Welcome Back to Emory and Candler!

Classes at Emory start this week (Wednesday, August 23rd), and we at Pitts are excited to have students returning to use our spaces, our collections, and our research assistance. We will be moving to regular semester hours starting on Wednesday, August 23rd (http://pitts.emory.edu/hours). A great way to learn about the resources here at Pitts and to get back into your research habits is to sign up for one of our Weekly Workshops, sessions devoted to learning the skills and tools of academic research. To see the full schedule of these workshops, held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at noon, visit http://pitts.emory.edu/ww, where you can register for the workshops. Registration is not required to attend, but if you’re one of the first 10 to sign up, you’ll get a free lunch. Good luck this semester!

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Welcome Candler Class of 2020!

We are so excited to see all the new faces on campus for Orientation! Although there will be much to see and do this week, we would love to see you in the Pitts Theology Library, located on the second floor of the Candler (Rita Anne Rollins) building. Come by for a tour (pitts.emory.edu/tours) and scavenger hunt to learn more about our superb spaces, resources, and staff. If you can’t make it to a tour, explore our building virtually (pitts.emory.edu/map) or stop by to explore any time the library is open (pitts.emory.edu/hours). If you have an Emory Card, you can swipe it at the turnstile. If you don’t have your ID yet, you can sign in at the visitor computer inside the entrance. Don’t hesitate to ask Pitts staff if you have questions, we can’t wait to introduce you to library!

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The Fall Reformation Exhibition is Open

From August 7 – November 27, 2017, Pitts Theology Library is holding an exhibition entitled “From Wittenberg to Atlanta.” Curated by Dr. Armin Siedlecki, the exhibition celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Richard C. Kessler Reformation Collection.

In 1987 Richard and Martha Kessler donated their private collection of Reformation imprints and manuscripts to Emory University. These materials were combined with Reformation holdings at the Pitts Theology Library, and an effort was launched to enlarge and sustain a collection that documents the German Reformation with 16th century publications by Martin Luther, his friends and associates as well as his opponents. 30 years later the Richard C. Kessler Reformation Collection holds over 3,800 works – a mark approximated by only two other libraries in North America – including over 1,000 publications by Martin Luther himself, more than any other library in the United States.

This exhibition will present some of the most significant pieces of the collection. The gallery is open during regular library hours (pitts.emory.edu/hours) and tours are available on select Friday afternoons and by appointment (see http://pitts.emory.edu/exhibits/kessler2017/). We look forward to seeing you there.


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Hold on to Summer!

Even though summer is drawing to a close and orientation is right around the corner, we encourage you to hang on to the summer by revisiting our fabulous Summer Reading series! We spoke to faculty at the Candler School of Theology and staff at Pitts– together, this group came up with a rich and diverse list of great summer reads. You can revisit the whole series by navigating to pitts.emory.edu/summerreading. Grab one of these books, find some sunshine, and hold on to summer as long as you can!

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Summer Reading, vol. 10: Ellen Ott Marshall

This week, we spoke to Dr. Ellen Ott Marshall, professor of Christian Ethics and Conflict Transformation at Candler. Dr. Marshall’s work focuses on contemporary Christian ethics, with an emphasis on the role of conflict transformation and peacebuilding. She is the author of two books on ethics and recently edited a timely collection entitled “Conflict Transformation and Religion: Essays on Faith, Power, and Relationship.” Her two suggestions are engaging and practical reads that reflect her subject matter expertise!

Dr. Marshall’s first suggestion is “Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life” by Amy Herman. Herman, an art historian, wrote this text to help her readers hone their powers of “visual intelligence” in order to be more perceptive in their professional and personal lives. As Dr. Marshall notes, Herman “has been teaching a course on perception to all kinds folks for 15 years or so,” and this book’s readable prose reflects the author’s expansive pedagogy. It would be well worth a read this summer!

Dr. Marshall’s second suggestion is “The Power of Positive Deviance: How Unlikely Innovators Solve the World’s Toughest Problems” by Richard Pascale and Jerry Sternin. As Dr. Marshall puts it, these authors suggest an “asset-based approach to life’s problems.” Indeed, the book proposes that outsiders, or “positive deviants,” may be the most likely to come up with solutions to problems in business or communities. The book implies these “positive deviances” can be assets for individuals as well, providing suggestions for creative problem solving on the personal scale.

Thanks to Dr. Marshall for these great suggestions, and many thanks to all of you who have followed this summer reading series! Stay tuned for more information about Pitts exhibits, instruction, and resources as the semester begins!

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Summer Reading, vol. 9: Hannah Parks

This week, we spoke to Circulation Specialist Hannah Parks! In addition to her work at the circulation desk, she contributes to cataloguing and oversees the hiring process for all our student workers. She’s also a dedicated runner, usually with her two dogs in tow!

Hannah’s first suggestion is Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (Harper, 2014). Although Hannah has only just begun reading the book, she’s confident this book is a great way to learn more about early humans and our close ancestors. According to Hannah, Harari’s book begins “by providing a good overview of evolutionary biology as it relates to human species, and then delves into different ideas of how our specific species came to dominate the world.” This material provides the foundation for the second half of Harari’s work, which discusses the future of our species, particularly given the impact of modern technology.  While Hannah suspects there may be “a bit of sensationalism” in this latter section, she still thinks this is a great book for anyone “who’s interested in learning more about the history of humans and pondering our future.”

Hannah’s second suggestion is for the fantasy and fiction lovers in our midst (myself included): A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab (Macmillan, 2015). The book focuses on Kell, who is is the last of the Antari, people with the special ability to travel between worlds, delivering messages between rulers. Kell’s world is turned upside down when he meets Delilah Bard, a pickpocket in search of an adventure (and some treasures, of course). Hannah believes that this book demonstrates Schwab’s skills “in both world-building and character development, with an exciting story to boot!” I can confirm Hannah’s conclusion that this book is “packed with adventure and wit” and I too recommend it to anyone looking for a fun summer read. Fair warning, though: it’s the first book in a trilogy, and you won’t be able to stop after starting this book!

