college of liberal arts

Popular novelist Aimee Bender comes to OSU on Nov. 11

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Fiction writer Aimee Bender, celebrated for her unique style and use of magical elements in contemporary settings, will read from her recently released novel, “The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake,” on Friday, Nov. 11 at Oregon State University.

The free public event begins at 7:30 p.m. in The Valley Library’s main rotunda; a book signing follows.

“The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake” tells the story of Rose Edelstein, an unassuming yet extraordinary nine-year-old, who discovers that she has the magical power to taste emotions after biting into her mother’s lemon-chocolate cake. Her miraculous gift reveals the emotional secrets of those around her as she eats her way toward an understanding of the power and burdens of knowing too much about other people.

The Los Angeles Times described Bender as the “master of quiet hysteria” and People magazine called her newest novel “moving, fanciful and gorgeously strange.”

Bender is the author of four books including “The Girl in the Flammable Skirt” (1998), which was a New York Times Notable Book, “An Invisible Sign of My Own” (2000), a Los Angeles Times Pick of the Year, and “Willful Creatures” (2005), which was nominated by The Believer as one of the best books of the year. She lives in Los Angeles and teaches creative writing.

Bender’s appearance is part of the 2011-12 Visiting Writers Series, and is made possible by contributions from The Valley Library, the OSU Department of English, the Office of the Provost, the College of Liberal Arts, Kathy Brisker and Tim Steele, and the OSU Beaver Store.

Story By: 

Rebecca Olson, 541-737-1648

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Aimee Bender
Aimee Bender

College of Liberal Arts honors top faculty and staff

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s College of Liberal Arts honored top faculty and staff this week during its annual CLA Day.

Award recipients were nominated by their supervisors, colleagues, and students. Dean Larry Rodgers presented certificates to the honorees for their achievements at the event, which was held at Withycombe Hall Theatre. The winners were:

• Marisa Chappell, associate professor of history, was presented the Thomas R. Meehan Excellence in Teaching Award. Chappell was nominated for her innovative methods to engage students in the classroom, which includes activities such as role-playing historical figures and asking undergraduates to perform scholarly research.

• Bryan Tilt, associate professor of anthropology, received the Robert J. Frank Research, Scholarship and Creativity Award. Tilt was nominated for the success of his first book, “The Struggle in Rural China: Environmental Values and Civil Society,” and for more than 15 peer-reviewed journal articles. Tilt also has funding from the National Science Foundation for his work on a dam-impact assessment model.

• Janet Lee, professor of women studies, was presented the C. Warren Hovland Service Award. Lee was recognized for helping to build the Women Studies program, and for her leadership as the program melded into the School of Language, Culture, and Society. The award honors Hovland, a faculty member from 1949 to 1986, for his many contributions to the growth and vitality of the College of Liberal Arts.

• Stuart Sarbacker, assistant professor of philosophy, was presented with the Bill and Caroline Wilkins Faculty Development Award. Sarbacker was honored for his scholarly output, which includes one book already published and two in development. Since 2009, Sarbacker has developed five new courses and has plans for more courses focused on the traditions of Islam in south Asia.

• Nathan Walters, who works in student services for the college, received the Carolyn Maresh Professional Staff Award. Walters was recognized for learning and implementing the new MyDegrees program as well as his service as a graduation clerk. The award honors Carolyn Maresh, longtime assistant to the dean of CLA.

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Larry Rodgers, 541-737-4582

Keith Scribner to read from “The Oregon Experiment” on Sept. 30

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Award-winning author Keith Scribner, an Oregon State University faculty member, will read from his newly released novel, “The Oregon Experiment,” on Friday, Sept. 30, at OSU’s Valley Library main rotunda. The event begins at 7:30 p.m.; a book signing follows.

Published by Alfred A. Knopf, “The Oregon Experiment” tells the story of East Coast transplants Scanlon, a professor of radical movements, and Naomi, a professional ‘nose’ who has lost her sense of smell, as they welcome the birth of their first child. Scanlon’s research with local anarchist groups tests the couple’s loyalty to one another as they struggle to come to terms with their desires, memories and new roles as parents.

This is Scribner’s third novel, and it has been well-received by reviewers, including the San Francisco Chronicle, which wrote: “Scribner has a sharp eye for the complicated grace and endless capacity for self-delusion among our species.... He ably screws the tension ever tighter as his story lengthens.”

