Tickets. Money. Passports. There are a million things to consider before we travel, so much so that the experience often overwhelms what we’d hoped would be a relaxing break from the everyday. When Kevin Oderman, a WVU professor of English, travels, he does it a little differently. “I travel light. I’ll take an extra pair of glasses. A good pair of shoes, because I’m a walker, and I know when I get there I’m mostly going to be on my feet.”
In his book of travel essays, “Cannot Stay,” Oderman shares his experiences from many years of travel.
Don’t mistake this book for a travel guide, with must-see tourist stops, restaurant reviews and promotional material. “Cannot Stay” features a rich collection of experiences and cultures and explores the transformative power of travel over a dozen essays.
“Experiencing other cultures helps us see our own,” he said. “There’s a shock in travel that’s very useful; it encourages us to see there are other ways to live as good as our own,” he said. “Too often we judge other cultures that aren’t like ours. I’m more interested in seeing the limits and strengths of our own culture than in judging theirs.”
When South Africa’s brutal and racially oppressive policies of apartheid came to a close in 1994, Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress party promised that as much as 30 percent of land seized from native farmers by white landowners would be returned to them within 10 years. The reality hasn’t come close.
“They didn’t get to 0.3 percent,” said Brent McCusker, associate professor in the WVU Department of Geology and Geography.
In his new book, “Land Reform In South Africa: An Uneven Transformation,” McCusker and his co-authors present a new framework to explore why land reformation didn’t work. McCusker examines, through case studies, different groups who have dominated land ownership in the region and how those groups’ interactions and influence have helped shape policy in their favor.
“We still have a lot of poverty in South Africa,” McCusker said. “You still have millions of people who are reliant on their own production, but they’re still hamstrung to poor-quality land. They’re left without any sort of viable livelihood system.”
In the wake of World War II, Americans began a contentious debate over the future of the nation. For some, there was an expectation that the United States, like Europe, would move toward an economic system where almost all people were in unions. Others rejected that view.
The key battle for and against union membership in the postwar era took place in the South. In “Struggle for the Soul of the Postwar South: White Evangelical Protestants and Operation Dixie,” WVU history professors Elizabeth Fones- Wolf and Ken Fones-Wolf chronicle the important role of evangelical Protestantism in the battle.
Union representatives often tried to convince ministers and congregations that Jesus preached brotherhood and a message of caring for one another — what unions claimed to represent. Conversely, business and industry officials stressed that social Christianity would lead to Soviet-style union intrusions on freedom and control of everyday life.
Eberly scholars publish numerous books and articles every year. A short selection, bridging many disciplines, is included here.Continue Reading