From the Cataloger's Desk - Our Friendly Institutional Spider-Man: Dr. Norman I. Platnick

by Iris Lee on

Gottesman Research Library News

Norman Platnick with Spider Norman Platnick with Spider
2023 would have marked Norman Platnick’s 50th year at the Museum. Unfortunately, he passed away in April 2020, and he never made it to his gold anniversary. In my 12 years working in the Library, I didn’t meet Dr. Platnick. It’s too bad; he reportedly had a sense of humor. Despite being an authority on spider classification, he would joke that did not get his diploma. In fact, he was enrolled in college at 12 years old earning his PhD at 21. Not bad for someone who didn’t go to high school!

Norman Platnick was a prolific scientist, publishing over 4000 pages in 330 papers, including 37 monographs, six books and two edited volumes over the course of his four-decade career. You can see a partial list on his staff page here

I recently cataloged a book he edited, published in 2020, titled Spiders of the World: A Natural History. It is available to peruse in our new Gottesman Library Reading Room in the Reference section. Ask a reference librarian to pull the book for you to see for yourself just how much Dr. Platnick contributed to the scientific community in his time with us. R.I.P.

Norman Platnick showing vial storage panel, 1970
Norman Platnick showing vial storage panel, 1970, AMNH Library image #65901

Spiders of the world : a natural history
edited by Norman I. Platnick
Spiders are among the most versatile creatures on the planet, inhabiting six of the seven continents and thriving in environments ranging from deserts and rain forests to Arctic tundra and cities. Spiders of the World is a captivating look at these wondrously adaptable and endlessly intriguing arachnids, written by six of the world's leading experts on spiders. This stunningly illustrated natural history features a wealth of spectacular color photos and covers a breathtaking array of spider species from around the globe, describing their behaviors, characteristics, and remarkable evolutionary adaptations. An incisive and engaging introduction provides an invaluable overview of the world's spiders and is followed by in-depth profiles spanning more than 100 spider families and presented taxonomically. Each profile is organized phylogenetically and includes beautiful photography to illustrate various species within the family. There are also distribution maps, tables of essential facts, and commentaries highlighting diverse aspects of spider biology, making Spiders of the World an indispensable volume for anyone who wants to learn more about these marvelous creatures.

by Greg W. Rouse, Fredrik Pleijel, and Ekin Tilic
Annelids (the segmented worms) exist in a remarkably diverse range of mostly marine but also freshwater and terrestrial habitats, varying greatly in size and form. Annelida provides a fully updated and expanded taxonomic reference work which broadens the scope of the classic Polychaetes (OUP, 2001) to encompass wider groups including Clitellata (comprising more than a third of total annelid diversity), Sipuncula, and Thalassematidae (formerly Echiura). It reflects the enormous amount of research on these organisms that has burgeoned since the millennium, principally due to their use as model organisms to address wider and more general evolutionary and ecological questions.

Bears of the world : ecology, conservation and management
edited by Vincenzo Penteriani, Mario Melletti
Bears have fascinated people since ancient times. The relationship between bears and humans dates back thousands of years, during which time we have also competed with bears for shelter and food. In modern times, bears have come under pressure through encroachment on their habitats, climate change, and illegal trade in their body parts, including the Asian bear bile market. The IUCN lists six bears as vulnerable or endangered, and even the least concern species, such as the brown bear, are at risk of extirpation in certain countries. The poaching and international trade of these most threatened populations are prohibited, but still ongoing. Covering all bears species worldwide, this beautifully illustrated volume brings together the contributions of 200 international bear experts on the ecology, conservation status, and management of the Ursidae family. It reveals the fascinating long history of interactions between humans and bears and the threats affecting these charismatic species.

