As students at a liberal arts university, it can be very easy to see our professors’ lives and academic careers as entirely centered on teaching students.
These same professors are prolific writers, editors and poets. The work they produce is read and enjoyed far beyond the walls of their classrooms at the University of Puget Sound.
“Faculty publish books on a wide range of topics. Some are very specific to their field of study, some write fiction or poetry. Some titles are traditional textbooks and are used in classes here and at other schools around the country…The Faculty Book Section is one of the more popular areas in the store,” Barbara Racine, the manager of the Puget Sound Bookstore, said.
One of the most recent of these faculty publications is assistant professor of Hispanic studies Brendan Lanctot’s book Beyond Civilization and Barbarism: Culture and Politics in Postrevolutionary Argentina, which was published by the Bucknell University Press.
“Frankly, it would be impossible for me to conceive of writing a book, as if something of that length and ambition could spring Athena-like from my brain,” Lanctot said in describing his writing process. Instead, he explained, each part of the book arose from a separate working hypothesis.
Lanctot has also said how important it is for him to interact with students.
“When I research, I am reminded that I am still just another student, in solidarity with the undergraduates I teach, not some ‘expert’ who dispenses knowledge from some stable, safeguarded reserve,” Lancot said.
He said he tries to avoid “the Ron Burgundy style of teaching,” which he describes as the “‘I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany,’” mode of thinking.
Professors here at the University of Puget Sound are also involved in editing books. For instance, Dr. Eda Gurel-Atay, assistant professor at the school of business and leadership, co-edited Communicating Sustainability for the Green Economy, which was published last October.
According to Gurel-Atay, she and co-editor Lynn Kahle attempted to take a different view on sustainability than most recent research has.
“Because the majority of sustainability discussions are centered around how companies can become more sustainable, we looked at sustainability issues from consumers’ perspective. We wanted to understand why/when/how consumers engage in sustainable consumption, how we can encourage consumers to increase their sustainable consumption,” Gurel-Atay said.
The written work done by professors at Puget Sound is not limited to scholarly analysis; William J. Kupinse, associate professor of English, wrote poetry with composer Greg Youtz and vocal performer Erin Calata for an event this month, titled Poetry Above the Roar: Erin Calata Sings Songs of Gregory Youtz.
“I’ve always tried to approach the study of literature with an eye toward issues of writerly craft,” Kupinse said. “In fact our department is presently restructuring the English major to stress the affinities between the critical study of literature and the creative production of it.”
To create the composition Poetry Above the Roar, Kupinse and Youtz selected a series of Kupinse’s poems that “spoke most directly to the experience of living in the Pacific Northwest,” which Youtz set to music so they could be performed vocally by mezzo-soprano Calata.
“Working with Greg and Erin,” Kupinse said, “has reminded me of just how important community is to any artistic project.”
Clips from two of the songs from Poetry Above the Roar are available on Youtz’s blog, at http://gregoryyoutz.wordpress.com.
Other professor publications include the works of Mike Veseth, professor of International Political Economy, who has developed a following by writing many popular books about globalization, including his recent work Extreme Wine, which explores global economy through the ups and down of the financial world of wine.
“In my 2005 book Globaloney,” Veseth said, “I studied a number of cases of alternative patterns of globalization. Two of these cases became Puget Sound courses: The Beautiful Game [about the global phenomenon of soccer] and The Idea of Wine [about the global wine industry].”
A more in-depth analysis of the global wine industry has led Veseth to produce two more books, Wine Wars and Extreme Wine.
This list is far from comprehensive; to students interested in seeing what their professors may have written recently, Barbara Racine said, “The bookstore tries to have at least one copy of [each] faculty written book and we also feature faculty titles on our web site.”
The Collins Memorial Library also typically has copies of many works by the professors of Puget Sound.