Category Archives: International and Area Studies Department

Dr. Kristina Troost is the inaugural recipient of the CEAL Distinguished Service Award

Dr. Kristina Troost, Duke University Library’s own Japanese studies librarian and the head of its East Asian Collections, is the inaugural recipient of the Council of East Asian Libraries (CEAL) Distinguished Service Award. This prestigious award honors an individual who has made significant contributions to East Asian libraries/East Asian Studies and to CEAL. Please see the official announcement: https://www.eastasianlib.org/newsite/kristina-troost-is-inaugural-ceal-distinguished-service-award-recipient/

Duke University Library’s collection of materials on East Asia began with a gift from James A. Thomas in the late 1920s. In the 1930s, when Duke faculty first started teaching courses on East Asia , the library systematically began to build an East Asian collection in English only. The postwar growth of area studies served as the initial impetus for acquiring materials in Japanese and Chinese languages. In 1981, the Asian/Pacific Studies Institute (APSI) was founded at Duke, and new faculty were hired to teach additional courses on the region. To meet the growing needs of APSI faculty and students, Dr. Kristina Troost was hired in 1990, first as Japanese studies bibliographer, and then, in 1992, as the East Asian librarian responsible for building collections in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. In 1996, Dr. Troost invited an external consultant to review the Chinese collection, which resulted in the hiring of the first full-time Chinese studies librarian at Duke in 2000.  Duke’s Korean studies program expanded as well, and in 2006, Dr. Troost invited an external review of the Korean collection, as a result of which Duke hired its first Korean studies librarian in 2007. Under Dr. Troost’s leadership, Duke‘s East Asian collection has grown rapidly. Today, Duke University Library’s East Asian Collection is one of the major East Asian Collections in North America.

The Hong Kong Book Fair

The Hong Kong publishing market may be smaller than that of mainland China or Taiwan, but its annual book fair— which is organized by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and held every summer at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center—is definitely a must-see travel destination.  And not just for the East Asian library specialist.  Book lovers of any subject can find something of interest at this yearly event.

I first started attending the Hong Kong book fair out of a sense of  professional necessity.  For several years, political events in Hong Kong had been having serious repercussions on the book trade (and, thereby, on Duke University Libraries’ acquisitions of Chinese books published in Hong Kong).   Following the 2014 “Umbrella Movement” – so named because the protesters who occupied the city for 79 days while calling for electoral reform had used umbrellas to protect themselves from the pepper spray employed against them by the police – it became increasingly more difficult for bookstores to conduct business as usual.  In 2015, one of the Hong Kong-based book vendors with whom Duke Libraries had worked for a long time was forced to close its doors. Later that same year came the shocking news of the disappearance of the manager of Causeway Bay Books, an upstairs bookstore in Hong Kong that is famous for selling works on topics considered politically-sensitive (and therefore banned) in mainland China. It was later confirmed that the manager, along with four other staff members from the same bookstore, were being held in police custody in Guangdong, China. The Library has another book vendor in Hong Kong, but after evaluating their catalogs for one year, I was concerned that many books that we would have liked to purchase for our Chinese collection were not included in their list of offerings. I felt that I needed to be on the ground in order to see how I could rectify the situation.

Selected books acquired from the fair on display on top of EAC microfilm cabinet
East Asian Collection, second floor of Bostock Library

During my first visit to the Hong Kong book fair, in 2017, I made contact with publishers with whom I was barely familiar or did not know at all and asked for their catalogs. It was mostly a study trip and I purchased only a small number of books. I also visited a few upstairs or “second floor” bookstores: smaller shops, packed with shelf-after-shelf of books, from floor to ceiling, and usually located on the second or third floor of a building, where the rent is much cheaper.

In 2018, I visited the fair in the company of the Assistant Fung Ping Shan Library Librarian for Collections of the University of Hong Kong Libraries (UHKL), who attends the Hong Kong book fair every year and regularly acquires books there. With the guidance of this local expert, I gained more knowledge about the publishers and vendors at the fair. I also learned that for many independent and/or small publishers, the fair is the most important place to distribute their books, which are often printed in small numbers and difficult to acquire outside the fair.

My latest trip to the Hong Kong book fair occurred in the summer of 2019.  That year’s event was especially festive because it marked the 30th anniversary of the Hong Kong book fair. The theme of this fair was “Sci-Fi and Mystery”, but the tagline “Reading the World” http://hkbookfair.hktdc.com/tc/About-Book-Fair/Previous-Fair/Theme-Of-The-Year.html, pointed to more global aspirations.  There were a total of 686 exhibitors and close to one million visitors.  Besides the usual plethora of seminars by local and international authors and scholars, the fair had its own Art Gallery, which exhibited photos from the archives of past fairs. Other highlights included the distribution of limited-edition bookmarks created for Hong Kong author Xi Xi’s The Teddy Bear Chronicles; and photographs of Louis Cha, one of the giants of martial arts literature, visiting the Book Fair. I managed to purchase a good number of books (that we would never have acquired otherwise) at the fair. I also visited a mini fair organized by several independent bookstores outside the grounds of the convention center, and held on two floors of an old, narrow building in Wai Chai,  Hong Kong. The building’s small and shaky elevator could only take about three to four people up at a time. There was a good number of people at each of the two floors and payment was by cash only.  And yet, the sense of being at an exclusive book store, one not frequented by many Chinese booklovers, much less other US-based East Asian library specialists, was priceless.

An Indie Bookstore Poster

To get some sense of the variety of books purchased at the 2019 Hong Kong book fair, check out selected items on display on top of the microfilm cabinet at the East Asian Collection on the second floor of Bostock library. As the brief annotations written by me and two of my Chinese-speaking student assistants show, these books encompass numerous topics, themes, and media.  This sample display demonstrates the vibrancy of the Hong Kong book market and the value of collecting materials from this part of the world.

Hundred Year of Colonial Impressions

A Hundred Years of Colonial Impressions by Otto C.C. Lam. 300 black and white photographs documenting Hong Kong from 1860 to 1960 in 13 chapters. The baby on the cover is Ian Kreft, 18 months old, at Southampton, England, waiting for the ship to take him and his mother to Hong Kong to reunite with his father, who served at Royal Engineers.

Umbrella Movement

Umbrella Chronicle by Simon Chow: 248 black and white drawings documenting and chronologizing incidents in the “Umbrella Movement.”

Wakened by 1989 Tiananmen Square Incident

Awakened by 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests by Liu Ruishao. As a witness of June 4th Incident and a Hong Kong citizen in the face of impending pressure from the Mainland, the author shares his immersive experience of the turning point in Modern China’s history. This book offers an opportunity to look into the dynamics of democratic movement and political struggles across 30 years in Greater China from Hong Kong’s perspective.”

No Trump No New China (US-China) Trade War
Xi Dada

Dark Soy Sauce China by Zunzi. Bo Yang a Chinese historian and poet, describes Chinese culture as a “soy sauce vat”—in contrast to the organic fluidity of a river, with thousands of years of precipitation, China, and especially Chinese politics, has become as dark and stinky as a soy sauce vat. The book’s author, Zun Zi, one of the most famous comic artists in Hong Kong, ironically names his two newly published comic books as Dark Soy Sauce China and Soy Sauce Hong Kong to unveil the genealogy of Chinese politics.

