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Scholars' careers, a Maui vacation romp, nurses as advocates and family business

Book, DVD and digital archive mark Abrams' long career

"M.H. Abrams at Cornell University," a new publication chronicling the career and legacy of the influential scholar, is part of a digital archive available on the Internet. The project is published by Internet-First University Press, founded by J. Robert Cooke and Kenneth M. King.

Abrams, the Class of 1916 Professor of English Literature Emeritus, joined Cornell's English faculty in 1945. He was a founder of the A.D. White Center for the Humanities and is an acclaimed authority on 18th- and 19th-century literature, literary criticism and European romanticism. He is the founding and general editor of the Norton Anthology of English Literature, from 1962 through its eighth edition in 2005. His works include "The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition," published in 1953.

All of the project's content -- articles and essays, photography, video and audio -- is accessible online, via open-access distribution; or can be purchased as a 95-page book and two-DVD set. The Abrams project is part of The Legacy of Cornell Faculty and Staff Collection, which also includes materials on Hans Bethe and Dale Corson. The collection is available at

A T-Rex takes Maui

Cornell mathematics senior lecturer and former Maui resident Patty Alessi recently published "Rrreggie T. Rex's Vacation on Maui (A Story and Maui Guidebook)," a humorous romp into the creative mind of an 8-year-old boy on vacation with his family. Alessi, who directs the Learning Strategies Center Statistics Lab, has hit the road to promote the book and will be signing copies for alumni at Reunion and at the Cornell Store. She already has traveled to the Maui Ocean Center and Aquarium, and presented "What Do Dinosaurs, Maui and Imagination Have in Common?"

Alessi's story weaves together a wealth of information from details of prehistoric creatures, to facts about Hawaiian culture and geography, to heartwarming lessons of growing up, and is illustrated by Will Chen '10, who is studying fine arts and economics.

Shame on business, says professor

ILR School labor law professor James A. Gross takes U.S. corporations to task for immoral treatment of workers. He would like to see an American workplace based on respect for human rights and a U.S. market philosophy compatible with human rights principles.

In "A Shameful Business: The Case for Human Rights in the American Workplace" (Cornell University Press, 2010), Gross assesses freedom of association, racial discrimination, management rights, workplace safety and human resources through the principles of the human rights movement.

"Employers who maintain workplaces that require men and women and sometimes even children to risk their lives and endanger their health and eyes and limbs in order to earn a living are treating human life as cheap and are seeking their own gain through the desecration of human life," writes Gross, who sees such behavior as a crime against humanity. He reveals that corporate "best practices" can themselves be seen as human rights issues.

Nurses go beyond chicken soup

In "When Chicken Soup Isn't Enough: Stories of Nurses Standing Up for Themselves, Their Patients, and Their Profession" (Cornell University Press, 2010), Suzanne Gordon '67 collects stories by 70 registered nurses who know that effective advocacy isn't easy.

The collected personal narratives come from a wide range of nurses and from across the globe. The assembled profiles in professional courage provide new insight into the daily challenges that RNs face in North America and abroad -- and how they overcome them with skill, ingenuity, persistence and individual and collective advocacy at work and in the community. The book includes the voices of RNs working at the bedside, providing home care, managing hospital departments, teaching and doing research, lobbying for quality patient care and campaigning for health care reform.

While not providing solace for nurses, whether they be in hospitals, nursing homes or schools of nursing, this book does portray the myriad obstacles to quality patient care that nurses face. These include work overload, inadequate funding for nursing education and research and poor communication, both within and between medical professions.

Gordon previously authored "Safety in Numbers: Nurse-to-Patient Ratios and the Future of Health Care" (CUP, 2008).

Book traces Carlson's career, evolution of theater studies

The career of former Cornell professor Marvin Carlson, Ph.D. '61, is the subject of a recent book, "Changing the Subject: Marvin Carlson and Theatre Studies 1959-2009."

Edited and with an introduction by Joseph Roach, Ph.D. '73, the book collects new essays by eminent scholars to create a casebook of changes in the field over the past 50 years. Carlson mapped the issues, ideas and methods of the emerging discipline.

The book allows readers to trace the evolution of major paradigms in theater studies -- including the drive to document historic performances, the rise of radical theaters and artists and the application of theory -- while following Carlson's development as a scholar, teacher and mentor.

Carlson joined the Cornell faculty in 1961 and taught for 20 years in what is now the Department of Theatre, Film and Dance with a joint appointment in comparative literature. He then taught for seven years at Indiana University and is now a professor of theater, comparative literature and of Middle Eastern studies at the City University of New York Graduate Center.

"Changing the Subject" includes a foreword by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Yale drama department chair Paula Vogel, M.A. '76. Other contributors include Roach; Gay Gibson Cima, Ph.D. '78; Barry Daniels, Ph.D. '73; Roger Herzel, Ph.D. '74; Judith Milhous, Ph.D. '74; Doug Paterson, M.A. '70, Ph.D. '72; and David Savran, Ph.D. '78.

Family business, family relationships

Roy Hampton Park Jr., MBA '63, has penned "Sons in the Shadow: Surviving the Family Business as an SOB (Son of the Boss)" (Elderbury Press, 2009). Park, a Cornell trustee emeritus and presidential councillor, is the son of Roy Hampton Park (1910-1993), the founder and chairman of media company Park Communications Inc. In the book, Roy Park Jr. recounts what it was like to be the son of a self-made entrepreneur and explores the dynamics of family business relationships at Park Communications and at businesses large and small.

"Few people are in a position to offer an inside view of such an important and intriguing business pioneer," says Cornell professor of management and economics Robert Frank about "Sons in the Shadow." "Fewer still have the keen eye for detail required to take full advantage of such an opportunity. … [Park's] virtuosity as a writer shines on every page. It's a gripping human drama."

Park also said he decided to write the book after discovering, through his interactions with hundreds of Park Leadership Fellows (a Park Foundation-funded Johnson School program) over the last 10 years, that "few knew the story behind the Triad Foundation, the entity that covered their MBA fellowship grants."

The book includes commentary by John Babcock, former CEO and executive vice president at Park Communications, who himself was also a "son in the shadow" -- his father was H.E. Babcock, the founder of GLF, the largest farm cooperative in the country and also a former chairman of the Cornell Board of Trustees.

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