Biology of sharks and their relatives
edited by Jeffrey C. Carrier, Colin A. Simpfendorfer, Michael R. Heithaus, and Kara E. Yopak
Biology of Sharks and Their Relatives is an award-winning exploration of the fundamental elements of the taxonomy, systematics, physiology, and ecology of sharks, skates, rays, and chimera. This edition presents current research as well as traditional models, with two new editors and 90 contributors from around the world.

The chimpanzee chronicles : stories of heartbreak and hope from behind the bars
by Debra Rosenman
An anthology of 25 stories from around the world that present a behind-the-scenes look at the physical, emotional, and psychological lives of captive chimps that were used win biomedical research, the entertainment industry, and the exotic pet trade. The stories bear witness to the unjust treatment and suffering the chimps have gone through, the healing many experienced once retired into sanctuary, and the transformations of the caregivers themselves. On a larger scale, the book is about animal sentience, compassion, hope, and the possibility of change.

China and the Uyghurs : a concise introduction
by Morris Rossabi
This balanced history of Xinjiang and its Uyghur inhabitants traces the development of this ethnic group from imperial China to the present and its fraught relationship with the Chinese state. Morris Rossabi focuses especially on CCP policies, both progressive and repressive, toward the Uyghurs since 1949.

Conchophilia : shells, art, and curiosity in early modern Europe
by Marisa Anne Bass, Anne Goldgar, Hanneke Grootenboer, and Claudia Swan
Among nature's most artful creations, shells have long inspired the curiosity and passion of artisans, artists, collectors, and thinkers. Conchophilia delves into the intimate relationship between shells and people, offering an unprecedented account of the early modern era, when the influx of exotic shells to Europe fueled their study and representation as never before. From elaborate nautilus cups and shell-encrusted grottoes to delicate miniatures, this richly illustrated book reveals how the love of shells intersected not only with the rise of natural history and global trade but also with philosophical inquiry, issues of race and gender, and the ascent of art-historical connoisseurship. Spanning painting and print to architecture and the decorative arts, Conchophilia uncovers the fascinating ways that shells were circulated, depicted, collected, and valued during a time of remarkable global change.

Crabs : a global natural history
by Peter J.F. Davie
A richly illustrated natural history of the world's crabs that examines their diversity, ecology, anatomy, behavior, and more. This lavishly illustrated book offers a remarkable look at the world's crabs. More than 7,000 crab species, in 100 different families, are known today. Their unique physiology and complex behaviors have made them one of the most diverse and adaptable of all animal groups. They can thrive in the darkness of abyssal seas, on the edges of scalding hot volcanic hydrothermal vents, on sunlit coral reefs, on wave-washed rocky shores, and in tropical rain forests at the tops of mountains. They even persist in some of the harshest desert conditions. Playing a vital role in marine and coastal ecology, crabs have been identified as keystone species in habitats such as coral reefs and coastal tropical swamps. Crabs comprises five chapters: evolutionary pathways; anatomy and physiology; ecology; reproduction, cognition, and behavior; and exploitation and conservation. Individual chapters include a variety of subtopics, each illustrated by exceptional images, and followed by numerous double full-page species' profiles. Each profile has been chosen to emphasize remarkable and intriguing aspects of the life of these fascinating creatures. Some species may be familiar, but many are beyond anything you have probably seen before and will stretch your understanding of what a crab is.

Cultures of Yusin : South Korea in the 1970s
edited by Youngju Ryu
Cultures of Yusin examines the turbulent and yet deeply formative years of Park Chung Hee's rule in South Korea, focusing on the so-called Yusin era (1972-79). Beginning with the constitutional change that granted dictatorial powers to the president and ending with his assassination, Yusin was a period of extreme political repression coupled with widespread mobilization of the citizenry towards the statist gospel of modernization and development. While much has been written about the political and economic contours of this period, the rich complexity of its cultural production remains obscure. This edited volume brings together a wide range of scholars to explore literature, film, television, performance, music, and architecture, as well as practices of urban and financial planning, consumption, and homeownership. Examining the plural forms of culture's relationship to state power, the authors illuminate the decade of the 1970s in South Korea and offer an essential framework for understanding contemporary Korean society.

