Author to Speak on Family Challenges at Commencement

A’Lelia Bundles

Fresh from practically defeating the Indiana Pacers by himself in the playoffs, Lebron James will ease some of the pain by helping pay tribute to one of Indianapolis’ most renowned women.

Read the original article from News at IU‘s Tim Brouk.

The star forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers has been attached as an executive producer, along with Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer, on a future Netflix series focusing on Madam C. J. Walker, the namesake for the Madam Walker Theatre Center near IUPUI and the nation’s first African-American female self-made millionaire. James and Spencer are connected through the William Morris talent agency.

“What I can say is that the writing process is tentatively scheduled to start during the summer,” said Walker’s great-great-granddaughter A’Lelia Bundles via telephone from Washington, D.C. “Once the writers are assembled, they’ll map out the arc of the story. I’m a consultant on the series. If all goes well and the planets align properly, I will be involved periodically while they are developing the storyline.”

The series is based on Bundles’ best-selling 2001 book, “On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker,” which follows Walker’s life from a Southern cotton fields worker to a poor washer-woman in St. Louis to the employer of thousands of African-American women in her own hair care and cosmetics firm, Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, based in downtown Indianapolis. The book was optioned by Zero Gravity Management in 2016.

Bundles is finishing up another book, “The Joy Goddess of Harlem: A’Lelia Walker and the Harlem Renaissance,” based on her great-grandmother and namesake, who was the daughter of Madam Walker. A’Lelia Walker was a major cultural influencer in New York while representing the family business in the Big Apple.

As guest speaker at IUPUI’s commencement on May 12 at Lucas Oil Stadium, Bundles will talk about those women and her own career as a former ABC and NBC news producer and journalist. Several thousand students and their families will be in attendance.

A North Central High School graduate raised in Indianapolis on Grandview Drive, Bundles received degrees from Harvard College and Columbia University before settling in Washington, D.C. Her father, S. Henry Bundles, was president of the Center for Leadership Development in Indianapolis and now lives in Florida. Her late mother, A’Lelia Mae Perry Bundles, was vice president of the Walker Company while being involved in Indianapolis politics.

IUPUI Human Library

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Organizers of a Human Library at IUPUI are recruiting 75 Indianapolis-area residents who have faced discrimination to become “books” at an event that will challenge stereotypes and prejudices through dialogue.

The IUPUI Human Library, a campus-funded Welcoming Campus Initiative, will take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, April 2, at the Campus Center, 420 University Blvd.

People who would like to be a human book are asked to complete a form.

“The Human Library is a place where real people and their stories are ‘on loan’ to readers,” said Andrea Copeland, associate professor and chair, Department of Library and Information Science at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, and lead organizer of the event. “It’s a place where difficult questions are expected, appreciated, and answered.”

The framework of a library is particularly appropriate, Copeland said: “People go to libraries in search of new knowledge. Usually, the knowledge vessel is a book. In this case, the knowledge vessel is a human.”

People who would like to volunteer to serve as books must be at least 18 years old. They are asked to answer why they would want to be a book, what types of discrimination they have faced based on status, and what the title and three possible chapters of their book would be. Human books will be expected to participate for at least two of the hours the Human Library will be open. When the human books are checked out, they will meet with a reader, or readers, for 30 minutes.

Volunteer human books will receive training on being a book, and readers will be given guidelines for respectful communication.

Students, faculty, and staff from the School of Informatics and Computing, the School of Liberal Arts, University Library, and the Indianapolis Public Library are working together to develop the event.

A large media arts screen featuring information about some of the books and an online human book catalog are being developed to help visitors select which books they would like to check out. Each book title will have a word that illustrates the form of discrimination the human book will discuss.

From NPR: ‘How to Think Like an Anthropologist’ – And Why You Should Want To

From NPR’s Barbara J. King:

Civilization originated in the Fertile Crescent region, including parts of modern-day Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, and Egypt: that’s the lesson most of us learned in school.

In it, civilization is used in a highly positive way to refer to the rise of city-states and the development of writing around the 4th millennium BC.

