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Philip Roth Studies is a peer-reviewed semiannual journal published by Purdue University Press in cooperation with the Philip Roth Society. The journal publishes writing pertaining entirely or in part to Philip Roth, his fiction, and his literary and cultural significance.

Philip Roth Studies Volume 15, Issue 1, out this month, will be the final issue for executive co-editors Debra Shostak and David Brauner. We spoke to them about their experience, Philip Roth’s passing, and the future of the journal.

 


 

Q: PRS 15.1 is special for a few reasons; could you explain its significance?

 

Debra Shostak and David Brauner: The spring 2019 issue of Philip Roth Studies, volume 15, is professionally and personally momentous for us as editors, and we hope it will be as meaningful to our readers as it is to us. PRS 15.1 is valedictory, not only because it is the last issue we will have overseen before turning the Executive Co-editorship of the journal over to the capable hands of Aimee Pozorski and Maren Scheurer, but also, and even more movingly for us, because we are honoring the late Philip Roth, who died in May of 2018, with a special memorial issue.

To remember Roth as a writer who has brought so many of us together within the pages of PRS over nearly fifteen years, we invited reflective essays from eighteen scholars who have contributed significantly to the study of his work, mostly in monographs devoted significantly or wholly to Roth. We are also thrilled to publish what we think may be the last scholarly interview Roth granted, to Elèna Mortara, who has edited the Italian editions of his work for the prestigious literary series Meridiani Mondadori. Our line-up of contributors is stellar—in alphabetical order, Victoria Aarons, Ann Basu, Alan Cooper, David Gooblar, Jay Halio, Patrick Hayes, Brett Ashley Kaplan, Michael Kimmage, Pia Masiero, Maggie McKinley, Catherine Morley, Ira Nadel, Patrick O’Donnell, Timothy Parrish, Aimee Pozorski, and Matthew Shipe—and their offerings are brilliant, heartfelt, at times humorous (and we two have exploited our executive editor privilege to include our own reflections as well). The essays run from memories of meeting Roth and of attending his funeral, to musings on the profound, often disorienting, effects of his fiction on us as readers and critics. Contributors meditate on Roth’s attachment to Newark, New Jersey, on the sexual politics of his fiction, on his allusions to children, on his deep and troubled connection to the American history to which he faithfully, sometimes mercilessly, bore witness, on how he speaks to the present moment, on his devotion to literary pleasures, and on his fictive conversations with his literary forebears. Others revisit The Human Stain, Sabbath’s Theater, and American Pastoral. Without exception, the essays demonstrate Roth’s vital, unabated presence among us all—in his language, his stories, his inexhaustible formal invention, his integrity, his daring—even though he is no longer living among us to delight us yet again.

We, David and Deb, are bidding farewell to the many pleasures of editing Philip Roth Studies, but we will never bid farewell to the boundless, bottomless Philip Roth.

 

Q: What got you interested in studying Philip Roth? Was there a particular work that you feel most inspired your interest?

 

 

David: I first encountered Roth’s work when, as a teenager, I picked up a copy of Portnoy’s Complaint at random from my parents’ bookshelves, knowing nothing about it. In spite of the temporal and geographical gap between my own circumstances—growing up in a London suburb in the 1970s and 80s—and those of the protagonist—growing up in New Jersey in the 1940s and 50s—I felt an immediate thrill of recognition. It articulated brilliantly—and hilariously—what I later called a “transnational Jewish sensibility,” the profound ambivalence of Jews in the post-war period towards both their own Jewishness and the larger culture. There was then a hiatus of a number of years before, as a graduate student, I read The Counterlife. That was the book that got me hooked—I went on to read, systematically, everything that Roth had written and I began to write about his work. What struck me most powerfully about The Counterlife was the way it combined ingenious metafiction with compelling domestic drama and big political, historical, and existential questions. Later, Sabbath’s Theater was the novel that cemented my conviction of Roth’s pre-eminence among contemporary novelists: I remember vividly as I read it the first time thinking “this is one of the greatest novels I’ve ever read” and each successive re-reading has only reinforced my belief that this is Roth’s masterpiece.