The darkness manifesto : on light pollution, night ecology, and the ancient rhythms that sustain life
by Johan Eklöf
In the tradition of Why We Sleep and The Sixth Extinction, an urgent and insightful look at the hidden impact of light pollution, and a passionate appeal to cherish natural darkness for the sake of the environment, our own wellbeing, and all life on earth. How much light is too much light? Satellite pictures show our planet as a brightly glowing orb, and in our era of constant illumination, light pollution has become a major issue. The world's flora and fauna have evolved to operate in the natural cycle of day and night. But in the last 150 years, we have extended our day--and in doing so have forced out the inhabitants of the night and disrupted the circadian rhythms necessary to sustain all living things, including ourselves. In this persuasive, well-researched book, Swedish conservationist Johan Eklöf urges us to appreciate natural darkness, its creatures, and its unique benefits. He ponders the beauties of the night sky, traces the swift dives of keen-eyed owls, and shows us the bioluminescent creatures of the deepest oceans. As a devoted friend of the night, Eklöf reveals the startling domino effect of diminishing darkness: insects, dumbfounded by streetlamps, failing to reproduce; birds blinded and bewildered by artificial lights; and bats starving as they wait in vain for insects that only come out in the dark. For humans, light-induced sleep disturbances impact our hormones and weight and can exacerbate chronic stress and depression. Streetlamps, floodlights, and the ever more pervasive and searingly bright LED lights are altering entire ecosystems, and scientists are only just beginning to understand the long-term effects. Educational, eye-opening, and ultimately encouraging, The Darkness Manifesto outlines simple steps that we can take to benefit ourselves and the planet. In order to ensure a bright future, we must embrace the darkness.

Designing museum experiences
by Mark Walhimer
Designing Museum Experiences is a how-to book for creating visitor-centered museums that emotionally and intellectually connect with museum visitors, stakeholders, and donors.

Exceptional species diversity of Drosophilidae (Diptera) in a neotropical forest (American Museum Novitates no. 3997)
by David A. Grimaldi and Courtney Richenbacher
The highest single-site species diversity known thus far in the world for Drosophilidae is in Costa Rica, based on findings in this report. A total of 352 species of Drosophilidae (Diptera) were found in a cloud forest (1580 m) in Zurquí de Moravia, San José Province (hereafter “Zurquí”), based on 2908 specimens collected continuously for one year, using eight trapping and collecting methods. There are currently 305 described species from Costa Rica. Zurquí is at the edge of a large, protected area and was the site of an All-Diptera inventory project. For this study, drosophilid specimens were identified to genus/subgenus, sorted to morphospecies, and their abundances plotted by collection method: Malaise traps, flight intercept traps, baited traps, light and yellow pan traps, emergence traps, and hand collecting with nets. The standard method used by drosophilists, bait trapping, captured a small fraction of species. Malaise traps captured 87% of all species, and 41% of the 352 species were captured only this way. Emergence traps captured a surprising diversity (47 species) of Diathoneura and Drosophila, establishing that leaf litter/humus is an important breeding site for some taxa. Combining all collection methods, 11 species were abundant, as defined by 50 or more specimens, and comprised 35% of all specimens in the study; two-thirds (66%) of all species were rare, as defined by five or fewer specimens. Comparisons are made to other well-collected sites and regions around the world. Lowland to mid-montane forests on the eastern slopes of the Andes may be the most diverse area for Drosophilidae, a family that is exemplary for studying the ecology and evolution of tropical diversity.

