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Blog Posts by Subject: Area and Cultural Studies

Field Trip! Adult Literacy Students Visit Three Faiths Exhibit

Students outside the Three Faiths exhibitLast week, students from the Seward Park Library's Center for Reading and Writing, the Library's free adult literacy program, took a field trip to the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building to see the exhibit, Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam.

As the group trundled up the library 

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The Shared World: Storylines Project Celebrates Writing of Adult Literacy Students and Author Naomi Shihab Nye

Right to left: Naomi Shihab Nye, Neela Vaswani and Storylines Honorable Mention. Photo courtesy NCV FoundationOn October 26, 2010, adult literacy students and their volunteer tutors from the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island gathered at the Bronx Library Center for the second annual Storylines Project celebration. The Storylines Project brings together adult literacy students from the New York Public Library's Centers for Reading and 

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Happy New Year, Circa 1910: Pop-up Greeting Cards in the Jewish Division

If you visit your local stationery store in September, you may well find a small selection of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) cards. The cards will probably have the standard Hebrew greeting for the new year, Le-shanah tovah tikatevu (literally, "May you be inscribed for a good year"). They may be serious, as befits a greeting card for the "Days of Awe," or light-hearted. (I saw one recently that showed a man asking his neighbor, "How's your New Year going?" Answer: "Shofar, so good").  It's 

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Changing the Changing City

Seeking further enlightenment into the city we call home, I recently took a class on the literary and cultural history of New York City. Among the many themes common to New York City novels we discussed was the portrayal of the city itself as a character with power to shape the lives of its citizens.

Many of us New Yorkers have felt this pressure in our own lives: we choose where to live based on our budgets, our hobbies, our family situation, and often our ethnic, linguistic or religious 

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Famous Recipes for Jewish Housewives: Advertising Booklets in the Jewish Division

Manischewitz, Hebrew National, Wolff's Kasha, Empire Kosher Poultry--it's no surprise that these companies have produced Jewish cookbooks over the years. But advertising booklets have been around since the nineteenth century, and lots of (non-Jewish) companies have tried to attract Jewish customers with recipe booklets, a wide array of which can be 

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Re-Joyce: NYPL Preserves "Joyce at 34"

This spring, the Reserve Film and Video Collection is preserving Joyce Chopra and Claudia Weill’s 1973 documentary Joyce at 34.   One can question whether or not discourses on family planning, reproductive politics and gender roles have advanced since the film’s release; what is certain is that Joyce at 34 remains potent and relevant as a document of the conflict endured by working mothers.

The film’s 

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Not Just Another New York Travel Guide

In these tight economic times, we’re all looking for ways to save money, and as summer approaches this applies to vacation plans as well. About this time of year Americans start to dream of vacations to faraway places, respite from the daily grind and a little sun and relaxation. Conventional wisdom says that in recessions we lean towards travel options light on the wallet, heading to locales closer to home, such as a national park or an American destination city.   Well, the budget ... Read More ›

Highlight from Stuff for the Teen Age 2010 List - The Mariposa Club

The Mariposa Club by Rigoberto Gonzalez

It’s tough being a Latino and a gay teen, but Maui does the best he can. Danger is around every corner; the local Los Calis gangs are not fans of homosexuals. If he didn’t have his other gay friends Trini, Isaac, and Liberace he might just go insane. The boys realize there’s strength in numbers and decide to form a LGBT alliance at their school. When they unexpectedly lose one of their number, the club fizzles until there’s just one boy 

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'You have not known misfortunes such as mine!': Storytelling and Trauma in Candide

Jessica AlpertCandide is a story composed of other stories, as the hero spends much of his world travels listening to others. Few stories are as long and involved as the old woman's in chapters 11 and 12, and she even spurs other characters to tell their stories of misfortune and tragedy at the end of her tale: "I advise you to divert yourself, and prevail upon each passenger to tell his story."

Jessica 

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Forced to bend my soul to a sordid role: women and violence in Candide

Mahlon Blaine illustration for 'Candide', 1930 (click for larger view)Our interactive reading of Candide continues with chapters 7-12. Here's a roundup of recent discussions...

"The diligence with which these gentlemen strip people!" American illustrator Mahlon Blaine chose the old woman's story as one of the full-page drawings for his 1930 edition of Candide. The exotic nude woman

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Local Library Resources on Haiti

The tragic earthquake in Haiti has shaken the emotional core of the entire world. We're all trying to make sense of the upsetting images and heartbreaking stories that have been all over the news since January 12th. This tragedy has sparked an interest for many to explore the history and culture of Haiti. Many titles, for all ages and reading levels, are available if you want to learn more.

Look on the shelves under Dewey number 972.94 for basic country information.

The following resources would be ideal for a middle or high school student starting a research 

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The City of Light Before the Advent of Electricity: New York City Travel Writing, 1600s

Gotham. The Big Apple. The City of Light. Crossroads of the World. And my personal favorite: the City of Superlatives. These are all sobriquets that have been applied to New York City at one time or another.

The city that has insinuated its way into the hearts of so many travelers has inspired an incredible outpouring of travel guides and literature.

Travel writing at its best is half reporting and half myth-creating by the adventurer fortunate to visit an unknown, perhaps exotic destination. These treatises offer a 

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Michael Jackson: Icon

Michael Jackson’s sudden and tragic death has revealed the truly iconic status he had achieved in the world. While some of the news media has chosen to continually harp on what they have labeled as Michael’s eccentricities, especially what they have called his bizarre appearance and behavior over the last few years, his 40 years of unbroken creativity and musical genius have secured his enduring iconic status in the minds of an adoring global public.

No death in the last century, including 

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John Hope Franklin

The New York Public Library, especially the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, joins millions of Americans in honoring the pioneering, purposeful, immensely productive life of Dr. John Hope Franklin (1915–2009). The preeminent scholar of the African American experience, he was a leading authority on Southern American history, a distinguished educator, and an uncompromising advocate for equality and justice in American society.

A New York Public Library Lion (2007), a co-chair of the Schomburg Center's first private fundraising 

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Does the African pity the white man?

One day when a former Chief of the Music Division (now enjoying retirement) was browsing through an auction catalog, she came across a listing for a piece of early 19th century sheet music. Entitled “The African’s Pity on the White Man” and published in England, the item was being sold in excess of $1,000 (this was in the early 1990s). A quick hunt in one of our under-processed collections revealed that we owned a copy of this sheet music. We had it quickly cataloged for our 

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