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4 faculty authors publish new books

Published on September 29, 2021

4 faculty authors publish new books

Four faculty members from Eastern Connecticut State University have recently published academic books spanning philosophy, Caribbean economics, the musicality of film and Latina leadership. The faculty authors include political science professor Christopher Vasillopulos, sociology professor Dennis Canterbury, music professor Timothy Cochran and English professor Christine Garcia.

Vasillopulos and 'alter ego' author book on state of America

Christopher Vasillopulos, political science professor 

Vasillopulos' new book is titled “Aristotle’s Ghost: How Good Free Men Built Good Free America.” The publisher, Outskirts Press, said the book does not fit a traditional genre. “It is a multiple hybrid: history, comparative government, political theory, developmental economics, conceptual analysis, history of ideas and memoir. The author discusses his work with his alter ego, Aristotle, often by comparing Ancient Greece with American history from Plymouth Rock to Black Lives Matter. (The book’s) dialogic structure invites the reader to come to his or her own conclusions about the complexities of the American experience.”

Vasillopulos said the different modes of discussion intentionally overlap. “The separation of academic disciplines is artificial. Any complex matter cannot be understood in one way or from one perspective. This is one of the major themes of the book. You cannot understand one field without some understanding of related fields.”

book cover Vasillopulos said white supremacy in America is a major theme in the book, but that Black Lives Matter is not the solution. “I wrote the book to share my understanding of the American experience with a wide audience. I would like the reader to understand that it is impossible to understand complex events unless one can detach oneself from the emotions they provoke. In the book, this is conveyed by the differences between the author and his alter ego on matters like abortion and the Civil War. I want the reader to make up his or her own mind.”

Students who have had Vasillopulos in class enjoy his approach to political and social issues. “I am enjoying your classes tremendously,” said Aidan Reiss, a first-year music major from Stafford. “Your perspectives on the past . . . are funny, realistic, down-to-earth and completely practical, something that is difficult to do considering the global situation right now. I am a fan of your talks, and I learn a tremendous amount from them.”

Canterbury publishes book on development in Caribbean countries

Dennis Canterbury, sociology professor 

Canterbury's recently published book tackles capitalism, power and the imperial state within Caribbean countries. Tilted “Caribbean Development in the New Multipolar World Order,” the book explores “… Post-neoliberal, new multipolar world order based on competition and cooperation by the United States, the European Union, China and Russia for natural resources and markets.”

Born in Guyana, Canterbury’s research interests include extractive studies, Caribbean development, financialization, migration and trade. Because of his specialization in Caribbean countries, many of his previous works and teaching interests revolve around globalization, labor and development on islands that are found in the Caribbean Sea.

book cover In his book Canterbury writes of the power the United States has had over other countries; as the years continue, that narrative is changing. “The United States is no longer the sole superpower,” said Canterbury, “It now has competitors in the international arena. Since the Caribbean is so dependent on the United States, I wanted to know what the region should and could do given this change.”

Consisting of 12 chapters ranging from topics such as “The Caribbean Making America Great Again” to “Theoretical Advances with Caribbean Capitalist Development,” Canterbury’s book took four years to complete and was published by Routledge, the British multinational publish.

Christine Garcia featured in 'Latina Leadership' book

Christine Garcia, English professor 

Garcia is a contributing author in the book “Latina Leadership: Language and Literacy Education across Communities.” The book features stories of activism, oppression, community ties, family connections and more with stories from Latina leaders in k-16 educational settings.

Garcia wrote the chapter “The Chingona Interviews” and co-authored the chapter “Afterword: A Letter of Solidarity for Junior Latina Scholars” with three other Latina authors.

The “Chingona Interviews” was inspired by scholar Gloria Anzaldúa and Women’s Studies Professor AnaLouise Keating. The chapter analyzes more than 10 years of Anzaldúa’s interviews. “Much of the interview portion of the article is rooted in story, myth and tradition, creating a unique experience for someone expecting a typical scholarly article,” said Garcia.

book cover The co-authored chapter, “Afterword: A Letter of Solidarity for Junior Latina Scholars,” Garcia said “is very personal to me. It recalls a painful period in my Ph.D. when a ‘mentor’ attempted to undermine my success on the job market by convincing me that no one would respect me because of the way I looked, regardless of my intelligence or ability to teach well,” said Garcia.

“Beyond the racism and classism embedded in the way I was treated, was the pernicious act of gatekeeping that all too often makes it impossible for Latinas and other BIPOC to succeed in academia. By telling my story in this afterword, with the profound support of my co-authors, the doubt instilled in me by this 'mentor' of potentially not being good enough to be considered a ‘real academic’ was lifted and the shame that makes gatekeeping so effective was gone.”

Specializing in rhetoric and composition, some of Garcia’s teaching interests include Gloria Anzaldúa composition theory and pedagogy, Chicana/Latina feminism and community-based learning.

Cochran publishes book on music in film

Timothy Cochran, music professor 

Cochran's new book is titled “Musical Sincerity and Transcendence in Film.” The book, which analyses the impact of music in films, was published by Routledge, a multinational publishing company that specializes in academic journals, books and online resources.

Originating as a study of a multitude of different film genres and issues, Cochran’s work developed into an analysis of the activities that corresponded with a film's music such as dancing, singing and having memories activated.

Over time, his research developed and took on a life of its own, growing from the simple inclusion of musical moments, to what those decisions say about the pieces selected for the scene they are in, and what this says about the way the musical piece is viewed.

From there, Cochran explored the historical roots of these ideas. “It was exciting to analyze music’s role in these film scenes,” says Cochran, “but even more so to connect those analyses to broader historical, cultural, philosophical and musical issues as the book’s broader themes took shape--those themes being how filmmakers frame music as a way of pursuing sincere human connection and transcendent experiences.”

book cover Broken up into six chapters, the book analyses films such as “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “WALL-E” and “The Sound of Music.” Using famous pieces such as Claude Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” and Franz Schubert’s “An die Musik,” Cochran stresses the significance of these examples, saying, “Filmmakers use music as a way of expressing and exploring human desires for sincerity and transcendence. Music can be a particularly potent way of articulating and revealing those desires, and the book shows how filmmakers use music in this way.”

Along with the progression of his research and writing, Cochran is active as a member of Eastern’s teaching faculty. He finds that by continuing his research, he can connect his findings to what he teaches students. With classes focusing on popular, classical and film music, he holds unique outlooks on his students’ research and writing processes, as they parallel his own work. Cochran also says he finds teaching and research interconnected, saying, “I’m a better teacher when I’m doing research because I’m practicing asking the kinds of questions and doing the kinds of analysis that I teach my students to do.”

However, this doesn’t mean he wants his work limited only to the music field. “I hope the eclecticism serves a broad audience of people interested in film music,” explains Cochran. He also has found that his research is relevant to current times, as we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic. The examination of the major themes of his books, especially through a musical lens “will resonate with people during our era of COVID and other forms of instability where a lot of people are feeling disconnected and lonely, wishing for life to be back to normal, and questioning where hope and meaning come from.”

Written by Bobbi Brown, Molly Boucher, Dwight Bachman