New Exhibit: Tobaccoland

Tobaccoland
On display January 10 – June 20, 2020
Mary Duke Biddle Room, Rubenstein Library, Duke West Campus (Click for map)

Please check our website for current library hours.


About the Exhibit

Explore the history of cigarettes in the United States, from their initial unpopularity, to their emergence as a ubiquitous element of American life, to rise of vaping today. Tobaccoland examines the role that tobacco marketing, branding, and nicotine addiction have played in twentieth-century American history. The National Cancer Institute estimates that by the 1950s, as many as 67 percent of young adult men smoked cigarettes. But as smoking rates spiked, so did illnesses associated with cigarettes. In the past sixty years, anti-smoking campaigns, lawsuits, regulations, and public smoking bans (like Duke’s pledge to be smoke-free by July 2020) have led to a drastic reduction in the numbers of Americans who smoke. Still, cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States.

Image of 1950s tobacco advertisements
Following World War II, the number of smokers in the U.S. reached unprecedented levels. The 1950s saw a boom in tobacco advertising. Ads featuring film and television stars and athletes became commonplace alongside tobacco-sponsored television programming and advertising at sporting events.

The exhibit is divided into several sections, including early cigarette marketing innovations, moral opposition to tobacco, targeted marketing to women and youth, the U.S. Surgeon General’s 1964 report linking cigarette smoking and cancer, the search for new markets, government regulation and industry response, e-cigarettes, quitting and prevention, and the complicated legacy of tobacco in building the Duke family fortune and, ultimately, Duke University.

Image of exhibit case
Tobacco was the foundation of the Duke family fortune. And the foundation of Duke University is inextricably tied up with the Dukes’ tobacco wealth.

Tobaccoland was curated by Joshua Larkin Rowley (Hartman Center Reference Archivist), Meghan Lyon (Head, Rubenstein Library Technical Services), and Amy McDonald (Assistant University Archivist).


Exhibit Book Talk: Please Join Us!

Date: Friday, February 7
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room (Rubenstein Library 153)

Dr. Sarah Milov, Professor of History at University of Virginia, will discuss her recently published book, The Cigarette: A Political History (Harvard University Press, 2019), in conjunction with the exhibit.

Free and open to the public.

Welcome to the VUCA World! The Frankfurt International Book Fair 2019. Part 2

This post is by Heidi Madden, Librarian for Western European and Medieval/Renaissance Studies, and Sarah How, European Studies Librarian at Cornell University. 

The Frankfurt International Book Fair is a trade event that attracts professionals from many countries and nearly all segments of the publishing and information science worlds.  This includes academic librarians from the US. Every year members of the  European Studies Section of the American Library Association (ALA) team up to get as much out of the Frankfurt Book Fair events as possible; they spend evenings pouring over the programs, and record what they want to report back to colleagues at the next ALA conference, including recommended readings published during the fair. For 2019, the responsibility for this task was assumed by Heidi Madden (Duke) and Sarah How (Cornell), both of whom attended the 2019 Frankfurt Book Fair and who have collaborated on the writing of this blog post.

Trade publications issued around the fair provide excellent reading for librarians. Expert White Papers  (free, but registration is required for download) help visitors familiarize themselves with issues and trends before the Fair. What follows below are a few examples of our required reading for 2019.

As is apparent from this list, digital publishing was one of the overarching themes of the 2019 Frankfurt Book Fair.  Those fairgoers who attended the sessions on publishing in the digital age were invited to enter the “VUCA World.” The VUCA world is not some happy, imaginary planet, but rather the confusing information landscape in which we all currently find ourselves: the letters of the acronym stand for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. Visitors to the 2019 Fair had many opportunities to hear international experts speak on issues connected to this theme, which ran like a red (read) thread through many of the presentations. For this blog post, we have decided to focus on two of the more substantial “hot topics”: the availability of new subscription models for journals and e-books and the concept of e-books as an accessible digital ecosystem.

Library administrators and researchers from across Europe presented on Plan S, an initiative launched by Science Europe in September 2018 for making open-access science publishing a foundational principle of the scientific enterprise. There was also discussion of Project DEAL, an initiative by a consortium of German university libraries and research institutes to re-negotiate large contracts (“deals”) with the major publishing houses of e-journals, which are usually the biggest line item in any research library’s acquisitions budget. In another forum, e-book vendors approvingly noted that newspaper publishers have created innovative business models that work on the Internet by devising formulas for offering just enough free content to trigger a sale of premium content. These vendors suggested that e-books, both fiction and nonfiction, could potentially be marketed using the same sort of model, that is, by offering a preview on the Internet extensive enough to trigger either a sale of an entire volume or a “subscription” to individual chapters, one chapter at a time.

Just when publishers appear to have figured out how to monetize premium content based on the free content that appears in an Internet search, legislation triggered by the new European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market appears to complicate matters once again. Certain aspects of the EU directive are popularly referred to as the “link-tax,” because they effectively mean that the makers of search engines can be fined for showing too much free content in the result list under a link to a content provider, especially for news content. The link tax issue is playing out in real time in France, where legislation based on the European Directive has already been introduced, and where a fierce debate between Internet giants (like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon) and legislators will influence how the EU Directive is incorporated into the cyber-laws of other EU countries.

One of the most discussed topics at this year’s fair was the implementation of the European Accessibility Act, which was written on the basis of a directive by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). WIPO has 192 member states, and administers 26 international treaties, including the “Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled,” which was adopted in 2013. The European Union signed the European Accessibility Act in March 13, 2019. This act directs EU member countries to incorporate WIPO’s accessibility requirements into their national laws, and to be compliant by 2025. The European Accessibility Act applies to a suite of digital services, like computer hardware and operating systems, payment terminals, websites, and e-readers. In the context of accessibility, e-books are considered a service, and the act requires that the entire publishing chain, i.e. content producers, digital distributors, catalogs for searching, and e-readers participate in making content available to Print Impaired People (PiPs). In effect, the Accessibility Act creates a vision of e-books as part of a larger and more accessible digital ecosystem.

Exemptions are planned for art books, comic books, children’s books, and smaller companies with under 2 million Euros in revenue. The print segment of the market will continue to exist, but it must align with a digital edition. For this reason, there is a provision for third party “authorized entities” to produce accessible-format copies of non-compliant publications on a non-profit basis. The work of these entities will be instrumental for foreign publishers who market materials in Europe. Organizations like Fondazione LIA, the Daisy Consortium, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), EDRLab, and EDItEur  are working to understand the implications of this act for the publishing industry and for libraries in Europe, and are helping to develop standards for born accessible publications and for converting non-compliant publications and back files.

Fondatione LIA presented their research at the 7th International Convention of International University Presses at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2019. The full report, co-authored by Gregorio Pellegrino, Cristina Mussinelli, and Elisa Molinari:  “E-BOOKS FOR ALL.Towards an accessible digital publishing ecosystem,” can be downloaded (with free registration) at the LIA website.

In sum, although we continue to live in VUCA world, the Accessibility Act, along with advances in digital publishing, search and discovery (e.g. Artificial Intelligence, algorithms, complex metadata, voice search) promise to make electronic and audio books more accessible and more functional for every reader. And American research libraries are actively helping their patrons to navigate through this changing publishing landscape. The creation of digital publishing services departments, such as the recently-founded Scholarworks at Duke or Scholarly Communications and Open Access at Cornell, is one way of engaging with the general trends and developments in the new digital publishing ecosystem. Another is to anticipate these changes by incorporating some of the proposed solutions into libraries’ strategic plans, as has been done, for example, in “Engage, Discover, Transform: Duke University Libraries,” 2016-2021. Last, but not least, is support for librarians’ attendance at international library fairs (like the one in Frankfurt), which allow librarians to stay informed about the latest developments, learn about the looming challenges, and discover innovative ways to overcome them, and inspire practical applications in their institutions.

