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Rick Hellman
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A slate of scholarly stocking stuffers for 2019

Fri, 12/13/2019


LAWRENCE – Come on now, does your friend or family member really need that fancy cooler or clothing-box subscription? Why not consider some scholarly stocking stuffers this holiday season?

University of Kansas professors have produced a number of books, records and artworks in 2019 that could appeal to the discriminating consumer on your shopping list. For example:

  • In April, Professor Emeritus of Visual Art Roger Shimomura had a show of nearly 150 paintings rendered in Shimomura’s signature graphic style, many just a foot square, at the Sherry Leedy Gallery in Kansas City, Mo. You or your loved one can join the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the National Portrait Gallery & American Art Museum/Smithsonian as a holder of one of Shimomura’s works.
  • If you prefer your art in book form, or you have a young person interested in learning about nature, consider a copy of the 2019 Nautilus Award-winning book “Innumerable Insects: The Story of the Most Diverse and Myriad Animals on Earth” (Sterling, 2018) by Michael Engel, Distinguished Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and senior curator with KU’s Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum. It picked up awards in the categories of Animals & Nature and Young-Adult Nonfiction. Drawn from the American Museum of Natural History’s rare-book collection, Engel gathers up gorgeous illustrations to show the vast diversity and amazing biology of insects.
  • Know any youth-sports coaches? They might like a copy of the new book “A Coach’s Guide to Maximizing the Youth Sport Experience: Work Hard, Be Kind,” co-authored by Mary Fry, Professor of Sport Psychology and Director of the Sport and Exercise Psychology Lab at KU. The book lays out the research showing how “caring and task-involving climates” can maximize sporting performance and experience for participants. It also provides hundreds of strategies, examples and ideas coaches can use to implement each feature in their own unique setting.
  • Are there classical music lovers on your list? Several KU professors bought out new recordings this year, including oboe player and Professor of Music Margaret Marco’s “Still Life” and trombonist and Associate Professor of Music Michael Davidson, whose Drei Bones group released their second CD, “Of Hammered Gold.”

Of course, KU professors published many other books during the past year that, depending on your recipient’s tastes and interests, might make appropriate gifts.

  • Journalism school instructor Al Wallace has just published his autobiography, “One for the Coyotes,” in which he recounts his path from high school athlete to big-city TV sports anchor to cancer survivor. The titular Coyotes, BTW, were a rival team from Wallace’s youth, and the phrase speaks to the work ethic Wallace commends to readers.
  • Christopher Forth, Professor of History and Dean’s Professor of Humanities, brought out “Fat: A Cultural History of the Stuff of Life” (Reaktion Books), which examines attitudes toward obesity throughout history and around the world.
  • In her 2019 book, Professor of English Laura Mielke showed how abolitionists used forms of popular culture like stage plays and broadsides in “Provocative Eloquence: Theater, Violence and Antislavery Speech in Antebellum United States” (University of Michigan Press).
  • Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies Tim Miller completed his trilogy of books on the communal-living movement in America in 2019 with the publication of “Communes in America: 1975-2000” (Syracuse University Press).

Other professors who brought out books in 2019 include Devon Mihesuah, the Cora Lee Beers Price Teaching Professor in International Cultural Understanding, who co-edited the award-winning “Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States: Restoring Cultural Knowledge, Protecting Environments and Regaining Health  (University of Oklahoma Press); Hall Center for the Humanities Director Richard Godbeer, who wrote “World of Trouble: A Philadelphia Quaker Family’s Journey through the American Revolution” (Yale University Press); and Professor of Psychology Tim Pleskac, who contributed to “Taming Uncertainty,” which focuses on how to use probability theory from mathematics to make decisions when important factors remain unknown.

Of course, this just stratches the surface. Take a deep dive of KU scholars and their works at news.ku.edu.



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