You are exploring: VU > Library > Blogs > Library News

Arab Spring or Arab Awakening? Find Key Resources

By Merrill Stein and Kristyna Carroll

The Arab Spring may be, as Rami G. Khouri called it when visiting campus this September, an “Arab Awakening.” How far the spring awakening has come and where it’s going is still under consideration.

For some background, try one of the library subscription services. The Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) database has several “Popular Protest in North Africa and the Middle East” reports.

Use the Oxford Islamic Studies Online database for information and reports about “The New Social Media and the Arab Spring” or “Saudi Arabia: Challenges for the 21st Century.”

Articles in Proquest Newspapers ask whether the Arab spring will have an Indian summer or whether “This “Arab Spring” could turn into an “Arab Year” that the whole world can celebrate together.” In the Communication & Mass Media Complete database, an article about “Media and the Arab uprisings of 2011: Research Notes” describes ten different ways that media and communications resisted the Arab uprisings of 2011 and how “some have been so bold as to label [these events] as the ‘Twitter Revolutions’ or ‘Facebook Revolutions.’”

In learning about the Arab Spring two particulars emerge: age and media.  An article in the ABI/INFORM database highlights that “Nearly 30% of the population in Muslim-majority countries is between 15 and 29 years old. …  The social media that helped facilitate the Arab Spring Awakening is in no small part driving a historic transition from a world comprising many pockets of civilizations barely aware of each others existence to a digitally interconnected world.”

The second Arab Social Media Report from the Dubai School of Government indicates “Youth (between the ages of 15 and 29) make up around 70% of Facebook users in the Arab region, indicating a slight increase in the number of users over 30 years old since the end of 2010.”

Diverse points-of-view are also available from a variety of news services. The BBC and Al Jazeera carry special reports such as Tunisia’s recent experiment with free elections, Middle East firms eye social media profit potential and InDepth Briefings.  The Guardian and Deutsche-Welle can also provide additional insights. Databases such as Lexis/Nexis, Academic OneFile and ABI/INFORM Global provide daily updates as well.

Keep current by using other library resources such as PAIS International, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) or Worldwide Political Science Abstracts and library subject guides.

What other resources would you recommend?


Transcending Trauma: Dr. Sheryl Bowen on Female Communication in Holocaust Survivor Families

By Alexandra Edwards

Falvey’s annual Conscience of the Holocaust lecture will be held on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 4:00 p.m. in the library first floor lounge. This event commemorates the anniversary of Simon Wiesenthal’s death and recognizes his achievements and legacy in relation to the Holocaust. Falvey welcomes Sheryl Perlmutter Bowen, PhD, as this year’s lecturer.

Dr. Bowen, associate professor in the Department of Communication, will give a talk entitled “Transcending Trauma: Female Communication in Holocaust Survivor Families.” She will discuss the communication of survivor mothers with their daughters, using interview data from the Transcending Trauma Project (TTP).

Dr. Bowen works on oral histories of the Holocaust and joined the TTP research team in 1998. “I started work on the Holocaust by working with an oral history archive program at Gratz College proofreading transcripts by comparing tapes to text as they were preparing materials to send to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.  This was fascinating—I loved hearing the voices of survivors in the audiotapes. As a social constructionist, though, I became interested in the meanings that survivors attached to their experiences and how they moved on from the trauma of the Holocaust.  That led me to The Transcending Trauma Project (TTP), now going on for almost 20 years.  This project focuses on coping and adaptation within survivor families, looking at three generations of families whose lives were forever changed by the Holocaust.” (more…)


Olga Foltz: a friendly face at our Holy Grounds

Falvey acknowledges with great sadness the untimely passing of Olga Foltz, a dining services employee who often worked in the library Holy Grounds. Although many of us knew Olga from the Holy Grounds coffee shop, she had other roles on campus.

She was a part-time student at Villanova University, and she loved to study languages. A native-born Russian who came to the United States at age 19, Olga taught Russian in the University’s Russian Studies Program.

Olga’s father and other family members remain in Russia.

A co-worker in Holy Grounds, Rosemary Thomas, says, “Olga was a pleasure to work with. I will miss her.” Falvey staff commented that Olga was cheerful, courteous, and she was witty and intelligent.

A memorial service and Mass were held in St. Thomas of Villanova Church on November 14.

Contributed by Alice Bampton


Italian immigrant women and artistic creativity: Cultural window display reflects Mannella lecture theme

Complementing the recent Mannella Distinguished Lecture focusing on the relationship between the creativity of handiwork and Italian immigrant women, the November cultural window exhibit features two exquisite crocheted pieces, a bedspread and a vanity cover, made by Maria Pullino Calla (1889-1918) who immigrated to the United States from Cinquefrondi, Calabria, Italy.

Her grandson, Richard Calla, loaned the items to Falvey for the display and wrote the commentary, “In Memory of My Grandmother.” Those words play a prominent role in the exhibit that explains how and when Signora Calla created the pieces.

In addition to being the proud grandson of Signora Calla, Richard Calla is the president of Il Circolo Italiano, a Main Line organization dedicated to the preservation and sharing of Italian culture. His daughter, Cynthia Calla Christenson, PhD, received both her bachelor’s degree (1987) and master’s degree (1989) from Villanova University.

