This past week, I attended the office hours of my current professors to ask them about what kinds of media and resources they consume. It was really interesting to hear about what they were reading, watching and listening to in their free time, as well as how engaged and invested they are in their fields outside of teaching. Because my major is undeclared, my wide variety of classes allowed me to curate a list of diverse resources. Hopefully, readers can get some recommendations for interesting resources to explore and be inspired to spark conversations with their own professors about their interests.
Tom McDonough, associate professor of art history, teaching Art History 254: Modern Art
McDonough’s interest in French history and culture is evident in the books he is currently reading. First is Algerian writer Assia Djebar’s novel “Children of the New World: A Novel of the Algerian War,” a book that discusses Algerian women’s shifting roles during the Algerian War. He is also reading French author and journalist François Maspero’s book “Roissy Express: A Journey Through the Paris Suburbs” — an exploration of the working-class immigrant suburbs of Paris at the end of the 20th century. Lastly, he is reading Canadian artist Emily Carr’s memoir “Klee Wyck” and a biography by Emmanuelle Loyer on the French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, titled “Lévi-Strauss.” McDonough also writes for a variety of art journals.
McDonough enjoys listening to a variety of music via records. Most recently, he has been listening to the Grateful Dead’s “The Snack Benefit Broadcast 1975,” and the Jerry Garcia Band’s “Live At KSAN Pacific High Studio, San Francisco, 6 February 1972.”
David Cingranelli, professor of political science and co-director of the Human Rights Institute, teaching Human Rights 348: Human Rights
Cingranelli consults domestic and international media sources to understand political issues from a global point of view. For example, he frequently looks at content from Al Jazeera news, an English-language news source based in the Middle East. Cingranelli also reads articles and watches news from sources spanning the spectrum of political ideology — everything from Fox News and Newsmax TV to MSNBC News.
Cingranelli enjoys watching international films and politically relevant films. Cingranelli finds international films through The Criterion Collection, a website that offers contemporary films from around the world. A favorite producer of his is Satyajit Ray from Kolkata, India, who has created a variety of independent short films and documentaries. He also recently watched “Cold Mountain,” a historical fiction film set in the South during the Civil War. Cingranelli is also an avid fiction reader, preferring mostly historical fiction. He is currently reading “Sacred Hunger” by Barry Unsworth which is set on a slave ship in the mid-18th century.
Allen MacNeill, professor of Biology 105: Evolution for Everyone
MacNeill explained that he gets most of his resources from the internet, and most of what he consumes is generally related to evolution. He reads a lot of scientific journals and periodicals online, as he has access to most journal articles for free due to his previous job at Cornell University, and he also corresponds with people. MacNeill says that he does not have that much time to read books, but he recently read “This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution” by David Sloan Wilson — a text which he assigned for class — about the evolutionary worldview and its modern implications. MacNeill has also written several of his own textbooks, including “Evolutionary Psychology I: The Science of Human Nature.” MacNeill joked that he hasn’t watched television in 30 years, but he frequently watches videos online about evolution.
Kenny Christianson, lecturer of economics, teaching Economics 162: Intro to Macroeconomics
Christianson gets most of his news from PBS or CNN, watches a lot of documentaries and movies and listens to the radio. He doesn’t read a lot of textbooks, as he has written his own economics textbooks — “Introduction to Macroeconomics” and “Introduction to Microeconomics.” Christianson enjoys watching documentaries about the financial crisis. One documentary series in particular called “Hacking Your Mind,” which is about the way that advertisers try to influence your brain, significantly impacted how Christianson taught his microeconomics class last year.
However, Christianson says that most of his learning is experiential. He is involved with numerous organizations and groups focusing on economic, social and environmental issues. He opened a grocery store during the COVID-19 pandemic to help his community members have easier access to groceries and fresh produce.