ever seen a professor outside of school? It can be jarring to remember that your teachers have lives outside of class. “What do they do with their time?” you may wonder. Well meet five professors who are publishing books this year.
Check out these small, press release introductions of the books and feel free to explore any in the library.
Sam Cowling, Philosophy
Cowling analyzes ideas about existence, particularly the abstract, in his book, appropriately titled “Abstract Entities.”
For those unfamiliar to philosophy, it probably feels overwhelming to think about the many possibilities in the world. However, for someone like Cowling, comfort is found in the debates about existence, truth and knowledge. That is what his book focuses on as Cowling answers his own philosophical questions.
“Trying to conclusively settle a question that people have struggled with over extensive periods of time is extremely challenging,” Cowling said. “Especially in a field like philosophy, it’s important to ask a large number of people whether what you are saying sounds bizarre or implausible”
While some questions can be difficult to answer, Cowling believes that shouldn’t discourage us from exploring those questions more.
Doug Spieles, Environmental Studies
Spieles uses human values, such as utility and beauty, to describe environmentalism in his book “Environmentalism: An Evolutionary Approach.”
As environmentalism is a hot topic, and many are unable to relate environmental issues to human issues, Spieles takes a new approach. His book’s goal is to understand environmental problems in the context of being products of human evolution, both biologically and socioculturally.
“I started it as an exercise in solidifying my own thoughts,” Spieles said of his books inspiration, “and I didn’t know where it would take me.”
Since environmental issues is such a large debate, Spieles made a conscious effort to explore multiple perspectives in his research. He says if he could reconcile the dichotomies in environmentalism, then maybe the debate could turn into action.
“Environmentalism: An Evolutionary Approach” is Spieles’ second book.
Charles St-Georges, Modern Languages
St-Georges explores Hispanic horror films in his book, “Haunted Families and Temporal Normativity in Hispanic Horror Films: Troubling Timelines.”
In this book he takes an interesting approach to the fascination of haunting and its link to power structures “where we experience normativity.”
Like many elements of pop culture, St-Georges felt that horror films are quickly written off by academia. However, after watching several films, he realized there is a lot of room to dive into the sexist, racist and other ideologies represented in these movies. He thinks what many people write off as “cheap thrills,” are contributing to a larger conversation.
The book examines horror films from Mexico, Spain and Argentina in their respective historical and cultural contexts.
St-Georges’ book is the first to look exclusively at ghosts in films from Spain and Latin America. For his next book, St-Georges wants to examine the 1950s in Argentina and the historical context that creates these horror films. “Fear is thought to be universal, but in my opinion, fear is highly ideological and contingent on time, place and culture.”
David Baker, English
Baker is releasing a curated and edited a book of 23 essays, titled “Seek After: on Seven Modern Lyrics Poets.”
In this book, he dedicates one chapter to each of these poets: John Keats, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Gwendolyn Brooks, and W. S. Merwin. The chapters consist of essays from Baker, as well as six other critics exploring and understanding these famous writers.
“I write about poetry not because I know everything about it, but because I want to know everything about it,” Baker said.
This is Baker’s second book of essays that he edited, with the first being “Radiant Lyre: Essays on Lyrics Poetry.” He edited that book with Denison English Professor Ann Townsend nearly ten years ago. He considers this book almost like a “volume two.”
This book focuses on contemporary poets and how modern poetry has adapted. The editors of this book chose artists that have an influence on modern poetry. Those chosen are ones that Baker himself has been studying for years.
Peter Grandbois, English
Grandbois is publishing a collection of personal essays titled “Kissing the Lobster.” These essays explore the concepts of aging and living authentically.
Also the coach of the fencing team, Grandbois uses his return to the sport as a lens into aging. Grandbois took a 20-year break to competitive fencing and is now back in the sport. He relates this to the the eight guiding characteristics of the samurai code Bushido, as well as some of Grandbois own created codes.
“The idea of this book was to use fencing as a way of seeing how my life has turned out, and reflecting on it,” Grandbois said.
Facing morality doesn’t come with clear answers, which is part of the motivation behind the collection.
“As I’m getting older, the reference ‘Kissing the Lobster’ means I’m that much closer to death, so it’s asking what it means to live life to the fullest when we’re older,” said Grandbois.
Grandbois is also working on a historical fiction novel and is workshoping his book “Nahoonkara” into a play with the help of Denison students. Check out that story in Arts & Life.