This exhibit corresponds to the third annual Alfred F. Mannella and Rose T. Lauria-Mannella Distinguished Speakers Series lecture by Joan L. Saverino, PhD, on November 16. Dr. Saverino’s lecture addressed needlework, albeit embroidery, made by an immigrant from Calabria, the same area from which Signora Calla emigrated.

Detailed photo of bedspread

In 1996 Alfred S. Mannella, a 1958 graduate of the Villanova School of Business, established two endowed funds focusing on scholarship about Italian-American history, culture, and the immigrant experience as a memorial to family members. Originally, these funds were used to purchase books and other research materials. One of the funds now supports a lecture series which honors Alfred S. Mannella’s parents, Alfred F. Mannella and Rose T. Lauria-Mannell

This first floor display, mounted by Joanne Quinn, design specialist, also includes banners of Italian flags and photographs of vintage luggage which reflect the immigrants’ travels. Regina McFadden, library events and program coordinator, helped arrange the loan of the two pieces of needlework.

The display will be on view through November.

Contributed by Alice  Bampton and Gerald Dierkes; photography by Alice Bampton



Saint Augustine’s Confessions: Early Editions on Display

Coordinating with the campus community’s marathon reading of the Confessions on November 7, Bente Polites, Special Collections librarian, has mounted a small exhibit of the early editions of Saint Augustine from Special Collections.

Laura Bang, Special and Digital Collections curatorial assistant, created a complementary online exhibit.

Housed in two glass cases on Falvey’s first floor, the first case features four small books and one large one, all published in the 16th century in various places: Dillingen (1659), Cologne (1569),  Louvain (1573), Rome (1589) and Würtzburg (1581). The four small Confessions are opened to their illustrated title pages; the large central volume displays text only.

The second case houses three 17th century editions and one unusual volume published in 1900. The three works from the 1600s are opened; two have illustrated title pages.

The larger volume of Confessions is one of 400 limited-edition copies published in London by Kegan Paul, Trench Trübner & Co. Ltd. Falvey’s copy is number 227. Its decorative cover, which includes gold leaf and inlaid mother-of-pearl and was designed by Cedric Chivers (1853-1929), is made with vellucent, a process invented by Chivers. The book cover was painted on paper which was then covered with very thin vellum, or calfskin.

This small exhibit provides a glimpse of the larger collection housed in Special Collections. Polites has made an assiduous “effort to acquire 15th and 16th century editions of Saint Augustine’s Confessions.” Special Collections owns approximately one thousand volumes by Saint Augustine and also collects works by other Augustinians for its Augustiniana collection.

This exhibit will remain on display throughout November.

Contributed by Alice Bampton


New: Improved Website Search Features and Easier Book Holds and Recalls

The library website’s search feature has been recently updated. There are two important improvements: better website searching and easier holds and recalls of books in the collection.

The new library website search helps you find pages within the library’s website. Pages searched include this blog, the help center, librarian-provided research guides, and our knowledge base of useful databases and links. New faceted search capabilities in the “Refine Search” sidebar allow you to easily narrow in on your area of study.

Holds and recalls are useful ways of making sure that you get the books you need. A hold allows you to request that an on-shelf book be set aside for you. A recall is a way of requesting the return of a book checked out by another person.

Placing holds and recalls in the online catalog is much more convenient than it used to be. Simply log into the catalog through the “My Account” link at the top of the page using your Villanova username and password. The first time you use this feature, you will be prompted to enter your Wildcard number, but the catalog will remember this for you in the future.

If an item is available, click “Place a hold.”

If an item is checked out, click “Recall this.”

If you need an item quickly and do not want to place a recall, you can also request it through E-ZBorrow or ILL.

Questions or problems? You can always contact the library’s information desk at (610) 519-4270.

Contributed by Demian Katz and Alexandra Edwards


Tent occupies first floor of Falvey

Why is there a tent in Falvey? A camp site? A new study space? No, this tent was erected by Nova 99%, a group of Villanovans who sympathize with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The Occupy Wall Street and other Occupy locales represent people“discontented with a corporate run America, growing inequality, destruction of the middle class, and the unregulated, avaricious financial gambling that brought on the world-wide recession,” according to one handout.

Ward Barnes staffing the Nova99% table in the Library.

Nova99% evolved from a message posted on the University student newswire by Karyn Hollis, PhD, and William (Will) Stehl. Dr. Hollis is a member of the English department. Stehl is the associate director of Campus Ministry-Center for Peace and Justice Education.

Luisa Cywinski, team leader of Access Services, Falvey Memorial Library, attended the meeting called to gather support for the Occupy Wall Street movement. On behalf of Nova 99%, Cywinski obtained permission from Joe Lucia, library director, to set up the tent in Falvey where it serves as a symbol for the movement. Cywinski noted that the tent will remain “as long as there is a need  to support Occupy Wall Street.”