Many organizations publish informative white papers around the time of the book fair. Pictured is the cover of ”The Universe of Books,” published by the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels in the “The Frankfurt Magazine. German Stories, 2019,” which captures the global book market.

About the authors:

Heidi Madden is the Librarian for Western European and Medieval Renaissance Studies at Duke University; she serves as Chair of the European Studies Section of the Association for College and Research Libraries.

Sarah How is the European Studies Librarian at Cornell University, and serves as the Chair of the Collaborative Initiative for French Language Collections in North American Libraries (CIFNAL), a Global Resources Project of the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), in Chicago, IL. Sarah and Heidi are happy to help colleagues prepare for their first international book fair visit; send us an email or find us at the ALA Annual convention in Chicago 2020.

The Frankfurt International Book Fair 2019. Part 1

This post is by Heidi Madden, Librarian for Western European and Medieval/Renaissance Studies, and Sarah How, European Studies Librarian at Cornell University. 

International book fairs provide great opportunities for librarians to discover new books and other media; learn of new trends in publishing, translation, design, and book production; and build personal connections that directly benefit both their own work and that of their home institutions. Being abroad, being there in person, immersed in the language and culture of another place, is in itself of significant benefit, although one that is difficult to quantify. That is why we are grateful for the opportunity afforded by this library blog to write about our experiences at the 2019 Frankfurt Book Fair, and thereby to describe some of those benefits.

For international and area studies librarians, book fair visits are an essential component not only of professional development but also of collection development.  That serious research libraries need materials that would not — could not, economically — be provided by our standard commercial supply channels is accepted wisdom in the profession. Book fair visits are an efficient way to address this need, since they make it possible to interact with many publishers at once, in a single exhibition space. In addition, cultural and linguistic immersion at international fairs strengthens the skills and knowledge that support research services and give academic librarians “street cred” with international students and faculty, as well as researchers engaged in foreign-language humanities, social sciences, and area studies. Visits to specialized bookstores, meetings with local librarians, and visits to local libraries and cultural institutions can be squeezed-in around a busy fair schedule for additional benefit.  This is especially true for those librarians who are able to attend an international book fair in a place as rich in resources as Frankfurt, Germany.

The logo of the 2019 Frankfurt Book Fair

The Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurter Buchmesse), an annual international event for the publishing trade community, is the world’s largest book fair.  This Fair is fundamentally a commercial event, focused as it is on the business of publishing and related industries. It is the place, for example, where publishers, agents, authors, illustrators, film makers, translators, printers, authors, media specialists, book distributors, and libraries negotiate and license rights for distribution, publishing, translation, and film and media versions of the items on display. However, the Frankfurt Book Fair is also the occasion for substantial programming related to contemporary literature and, as we shall see, can even serve as a forum for robust cultural and political debates. Similarly-designed book fairs, more regional in scope, are held in Paris (Salon du livre), Bologna (Bologna Children’s Book Fair), Madrid (Liber), Guadalajara (International Book Fair), Beijing (International Book Fair), Hong Kong (Book Fair), and Moscow (International Book Fair), to name just a few.

According to established tradition, the Frankfurt Book Fair lasts for 5 days, from Wednesday to Sunday. The first three days are usually focused on exhibiting books. On those days, a European Studies librarian can, for example, peruse the publishing program of dozens and dozens of publishers from every European country, including small, independent presses. On the weekend, the fair is open to the public, and books are sold directly to individuals. On those days the sections of the fair devoted to publishers of graphic novels, cookbooks, travel literature, zines, and German language fiction are jammed with people and cosplay participants. In October 2019, 302,267 individuals from 100 countries visited the Frankfurt Book Fair. There, they were met by 7,500 exhibitors and encountered 400,000 individual books, maps, manuscripts, visual materials, and digital media objects (audio and e-books).

The special exhibit of the guest country Norway combined nature imagery, mirrors, and book tables designed to represent poems in spatial dimensions. Norway also celebrated 500 years of the printed book (Nidaros Missal and the Nidaros Breviary, from 1519) in the exhibit.

Each year, Frankfurt hosts a “Guest of Honor” country: Norway was the 2019 Guest. The guiding theme for the Norwegian events and exhibits was “The Dream We Carry.” The theme title was inspired by the famous Norwegian poet Olav H. Hauge, and his poem “It is that Dream.”  Norway sponsored prominent Norwegian writers, who spoke and schmoozed with the attendees, while fair organizers produced a free bibliography of new publications from Norway in German translation to promote writers and publishers to the German reading public. Karl Ove Knausgård, a Norwegian author who has been described as one of the 21st century’s greatest literary sensations, spoke in several different settings, both about his own work and about his recent experience curating an exhibit on Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, whose best known work, The Scream, has become one of the most iconic images of world art. In other interviews, contemporary Norwegian authors Erik Fosnes Hansen and Erika Fatland covered a diversity of topics, from the Oslo cultural scene to food science, which is at the heart of Hansen’s novel Et Hummerliv (“A Lobster’s Life”). Maja Lunde spoke about her forthcoming book The End of the Ocean, while Jo Nesbø was interviewed about Knife, the next installment in his Harry Hole series of crime novels.  More highlights and full listing of authors can be found in the online program.

Karl Ove Knausgård amd Jurgen Boos (CEO of the Frankfurt Book Fair)

Norwegian literature was represented by many authors reading from their work.

In addition to lectures and authors’ talks, the Frankfurt Book Fair also hosts special celebrations for the winners of the Nobel Prize, the German Book Prize, and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade. Overall, ninety-three prizes were awarded by various organizations during the book fair in 2019. Polish-born 2018 Nobel Laureate Olga Tokarczuk (awarded in 2019) spoke at the opening session of the Fair. Oddly, Austrian-born Peter Handke, the 2019 Nobel Laureate, was not present in person, and was only represented by his publisher’s special display. Handke’s absence did not prevent him from becoming the subject of intense controversy. Saša Stanišić, the winner of the 2019 German Book Prize, who fled to Germany with his Bosnian mother and Serbian father in 1992, was the most prominent voice at the book fair, taking Handke to task for his sympathetic attitude toward former Serbian president Slobodan Milošević, the first sitting head of state to be charged with war crimes.

World newspapers, including The Guardian, chronicled the Handke debate.  One of its articles, entitled “A troubling choice: authors criticise Peter Handke’s controversial Nobel win. reported on the views of famous international writers, such as Salman Rushdie, Hari Kunzru and Slavoj Žižek who opined that the 2019 Nobel laureate “‘combines great insight with shocking ethical blindness’.” Another article, entitled “Peter Handke’s Nobel prize dishonours the victims of genocide,” referenced the Austrian writer’s stance on the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s, which has been characterized by some critics as genocide apologism. At some point during October 2019, Peter Handke announced that he would no longer speak to journalists, so for now the debate will continue in literary circles, and will most likely re-emerge around the December 10, 2019 Nobel Prize Award Ceremony.

