DiSC Research Connections: Text Mining

Join us for a DiSC Research Connections presentation on “Text Mining Digital Humanities Blogs with APIs, OpenRefine, and R” on Tuesday, October 29, 3-4 p.m., in Fenwick 2001. This session will be led by Laura Crossley, PhD student, Department of History and Art History.

Opening Reception for “A War of Contradictions: The Vietnam Conflict, 1945-1975”

Join the Libraries for a reception and discussion of “A War of Contradictions: The Vietnam Conflict, 1945-1975,” our Special Collection Research Center’s current exhibit. The discussion, led by Dr. Meredith Lair, Associate Professor, History and Art History, will take place on Tuesday, October 22, from 2-3:30 p.m. in the SCRC Seminar Room (Fenwick Library Room 2400). Light refreshments will be served.

Dr. Lair’s work examines warfare and its relationship to American society and culture, with particular emphasis on how knowledge and memories of the past are constructed and disseminated over time. She is the author of Armed with Abundance: Consumerism and Soldiering in the Vietnam War, which examines the non-combat experiences of American soldiers in Vietnam. She finds that the US military relied heavily on consumerism and material abundance to maintain soldier morale, a phenomenon that continues to the present day. Her research on this topic continues, especially the role that culture can play as an instrument of war. Her current projects examine Vietnam War soldier photography and legacies of the Vietnam War, in particular how ideas about veteranhood have been constructed and changed over time. Professor Lair also developed content and wrote the exhibit script for the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation’s Vietnam Era Educational Center, the first permanent museum about the Vietnam War in the United States.

Professor Lair’s teaching interests include war and American society, post-1945 US social and cultural history, the Vietnam War, and historical methods. She also serves as director of Mason’s Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) Master’s program.

About the Exhibit: “It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it.” This quote, attributed to a U.S. Army officer in February 1968, illustrates the contradictions inherent in the Vietnam Conflict. Seen by some as a noble fight to stop Communism and help a developing country establish democracy, and others as interference in a war of national liberation and a destructive waste of money and human life, Vietnam remains one of the more polarizing topics of the twentieth century. This was evident in the words, actions and writings of politicians, journalists, authors, clergy, and others. The conflict, which spanned 30 years, from September 1945 to May 1975, was responsible for 1.5 million to 3.5 million civilian and military deaths. One of the major flash points of the Cold War, Vietnam was, and still is, a subject about which many have differing opinions.

This exhibit, curated by Bob Vay, SCRC’s Digital Collections and Exhibition Archivist, features items from Special Collections Research Center’s Rare Books, University Archives, and manuscript collections.  

Mason Author Series: Helon Habila

The Libraries’ first Mason Author Series event of the fall will take place on Thursday, October 10 at 4:30 p.m. in Fenwick Library, Room 2001. Our guest will be Helon Hibala, professor of creative writing at Mason, who will join us for a discussion of his latest novel, Travelers.

Travelers has been hailed as a “sweeping novel that gives voice to members of the African diaspora dispersed across contemporary Europe” (Kirkus Reviews) and as a novel that “has it all – intelligence, tragedy, poetry, love, intimacy, compassion and a serious, soulful, arms-wide engagement with one of the most acute human concerns of our age: the refugee crisis” (The Guardian).

Books will be available for purchase at the event, and refreshments will be provided.

About the Author: Helon Habila is the author of the novels, Waiting for an Angel, Measuring Time, Oil on Water, and Travelers, and a nonfiction book, The Chibok Girls. His writing has won numerous awards including the Caine Prize, the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, the Emily Balch Prize, and the Windham-Campbell Prize. He is a contributing editor to the Virginia Quarterly Review. His stories, articles, reviews, and poems have appeared in various magazines and papers including Granta, AGNI, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Guernica, and the London Guardian. His short story, The Hotel Malogo, was selected for the Best American Non-required Reading Anthology. Habila is the editor of the Granta Book of African Short Story, 2011.

About the Mason Author Series: The Mason Libraries’ Mason Author Series features Mason faculty and alumni authors throughout the year, and is generously sponsored by the University Bookstore. For upcoming events, visit http://library.gmu.edu/masonauthorseries.

Katrin B. Anacker Named 2019-20 Fenwick Fellow

Dean of Libraries and University Librarian John G. Zenelis is pleased to announce the selection of Katrin B. Anacker, Associate Professor at Mason’s Schar School of Policy and Government, as the 2019-20 Fenwick Fellow.

Professor Anacker’s research proposal, Opening up the Suburbs: The Case of Reston, Virginia, received the enthusiastic recommendation of the members of the Fenwick Fellow Selection Committee. The project, utilizing a case study approach to examine Reston over the past five decades, will draw on three strands of suburban literature – planned communities, race and real estate, and social justice – and explore the questions: How and why did Robert E. Simon open up Reston? What challenges did he face in doing so and how did he overcome them?

Professor Anacker will undertake archival research at Mason Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center and the City of Fairfax Regional Library’s Virginia Room, as well as conduct interviews with planners, administrators, community activists, and historians.

Zenelis commented, “I am delighted to support the committee’s endorsement of Professor Anacker’s study. In an age of digital exploration, the use of archival and primary sources in substantive, groundbreaking research cannot be ignored or understated. We look forward to having Professor Anacker here in our Special Collections Research Center and seeing what she uncovers.”

Professor Anacker will present the results of her work in spring 2021 at the annual Fenwick Fellow Lecture hosted by the University Libraries.

ABOUT THE FENWICK FELLOWSHIP: The Fenwick Fellowship is awarded annually to one or two Mason tenured, tenure-track, or multi-year appointment term faculty members to pursue a research project that uses and enhances the University Libraries’ resources while advancing knowledge in their fields. The winning proposals are recommended to the Dean of Libraries and University Librarian by a six-member selection committee including three instructional faculty members and three librarians, with one of the Associate University Librarians serving as administrative coordinator. The recipients are provided with a fully equipped and furnished research office in Fenwick Library and an award of $5,000 to support the recipient’s research project. The terms for this year’s Fellow begins on August 26, 2019 and will end on August 7, 2020.