Texas Tech University

A&S Faculty News

February 2017

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Noel an Expert for WalletHub

Michael Noel TTUMichael Noel, associate professor in the Department of Economics, was among a panel of experts consulted by wallethub.com for insights on the differences between the American work structure and that of other countries. In a question-and-answer format, the Feb. 28 story quoted Noel's in-depth responses to queries about why Americans work more than other nationalities, whether that work translates into higher productivity, the length of the ideal work week, and what government policies could be adopted to improve American workers' quality of life.gray line

Hayhoe Says Enjoy Warm Winter

Katharine Hayhoe, TTUKatharine Hayhoe, associate professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of TTU's Climate Science Center was quoted Feb. 23 in News of Chicago/The Atlantic in an article that asks, "Is it OK to Enjoy the Warm Winters of Climate Change?" Given the unusually pleasant weather this February—typically winter's harshest month across the United States—those concerned about climate change may find themselves asking ethical or existential concern as well as scientific ones. Hayhoe was quoted as saying that people shouldn't hesitate to enjoy unseasonably warm days, whether or not they are caused by climate change. "It's a good example of how all of the symptoms of a changing climate are not negative. And if there is something good, then enjoying it doesn't make [climate change] any better or worse than it would be otherwise," she told the publication. "As it gets warmer, the negative impacts outweigh the positive impacts," she said. "This will first look like hotter summers, pests moving northward, and our air-conditioning and water bill going up. Having these unusual days that we really notice, it makes us more aware of how other things are changing, too."gray line

Stoll Published in Special Edition

Mark Stoll, TTUMark Stoll, Professor in the Department of History, was republished in Environmental History's "40th Anniversary Virtual Edition," a collection the magazine's editors say represents "path-breaking scholarship that has shaped our field." Stoll was noted for his "Milton in Yosemite: Paradise Lost and the National Parks Idea," which published in Environmental History 13, no. 2 (April 2008): 237-274. 

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Levario on Sheriff's ICE Partnership

Miguel Levario TTUMiguel Levario, associate professor in the Department of History, was interviewed, was interviewed in a Feb. 21 FOX-34 news story about the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office partnering with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to identify undocumented immigrants who are taken into custody. Although the sheriff's office has said the cooperation authorizes local jail staff to interview only those individuals who have been arrested on other charges, Levario told the television station that the agreement will create a layer of mistrust in immigrant communities. The mistrust could cause individuals to refrain from reporting local crimes. "I think that many police officers feel that this may handicap their efficiency and effectiveness with local crimes and working with the community. I think it does disrupt their relationship with the community," Levario said in the interview.gray line

Ramkumar On India's Cotton Use

Seshadri Ramkumar TTUSeshadri Ramkumar, professor in the Department of Environmental Toxicology/The Institute for Environmental & Human Health, wrote an article about India's cotton consumption in the Feb. 21 Cotton Association of India. Ramkumar reported that India is estimated to consume 29.5 million bales of cotton, this season ending this September, a revision up from its earlier estimate of 29 million bales. With a total of about 40.5 million bales, the available surplus at the end of this season will be an estimated 11 million bales, down from the previous estimate of 11.4 million bales.

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McKee, Perkins Look at Trump Polls 

Seth McKee TTUSeth McKee, associate professor, and Jared Perkins, visiting professor, both in the Department of Political Science, were interviewed in a Feb. 20 FOX-34 news report about a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll of Texans. The poll shows President Donald Trump's approval rating with Republicans is 81 percent, and with Democrats it is 7 percent, according to the transcript of the news story "New Texas Poll Shows divide Between Dems, GOP on President Trump." McKee told the TV station that the numbers likely reflect a general approval of the president without much emphasis on specifics. "To me it sort of looks like a generic number," McKee said. "I think that number among Texas Republicans is more reflective of, it's our team now. I think the Democratic number is what you'd expect. It's basically the converse of that." Perkins told FOX-34 that the support Trump receives from Republicans is a direct result of his high visibility on social media and with his speeches. "I think he has a little more latitude even among his supporters to do things they might not always agree with because they know he's actually working and I think that's a perception he has done a pretty good job of creating in the past few weeks," Perkins said.gray line

