Monthly Archives: May 2006

Gapers Block highlights The Encyclopedia of Chicago

May 12, 2006
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Gapers Block highlights The Encyclopedia of Chicago

Today, Gapers Block highlights the Encyclopedia of Chicago Web site. Brush up on Chicago trivia by visiting the special features section of the site, which features essays, maps, photo galleries, indices, timelines, and tables. If you’re impressed by the Web site, be sure to check out The Encyclopedia of Chicago book. At 1152 pages, it’s the definitive historical reference on metropolitan Chicago. If you think you know how Chicago got its name, if you have always wondered how the Chicago Fire actually started and how it spread, if you have ever marveled at the Sears Tower or the reversal of the Chicago River—if you have affection, admiration, and appreciation for this City of the Big Shoulders, this Wild Onion, this Urbs in Horto, then The Encyclopedia of Chicago is for you. . . .

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Review: Stefan Timmermans, Postmortem

May 11, 2006
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Review: Stefan Timmermans, Postmortem

Publishers Weekly recently reviewed Stefan Timmermans’s Postmortem: How Medical Examiners Explain Suspicious Deaths. From the review: "Controversial award-winning sociologist Timmermans looks at the work of medical examiners in this intriguing study, which serves as a welcome antidote to the almost endless stream of true-crime memoirs by MEs across the country.… Some of the writing is not for a mass audience ("a meta-analysis of clinical trials trumps a randomized, double-blind clinical trial…"), but Timmermans’s detailed look at the notorious Louise Woodward ‘nanny trial’ and other topical subjects (such as organ donation) make this a must-read for anyone interested in learning what postmortems really involve." . . .

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Millennium Park’s "Bean" sculpture dedication

May 11, 2006
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Millennium Park’s "Bean" sculpture dedication

The Chicago Tribune reports that Millennium Park’s popular Cloud Gate sculpture (also known as “the Bean”) is set to be dedicated on May 15 at 11 a.m. The dedication ceremony will feature Cloud Gate sculptor Anish Kapoor, Chicago First Lady Maggie Daley, and music by jazz artist Orbert Davis. This June, the University of Chicago Press will publish Timothy J. Gilfoyle’s Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark. Part park, part outdoor art museum, part cultural center, and part performance space, Millennium Park is now an unprecedented combination of distinctive architecture, monumental sculpture, and innovative landscaping. Gilfoyle’s thoroughly readable and lavishly illustrated history of Millennium Park is a wonderful testament to this twenty-first century landmark. . . .

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Senator Harry Reid on The Medical Malpractice Myth

May 10, 2006
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Senator Harry Reid on The Medical Malpractice Myth

On Monday, May 8, on the Senate floor, Democratic Leader Harry Reid gave a speech about medical malpractice legislation. The Senator’s analysis drew extensively on The Medical Malpractice Myth by Tom Baker. Reid said: “Over the weekend, I reviewed an insightful book entitled The Medical Malpractice Myth by Professor Tom Baker and published by the University of Chicago Press. . . . In this book, Professor Baker methodically debunks the most common myths in the medical malpractice debate.” Reid summarized the major claims of the book and utilized them to oppose two Senate bills that would impose significant limitations on medical liability lawsuits. Our excerpt from the book introduces Baker’s argument. . . .

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Review: Knight, Citizen

May 10, 2006
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Review: Knight, Citizen

The New Republic recently praised Louise W. Knight’s Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy. From the review by Christine Stansell: "Louise W. Knight’s excellent book makes the case for Addams as a pre-eminent social thinker and a masterful politician.… Knight brings alive the sheer pleasure of .… While preserving Addams’s essential modesty, Knight is still able to show what a powerful operator she was becoming.… One hopes for a second volume of Knight’s fine work." This masterful biography explores how Addams was born to one life and chose another. Though raised in a small town, Addams was driven to become a pioneer in urban reform, working through the Hull House—which she co-founded—in Chicago and beyond as a leader in labor relations and an advocate for children, immigrants, and the poor. And though she was the product of a highly class-conscious and morally absolutist family and culture, she developed into one of our nation’s foremost pragmatic ethicists, on a par with Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and her good friend John Dewey. Read an excerpt. Visit Louise W. Knight’s Citizen Web site. . . .

