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Winter 2001

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Contents

On Campus

Sports

People

Alumni Affairs
and Development

Class Notes

 

 
 

Books

The Russian Bulletin, 1863-1917: A Liberal Voice in Tsarist Russia
The Plays of Shakespeare: A Thematic Guide
Make No Small Plans: A History of Skidmore College
Escritoras chilenas: Novela y cuento
How To Hook Your Spouse
Watching a River Freeze: Selections from Coastal Maine
Unique Games and Sports Around the World: A Reference Guide
The Ethics of Terminal Care: Orchestrating the End of Life
Integrity and Personhood: Looking at Patients from a Bio/Psycho/Social Perspective
A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples
Historical Encyclopedia of American Women Entrepreneurs: 1776 to the Present


The Russian Bulletin, 1863-1917: A Liberal Voice in Tsarist Russia

by Daniel Balmuth, Professor Emeritus of History
Peter Lang Publishing, 2000

Daniel Balmuth examines in detail the Russian Bulletin (Russkiia Vedomosti), the “professors’ newspaper,” which served as the voice of Russian liberalism from 1863 to 1917. His book is a biography of a newspaper—one that was esteemed for its seriousness and its persistent support of the ideals and goals of the Russian educated class. Since a newspaper’s observations—its selection of information and its editorial comments—offer a glimpse of a particular society at a particular time, Balmuth’s intent is to show how the Russian Bulletin functioned as a teacher to Russian society and a professor of liberalism for over fifty years.

The Bulletin defended the legacy of Alexander II’s important reforms —the emancipation of serfs, jury courts, and the zemstvo (local assemblies established in 1864 to administer education, health, and other district matters)—and called for the rule of law and, eventually, a constitution and the establishment of a representative body, the Duma. The newspaper combined this liberal position with a defense of the peasant commune and its egalitarianism and a critical attitude toward factories, business, and the free market.

After the Revolution of 1905, the Bulletin’s views evolved; it slowly began to reconsider its egalitarian liberal populist views and its sympathy toward socialists. By the time the tsarist government was overthrown by Bolsheviks in 1917, the “professors’ newspaper” had come to accept the value of individual farming and the benefits of industry and foreign investments. Publication continued until the Bolsheviks closed the operation in July 1918; it seems they could not accept the criticism that Tsarism had tolerated.

Daniel Balmuth joined the Skidmore College history department in 1958 and retired in 1998. He is also the author of Censorship in Russia, 1865-1905.

The Plays of Shakespeare: A Thematic Guide

by Victor Cahn, Professor of English
Greenwood Press, 2000

Victor Cahn, who teaches courses in the history of drama, Shakespeare, and modern drama, has taken an unusual approach in his most recent book. He has written thirty-five essays, each exploring a core theme or topic and discussing its implication in the Shakespeare plays in which it figures prominently. Cahn approaches these themes alphabetically: the 376-page book begins with an essay on acting, works its way through the topics of fidelity, fools, and forgiveness, and concludes with essays on the tragic flaw and war. Madness, male friendship, marriage, money, and mortality get their fair treatment too.

Although Cahn examines all of Shakespeare’s plays, he pays particular attention to the works most often read by students: the tragedies Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, and Macbeth; the comedies A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Merchant of Venice; as well as Richard II and The Tempest.

The publisher lists several ways students might employ this “user-friendly guide.” They can “trace the thread of a theme, compare its treatment in several plays, and better understand a play, its characters, plot, and language by examining Shakespeare’s central themes.”

Make No Small Plans: A History of Skidmore College

by Mary C. Lynn, Professor of American Studies
Skidmore College, 2000

Make No Small Plans tells the century-long story of Skidmore College, from its beginnings as a small vocational school to its present status as a nationally known liberal arts college with a student body of 2,100. Founded in 1903 by social advocate and benefactor Lucy Skidmore Scribner, the Young Women’s Industrial Club grew to become the Skidmore School of Arts, which was granted full accreditation as Skidmore College in 1922.