Lopez's Alternative to Migrant Ban

Armando Lopez TTUArmando Lopez, assistant professor in the Department of Economics, was interviewed by Lubbock television station KLBK for a report that aired Feb. 17. The story, "TTU Professor Proposes Alternative to Immigration Ban," focused on Lopez's estimation that the ban would have a negative impact on the U.S. economy. "It's not like it's free to enforce the border and to enforce these immigration rules," he told the station. "If you remove one immigrant, nothing is going to happen," he said. "But when you remove a large chunk of the labor force you would have a very big impact on businesses because for many of them you don't have an easy substitution." He proposed an alternative to Trump's immigration ban that he said gives a more long-term solution: a Guest Worker Program that will give a worker permit to an immigrant who is employed in the U.S. for an allotted amount of years. Then the individual will return to their home country, or given the opportunity to apply for citizenship. "You have a million at a time for a few years and then they go back," Lopez told KLBK. "You have a different million and then that way also more people have a chance to reap the benefits of working."gray line

Levario on Cutting Sanctuary Cities

Miguel Levario TTUMiguel Levario, associate professor in the Department of History, was interviewed for a Feb. 16 story in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: "Sanctuary Cities Bill Could Put Police on Front Line in Immigration Enforcement." Legislation introduced by state Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) would, if passed, ban state funding to sanctuary cities. Some people fear such a law could change the role of local law enforcement and promote racial profiling by officers. Levario told the newspaper that the proposed legislation would put officers in a tough situation: if they satisfy the requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement it could violate someone's constitutional rights by detaining them without a legal warrant, and if officers don't satisfy the request, they could be in violation of the state law. "This is now a politicized issue, and it is racist," Levario was quoted as saying. "Sanctuary cities are not more crime-ridden — immigrants are less likely to be violent criminals than people born here, by far."gray line

Lewis Talks about Flynn Quitting

Col. Dave Lewis TTUCol. Dave Lewis, professor of practice in the Department of Political Science, was interviewed by FOX-34 television for the Feb. 15 report, "Russian Connection Could Spell Trouble for Trump." The story invited Lubbock-area experts to speculate on what might happen if reports on the Trump administration's pre-inauguration contact with Russia prove nefarious. In connection with the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and phone conversations he had with Russians, Col. Lewis told the television station: "As a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, it's not like it's his (Flynn's) first brush with these types of things," Lewis said. "He certainly had to have known what was going on, so that tells me that there is probably more layers to this story than we know now or may ever know."gray line

Walter to Study Spanish Mission

Tamra Walter, associate professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, was awarded $30,000 from the Texas Historical Commission in mid-February for her research project on Mission San Lorenzo de la Santa Cruz. The Spanish mission to the Lipan Apaches was in operation between 1762 and 1771 and is 40 miles north of Uvalde on State Highway 55, along the Nueces River outside the town of Camp Wood.gray line

Witmore Values Digital Artifacts

Chris Witmore TTUChristopher Witmore, associate professor of archaeology and classic is the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, was quoted an article posted Feb. 13 at Archaeology magazine. "Digging Up Digital Music" tells the story of a few early artifacts from the dawn of the computer age: the Computing Machine Laboratory in Manchester, England; the Mark I computer that generated its first "notes" in 1948, sounding "like a cello playing underwater"; and the Mark II computer that in 1951 was programmed to play "God Save the King." Whitmore observed: "The digital world moves so fast, it's constantly refreshing itself to such a degree that it is creating all kinds of opportunities for archaeology," he was quoted as saying. "Archaeology is rich enough to encompass all of these things."gray line

