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In concert with the Community Conversations initiated by the Freshman Dean’s Office, Harvard College Library has created this guide to help you consider what’s important to you about your identity and your community as you transition from home to Harvard, examine your assumptions and learn about your peers’ diverse identities and perspectives, begin to develop a sense of shared responsibility for upholding a compassionate and respectful community, and engage in conversations that may be challenging or unfamiliar.
- HOLLIS+ HOLLIS+ doubles as both a catalog of the holdings of the libraries and archives at Harvard, comprising books, manuscripts, maps, media, and much more, and as a “one-stop” search engine capable of searching most of the article databases that the library subscribes to, alongside scholarly content from the open web.
- Factiva Factiva is a database of over 8,000 business and news publications, most in full text. Sources are in 22 languages, date back as far as 1969, and include trade journals, newswires (Dow Jones, Reuters, and others), media programs, and company and stock reports. Find information on over 22,000 public and private companies including description, history, current stock quote, financial data, competitors, and the latest news on business activities. Search publications by title, industry, geographic locations, type, and language.
- Ancestry Library Edition Extensive collection of vital records, directories, censuses, military records, and other material from the United States and Canada, intended for genealogical research. Includes fully-indexed, full-text images of United States federal census returns, 1790-1940.
- CQ Researcher CQ Researcher, published by CQ (Congressional Quarterly) Press, reports on a current social issue each week. Reports are approximately 12,000 words long and provide: background information, important points to consider, charts and graphs, and a source list for further reading. Frequently covered topics include public policy, public opinion, economics, education, environment, government and law.
- Ethnic NewsWatch Ethnic NewsWatch is an interdisciplinary, bilingual (English and Spanish), and comprehensive full text database of the newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press in the United States.
- Smithsonian Global Sound Smithsonian Global Sound is an international collection of all types of recorded sound. The tracks include folk, popular, and classical world music, non-musical recordings such as speeches and oral histories, and a variety of natural, animal, and human sounds. Global Sound recordings have been collected from archives such as Smithsonian Folkways, the International Library of African Music, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, and the Archives and Research Center for Ethnomusicology. The collection can be searched with keywords and by geographic area, cultural group, instrument, and language.
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Want to continue the conversation? You may also enjoy these books.
- Becoming a Visible Man by Best Book in Transgender Studies, 2005 Winner, Center for Lesbian & Gay Studies (CLAGS), NY 2005 Lambda Literary Award Finalist. Written by a leading activist in the transgender movement, Becoming a Visible Man is an artful and compelling inquiry into the politics of gender. Jamison Green combines candid autobiography with informed analysis to offer unique insight into the multiple challenges of the female-to-male transsexual experience, ranging from encounters with prejudice and strained relationships with family to the development of an FTM community and the realities of surgical sex reassignment. For more than a decade, Green has provided educational programs on gender-variance issues for corporations, law-enforcement agencies, social-science conferences and classes, continuing legal education, religious education, and medical venues. His comprehensive knowledge of the processes and problems encountered by transgendered and transsexual people--as well as his legal advocacy work to help ensure that gender-variant people have access to the same rights and opportunities as others--enable him to explain the issues as no transsexual author has previously done. Brimming with frank and often poignant recollections of Green's own experiences--including his childhood struggles with identity and his years as a lesbian parent prior to his sex-reassignment surgery--the book examines transsexualism as a human condition, and sex reassignment as one of the choices that some people feel compelled to make in order to manage their gender variance. Relating the FTM psyche and experience to the social and political forces at work in American society, Becoming a Visible Man also speaks consciously of universal principles that concern us all, particularly the need to live one's life honestly, openly, and passionately.Call Number: Check it out from the special display bookshelf in the front lobby of Lamont Library.