Using college records, news items, correspondence, and a wealth of personal recollections and interviews, Mary C. Lynn—a member of the faculty since 1969—traces the college’s growth in size and prestige, its embrace of coeducation, its move to an all-new campus, and its adoption of innovative curricular and nontraditional programs. Lynn’s task is aided by history professor Patricia-Ann Lee, who wrote the first chapter, “Lucy Scribner—A Life of Service.” The handsome volume is further enhanced by 217 black-and-white photographs beginning with daguerreotypes of John Russell Skidmore; his wife, Lucy Hawley Skidmore; and their toddler daughter, Lucy. The final photo shows the facade of the renovated and expanded Lucy Scribner Library on the Jonsson Campus.

Aside from its appeal to alumni, parents, friends, and current students, Lynn’s book will serve as a starting point for future researchers delving into distinct aspects of Skidmore’s history. Appendixes list government association presidents, editors of the Skidmore News, presidents of the alumni association, faculty granted emeritus status, and honorary degree recipients.

Escritoras chilenas: Novela y cuento

edited by Patricia Rubio, Professor of Spanish
Editorial Cuarto Propio (Santiago), 1999

The Chilean literary canon, as in other Spanish American cultures, is constituted primarily of works written by men. Although the names of Mar’a Luisa Bombal, Diamela Eltit, and especially Isabel Allende are known within and outside Chile, the novels and short stories of InŽs Echeverr’a, Mar’a FloraYa–ez, Mercedes Valdivieso, and P’a Barros have received little critical attention. The longer their work remains out of print, Patricia Rubio writes in the introduction, the more certain is their erasure from the spectrum of Chilean letters.

Rubio has compiled thirty-three essays by literary critics from Chile, the United States, and Spain, who draw attention to these forgotten women writers, evaluate their work, and offer the first comprehensive analysis of their opus. The book’s principal objective, says Rubio (author of one of the essays), is to begin to carve out a space for these Chilean writers within the literary tradition, and to evaluate their contributions both to Chilean fiction in general, and to the development of women’s fiction in particular.

Although each essay refers to the work of one author, in the aggregate the essays reveal common thematic concerns despite the fact that many of these authors had only limited knowledge of the work of their predecessors and contemporaries. Among the prevalent themes are the role and self-affirmation of the woman writer in a patriarchal soci-ety; the contention that men’s and women’s experiences are marked by irreconcilable differences; critical representations of women’s traditional roles as mothers and wives; and domestic and sexual violence—perpetuated by husbands, fathers, and brothers—as one of the most serious threats to the health of women.

How To Hook Your Spouse

by Georgene Simon Dreishpoon ’51
Writer’s Showcase Press, 2000

How To Hook Your Spouse is part autobiography and part guidebook for sustaining a marriage. Using fishing as a metaphor, Georgene Dreishpoon’s humorous stories illustrate the life-long effort of bonding with a sports-obsessed mate. Dreishpoon has been married for forty-nine years to a now retired physician who claims in his next life he wants to come back as a fishing guide. He chased fish, she says, and she chased him—from North America to Africa, from the British isles to the Caribbean. Determined not to be a “fishing widow,” Dreishpoon fished alongside her spouse—although not always happily, as she recounts in the chapter titled “The Day My Husband Wished He Had Left Me Home.”

Watching a River Freeze: Selections from Coastal Maine

by Elizabeth Elder ’67
Puddingstone Publishing 2000

Elizabeth Elder, the editor of a weekly newspaper, has lived in Maine for twenty years and in New England all her life. This book is a collection of her short works set in the fictional Maine town of Bogs Harbor, including an eighty-five-page novella, seven short stories, a short play, and two essays. Roger Rosenblatt, essayist for PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, offered this assessment for the volume’s back cover: “It is a rare pleasure to read a book as beautiful, clever, and moving as Elder’s Watching a River Freeze. The author has perfect pitch of sight as well as tone. The characters in her stories and in her play are angry, fragile, funny, conflicted and alive within a hard and special place. Here is Maine, and here also is the world —painted by a sure hand into a work of high art.”

Unique Games and Sports Around the World: A Reference Guide

edited by Doris Corbett, John Cheffers, and Eileen Crowley Sullivan ’761
Greenwood Press, 2000

Eileen Crowley Sullivan, an assistant professor in the human movement program at Boston University, and her co-editors describe and provide the rules for over 300 diverse sports and games from countries worldwide. They propose that one way to enlighten students’ understanding of cultural diversity is to introduce them to an unfamiliar culture through one of its games. The editors anticipate that educators will add the games found in this volume to their lesson plans to keep students’ interest levels high.