Stay tuned next week for the final installment in our Summer Reading series, featuring suggestions from Candler professor Ellen Ott Marshall.

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Summer Reading, vol. 8: Sarah Bogue

This week, the jig is up—I, Reference and Instruction Librarian Sarah Bogue, will be offering you my own recommendations. In addition to authoring summer reading blog posts, I oversee the instructional offerings at Pitts and teach as much medieval history as I can. You’ll often see me at the reference desk and you might also get the Pitts Prospectus, a weekly update email, from me (sign up to get those here).

My academic background spans classical and medieval history, so my first recommendation is for the historians among us. I highly recommend Nicola Denzey’s The Bone Gatherers: The Lost Worlds of Early Christian Women (Beacon Press, 2007). Having been trained as a religious studies scholar, Denzey uses literary, art historical, and archaeological evidence to understand more about early Christian women. In particular, she focuses on the role of women in burial practices, a role that underwent significant chances in the fourth century centralization of Christian authority. Denzey’s narrative style is approachable and often enthusiastic—you won’t regret borrowing this from your local library!

One of my all-time favorite reads (and re-reads, nearly every year) is Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird (Anchor, 1995). This readable, touching, and truth-telling book should be required reading for all students. Lamott’s slim volume discusses the reality of the writing process with all its highs and all its lows. Full disclosure: I love everything Anne Lamott writes; but Bird by Bird remains my favorite for its combination of honesty and inspiration– pick it up today!

Finally, if you need a true beach read, you could do no better than Barbara Louise Mertz’s Crocodile on the Sandbank (Mysterious Press, 2010). Mertz, who wrote under the pseudonym Elizabeth Peters, received a doctorate in Egyptology from the University of Chicago. This training is abundantly clear in her series of mystery novels featuring the intrepid nineteenth century spinster/Egyptologist, Amelia Peabody. Crocodile on the Sandbank is the first of nearly twenty books in this series, so buckle up and prepare to be transported to the hilarious and (surprisingly) historically accurate world of Amelia Peabody.

Stay tuned friends, next week we will talk to Pitts Circulation Specialist Hannah Parks!

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Summer Reading, vol. 7: Susan Hylen

We hope you have some fun Fourth of July plans that involve sun and BBQ—and we’ve got just the books to keep you company by the pool. This week, we spoke to Dr. Susan Hylen, professor of New Testament at the Candler School of Theology. Dr. Hylen’s teaching credits include everything from Introductory New Testament to a seminar on early church women, and she is also ordained in the PC(USA)!

First on Dr. Hylen’s list is SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome (Profile Books, 2015) by the magisterial classicist Mary Beard. The acronym SPQR stands for Senatus populusque Romanus, or “the Senate and People of Rome,” that is, the two entities at the heart of Roman history. SPQR covers nearly a thousand years of Roman history: including mythical Roman origins, the rise and fall of the triumvirates, and concluding with the Byzantine rulers. But why bother with such a history? In part, Beard writes to present a nuanced view of a history many think they already know. But more importantly, Beard suggests that “to ignore the Romans is not just to turn a blind eye to the distant past; Roma still helps to define the way we understand our world and think about ourselves” (15). This highly readable work is a fitting culmination to Beard’s years as a classicist and public intellectual.

If Roman history is not your cup of tea, Dr. Hylen also suggests Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau, 2015). Coates composed the book as a letter to his son, confronting the issues of family, race, and contemporary politics in the style of James Baldwin. Coates received the National Book award for this non-fiction work and his writing can also be found in The Atlantic. Between the World and Me is emotional, poignant, and absolutely worth your time this summer.

Thanks to Dr. Hylen for these excellent suggestions; stay tuned next week for suggestions from Pitts Reference and Instruction Librarian Sarah Bogue!

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Pitts Closed Tuesday, July 4th

The Pitts Theology Library will be closed on Tuesday, July 4th, in observance of the July 4th holiday. The library will be open on Monday, July 3rd, and it will re-open at 7:30am on Wednesday, July 5th. For all library hours, visit http://pitts.emory.edu/hours. Happy 4th!

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Summer Reading, vol. 6: Jehu Hanciles

In the sixth installment of our summer reading series, we spoke to Dr. Jehu Hanciles, D.W. and Ruth Brooks Associate Professor of World Christianity at the Candler School of Theology.

Dr. Hanciles’ suggestion aligns with his own research interests and it even has a great Georgia connection! He highly recommends Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference, by Warren St. John (Random House, 2009). This novel explores the many changes that resulted in the community of Clarkston, Georgia, after it became home to a large and diverse refugee population in the 1990s. The story focuses on the work of a Jordanian woman who used the power of soccer to bring the disparate community together. The book is a culmination of the author’s work as a New York Times reporter, and readers of all ages will find inspiration in its pages.

A wonderful companion volume to this non-fiction work can be found in Dr. Hanciles’ own Beyond Christendom: Globalization, African Migration, and the Transformation of the West (Orbis Books, 2008).  As the title suggests, Dr. Hanciles presents readers with a nuanced view of global Christianity, tracing the impact of migration in the expansion of Christian religious expression. According to Dr. Hanciles, “Christianity is the most migratory of religions” and as such, the current climate of South-North migrations will greatly impact both Western Christianity and Christian mission in general. This readable text is a superb addition to any bookshelf, and we enthusiastically recommend it!

Next week, we will hear from Dr. Susan Hylen, professor of New Testament at Candler, so don’t miss it!

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