Humanitas: A social history of ice, and the ‘storification’ of reality – Yale News

In the latest edition of Humanitas, a column focused on the particular arts plus humanities at Yale, a scholar associated with Native and Indigenous studies explores what the history of ice plus coldness in Hawai’i reveals about imperialism and food sovereignty, two young podcasters dig into how we make images and what they mean, Yale music students get a glimpse of exactly what it was like to learn from Bach, and a professor emeritus of literature delves into what he considers a worrying trend: the exploitation and overuse associated with a good story.

For more, visit an archive of all arts plus humanities coverage at Yale News.

How ice shaped Hawai’i: a history

The story of the history of ice and refrigeration in Hawai’i doesn’t just reveal the particular ways within which life on the tropical islands was made easier by the ability to store and consume the wide variety of foods and beverages. Rather, as Hi’ilei Julia Kawehipauaakahaopulani Hobart demonstrates in her book “Cooling the particular Tropics: Ice, Indigeneity, plus Hawaiian Refreshment, ” (Duke University Press), that history is also a story about settler colonialism, American imperialism, racism, and more.

Book cover for "Cooling the Tropics"

Hobart, a good assistant professor of Native and Indigenous studies within Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), tells of how beginning in the mid-1900s, Americans hauled frozen pond water, plus later glacial ice and ice machines, to Hawai’i to allow them access to their own food plus beverage preferences, as well as for profit. She charts the interpersonal good snow in Hawai’i to illustrate how ideas about the freshness and refrigeration of meals and drink “underpinned settler colonial suggestions about race, the environment, and the senses, ” plus demonstrates that thermal technologies “can — and must — be attended in order to in struggles for foods sovereignty and political self-determination in Hawai’i and beyond. ”

The book earned Hobart the Duke University Press Scholars of Color First Book Award.

The process of researching and writing this book taught me so much regarding asking questions with personal stakes: My relationship to my family, heritage, and home sit just below the surface of the particular story plus to me, this becomes an important — and exhilarating plus sometimes scary — part of doing Indigenous research scholarship, ” Hobart said.

Taking a hard look at what we see

Seeing is believing, ” a popular old saying goes, and there’s truth to that. But the familiar adage “seeing is deceiving” can become equally true. The creators of a podcast launched in Yale last year hope to impress both these realities on listeners.

In each episode of “Picturing Knowledge, ” Kevin Hong, a Ph. D. candidate in art history, plus Ethan Perets Ph. D. ’22, the biophysical chemist who will be now conducting postdoctoral research at Harvard, along with guests from a range of fields, look closely at one particular image and try to “unpack its complexities. ” In each case, these people explore why we make images and how we use them to understand the world.

Covid virus red and grey

Our conversations reveal how our values participate in the visualization process — the particular creation and consumption of images — and exactly how all of us might critically consider the decisions that will shape our own pictures associated with the world, ” they say .  

So far they’ve discussed the history of an image that has become emblazoned on the particular public consciousness — the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2020 image of the coronavirus — and how it became an icon of the particular COVID-19 pandemic. And they’ve explored how contemporary cosmology makes sense associated with Cosmic Microwave Background (the radiation that holds keys to understanding the origins of the universe) through images acquired by millimeter telescopes that will scan large portions of the sky and then are reconstructed by supercomputers to uncover the statistical radiation throughout the universe.

Their most recent episode features a chat with Josh Ellenbogen, a professor in the background of photography and modern art at the University associated with Pittsburgh, about Francis Galton, who developed a method, steeped in scientific racism, of inferring   data from photographs of human faces.

Images are ubiquitous with regard to communication within our modern-day society, ” said Perets. “We want to expose the assumptions people may have on a day-to-day basis when interacting with pictures, but we all also want to show people the importance of creating images to the particular shaping of knowledge. ”

The podcast will explore a wide range associated with imaging systems, including but not limited to microscopy, computer imaging, mapping, and illustration.

Technology can bring invisible things into view, but the pictures produced can also obscure certain contexts that are usually really important to think regarding, ” Hong said. “We are hoping our podcasting can bring some of those into focus. ”

The particular project is usually supported by “ The Order of Multitudes , ” a project funded from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Sawyer Seminar upon Comparative Study of Cultures that brings together Yale humanities, social sciences, plus science scholars to think about the long histories of information management. Episodes of “Picturing Knowledge” are available on Spotify .

Seduced by Story’: the exploitation of narrative

Peter Brooks, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature in FAS, begins his new guide, “Seduced simply by Story: The Use and Abuse of Narrative” (New York Review Books), with a quote from the popular television series “Game associated with Thrones. ”

There’s nothing in the globe more powerful than a great story, ” he quotes the character Tyrion within the series’ final show. “Nothing can stop it. No enemy may defeat it. ”

Book cover for "Seduced by Story"

In “Seduced by Story, ” Brooks makes the particular case that today’s culture is witnessing the “storification of reality” — an overuse and exploitation of narrative. Within what he calls the “mindless valorization of storytelling, ” this individual notes in his book that will “stories” possess proliferated in advertising, within politics, within the law, in corporate reports — basically throughout all our interpersonal institutions — and reminds readers associated with stories’ power to deceive as well as to inform, enlighten, and entertain.

Examining stories in almost all facets of existence, ranging from the particular novel “The Girl upon the Train” to Supreme Court arguments, Brooks calls for careful analysis of story to ensure that fact and myth, information plus false info, are not confused — and, because Brooks writes, “recognizing that telling and living are usually not the same thing. ”

We may live in the world as an unfurling narrative, but whenever we tell of this, whether anecdotally or analytically, that’s a different operation… Swamped in tale as we seem to be, all of us may lose the distinction between the particular two, asserting the dominion of our constructed realities over the real thing. ”

Bach in order to school

What was it like to study music with Johann Sebastian Bach?

Graduate college students in organ performance from Yale School of Music recently got a glimpse of J. S. Bach’s work since keyboard teacher and composer in a special tour of some Yale Library treasures related to the illustrious German Baroque musician.

Pictured above is the Beinecke Library’s manuscript from the “Clavier Büchlein vor Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, ” which Bach compiled regarding the instruction of their eldest son — then only nine years old.

In one piece, smudges of ink suggest that the particular elder Bach would sometimes compose directly into his son’s notebook during their lessons. “You can see exactly how he moved some notes into a different octave, plus added others for rhythmic interest, ” Kerala Snyder ’70 Ph. D., a musicologist and scholar associated with the works of Dietrich Buxtehude (one of M. S. Bach’s predecessors plus teachers) who led the seminar, told the learners.

Wins all around for Yale-connected authors

As one of five finalists for the particular National Guide Award within nonfiction, Meghan O’Rourke ’97, editor of The Yale Review, was on hand for the recent awards ceremony in New York City. Her book “ The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness ” — the New You are able to Times bestseller that chronicles O’Rourke’s long journey to find a diagnosis for her own chronic but mysterious symptoms while also exposing how those with poorly understood illnesses have been dismissed and even blamed with the medical establishment for their own physical suffering — did not win the top prize, yet another Yale-educated writer, Imani Perry ’94, took that will honor. Perry won the National Book Award intended for “South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the particular Soul associated with a Nation. ”

In “South in order to America, ” Perry, a native Alabaman who now teaches with Princeton College, reflects on how an knowing of the American South and all of its complexities is key to understanding America as a nation.

O’Rourke’s plus Perry’s books were among just five finalists chosen from a longlist of 10 nonfiction books, which were selected from a good initial pool of 607 submitted publications.

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