Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In With the New: Dangerous Sisters, Unlimited Love, and Heaven and Earth


Fathers, sons, and mothers take center stage in the Bible's grand narratives, Amy Kalmanofsky observes. Sisters and sisterhood receive less attention in scholarship but, she argues, play an important role in narratives, revealing anxieties related to desire, agency, and solidarity among women playing out (and playing against) their roles in a patrilineal society. Most often, she shows, sisters are destabilizing figures in narratives about family crisis, where property, patrimony, and the resilience of community boundaries are at risk. Kalmanofsky demonstrates that the particular role of sisters had important narrative effects, revealing previously underappreciated dynamics in Israelite society.







 What if we could prove that love heals mental illness and is vital to successful therapeutic outcomes in all areas of health care? What if we could prove that people who live more for others than for self have greater psychological well-being?
Professor Stephen G. Post, who heads the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love, is developing a new positive scientific program that integrates practice with high-level empirical research and religious-ethical ideas in order to explore these questions. The goal is to understand how our complex brains, unique imaginations, communicative abilities, reasoning powers, moral sense, and spiritual promptings give rise to the remarkable practice of unselfish love for our neighbors—or for those we do not even know.

In Unlimited Love, Post examines the question of what we mean by "unlimited love"; his focus is not on "falling" into love, which is "altogether natural, easy, and delusional." Rather, he focuses on the difficult learned ascent that "begins with insight into the need for tolerance of ubiquitous imperfection, and matures into unselfish concern, gratitude, and compassion." He considers social scientific and evolutionary perspectives on human altruistic motivations, and he analyzes these perspectives in a wide interdisciplinary context at the interface of science, ethics, and religion.

Teilhard de Chardin commented that the scientific understanding of the power of unselfish love would be as significant in human history as the discovery of fire.

In Unlimited Love, Stephen Post presents an argument for the creation of a new interdisciplinary field for the study of love and unlimited love, "engaging great minds and hoping to shape the human future away from endless acrimony, hatred, and violence."



Christian theology and religious belief were crucially important to Anglo-Saxon society, yet this book is the first full-length study investigating how it permeated and underpinned society. For whilst the influence of the Church as an institution is widely acknowledged, its abstract theological speculation is still generally considered to be the preserve of a small educated elite. However, as this book makes clear, theology had a much greater and more significant impact in the wider Saxon world than has been realised by modern scholars. The rationale of this book is that taking account of many of these beliefs allows a far greater understanding of many of the secular processes of Anglo-Saxon England which have been examined and discussed by historians. Previous studies that touch on Anglo-Saxon religious belief and ritual practices have been literary or historical in approach: such studies are valuable in their own right but have tended to focus either on sources and exemplars or on the interpretation of evidence to understand what happened on the ground. While such scholarship is important in interpreting Anglo-Saxon texts and evidence, it has not generally taken account of the impact of theological debate on society, and how this might have affected the way individuals - particularly laity - lived their lives. Only by interpreting these processes in the light of theology and theological debate can one see the world as the Anglo-Saxons did.Using a series of case-studies, this book shows how theology interacted with and was shaped by the secular world, while also exploring the ways in which lay individuals - although isolated for the most part from the intricacies of theological discussion - nevertheless were evidently influenced by these and responded to them in their own lives and actions.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Look Back: Harold Martin, Pulitzer Prize-winning alumnus

Photograph of Harold Martin, a Howard alum, former editor of the Crimson, and Pulitzer Prize winner, accepting an award from President Leslie Wright. 

Harold Martin (1923 – 2007) won the Pulitzer Prize in Local Investigative Specialized Reporting in 1970 and was a Howard College, now Samford University, alum. He graduated from Howard College in 1954. 

While serving as the editor of the morning Montgomery Advertiser and the afternoon Alabama Journal, Martin wrote a series of articles exposing a commercial scheme that used Alabama prisoners in state prisons for drug experimentation and to obtain blood plasma in conditions that were highly unethical. The Special Collection is honored to house his papers in SC 4513, the Harold Martin Collection. 

Harold Martin’s scrapbook in which he collected mementos from his Pulitzer Prize win in 1970. 

Though the collection is quite large and includes many fascinating items, a favorite is this scrap book in which he collected congratulations notices from all over the country including a telefax from Columbia University. 

A telefax congratulating Martin from Columbia University on his win. 

Martin was named Samford Alum of the Year in 1970, and an article about his work was included in the Samford Alumnus Magazine, volume 19, number 2. 

The 1970 issue of Samford Alumnus which features Harold Martin was alum of the year. 


An article in the Samford Alumnus talks about Martin’s work to expose the drug companies and their activities in state prisons. 

The Special Collection is very proud to house the Martin papers for their importance to the history of journalism in the state of Alabama. 