The 2019 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade was awarded to Sebastião Salgado, the first ever photographer to receive this prize.  During the course of several interviews, the Brazilian social documentary photographer and photojournalist introduced his book Gold, which showcases haunting images of Amazonia taken in the 1980s. As with his other work, Gold highlights environmental and human rights issues by investigating habitats and communities with his camera.

Cultural events inspired by Norway as the Guest of Honor were only a fraction of the international author events and talks at the Fair and in the city of Frankfurt. The gala of literary stars included Margaret Atwood, Maja Lunde, Elif Shafak, Colson Whitehead, Ken Follett, and Jo Nesbø (video Highlights can be seen on the Fair’s website). More media outlets broadcast from the book fair than can be mentioned here. The two outlets with the most video content are ARD Mediathek and  ZDF Mediathek, especially the venue “Das Blaue Sofa,” which gives access to 90 interviews with authors from the Frankfurt 2019 fair alone.  Social media followed along under #fmb19, and have already transitioned to the hashtag for the 2020 fair, #fbm20, as planning for the next fair gets underway. Canada will be the Guest of Honor at the 2020 Frankfurt Book Fair.

On Saturday and Sunday, while the public floods into the fairgrounds, specialized, ticketed, professional events are held at the Frankfurt Book Fair.  The two that we attended this year were the 7th International Convention of University Presses 2019, which focused on the European Accessibility Act, and an event for non-fiction editors. The non-fiction publishing event “Non-fiction Publishing: It’s a Women’s World,” consisted of a panel and discussion with female publishers from Morocco, Turkey, India, and Norway, who spoke about their experiences with producing important works documenting and giving voice to issues and experiences which might not find a home with large commercial publishers.

Look for more on Frankfurt hot topics in the next blog post on Welcome to the VUCA World! The Frankfurt International Book Fair 2019. Part 2

Frankfurt Book Fair 2019 publisher displays

On Saturday, cosplay fans come dressed as their favorite characters.

“Stellt das Buch her / Make the book”: three containers stacked on top of each other, with exhibits on each level in the courtyard of the book fair.

 

Been All Around This World: Lessons Learned from the International Partnership between the American Library Association (ALA) and the German Library & Information Association (BID).

European Studies librarians in North America build collections from multiple countries in a variety of languages. How can they become acquainted with the networks of libraries, publishers, and vendors necessary to develop these collections, and to provide research support effectively? Studying the bibliographical guides to European Studies librarianship are, of course, an excellent first step. There is the classic text by Dan Hazen and James Henry Spohrer, Building area studies collections, from 2007, and the Suddenly Selector Series  will include practice-based guides for European Studies in the future. A more general recent introduction is provided by Lesley Pitman in Supporting Research in Area Studies (2015), and the collaboration of area studies administrators on International and Area Studies Collections In the 21st Century, addresses mutual concerns in all area studies such as training, recruitment, digital content and finances.

Professional associations offer opportunities to learn from peers. The European Studies Section of the Association for College and Research Libraries (ACRL) of the American Library Association (ALA) provides a forum and a resource page for five hundred thirty three North American European Studies librarians. In addition to that, ALA hosts several international initiatives within the International Relations Round Table  (IRRT), and brings many international speakers to ALA conferences.

European Studies librarians also work with the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), where the Germanic collectors organize in the German-North American Resources Partnership (GNARP), the French & Francophone collectors organize in the Collaborative Initiative for French Language Collections in North American Libraries (CIFNAL), and Eastern European collectors collaborate in the  Slavic and East European Materials Project (SEEMP).

Library and cultural heritage organizations nationally and internationally use acronyms as short hand for pointing to projects, standards and organizations. Outlining the basic organization of European Studies associations illustrates what a challenge it is to develop a deep understanding of each organization, its mission, and its audiences

All theory is gray, my friend. But forever green is the tree of life.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Faust. 1808.

The American Library Association and the German equivalent, Bibliothek & Information Deutschland (BID) e.V, decided to embark on an extended information exchange to provide the “tree of life” kind of learning needed for getting to know how our respective information and cultural heritage organizations operate. ALA and BID signed an agreement for the collaboration in 2014, and the exchange was set up to help a large number of subject librarians build a professional network both on the national and international level over three years, from 2016 to 2019. The many projects, meetings, and activities that resulted from the initiative demonstrate what it takes to explore issues and trends in librarianship in just one country, Germany, and can serve as a model for learning about other countries.

The article describing the exchange: “The American Library Association and German Library & Information Association Partnership: A Celebration,” was co-authored by Sharon Bostick (Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL), Fred Gitner (Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL), Hella Klauser (Internationale Kooperation, Deutscher Bibliotheksverband e.V. (dbv); Kompetenznetzwerk für Bibliotheken (knb), and Heidi Madden (Duke University).

The article appeared simultaneously in two venues, in the O-Bib, Das Offene Bibliotheksportal (Open Access Library Platform, Germany) and in International Leads (A Publication of the International Relations Round Table of the American Library Association).

If you want further information about the behind-the-scenes work in writing the article or European librarianship, email Heidi.

 

 

Been All Around This World: Open Access resources for Middle East & Islamic Studies

As this week is Open Access week, I thought it would be good to write a short post about OA resources for Middle East and Islamic Studies. Like many other disciplines, there are copious amounts of resources available in different formats from interviews to journals and ebooks.

Before listing those resources, I would like to draw your attention to this informative post from our friends at the University of Toronto: OA 2019: THE HIDDEN COST OF DOING RESEARCH. Yayo Umetsudo, Scholarly Communications & Liaison Librarian provides details of some UoT subscription costs.

For Middle East and Islamic Studies, there are a number of tremendous resources. Perhaps the most important is AMIR (Access to Middle East and Islamic Resources) which has been collecting OA materials since its founding by Charles Jones and Peter Magierski in 2010.

A relatively new OA digital resource is provided by the University of Bonn’s Digital Translatio project. The resource provides free access to rare or hard to find journals in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman. Check it out here. In a similar vein, أرشيف المجلات الأدبية والثقافية العربية, which translates roughly as the Archive of Arab literary and cultural magazines, provides terrific access to a large collection of Arabic journals. Check it out here. Announced yesterday, the important Istanbul Kadı sicilleri (Court records) is now freely accessible online in Turkish transcription from the original Ottoman. Check it our here.

A highly valuable lecture series is the History of Philosophy (HoP) podcasts from King’s College, London. HoP covers the Classical age, Later Antiquity and the Islamic World striving to seamless illustrate the evolution of ideas in different eras, epochs and religious vantage points. The Islamic World covers the idea of falsafah (philosophy) before moving on to some of the great proponents of philosophy in the Islamic World, e.g. al-Kindī, al-Fārābī and others. Each episode lasts for about 20-30 minutes and offers a bibliography of core texts.

Many such podcasts have recently developed. Perhaps the largest is the New Books network, which includes a specific section on Islamic Studies and Middle East Studies. Also, do not forget Ottoman History podcast. Moreover, for those who love maps: The Afternoon Map.

Yale University has a number of series and lectures freely available. Included amongst these are some 20 lectures pertaining to different aspects of the Islamicate, Islam or the Middle East. Each one of these lectures is roughly 40-45 minutes and includes an assignment and often a mini-syllabus.

iTunes U offers a many freely accessible resources.  One has to register with iTunes U but after that a number of valuable resources are available. A particularly delightful feature of iTunesU are the language courses, check out the Arabic one. These are great for the multi-tasker in you!