- The Black Girl Next Door by A powerful, beautifully written memoir about coming of age as a black girl in an exclusive white suburb in "integrated," post-Civil Rights California in the 1970s and 1980s. At six years of age, after winning a foot race against a white classmate, Jennifer Baszile was humiliated to hear her classmate explain that Black people "have something in their feet to make them run faster than white people." When she asked her teacher about it, it was confirmed as true. The next morning, Jennifer's father accompanied her to school, careful to "assert himself as an informed and concerned parent and not simply a big, black, dangerous man in a first-grade classroom." This was the first of many skirmishes in Jennifer's childhood-long struggle to define herself as "the Black girl next door" while living out her parents' dreams. Success for her was being the smartest and achieving the most, with the consequence that much of her girlhood did not seem like her own but more like the "family project." But integration took a toll on everyone in the family when strain in her parents' marriage emerged in her teenage years, and the struggle to be the perfect Black family became an unbearable burden. A deeply personal view of a significant period of American social history, The Black Girl Next Door deftly balances childhood experiences with adult observations, creating an illuminating and poignant look at a unique time in our country's history.Call Number: Check it out from the special display bookshelf in the front lobby of Lamont Library.
- Black White and Jewish by The Civil Rights movement brought author Alice Walker and lawyer Mel Leventhal together, and in 1969 their daughter, Rebecca, was born. Some saw this unusual copper-colored girl as an outrage or an oddity; others viewed her as a symbol of harmony, a triumph of love over hate. But after her parents divorced, leaving her a lonely only child ferrying between two worlds that only seemed to grow further apart, Rebecca was no longer sure what she represented. In this book, Rebecca Leventhal Walker attempts to define herself as a soul instead of a symbol--and offers a new look at the challenge of personal identity, in a story at once strikingly unique and truly universal.Call Number: Check it out from the special display bookshelf in the front lobby of Lamont Library.
- The Color of Water by The New York Times best selling story from the author of "The Good Lord Bird," winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction. Who is Ruth McBride Jordan? A self-declared "light-skinned" woman evasive about her ethnicity, yet steadfast in her love for her twelve black children. James McBride, journalist, musician, and son, explores his mother's past, as well as his own upbringing and heritage, in a poignant and powerful debut, "The Color Of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother." The son of a Black minister and a woman who would not admit she was white, James McBride grew up in "orchestrated chaos" with his eleven siblings in the poor, all-Black projects of Red Hook, Brooklyn. "Mommy," a fiercely protective woman with "dark eyes full of pep and fire," herded her brood to Manhattan's free cultural events, sent them off on buses to the best (and mainly Jewish) schools, demanded good grades, and commanded respect. As a young man, McBride saw his mother as a source of embarrassment, worry, and confusion and reached thirty before he began to discover the truth about her early life and long-buried pain. In "The Color of Water," McBride retraces his mother's footsteps and, through her searing and spirited voice, recreates her remarkable story. The daughter of a failed itinerant Orthodox rabbi, she was born Rachel Shilsky (actually Ruchel Dwara Zylska) in Poland on April 1, 1921. Fleeing pogroms, her family emigrated to America and ultimately settled in Suffolk, Virginia, a small town where anti-Semitism and racial tensions ran high. With candor and immediacy, Ruth describes her parents' loveless marriage; her fragile, handicapped mother; her cruel, sexually-abusive father; and the rest of the family and life she abandoned. At seventeen, after fleeing Virginia and settling in New York City, Ruth married a black minister and founded the all- black New Brown Memorial Baptist Church in her Red Hook living room. "God is the color of water," Ruth McBride taught her children, firmly convinced that life's blessings and life's values transcend race. Twice widowed, and continually confronting overwhelming adversity and racism, Ruth's determination, drive and discipline saw her dozen children through college and most through graduate school. At age 65, she herself received a degree in social work from Temple University. Interspersed throughout his mother's compelling narrative, McBride shares candid recollections of his own experiences as a mixed-race child of poverty, his flirtations with drugs and violence, and his eventual self- realization and professional success. "The Color of Water" touches readers of all colors as a vivid portrait of growing up, a haunting meditation on race and identity, and a lyrical valentine to a mother from her son."Call Number: Check it out from the special display bookshelf in the front lobby of Lamont Library.
- Crazy Brave by In this transcendent memoir, grounded in tribal myth and ancestry, music and poetry, Joy Harjo, one of our leading Native American voices, details her journey to becoming a poet. Born in Oklahoma, the end place of the Trail of Tears, Harjo grew up learning to dodge an abusive stepfather by finding shelter in her imagination, a deep spiritual life, and connection with the natural world. She attended an Indian arts boarding school, where she nourished an appreciation for painting, music, and poetry; gave birth while still a teenager; and struggled on her own as a single mother, eventually finding her poetic voice. Narrating the complexities of betrayal and love, is a memoir about family and the breaking apart necessary in finding a voice. Harjo's tale of a hardscrabble youth, young adulthood, and transformation into an award-winning poet and musician is haunting, unique, and visionary.Call Number: Check it out from the special display bookshelf in the front lobby of Lamont Library.
