Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Deaf People and Eugenics

International History of Deaf People during World War II

Last April I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC where they had an exhibit on Eugenics before and during the Holocaust called Deadly Medicine . Here they described the contribution of doctors to Hitler's vision of the perfect race of people, including the sterilization of disabled people and development of methods of killing mentally ill and developmentally delayed people in mass numbers.

My awareness of Deaf people during the Holocaust developed when I met a Deaf woman from Germany. Her parents and sister were also Deaf. Her mother and sister had been sterilized as part of the cleansing of the German people. She, however, was only 9 or 10 years old at the time -- too young for the operation. When she grew up, she married a German Deaf man, emmigrated to America, gave birth to a Deaf daughter who also gave birth to a Deaf child. I've always thought that was a great story of how another person defeated Hitler.

But this is not an unusual story. Many Deaf children and adults were sterilized, some underwent forced abortions. Apparently, there was a myth that schools for the Deaf in Germany sheltered many children from these forced sterilizations, but relatively recent research has found that schools, rather than protect their children, often colluded with government officials. Biesold, Horst (1999) Crying hands : eugenics and deaf people in Nazi Germany Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press. (And of course, Alexander Graham Bell was a strong force in eugenics here in the US, while he worked with deaf children.)

A recent book by Carol Padden and Tom Humphries, Inside Deaf Culture (HV2545 .P35 2005 at both Library West and the Education Library), discusses genetic testing and research with Deaf people. What does it mean when we can decide which disorders and diseases can be eliminated? What does it mean when groups of people should be eliminated, especially when they view themselves as a cultural group? What are weaknesses? What are differences?

But the website on Deaf people during WWII at the Rochester Institute of the Deaf not only includes videotapes of Deaf people from the US, Israel, and Germany describing their experiences during the Holocaust. Nope. It also includes rememberances of Deaf Japanese-Americans in Internment Camps in the US, and Japanese Deaf people in Nagasaki during the bombings. And artwork by Deaf artist and Holocaust survivor David Bloch. It is excellent!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Databases, Indexes, Print and Online

Recently 2 graduate students asked me if online databases would find print journals articles as well as electronic ones. And, they wanted to know, would they find articles that weren't in their own database. "Would Sociological Abstracts find journals that weren't full-text in Sociological Abstracts?" That was pretty ironic, since Sociological Abstracts actually contains no full-text journals.

"Huh?" you say. "I found an article that was online from SA just yesterday." Yeah. Sort of.

This explanation might bore you to tears (which is why we rarely tell anyone). On the other hand, it might clear up everything in the world for you.

Here's my beautiful diagram:
The first two boxes under the main database box show that some databases only index journals and articles, but don't have full text themselves. In our fields, these are the databases used most often, like LLBA, Sociological Abstracts, and PsycINFO.

You look through these databases for articles of interest. If you find one, our software, called SFX uses DOIs (digital object indicators -- links directly to articles) to find the ARTICLES we have access to through other databases. Sometimes articles don't have DOIs or our SFX database isn't up to date. Then you can follow the link to our catalog where wel list whether we have print copies of the journal or whether we subscribe to the e-journal for any period. (It doesn't tell you if we have the particular ARTICLE there.) If we have subscribe to some period of time (through any database), it will link to our database of e-journals and then to the database where the journal is. You need to look for the article there.

Other databases only contain full text journals -- most of these are publisher's databases or Open Access databases. In the Social Sciences you generally don't use these to look for articles. They are basically archives of journal articles. Generally, you use SFX or serial solutions to provide links between the indexing databases and the archiving databases.

But there are other databases. Like Academic Search Premier or Gale's OneFile. These have journals from lots of different publishers. The database indexes all kinds of articles, scholarly and popular, from all different fields -- science, social science and humanities. Some is full text, some are just citations.