Finally, a very general resource of OA materials spanning multiple disciplines is Open Culture. There are countless resources available to the researcher from language classes to ebooks to short essays of interesting facts such as the last, known, hand-written newspaper Musalman.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the Ivy Plus web collecting project of which a number of DUL colleagues are active participants. See the list of projects here.

This list is not meant to be exhaustive but rather to peek your interest in some of the freely available resources. Happy OA week.

 

The Memory Project: Showcasing a digital collection with a website

Katie Odhner was an intern in the International and Area Studies Department in the Duke Libraries. She has a B.A. in Chinese Studies and History from the University of Pennsylvania. She recently graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill with a Master’s of Science in Library Science. The following post is written by her.

Over the course of this summer, I have been working with Luo Zhou, Duke’s Chinese Studies Librarian, and Will Shaw, our Digital Humanities Consultant, to create on a website showcasing the Memory Project digital collection, which went up on the Duke Digital Repository in July. Launched in 2010 by documentary filmmaker Wu Wenguang, the ongoing project has collected hundreds of oral history interviews from elderly Chinese villagers. The initiative was originally intended to document individual stories of the Great Famine, which caused the death of 20 to 43 million people between 1958 and 1961. It has since expanded to cover other movements in the early history of the People’s Republic of China, including the Great Leap Forward of 1958-1960, the Land Reform and the Collectivization of 1949-1953, and the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976.

We had a number of reasons for wanting to create a website to feature this collection. Firstly, a website can provide additional context. Luo used TimelineJS, an interactive, open-source software to create a visual timeline of the period covered in the interviews. This allows users of the collection to examine the events and policies that underpin the personal experiences found in the oral histories.

                Secondly, the website helps promote the collection. With more than 200 interviews, it can be difficult to find an entry point. We asked students and filmmakers who had worked on the collection to recommend one or two of their favorites. I created a tile lay-out on our WordPress page to feature these interviews, along with comments from the recommenders. One of my favorite parts of working on this project was looking through the featured interviews. They contain many tales of devastating tragedy and incredible courage that bring the bleak events in history books to vivid life. The website also provides a platform for advertising events about the project. Stay tuned for the visit of a number of the filmmakers in October!

Finally, the website provides new access points for the collection and a way of quantitatively visualizing the interviews via a map. The map was the most challenging element of the website to design. There is an abundance of mapping tools, both free and proprietary, so part of the difficulty was selecting the one that fit our needs best. Once this was accomplished, it took a great deal of time just to understand the capabilities of our chosen tool (ArcGIS Web Maps). Shout-out to Drew Keener and Mark Thomas, members of the library’s Data and Visualization Services Department who gave great GIS tips along the way. It was a fun design challenge to come up with a method that could allow the user to filter the interviews by topic, as well as link out to interviews for a given village in the Digital Repository.

After reflecting on the overall experience of building the website, here are some of my major take-aways for future digital humanities endeavors:

  • Decide on your priorities. I found that the tools I was using could not always achieve what I envisioned. Sometimes finding a solution was just around the corner, and sometimes it could mean getting sucked down the rabbit-hole for hours. Having an understanding of what is important in the long-run helps prevent wasted time.
  • Consult with colleagues. The excellent members of the Digital Scholarship and Data Visualization Departments provided lots of good advice and saved me from wandering around in the aforementioned rabbit-hole on several occasions.
  • Give yourself time to play around. I discovered some of the cooler mapping features just through experimenting with ArcGIS. Sometimes no amount of guide-reading can replace trying things out for yourself.

Working with digital tools was great, but the best part of the project for me was the opportunity to reflect on the aspects of the collection that are most valuable and how best to highlight them. The tools stand in service to providing alternative means of access to the collection, visualizing its scope, and bringing the human stories contained in it to a broader audience.

Been All Around This World: A Trip to Turkey

This post was contributed by Sean Swanick, the Librarian for Middle East and Islamic Studies at Duke.

This past summer I was fortunate to visit Turkey and Morocco. In my previous blog post, I documented some of my experiences sleuthing for books in the Maghreb. This post concerns my time in Turkey, where I was again on the lookout for books, ephemera, and related materials to enhance Duke University Library’s growing Middle East and Islamic Studies Collections.

Turkey is a remarkably diverse country with a population of some 85 million people. My purpose was to find (elusive) books, make new contacts, and to continue expanding my knowledge of Turkey, Turkish, Ottoman, and related matters to better help students and researchers.

In Turkey, I spent time wandering the many delightful sahaf çarşılar (second-hand book markets) of Istanbul, the country’s cultural capital city.  This was followed by visits to Diyarbakır and Mardin, two smaller cities in the south.

When I arrived in Istanbul, a second mayoral election was in full swing.. There were lots of posters, booklets, and related ephemera for the major political parties. I personally was able to collect some of these materials, which will be added to our growing Turkish political ephemera collection.

Spray painted official ephemera for Mayoral candidate, Ekrem İmamoğlu. Mr. İmamoğlu would eventually win the election. This was his campaign slogan and reads: Everything will be fine.

Besides visiting numerous sahaflar, I also went to a number of museums in Istanbul, such as the Pera Museum, Istanbul Modern, Sakıp Sabancı Museum, Museum of Innocence, Istanbul Photography Museum, Istanbul Research Institute, and the recently opened Yapı Kredi Vedat Nedim Tor Museum. At the Yapı Kredi there were two excellent exhibitions. The first concerned photographs of Ataturk called Hoş Geldin Gazi: Atatürk’ün İstanbul Günleri (1927-1938) (the catalogue will soon be at Duke Library for you to explore further). This was the first image of the exhibition:

It reads: Yaşasın Reis-i Cumhurumuz (Hooray for the President of our Republic.)

The other exhibition displayed the archive of Turhan Selçuk, aptly called Turhan Selçuk Retrospektifi. Turhan was a famous and influential caricaturist, who had a knack for finding humour or satire in most subject matter. We have many satirical journals for you to peruse, and two years ago I led the curation of Yasak/Banned, a Duke University library exhibit highlighting these collections. The Turhan exhibition had many highlights, including the following:

Istanbul is a city known as Der Saadet, an Ottoman-Turkish combination of an Arabic word (saadet) and a Persian word (der) together meaning the “Abode of Happiness.” Certainly, anyone who has visited Istanbul would agree. The city offers everything a curious traveler might want: books, diversity, museums, restaurants, spectacular views, incredible history…in short everything that is the abode of happiness.

So-called ‘umbrella-street’ in Beyoğlu, Istanbul.

From Istanbul, I flew to Diyarbakır in southern Turkey. Diyarbakır has witnessed inhabitation since at least the 1300 BC, during the time of the Assyrian kingdom. In its current conception, there are two cities: yeni ve eski (old and new). The old city contains the historic walls dating back to the 4th century, when the Romans colonized the city, while the new city contains shops, new housing, military barracks, and government offices. Diyarbakır is home to a wide variety of people, languages, foods, and traditions.

