Out of the Archives and Into the Street

This past month, passers-by in the streets of Cuzco, Peru, saw double. For the city-wide exhibit El Cusco de Martín Chambi, 32 images of the city taken by world-renowned indigenous photographer Martín Chambi early in the 20th century were enlarged and set up around the city—“in the very spaces and whenever possible from the very angles where Martín Chambi took them,” says Silvia Spitta, a professor of Spanish and of comparative literature and the Robert E. Maxwell 1923 Professor of Arts and Sciences.

Spitta’s work with the Chambi archive was supported by an award from the Office of the Dean of the Faculty’s Scholarly Innovation Fund, and involved preserving and cataloging the archive’s holdings. At the same time Spitta “intervened” in the archive to make its holdings accessible to the public at large.

So Many Memoirs: What’s Behind The Genre’s Boom (VPR)

This week, VPR’s “Conversation On the Arts” focuses on the popularity of memoirs. The program’s host, Neal Charnoff, turns to Dartmouth’s Irene Kacandes for her thoughts on the genre.

Kacandes, a professor of German studies and of comparative literature, says that most experts date the recent boom in memoirs back to the 1990s, when books such as Girl Interrupted, Angela’s Ashes, and Tuesdays With Morrie were so popular.

While there are critics of memoirs, Kacandes appreciates their value. “I feel like if someone wants to tell their story, they may be getting something out of the act of narrating about their life. I also feel strongly that not only might the individual writer get something out of it, but if a single other reader finds it valuable then who are we to decide it shouldn’t be out there.”

Listen to the full story, broadcast 5/1/14 on VPR.

Dartmouth’s Ben Randolph ’15 Wins Beinecke Scholarship

Ben Randolph ’15, has been named a Beinecke Scholar, one of 20 college juniors nationally. The award, which supports the “graduate education of young men and women of exceptional promise,” provides $4,000 prior to entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school.

Randolph, a comparative literature major from Louisville, Ky., plans to enter an interdisciplinary PhD program, concentrating on critical, theoretical approaches to literature and society.

“I’m interested in how, and why, our society privileges some people over others,” Randolph says. “Specifically, I want to ask why some people are naturally seen as having depth and complexity, while others are reduced to having stereotypical, derogatory motivations for their behavior.”

The ‘I’ in Internet Addiction (The Huffington Post)

In a Huffington Post opinion piece,Dartmouth’s Rebecca Biron writes about what she hopes to gain from her Internet use.

“I read news sources compulsively, maybe obsessively, in acknowledgment of the sheer amount of data available at my fingertips,” says Biron, a professor of Spanish, comparative literature, and Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean studies, and a Dartmouth Public Voices fellow. “My habit takes the form of information gathering, as if such gathering were the same thing as drawing the connections that make data meaningful. I nurse a vague intuition that doing this daily will eventually help me apprehend the big picture of our epoch.”

Read the full opinion piece, published 2/21/14 by The Huffington Post.

ACLS Honors Dartmouth Professors’ Joint Work

Dartmouth’s George Edmondson, an associate professor of English, and Klaus Mladek, an associate professor of German studies and comparative literature, make up one of eight teams chosen by the American Council of Learned Societies for 2014 Collaborative Research Fellowships. Edmondson and Mladek plan to write a book together; it is to be titled “A Politics of Melancholia.”

“Long-lasting collaborations between scholars from different fields are unusual in the humanities,” Mladek says. “When George and I began working on our co-authored book, we had to get out of our customary writing habits as soon as we began developing our thoughts together—by writing and discussing at the same desk and on the same computer.”

This process, he says, “forced me to break out of my own mode of solitary thinking in reaction to the voice and ideas of my collaborator.”

The ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowship Program, launched in 2007 and made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aims to demonstrate the creative potential of collaborative research in the humanities and related social sciences.

Dartmouth ‘Intervenes’ in Peruvian Photography Archive

Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature Silvia Spitta and Dartmouth librarian Jill Baron traveled to Cuzco, Peru, in December, to organize and catalogue more than 40,000 glass plate negatives made by the late indigenous Peruvian photographer Martín Chambi.

With financing from the Office of the Dean of the Faculty’s Scholarly Innovation Fund, as well as support from the Dartmouth Library, Spitta and Baron worked with Teo Allain Chambi, the grandson of the photographer and director of the Chambi archive.

Spitta’s exhibition of Chambi’s photos, “Interventions in the Archive,” will be held in Cuzco from September 15 to October 18, 2014. The photographs will be enlarged and hung around the city, “in the very spaces where Chambi took them almost 100 years ago,” says Spitta, the Robert E. Maxwell 1923 Professor of Arts and Sciences.

These photos document life in Cuzco from 1920-1950, and capture everything from snapshots of street vendors, to formal studio portraits, to photographs of important Incan sites such as Machu Picchu and Sacsayhuaman.

Professor Carlos Fuentes (El País)

A feature story about the late novelist and diplomat Carlos Fuentes discusses the role teaching played in Fuentes’ career, noting the time he spent at Dartmouth as a Montgomery Fellow in 1981.

In this translated article, originally published in Spanish in El País, Beatriz Pastor, a professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature, says, “In Dartmouth (Fuentes) could enjoy a space for debate, discussions and interactions with people from different areas and departments: Performing arts, film, math, science.”

Read the full story, published 10/10/12 in El País.

Professor Granted France’s Top Award, the Legion d’Honneur

Lawrence Kritzman, professor of French and of comparative literature, has been named to the Legion d’Honneur by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The award, created by Napoleon in 1802 to honor meritorious service to France, is the highest that the country bestows on an individual. It is reserved for those whose merits or accomplishments have made a positive and significant impact on France.

Kritzman’s recognition reflects the “quality of the entirety of [his] publications and [his] many contributions to the promotion and dissemination of French culture.” Kritzman will be inducted into the Legion this spring at a ceremony to be convened by French Ambassador to the United States François Delattre.

“I am absolutely thrilled that Larry Kritzman has been honored in this fashion,” said Adrian Randolph, associate dean of the faculty for the arts and humanities and the Leon E. Williams Professor of Art History. “This award makes visible his enormous contributions to the field of French Renaissance literature, and to the study of French culture more broadly.”

Professor Higgins to Present 23rd Presidential Lecture

Professor of French and Comparative Literature Lynn Higgins will present the 23rd Presidential Lecture on Tuesday, May 17, at 5 p.m., in 105 Dartmouth Hall. Higgins’s lecture, entitled “The Powers of Fiction,” will deal with her work on the legacy of World War II France, including the German occupation, in literature and film as well as her forthcoming book about filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier.

“I’ve been hearing echoes across the divide between my two topics for some time, and this lecture has been an opportunity to get the two subjects to talk to each other,” says Higgins, who joined the Dartmouth faculty in 1976. “I’m hoping that I’ll be able to explore some questions coming from the humanities that will be of value and interest to my colleagues and students in literature, and also to those working in fields very different from mine.”