Harpur Featured Stories
by Meghan Stratton
Harpur College faculty generated more than three dozen scholarly books in 2012. A reception held by Harpur College in March honored this year’s published authors and grant winners.
One of those honored, Professor of Anthropology Thomas Wilson, says the work being done by the faculty has bolstered the University’s profile as “the premier SUNY campus for research and scholarship in the social sciences.”
More than 30 Harpur College faculty were published this past year. Among this collection of writers and editors is Stephen Ortiz, associate professor of history.
Ortiz recently compiled a volume of essays related to veterans’ politics, published by the University Press of Florida, called Veterans’ Policies, Veteran Politics: New Perspectives on Veterans in the Modern United States.
According to Ortiz, veterans’ topics are “unbelievably relevant” in American political life. From disability policy to education, veterans have shaped our society. Harpur College itself was founded in 1946 in the wake of the G.I. Bill as a place for Southern Tier veterans to study.
Despite its prominence in modern politics and policies, surprisingly little has been published on veterans’ topics. Noticing this lapse, Ortiz began to compile the available research.
“If I took the lead, I could get all of this work together in one spot as a way to highlight all these new approaches to veterans’ topics,” he says. “Why wait for someone else to do it?”
Wilson finished a similar project on border studies for his book, A Companion to Border Studies, published by Wiley-Blackwell. He, too, hopes to stimulate comparative interest across academic disciplines.
Like veterans’ studies, border studies are central to the organization of societies. Wilson calls border studies a “growth industry” in the academic community.
His book explores “the ways politics and culture intersect and can be reviewed, focused upon or analyzed though the prism of international borders.”
The cross-disciplinary approach of these two projects coincides with the work of Richard E. Lee, MA ’89, PhD ’94. As a professor in the Department of Sociology and the director of the Fernand Braudel Center for the Study of Economies, Historical Systems, and Civilizations on campus, Lee’s research focuses on studying the world from a perspective that crosses disciplinary boundaries to uncover pervasive longterm trends.
His latest book, The Longue Durée and World-Systems Analysis, published by SUNY Press, commemorates the 50th anniversary of Fernand Braudel’s seminal article calling for scholars to overcome disciplinary isolation.
The reception embodied the mission of the Fernand Braudel Center and the change Lee calls for in his work by encouraging collaboration and discussion between disciplines.
“We who do world-systems analysis would like to put the world back together,” Lee said. “That is the future of the academy.”
Last Updated: 6/3/15