 

Deb: My encounter—and fascination—with Roth’s work runs parallel to David’s in several ways. I remember seeing the vivid yellow cover of Portnoy’s Complaint on my parents’ bookshelves during my early adulthood, but I never picked it up. Instead, after hearing a casual recommendation in the late 1980s, I read The Counterlife. I was at once enthralled—by Roth’s dizzying formal experiment, his antic humor, his unique voice, and the magical touch by which he could make that most reflexive of novels seem like familiar realism in its treatment of family, history, and selfhood. I never anticipated how much that book would reshape my professional life. I felt driven to try to write about it, and then, reading through all of Roth’s work and eagerly awaiting each new volume, I never looked back. I was captivated by the hard questions he asked about American history, politics, and manhood, and by the many pleasures of his sentences. Like David, I judge Sabbath’s Theater to be Roth’s masterpiece, but for me, Operation Shylock runs a close second. If I had to guess which novels will most centrally keep Roth’s work alive for readers in the coming years, though, I’d probably point to his powerful treatment of twentieth-century America, “real” and all-too-real: in the American Trilogy and The Plot Against America.

 

Q: How do you think Roth’s death will affect the study of his work?

 

Deb and David: In the short term, it will stimulate scholarship, as critics reassess his work and his legacy in the round. In the longer term, there is a danger that interest in his work may wane—we have seen this happen with a number of his contemporaries, such as Saul Bellow and John Updike. However, our gut instinct is that this won’t be Roth’s fate—we think his work is more thoroughly embedded in the canon than that of any of his peers and, as we have seen with the recent renewed attention paid to The Plot Against America since Trump’s election, it continues to resonate powerfully in our contemporary moment.

 

Q: What do you feel have been your greatest achievements with the journal during your tenure, and what are you excited to see from the journal moving forward?

 

Deb and David: We are particularly proud of the number of younger scholars we have featured in the journal over the period of our editorship. One of these, Maren Scheurer, has now, together with Aimee Pozorski, taken over from us as Executive Co-Editor of the journal, and many others, who published their first peer-reviewed pieces with PRS, have gone on to establish themselves as important new voices in the discipline. Other notable features of our tenure have been the number of excellent special issues we have published and the range of other authors with whose work Roth’s has been placed in dialogue. Overall, the last five years have seen a significant extension of the parameters of Roth studies and we are proud that the journal has been at the forefront of this work. We are confident that Aimee and Maren will build on this legacy and continue to take Roth studies in new and exciting directions.

 


 

See more about Philip Roth Studies and subscription information. 

 

Citation Graph from CADRE

Citation Graph from CADRE

Faculty in the Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies are helping to build the Collaborative Archive & Data Research Environment (CADRE) with Indiana University, the Big Ten Academic Alliance, Microsoft Research, Web of Science, and the National Science Foundation’s regional big data innovation hubs to provide sustainable and standardized data and text mining capabilities for open and licensed big data. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funded the two-year project with a National Leadership Grant in September 2018.

According to Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies Associate Professor Michael Witt—who is among the faculty working on the grant project—the first two datasets being provisioned on the CADRE platform are the bibliographic data from the Web of Science and Microsoft Academic Search. With more than 280 million combined citations, these resources provide a vast and rich dataset for informetric and scientometric research.

To better understand the needs of potential users and applications for research, CADRE is inviting fellowship applications from interested researchers. Once the fellows are selected, they will have early access to the platform. Witt noted that CADRE fellows will:

  • gain access to the latest bibliometric datasets, including Web of Science and Microsoft Academic Graph;
  • receive data and technical support for your project, including training webinars on CADRE tools and data sets;
  • join the CADRE community with other fellows, and share your ideas and feedback with the CADRE team on Slack channels and in GitHub repositories;
  • have early access to free cloud computing resources as we update and test different components of the CADRE platform; and
  • receive travel scholarships to present your work at prominent venues.

Six full scholarships are now available for the upcoming International Conference on Scientometrics and Informetrics at Sapienza University in Rome, to be held Sept. 2-5, 2019.

Interested faculty and graduate students from Purdue should apply via the CADRE website at http://iuni.iu.edu/resources/cadre/fellowship-program by June 25.

For information about CADRE, visit http://iuni.iu.edu/resources/cadre.