- The Distance Between Us by Mago pointed to a spot on the dirt floor and reminded me that my umbilical cord was buried there. "That way," Mami told the midwife, "no matter where life takes her, she won't ever forget where she came from." Then Mago touched my belly button. She said that my umbilical cord was like a ribbon that connected me to Mami. She said, "It doesn't matter that there's a distance between us now. That cord is there forever." When Reyna Grande's father leaves his wife and three children behind in a village in Mexico to make the dangerous trek across the border to the United States, he promises he will soon return from "El Otro Lado" (The Other Side) with enough money to build them a dream house where they can all live together. His promises become harder to believe as months turn into years. When he summons his wife to join him, Reyna and her siblings are deposited in the already overburdened household of their stern, unsmiling grandmother. The three siblings are forced to look out for themselves; in childish games they find a way to forget the pain of abandonment and learn to solve very adult problems. When their mother at last returns, the reunion sets the stage for a dramatic new chapter in Reyna's young life: her own journey to "El Otro Lado" to live with the man who has haunted her imagination for years, her long-absent father. In this extraordinary memoir, award-winning writer Reyna Grande vividly brings to life her tumultuous early years, capturing all the confusion and contradictions of childhood, especially one spent torn between two parents and two countries. Elated when she feels the glow of her father's love and approval, Reyna knows that at any moment he might turn angry or violent. Only in books and music and her rich imaginary life does she find solace, a momentary refuge from a world in which every place feels like "El Otro Lado." The Distance Between Us captures one girl's passage from childhood to adolescence and beyond. A funny, heartbreaking, lyrical story, it reminds us that the joys and sorrows of childhood are always with us, invisible to the eye but imprinted on the heart, forever calling out to us of those places we first called home.Call Number: Check it out from the special display bookshelf in the front lobby of Lamont Library.
- Dreams from My Father by In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a Black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a Black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father--a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man--has been killed in a car accident. This sudden death inspires an emotional odyssey--first to a small town in Kansas, from which he retraces the migration of his mother's family to Hawaii, and then to Kenya, where he meets the African side of his family, confronts the bitter truth of his father's life, and at last reconciles his divided inheritance. Pictured in left hand photograph on cover: Habiba Akumu Hussein and Barack Obama, Sr. (President Obama's paternal grandmother and his father as a young boy). Pictured in righthand photograph on cover: Stanley Dunham and Ann Dunham (President Obama's maternal grandfather and his mother as a young girl).Call Number: Check it out from the special display bookshelf in the front lobby of Lamont Library.
- Ghost of Sangju by "I was born in South Korea and named Soojung. I was three years old when I arrived in the US to be adopted by an American family and renamed Raina. At twenty-five I gave birth to the first of three children, and at thirty-three I adopted one more from China. I was thirty-six when I learned the identity of my Korean mother, or omma, and thirty-seven when I learned that my Korean father was her kidnapper and rapist..." So begins Ghost of Sangju, which takes readers from Soojung's childhood in Kentucky filled with joy, family, friendship--and the loneliness of being marked as an outsider even in her own home--to her return to Korea and the family that lost her. Alternating between humor and heartbreak, she offers a glimpse into a life foreign to most: that of a West Point cadet and her return to South Korea, the country that had once sent her away. Soojung vividly paints a portrait of marriage, parenthood (as both a biological and adoptive mother) and the tumultuous emotions of reuniting, rediscovering, and reestablishing lost familial bonds. Ghost of Sangju is a story of one woman's journey to merge her two selves, and the universal search for self-discovery, identity, and reconciliation.Call Number: Check it out from the special display bookshelf in the front lobby of Lamont Library.