How giraffes work
by Graham Mitchell
There are few creatures more beautiful, more aloof, and more fascinating than giraffes. Once upon a time they were plentiful and filled African landscapes from north to south and east to west, but in 2016 they were re-classified from 'least concern' to 'vulnerable' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Their survival in the wild is not assured. What do we know about them? Much has been written about their private lives, about their behavior, social biology and ecology, and their history in art and diplomacy. But so far no book has been written about their private lives, their physiology and their anatomy and biochemistry, in short the normal functions of a free-living animal in its natural environment, and it is these aspects of their lives that are the focus of this book. The study of a single species could be concise and relatively simply told. In reality it is not. A species never evolves in isolation from the general biological milieu in which it finds itself. Tectonics, astronomical physics, climate, and purely biological factors affecting food and water resources all shape the path of their evolution and all interact with its morphology, its internal physiological and biochemical systems and the behavior patterns that regulate its daily life. Giraffes are no exception as is revealed as the story told here unfolds. Although this is a book about the physiology and anatomy of extant giraffes or, in other words, about how modern giraffes work, the most frequent questions asked about giraffes are not about how they work but how their shape came about. All three of the scientists-Darwin, Wallace, and Lamarck-who in the nineteenth century pondered the question of how the shape of an animal develops used giraffes to illustrate their ideas. Their conclusions were theoretical. Fossils of giraffes were few and gave no idea of who the ancestors of modern giraffes were that bequeathed their characters to their offspring. When did those ancestors live, and where did they live? What were the selection pressures then that resulted in the shape giraffes have now? What advantages did and does their shape give them so that they can survive successfully? Their survival is usually attributed to their great height and unique markings, but it is the morphophysiology of these extraordinary creatures that has contributed most to their survival. How do giraffes work? The answers lie in a story filled not only with the internal workings of a unique creature, but with geography, and climate changes of great magnitude, and the labors of extraordinary people who put many pieces of the puzzle together.

Imagining Asia : cultural citizenship and nation building in the national museums of Singapore, Hong Kong, and Macau
by Emily Stokes-Rees
From new museum construction to the re-purposing of colonial monuments, and from essentialized narratives to spaces which encourage visitors to dream, this book explores the development and influence of national museums in three contemporary Asian societies - Singapore, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Indian insects : diversity and science : a festschrift for Professor C. A. Viraktamath's 75th birthday
edited by S. Ramani, Prashanth Mohanraj, H.M. Yeshwanth
Insects are useful as pollinators of crops and wild plants, and many are useful as natural enemies of pestiferous insects. It is important to conserve these insects, hence there is a need for reliable identification techniques for these insects. This volume brings together indigenous taxonomic expertise on various taxa of insects from India.

Innovation, style, and spectacle in Wayang : Purbo Asmoro and the evolution of an Indonesian performing art
by Kathryn Emerson
Wayang, the traditional puppet theater form of Java, fascinates and endures thanks to the many ways it works as a medium - bearing the weight of Javanese culture and tradition as a key component of rites of passage, as a medium of ritual and spiritual practice, as public spectacle, and as entertainment of the broadest sort, performed live, broadcast, or streamed. Over the past forty years, the form has been subject to a great deal of experimentation and innovation, pulled in many directions within an ever-changing media landscape. In this book, Kathryn Anne Emerson outlines both significant contributions by a number of key figures and the social and political influences propelling such innovations. She also describes deeper and more lasting changes in wayang, based on what the art form’s most accomplished practitioners have to say about it. At the core of the book is one pivotal figure, Purbo Asmoro of the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Surakarta, who, Emerson argues, has taken the individual and singular innovations of the era and integrated them into a new system of performance practice, one that has shaped the key Surakarta school of performance. Grounded in an unprecedented, decades-long participatory research project involving hundreds of interlocutors, the book is beautifully illustrated and will be of considerable interest in Indonesian studies.