Digital Reference Services, Purdue Libraries and School of Information StudiesThis week, users of Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies’ website may have noticed a new feature, Proactive Chat. The service is now available via the home page and Primo (the interface to search the Purdue Libraries’ collections). Proactive Chat will pop out once during a user’s visit to the Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies’ home page or Primo. Patrons can use the service to ask questions about Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies’ collections and resources.

The debut of the new feature coincides with the celebration of the “Sweet 16” birthday of Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies’ “Ask a Librarian” digital reference service.

Join Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies staff for the celebration from 9 a.m.-noon Thursday, April 25 to enjoy free cookies just outside of the Humanities, Social Science, and Education (HSSE) Library in Stewart Center (west entrance), where more information about the digital reference services will be available.

HIcks Study Breaks Spring 2019Take time out to relax and de-stress during prep and finals weeks this spring. Beginning Monday, April 22, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies will host Hicks Study Breaks to help students take a break from studying in the Hicks Undergraduate Library. A full list of the events, with times and dates, is below.

All events are free and open to all Purdue students and will be held in the Hicks Undergraduate Library’s main common area.

Prep Week

  • 7-8 p.m. Monday, April 22: Pet Partners
  • 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, April 23: Popcorn and Mobile Making Activity
  • 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 24: Cord Decorating
  • 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 25: Sidewalk Chalk and Bubbles

Finals Week

  • 6-8 p.m. Monday, April 29: Popcorn and Mobile Making Activity
  • 7-8 p.m. Tuesday, April 30: Therapy Dogs International
  • 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 1: Sidewalk Chalk and Bubbles

Courtesy of Purdue Today

Purdue University recognized Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies Assistant Professor Heather Howard’s contributions to student learning by honoring her with the Exceptional Early Career Award Tuesday, March 19. Howard was surprised with the news while she was teaching a class in the Wilmeth Active Learning Center.

(From left) Chantal Levesque-Bristol, executive director of the Center for Instructional Excellence; Ilana Stonebraker, associate professor, Libraries and School of Information Studies; Heather Howard, Exceptional Early Career Award recipient; Jason Behenna, Howard’s husband; Erla Heyns, associate professor, Libraries and School of Information Studies; Donna Ferullo, interim associate dean for academic affairs, Libraries and School of Information Studies; and Marcy Towns, professor of chemistry. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood)

The Exceptional Early Career Award recognizes outstanding undergraduate teaching among Purdue’s early career, tenure-track faculty. Recipients of the award will receive a $5,000 award with additional funds for a department business account.

Howard is among faculty in other departments being awarded this spring. For more information, visit the original piece in Purdue Today at www.purdue.edu/newsroom/purduetoday/releases/2019/Q1/howard,-harwood-honored-with-university-teaching-awards.html.

 

 

This week, several members of Purdue University faculty and staff published, “Creating Student-Centered Learning Environments and Changing Teaching Culture: Purdue University’s IMPACT Program” through the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

The invited paper describes Purdue’s IMPACT (Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation) course design program, which was recognized last year by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of six encouraging innovations in education.

According to the paper abstract on the NILOA website, IMPACT has involved 321 instructors, 529 courses, and in some semesters, as many as 95.1% of first-time, full-time undergraduate students.

IMPACT at Purdue UniversityAuthors of the paper include (in order, L to R, top row, center row, and bottom row in graphic):

Download the paper from NILOA at http://learningoutcomesassessment.org/occasionalpaperthirty.

The second annual Women in Data Science (WiDS) at Purdue University is set for Monday, March 4 in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in Discovery Park.

Started at Stanford in 2015, the WiDS initiative aims to inspire and educate data scientists worldwide, regardless of gender, and support women in the field. The annual global conference is now held in conjunction with many other entities around the world. At Purdue, the goal is to help build a community focused on data science and to inspire and raise awareness among students and community members about the opportunities for women in the data science field.

The daylong conference is set from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in Morgan (MRGN) 121 and is open free to Purdue University students, faculty, staff, and individuals in industry who work in data science. Registration is required, and the deadline is noon, Monday, Feb. 25. Register online at http://go.lib.purdue.edu/wids/. Breakfast, lunch, and a networking reception will be available (please list any dietary restrictions via the online registration form).