McKee on Increasing Latino Vote

Seth McKee TTUSeth McKee, associate professor in the Department of Political Science, was quoted in a Feb. 13 FOX-34 report about the number of Latino voters in Texas. The story, "Texas Sees Increase in Latino Vote" reported that nearly 30 percent more Texas Latinos voted in 2016 than in 2012, while non-Latino voters increased by slightly more than nine percent. "Even with this jump in their participatory numbers, they're still way too low to threaten Anglo preferences for a Republican majority in the state," McKee was quoted as saying. He also observed: "Politics is all about an action and a reaction and this is the thing that makes the Latino question in Texas so interesting is that if Latinos do become more mobilized and they start voting at higher rates, what do you think Anglos are going to do?" McKee asked. "They're probably going to participate more as well."gray line

Olson Helps Science Teachers

Matt Olson TTUMatt Olson, Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, assisted Patricia Hawley, a Professor of Educational Psychology in the College of Education, in creating a workshop that is designed to give science teachers more confidence when teaching evolution, according to a Feb. 8 article in Texas Tech Today. "Declawing the Dinosaur in Your Classroom: Reducing Teachers' Anxiety about Evolution" is meant for teachers who find themselves in the crossfire of the creation-vs.-evolution debate and promises tools to help them allay misconceptions, reconcile faith and science for themselves and answer questions from schoolchildren and their parents.

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Perkins on New Education Secretary

Jared Perkins, Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science, was quoted in a Feb. 7 FOX-34 news segment about the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Perkins told the Lubbock television station that the split confirmation vote indicates an atmosphere that does not bode well senate Republicans and Democrats working well together in the future. "We're definitely going to see a difference in what's being talked about in Washington and a shift from standardization and testing to a conversation about the expansion of charter schools and vouchers," he was quoted as saying. "Whether or not that affects things on the ground, I think that really depends on the political climate in the states."

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Recent Books

"Introduction to Physical Education, Exercise Science, and Sport" 10th Edition


Angela Lumpkin, Professor and Chair of the Department of Exercise & Sport Science, gives college students a wide-angle view of physical education, exercise science, sport, and the wealth of careers available in these fields in the 10th Edition of "Introduction to Physical Education, Exercise Science, and Sport." The textbook provides the principles, history, and future of physical education, exercise science, and sport. Lumpkin's clear writing style engages the reader while covering the most important introductory topics in this updated introduction to the world of physical education. (McGraw-Hill, July 2016)

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"New Developments in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Countermeasures"

New Developments in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Counter Measures

Ronald J. Kendal, Professor of Environmental Toxicology; Steven Presley, Professor of Immuno-toxicology; and Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor of Countermeasures to Biological Threats, all from the Department of Environmental Toxicology, have co-edited the newly published textbook, “New Developments in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Countermeasures.” The volume compiles a decade's worth of research through TTU's Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. National Program for Countermeasures to Biological and Chemical Threats, and updated many changes in the field since an earlier book, “Advances in Biological and Chemical Terrorism Countermeasures,” came out in 2008. “It's not just for college students,” Ramkumar said. “It's a tool for people in the field, from first responders all the way to policy makers.” (CRC Press, February 2016)

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"Reading Sounds: Closed-Captioned Media and Popular Culture"


Sean Zdenek, Associate Professor of Technical Communication & Rhetoric in the Department of English, tackles the choices that closed-captioners face every day in “Reading Sounds: Closed Captioned Media and Popular Culture.” Captioners must decide whether and how to describe background noises, accents, laughter, musical cues, and even silences. When captioners describe a sound—or choose to ignore it—they are applying their own subjective interpretations to otherwise objective noises, creating meaning that does not necessarily exist in the soundtrack or the script. Zdenek approaches closed-captioning as a potent source of meaning in rhetorical analysis and demonstrates how the choices captioners make affect the way deaf and hard of hearing viewers experience media. Drawing on hundreds of real-life examples and interviews with professional captioners and regular viewers of closed-captioning, Zdenek analyzes how the way in which the audible is made visible and champions better standards for closed captioning. (University of Chicago Press, December 2015)