Scribner’s second novel, “The GoodLife,” was selected for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers series, and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Scribner teaches in OSU’s Master of Fine Arts program and lives in Corvallis with his wife, poet Jennifer Richter, and their children.

The Literary Northwest Series is co-sponsored by the OSU Bookstore and the OSU English Department, and celebrates regional literary achievement.

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Keith Scribner

Book on “The Daily Show” examines the way rhetoric used

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new book examines the way popular TV show “The Daily Show” uses rhetoric as a critique of the media and politics.

Trischa Goodnow, professor of speech communication at Oregon State University, edited the volume that analyzes the nature of “The Daily Show,” a satirical show hosted by Jon Stewart on Comedy Central that features real newsmakers.

The book, “The Daily Show and Rhetoric” examines the arguments that the show makes about the media and politics, the strategies that are used, and some of the particular issues about which the program makes arguments. Rhetoric is often defined as the study of writing or speaking as a means of persuasive communication.

“Recent surveys have polled Americans as saying Jon Stewart is the most trusted journalist in America, yet he refuses this label, insisting he is only an entertainer,” Goodnow said. “In fact, he has established his credibility through sophisticated uses of rhetoric.”

More than a dozen contributors skillfully demonstrate in the book that “The Daily Show” is more than just a show designed to make the audience laugh, but instead uses language to persuade and inform.

In the first chapter, Goodnow and former OSU graduate student Jonathan Barbur outline how Stewart has gained credibility even as the mainstream TV news media has lost it. Goodnow argues that Aristotle describes ethos as “persuasion that is achieved by the speaker’s character when the speech is so spoken as to make us think him credible.”

Another essay titled “Before and After The Daily Show” outlines how Stewart and his show have changed the media landscape by using rhetorical tools. Author Robert Spicer of DeSales University shows how Stewart critiques the TV media’s use of clips by taking the same story, but showing an extended version of the same clip. For instance, the announcement by George W. Bush of George Tenet’s retirement from the CIA in 2009 was followed by a short TV clip of Bush referring to Tenet as “resolute” and praising him."The Daily Show" featured an extended clip, complete with Bush fumbling his words, giving his announcement a completely different context.

Goodnow said the idea for the book came out of her class at OSU, Introduction to Rhetorical Theory. The final assignment for the class is to show how rhetoric pervades everyone’s lives, using “The Daily Show” as an example.

“Rhetoric has gotten a bad name but my goal is to get students to unpack these ideas and really look at how rhetoric is used,” she said. “It’s important, because rhetoric is everywhere and can be a very powerful tool, but people need to be able to identify what is legitimate information and what’s not.”

Other chapters in the book include an analysis of the visual aspects by Lawrence Mullen of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, an overview of how the show has changed the nature of political satire by Spicer of DeSales University, and a look at “The Daily Show’s” treatment of “queer” topics by C. Wesley Buerkle of East Tennessee State University.

Goodnow is an expert on visual rhetoric. Her next book will tackle the way rhetorical devices are used in American movies.

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Trischa Goodnow, 541-250-2604

New associate dean named for OSU College of Liberal Arts

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Susana Rivera-Mills, professor of foreign languages and literatures, has been appointed to the position of associate dean in Oregon State University’s College of Liberal Arts.

Rivera-Mills has been interim director for student engagement and diversity in the college and those duties will be carried over to her new position. As associate dean, she will focus on student engagement and success, diversity advancement and helping the college increase its global presence. She will also work on faculty mentoring and support.

“Susana has already proven to be an amazing asset to the college as a researcher, teacher and colleague,” said Larry Rodgers, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “She will be a terrific student advocate and ambassador for OSU, and will play key roles in advancing diversity and helping globalize our campus."

In the short term, Rivera-Mills will also continue to implement OSU’s new Center for Latino/a Studies and Engagement until it is successfully established and has a permanent director.

“This is an exciting time in our college with many opportunities for innovation as we continue to reorganize and consider what it means to prepare students for the 21st century in a global context,” Rivera-Mills said. “The initiatives that I will be overseeing allow me to engage with many campus constituencies to create meaningful learning opportunities for students, while at the same time supporting faculty efforts in these endeavors.”

The college’s other associate dean, Michael Oriard, remains on phased retirement. His position will likely be filled sometime in spring 2012.

Story By: 

Lawrence Rodgers, 541-737-4581

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Susana Rivera-Mills
Susana Rivera-Mills