But today, civilization is an idea too often used against people living in that area of the world, sociocultural anthropologist Matthew Engelke explains in his new book, How To Think Like An Anthropologist. Engelke quotes, as an example, a U.S. Army colonel who, in conjunction with the war on terror, said this: “In Western Iraq, it’s like it was six centuries ago with the Bedouins in their goat hair tents.”

We need to see this statement and others like it for what it is, Engelke says: An attempt to relegate the Bedouins to living fossils who are stuck in time and badly in need of being civilized by the West.

It’s not just military culture that buys into and furthers this “civilizing” perspective. In 2007, an aid project was launched by the African Medical and Research Foundation, Barclays Bank, and the British progressive newspaper The Guardian. Its goal was to deliver health care to the village of Katine in northern Uganda. The project itself was sensitive and nuanced, Engelke notes. The coverage in The Guardian was anything but. On Oct.20, 2007, a Guardian story was headlined this way: “Can we, together, lift one village out of the Middle Ages?” Beneath the headline is a statement about traveling “a few hours from London — and 700 years back in time.”

What do these words signal but that the villagers need to be brought forward in time, back into civilization?

That’s dangerous thinking, Engelke says — and through the lens of anthropology, we can see why.

[read more]

Lilly Library Exhibition on Dating Etiquette

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Preparing for a big date this Valentine’s Day? Look no further than Indiana University’s Lilly Library for some classic social etiquette advice.

The library’s “Dating Through the Ages” exhibition features social etiquette publications and other love and romance-related documents that highlight information and advice about dating.

Artifacts range from the old and obscure, like Ebenezer Bradford’s “The Art of Courting: Displayed in Eight Different Scenes: The Principal of Which Are Taken from Actual Life, and Published for the Amusement of American Youth” from 1795, to the famous, like Helen Gurley Brown’s famous 1962 advice book, “Sex and the Single Girl.”

Public services librarian Isabel Planton said she’d been planning the exhibit since December. A longtime fan of etiquette guides, she was originally interested in doing a more general feature on manners but realized that homing in on dating and courtship would be timely for Valentine’s Day.

A 1936 manual, “How to Get Your Man and Hold Him,” was a good starting point. A co-worker showed it to Planton years ago, and she was amused by the cover image of a man and woman getting married.

“It’s really kind of an over-the-top cheesy 1930s manual,” she said. “I’d say more than anything else, that’s what got this started. I had this at my desk for a couple of years. It’s really great. It has all these hilarious illustrations in it.”

With many items relating to the topic in the library’s collection, Planton had plenty of options to curate an exhibition.

“I started with searching in our catalog, trying out different subject headings that related to courtship or dating and seeing what that brought me to,” she said. “And then I did the old trick of taking the call number for this subject area and going up to the shelves to see what else was there.”

Many of the books focus on letter writing, which reflects the “proliferation of rules” during the Victorian era, Planton said.

Some of these rules seem antiquated by today’s standards: how to flirt with a fan or handkerchief or gloves, for example. But readers clung onto them so strongly at the time that many of these etiquette guides were printed in miniature editions for easy access, allowing people to stash them in a pocket to read on the go.

Looking at trends in this two-century span, Planton said rules relaxed over time, but they didn’t disappear by any means.

“It seemed like a lot of these books are geared toward women and how they should behave. And then things start to become a little bit more loose and a little bit more liberal as we move into the 20th century and see the roles relaxing,” she said. “Although, still, there are a lot of rules for women. They’re just changing, but they’re still there.”

The “Dating Through the Ages” exhibition will be on display at the Lilly Library through Friday, March 2. For more information, visit the Lilly Library website.

From Humanities: A Christmas Carol Was Not His Best Holiday Novel, Dickens Thought

Marley’s ghost visits Scrooge. Illustration by Arthur Rackham for 1915 edition of A Christmas Carol.

In December 1845, Charles Dickens published a holiday story that quickly became a sensation among Victorian readers. Its first printing of 16,500 copies quickly sold out before the new year, then went into numerous reprints that affirmed its commercial appeal.

