From Exclusion to Inclusion: Jewish WWII Soldiers in the Israeli National Narrative by Sveta Roberman
VOLUME 14, ISSUE 2
Summer 2009, Vol. 14, No. 2, Pages 50-71
Posted Online April 28, 2009.
From the abstract by Sveta Roberman
This study focuses on the case of 1.5 million Jewish soldiers who fought in the Allied Armies in WWII and explores its place in Israeli social memory. For decades the story of military combat and sacrifice of WWII Jewish soldiers was marginalized in the Israeli mnemonic narrative. Over the years, different groups of ex-servicemen living in Israel kept alive the memory of their involvement in the combat and contested its silencing and marginalization. Weaving the texture of those events from the dual strands of forgetting and remembering, I elucidate on the process by which the national historical narrative was formed, revealing the dynamics of Israeli nationalism and showing how symbolic boundaries of national belonging were reshaped over time.
Animals, Predators, the Right to Life, and the Duty to Save Lives
by Aaron Simmons
Ethics & the Environment
VOLUME 14, ISSUE 1
Spring 2009, Vol. 14, No. 1, Pages 15-27
Posted Online April 28, 2009
From the Abstract by Aaron Simmons:
One challenge to the idea that animals have a moral right to life claims that any such right would require us to intervene in the wild to prevent animals from being killed by predators. I argue that belief in an animal right to life does not commit us to supporting a program of predator-prey intervention. One common retort to the predator challenge contends that we are not required to save animals from predators because predators are not moral agents. I suggest that this retort fails to overcome the predator challenge. I seek to articulate a more satisfactory argument explaining why we are not required to save wild prey from predators and how this position is perfectly consistent with the idea that animals have a basic right to life.
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Gene Stratton-Porter's novel A Girl of the Limberlost, the Indiana State Historic Sites is sponsoring Go Green With Gene Week, which starts today and runs through May 2. Nature and educational events will be held throughout the week at the following locations: the Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site in Rome City; the Limberlost State Historic Site in Geneva; and the Loblolly Nature Preserve outside Bryant.
Scott Russell Sanders is quite a popular interview subject this Earth Week! Read his latest interview with Grist:
Sanders’ book Staying Put offers a countercultural vision of what it means to live rooted in a place—not far from Wendell Berry country, geographically or philosophically. A Private History of Awe charts his development-of-conscience growing up on a military base during the civil rights and Vietnam eras. It’s one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read.
His new book, A Conservationist Manifesto (released this week), presents a host of arguments for why we’re better off thinking of ourselves as citizens and stewards than consumers in the face of ecological disaster. Here’s our recent phone conversation about the book. Continue reading article...
Today marks the official publication date for Scott Russell Sanders' latest book, A Conservationist Manifesto. On this Earth Day, I can't think of a more fitting way to honor our planet than to share my conversation with Scott about his work, his concerns for our planet, and what we can do to be better stewards of the Earth.
IU Press Blog: I found the theme of your book—moving from a culture of consumption to a culture of conservation—very timely in light of our current economic crisis. In your essay “A Few Earthly Words,” you discuss the meaning of the word “economy.” You explain that the roots of the word “economy” reveal that the definition is “management of a household,” but most people typically think of “economy” as “the distribution of goods and services through buying and selling.” Do you see our country’s financial collapse as an opportunity for us to re-examine the meaning of “economy” and to move toward becoming a more sustainable society? Or do you think that once our economic woes have passed, we will return to our consumptive ways?
Scott Russell Sanders: I do see the current economic collapse as an opportunity for reimagining what an economy is for. The purpose of the money-based economy—as opposed to the economy of nature—should be to provide goods and services that people actually need, to provide meaningful and rewarding jobs, and to distribute the benefits of human ingenuity as broadly and fairly as possible. But our pundits, politicians, and financiers treat the economy as if the piling up of money and the acceleration of “consumption” were the overriding goals. Advertising reinforces this message around the clock, by every medium known to humankind. It tells us that buying stuff is the way to happiness, and it treats the earth as a warehouse of raw materials to serve our pleasure. The earth is not a warehouse. It is our home. We are guests here. We should refuse to think of ourselves as “consumers” and think of ourselves instead as creators, conservers, citizens.
The first step in reconnecting to one’s home ground is to come away from the screens, pull the plugs from one’s ears, and go outside and look around. Explore the territory. Learn to know your neighborhood, your community, the surrounding landscape, and the watershed. Parents can insist that their children play outside for part of every day. Better yet, parents can go outside with the children, take a walk, look for birds or bugs, learn the names of neighborhood trees, study the stars. Cities and towns need to protect more open lands and wild lands so that citizens have the chance to glimpse the greater-than-human world. Schools need to establish gardens and meadows for children to explore. We evolved in relation to this marvelous planet. Our bodies are primed to respond to it, if we only renew our contact with the earth.