“This year, we have an exciting lineup, including a keynote presentation, presentations by distinguished faculty, a workshop session, a panel discussion on data ethics, and poster presentations by students,” noted WiDS Purdue University 2019 Co-Ambassador Anna Subramaniam, administrator of library applications, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies. “In conjunction with dozens of other WiDS events worldwide, we will livestream some of the Stanford events, which, hopefully, will make for a unique and collaborative conference experience.”

Dimple Dhawan, a senior Purdue student majoring in computer science is serving as the 2019 WiDS co-ambassador with Subramaniam. The event is sponsored by the Department of Biochemistry, Purdue University Center for Cancer Research, Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering, Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies, the Integrative Data Science Initiative (IDSI), and the College of Science.

The full conference schedule is also available at http://sites.lib.purdue.edu/wids/.

For more information about the WiDS Conference at Purdue, contact Subramaniam at subrama@purdue.edu.

In March, Purdue Libraries will offer a special Tinkering Humanist Workshop series focused on text analysis. Led by Purdue Libraries Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities Matt Hannah and Library Assistant Trevor Burrows, the series will explore how to incorporate such methodologies as sentiment analysis and stylometrics into humanities research using the programming language R. The workshop instructors will also consider some of the practical and theoretical questions particular to these approaches.

The series schedule is listed below. Registration for each workshop is required.

  • Introduction to Text Analysis with R
    1–4 p.m. Tuesday, March 5
    Please note: this session is required to attend the other two sessions.
  • Sentiment Analysis with R
    2–4 p.m., Tuesday, March 19
  • Stylistic Analysis with R
    2–4 p.m., Tuesday, March 26

Register online at https://goo.gl/forms/u6KdezbBE4jgyDpm2. No previous programming experience is necessary, but participants should be comfortable with basic computer operations.

All sessions will be held in D-VELoP (Data Visualization Experience Lab of Purdue), located in the Wilmeth Active Learning Center (WALC 3045).

For more information, contact Assistant Professor Hannah at hannah8@purdue.edu.

Digital Humanities - Purdue University Libraries

Purdue Libraries’ Tinkering Humanist workshops are presented by Matt Hannah, assistant professor of digital humanities in Purdue Libraries and are designed to help instructors and researchers explore and “tinker” with new tools and technologies to use in their scholarship and teaching.

Explore the power of annotation for your research and instruction in a new “Annotating the Humanities” workshop courtesy of the Purdue University Libraries’ Tinkering Humanist Digital Humanities (DH) Workshop Series.

“Annotating the Humanities” is set from 2-4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, in the Data Visualization Experience Lab of Purdue (D-VELoP) in the Wilmeth Active Learning Center, room 3045. Registration is required.

According to Matthew Hannah, assistant professor of digital humanities in Purdue Libraries, the session will cover the challenges of building new digital tools with special guest Hongshan Li, graduate student in the Purdue University Department of Mathematics, who will share a new tool he built to annotate documents.

“These tools are perfect complements for courses because they require students to focus on texts and ‘mark up’ their reading. Hongshan will also share an exclusive first look at his annotation tool designed for classroom application,” Hannah explained. “In this session, we will also discuss the unique challenges of building DH tools.”

Register online at https://bit.ly/2Jja8m6. For more information, contact Assistant Professor Hannah at hannah8@purdue.edu.

 

 

You know it’s going to be a good week when your university’s head basketball coach crashes your Monday morning class as a guest lecturer. That’s what happened recently to students Alex Ishac (Chandler, AZ) and Rebecca Hanna (Chicago, IL), who are two of the 53 individuals enrolled in the “Engineering in the World of Data” Learning Community at Purdue University.

Purdue Head Men's Basketball Coach Matt Painter and the instructors and students in the "Engineering of the World of Data" learning community.

Purdue Head Men’s Basketball Coach Matt Painter poses with the instructors and students in the “Engineering of the World of Data” learning community in Mackey Arena. Photo courtesy of Teresa Walker, Purdue School of Engineering Education.

Purdue Men’s Basketball Head Coach Matt Painter crashed a class of the first-year engineering course, ENGR 103, which was held in Mackey Arena to demonstrate the application of data science in sports. The course, “Developing Your Data Mind,” was designed by Libraries faculty Michael Witt and Nastasha Johnson as a part of the learning community, in collaboration with colleagues from the Purdue College of Engineering, Department of English, and University Residences.

