Becoming Black

becoming freeThe Boston College McMullen Museum of Art presents Harvard University Professor Alejandro de la Fuente, who will give a virtual presentation on September 15 at 5:30 p.m. on his book, Becoming Free, Becoming Black: Race, Freedom, and Law in Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana (Cambridge University Press, 2020). Becoming Free, Becoming Black, which de la Fuente co-authored with Ariela J. Gross, tells the story of enslaved and free people of color who used the law to claim freedom and citizenship for themselves and their loved ones. Looking closely at three slave societies—Cuba, Virginia, and Louisiana—the authors demonstrates that the law of freedom—not slavery—established the meaning of blackness in law. A historian of Latin America and the Caribbean who specializes in the study of comparative slavery and race relations, de la Fuente’s works on race, slavery, law, art, and Atlantic history have been published in Spanish, English, Portuguese, Italian, German, and French. Registration for the Zoom lecture at:

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Ignatian Christian Life

ignatian_christian_life_cover-01__78529.1625579044Ignatian Christian Life: A New Paradigm (2021), published by the Institute of Jesuit Sources, proposes a new model for the relationship between religion and culture, looking specifically at the Ignatian tradition and challenging the framework in which Ignatian scholars have approached this tradition. Its goal is to recover the Ignatian mystical and contemplative tradition and present the contemplative dimension of Christian life from a new Ignatian perspective. The new volume, from the author Rossano Zas Friz de Col, S.J., focuses on understanding Christian transformation in terms of decision-making and proposes an Ignatian Christian Life as a new way of understanding the previous paradigm of Ignatian spirituality. Jesuit Sources is housed at the Boston College Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies.

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Values, valuing, and evaluating

evaluating and valuingMuch applied research takes place as if complex social problems—and evaluations of interventions to address them—can be dealt with in a purely technical way. In contrast, the groundbreaking book Evaluating and Valuing in Social Research (Guilford Press, 2021) offers an approach that incorporates sustained, systematic reflection about researchers’ values, what values research promotes, how decisions about what to value are made and by whom, and how judging the value of social interventions takes place. The co-authors, Thomas A. Schwandt (University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign) and Emily F. Gates, an assistant professor in the BC Lynch School of Education and Human Development, offer practical and conceptual guidance to help researchers engage meaningfully with value conflicts and refine their capacity to engage in deliberative argumentation. Gates has extensive experience conducting mixed methods evaluations of programs, primarily in K–12 and higher education; STEM education; and public health. Her research examines the intersecting areas of systems thinking and approaches, values and valuing, and equity in evaluation theory and practice.

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Reframing Marilynne Robinson’s fiction

elusive everydayThe acclaimed novels of Pulitzer Prize winner Marilynne Robinson—Housekeeping, Gilead, Home, Lila, and Jack—are explored in a new book by Boston College Professor of English Laura Tanner. The Elusive Everyday in the Fiction of Marilynne Robinson (Oxford University Press, 2021) highlights the tensions of form and content that haunt moments of transcendence in Robinson’s work. From the publisher: Robinson’s novels, Tanner argues, “construct a world that is mimetic as well as symbolic and revelatory. Although the heightened apprehension of the quotidian in Robinson’s novels often registers powerfully and beautifully in representational terms, its aesthetic intensity is enacted at the expense of characters who patrol the margins of the ordinary with unceasing vigilance. Inhabiting the everyday self-consciously, her protagonists perform a forced relationship to the ordinary that seldom relaxes into the natural or the familiar; scarred by grief, illness, aging, and trauma, they inhabit a world of transcendent beauty suffused with the terrifying threat of loss.” Tanner wrote an essay about the connection between emerging from the pandemic and Robinson’s work. Tanner’s other publications include Lost Bodies: Inhabiting the Borders of Life and Death and Intimate Violence: Representations of Rape and Torture in Twentieth-Century Fiction.

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Princess Diana

Princess DianaA new biography from children’s author, and Boston College alumna, Jenna Grodzicki, introduces young readers to Princess Diana. The Story of Princess Diana (Rockridge Press, 2021), traces the the life of the “People’s Princess” from her childhood to her joining the Britian’s royal family to her humanitarian efforts and legacy of compassion. Grodzicki is also the author of I See Sea Food and Harmony Humbolt: The Perfect Pets Queen, among other titles.