His well-received novel that year wasn’t A Christmas Carol, the tale that modern audiences consider his quintessential yuletide work, but The Cricket on the Hearth, a story few readers beyond diehard Dickens fans recognize today.

Dickens (1812–1870) might be surprised by how little Cricket and his other holiday stories besides A Christmas Carol are read. After publishing Carol in 1843, he produced four other Christmas novels in quick succession, deeming some of his handiwork even more appealing than his iconic account of Ebenezer Scrooge.

When he published The Chimes, a follow-up to Carol for the 1844 holiday season, Dickens was sure he’d topped himself. “I believe I have written a tremendous Book; and knocked the Carol out of the field,” he told his friend Thomas Mitton. “It will make a great uproar, I have no doubt.”

But posterity has been less kind to Dickens’s non-Carol Christmas tales, which also include The Battle of Life (1846) and The Haunted Man (1848). A quick survey of Dickens’s holiday also-rans provides some clues about their lack of staying power.

The Chimes, in which the poor Englishman Trotty Veck is haunted by visions of oppressive poverty that serve as a form of moral instruction, seems obviously derivative of Carol, but without its memorable characters. Dickens biographer Angus Wilson, expressing what appears to be a critical consensus, lamented that this takedown “of a wicked social order never comes to life.”

The Cricket on the Hearth, about a miser named Tackleton who has a last-minute spiritual conversion, seems like warmed-over Carol, too—the nineteenth-century version of a by-the-numbers Hollywood sequel. [Read More]

From card catalogs to computers, 50-year IU Libraries employee has changed with the times

Ron Hafft is celebrating his 50th year as a full-time employee of IU Libraries. Photo by James Brosher, IU Communications

Original article by Marah Harbison from News at IU Bloomington

In 1964, Lyndon B. Johnson was president of the United States, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law, and Ron Hafft got his first part-time job with Indiana University Libraries. At that time, the main campus library was in Franklin Hall, a paper card catalog system helped students check books out, and Hafft was studying to be a high school English teacher.

In 2017, Hafft is celebrating his 50th year as a full-time employee of IU Libraries. In his current role as computer coordinator, he travels around campus to maintain and update public workstations and staff computers for the many library branch locations. But over the half century he’s spent serving the university’s libraries, he’s done everything from managing the stacks to helping IUPD integrate library security into training for cadets. He’s transitioned with the library from a mainly print world to a digital world and helped others along the way.

His first full-time gig was as a circulation desk supervisor for the night shift. The library had just expanded hours to close at midnight instead of 10 p.m. Hafft was drafted into the army in 1968, and when he returned in 1971, construction on the Wells Library was complete, and his position had been expanded to include stack supervision duties.

Hafft also spent time working in interlibrary loans. When another library wanted to borrow something from IU’s collection, Hafft would coordinate lending the requested materials and billing for any overdue materials. “We would send stuff literally around the world to places like Japan, Australia and Russia,” Hafft said. “We were often lending much more than we were borrowing because our collection is so vast.” That is still true today, with thousands of materials loaned by IU Libraries to other libraries in the state, in the country, and around the world.

Most of Hafft’s contribution to the libraries, though, have come through his willingness to embrace new roles and learn new skills. It would be an understatement to say that libraries have gone through a transformation over the past 50 years, and while many find change to be scary, Hafft has found it exciting. He’s been called on more than once to share his excitement and ease the apprehensions of his colleagues.

When the library began automating the catalog system, Hafft managed the team tasked with barcoding nearly 2 million books. A team made of about 20 students and 20 staff members worked in two-hour shifts to chip away at the work and ultimately finished the task in just eight summer weeks. Once the catalog was fully automated, he helped train staff on computer software. “They asked me to help because I could work with people,” Hafft said. “It helped that I knew the circulation system, but it was even better that I knew what staff needed translated from computerese to something more generally understood.”

Hafft helped advocate for a print quota for students and a print release system in the library that required students to log in one at a time to print instead of overwhelming printers with multiple jobs at once. He saw the number of public work stations in the library dramatically increase, and then just as dramatically decrease as more and more students arrived on campus with their own laptops. Recently, he’s seen a dramatic decrease in pages printed thanks to more online assignments and submissions.

