Fall for the Book & Alumni Weekend

Fall means it is time for Fall for the Book and Alumni Weekend here at Mason, and the Libraries is participating with a number of events (please see below)!

Fall for the Book, the region’s oldest and largest celebration of literature, will take place October 11-14. The Mason Libraries is one of many sponsors supporting this annual festival, which will include such headliners as Colson Whitehead, Jennine Capo Crucet, Mohsin Hamid, Lev Grossman, Janet Mock, and Ellen Bryant Voigt. Jennine Capo Crucet is the author of this year’s Mason Reads selection, Make Your Home Among Strangers, and the Libraries is sponsoring her talk in the Concert Hall on Thursday, October 12 at 4:30pm. In addition, the Libraries will host events in our Fenwick Main Reading Room and Special Collections Research Center.

Alumni Weekend takes place October 12-15 this year. Haven’t been on campus in a while? Thinking about reconnecting with your Mason friends and former classmates? Join the Mason community for our annual Alumni Weekend! You can tour the campus, get together at the Green and Gold Bash, or attend any number of alumni events being held over the weekend. Haven’t seen the new Fenwick Library yet? Come visit us!

Mason Libraries Special Events October 11-14, 2017

Mason Author Series: Alumni Poetry
Friday, October 13, 4pm, Fenwick Main Reading Room

In conjunction with Fall for the Book and Alumni Weekend, we will welcome five alumni poets – Sarah Marcus (MFA ’12), Sheila McMullin (MFA ’13), Ranjani Murali (MFA ’10), Nicole Tong (MFA ’07), and Sarah Ann Winn (MFA ’14) – who will read from their latest works. The full Fall for the Book schedule is available at fallforthebook.org.

Alumni Weekend: SCRC Open House
Saturday, October 14, 10:30am-12pm, Special Collections Research Center

Come take a trip down Memory Lane with your fellow alumni: visit the all-new Fenwick Library and (re)experience Mason’s 60 years of history. See the building in Bailey’s Crossroads where George Mason opened in 1957; read the article you wrote for Broadside in 1977; chuckle over what you wore in the 1997 yearbook; look for the course description from your favorite class from 2007, and more. The display will also include historical highlights from each decade, making your history come alive.

At the Margins: Invisibility and Marginalized Communities
Thursday, October 12, 2-4pm, 2400 Fenwick Library, Special Collections Research Center

For this month’s Artists’ Book Open House, we take on the theme of invisibility and present these works as an extension of the discussions happening around Artworks for Freedom, and Fenwick Gallery’s exhibition Call & Response. These artists’ books explore issues of marginalization and highlight the perspectives and voices of the “invisible,” those persons and communities at the edges of society and the victims of “invisible crimes.” Visitors will have an opportunity for hands-on interaction with these materials, and to learn how Mason students and researchers can use these materials as a source of visual, formal, and thematic inspiration.

Call + Response 2017: Artists’ Panel, Fenwick Gallery Walkthrough
Wednesday, October 11, 3pm, Fenwick Main Reading Room

Call & Response is an annual exhibit of collaborations between writers and visual artists, in which one calls and one responds. The result is a dynamic set of paired works of words and artistic media that resonate and speak to contemporary issues. The theme for Call & Response 2017 is INVISIBLE, in conversation with Artworks for Freedom’s campaign to raise awareness about human trafficking. The visual artists and writers of Call & Response will interpret the theme of INVISIBLE as it relates to victims of “invisible crimes” or unlawful actions that go unnoticed. Call & Response is a collaboration of the School of Art, the English Department’s MFA program in Creative Writing, and University Libraries presented in conjunction with the annual Fall for the Book festival.

Mason Author Series: Free Speech and Unfree News

Join the University Libraries for our next Mason Author Series event, featuring a discussion with Sam Lebovic, Assistant Professor of History, about his recent book, Free Speech and Unfree News: The Paradox of Press Freedom in America. The reading and discussion will take place at 3pm on Thursday, October 5 in the Fenwick Library’s Main Reading Room (Room 2001).

About Free Speech and Unfree News: Does America have a free press? Many who answer yes appeal to First Amendment protections that shield the press from government censorship. But in this comprehensive history of American press freedom as it has existed in theory, law, and practice, Sam Lebovic shows that, on its own, the right of free speech has been insufficient to guarantee a free press.

Lebovic recovers a vision of press freedom, prevalent in the mid-twentieth century, based on the idea of unfettered public access to accurate information. This “right to the news” responded to persistent worries about the quality and diversity of the information circulating in the nation’s news. Yet as the meaning of press freedom was contested in various arenas—Supreme Court cases on government censorship, efforts to regulate the corporate newspaper industry, the drafting of state secrecy and freedom of information laws, the unionization of journalists, and the rise of the New Journalism—Americans chose to define freedom of the press as nothing more than the right to publish without government censorship. The idea of a public right to all the news and information was abandoned, and is today largely forgotten.

Free Speech and Unfree News compels us to reexamine assumptions about what freedom of the press means in a democratic society—and helps us make better sense of the crises that beset the press in an age of aggressive corporate consolidation in media industries, an increasingly secretive national security state, and the daily newspaper’s continued decline.