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Isabel Wilkerson

caste bookAuthor and journalist Isabel Wilkerson, the first woman of African American heritage to win the Pulitzer Prize in journalism, will give a talk on her bestselling book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (Random House, 2020), on September 8 at 7 p.m. (ET). Her presentation will be in webinar format followed by a moderated discussion and audience Q&A. Wilkerson has become a leading figure in narrative nonfiction, bringing the invisible and the marginalized into the light. In Caste, Wilkerson explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. She argues that beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. For her acclaimed debut book, The Warmth of Other Suns, Wilkerson interviewed more than 1,200 people to tell the story of the six million people, among them her parents, who defected from the Jim Crow South as part of the Great Migration. The Warmth of Other Suns was honored with the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, the Lynton History Prize from Harvard and Columbia universities, and the Stephen Ambrose Oral History Prize, among other awards. Wilkerson’s BC talk is presented by the Lowell Humanities Series and cosponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics, the Jesuit Institute, BC Law School, and the Boston College Forum on Racial Justice in America. Pre-registration is required.

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Arrupe on the Sacred Heart of Jesus

arrupe_iha_cover-01Pedro Arrupe, S.J., who served as Superior General of the Society of Jesus from 1965 until 1983, frequently refers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in his personal letters and writings. These writings become something of a collection of love letters, letters of a love that is unique but not exclusive, a love that is total and at the same time concrete, a love that is quotidian and defining, which led Fr. Arrupe to give his entire life to Jesus Christ without reservations. Jesuit Sources, housed at the Boston College Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies, has released a new edition of In Him Alone is Our Hope: Texts on the Heart of Christ, principal texts by Fr. Arrupe on the Heart of Christ. This new edition features an introduction by Arrupe biographer Pedro Miguel Lamet.

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Perfect Pets Queen

harmonyHarmony Humbolt has a colossal collection of stuffed animals, and she hates leaving them home when she goes school. In Harmony Humbolt: The Perfect Pets Queen (Clear Fork Publishing, 2021), a new picture book written by Boston College graduate Jenna Grodzicki and illustrated by Mirka Hokkanen, Harmony figures out how to share her perfect pets with her friends, with the right rules in place to keep them safe. But when her list of rules grows, Harmony’s friends don’t want to play with her perfect pets or her. Harmony must figure out how to enjoy both her stuffed animals and her friends. Grodzicki is the author of several picture books, including Wild Style: Amazing Animal Adornments and I See Sea Food.

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Lessons from Alexander the Great

alexander the greatIn his new book, Boston College graduate Mukul Sheopory draws business lessons from the life of Alexander the Great, and compares his military strategies and tactics to events from the lives of moguls like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and George Soros. Bucephalus’ Shadow: Ten Business Lessons From the Life of Alexander the Great connects the dots between past and present, military and business, as it attempts to change how the reader thinks about strategy. Sheopory earned an M.B.A. from Boston College, lives in California, and works with technology companies to serve small-business owners.

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Magdalene Laundries and the campaign for justice

magdalene book coverBetween 1922 and 1996, over 10,000 Irish girls and women, specifically unmarried mothers, and those considered promiscuous, sexually abused, and/or a burden to their families or the state, were imprisoned and subjected to forced labor in Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries. The Laundries’ initial objective to “protect, reform, and rehabilitate” devolved to a regimen of cruel, psychological, and physical maltreatment of the incarcerated women and young girls. Utilizing the Irish government’s 2013 inquiry, as well as state records and survivors’ witness testimonies, a new book, Ireland and the Magdalene Laundries: A Campaign for Justice (Bloomsbury, 2021), not only provides a detailed account of life behind the asylums’ secluded walls, but explores academic and survivor activism. The volume is co-authored by Boston College Associate Professor of English and Irish Studies James M. Smith; BC alumna Katherine O’Donnell of University College Dublin; Claire McGettrick (University College Dublin); Maeve O’Rourke (National University of Ireland, Galway), and Mari Steed, born in the Bessborough Mother and Baby Home in County Cork, whose mother lived in a Magdalene Laundry, and one of more than 2,000 children exported—at age two—from Ireland for adoption in the U.S. Smith is also the author of the 2007 book Ireland’s Magdalen Laundries and the Nation’s Architecture of Containment (Notre Dame Press). Read more from BC News.

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