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  • NJCU Professor’s Book Wins Prestigious Award

    Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance by Dr. Ellen Gruber Garvey, a professor of English at New Jersey City University, has won the Institute for Humanities Research (IHR) at Arizona State University (ASU) Transdisciplinary Book Award for 2014. Dr. Garvey’s book was selected from among ones by faculty from throughout the world.

    Established in 2008, the Award honors a non-fiction work that exemplifies transdisciplinary, socially engaged humanities-based scholarship. The Award recognizes and celebrates humanities faculty authors and the substantial body of transdisciplinary humanistic research their publications reflect. Every year the IHR honors an academic work, alternating between ASU faculty and faculty from around the world.

    Published by Oxford University Press, Writing with Scissors explores how ordinary and extraordinary Americans from all walks of life, ranging from farmers and janitors to Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Susan B. Anthony, created scrapbooks to document, share, and critique press accounts of events, thereby shaping an alternate media and creating their own democratic archives.

    The 314-page groundbreaking book, which features more than 60 rare illustrations, reveals how people have had an interactive, personal, passionate, and often critical relationship with the media long before the Internet era. By cutting out and pasting down what they read into blank books, old textbooks, or the pre-gummed scrapbook that Mark Twain invented, people claimed ownership of their reading and then shared it with their family and community. Dr. Garvey’s book presents scrapbooks as the ancestors of social media and of digital ways of organizing and understanding information.

    Dr. Garvey is also the author of The Adman in the Parlor: Magazines and the Gendering of Consumer Culture, 1880s-1910s, winner of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing’s prize for the best book of 1996 on the history of the book.

    A member of the NJCU faculty since 1994, Dr. Garvey teaches English and women’s and gender studies courses. She also co-edits the University’s Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy. Her teaching interests include 19th-century American literature, print culture, popular literature, lesbian and gay literature, and technology and literature.
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