Korean families yesterday and today
edited by Hyunjoon Park and Hyeyoung Woo
Korean families have changed significantly during the last few decades in their composition, structure, attitudes, and function. Delayed and forgone marriage, fertility decline, and rising divorce rates are just a few examples of changes that Korean families have experienced at a rapid pace, more dramatic than in many other contemporary societies. Moreover, the increase of marriages between Korean men and foreign women has further diversified Korean families. Yet traditional norms and attitudes toward gender and family continue to shape Korean men and women's family behaviors. Korean Families Yesterday and Today portrays diverse aspects of the contemporary Korean families and, by explicitly or implicitly situating contemporary families within a comparative historical perspective, reveal how the past of Korean families evolved into their current shapes. While the study of families can be approached in many different angles, our lens focuses on families with children or young adults who are about to forge family through marriage and other means. This focus reflects that delayed marriage and declined fertility are two sweeping demographic trends in Korea, affecting family formation. Moreover, 'intensive' parenting has characterized Korean young parents and therefore, examining change and persistence in parenting provides important clues for family change in Korea.

Landmark papers. Granite petrogenesis
selected by J.D. Clemens and F. Bea
A compilation of landmark papers on granite petrogenesis is overdue. This volume is organized into a number of sections that rep­resent what the editors regard as the main research fields in which progress has been made in understanding granites and their genesis. The origin of granitic magmas is part of the cycle that unites tectonic processes with the generation of mantle magma, crustal growth, the transfer of mantle heat to the crust, high-grade regional metamorphism, crustal melting and crustal differentiation. The extended subject area is far too wide to deal with in a single volume and therefore the selec­tion has been limited to papers dealing with the formation, physical behavior and chemical evolution of granitic magmas, and just touching on the matter of associated ore deposits. John (JC) Clemens and Fernando Bea are world experts on the subject of granite petrogenesis. Clemens' most important work has been on the origin and evolution of granites and silicic volcanic magmas, experimental studies and modelling of partial melting and the ascent and chemical evolution of granitic magmas, and these continue to be his main interests. Bea's research interests have been in the petrology and geochemistry of granite rocks and the mechanisms of generation of granite magmas, having studied in detail the role of heat-producing elements.

The lives of moths : a natural history of our planet's moth life
by Andrei Sourakov & Rachel Warren Chadd
Moths are among the most underappreciated insects on the planet, yet they make up the majority of some 180,000 known species of Lepidoptera. Filled with striking images, The Lives of Moths looks at the remarkable world of these amazing and beautiful creatures. While butterflies may get more press than moths, Andrei Sourakov and Rachel Warren Chadd reveal that the lopsided attention is unjust. Moths evolved long before butterflies, and their importance cannot be overestimated. From the tiniest leaf miners to exotic hawk moths that are two hundred to three hundred times larger, these creatures are often crucial pollinators of flowers, including many that bloom at night or in twilight. The authors show that moths and their larvae are the main food source for thousands of animal species, and interact with other insect, plant, and vertebrate communities in ecosystems around the world, from tropical forests and alpine meadows to deserts and wetlands. The authors also explore such topics as evolution, life cycles, methods of communication, and links to humans. A feast of remarkable facts and details, The Lives of Moths will appeal to insect lovers everywhere.

Metalwork from the Arab world and the Mediterranean
by Doris Behrens-Abouseif
This volume presents vessels, fittings and other objects made in Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Yemen from the early Islamic period through to the end of the Ottoman era in the 19th century. The pieces include exquisite platters, serving-vessels, candlesticks and pen-boxes produced for royal courts, but also many beautifully decorated bronze domestic items, such as bowls, lunchboxes, doorknockers, buckets and lamps. The metalwork traditions in this book reflect the complex history of the Arab world following the advent of Islam. The collection starts in the Late Antique period, which informed the early Islamic royal styles of the Umayyad, Abbasid and Fatimid dynasties, and goes on to trace the emergence of Mosul as a centre for metalwork in the 12th-13th centuries; the courtly Mamluk style during the Bahri period (1250-1380s); the Circassian era (1380s-1517); the growth of the European export market from the 15th century; distinctive vernacular styles in Yemen during the 14th-16th centuries; and the many revivals and fusions of international styles over six centuries of Ottoman rule (1517-1900s). Finally, an enigmatic group of zoomorphic fittings that defies easy dating is celebrated for the craftsmanship and charm of its animal figures. This beautifully illustrated volume features many important unpublished pieces and is essential reading for specialists, but it will fascinate and inform anyone with an interest in Islamic culture and history, metalwork and the decorative arts of the Arab world.