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"Ancient Maya Cities of the Eastern Lowlands"

Ancient Maya Cities of the Eastern Lowlands

Brett A. Houk, Associate Professor of Archaeology and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, rights something of an injustice in the study of the Maya world in his "Ancient Maya Cities of the Eastern Lowlands." For more than a century, researchers have studied Maya ruins, primarily at sites like Tikal, Palenque, Copán, and Chichén Itzá, which have shaped current understanding of the Maya. Yet cities of the eastern lowlands of Belize, an area that was home to a rich urban tradition that persisted and evolved for almost 2,000 years, have, until now, been treated as peripheral to these great Classic period sites. The hot and humid climate and dense forests of Belize are inhospitable and make preservation of the ruins difficult, but this oft-ignored area reveals much about Maya urbanism and culture. Using data collected from different sites throughout the lowlands, including the Vaca Plateau and the Belize River Valley, Houk presents the first synthesis of these unique ruins and discusses methods for mapping and excavating them. Considering the sites through the analytical lenses of the built environment and ancient urban planning, Houk vividly reconstructs their political history, considers how they fit into the larger political landscape of the Classic Maya, and examines what they tell us about Maya city building. (University Press of Florida, 2015)

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"Human Scent Evidence"

Human Scent Evidence

Paola A. Prada, Research Assistant Professor at TTU's Institute for Forensic Science, explores novel concepts and applications of the use of human scent evidence in criminal investigations in this co-authored book. During the last decade, a significant number of scientific studies have supported the use of human scent as a biometric tool and indicator of the presence, or absence, of an individual at a crime scene. These findings even extend to conducting scent identification line-ups with suspects. "Human Scent Evidence" focuses on some of these recent advances in the use of human scent as forensic evidence and as an identifier. With examples from North and South America and Europe, this book draws upon an extensive literature review of past and current research and is enhanced with findings from the authors' own research. It concludes with a glimpse of the future direction of human scent evidence in the forensic field and its application as a biometric and diagnostic tool. (CRC Press, 2015)

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"Born to be Wild: The Rise of the American Motorcyclist"

Born to be Wild by Randy D. McBee

Randy D. McBee, Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and Associate Professor in the Department of History, traces the growth of an American subculture—and the alarm it sparked—when the stereotypical leather-clad biker emerged after World War II. And yet, in more recent years, the once-menacing motorcyclist became mainstream. McBee narrates the arc of motorcycle culture since World War II. Along the way he examines the rebelliousness of early riders of the 1940s and 1950s, riders' increasing connection to violence and the counterculture in the 1960s and 1970s, the rich urban bikers of the 1990s and 2000s, and the factors that gave rise to a motorcycle rights movement. McBee's fascinating narrative of motorcycling's past and present reveals the biker as a crucial character in 20th-century American life. (University of North Carolina Press, July 2015)

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"Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and the Rise of American Environmentalism"

Inherit the Holy Mountain, Mark Stoll, TTU

Mark Stoll, Associate Professor and Director of Environmental Studies in the Department of History, explains how religion has profoundly influenced the origins, evolution, and future of American environmentalism. Born of the house of Calvin, environmentalism took its program and acquired its moral power from the (originally) Calvinist denominations Congregationalism and Presbyterianism. Virtually all its founders in the 19th century were within a generation of a Congregationalist church. Presbyterian Progressives made conservation, parks, and forests into national causes. Lapsed Presbyterians led environmentalism's postwar rise. In recent decades other denominations, notably Baptists, Catholics, and Jews, have taken over environmental leadership. As each denomination strut its hour upon the environmental stage and exited to make room for the next, environmentalism's character and goals changed. Stoll explains why this is so, and what it means. Using biography and the histories of religion, environmentalism, art, and culture as tools, the book re-creates the mental and moral world that gave birth to the movements to conserve, preserve, and enjoy nature and to protect the environment. Finally, the book examines the contemporary religious scene and its implications for a future environmentalism.