Throughout all of the changes, though, Hafft said, the reason he remains at the library has stayed constant. “The students are what has kept me here,” he said. “In my duration I have seen a major change in basically everything at some time or another, but the bits and pieces that hold the library together and the reasons we are here will always be the same. If it weren’t for the students, the university wouldn’t exist.”

Hafft expects he’ll retire within the next few years but will stay engaged with the university by possibly taking a photography course or attending the Little 500, an event he has volunteered for as a field judge for nearly 20 years. He will continue to see nearly every movie that comes to town and plans to read more spy and young adult novels.

But even as he looks forward to retirement, Hafft feels fulfilled by his 50 years at IU. “I’m finding out that as I look back on my career, it’s all been very worthwhile.”

IAHI Announces the Publication of the Open Access Book Rivers of the Anthropocene

Rivers of the Anthropocene Book CoverThe IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute and the Rivers of the Anthropocene project is proud to announce the publication of Rivers of the Anthropocene. Published by University of California Press, Rivers of the Anthropocene is available in print and as an open access publication through Luminos at

This exciting volume presents the work and research of the Rivers of the Anthropocene Network, an international collaborative group of scientists, social scientists, humanists, artists, policy makers, and community organizers working to produce innovative transdisciplinary research on global freshwater systems. In an attempt to bridge disciplinary divides, the essays in this volume address the challenge in studying the intersection of biophysical and human sociocultural systems in the age of the Anthropocene.

Featuring contributions from authors in a rich diversity of disciplines—from toxicology to archaeology to philosophy—this book is an excellent resource for students and scholars studying both freshwater systems and the Anthropocene.

Edited by Jason M. Kelly, Philip Scarpino, Helen Berry, James Syvitski, and Michel Meybeck, this volume emerged from a conference held at the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute. Contributors include Jeff Benjamin (PhD student, Columbia University); Helen Berry (Professor of History, Newcastle University); Tim Carter (President, Second Nature); Celia Deane-Drummond (Professor and Director of the Center for Theology, Science and Human Flourishing, Department of Theology, University of Notre Dame); Matt Edgeworth (Senior Project Officer for the Cambridge University Archaeology Unit; Honorary Research Fellow, University of Leicester); David Gilvear (Professor of River Science, Sustainable Earth Institute, Plymouth University); Stephanie C. Kane (Professor, Department of International Studies, Indiana University Bloomington); Jason M. Kelly (Director of the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute; Associate Professor of History, IUPUI); Andy Large (Reader in River Science, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University); Laurence Lestel (Researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Ken Lubinski (Former Chief, River Ecology, U. S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center); Sina Marx (German Committee for Disaster Reduction, Bonn, Germany); Michel Meybeck (Emeritus Scientist at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Mary Miss (Founder, City as Living Laboratory); Dinah Smith (Honorary Visiting Fellow, Department of Geology, University of Leicester); Philip Scarpino (Director, Public History Program at IUPUI;  Professor of History, IUPUI); Eleanor R. Starkey (Researcher, School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Newcastle University); Jai Syvitski (Executive Director of the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System and Professor at University of Colorado, Boulder); Martin Thoms (Professor of River Science, Director of the Institute for Rural Futures, University of New England); Mark Williams (Professor of Palaeobiology, Department of Geology, University of Leicester); Jan Zalasiewicz (Professor of Palaeobiology, Department of Geology, University of Leicester).

IU research finds journalists placing renewed emphasis on ethics, watchdog function

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Economic difficulties, social media proliferation and public attacks on media credibility have created a challenging environment for news organizations. But U.S. journalists, although their numbers are dwindling, appear to believe in their watchdog role as strongly as ever, according to the latest in a multi-decade series of studies by The Media School researchers at Indiana University.

The findings are the subject of a new book, “The American Journalist in the Digital Age: A Half-Century Perspective,” by emeritus professors David Weaver and Cleve Wilhoit and alumnus and former IU professor Lars Willnat. The book is the fourth in a series Weaver and Wilhoit began in the early 1980s, expanding on benchmark research conducted at the University of Illinois in 1971.