New discovery of rhyncholites and conchorhynchs (cephalopod jaw elements) from the Upper Cretaceous Mount Laurel Formation of Delaware (American Museum Novitates no. 3998)
by Amane Tajika, Neil H. Landman, Hiromichi Koyasu, Amy Broussard, Lian Anderson, and Kenji Ikuno
Rhyncholites and Conchorhynchs are the calcitic elements of upper and lower jaws of cephalopods, respectively. Rhyncholites and conchorhynchs occur in relatively high abundance and are widely distributed, with a long geological range, extending from the Triassic to the Miocene. While rhyncholites and conchorhynchs are relatively common in Europe, there are only a few reports from North America. Here, we document 24 specimens of rhyncholites and 12 specimens of conchorhynchs from the Upper Cretaceous Mount Laurel Formation in Delaware. The specimens were found in isolation and, thus, identifying the taxon to which the rhyncholites and conchorhynchs belong is difficult. However, the Cretaceous nautilid Eutrephoceras occurs in the same formation, suggesting that the rhyncholites and conchorhynchs may belong to this taxon. We performed a morphometric analysis of these structures based on linear measurements. Our results reveal that some morphological parameters in rhyncholites are correlated with size. Additionally, our specimens exhibit high intraspecific variation, which may have been overlooked in previous studies.

Pre-Columbian Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador : toward an integrated approach
edited by Colin McEwan and John W. Hoopes
Pre-Columbian Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador: Toward an Integrated Approach explores a wide range of topical interests in the archaeology of the Isthmo-Colombian Area and its neighboring territories. It draws fresh attention to the significance of a formerly marginalized region or culture area (as Lower Central America or the Intermediate Area) and repositions it in the context of the wider Pre-Columbian world.

Returning Southeast Asia's past : objects, museums, and restitution
edited by Louise Tythacott and Panggah Ardiyansyah
The last 150 years has seen extensive looting and illicit trafficking of Southeast Asia's cultural heritage. Art objects from the region were distributed to museums and private collections around the world. But in the 21st century, power relations are shifting, a new awareness is growing, and new questions are emerging about the representation and ownership of Southeast Asian cultural material located in the West. This book is a timely consideration of object restitution and related issues across Southeast Asia, bringing together different viewpoints including from museum professionals and scholars in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia - as well as Europe, North America and Australia. The objects themselves are at the center of most narratives - from Khmer art to the Mandalay regalia (repatriated in 1964), Ban Chiang archaeological material and the paintings of Raden Saleh. Legal, cultural, political, and diplomatic issues involved in the restitution process are considered in many of the chapters; others look at the ways object restitution is integral to evolving narratives of national identity.

Robots won't save Japan : an ethnography of eldercare automation
by James Wright
Robots Won't Save Japan addresses the Japanese government's efforts to develop care robots in response to the challenges of an aging population, rising demand for eldercare, and a critical shortage of care workers. Drawing on ethnographic research at key sites of Japanese robot development and implementation, James Wright reveals how such devices are likely to transform the practices, organization, meanings, and ethics of caregiving if implemented at scale. This new form of techno-welfare state that Japan is prototyping involves a reconfiguration of care that deskills and devalues care work and reduces opportunities for human social interaction and relationship building. Moreover, contrary to expectations that care robots will save labor and reduce health care expenditures, robots cost more money and require additional human labor to tend to the machines. As Wright shows, robots alone will not rescue Japan from its care crisis. The attempts to implement robot care instead point to the importance of looking beyond such techno-fixes to consider how to support rather than undermine the human times, spaces, and relationships necessary for sustainably cultivating good care.