So you can look up citations to full text or print in almost any index and find full text and print articles there. Link to them. Link to the library catalog. Pretty much just play around for as long as you'd like. I hope this made some sense and was a bit interesting to you...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

African American Newspapers

The Historical Context of African American Newspapers: The 19th Century and The Chicago Defender

When Woodrow Wilson was mentioned in the Chicago Defender, it stated "President Woodrow Wilson (white) yesterday announced..." because that was how the African Americans of the time were cited in white-owned papers.

Last weekend I was watching TV (okay, so I watch a lot of TV while knitting and spinning) and I saw a fantastic program on PBS called The Black Press: Soldiers without Swords (Video #4678). Like much of what passes for entertainment on television today, it was fascinating. It delved into the blossoming of Black-owned newspapers all over the country after the Civil War when African Americans, especially in the South, were first allowed to read and write and used their literacy to keep abreast of what was happening in their world and also to actively change it.

When certain cities, again especially in the South, outlawed the distribution of the newspapers, Pullman Porters distributed them between towns by tossing bundles of them off trains. They said each purchased paper of the Chicago Defender was read by 4-5 people, since they were passed among friends.

More information, the entire transcript of the program, additional transcripts and videos of journalists, historians, and everyday folks talking about the importance of Black-owned newspapers are available free on PBS's website: The Black Press.

The UF libraries have electronic access to a database of African American Newspapers from the 19th century. We also have access to the Chicago Defender through the Black Studies Center.

In addition, if you search in our catalog under the subject "african american newspapers," you'll find 6 newspapers. However, if you look at that result list, you'll see that in many entries "african american newspapers" is followed by the name of a state in the U.S. Thus, we have a newspaper or newspapers from that state in microfilm. We probably have newspapers from at least 20-25 states. Often more than one from each state. (The following is just one page of the results list.)

Browse List: Subject Previous Page Next Page
No. of Recs Brief Recs Entry
African American newspapers -- Georgia
African American newspapers -- History
African American newspapers -- History -- 19th century
African American newspapers -- History -- 20th century
African American newspapers -- Indexes
African American newspapers -- Indiana
African American newspapers -- Michigan
African American newspapers -- Mississippi -- Bibliography -- Union lists
African American newspapers -- Mississippi -- Directories
African American newspapers -- Mississippi -- History

So we have maybe a hundred newspapers to wander through. And books on the history of those newspapers as well.

Go ahead and start with the online papers, but look at the papers from your own neighborhood. See if you can find your family and friends in there! You never know when you'll find a cousin, your grandmother, or the man you most admired in your life in a newspaper article!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Videos on the Internet

Which inspiring sociologist, psychologist, or linguist have you met in your backyard?

Max Weber Visits North Carolina -- Undergraduate Classes' Passion and Investigations

Today I was wandering around the Internet, looking for videos about these fields I love. I stumbled upon one made by the North Carolina Sociological Society about Professor Larry Keeter at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. (Before my stint here, I worked at a college near App State and lived a few miles down the road, so I do love Appalachia.)

Apparently early in Keeter's teaching career, students asked whether Max Weber had ever visited the United States and where. Quite a bit of research by him and the student led to the exciting information that Max Weber and his wife Marianne had visited relatives in North Carolina Appalachia. The students interviewed folks who were still alive and the rest became history.

This is a marvelous video of how inspiring study and history can become. Of course, it helps that some kind of miracle happens. Like that someone amazing, the figure from your field happened to land next door. Especially when you live in a neighborhood that is dismissed and denigrated by most of the other neighborhoods.

The video also discusses interesting historical info about how the folks viewed Weber right before WWI. Unfortunately, we don't have Keeter's article about the students investigation and oral history. Order it through InterLibrary Loan or let me know and I'll do it for you.

Keeter, Larry (spring-summer, 1981) Max Weber's Visit to North Carolina. The Journal of the History of Sociology, 3(2). 108-114.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Stanley Milgram's Experiments

Milgram's Experiment "Replicated" on ABC's Primetime

Each semester students find out about the Milgram Experiments, sometimes from a psychology class, sometimes from their English/composition classes. As most everyone is, they are shocked, dismayed, horrified, to find out about the "banality of evil." To learn that under the guidance of an authority figure, everyday, normal people will administer electric shocks to innocents.