The survey finds journalists reject overwhelmingly the use of questionable reporting tactics, a result that Weaver and Wilhoit say is especially significant in the context of current attempts to portray legitimate journalism as “fake news.”

In previous studies, Wilhoit said, journalists demonstrated a surprising ambivalence toward avoiding unverified stories. But a new question in the latest study yielded more encouraging responses.

“When pressed toward deadline and asked about using a story with unverified elements, the journalists in our sample refused, overwhelmingly,” Wilhoit said. “Fake news may be a problem, but the mindset of the journalists we studied seems dead set against it.”

The data also suggest that, despite challenges to their legitimacy and pessimism about the future of news, public service ideals remain an important motivation for today’s journalists.

“The profession’s ‘voice’ may be smaller because of a diminished full-time workforce and distracted audiences, but the resolve to be a check on government has never been stronger,” Wilhoit said. “And the educational levels and depth of experience of journalists have never been greater.”

Seventy-eight percent of the journalists surveyed rated their “watchdog” role over government as “extremely important” — the highest percentage since the era of the Pentagon Papers in 1971.

The researchers are generally optimistic about the future of the profession, based on the results of the latest survey. They say condemnation of the media by President Donald Trump and others presents an opportunity for journalists to demonstrate their importance to democracy.

“I think that the current criticisms of journalism will not last indefinitely,” Weaver said, “and I think there is growing recognition of how important professional journalists are to our society.”

IUPUI hosts sci-fi master Ray Bradbury artifacts, awards in Cavanaugh Hall

The original article can be found here.

Bradbury Center Director Jon Eller stands in recreation of Bradbury’s office

In a lower level of Cavanaugh Hall, one of the most prolific and renowned 20th-century American science fiction writers’ memory – and his many, many works – are preserved in impressive and sometimes spooky detail.

The Center for Ray Bradbury Studies is packed with the author’s publications, awards, personal artifacts and many Halloween-worthy souvenirs, like a grotesque and demonic mask that is displayed on one of the author’s many bookcases. The mask was used in conceptual work for the character Moundshroud for the 1993 Hanna-Barbera animated version of “The Halloween Tree.”

The mask is one of thousands of artifacts Professor Jonathan Eller, Director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies and Chancellor’s Professor of English, and the School of Liberal Arts have stored and displayed in the center, which also curates a re-creation of Bradbury’s basement office that he maintained for decades in his Los Angeles home while creating masterworks like “Fahrenheit 451,” “Something Wicked This Way Comes” and “The Illustrated Man.”

The Center opened in Cavanaugh a decade ago and has since become an October hub for annual Bradbury commemorations. IUPUI pays tribute to Bradbury every October with exhibits on campus. Last month, many of the center’s space-related artifacts were on display in the new “Infinite Voyages: Ray Bradbury and the Space Age” exhibit in the Campus Center’s Cultural Arts Gallery.

From the moon to Mars, Bradbury was enthusiastic for space exploration, according to Eller. The Bradbury expert said 1930s sci-fi pulp magazines like Amazing Stories, Wonder Stories, and Astounding had the future author often looking to the skies in wonderment. By the 1940s, his stories began to appear in the same magazines, and in many others as well. Many of Bradbury’s personal copies of these magazines are on display in the center.

In the 1960s, Bradbury helped keep his fans interested in NASA’s developments. “Ray Bradbury loved the Apollo missions and all of the manned space missions that followed,” said Eller, noting Bradbury’s collection of awards and mementos given to him by NASA. “He also got behind the space shuttle program; he worked to promote the program and knew a number of the key players and crews.”

NASA paid tribute to Bradbury shortly after the Curiosity rover landed on Mars in August 2012. The rover, which is still collecting data from the Martian surface, touched down at Gale Crater, just south of Mars’ equator. The site was renamed Bradbury Landing on Aug. 22 to coincide with what would have been the author’s 92nd birthday. Bradbury had died just months before, on June 5, but had lived long enough to see the launch of this landmark achievement in Martian exploration.