While the city structure, architecture, food (especially ciğer/ceger, or liver), and people are incredibly generous, thoughtful, and helpful, for me it is always about the books. There are several terrific bookstores in Diyarbakır, in both the new and old cities. In the old city, I spent several hours in bookstores while also taking-in some of the cultural activities, like visiting the Diyarbakır Dengbej Evi, Dengbej is a traditional form of story-telling. Two bookstores were of particular interest. Ensar Kitapevi holds an enormous collection in Turkish, Kurdish (Soranî and Kurmancî), Arabic, Persian and a few English titles. Subjects are as diverse as the languages represented: history, literature, cultural studies, language manuals, etc. But even more, the building was awe-inspiring with many reading nooks to sit and read at one’s leisure while also being offered local teas and coffees. Here’s a photo to entice you:

The other noteworthy bookstore in Diyarbakır, and the one with which Duke will be working closely to acquire Kurdish and Turkish materials is Pirtukakurdi. Based in the new city, the shop opened a few years ago. I spent most of a day with these bibliophiles as we discussed issues related to Kurdish languages and books. Here’s a photo from their warehouse:

From Diyarbakır, I hired a taxi to Mardin, a trip that should normally take one hour; my trip took a bit longer, since we stopped a few times to take-in the views and to help a fellow with a flat tire. A gorgeous drive through Mesopotamia on a new highway was enriched by conversation with the taxi driver and the radio playing Selda Bağcan.

Mardin is another city that divides the new from the old. The new city contains the famous state-run university, Mardin Artuklu University. The old city is built on a hill, a mountain really, overlooking the vast expanse of Mesopotamia and its farmland. Mardin is famous for a number of reasons, including its diversity, its Churches, Mosques, and formerly Synagogues. Süryani (Syriac language) is still spoken and taught here; in fact, the people of Mardin speak Süryani, Kurdish, Turkish, and Arabic, sometimes in the same sentence: a truly remarkable experience of linguistic diversity. There is certainly some truth in the Turkish proverb: Dil bilmek, bilgeliğe açılan kapıdır, which translates as “knowledge of languages is the doorway to wisdom.”

In addition to the cultural sites mentioned above, the Sakıp Sabancı Mardin Kent Müzesi museum is a tremendous resource, offering exhibitions of its permanent collections, Mardin city history, as well as travelling exhibitions, such as the one on modern photography, to which I was treated during my stay in Mardin.

Mardin is also near the Syrian border. Prior to 2011 and the pain and devastation that has been inflicted on the locals by so many domestic, national, and international actors, the border was open with more-or-less free passage, especially for the trading, bartering, and buying of goods and services. Those days are now long gone, replaced with a heavy military presence and ubiquitous checkpoints. Shortly after I visited the border town of Nusaybin, for example, a Church in neighbouring Qamishli, Syria was bombed. The ramifications of these actions are felt by many people, not just the victims.

On my last night in Mardin, I was able to meet with Engin Emre Değer, an incredible person, originally from Istanbul, who moved to Mardin a few years ago. Engin works with a theater troupe, whose main purpose is to help the many Syrian refugees living in Turkey, particularly children. Listening to his stories of the encounters he has had and the joy he hasbrought to so many was remarkable. One of Engin’s projects is the Flying Carpet Mardin Children’s Music Festival: https://muzikhane.org/fcf. The festival takes place over a few days with free music and a circus-like atmosphere.

This summer’s book buying excursion was full of remarkable experiences. The books Duke University Library is acquiring continues to enhance the reputation of the Library, as well as the scholars for whom it primarily serves. Over the coming months, I will highlight some of these collections while also providing suggestions and ideas on how to make the most of these unique materials.

All photos were taken by Sean Swanick.

An Interview with Shearon Roberts

Each year the UNC/Duke Consortium for Latin American & Caribbean Studies offers competitive fellowships for scholars who want to use our library resources. Priority goes to researchers from officially recognized Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Predominately Black Institutions, Minority Serving Institutions, and community colleges. Holly Ackerman talked with the two fellows selected by the Duke Libraries for 2019-2020. The conversations will be published in two parts starting with the exchange below with Professor Shearon Roberts.

Photo: Shearon Roberts, Ph.D. Summer 2019

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Walk us through your CV.

I teach both Mass Communication and African American/Diaspora Studies courses at Xavier University of Louisiana, a historically black university in New Orleans. I earned my doctorate from Tulane University’s Roger Thayer Stone Center in Latin American Studies where I studied Caribbean media, specifically Haitian media. Prior to academia, I worked as a reporter covering Latin America and the Caribbean. I research Caribbean and Latin American media, media discourse from the region, and media discourse on race and gender.

What was your research project this summer?

It is titled, “Learning the Black Diaspora through Latin American & Caribbean Media.” After leading four years of grant-supported student field visits to Latin America and the Caribbean, the number one feedback from participating students is how much people of the region consume media about African American culture and experiences, and how little access African American students have to media about communities of color in the Americas. I want to change that through my courses and through use of materials such as those at Duke.

For example, Duke University’s Robert Hill collection provided me with a wealth of teaching resources for African American students to discover how vast and how interconnected Black Diaspora movements were. Hill’s collection dates back to Marcus Garvey and the UNIA (founded in 1914), and he is also the executor for C.L.R. James’ (1901-1989) work. It was fascinating to see how closely Black movements in the Caribbean were intricately connected to African American movements and African movements. Hill also dedicated himself to the teaching of the Black Diaspora and within his collection are both his and his contemporaries’ syllabi –  a valuable find for re-introducing materials out of print or that have been ignored in the teaching of the Black Diaspora in the Americas. Below are two sample teaching guides/syllabi I found in the Robert Hill collection at the Rubenstein that I will use for teaching my courses:

Source Citation: Hill Personal Box 14, Robert A. Hill Collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

For my own research, Hill’s collection was invaluable in laying out Caribbean intellectual thought and movements and how Caribbean intellects connected to media and to the public. I originally applied for the College Educators Research Fellowship (CERF) to research the Radio Haiti Archive’s non-digitized records and I was not disappointed. The archive is not just a Haitian one, but a Caribbean one, and it provided a window on many of the movements taking place around the region. The Radio Haiti archives are impeccably well-cataloged, a nod to the archivist Laura Wagner’s hard work. Because of the archives’ detailed descriptions, I located a little-known dissertation from the eighties, well at least little-known to me, documenting press history in Haiti. I also discovered through this archive how regional in scope many important media outlets in the Caribbean were during this time.

 

Source Citation: Radio Haiti Box 14: Aux Origines De La Presse Folder, Radio Haiti Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Both staff at the Rubenstein and the UNC-Duke Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean studies were extremely helpful in shaping a successful visit to Durham this summer. Patrick Stawski pointed me in the direction of the Ecumenical Program on Central America and the Caribbean (EPICA) records and helped me to conceptualize a project from this collection that I had not conceived of prior to my time at the Rubenstein. Sara Seten Berghausen helped me navigate digital collections and took time to send me documents from digital collections for course teaching. Corin Zaragoza Esterra helped me think through the connections of my research projects and find my away around Durham during my stay. Natalie Hartman made sure that my access to Duke’s resources were seamless. I thank all the staff at the Rubenstein who worked with lightning speed to ensure I had access to every rare material requested during my stay. Finally, I am extremely grateful to Holly Ackerman for getting me to think across the collections and starting me off in the right scholarly directions before and during my stay.

How will the info you gathered at the Duke Libraries be used?

I have updated my coursework and course lectures to include materials I researched at the Rubenstein. I have incorporated materials from digital collections for course unit assignments. These range from sections of constitutions from the region to photographs showing civic activism in the region, and music and films from the region. My research, both current and those in development stages have been greatly enhanced by documents located in these collections. The manuscripts I am writing about Haitian media, Caribbean media and Caribbean movements will include documents from the collections of the Rubenstein.

