Latin American Resources

July 6th, 2015

The United States is undergoing a massive demographic shift, as immigration again changes our national character and makeup. But in recent decades, the influx of people has not been from Europe but from our own hemisphere – Mexico, Central, and South America. And like generations of previous immigrants, these new Americans bring their own vibrant culture, interweaving it with the multifaceted tapestry that is already here.

Richmond seems far away from the southern border, but almost all of us have still been touched in some way by Hispanic culture – neighbors, friends, coworkers, and colleagues. Perhaps you’re curious about these cultures, and want to know more. The library has plenty of tools to study Latin American and Hispanic culture – databases like Informe Revistas en Espanol, Latin American Women Writers, Latino Literature: Poetry, Drama, and Fiction, and Sabin Americana, 1500-1926 can serve academic needs.

hispanic literature

Perhaps you would like to to engage with a culture through stories. For anyone interested in Latin American literature or media, we have lots of books and ebooks. Writings like Peel My Love Like an Onion by Ana Castillo, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, Flight by José Skinner, The Last of the Menu Girls by Denise Chávez, or anthologies like Hispanic, Female and Young edited by Phyllis Tashlik are perfect for summer reading, and criticism like Recovering U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage by Gerald Poyo, Hispanic Immigrant Literature: El Sueño del Retorno by Nicolás Kanellos, Latin American Melodrama: Passion, Pathos, and Entertainment by Darlene Sadlier, Contemporary Latina/o Performing Arts of Moraga, Tropicana, Fusco, and Bustamante by Leah Garland, Affinity of the Eye: Writing Nikkei in Peru by Ignacio Lopez-Calvo, or even Emergence of Latin American Science Fiction by Rachel Ferreira can enrich your understanding.

Want multimedia, instead?  Try videos from Alexander Street Press.  And we have plenty of Spanish-language films available for checkout, too. Additionally, throughout academic year 2015-16, IU East will be hosting a film series as part of a Latino Americans: 500 Years of History program funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities through the American Library Association. Dates and information about the film series and more is available here:

Any questions? Ask us at!

Independence Day

June 29th, 2015

This week we will celebrate the Fourth of July. John Adams advocated celebrating it with “pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other”. Whether any of these factor into your own festivities, or whether you have your own traditions, the day marks a major change in human events. In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed by fifty-six men, putting our country on a path to freedom and self-determination that has since been copied by dozens of other nations. Before 1776, the evidence was scant that any people could successfully govern themselves without kings or aristocracy. Today, it is common knowledge.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were two of the drafters of that declaration – two of many men who overcame vast personal differences and interests to forge an intricate working government that would strive and evolve towards serving the needs of all its citizens. They were friends, then. But later events, including incredibly bitter elections in 1796 and 1800, left the men as personal and political enemies, divided in their views on national institutions, relationships with France and England, the strength of the federal government as compared with the states, and national security. It would be years before they reconciled, in 1812, but both men finally died as friends on July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

jefferson and adams

Still, it is an important lesson for us. Two people who would seem to agree on so much had almost irreconcilable views on every major national policy issue. Both believed their views fervently and honestly. And both came by their beliefs through rigorous and intellectual thought – they were not fools who were tricked into anything. But this is hardly unique in human thought – meaning and truth are often contested. Well-meaning and credible people always have widely divergent views and beliefs. And whether they intend to or not, they often try to convince you of the rightness of their cause.

At IU East, we believe a truly free person is one who can see these intentions, examine these arguments, and who can critically evaluate any claims – whether they are ones you are inclined to distrust, or, perhaps even more importantly, if they are ones you are inclined to accept. A free person reads, and thinks, and researches. They ask themselves many questions before coming to a conclusion. Who is making the claim? Why? Do they get anything out of it? What are the implications? And we may also come to different conclusions, like Adams and Jefferson – but we will not be at anyone’s mercy, or led down a path we do not understand or agree with.

This freedom – the freedom that comes from clear, critical thought – is one reason why libraries are so important. Information is made accessible to anyone, to evaluate and consider rationally any argument. Like all libraries, IU East has lots of sources for this. CQ Researcher is a database that offers deep, heavily footnoted and fact-checked primers on major issues of the day, including an overview, a chronological history, potential pros and cons, and plenty of multimedia. Opposing Viewpoints in Context lets the different stakeholders speak for themselves, choosing leading intellectual authorities on both sides of every major debate to write very partisan, but well-thought out and researched position papers. And we offer our own Beginning Research libguide, to help any scholar get started with questioning, evaluating, and learning.

Any questions? Ask them at!


LGBT Sources

June 22nd, 2015

June is National LGBT Pride Month in remembrance of the Stonewall riots in June 1969, the beginning of the modern gay liberation movement. IU East has always taken an interest in nurturing and empowering our gay students (and their straight allies) – the LGBTQS Alliance is one of our most popular organizations, and many university employees have Safe Zone training, offering a supportive and affirming place for LGBT students to discuss any issue that weighs on them. And the library has reliable resources to learn about LGBT history or the issues facing the homosexual community today.

gay pride month

We have resources for any interest or age group. For scholarly needs, databases like LGBT Studies are great starting points, including sources like films, documentaries, interviews, and archival footage that explore the social, cultural, and political evolution of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people throughout modern history. And for more traditional, journal article databases, GenderWatch offers hundreds of thousands of articles on wide-ranging topics affecting the LGBT community including sexuality, religion, and social roles from the last several decades. GenderWatch particularly offers unique and distinctive voices that can often be overlooked in mainstream sources. And for US government documents, try the collection at the Library of Congress.

