Fordham Values Diversity

By Fredric Nachbaur, Director of Fordham University Press

When I received my certificate from the university’s Office of Multicultural Affairs for successfully completing training to be an ally of support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Network, I felt very exultant. This seemed very cool to be happening at a Catholic university. After attending two half-day sessions with students, faculty, and other administrators, I received my button and plaque that I proudly display on the wall in my office. Along with my fellow trainees, I am available on campus to offer support to any students or community members who are feeling anxious, unsure, or unsafe about their sexual identity and how it affects their life at Fordham.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs created the network and training program to foster an environment of inclusiveness, awareness, understanding, and open-mindedness. During the sessions, we participated in role playing in which we acted out anonymous student stories confronting homophobia and other hostile situations; discussed LGBT terminology, stereotypes, and common language; and learned about campus and community resources for LGBT students. Guest speakers talked about how we can be good listeners and offer support when needed, and we heard from a student about his journey from closeted high school student to openly gay college student. It was an incredible experience and one that made me feel honored to be a member of the Fordham community.

Soon thereafter a rash of unsettling incidents occurred on campus that undermined the efforts of programs like the LGBT Network. Racial and homophobic slurs were found in the hallways of different buildings on campus both at Rose Hill (Bronx) and Lincoln Center (Manhattan).

Now that this news has hit the national media, as an administrator of the university and the director of Fordham University Press I felt compelled to express my feelings on the series of events. These atypical actions go against everything that Fordham stands for, which is to promote an understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of all our students that is rooted in the Jesuit tenet of Cura Personalis and the principle that all people should be treated with dignity and respect, which is explicit in Catholic teaching. The narrow-mindedness of the individual or group that made these slurs via graffiti should not overshadow the efforts that Fordham has made to work actively toward promoting an environment in which all members of the university community are welcomed and valued.

Fordham University Press has a commitment of mirroring the values and mission of the university that is evident in the types of books it publishes. On our current spring list are two lead titles that exemplify our appreciation of diversity, whether exploring LGBT issues or delving into the history of African Americans.

Hidden: Reflections on Gay Life, AIDS, and Spiritual Desire by Richard Giannone, professor emeritus at Fordham University,  is a deeply personal account of the author’s struggle of being gay, Catholic, and caretaker for his dying sister and mother. From Slave Ship to Harvard: Yarrow Mamout and the History of an African American FamilyFrom Slave Ship to Harvard by James H. Johnston is the true story of an African American family in Maryland over six generations.  A recent backlist title – Civil Rights in New York City: From World War II to the Giuliani Era edited by Clarence Taylor – addresses varying aspects of New York’s civil rights struggle and reaffirms their importance to the larger national fight for equality for Americans across racial lines. These are only three of the many books that represent our effort and desire to publish books that welcome and encourage an understanding and awareness of diversity in the world and that, we hope, will widen people’s understanding and appreciation of race and gender.

As an openly gay man who has recently married (thank you, New York) and is raising a child, it is important to me that I feel welcome on campus, which I do. I have never felt like an outsider and have always been encouraged to be proud of who I am. Fordham has always fostered this atmosphere, which is exemplified by the LGBT training that it offers; the resources available to LGBT students; the diversity of the students, faculty, and staff; and the books published by the university press. The ignorance represented by these recent slurs should not and will not undo all the understanding and awareness that exist at Fordham.


By Fredric Nachbaur, Director of Fordham University Press When I received my certificate from the university’s Office of Multicultural Affairs for successfully completing training to be an ally of support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Network, I … Full Story

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The Huffington Post on Fiction

Must a novelist, whose task often is to mine the jumble of life’s experiences, disguise plot and characters so that no one is offended? Read what Joan Marans Dim has to say to The Huffington Post

The Fiction That Fiction Is Fiction Is Fiction
by Joan Marans Dim

A friend once published a novel that detailed the struggles of a 15-year-old girl, her dysfunctional family, hysterical pregnancy, and doomed teen love affair. The story also revealed her struggle against emotional and physical violence and exposed a tormented family dynamic — a dynamic that was at best unpleasant, at worst demented. As one reviewer put it, the family was like a beautiful piece of fruit that, when bitten, was utterly rotten. The novel was, in fact, a thinly disguised — although embellished — tale of the author’s youth.

When the novel was published, her mother read it — experiencing at once pride in a daughter who published a novel and then revulsion at its content.