 

Announcement: Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union Web Archive

Ernest (“Erik”) Zitser is the Librarian for Slavic and East European Studies, library liaison to the International Comparative Studies (ICS) Program, and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at Duke University.

The newly launched Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union Web Archive is a collaborative effort to build a curated, thematic collection of freely available, but at-risk, web content in order to support research about this area of the world.

In recent years, this turbulent region has produced a significant volume of websites likely to be of value to contemporary and future humanities, social science, and history projects, and the archive was established as an attempt to identify, capture, and preserve this material.

The thematic and generic scope of the archive is deliberately broad, and includes websites published by political parties, non-governmental organizations and activist groups, artists and cultural collectives, as well as individual historians, philosophers, and other intellectuals.

Campaign Against Homophobia (Poland)

Memorial Society (Russia)

Party of United Democrats (Macedonia)

The Archive represents an effort to preserve research-valuable web content from Eastern Europe and the territories of the Former Soviet Union by a group of research librarians responsible for that part of the world. This cooperative collecting initiative was developed, and is being curated by Russian and East European Studies librarians at Columbia, Princeton, Yale, New York and Duke Universities, as well as the New York Public Library, as part of the Web Resources Collection Program of the Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation.

Know of an endangered website from the region? Please use this online form to nominate a website for inclusion in the Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union Web Archive.

 

Been All Around This World: A Trip to Morocco

This post was contributed by Sean Swanick, the Librarian for Middle East and Islamic Studies at Duke.

This past summer I was fortunate to visit Turkey and Morocco. I was on the lookout for books, ephemera and related materials to enhance Duke University Library’s growing Middle East and Islamic Studies Collections. This post concerns my two weeks in Morocco. A second post in the coming weeks will detail my adventures in Turkey.

Egyptians make the claim Masr Umm al-duniyā (مصر أم الدنيا), Egypt is the Mother of the World. Moroccans have come to accept this but with a sense of humour add Masr Umm al-duniyā wa al-Maghrib abūhā (مصر أم الدنيا والمغرب أبوها), Egypt is the mother of the world and Morocco is the father.

While in Morocco I visited Casablanca, Rabat, Fes, and Tangier. I was able to meet with colleagues, visit some incredible museums, make a pilgrimage to the tomb of the famous world traveller Ibn Battuta and, of course peruse many, many bookstores.

Morocco’s book publishing industry is thriving with reportedly 6,000 books published in 2018. Books are published in Arabic followed by French, Amazigh and Spanish. For further reading about the Morocco’s book culture, Anouk Cohen published Fabriquer le livre au Maroc that explores many of these aspects. Duke’s collection though young contains approximately 3,000 titles from Morocco mostly in Arabic and French though we are working to acquire some works in Amazigh, especially language manuals. Amazigh is the language spoken by the Berber population of Morocco, which is approximately 10-12 million or 40% of Morocco’s total population. As the Librarian for Middle East and Islamic Studies, I strive to collect the documented heritage of all peoples who live within these boundaries.

My first stop was Casablanca, the capital. A visit to the Hassan II Mosque (cf. Elleh, Nnamdi. 2003. Architecture and power in Africa. Westport, CT: Praeger), the largest in Africa, is compulsory. Photos cannot translate its magnitude, though I have attached one that I took. It is set on the seaside with the calm sounds of the waves of the Atlantic Ocean crashing into the shore. The mosque fits some 100,000 worshipers, 25,000 of whom will be inside the mosque while the rest will be in the large adjacent courtyard. This is the only mosque in Morocco that non-Muslims are permitted to enter.

A large concentration of Casablanca’s bookshops is located in the Habous neighbourhood. Habous has an interesting history as Henri Prost, the famed French architect, redesigned it during the French Protectorate (1912-1956). Hosting suqs (Arabic for market or commercial place within an inhabited area) and cafes, Habous is also home to some 20 bookstores including the important Arab Cultural Center.

Casablanca also has the only Jewish museum in Arab majority countries. A terrific museum hosting a wide variety of cultural artifacts dedicated to preserving the history of Moroccan Jews. There remain approximately 2,000 Jews living in Morocco.

The next stop was Fes, founded at least in the 9th century during Idrisid Rule (788-974). Fes remains the intellectual capital of Morocco, with many schools, writers, and scholars calling it home. While all cities will contain a suq, Fes’s suq is a UNESCO heritage site. It is an amazing tour de force and nothing short of a labyrinth. Small alleys and corridors with high walls help the beginner become confused and even lost. Navigating the suq is best done by trial and error. After a few confusing moments, one learns the routes without the help of the local ‘guides.’ The suq is designed in such a way as to minimize direct sunlight – Fes in summer averages in the 40s Celsius (110s Fahrenheit).  However, the reward of adventuring is an incredible array of crafts, arts, carpets, leather works, cafes, restaurants and historic sites like the University of al-Qarawiyyin (جامعة القرويين), considered the oldest center of learning. The traditional arts of mosaic tilework and leather production in the tanneries are ubiquitous.

While in Fes, I was also fortunate to meet up with fellow Blue Devils Profs. Mona Hassan and Mustafa Tuna and their family for a late afternoon lunch in the Rcif neighborhood.

From Fes I travelled by train to Tangier, the famous port-city that has been a point of cultural diffusion and trade since Phoenician times.  Tangier is also home to the world traveler Ibn Batutah. Batutah traveled around not just Muslim majority countries but also to China and beyond. Unfortunately, his tomb in Tangier pales in comparison to his contribution to literature and knowledge. There are four tremendous bookstores in Tangier: Librairie des Colonnes, Les Insolites, ARTingis, and Librairie Papeterie Marocaine (المكتبة المغربية). Librairie des Colonnes was founded in 1949 and became the literary culture center with such characters as Jane and Paul Bowles, Samuel Becket, Jean Genet, Juan Goytisolo, Tennessee Williams, and Truman Capote as well as others who frequented, if not entrenched themselves in this beautiful landmark building. Les Insolites and ARTingis are relatively new stores with a nice variety of new, old, and popular works in French, Arabic, Amazigh, and English. Librairie Papeterie Marocaine is the largest of the stores containing almost exclusively Arabic publications from Morocco.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the historic and important Cinema Rif, perhaps the most important movie theater in Morocco. Its history is documented in this recent publication: Album cinématheque de Tanger by Azoury, Philippe, Yto Barrada et al., soon to be at your favorite research library.

My last stop was Rabat, which was hosting a small book festival with some 15 publishers and vendors displaying their materials in tents on Avenue Mohammed V and Rue Gaza au centre ville. There are three very important bookstores in Rabat: Dar al-Amane, Kalilah wa Dimna, and Librairie Livre Services. Dar al-Amane offers a terrific array of Arabic books on religion, philosophy, traditions of Islam, law, etc. while the other two shops offer books in Arabic and French on a wide variety of topics including literature, poetry, popular culture, photography, etc. Rabat also contains a variety of historic sites and a lovely suq, which is decorated in street art like this incredible mural.

There is much more I could say about this trip; Morocco offers a unique experience with its diverse population, climate, foods, and, of course, books. I would like to thank the Duke University Libraries for this opportunity. A special thanks to our esteemed Arabic cataloger, Fouzia el-Gargouri.