And if you prefer books, we have titles like Out of the Ordinary: Representations of LGBT Lives by Ian Rivers, Out and Running: Gay and Lesbian Candidates, Elections, and Policy Representation by Donald Haider-Markel, From the Closet to the Courtroom: Five LGBT Rights Lawsuits That Have Changed Our Nation and Right to Be Parents: LGBT Families and the Transformation of Parenthood by Carlos Ball, Queer Women and Religious Individualism by Melissa Wilcox, and Make Your Own History: Documenting Feminist and Queer Activism in the 21st Century by Lyz Bly that explore every facet of gay identity. We’ve also prepared a libguide bringing together sources across the spectrum in one convenient place.

gay pride books

And for material focused on teaching children, we have plenty of books, as well. Recently, we’ve added new titles like I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel, Donovan’s Big Day by Lesléa Newman, and 10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert to improve our already extensive collection of LGBT-friendly children’s books. There’s something for everyone!

Any questions? Ask us at!

Building a Student-Friendly Course

June 15th, 2015

Summer may be a welcome respite for students, but it rarely is for faculty! Research, writing articles, attending professional conferences, preparing new programs and courses – a professor’s job is never done.

The library has always been a great tool for professors in teaching their classes. It’s a place to send students to broaden their understanding, and find books and journals that support their arguments. But it can be an asset right from the beginning, in the planning phase of new courses.

Most classes require a lot of material. This is sensible – students have to be exposed to a lot of ideas and perspectives, after all. It follows that they would need to read the work of a lot of authors. But the cost of buying all that can add up quickly – and strain student budgets. Faculty can’t very well respond to this by assigning less – you are doing the right thing by incorporating so much material. But the library can help ease this burden.

The easiest way to make a text widely available is to put it on reserve. We can put any book or video on reserve – whether it belongs to the library or to the professor. The request form is available online here. If you have an extra desk or preview copy of your textbook, consider putting it on reserve.

But what about online students? IU East subscribes to several large ebook collections that have many academic titles. When still in the planning phases of a course, try browsing these collections first to see if there are any materials that are suitable for using as a course textbook – often there are. For example, is there really much of a difference between American Politics and Society by David McKay, a book available through eBrary, and American Politics Today by William Bianco, a book that is not? Or between Justice, Crime, and Ethics by Belinda McCarthy, in EBSCO Ebooks, or Ethical Dilemmas and Decisions in Criminal Justice by Joycelyn Pollock, which isn’t? When choosing materials, there is often an equivalent item that students can be assigned available in an ebook collection. EBSCO Ebooks even plans to have a mobile app in place by the start of next semester for added convenience.

And what of videos? Again, try a video database like VAST first. For example, if you are connecting course material to this year’s One Book program, you may find a video like Positive Voices: Living with HIV/AIDS, available through VAST, to be just as useful as something like AIDS in America: The Crisis Continues, which is not. Assigning a video in a library database has the benefit of being easily available to a student who is out sick the day the video is shown, or to distance students. Links to these videos can even be included in your course site through Canvas or OnCourse.

vast video

The library can be a great help to you, even in the beginning phases of designing a class. We can make courses less expensive, and material more convenient to access. Your students will thank you!

Any questions? Ask us at!

More from your MUSE

June 8th, 2015

A few weeks ago, we looked at the Humanities Collection of Project MUSE, a newly added database provided by the School of Humanities and Social Science and the Library, which adds significantly to material available for writing, education, literature, social science, and other fields.

project muse logo

But Project MUSE has a lot of parts, and one other part that we have acquired is the Global Cultural Studies journal supplement.  This section adds access to 20 additional full text journals that are relevant to any student of contemporary culture.  This includes American studies, ethnic studies – including Asian, Latin American, African-American, and indigenous studies – women’s and gender studies, disability studies, and more.

One of the new journals is The Global South, which focuses on the literature and culture of the parts of the world that have experienced the most political, social, and economic upheaval. Another is Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, which looks at cultural material by and for children and young adults – including literature, media, toys, digital culture, and more. Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences focuses on theoretical and critical work in the humanities and social sciences, especially those which challenge conventional understandings of reading and scholarship in academia. The Journal of Haitian Studies is the only refereed journal dedicated to scholarship on Haiti and includes material across the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. Caribbean Studies includes articles, research notes, book reviews, news, and more about the islands of the Caribbean. And the Journal of Jewish Identities focuses on diverse ideas concerning the formations of, and transformations in, Jewish identities in its various aspects, layers, and manifestations, including empirical and theoretical articles, interdisciplinary research studies, and case studies.

cultural studies journals

The full list of titles in Global Cultural Studies includes:

Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies
British Journal of Canadian Studies
Canadian Ethnic Studies
Caribbean Studies
Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies
The Global South
International Journal of Canadian Studies
Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures
Journal of Austrian Studies
Journal of Haitian Studies
Journal of Jewish Identities
Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies
Journal of Religion and Popular Culture
Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences
Romani Studies
Scandinavian Studies
Serbian Studies: Journal of the North American Society for Serbian Studies
Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Studies in Latin American Popular Culture
Women, Gender, and Families of Color

And the full list of titles IU East now has access to through all of Project MUSE can be found here.

If you have any questions using this new database, ask us at!