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"Further Studies in the Lesser-Known Varieties of English"

Further Studies in the Lesser-Know Varieties of English

Jeffrey P Williams, Professor of Ethnology and Linguistics in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, is the lead editor in this volume that follows "The Lesser-Known Varieties of English" (Cambridge University Press, 2010) by documenting a further range of English varieties that have been overlooked and understudied. It explores varieties spoken by small groups of people in remote regions as diverse as Malta, Bermuda, the Netherlands Antilles, Brazil, the Cook Islands, and Palau. The varieties explored are as much a part of the big picture as major varieties, and it is the intention of this collection to spark further interest in the sociolinguistic documentation of minority Englishes in a postcolonial world. Language endangerment is a very real factor for the vast majority of lesser known varieties of English, and this book holds that documentation and archiving are key initial steps in revitalization and reclamation efforts. (Cambridge University Press, 2015)

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"A Comparative Doxastic-Practice Epistemology of Religious Experience"

Mark Webb, Texas Tech, Christianity, Buddhism, comparison, epistemology

Mark Webb, Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy, takes a theoretical enterprise in Christian philosophy of religion and applies it to Buddhism in this second volume in the Springer Briefs in Religious Studies series. Webb contends that mystical experiences can be fruitfully thought of as perceptual in kind and that they are therefore good prima facie grounds for religious belief, in the absence of defeating conditions. Webb's work goes on to explore Christian and Buddhist testimony and how the likelihood of self-deception, self-delusion, imaginative elaboration and the like constitutes a defeating condition, which is shown to have less scope for operation in the Buddhist case than in the Christian case. (Springer 2015)

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"Competing Vision of Empire: Labor, Slavery and the Origins of the British Atlantic Empire"

Competing Visions of Empire by Abigail Swingen

Abigail Swingen, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, provides a new framework for understanding the origins of the British Empire in this insightful study. Swingen explores how England's original imperial designs influenced contemporary English politics and debates about labor, economy, and overseas trade. Further, by focusing on the ideological connections between the growth of unfree labor in the English colonies, particularly the use of enslaved Africans, and the development of British imperialism during the early modern period, Swingen examines the overlapping, often competing agendas of planters, merchants, privateers, colonial officials, and imperial authorities in the 17th and 18th centuries. (Yale University Press, February 2015)

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Teatro by George cole

George Cole, Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of the Division of Spanish & Portuguese in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, sets this Spanish-language book in Los Angeles, exploring illegal immigration and racial/class tensions as it follows two young lovers who face a society trying to tear them apart.

La indocumentada es la historia de dos jóvenes, Charles y Julia, que se enamoran perdidamente pero tendrán que enfrentarse a una sociedad que tratará de separarlos. Ambientada en Los Ángeles, la pieza explora el tema de la inmigración ilegal, la falta de comprensión del lado humano de la misma, así como las tensiones raciales y de clases que se ven tanto en esta zona como en otras regiones de los Estados Unidos. (Editorial GC; December 2014)

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"Mexican American Baseball in the Alamo Region"

Mexican American Baseball in the Alamo Region

Jorge Iber, Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor in the Department of History, celebrates baseball as it was played in the Tejano and Tejana communities throughout Texas in this co-authored book. This forthcoming regional focus explores the importance of the game at a time when Spanish-speaking people were demanding cultural acceptance and civil rights in cities like San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and New Braunfels—All of which had thriving Mexican-American communities that found comfort in the game and pride in their abilities on the playing field. (Arcadia Publishing, forthcoming)

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"Estelas en la Mar: Cantos Sentimentales"

Estelas by Genaro Perez

Genaro Pérez, Professor of Spanish in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, published a book titled: "Estelas En La Mar: Cantos Sentimentales." Written in Spanish, this is Pérez's 13th book—his fifth of poetry—and covers topics of love, aging, and dementia. (iUniverse; 2014)