Nova99% members hope that others will post comments on the tent. Cywinski also said that Paul Sheldon, PhD, a member of the Psychology department, who, along with Dr. Hollis, is an advisor for Villanovans for Peace, has been an “amazing resource.” Dr. Sheldon, manning the information table in Falvey one afternoon, commented that he has been protesting a long time, since the Vietnam War era.

Join the national conversation. Add your thoughts below.

Article and photograph by Alice Bampton


Falvey Welcomes Melanie Wood

Melanie Wood, a native of Newark, N.Y., recently joined Falvey as an Academic Integration support specialist, filling the position previously held by Anne Ford. Wood came to Villanova from Athens, Ga., where she worked as the Public Service/Reserves Coordinator at the University of Georgia’s main library. She will provide clerical assistance to the subject librarians and also work at the information desk.

Wood earned an associate in arts degree from Finger Lakes Community College, Canandaigua, N.Y. From there, she moved to Athens where she attended the University of Georgia, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies. She hopes to complete her degree at Villanova.

In her free time, Wood enjoys reading, watching movies and baking.

Photo by Alice Bampton


Mannella Lecture Highlights Gender and Artistic Creativity through Embroidery

Joan L. Saverino, PhD

Falvey Memorial Library is proud to announce this year’s Alfred F. Mannella & Rose T. Lauria-Mannella Distinguished Speakers Series, featuring Joan L. Saverino, PhD. The event will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. in the library first floor lounge.

Dr. Saverino, adjunct professor at Arcadia University in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Criminal Justice, will present a lecture entitled “Embroidery as Inscription in the Life of a Calabrian Immigrant Woman.” This talk explores the intersection of needlework, personal narrative, gender and artistic creativity in one woman’s extraordinary life in two out-of-the-way places—Calabria and Appalachia—over the course of nearly a century.

A lively close reading of one Italian woman artist’s lived experience and self-representation through her artistic repertoire provides the perfect context to discuss change over time in the social and economic lives of Italian women and the communities in which they lived on both sides of the Atlantic. The talk raises larger concerns surrounding issues of women’s role in the (re)production of culture, expands recent research on Italian and Italian immigrant women, and touches on the role of dialogue and reflexivity in the ethnographic process. Dr. Saverino is developing her work into a book-length manuscript.

This event is sponsored by Falvey Memorial Library and is made possible by the generous support of Villanova University alumnus Alfred S. Mannella. This lecture is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

About the Alfred F. Mannella and Rose T. Lauria-Mannella Distinguished Speakers Series:

The generosity of Villanova University alumnus Alfred S. Mannella has made it possible for Falvey Memorial Library to sponsor a series of annual events, focusing on scholarship about Italian-American history, culture, and the immigrant experience. The endowed lecture series is named for his parents, Alfred F. and Rose T. Lauria-Mannella.

Mr. Mannella’s generous support also provides funds for the Library to acquire books on the Italian-American community and its heritage, a topic close to his heart. It is Mr. Mannella’s hope that his gifts will inspire other Villanova alumni to give to the development of Library programming and collections.


“The Tentacles of Empire”: Silvia Nagy-Zekmi, PhD, Deconstructs Eurocentrism in Faculty Book Talk

Falvey is pleased to announce our upcoming Faculty Book Talk, featuring Silvia Nagy-Zekmi, PhD. Dr. Nagy-Zekmi will speak on her new book, Perennial Empires: Postcolonial, Transnational and Literary Perspectives on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, at 3:00 p.m. in the library first floor lounge.

Perennial Empires presents new scholarship on the subject of empire building from a postcolonial and transnational perspective. Dr. Nagy-Zekmi, a professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, explains, “The book offers examples of post-colonial representations of empire in the modality of ‘writing back,’ which is to say, from the perspectives of the once colonized, with articles that deal not only with the reality of ex-colonies in their spaces, but also describe the consequences of colonization in the so-called mother countries, such and England.”

Her talk “will try to deconstruct the Eurocentric world-view, upon which colonial discourses have been based and which still perpetuates in our current discourses praising the so-called ‘Western civilization.’”

“The survival of the autocratic order and the hegemonic discourses that support it inspired the volume,” which was co-edited by Chantal Zabus, a professor of cultural and gender studies at Sorbonne Univeristy in Paris. “Our work draws on the critical theories advanced by Edward Said, Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt. A clearly Hobbesian reference, we use the metaphor of the Leviathan to describe the tentacles of empire that reach all corners of the world.”

Postcolonial and transnational approaches to scholarship are enjoying academic prominence currently. Dr. Nagy-Zekmi comments, “Many decades after the ‘official’ end of empire, i.e. colonized states, ex-colonies still suffer from the ills of corruption, disorganization, lack of basic institution. I would like to make a link between this chaotic reality and the colonial legacy. In another book Dr. Zabus and I co-edited, Colonization or Globalization? Postcolonial Explorations of Imperial Expansion, we look into globalization as a possible form in which empire reemerges.”

This event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Nagy-Zekmi, director of Hispanic graduate studies and the Cultural Studies program, recently organized a two-day conference for the centenary of José María Arguedas, which featured a reception and book presentation in the library.




Last Modified: November 8, 2011