Savoonga ivory carvers : a Yupik walrus ivory carving tradition on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska
by Bruce Bartholomew
The two villages (Savoonga and Gambell) on St. Lawrence Island, Alaska are famous for their walrus ivory carvers. This book covers the modern tradition of walrus ivory carving in Savoonga from the 1940s to the first part of the 21st century and deals with essentially all the carvers from this village during this period. Before about the 1970s few carvers signed their names although as discussed in this book there are certain styles by which even these earlier pieces are often identifiable as being from St. Lawrence Island. St. Lawrence Island is the largest island in the Bering Sea and is located in the northern part of this sea between Alaska and Russia. The island has only two villages and a total population of less than 1,500 people split about equally between the two villages. Almost all people living in these villages are Yupik Eskimos, also sometimes referred to as Siberian Yupik as they share a language and culture and, in many cases, even a family connection with the Yupik people in adjacent coastal parts of the southern Chukehi Peninsula of Russia. This book brings together a great deal of information concerning not only the names of the carvers but also what subjects they carve, how they sign their names, how each carver is related to other carvers on the island, and each carver's genealogy. No other publication has this sort of in-depth information about this carving tradition. Eskimo art is a subject that covers not only a wide range of media but also many different linguistic and cultural groups over a large part of the arctic and subarctic from Russia through Alaska and Canada to Greenland. All of these different groups share a common cultural heritage in subsistence hunting of marine mammals and the use of these mammals for both food and many aspects of their material and social culture. Among the animals hunted, walrus are not only used for food, but in traditional society their skin was used for the covering of boats and houses, and even their intestines served to make waterproof clothing. But it is the use of ivory from walrus tusks which has a special place in the culture of many Eskimo groups and has continuity from pre-history to the present day. Considering all Eskimo walrus ivory carvers, those from St. Lawrence Island are conspicuous as among the most outstanding.

Semi-civilized : the Moro village at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition
by Michael C. Hawkins
This book explores the experiences of Filipino Muslims put on display at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at the 1904 World's Fair.

Splendors of Punjab heritage : art from the Khanuja family collection
with essays by Dr. Parvinderjit Singh Khanuja
Punjab, and especially Sikh art, has taken multiple forms ranging from scriptural manuscripts, floral adornments to illustrations and illuminations. This family collection showcases varied forms of jewelry, textiles, arms, coinage, along with construction of religious places and monuments. Murals and frescoes, paintings from Mughal, Punjabi and Pahari styles as well as calligraphy; all enhance the culture and add to its beauty. In addition, foreign artists such as Emily Eden, Shoefft, Soltikoff and other Europeans have left their imprint. The Khanuja Family believes encouragement of art is an essential element in enriching cultural heritage, upliftment of the human spirit, which eventually results in understanding, tolerance and interconnecting us all. This collection is a labor of love which started with an interest in listening to the history of Punjab from elders and subsequently reading about it. Over time with the help of Dr P Khanuja’s daughter, Jasleen it evolved into this expensive passion of collecting artifacts and paintings over the last 14 years.

A time of lost gods : mediumship, madness, and the ghost after Mao
by Emily Ng
The story of religion in China since the economic reforms of the 1980s is often told through its destruction under Mao and relative flourishing thereafter. A Time of Lost Gods offers a different history of the present. Drifting across a temple, a psychiatric unit, and the homes of spirit mediums in a rural county in the Central Plain, the stories here dwell on the sense of hollowing in the absence of Mao. Among those who engage in spirit mediumship in this rural county, Chairman Mao's reign marked not only earthly rule, but an otherworldly time, an exceptional interval of divine sovereignty, after which the cosmos collapsed into chaos. The accounts here convey what it is to experience the present as a postscript to such an interval. According to the mediums, the Chairman's death inaugurated the return of gods and ghosts, none of whom can be fully trusted, as they now mirror the duplicity of the human realm after market reforms. Those who live in this haunted era must work to discern between the true and false, the virtuous and malicious, amid a proliferation of madness-inducing spirits. At the same time, there is also a sense that the new world--the promised world of the socialist vision--has yet to arrive, across waves of policies that pledged to improve the rural lot. Caught between a fading era and an ever-receding horizon, the contemporary cosmology registers the national imaginary of a land-locked agricultural province "left behind" in a post-Reform regime of value, while refiguring the rural as a potential ethical-spiritual center, awaiting apocalyptic renewal. After a long century of exasperated responses to the threat of colonial seizure, the stories here tell of patients, spirit mediums, and psychiatrists caught in a shared dilemma, in a time when gods have lost their way.