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"Neocybernetics and Narrative"

Neocybernetics and Narrative by Bruce Clarke

Bruce Clarke, Professor and Chair of the Department of English, declares the era of the cyborg officially over and demonstrates the potential of second-order systems theory to provide fresh insights into the familiar topics of media studies and narrative theory in his latest book. Clarke is considered a pioneer of systems narratology, and here he opens a new chapter in rethinking narrative and media through systems theory. Reconceiving interrelations among subjects, media, significations, and the social, Clarke offers readers a synthesis of the neocybernetic theories of cognition formulated by biologists Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, incubated by cyberneticist Heinz von Foerster, and cultivated in Niklas Luhmann's social systems theory. His purview includes examinations of novels ("Mrs. Dalloway" and "Mind of My Mind"), movies ("Avatar," "Memento," and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"), and even "Aramis," Bruno Latour's idiosyncratic meditation on a failed plan for an automated subway. (University of Minnesota Press, October, 2014)

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"A Conceptual Guide to Thermodynamics"

A Conceptual guide to Thermodynamics

Bill Poirier, Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, introduces a new concept in interdisciplinary pedagogy. Providing clear explanations for core topics such as entropy, and working in conjunction with over 70 standard thermodynamics textbooks used in various science and engineering fields, the book has consistently remained one of the best-selling thermodynamics titles since its release. (John Wiley & Sons, September 2014)

UPDATE: Since its release, this title garnered a rave review in the April 1, 2015, issue of Choice magazine. Choice magazine is the premier book review publication for academic librarians, published by the American Library Association.

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"Gulag Town, Company Town: Forced Labor and Its Legacy in Vorkuta"

Alan Barenberg, Texas Tech, Gulag Town, Vortuka

Alan Barenberg, Assistant Professor in the Department of History, offers a radical reassessment of the infamous "Gulag Archipelago" by exploring the history of Vorkuta, an arctic coal-mining outpost originally established in the 1930s as a prison camp complex. Hiss eye-opening study reveals Vorkuta as an active urban center with a substantial non-prisoner population. It was a place where the borders separating camp and city were contested and permeable, enabling prisoners to establish social connections that would eventually aid them in their transitions to civilian life. With this book, Barenberg makes an important historical contribution to our understanding of forced labor in the Soviet Union. (Yale University Press, August 2014)

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"Revisiting Covivencia in Medieval and Early Modern Iberia"

Revisitng Covivencia by Connie Scarborough

Connie Scarborough, Professor of Spanish in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, edited this collection of articles by 18 prominent Hispanists who explore the centuries in the Iberian Peninsula when Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived in harmony with one another. The term convivencia has been applied, both inside and outside academic circles, to imply a "golden age" of multi-religious, amicable harmony. (Juan de la Cuesta-Hispanic Monographs; June 2014)

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"Latino American Wrestling Experience: Over 100 Years of Wrestling Heritage in the United States"

Jorge Iber, Book, Latino Wrestling, TTU, College of Arts & Sciences

Jorge Iber, Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and Professor in the Department of History, brings a century's worth of Spanish-speaking student wrestlers and coaches--high school, collegiate, and post-graduate--into the spotlight through 60-plus stories of individual accomplishment and triumph. (National Wrestling Hall of Fame, e-book, March 2014)

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"Memory of Blue"

Jacqueline Kolosov, TTU, Memory of Blue

Jacqueline Kolosov, Professor in the Department of English, contemplates our inner lives, the connections that bind us to each other, and the joy to be found in the everyday, in "Memory of Blue." Kolosov dedicates this third poetry collection to the late Margaret Sheffield Lutherer, who served Texas Tech for many years. Kolosov will donate 50 percent of book-sale proceeds to a local charity that rescues horses. (Salmon Poetry, February 2014)

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Browse Arts & Sciences' 2012-2013 books here.