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Steve Hinnefeld
University Communications

Book Marks

Recent books by Indiana University faculty members and titles from IU Press: August 2010

The Dynamics of Connection

Dynamics of Connection: How Evolution and Biology Create Caregiving and Attachment. When Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis sociology professor David C. Bell held his newborn child, he realized for the first time what emotions were. "When I looked into my child's eyes he looked back at me," he remembers. Coming from a family that did not discuss their emotions, Bell operated instead on logic. But holding his son changed all that. Now, in his new book The Dynamics of Connection: How Evolution and Biology Create Caregiving and Attachment (Lexington Books, 2010), Bell explores the biology of caring and how families and intimate relationships work. "The biology of caring means when you hold your child you fall in love," he says. "And you keep falling in love. It continues -- deepens -- over time." The book examines John Bowlby's ideas of attachment and caregiving, and then proceeds to move through the evolution of caregiving among reptiles, mammals and ultimately humans. On a two-year sabbatical with his wife, Professor Linda Bell (Communication Studies/Nursing) in Japan, David Bell saw a new version of the family. Where in America, a family was a father and mother and their children, in Japan, he saw family redefined as a mother and children with a father and a focus on the children. With a new view of nurturing, Bell proceeded to try and find the logic of it. Existing models in social science assumed that everyone is fundamentally self-interested and their behavior is based in this logic. Eventually, Bell put aside the existing models and realized the answer to understanding was emotional, not cognitive.

Newcomers, Outsiders and Insiders: Immigrants and American Racial Politics in the Early Twenty-first Century. The United States is often called a nation of immigrants, a "melting pot" where people from across the globe can pursue their dreams. But waves of immigrants from Latin America, Asia and Africa have strained that image, raising questions about the resilience of American democracy. In Newcomers, Outsiders and Insiders, Indiana University professor Yvette Alex-Assensoh and three co-authors examine how changes in immigration have affected the efforts of long-standing U.S. minority groups to gain full democratic inclusion in American society. "Today's immigrants are less capable of merely fitting in because they are of color, speak different languages, are often more highly educated and are, in some ways, engaged in transnationalism," said Alex-Assensoh, dean of the Office for Women's Affairs and professor of political science in the College of Arts & Sciences.The researchers analyze the impact of recent immigration on existing African-American, Latino and Asian-American minorities in the United States, examining four ways in which groups achieve political incorporation: assimilation, pluralism, bi-racial hierarchy and multi-racial hierarchy. While they find evidence for each of the theories, the data show that there will continue to be a multi-racial hierarchy and race will not be irrelevant to America's future. The book, published by the University of Michigan Press, resulted from three years of research and collaborative work, which began when the authors worked on a collaborative project on the relationship between racial politics and immigration for the American Political Science Association. Additional authors are Ronald Schmidt Sr., professor of political science at California State University, Long Beach; Andrew L. Aoki, professor of political science at Augsburg College; and Rodney E. Hero, the Packey J. Dee Professor of American Democracy at the University of Notre Dame.

Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives. Tom French got to see the stories at the zoo that most of us never see. In Zoo Story (Hyperion), he introduces readers to Herman, an alpha male chimp with a thing for human blondes, "especially blondes in tank tops." We also meet Enshalla, a Sumatran Tiger who prefers Obsession perfume but who has been unlucky in efforts to reproduce more of what is one of the most endangered subspecies of tiger. Then there's "El Diablo Blanco" -- a tragically ambitious zoo chief executive named Lex Salisbury. French, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist now teaching at the Indiana University School of Journalism, was fortunate to be at Lowry Park Zoo in 2003 when Salisbury and others set out to turn the respected mid-sized zoo into a destination. After producing a series of stories about the zoo for the St. Petersburg Times, he was encouraged to expand his project into a book. "The lives of all the animals at the zoo and the people who were working at the zoo really got caught up in what some would say an ambitious, some would say an arrogant decision," French said. "Zoos are filled with these beautiful species, but they're filled with beautiful species that are an inversion of nature. There's species next to one another in different exhibits that would never in life, in the wild, come within a thousand miles of one another." French spent six years researching and reporting intensively at Lowry Park Zoo, following the keepers and getting to know all of the animals. As a result, he believes he was able to tell the stories of everyone, including the animals and the controversial director. "Even people who didn't like Lex called him a visionary," French said, "and there were a lot of people who didn't like him -- very charming, very passionate, but also very tough. He pushed that zoo into a new era and he pushed hard."

The Spatial Humanities

The Spatial Humanities: GIS and the Future of Humanities Scholarship. Geographic information systems (GIS) have spurred a renewed interest in the influence of geographical space on human behavior and cultural development, a topic explored in this new IU Press book by Indiana University-Purdue University professor David J. Bodenhamer and two co-authors. Ideally GIS enables humanities scholars to discover relationships of memory, artifact, and experience that exist in a particular place and across time. But while GIS has been successfully used by scholars in other disciplines, efforts by humanists to apply GIS and the spatial analytic method in their studies have been limited and halting. The Spatial Humanities aims to re-orient -- and perhaps revolutionize -- humanities scholarship by critically engaging the technology and specifically directing it to the subject matter of the humanities. To this end, the contributors explore the potential of spatial methods such as text-based geographical analysis, multimedia GIS, animated maps, deep contingency, deep mapping, and the geo-spatial semantic web. Will Thomas, chair of the Department of History at the University of Nebraska, says the book is "an exciting and useful collection that offers great potential to shape the humanities. In many important ways the volume succeeds in showing how spatial analysis might be essential for humanities scholarship and more specifically what some of the possibilities might be." Bodenhamer is executive director of the Polis Center and professor of history at IUPUI. Co-authors are John Corrigan of Florida State University and Trevor M. Harris of West Virginia University.