Current books to read and podcasts to listen to featuring the work of the Barnard community.
The Verso Book of Feminism: Revolutionary Words from Four Millennia of Rebellion edited by Jessie Kindig ’04
Kindig unravels the story of one of the most enduring systems of oppression and the visionaries who have fought against it. Researched on Barnard’s campus, the book follows the common thread of irrepressible defiance connecting feminism across history and cultures. The voices of artists, activists, theorists, and politicians from around the globe are featured and united by the cause of female advocacy.
Lyrical Strains by Elissa Zellinger ’02
Both political and poetic theory are used to demonstrate how 19th-century liberalism defined itself based on the exclusion of marginalized people. Zellinger examines the work of these excluded communities and how women, Native, and enslaved artists used lyric poetry to defy restricted definitions of identity and individuality established by liberal authors.
Almost Over: Aging, Dying, Dead by F.M. Kamm ’69
Kamm considers a variety of philosophical perspectives when investigating private and public attitudes towards the dying process. Difficult questions surrounding the pursuit of death, the aging process affecting the will to live, and societal practices of preserving or taking life are all examined, as well as what these moral issues reveal about our own humanity.
Proust, Photography, and the Time of Life: Ravaisson, Bergson, and Simmel by Suzanne Guerlac ’71
Guerlac offers a new interpretation of Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, illuminated by the philosophies of his contemporaries Félix Ravaisson, Henri Bergson, and Georg Simmel. She argues that Proust aims to embrace life’s present moment over recollections of the past and drives this point home by placing the novel in the context of cultural touchstones, controversies, and events of his time.
They Left It All Behind: Trauma, Loss, and Memory Among Eastern European Jewish Immigrants and Their Children by Hannah Hahn ’76
Employing her training in psychology, Hahn analyzes how oppressive historical events, including anti-Semitic discrimination and the violence of World War I, impacted the mental health of pre-1924 Jewish immigrant families. The stories — informed by a series of interviews with the eastern European immigrants’ children — reveal the past trauma these immigrants experienced and its effect on subsequent generations.
Writing Occupation: Jewish Émigré Voices in Wartime France by Julia Elsky ’07
During World War II, Jewish authors who had emigrated from eastern Europe to France made a deliberate choice to write in French as a way of asserting their increasingly silenced identities as both Jewish and French creatives. Elsky looks at how these writers — including Irène Némirovsky, Jean Malaquais, and Benjamin Fondane — document and convey wartime life from their own unique perspectives, as both insiders and outsiders.
Revolution in Development: Mexico and the Governance of the Global Economy by Christy Thornton ’02
Challenging the notion that Europe and the U.S. were at the center of 20th-century economic development, Thornton’s research reveals Mexico’s many forgotten contributions to shaping global capitalist policies. Thornton asserts that the advocacy of Mexican diplomats and economists secured economic progress for themselves, other Third World leaders, and the world.
Mutual Aid by Dean Spade ’97
As part of a new book series addressing the social and political ramifications of COVID-19, Spade discusses a new kind of service that has arisen during the pandemic: mutual aid. Individual citizens have had to balance cooperative survival work with social justice in the wake of numerous global crises. This book defines, theorizes about, and advises on this historic brand of activism.
The Decisive Network: Magnum Photos and the Postwar Image Market by Nadya Bair ’06
The Magnum Photos agency was responsible for much of the popularization and spread of photojournalism after World War II. Bair studies how Magnum’s influence was able to reach so many people and how everyone from editors and publishers to photographers’ spouses were integral to its process. Magnum’s collaborative and artistic work gave a global visual identity to the human rights issues of the war.
The Book of Help: A Memoir in Memories by Megan Griswold ’90
In the wake of a major life upset, Griswold goes on a quest for peace, happiness, and emotional balance. Her search leads her on adventures both near and far, from encounters with psychics to remote encampments of the Chilean military. She explores the vast world of alternative medicine, sharing her experiences with different wellness and holistic practices that can sometimes border on the extreme. Readers are invited to draw inspiration for their own journeys towards fulfillment.
Corner Shrine by Chloe Martinez ’00
In this collection of poems, which won the 2019 Backbone Press Chapbook Contest, Martinez contemplates lofty themes of culture and identity and probes transience through the sensory and tactile experiences of travel.
Side Effects: A Footloose Journey to the Apocalypse by S. Montana Katz ’77
Katz’s new novel depicts the decline of the American dream through the personal and married life of a young autistic woman in the 1950s and beyond. This sprawling epic paints a detailed portrait of the post-WWII baby boomer generation — bringing into play the music, politics, art, and science of its time — and how it gave rise to a global climate crisis.
Song of the Old City by Anna Pellicioli ’01
The richly illustrated children’s book follows the daily life of a little girl in Istanbul. With poetic narration, Pellicioli tells a story of warmth and generosity as her protagonist receives gifts from the inhabitants of the city and shares them with others.