- Our Sacred Maíz Is Our Mother by If you want to know who you are and where you come from, follow the maiz.; That was the advice given to author Roberto Cintli Rodriguez when he was investigating the origins and migrations of Mexican peoples in the Four Corners region of the United States. Follow it he did, and his book Our Sacred Maiz Is Our Mother changes the way we look at Mexican Americans. Not so much peoples created as a result of war or invasion, they are people of the corn, connected through a seven-thousand-year old maiz culture to other Indigenous inhabitants of the continent. Using corn as the framework for discussing broader issues of knowledge production and history of belonging, the author looks at how corn was included in codices and Mayan texts, how it was discussed by elders, and how it is represented in theater and stories as a way of illustrating that Mexicans and Mexican Americans share a common culture. Rodriguez brings together scholarly and traditional (elder) knowledge about the long history of maiz/corn cultivation and culture, its roots in Mesoamerica, and its living relationship to Indigenous peoples throughout the continent, including Mexicans and Central Americans now living in the United States. The author argues that, given the restrictive immigration policies and popular resentment toward migrants, a continued connection to maiz culture challenges the social exclusion and discrimination that frames migrants as outsiders and gives them a sense of belonging not encapsulated in the idea of citizenship. The hidden transcripts of corn in everyday culture, art, song, stories, dance, and cuisine (maiz-based foods like the tortilla) have nurtured, even across centuries of colonialism, the living maiz culture of ancient knowledge.Call Number: Check it out from the special display bookshelf in the front lobby of Lamont Library.
- Three Little Words by "Sunshine, you're my baby and I'm your only mother. You must mind the one taking care of you, but she's not your mama." Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent nine years of her life in fourteen different foster homes, living by those words. As her mother spirals out of control, Ashley is left clinging to an unpredictable, dissolving relationship, all the while getting pulled deeper and deeper into the foster care system. Painful memories of being taken away from her home quickly become consumed by real-life horrors, where Ashley is juggled between caseworkers, shuffled from school to school, and forced to endure manipulative, humiliating treatment from a very abusive foster family. In this inspiring, unforgettable memoir, Ashley finds the courage to succeed - and in doing so, discovers the power of her own voice.Call Number: Check it out from the special display bookshelf in the front lobby of Lamont Library.
- Welfare Brat by An intimate and frank look at poverty, abuse, and welfare dependence by a "welfare brat" who came of age in the blighted Bronx of the 1960s. Mary Childers grew up in a neighborhood ravaged by poverty. Once a borough of elegant apartment buildings, parks, and universities, the Bronx had become a national symbol of urban decay. White flight, arson, rampant crime, and race riots provide the backdrop for Mary's story. The child of an absent carny father for whom she longed and a single welfare mother who schemed and struggled to house and feed her brood, Mary was the third of her mother's surviving seven children, who were fathered by four different men. From an early age, Mary knew she was different. She loved her family fiercely but didn't want to repeat her mother's or older sisters' mistakes. The Childers family culture was infused with alcohol and drugs, and relations between the sexes were muddled by simultaneous feelings of rage and desire toward men. Fatherless children were the norm. Academic achievement and hard work were often scorned, not rewarded; five of the seven Childers children dropped out of high school. But Mary was determined to create a better life, and here she recounts her bumpy road to self-sufficiency. With this engaging and thoughtful examination of her difficult early years, Mary Childers breathes messy life into the issues of poverty and welfare dependence, childhood resilience, the American work ethic, and a popular culture that values sexuality more than self-esteem.Call Number: Check it out from the special display bookshelf in the front lobby of Lamont Library.
- Women Without Class by In this examination of white and Mexican-American girls coming of age in California's Central Valley, Julie Bettie turns class theory on its head and offers new tools for understanding the ways in which class identity is constructed and, at times, fails to be constructed in relationship to color, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality. Documenting the categories of subculture and style that high school students use to explain class and racial/ethnic differences among themselves, Bettie depicts the complex identity performances of contemporary girls. The title, Women Without Class, refers at once to young working-class women who have little cultural capital to enable class mobility, to the fact that class analysis and social theory has remained insufficiently transformed by feminist and ethnic studies, and to the fact that some feminist analysis has itself been complicit in the failure to theorize women as class subjects. Bettie's research and analysis make a case for analytical and political attention to class, but not at the expense of attention to other axes of identity and social formations.Call Number: Check it out from the special display bookshelf in the front lobby of Lamont Library.