International and Area Studies Exhibit: Anti-Americanism: A Visual History

Come see a new exhibit from the International and Area Studies Department which displays anti-American materials spanning 130 years and four continents. Inspired by the recent acquisition of a Cold War-era comic collection from the People’s Republic of China, the exhibit expands to capture a broad range of responses to America’s presence on the world stage throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

The earliest materials on display date from the time of the Spanish-American War at the turn of the 20th century. These include famous critiques of American imperialism by Latin American thinkers like José Enrique Rodó and José Martí, as well as political cartoons from the period which reveal both Cuban responses to the war and dissenting voices from within the United States.

Moving through the 20th century, the exhibit features reproductions of Italian World War II propaganda posters which can be found in the Rubenstein Library’s Broadsides and Ephemera Collection. The bulk of the materials focus on the Cold War and the anti-American sentiment invoked by lingering U.S. military presence in East Asia. Highlights include the allusion-rich and satirically humorous Chinese comics from the 1950s and 1960s, as well as published photograph collections documenting anti-American protests in Korea and Japan.

From archival posters to reproductions found in secondary sources, the Duke Libraries’ collections provide a wealth of visual anti-American material to research and explore. Come to the second floor of Bostock Library by the Nicholas Family International Reading Room to view the highlights, and learn about the complex and competing narratives which have shaped international perceptions of the United States through the years.

Special thanks to Yoon Kim and to the Exhibit Services Department for their kind help in providing resources for the exhibit.

Been All Around This World: A Trip to Japan

This post was contributed by Kristina Troost, the Japanese Studies Librarian at Duke.

In my job as Japanese Studies librarian, I often visit Japan. I do this largely to build ties to other librarians or vendors. There are many things that can be accomplished one-on-one that cannot be done remotely. These ties also stand me in good stead when I need to request favors. I think this is true everywhere, but personal connections matter a lot in East Asia. I also visit museums, temples and universities to deepen my knowledge of areas in which I support faculty and students.  Personal conversations allow me to understand what is going on in Japan in ways not possible to achieve in the US. 

My first day in Tokyo, I visited Waseda University library since my main contacts have retired, and we have relied on them in the past for special favors.  Afterwards, I visited the Gender and Sexuality Center, the first such center set up to provide support and information to LGBT students and their allies at a Japanese university.  It has several fully trained professional staff as well as a cadre of student volunteers. 

The next day, I visited the National Women’s Education Center (NWEC). Established in 1977, it is dedicated to promoting gender equality. It has an extensive library of books and ephemera on women worldwide, as well as lodging for researchers if they wish to stay to use the material.  While I have known about it for some time, since Women’s Studies has been a focus of our collection and the faculty I support, I had no idea of its size or the variety of its activities. Known for the databases they have created of their holdings and the digital versions of their ephemera, they also create exhibitions using those materials. The exhibit I saw was on Beate Sirota Gordon, who compiled the human rights clauses, particularly those concerning women, for the Japanese postwar constitution. I was struck by Article 23 and its emphasis on the equality of the sexes.

The study of modern Japanese art is a significant focus of the East Asian Studies program that I have supported for many years.  This trip provided me an opportunity to visit several museums devoted to it. In Tokyo, I went to The Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery and 21-21 Design Sight.  The Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery had a special exhibit, “Tom Sachs Tea Ceremony” as well as selections from their permanent collection given by Mr. Terada. The Terada collection contains some 3,700 artworks with a focus on postwar Japanese art and is relatively accessible.  The Tom Sachs tea ceremony, however, took me some time. He has been reinterpreting ‘chanoyu’ — traditional Japanese tea ceremony — since 2012 through contemporary elements, materials, tools, and techniques. After seeing the film that was part of the exhibit, it made more sense. 21_21 Design Sight has a wonderful exhibit called Sense of Humor.  One of the posters I liked best could not be photographed, but many of the exhibits had me laughing out loud. 

My final exploration of contemporary Japanese art was on the island of Naoshima in the Inland Sea.  In the face of declining population in rural areas of Japan and in the Inland Sea in particular, one industrialist purchased part of Naoshima and has established a number of art museums which hold art by both Japanese and Western artists.  These museums have been designed by Tadao Ando to maximize the impact of the art. 

For example, one museum has several of Monet’s paintings of water lilies. The number of people allowed in the room at one time is limited, and you remove your shoes before entering.  The floor is made from tiny white tiles. There are paintings of water lilies on all four sides. As one of only two or three people in the room, I could appreciate them in a new way. In addition, there are a number of what I would call “installations”.  Together they are known as the Art House project. Artists have taken empty houses and turned the spaces themselves into works of art, each of which are in separate locations and all of which are effective.  One, Minamidera, entails walking into a darkened temple, holding onto a wall and then sitting very still. Eventually, as your eyes grow accustomed to the darkness, you can see something across the room. I recommend, however, having younger eyes than mine. In another installation, the artist added a glass staircase to a shrine that was being renovated; it links the main building to an underground stone chamber, uniting the worlds above and below.

Each time I visit Japan, I try to explore new areas and go to museums and libraries I have not visited before.  Both NWEC and Naoshima have been on my list of places to visit for some time and both exceeded my expectations.  Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery and 21-21 Design Sight were recommended this summer by a faculty member I work with. While my primary goal is to deepen my knowledge and extend my connections in ways that I know will support the students and faculty I work with, I usually find that I use the knowledge I gain in unanticipated ways.  

Upcoming International and Area Studies Exhibit

Stayed tuned for our upcoming exhibit of anti-American materials from around the world! The display will feature historic Chinese comics from a recently-acquired collection. These visual propaganda pieces were published in the People’s Republic of China in the 1950s and 1960s, when the Cold War drove tensions between the two nations to new heights. The exhibit will also highlight materials from Europe, Latin America and the United States itself. Take a look below to get a sneak peek at two items which will feature.

Entitled “Be Clear about the Nature of American Imperialism,” this comic illustrates American hypocrisy. A serene President Kennedy poses like the Buddha. On his right, arms reading “The Peace Corps” offer gifts of harmony and prosperity, including a sack labeled “Food for Peace.” On his right, arms reading “Preparing for war against Cuba and Lumumba” wield tools of violence.

This comic,  “Thus Is America,” vividly depicts the perceived vices of the United States, including the oppression of workers, the Ku Klux Klan, loose morals and international aggression. Can you spot General George MacArthur?

The exhibit will be displayed on the second floor of Bostock Library next to the East Asian Magazine Reading Room starting in July.

The Photographs of Lt. Col. Sir Percy Sykes: Engaging with the History of Muslim Communities in Xinjiang

The photographs in Sir Percy Molesworth Sykes’ recently-acquired 1915 album capture a pivotal moment in what was then known as Chinese Turkestan (modern-day Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China). China’s Qing dynasty had collapsed only a few years earlier. It was an era of warlords, weak central government and competing external influences as Ottoman Turks, Russians, Han Chinese, the British and the region’s Muslim ethnic groups jockeyed for power in a complex geopolitical landscape. Lieutenant Colonel Sykes was dispatched to temporarily assume the role of Consular-General in Kashgar. He was stepping in for Sir George Macartney, a relation to the statesman of the same name who led the first British diplomatic mission to China in 1793. Sykes was accompanied by his sister Ella Constance Sykes, a prolific travel writer who may also have taken some of the photographs which appear in the album.