The transforming image : painted arts of Northwest Coast First Nations
by Bill McLennan and Karen Duffek
In the two decades since its initial publication, The Transforming Image has become a must-have book for scholars and appreciators of Northwest Coast art, and, importantly, for First Nations artists, who have found inspiration in its wealth of images and ideas. A new edition of this groundbreaking volume makes its invaluable findings accessible once again. Its hundreds of photos of historical Indigenous artworks--objects and belongings now widely dispersed in collections around the world--are the extraordinary result of the Museum of Anthropology's Image Recovery Project, which used infrared photography to reveal paintings on historical Northwest Coast objects whose painted surfaces are obscured by the patina of age. The project assembled images of nearly a thousand different paintings over its two-decade run and worked with contemporary First Nations artists to reconstruct the compositions and understand their original context and significance, which the authors discuss in their insightful and engaging commentary. These rediscovered artworks radically deepened the understanding of Northwest Coast First Nations painting, including techniques, materials, imagery, and the creativity of generations of ancestor artists. A new preface by Karen Duffek speaks to what the book has helped set in motion, and how First Nations artists and scholars today are taking this art forward in new and compelling directions.

Wanderlust : an eccentric explorer, an epic journey, a lost age
by Reid Mitenbuler
Peter Freuchen's life seemed ripped from the pages of an adventure novel-- and provided fodder for many books of his own. A wildly eccentric Dane with an out-of-nowhere sense of humor, his insatiable curiosity drove him from the twilight years of Arctic exploration to the Golden Age of Hollywood, and from the burgeoning field of climate research to the Danish underground during World War II. He conducted jaw-dropping expeditions, survived a Nazi prison camp, and overcame a devastating injury that robbed him of his foot and very nearly his life. Through it all, he was guided by ideals that were remarkably ahead of his time, championing Indigenous communities, environmental stewardship, and starting conversations that continue today. Mitenbuler shares a tale of daring and discovery, an inspiring portrait of restlessness and grit, and a powerful meditation on our relationship to the planet and our fellow human beings.

Wasps : their biology, diversity, and role as beneficial insects and pollinators of native plants
by Heather Holm
Wasps is the first full-color, illustrated guide featuring approximately 150 species of flower-visiting wasps that occur in eastern North America, and the specific native plants and habitat each species depends upon. Written with an ecological lens, this richly illustrated book details wasp diversity and has full-page profiles for each wasp species that include identification tips, geographic range maps, biology, prey, natural history, and habitat. Five introductory chapters cover wasp taxonomy, nesting biology, prey-hunting behaviors, diet, anatomy, as well as wasp habitat enhancement and management, and the ecosystem services provided by wasps - insect pest population control and pollination. Profiles of each wasp species comprise the major part of the book and are organized by family, showcasing twelve families and sixty-eight wasp genera. Also included are eastern North American regional native plant guides, tips on wasp observation, and over 1000 stunning photographs. ​ This is an essential book for conservationists, naturalists, insect enthusiasts, biologists, nature photographers, native plant aficionados, and anyone interested in beneficial insects and pollinators.

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This entry was written by Iris Lee, Cataloging and Metadata Librarian.