Bradbury’s classic 1950 novelized collection of short stories, “The Martian Chronicles,” will forever link the author to the Red Planet, and now the planet is linked to the legendary writer. Some of the “Martian” tales are eerily prophetic and carry much impact, according to Eller. “Curiosity has told us that Mars is a little bit like what Ray Bradbury always thought it would be,” he explained. “We have planetary dynamics in evidence. We have evidence of earlier times of water. All of these things that Ray Bradbury hoped for and dreamed of might have been there at one time.”

In 2016, Eller represented the Bradbury family at the Hugo Awards ceremony. It was a momentous occasion for Eller, as Bradbury was given posthumous awards for his work that predated the Hugos, which honor the top works in science fiction and fantasy.

Eller earned the distinction to accept the award as he and Bradbury struck up a decades-spanning friendship after meeting when Eller was an English professor at his alma mater, the United States Air Force Academy, in the late 1980s. Bradbury was a guest speaker at a weeklong science fiction convention, and then-Major Eller was his host. Over time, Eller learned Bradbury’s “stories behind the stories,” eventually publishing three books on the author.

“Pretty much for the last 15 years of his life, I interviewed Bradbury in depth,” Eller said. “He was a great inspiration for people who loved to write, loved to read and loved to put their finger on the pulse of the human heart.”

While the Martian stories ring with some prescience, “Fahrenheit 451” continues to inspire on Earth’s soil. Proponents for freedom of speech and anti-censorship still look to the classic dystopian tome. Through science fiction and terror tales, Bradbury’s words helped teach millions of eyes to read and millions of brains to think.

“He was a great defender of the freedom of imagination,” Eller said. “He was always a protector of libraries and the precious gift of literacy.”

IAHI Conference yields “An Anthropocene Primer”

The IUPUI Arts & Humanities Institute and the Rivers of the Anthropocene project is proud to announce the official launch of An Anthropocene Primer, Version 1.0 on October 23, 2017. An Anthropocene Primer is an innovative open access, open peer review publication that guides learners through the complex concepts and debates related to the Anthropocene, including climate change, pollution, and environmental justice.

This born-digital publication ( is a critical and timely resource for learners across multiple fields from academia, to industry, to philanthropy to learn about issues and topics relating to the Anthropocene, a framework for understanding environmental change that highlights human impact on earth systems.

An Anthropocene Primer was created to provide learners in museums, schools, non-profits, and formal research institutions with an entry point into some of the big concepts and debates that dominate discussions about the Anthropocene. The primer is not intended to be comprehensive (this is, after all, An Anthropocene Primer, not The Anthropocene Primer), nor is it intended to be didactic. The primer is a framework to guide individual and collaborative learning from the beginner to advanced levels.

Version 1.0 of An Anthropocene Primer is available for open peer review from October 23, 2017 through February 1, 2018. Open peer review allows users to contribute to and engage with fellow readers and the authors as the editors develop it for a final print and open access ebook version. A video tutorial on how to participate in open peer review is available at

Edited by Jason M. Kelly and Fiona P. McDonald, An Anthropocene Primer emerged from the “Anthropology of the Anthropocene” workshop ( hosted by the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute in May 2017. The participants from this workshop make up list of authors: Jason M. Kelly (IUPUI, USA), Fiona P. McDonald (IUPUI, USA), Alejandro Camargo (University of Montreal, Canada), Amelia Moore (University of Rhode Island, USA), Mark Kesling (The daVinci Pursuit, USA), Ananya Ghoshal (Forum on Contemporary Theory, India), George Marcus (University of California, Irvine, USA), Paul Stoller (West Chester University, USA), Dominic Boyer (Rice University, USA), Serenella Iovino (University of Turin, Italy), Rebecca Ballestra (Artist, Monaco/Italy), Eduardo S. Brondizio (IU, Bloomington), Jim Enote (A:shiwiw A:wan Museum and Heritage Center, Zuni, USA), Ignatius Gutsa (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe), Cymene Howe (Rice University, USA), Sue Jackson (Griffith University, Australia), Phil Scarpino (IUPUI, USA). This workshop was funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the IU New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities grant program.