Assuming we are successful in inspiring a new crop of budding conservationists, what resources or books do you suggest consulting in order to develop a more sustainable lifestyle?
One could begin with a few of the many websites that are devoted to environmental issues and news. Here are a few of my favorites: grist.org, orionsociety.org, wiserearth.org, ecogeek.org, realclimate.org, and newdream.org. There are many sites devoted to simple living, sites associated with major environmental organizations (Audubon, Green Peace, Sierra Club, Trust for Public Land, Nature Conservancy, etc.), and sites focused on particular conservation strategies (solar and wind power, retrofitting homes, bicycle commuting, back yard gardening, etc.). As for books, there are many to choose from. I have learned a great deal from the work of Wendell Berry, Gary Snyder, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, and, behind them all, Henry David Thoreau. Two excellent anthologies offer a sampling of the American nature-and-conservation tradition: John Elder and Robert Finch, eds., Nature Writing (Norton, 2002) and Bill McKibben, ed., American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau (Library of America, 2008).
The quenching of unnecessary lights and appliances on Earth Hour was an effective way of reminding people around the world of how much energy we ordinarily waste. It also reminds us that we are in this predicament together. We all inherit the consequences of climate destabilization, ozone depletion, acid rain, coral die-off, exhaustion of ocean fisheries, and the like. Environmental problems are global, and the responses need to be global, as well. The Earth Hour event also puts policy makers on notice that millions of citizens are calling for decisive action to slow and eventually reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being emitted.
Speaking of Earth events, how do you plan to celebrate Earth Day? (Or do you consider every day “Earth Day?”)
I do try to celebrate every day as Earth Day—noticing what’s in bloom, how the clouds are moving, what the birds are doing, how the dirt smells. But it’s useful to designate a particular day for a worldwide celebration. On this April 22, I will be working at school, as usual, until late afternoon, but I hope to find an hour or so before supper to work in our garden. My wife and I live in a small house on a small city lot, which is shaded by several big trees. We don’t have much space for gardening, but we devote every available square inch to flowers, ferns, vegetables, and other plants. Working in the soil and watching things grow are among my deepest pleasures. That evening, I will be joining perhaps two or three hundred people who are concerned with green initiatives in our community. I’ll talk about A Conservationist Manifesto, which is to be published that day, and I’ll share my thoughts on the practice of conservation.
As a conservationist and an author, what do you think about the growth of the e-book market? E-books save resources, but do you think there are any drawbacks to becoming more dependent upon technology (and power, as the batteries in reading devices need to be recharged) to read books? What is your preferred format for reading?
I recognize that e-books have some advantages, including the capacity to store a great deal of reading material. They might also reduce the waste of paper involved in the publication of conventional books. (Each year, millions of books are pulped or thrown away.) On the other hand, as with computers and cell phones and other electronic devices, every stage of the manufacture of e-books produces pollution and waste—in the mining and refining of materials, shipping, etc. The devices are likely to have a short life before they are discarded, usually to end up in landfills. Amazon’s first electronic reader was replaced in less than a year. By contrast, one can find in any library perfectly legible books that were made hundreds of years ago. Some methods of paper manufacturing pollute our waterways. But new techniques have reduced or even eliminated this pollution. My own book, for example, is printed on 30% postconsumer recycled paper, processed chlorine-free. Rightly made, books are ecologically friendly, durable, portable, and precious.
Next month, you will receive the Mark Twain Award from the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature. How does it feel to be the recipient of such a prestigious honor?
Receiving this award is a special honor, because Mark Twain has enthralled me since I was a boy, when I first read his tale about Huckleberry Finn and Jim traveling down the Mississippi River. He has been one of the stars I reckoned by, because he set his greatest books here in the heartland, far from the cultural power centers, and because he drew on American speech instead of the English imported from Britain. Previous winners of the award include several of my literary heroes, such as Toni Morrison, Jim Harrison, and Wright Morris, as well as other worthies such as Ray Bradbury, Jack Conroy, Harriet Monroe, William Maxwell, and Gwendolyn Brooks. That is heady company for someone who first dreamed of setting out on the writer’s path as a nine-year-old immersed in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
In your interview with Live at IU, you said that you have been drawn back to fiction, after years of writing nonfiction. Why did you shift to writing mainly nonfiction for so long? And what inspired you to return to writing fiction?
