University of Texas at Austin

Archive for November, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

“Snoop” in Smithsonian Magazine

Do your books, knick-knacks, music and wall décor reveal the essential makeup of your character? University of Texas at Austin psychologist Sam Gosling, who has studied the psychology of personal space for more than 10 years, says they do.

In his new book “Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You” (Basic Books, 2008), Gosling reveals some of the key findings from his research, a special brand of voyeurism he calls “snoopology.”

Smithsonian Magazine recently wrote about Gosling’s work in the Oct.…

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Critique This Book: Longhorn Reviews

Although staff at UT Libraries don’t expect to see the death of the book in its traditional printed form anytime soon, they aren’t taking any chances. Staff members are constantly seeking new ways to integrate technology with long-standing library practices.

One new feature recently launched by the libraries is Longhorn Reviews, a Web 2.0 tool for the Library Catalog that allows users to submit reviews of titles housed at the university.

Matt Lisle, libraries information analyst and Longhorn Reviews project member, says user-generated…

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Law Professor Investigates the Preemption War

Three years ago, The New York Times tapped the expertise of regulatory law expert Thomas McGarity, professor in the School of Law at UT, for a story about the Bush Administration’s quiet strategy to limit lawsuits against product manufacturers by asserting the power of federal regulatory agencies.

The story eventually led McGarity to write “The Preemption War: When Federal Bureaucracies Trump Local Juries” (Yale University Press, 2008) about the decade-long preemption war in the courts, federal agencies and Congress—an issue he’d worked…

Monday, November 24, 2008

“Dream City” Novelist at BookPeople

Michener Center graduate Brendan Short (MFA ‘05) will be at BookPeople this Tuesday, Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. to read from his debut novel, “Dream City” (MacAdam/Cage, 2008).

Set in Depression-era Chicago, “Dream City” tells the story of a young boy’s obsession with comic book heroes, and his life-long attempt to recapture the innocence of his childhood.

Library Journal called the novel “an impressively mature first effort..complex and compelling…Highly recommended” in its Aug. 15 review. Check out more reviews of “Dream City” at…

Friday, November 21, 2008

When Writing Met Art

Bibliophiles may spend a lot of time thinking about writing, but that generally means the writing we see as we flip the pages of a book, not going back to the clay tablets and artifacts found in the ancient Near East.

To understand those beginning forms of written communication, there is no better source than Denise Schmandt-Besserat, professor emerita in the Departments of Art and Art History and Middle Eastern Studies.

Schmandt-Besserat is credited with discovering the origins of writing. Her most…

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Books Offer New Perspectives on American Indian Identity

November is a time of year when popular culture often revisits stereotypes about American Indians via mythologized depictions of the first thanksgiving in the New World. However, the historical facts don’t always match the picture painted in elementary school celebrations.

Scholars at The University of Texas at Austin whose research overturns these stereotypes include Steven Hoelscher, chair of the Department of American Studies, and Erika Bsumek, assistant professor of history.

Both of these faculty members have new books out this fall…

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Alum’s Science Fiction Book Tackles Dangers of Global Warming

Imagine a world where ungodly temperatures create a hell on Earth for mankind. This heat leads to a frightening evolution of living things.

Animals grow at astronomical rates; monstrous creatures roam the Earth. The power of photosynthesis rises to new heights. Giant plant-life towers to the skies and challenges the agricultural industry. The city of Dallas becomes so polluted that humans must live underground where they can escape the mighty beasts.

This is the scenario in University of Texas at Austin…

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Interview with a Vampire Expert

Fans of the “Twilight” vampire/romance series by Stephanie Meyer don’t have long to wait for their next Edward fix. The film based on The New York Times bestselling books opens this Friday, Nov. 21.

Since the release of the concluding book in the saga, “Breaking Dawn,” vampire expert Thomas Garza, chair of the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at the university, has been helping the media make sense of the series’ appeal.

We asked Dr. Garza a few questions to help…

Monday, November 17, 2008

Littlefield Fund Brings Back War Between the States

A century and a half after the American Civil War, UT Libraries are involved in publishing a massive new history of the event that is scheduled to take almost twice as long as the fighting itself.

“The Littlefield History of the Civil War Era” is a 16-volume series covering the entire scope of the conflict–the prelude to the postscript–published by the University of North Carolina Press and funded by the Littlefield Fund for Southern History at the UT Libraries.

Featuring a bevy…

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lecture Highlights 50th Anniversary of “Exodus” by Leon Uris

Leon Uris’ biographer Ira Nadel, professor of English at the University of British Columbia, visits campus next Monday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. to discuss the legacy of Uris’ seminal work “Exodus.”

First published by Doubleday in 1958, “Exodus” tells the story of the founding of the state of Israel and became an international publishing phenomenon–it has since been translated into more than 50 languages and was made into a 1960 film starring Paul Newman.

The lecture, “Leon Uris and Exodus: 50 Years…