Primetime has a short video on its website that you can watch. However, in the video, they fail to state that the main difference they found between the participants who finished the experiment, giving the entire set of shocks, and those who refused, was...those who refused took personal responsiblity for their actions. The others were "doing their job" or "just following orders." (However, I'd like to see a real write up.)

But what really interested me was that at the time the Milgram Experiments were done in the 1960's, Milgram and the psychology world in general were aghast at the psychological pain that the experimental subjects endured. The APA held Milgram's application to the APA because of ethical concerns from his work. Human subjects restrictions were developed and tightened because of this work. Milgram and his colleagues were very careful to sit with subjects after the experiment and calm them after they found out the could act in such ways.

However, in the Primetime story, the reporter sat with the subjects and pointedly asked them how they could administer the shocks without considering the feelings or health of the "learner." As one of the other librarians said to me, he was torturing the torturer. Do we think that people have become so inured to torture, that we have to remind them when they engage in it? There wasn't an increase in the number of people finishing the experiment.

(Actually, in the study for Primetime, they shortened the experiment, so they didn't actually administer as "dangerous" a shock level. And 20% of Milgram's subjects stopped between the end of the Primetime experiment and his. So even though Primetime said that the results were similar, if another 20% stopped, then we'd get about 50.4% finishing, rather than 63%.)

The library has several resources about these experiments -- and also about the Zimbardo Prison Experiment. The program interviewed Philip Zimbardo and several of the "inmates" and "guards" who took part in the experiment, which Zimbardo calls one of the most unethical experiments ever run. (I assume he means in the United States. Not quite as bad as some in Nazi Germany, which were what these experiments were intended to study.)

Our resources include videos and DVDs, among them Quiet Rage: a DVD of the Stanford Prison Experiment. Zimbardo has an excellent website about the experiment as well. The Discovering Psychology series of videotapes includes a !9th tape which describes and excerpts the Milgram Experiment and the Prison Experiment.

The man who shocked the world : the life and legacy of Stanley Milgram by Thomas Blass was published in 2004. Thomas Blass is a psychologist who clearly greatly admires Milgram. (HM1031.M55 B57 2004)

American dreams and Nazi nightmares : early Holocaust consciousness and liberal America, 1957-1965, a book by Kirsten Fermaglich, describes how Jewish Americans, among them Stanley Milgram, took lessons from the Holocaust and applied them to the political situation in America after World War II. (LIBRARY WEST, Judaica Library 1st Floor - Northwest Corner D804.7.M67 F47 2006)

Understanding genocide: the social psychology of the Holocaust
edited by Leonard S. Newman and Ralph Erber is accessible online through netLibrary (logon remotely through VPN), We also have the book in print in the Judaica Library (the Northwest Corner of the 1st Floor in Library West). (D804.3 .S597 2002)

Classic experiments in psychology by Douglas Mook discusses the Milgram and the Unresponsive Bystander Experiments. (BF198.7 .M66 2004)

Experiments with people : revelations from social psychology edited by Robert P. Abelson, Kurt P. Frey, Aiden P. Gregg. includes Milgram's own discussion of his studies. (BF198.7 .M66 2004)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Invitation to Blog

What have you found to help you in the library? What is annoying?What is perplexing?

Would you write a short article in my blog about it? I wish to invite anyone from the University of Florida -- faculty, staff, graduate or undergraduate student -- to discuss the exciting, the perplexing and the annoying about the library here. Call (352-273-2649) or email and I'll set you up so that you can write in the blog.

A great book? A fantastic encyclopedia? Got squashed in the compact shelving? Wish you could put on a musical in the library? ( You might also wish to write something for a class you intend to teach later in the semester. Great idea!

Of course, you can always comment using the "comment" feature in the blog, but this way you'll be center stage.

Let me know. I'll be waiting. With my fingers crossed....