About the Author: Sam Lebovic is Assistant Professor of History at George Mason University, where he directs the PhD program in History and serves as associate editor of the Journal of Social History. He is the author of Free Speech and Unfree News: The Paradox of Press Freedom in America (Harvard, 2016), which was awarded the 2017 Ellis W. Hawley Prize by the Organization of American Historians, and was a finalist for the 2016 Frank Luther Mott award. His research focuses on the history of American politics, culture, and media, and has been supported by fellowships from the American Society for Legal History, the NYU Center for the Cold War and the US, the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers, the Truman Library Institute, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Lebovic’s essays and articles have been published in Diplomatic History, the Journal of Social History, the Journal of American Studies, the Columbia Journalism Review, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Boston GlobePolitico, and other journals and edited volumes.  He teaches courses on a wide range of subjects in modern American and global history, and is currently researching the mid-century history of cultural globalization.

About the Mason Author Series: The University Libraries’ Mason Author Series features Mason faculty and alumni authors throughout the year, and is generously sponsored by the University Bookstore. For more information about the Mason Author Series, please contact John Warren, Head, Mason Publishing, jwarre13@gmu.edu, or Jessica Clark, Development & Communications Officer, jclarkw@gmu.edu.

Mason Author Series: General Michael V. Hayden

Join the University Libraries for a discussion with General Michael V. Hayden about his book, Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror, on Thursday, May 4 at 3 p.m. in the Fenwick Library Main Reading Room.

For General Michael Hayden, playing to the edge means playing so close to the line that you get chalk dust on your cleats. Otherwise, by playing back, you may protect yourself, but you will be less successful in protecting America. “Play to the edge” was Hayden’s guiding principle when he ran the National Security Agency, and it remained so when he ran the CIA.  In his view, many shortsighted and uninformed people are quick to criticize, and this book will give them much to chew on but little easy comfort; it is an unapologetic insider’s look told from the perspective of the people who faced awesome responsibilities head on, in the moment.

How did American intelligence respond to terrorism, a major war and the most sweeping technological revolution in the last 500 years?  What was the NSA before 9/11 and how did it change in its aftermath?  Why did the NSA begin the controversial terrorist surveillance program that included the acquisition of domestic phone records? What else was set in motion during this period that formed the backdrop for the infamous Snowden revelations in 2013?

For 10 years, General Michael Hayden was a participant in some of the most telling events in the annals of American national security. General Hayden’s goals in writing this book are simple and unwavering: No apologies. No excuses. Just what happened. And why. As he writes, “There is a story here that deserves to be told, without varnish and without spin. My view is my view, and others will certainly have different perspectives, but this view deserves to be told to create as complete a history as possible of these turbulent times. I bear no grudges, or at least not many, but I do want this to be a straightforward and readable history for that slice of the American population who depend on and appreciate intelligence, but who do not have the time to master its many obscure characteristics.”

General and Distinguished Visiting Professor Michael Hayden is a retired four-star general who served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency — the only person to helm both agencies— during a time of heinous new threats and wrenching change. In addition to leading CIA and NSA, General Hayden was the country’s first principal deputy director of national intelligence and the highest-ranking military intelligence officer in the country.  He also served as commander of the Air Intelligence Agency and Director of the Joint Command and Control Warfare Center and served in senior staff positions at the Pentagon, at US European Command, at the National Security Council, and the US Embassy in Bulgaria. He was also the deputy chief of staff for the United Nations Command and US Forces in South Korea. He is currently a principal at the Chertoff Group and a distinguished visiting professor at the George Mason University Schar School of Policy and Government.

Mason Author Series: Jennifer Ritterhouse

Join the University Libraries for the book launch of Discovering the South: One Man’s Travels Through a Changing America in the 1930s on Wednesday, April 26 at 3 p.m. in the Fenwick Library Main Reading Room.

During the Great Depression, the American South was not merely “the nation’s number one economic problem,” as President Franklin Roosevelt declared. It was also a battlefield on which forces for and against social change were starting to form. For a white southern liberal like Jonathan Daniels, editor of the Raleigh News and Observer, it was a fascinating moment to explore. Attuned to culture as well as politics, Daniels knew the true South lay somewhere between Erskine Caldwell’s Tobacco Road and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. On May 5, 1937, he set out to find it, driving thousands of miles in his trusty Plymouth and ultimately interviewing even Mitchell herself.

In Discovering the South, historian Jennifer Ritterhouse pieces together Daniels’s unpublished notes from his tour along with his published writings and a wealth of archival evidence to put this one man’s journey through a South in transition into a larger context. Daniels’s well chosen itinerary brought him face to face with the full range of political and cultural possibilities in the South of the 1930s, from New Deal liberalism and social planning in the Tennessee Valley Authority, to Communist agitation in the Scottsboro case, to planters’ and industrialists’ reactionary worldview and repressive violence. The result is a lively narrative of black and white southerners fighting for and against democratic social change at the start of the nation’s long civil rights era.

Visit the author’s website for more about the project.

Jennifer Ritterhouse is associate professor of history at George Mason University. She is the author of Growing Up Jim Crow: How Black and White Southern Children Learned Race and several articles; editor of a reprint edition of Sarah Patton Boyle’s autobiography, The Desegregated Heart: A Virginian’s Stand in Time of Transition; and co-editor of Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South. She teaches classes on the 20th-century US, the South, cultural history, and research methods.

The University Libraries’ Mason Author Series features Mason faculty and alumni authors throughout the year, and is generously sponsored by the University Bookstore. Upcoming readings include Distinguished Visiting Professor Michael Hayden on May 4.

For more information about the Mason Author Series, please contact John Warren, Head, Mason Publishing, publishing.gmu.edu