Matt Painter talks to students in Purdue's "Engineering in the World of Data" learning community about how data drives the decisions he makes as a coach.

Coach Matt Painter talks to students in Purdue’s “Engineering in the World of Data” learning community about how data drives the decisions he makes as a coach. Photo by Teresa Walker.

Painter spoke to the class about how data drives the decisions he makes as a coach—everything from recruiting to scouting opponents to shot selection and how individual players position their bodies on the court. Andrew McClatchey, statistical analyst for the men’s basketball team, also talked to students about the state-of-the-art technology and techniques in sports data collection and analysis and his experience in pursuing a career in data science.

In the course, students were learning how to make effective decisions using data. The night before the lecture, they joined the faculty of the learning community for popcorn and to watch the movie “Moneyball,” which is about the 2002 season of the Oakland Athletics baseball team that set a record for winning 20 games in a row by employing data analytics.

“The learning community brings together a cohort of first-year engineering students who have a shared interest in data science,” said Witt. “It gives us the opportunity to incorporate experiences outside of the classroom to bring the material to life.”

Purdue Libraries Associate Professor Michael Witt introduces Andrew McClatchey, statistical analyst for Purdue's men’s basketball team, to students in the "Engineering of the World of Data" learning community in Mackey Arena.

Purdue Libraries Associate Professor Michael Witt introduces Andrew McClatchey, statistical analyst for Purdue’s men’s basketball team, to students in the “Engineering of the World of Data” learning community in Mackey Arena. Photo by Teresa Walker.

In addition to ENGR 103, students in the learning community take special, data-themed versions of required first-year engineering courses, including ENGR 131 and 132, “Transforming Ideas to Innovation I & II”; the English course ENGL 106, “Academic Research and Writing”; and ENGR 195, “Computational Methods of Data Science for Engineers,” which is a specialty course just for the learning community.

“Being in the community means that you take these classes together with the same group of students, resulting in opportunities to form close relationships with each other,” Ishac noted. “We’re learning while forming these friendships, and then we have activities like going to Mackey Arena and getting to talk to Purdue’s men’s head basketball coach and the team’s data analyst. I think the idea—to make these types of connections to interesting people who we can learn from—is really impactful,” he said.

Andrew McClatchey, statistical analyst for Purdue's men’s basketball team, talks to students about state-of-the-art technology and techniques in sports data collection and analysis and his experience in pursuing a career in data science.

Andrew McClatchey, statistical analyst for Purdue’s men’s basketball team, talks to students about state-of-the-art technology and techniques in sports data collection and analysis and his experience in pursuing a career in data science. Photo by Teresa Walker.

“Our focus was to provide students with an early exposure to data science ideas and applications with an emphasis on how engineers use data to make evidence-based decisions,” said Engineering Education Professor Tamara Moore, who leads the learning community with Witt. “The instructors worked together to align the curriculum so that students would learn many facets of engineering in the world of data from the appropriate experts, integrated across these five courses.”

Another example of a learning community activity was the students’ recent participation in Purdue’s annual Dawn or Doom conference. Students attended presentations and ate lunch with one of the conference speakers, as well as discussed whether they were optimistic or pessimistic about advances in technology and its impact on their lives.

“I really enjoyed the ‘Presenting Data Effectively’ talk at Dawn or Doom,” Hanna said. “All the events that the learning community hosts are fun, and I learn something new. Although the learning community requires some extra work, I think it is definitely worth it,” she added.

Ishac concurs there is significant return on his investment in the “Engineering of the World of Data” learning community.

“The chance to be part of the ‘Engineering in the World of Data’ learning community the past several weeks has made my Purdue experience so far incredible for me,” he added.

Upcoming activities for the learning community include a field trip to the Cummins Technical Center to learn about product testing and simulation data, as well as “Learn Python with a Python” programming boot camp, in which students will be introduced to the Python scripting language by working with animal-management data and visit with an actual python from Columbian Park Zoo.

The “Engineering in the World of Data Learning Community” will begin accepting applications for the 2019-20 school year in January. It is open to incoming students admitted to the First-Year Engineering Program or to Pre-ABE in the College of Agriculture. For more information, visit www.purdue.edu/learningcommunities/profiles/engineering/engineering_data.html.