Emphasis is placed on rare and original games played in countries on every continent. Each entry provides information on who typically plays the game, the game’s object, the symbolism behind the game, the necessary equipment, and the rules. Take for example the game anatoba, which is played by preteens of the Ashanti people in Ghana. Involving jogging and sprinting and played with a beanbag or stone, the game is often played in the moonlight after completing household chores. Ngu kin hung (the snake eats the tail) from Thailand improves a child’s chasing and tagging skills; senet, a board game that originated in ancient Egypt, is played with tokens called kelbs; and kalq, originally a spear game, is played by teams of Aboriginal boys and men in North Queensland.

The Ethics of Terminal Care: Orchestrating the End of Life

by Erich H. Loewy and Roberta Springer Loewy, UWW ’81
Plenum Publishing Corp., 2000

In this volume, the husband-wife authors—Erich Loewy, a physician who holds an endowed chair in bioethics at the University of California-Davis Medical Center, and Roberta Loewy, an assistant clinical professor of bioethics at UC-Davis—examine some of the medical, social, and psychological conditions that affect the way we die. Although people have more control over how they live and die than ever before, ethical problems abound. The authors, sensing that little energy is spent dealing with the social and psychological factors within which medical-biological factors are imbedded, cover topics that include attitudes toward death, suicide, assisted suicide and euthanasia, hospice, and pain management. Their book should be of interest to all who work with terminally ill patients.

Integrity and Personhood: Looking at Patients from a Bio/Psycho/Social Perspective

by Roberta Springer Loewy, UWW ’81
Plenum Publishing Corp., 2000

This text first examines the dominant ways of looking at patient-clinician relationships in healthcare. Then, in challenging the traditional views, Loewy explores presuppositions that are defective. She further explains how they came to be so readily and uncritically held and reinforced, and why their implications can have such a profound affect on how we think and act. Using the methodology of philosopher John Dewey, Loewy (who holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and studied philosophy at Skidmore with Dewey scholar Darnell Rucker) proposes an alternative bio-psycho-social approach to understanding the patient-client relationship and to resolving increasingly common bioethical issues that arise in health-care settings.

A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples

edited by Barry M. Pritzker, Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations
Oxford University Press, 2000

Barry Pritzker, a former teacher of American history, published in 1998 a two-volume work titled Native Americans: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture and Peoples. This year, Oxford University Press has reprinted an updated version of the reference work in one volume. Oxford, in its prepublication publicity, says the author’s “engaging and precise” prose makes the 592-page encyclopedia “at once exhaustive yet readable.”

The work covers over 200 native American groups in Canada and the United States spread across ten geographical regions. Listed alphabetically, each group is presented in detail, starting with tribal name (translation, origin, and definition), followed by significant facts about the group’s location and population, and details about the history and culture of the group. Pritzker includes current information on each group’s government, economy, legal status, and reservations.

A valuable resource for students and researchers in native American studies, anthropology, and history, the encyclopedia complements Pritzker’s Native America Today: A Guide to Community Politics and Culture (Abc-Clio, 1999).

Historical Encyclopedia of American Women Entrepreneurs: 1776 to the Present

By Jeannette M. Oppedisano
Greenwood Press, 2000

Jeannette Oppedisano, the director of Camp $tart-Up, a summer entrepreneurial program for teen women held on campus under the auspices of Skidmore’s Office of Special Programs, has compiled the biographies of over 100 women for this volume. From 1776 to the present, these women have initiated organizations; taken human, physical, and financial risk in these endeavors; and had an economic impact locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Oppedisano has included biographies of the famous, from Clara Barton to Oprah Winfrey, as well as entries on less famous Saratoga women, from the founder of Skidmore College to the founding sisters of Putnam (Street) Market. In addition to Lucy Skidmore Scribner, there are entries on alumnae Catherine Hinds ’56, Molly Brister Haley-Freitag ’64, and Kimberly Harbour ’85. In some instances, the biographies are illustrated with photos of the entrepreneurs.

Oppedisano is a former member of Skidmore’s business faculty. —ACH

Alumni authors are urged to send copies of their books, publisher’s notes, or reviews, so that Scope can make note of their work in the “Books” column.

 


© 2001 Skidmore College