Thanks to Rachel Cohen of the Special Collection for photos and text.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

In with the New: Yellowhammers, Panic, and the World

The Yellowhammer War: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama,

Edited by Professor Kenneth W. Noe Ph.D., with contributions from Jason J. Battles,  Dr. Harriet E. Amos Doss Ph.D., Dr. Bertis English Ph.D., Michael W. Fitzgerald, Dr. Jennifer Lynn Gross Ph.D., Dr. Patricia A. Hoskins Ph.D., Dr. Victoria E. Ott Ph.D., Terry L. Seip, Ben H. Severance, Kristopher A. Teters, Dr. Jennifer Newman Treviño Ph.D., Sarah Woolfolk Wiggins, Brian Steel Wills, and Dr. Lonnie A. Burnett

Published to mark the Civil War sesquicentennial, The Yellowhammer War collects new essays on Alabama’s role in, and experience of, the bloody national conflict and its aftermath.

During the first winter of the war, Confederate soldiers derided the men of an Alabama Confederate unit for their yellow-trimmed uniforms that allegedly resembled the plumage of the yellow-shafted flicker or “yellowhammer” (now the Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus, and the state bird of Alabama). The soldiers’ nickname, “Yellowhammers,” came from this epithet. After the war, Alabama veterans proudly wore yellowhammer feathers in their hats or lapels when attending reunions. Celebrations throughout the state have often expanded on that pageantry and glorified the figures, events, and battles of the Civil War with sometimes dubious attention to historical fact and little awareness of those who supported, resisted, or tolerated the war off the battlefield.

Many books about Alabama’s role in the Civil War have focused serious attention on the military and political history of the war. The Yellowhammer War likewise examines the military and political history of Alabama’s Civil War contributions, but it also covers areas of study usually neglected by centennial scholars, such as race, women, the home front, and Reconstruction. From Patricia A. Hoskins’s look at Jews in Alabama during the Civil War and Jennifer Ann Newman Treviño’s examination of white women’s attitudes during secession to Harriet E. Amos Doss’s study of the reaction of Alabamians to Lincoln’s Assassination and Jason J. Battles’s essay on the Freedman’s Bureau, readers are treated to a broader canvas of topics on the Civil War and the state.


Panic Fiction: Women and Antebellum Economic Crisis, by Mary Templin

Panic Fiction explores a unique body of antebellum American women’s writing that illuminates women’s
relationships to the marketplace and the links between developing ideologies of domesticity and the formation of an American middle class.

Between the mid-1830s and the late 1850s, authors such as Hannah Lee, Catharine Sedgwick, Eliza Follen, Maria McIntosh, and Maria Cummins wrote dozens of novels and stories depicting the effects of financial panic on the home and proposing solutions to economic instability. This unique body of antebellum American women’s writing, which integrated economic discourse with the language and conventions of domestic fiction, is what critic Mary Templin terms “panic fiction.”

In Panic Fiction: Antebellum Women Writers and Economic Crisis, Templin draws in part from the methods of New Historicism and cultural studies, situating these authors and their texts within the historical and cultural contexts of their time. She explores events surrounding the panics of 1837 and 1857, prevalent attitudes toward speculation and failure as seen in newspapers and other contemporaneous texts, women’s relationships to the marketplace, and the connections between domestic ideology and middle-class formation.

Although largely unknown today, the phenomena of “panic fiction” was extremely popular in its time and had an enormous influence on nineteenth-century popular conceptions of speculation, failure, and the need for marketplace reform, providing a distinct counterpoint to the analysis of panic found in newspapers, public speeches, and male-authored literary texts of the time.


Reading the World: Ideas that Matter, by Michael Austin

A wide selection of classic Western and non-Western texts allows students to explore the development of ideas at different times and in different cultures.
From Lao Tzu to Aristotle, Charles Darwin to Jomo Kenyatta, Reading the World is a collection of 79 texts by some of the world's great thinkers. And because ideas have long been expressed visually as well as verbally, the collection includes 15 drawings, paintings, photographs, and other visual works. Organized around universal themes, and featuring a wide selection of both Western and non-Western texts, Reading the World presents a diversity of views on ideas that matter.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Look Back: Library Student Assistants

As with many departments, the University Library has always relied on excellently trained student assistants to help with everything from circulation and shelving to, down here in the Special Collection, describing and arranging archival materials. Recently, one of the Special Collection’s student assistants came across this thick hardbound book from 1973 and expressed shock at the size of the student manual for library assistants.

The University Library student assistant manual from 1973. 
With 90 pages of text, this book offers a window into library procedures. Many of the rules are familiar. Students were expected to dress properly and show up to work on time. Others are slightly outdated, including a section on cigarette breaks.

The cover page of the manual for Student Staff at Samford University. 

Inside the manual includes an example time card for tracking the student’s hours. Students could “swap out” with another student worker if they were going to need to miss work.

An example timesheet has been pasted into the manual to show students how to fill out their hours. 

Example card catalog cards were included to show students how to use the card catalog, a skill that is rarely needed today.

Card catalog card examples in the manual help student’s train to use the card catalog. 



Tucked in the back of the manual is a map of the campus library of the time, slightly crumpled. This old library map includes graduate reading room, a map and art room and no study rooms. The University Library was renovated in the 1990s.

A map of the University Library prior to the renovation in 1996.  

Pictures and text provided by Rachel Cohen of the Special Collection.  Thanks, Rachel!