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Author event: DeLue at the University of Chicago

May 10, 2006
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Author event: DeLue at the University of Chicago

On May 11 at 4:30 p.m., Rachel DeLue, author of George Inness and the Science of Landscape will lecture at the University of Chicago’s Cochrane-Woods Art Center (5540 S. Greenwood Avenue). Her lecture is titled "Diagnosing Pictures: The Science of Looking in America circa 1900." The event is free and open to the public. George Inness (1825-94), long considered one of America’s greatest landscape painters, has yet to receive his full due from scholars and critics. Rachael Ziady DeLue’s George Inness and the Science of Landscape—the first in-depth examination of Inness’s career to appear in several decades—demonstrates how the artistic, spiritual, and scientific aspects of Inness’s art found expression in his masterful landscapes. . . .

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Review: Hull, Infinite Nature

May 9, 2006
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Review: Hull, Infinite Nature

The New Scientist recently praised R. Bruce Hull’s Infinite Nature. From the review by Michael Bond: "In this intelligent, passionate, beautifully written book, Bruce Hull digs into the complexities and prejudices in our attitudes to the natural world. His message? What nature can teach us depends on what we want to learn from it. Environmental fundamentalists are as damaging as their religious counterparts. It is time to accept and deal with the plurality of perspectives." In this impassioned and judicious work, R. Bruce Hull argues that environmentalism will never achieve its goals unless it sheds its fundamentalist logic. The movement is too bound up in polarizing ideologies that pit humans against nature, conservation against development, and government regulation against economic growth. Only when we acknowledge the infinite perspectives on how people should relate to nature will we forge solutions that are respectful to both humanity and the environment. Read an essay by the author. . . .

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In 1887 Buffalo Bill’s Wild West opened in London

May 9, 2006
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In 1887 Buffalo Bill’s Wild West opened in London

On May 9, 1887, William Cody’s Wild West show opened its first overseas tour at the Earls Court exhibition complex in London. Buffalo Bill’s Wild West was a circus, a rodeo, and a historical pageant—a mammoth extravaganza that culminated in a reenactment of the Battle of Little Big Horn. The show was hugely successful in England, with twice-daily performances to crowds of 30,000. Queen Victoria made her first public appearance since the death of her husband twenty-five years earlier at a command performance on May 11, 1887. By the time the show closed in October, well over a million Londoners had witnessed the Buffalo Bill version of the American West. The English tour of the Wild West show and the European tour two years later—early examples of the globalization of American mass culture—are decribed in Buffalo Bill in Bologna: The Americanization of the World, 1869-1922 by Robert W. Rydell and Rob Kroes. Our excerpt from the book covers the European tours. . . .

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Review: Geer, In Defense of Negativity

May 8, 2006
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Review: Geer, In Defense of Negativity

The Washington Post recently reviewed John G. Geer’s In Defense of Negativity: Attack Ads in Presidential Campaigns. Reviewer Dan Balz wrote: "Geer has set out to challenge the widely held belief that attack ads and negative campaigns are destroying democracy. Quite the opposite, he argues in his provocative new book: Negativity is good for you and for the political system. Geer believes that democracy is strengthened by vigorous debate and asserts that negative ads contribute to, rather than detract from, that dialogue…. Negative ads, he says, are far more likely to be about substance rather than personal attacks and are more likely to be supported by documentation than positive appeals. He argues that negative ads are more specific than positive appeals and therefore more useful to voters in weighing the relative merits of presidential candidates. He also says the media have been far too alarmist about the level of negativity and the effects of attack ads on the political process…. Geer states what others before him has said: Negativity has long been part of American politics…. While conceding that negativity has steadily increased, he challenges the belief that the rise results from scurrilous personal attacks by one candidate against another…. . . .

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Bevingtons’ gift to UCP for emerging scholars

May 5, 2006
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Bevingtons’ gift to UCP for emerging scholars

As a University of Chicago professor and peer reviewer, David Bevington has helped launch the careers of countless scholars in the humanities. On the eve of his retirement, David and his wife Peggy are extending this commitment even further with a $100,000 gift to the University of Chicago Press to help publish works from emerging scholars. David, the Phyllis Fay Horton Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Department of English, retired this year after teaching at the University for 38 years. He is a world renowned authority on English drama and literature from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and has edited numerous editions of Shakespeare’s works. A warm and inspiring teacher, Bevington received the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate teaching in 1979. Peggy also devoted her career to the University of Chicago community. An expert in early childhood education, she retired in 2003 after nearly three decades of teaching nursery school at the Laboratory Schools. As longtime friends of the Press, the Bevingtons see their gift as an extension of their ongoing involvement with and enthusiasm for Chicago’s academic publisher. David has been a driving force in building the Press’s reputation as a scholarly leader in early modern . . .

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