The reality my author friend (and many novelists) quickly realized is that the notion that fiction is fiction is often fiction. READ MORE

Joan Marans Dim, a New York City historian, is the co-author of New York’s Golden Age of Bridges with Antonio Masi.
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To read more on fiction, see our book: The Author-Cat: Clemens’s Life in Fiction  by Forrest G. Robinson

At the end of his long life, Samuel Clemens felt driven to write a truthful account of what he regarded as the flaws in his character and the errors of his ways. His attempt to tell the unvarnished truth about himself is preserved in nearly 250 autobiographical dictations. In order to encourage complete veracity, he decided from the outset that these would be published only posthumously.

Nevertheless, Clemens’s autobiography is singularly unrevealing. Author, Forrest G. Robinson, argues that, by contrast, it is in his fiction that Clemens most fully—if often inadvertently—reveals himself. He was, he confessed, like a cat who labors in vain to bury the waste that he has left behind. Robinson argues that he wrote out of an enduring need to come to terms with his remembered experiences—not to memorialize the past, but to transform it.

Must a novelist, whose task often is to mine the jumble of life’s experiences, disguise plot and characters so that no one is offended? Read what Joan Marans Dim has to say to The Huffington Post… The Fiction That Fiction … Full Story

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PW Review: Loaded Words

March 5, 2012

Loaded Words
Marjorie Garber
304 pp, 978-0-82324205-4, paper, $26.00

Self-styled “peripatetic writer,” Harvard Shakespearean, and culture critic Garber (The Use and Abuse of Literature) collects loosely connected but fascinating essays (about half of them previously published in journals and books) on a range of themes. No word is more loaded than “madness,” which she considers in its ’50s and ’60s expression and incarnation in Mad magazine and Mad Libs. She considers the significance of reading “in slow motion,” focusing on the words rather than on external contexts, and the cultural implications of Shakespeare astride the literary canon. She uses the occasion of Patti Smith winning a National Book Award (Garber was on the panel that selected her book Just Kids) to meditate on celebrity lives as mythologies (like celebrities, “whatever [the Olympian gods] did, they were always good copy”). And finally, she pleads for reinvigorating the humanities, which she sees as plagued by low self-esteem, through the fostering of collaboration, a new literary commitment, and a reduction of hyperspecialization and overinsulation within English departments. Scholarship cross-fertilized by a new engagement with the political world remains Garber’s vision. (June)

Reviewed on: 03/05/2012

March 5, 2012 Loaded Words Marjorie Garber 304 pp, 978-0-82324205-4, paper, $26.00 Self-styled “peripatetic writer,” Harvard Shakespearean, and culture critic Garber (The Use and Abuse of Literature) collects loosely connected but fascinating essays (about half of them previously published in … Full Story

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Protests, Petitions and Publishing

Last week, FUP Director, Fredric Nachbaur, attended a panel at Columbia University. This was Columbia University’s Scholarly Communication Program’s third event this academic year in their speakers series, Research Without Borders: The Changing World of Scholarly Communication. The panel discussed how Occupy Wall Street, the Research Works Act (RWA), the boycott of Elsevier journals by a growing number of academics, and other recent developments are informing the debate over access to research and scholarship.

The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) posted Fred’s recap of the event on the AAUP blog, The Digital Digest:

Is Academic Publishing in a Downward Zombie Death Spiral?

When I was invited to the panel “Protests, Petitions and Publishing: Widening Access to Research in 2012,” I was on the fence about attending. Did I really want to spend two hours of my day hearing the debate on open access, anticipating that it would be filled with much controversy? Because it was close and I was confident that I would learn something, I made the short trek earlier this week from the Bronx to Morningside Heights, even scoring a parking spot in front of the Columbia building housing the event on a day on which alternate-side-of-the-street parking was in effect. The press release indicated that the event was meant to consider how Occupy Wall Street, the Research Works Act (RWA), the boycott of Elsevier journals by a growing number of academics, and other recent developments are informing the debate over access to research and scholarship on open access. The event was hosted by Columbia’s Center for Digital Research and Scholarship (CDRS) and included a diverse panel of speakers. I’ll do my best to summarize the session based on my notes drafted the old school way on a notepad in barely legible handwriting. (This exercise made me realize that I need to embrace the iPad more.) The audio will be available shortly, so I will post a link on the Digital Digest when it is. The issues are complicated, and there are no easy answers as was evident by the talk on Monday. Alex Golub from the University of Hawaii called current publishing models a death spiral. As most of us know, the hard sciences are very different from the humanities. The AAUP made an official statement about three pieces of legislation related to research policies that have resulted in a flurry of mixed responses from university press directors. READ MORE

Last week, FUP Director, Fredric Nachbaur, attended a panel at Columbia University. This was Columbia University’s Scholarly Communication Program’s third event this academic year in their speakers series, Research Without Borders: The Changing World of Scholarly Communication. The panel discussed … Full Story

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