In the 1980s, after writing nothing but fiction for more than a decade, I shifted into nonfiction, mainly because I found the essay to be a more effective way of addressing the matters that concerned me most deeply—war and peace, the culture of families, the meaning of good work, the practice of community, the health of the land and its creatures, and spiritual inquiry. Because the kind of nonfiction I write often requires me to stare long and hard at troubling subjects, I take a break occasionally by writing short fiction. Over the past couple of years, I have completed six linked stories of a projected ten, and I hope to return to that project soon. But right now I am immersed, as usual, in writing essays about pressing concerns, trying to understand our predicament and trying to imagine ways of moving toward a more just, peaceful, and sustainable way of life.
As the parent of a young child, I was delighted to learn that you are also a children’s author. (We are looking for new material as our daughter wants to read the same books over and over again.) Why did you decide to write for children, and do you have any plans for future children’s books?
I have written eight books for children, seven of them picture books and one of them a chapter book. The latter, Hear the Wind Blow, is a collection of short stories inspired by classic American folk songs. Of the seven picture books, five relate tales about families settling the Ohio River wilderness. Perhaps the best known titles are Aurora Means Dawn and Warm as Wool, both in print from the Wooster Book Company. The other two picture books, Meeting Trees and Crawdad Creek, both published by National Geographic, tell about children exploring nature. I undertook those projects in response to invitations from two editors of children’s books; when those editors moved on, I did not feel I could take the time away from my writing for adults to seek out new contacts in children’s publishing.
Finally, what projects are you currently working on, and what events do you have scheduled?
I’m involved in several projects. I am performing in a show of songs and stories inspired by my early book of tales, Wilderness Plots. I am adapting my historical novel, Bad Man Ballad, into a stage play of the same title. I am working on the collection of linked stories that I mentioned above. And I am gathering materials for a book about preserving and restoring what I call the common wealth—those gifts from nature, culture, and community that we share by virtue of our membership in the human family.
In honor of Earth Day, we share the following poem from Norbert Krapf's book, Bloodroot:
Old World refugee
lakes and streams
Krapf will give a reading of nature poems this Saturday, April 25 at 12 p.m. during the Earth Day Indiana Festival at the American Legion Mall in Indianapolis.
Happy day before Earth Day! In anticipation of this event, I offer personal reviews of some of my favorite green reads that we've published:
A Conservationist Manifesto by Scott Russell Sanders
This is one of the best books I've read lately. Sanders' call to move from a culture of consumption to one of conservation is more timely than ever now in the wake of our uncertain financial future, depleting oil supply, and global climate change. I thought I was doing enough by recycling, buying organic and local foods when possible, and driving a fuel efficient car, but after reading this book, I realize that I was being green only when it was convenient for me. If the recycling center didn't take a certain kind of plastic, I threw it away. If I didn't feel like paying the premium for organic and local foods, I'd opt for the cheaper food shipped halfway around the world and probably sprayed with chemicals. I thought it was OK to drive my car everywhere because it was fuel efficient. This book makes me think twice about my actions as they not only affect me, but also the planet and everyone else who lives on it. I am better for reading it, and hopefully this positive impact will be felt by the Earth as well. I can't recommend this book enough. It will change your life.
Perennials Short and Tall by Moya Andrews
Moya Andrews just might be my yard's savior! We built a house and it's my first experience living at a place with absolutely no landscaping. Every other home we lived in already had flower beds. I just maintained them or planted some new flowers when the existing ones petered out. I did manage to plant some rose bushes last year in the back yard (which now I realize I planted too closely together). But the front of our house is still a blank canvas, which I don't know how to fill. Our yard is part sun/part shade, and I'm having trouble thinking of a good plant that doesn't need a lot of sun or shade. So I asked my coworker, who is also an avid gardener, what to do. She told me that I need not look further than my office bookshelf. "You know, we publish some great gardening books." Well, duh, of course we do! So I snapped up a copy of this book. Andrews offers great advice for novice gardeners such as myself on bed preparation, design, growing seasons, and flower bed maintenance. The book also includes descriptions and illustrations of 25 species of perennials, which has been helpful to me in selecting appropriate plants for my garden. (I think I'll start with coreopsis or astilbe and see what happens!)
The Tao of Cooking by Sally Pasley
I still have not fulfilled my New Year's resolution to make a recipe from this vegetarian cookbook. I have eight more months, so I haven't broken my resolution...yet. The problem is that I think I'm the only one in my household who would actually enjoy eating a vegetarian meal. There are several recipes for breakfast items, so perhaps I'll start with one of those and work my way up to main courses. Although I haven't actually cooked anything from this book, the recipes look pretty straightforward (and if the queen of the easy 30-minute meal thinks she can cook a recipe from this book, then ANYONE can do it). All the recipes come from the legendary Tao Restaurant in Bloomington, IN. Although the restaurant is no longer open, locals still rave about it, and their Tao dressing is still for sale at the local grocery co-op. If you are vegetarian or interested in reducing your carbon footprint, this is the cookbook for you.